There is nothing worse than going to shift gear and just hear your drivetrain grinding away but not have the chain move to the next cog. If you’ve been blighted by mis-shifts, skips, and gears that just don’t want to do what you tell them we have a handy guide for you.
- Cable tension. Most issues with gearing come down to cable stretching and your gears going out of alignment. This issue leads to people playing with limit screws. If your cables stretch your limit screws will not change how out of alignment your gears are. They should have been set when the bike was originally setup and should not need any adjustment.
If your gears have an issue going up, you need to tighten your cable. A ¼ turn on your barrel adjuster should fix it.
- Dirty cables. Keep your cables clean, and ideally a little bit of lube now and again to keep them functioning. Once they start to drag though, you’ll want to replace them with some new cables. Try and replace them with high-end cables, and you’ll see a noticeable change in your shifting.
- Rear derailleur alignment. A small knock can easily knock your derailleur hanger, a small move and your gear shifting won’t be quite the same. The hanger is designed to bend to save your frame, so keep an eye on it. A small bend and it can be bent back, a large bend and you’ll be buying a new hanger. It is always worth owning a spare hanger for your bike.
- Dirty chain. Keep your chain clean and lubricated if you want easy gear changes. Skimping on this maintenance can lead to premature drivetrain failure, so keep on top of it. Keep an eye on your chain to make sure it doesn’t become damaged, and you don’t want stiff links or pins trying to come out of your chain.
- Outer cables of the wrong length. Yes, cable housing will keep your inner cables clean, but if they are too long, you’ll be adding a lot of friction to the system. Guess what, too short can also give you an issue. Too short can cause the cable to be pulled too tightly.
- Front derailleur alignment. Again you knock or move the front derailleur. Has the clamp come loose, has it moved as you’ve rattled along the road, these are all issues that mean you’ll need to set your front derailleur alignment again.
- Your drivetrain is worn. Despite taking care of your drivetrain, it can still wear down. Check your chain with a chain checker, and you’ll get an idea of how worn it is. Hopefully, by taking care of your drivetrain, it’ll just be a new chain.
- Your frames broke. Have you crashed and bent or twisted the rear end of your frame. If your frame has moved out of alignment then so has your derailleurs.
- You’ve set it up badly. If you’re new to building bikes, you might have made a mistake. It might now be time to take your bike to the experts.