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Derailleur/gear adjustment at LBS, price to expect?

Joe86Joe86 Posts: 180
edited August 2009 in Road beginners
Hey all

I have been enjoying my Focus Variado and have probably clocked up 100 miles in the past 10 days or so. The only problem is that because I ordered online, I haven't got the support of being able to just pop down the LBS to ask for assistance. I recently fell off when trying clipless shoes, and the chain came off. I did land to the right, and probably bumped the derailleur. Anyway, initially I noticed the two biggest/lowest gear was were making a significant noise as I was riding, but I hadn't used it much so I kind of put it down to cross chaining. I don't use that gear that much so thought I would see how it goes for a few days, but today I noticed the second lowest gear is also making a bit of noise too, and I alsoI noticed one of the smaller/higher (probably 3rd highest) gear is having problems jumping after I change, it keeps slipping every 30-60 s or so, and seems to be isolated on that gear. Quite difficult to ride, as it probably the gear I use most of all on flat terrain.

Anyway, I spoke to my uncle who suggested I try and take it down to a LBS, sadly the one which all the club riders use has a two week waiting list. So I'm going to try a few other places. What kind of price will I be looking at? And is it worth checking an estimate beforehand? so I don't get stuck having to pay an expensive price.



  • There are some things you can check yourself. Looking from the back of the bike, the jockey wheels on the rear mech should be aligned exactly vertically above one another (for a Shimano mech anyway). If it looks like they're bent in a bit you could've bent the hanger. It ought to be cheap to get a new one and it isn't brain science to fit.

    If you've had it 10 days and done 100 miles, there's a possibility that the cable has stretched a bit. If you change to the smallest rear cog, then one click up it should smoothly go into the next gear. Stop and look to see if the chain, the jockey wheels and everything is exactly lined up with that cog. If it's not, then there's a barrel adjuster where the cable goes into the rear mech. Unscrewing it should move the changer in towards the centre of the bike, screwing it in move it out. Once it's exactly in line when on the second smallest gear, check that it changes to the smallest properly and then all the way through to the largest.

    If you feel uncomfortable about adjusting anything, then just make a note of exactly how far you've moved it so you can put it back.

    If none of that works, take it to the shop.
  • Oh, and better than listening to me is to read the words of the master
  • Joe86Joe86 Posts: 180
    Thanks for the info, I did have a look myself and nothing seemed bent or out of shape. But I haven't noticed anything off when I was looking at the gear changes when I had the bike off the floor. Even my uncle didn't seem to find anything visually off.

    I will have to do quite a bit of reading before I would be comfortable enough to adjust anything myself, I have been advised from others that it is best to try and get it done by someone with a little skill. So thanks for the links.

    If I'm unable to get it sorted myself, what kind of price do you think I would be looking at a typical LBS?
  • rhannrhann Posts: 383
    the other thing that may be possible may be the mech hanger may be bent, have a look, you can adjust gears yourself, and should lbs, will charge you about £3-5 for a 5 min job such as that.
  • sovedasoveda Posts: 306
    This might sound a bit daft but have you checked that the wheel is still centred in the dropouts? If the wheel is at an angle it could have caused indexing problems.
  • amaferangaamaferanga Posts: 6,789
    Where is the noise coming from? Check if the chain is rubbing against the cage of the derailleur when you're in the big ring on the front and largest few sprockets on the back. It shouldn't be, but if it is then that suggests that the derailleur hanger may be bent. I had exactly this problem with my bike - the derailleur hanger is only very slightly out so to the naked eye it actually looks okay.

    It sounds like you also have an indexing problem, but a bent derailleur hanger will knock the indexing off a bit.
    More problems but still living....
  • gkerr4gkerr4 Posts: 3,408
    fix it yourself - it's not a nuclear submarine or even a space shuttle - it's a bike - there are tons of online resources for this sort of thing - sheldon has been mentioned, i'll add the park tools website and if it is a shimano gearset then the shimano-europe website has service instructions for every component!

    Honestly - it'll take you a few minutes, save you a few quid and be deeply satisfying.
  • Top tip - Get the Haynes Bike manual - The first and last bastion of all things fiddly on a bike! Certainly for the basics anyway.
    What wheels...?!
  • CiBCiB Posts: 6,098
    The cable has stretched after its initial period of use, exactly as expected with a new bike.

    You should have 2 adjusters - the one mentioned previously on the rear dérailleur where the cable runs into it, and hopefully a barrel adjuster on the cable at the front, if the cables aren't routed along the bars under the tape.

    All you need to do is to take up that bit of slack that's been introduced with 100 miles of gear changing. Do it by unscrewing the rear adjuster a quarter turn at a time and checking on the result, or preferably - if they're fitted - by turning the front barrel adjuster for the rear mech by a similar amount to take up a bit of slack in the cable. The front is fine tuning, rear is bigger adjustment.

    Jobs like this are pretty basic and over time it's really worth knowing how and why it fixes problems like this. Once you understand your bike you won't need to be off to the LBS every time something minor occurs, and you won't be stranded in the middle of nowhere due to some inconsequential problem that arises. Sheldon is an excellent web site, and any number of books will guide you as well.

    Good luck with it.
  • paulorgpaulorg Posts: 168
    This is my list of sites that I've used to give me the info on various bits of bike repair in no particular order (it's all good but look in the wrench section) :wink: ... ontent=all (this one has videos, surprisingly) (more videos, recommended by Jim Langley)

    I'd go with Chris initially and see if that sorts the problem out, if you take it to the LBS if they are anything like mine they'll try to sell you a gear service at £30 for what turned out to be a quarter turn adjustment on the barrel by a more knowledgeable mate
    If you buy it, they will come...

    ...up to you and say, you didn't want to buy one of them!!!
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