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There are three adjustments that need to be made to modern rear derailleurs High and low limit screws Indexing
  • There are three adjustments that need to be made to modern rear derailleurs

    • High and low limit screws

    • Indexing

    • B-limit

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We will start with the high and low limit screws Before starting, remove all tension from the shift cable by loosening the cable clamp screw These are most easily adjusted with the chain removed from the bike, so it can be helpful to remove the chain as well
  • We will start with the high and low limit screws

  • Before starting, remove all tension from the shift cable by loosening the cable clamp screw

  • These are most easily adjusted with the chain removed from the bike, so it can be helpful to remove the chain as well

  • Locate the limit screws, these are found on the back of the derailleur (Shimano) and on side of the derailleur (Sram). They will have an H and L next to them

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  • Adjust the high limit screw, this screw limits the derailleur movement to the outside, between the smallest cog and the dropout

  • Sight down the back of the bike, turn the screw until the upper derailleur pulley is centered or just slightly outboard (towards the dropout) from the smallest cog

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Next, adjust the low limit screw Extend the derailleur into the lowest gear (largest cog), while holding the derailleur, turn the limit screw to adjust the derailleur pulley so it is centered over the largest cog
  • Next, adjust the low limit screw

  • Extend the derailleur into the lowest gear (largest cog), while holding the derailleur, turn the limit screw to adjust the derailleur pulley so it is centered over the largest cog

  • Once you have adjusted the low limit, release the derailleur to it's relaxed position over the smallest cog

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Now that the limits are set, we will adjust the indexing by adjusting the shift cable tension Check to make sure the shifter is in the smallest cog (hardest gear)
  • Now that the limits are set, we will adjust the indexing by adjusting the shift cable tension

  • Check to make sure the shifter is in the smallest cog (hardest gear)

  • Check the barrel adjuster on your shifter and derailleur (if it has one) to make sure they are in the middle of their range

  • Pull the shift cable through the rear derailleur until it is snug and tighten the pinch bolt

  • It is the cable tension that is pulled in specific amounts by the shifter that indexes the rear derailleur

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While pedaling the bike, shift from the smallest cog to the next smallest cog.
  • While pedaling the bike, shift from the smallest cog to the next smallest cog.

    • If the shift is sluggish add cable tension by turning the barrel adjuster until the shift is crisp

  • Shift back to the smallest cog

    • If the shift is sluggish the high limit screw may need to be adjusted outboard more...

    • ...or there could be drag in the housing that is not allowing the cable to release fully

  • ensure the shifting is crisp both up and down from the smallest and second smallest cog before moving on

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  • Next, shift through the cassette

  • Adjust the barrel adjuster as needed to get crisp shifting through the cassette

  • You can check the alignment between the cassette cogs and the upper derailleur pulley by sighting down the cassette from the back of the bike.

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Once the indexing has been adjusted, adjust the B-limit for the EX cog Shift in to the EX cog
  • Once the indexing has been adjusted, adjust the B-limit for the EX cog

  • Shift in to the EX cog

  • Adjust the B-limit screw so that there is a 5-6mm gap between the upper derailleur pulley teeth and the teeth on the EX cog or until the pulley is as close as possible but without rubbing the largest cog

    • You will be able to hear if the pulley is rubbing on the cog

    • You may need to install the longer B-limit screw included with the EX cog if you are unable to keep the derailleur pulley from rubbing with the stock B-limit screw

    • You can read more about adjusting the B-limit in our EX cog install guide

  • Check indexing and limit screws one last time before riding

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Conclusion

Thanks for reading, now get out there and ride!

The Hive

Member since: 12/05/2012

51 Guides authored

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