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There are three adjustments that need to be made to modern rear derailleurs
  • 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
  • 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

  • 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)

  • 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.

    • 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

  • 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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Thanks for reading, now get out there and ride!

The Hive

Member since: 12/05/2012

51 Guides authored


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