Thursday, October 05, 2006

Don't Touch That Barrel Adjuster

A friend of mine came to me at work and asked if I would take a look at his bike. He said he was having trouble with his rear shifting when moving from smaller to larger cogs. To begin with, this is the opposite of what I normally see. Usually you have a dirty or kinked cable and the added friction messes up your shifting going from larger to smaller cogs.

Before getting really into adjustments, I suggested:
  1. Using a spray or foam degreasser, apply to the chain, derailleurs and the front chain rings. Let sit for 10-20 min and then using a toothbrush and a small amount of degreaser attack the chain and derailleur pivots with a vengeance.
  2. Remove the rear wheel and clean the cassette using the degreaser.
  3. Wipe the chain before replacing the rear wheel.
  4. Apply a _light_ coat of your favorite lube to the chain and the pivots.
Sure - a good cleaning won't fix a serious mechanical problem, but it's amazing how often just cleaning the chain, cables and pivots will fix sloppy shifting.

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