Follow these derailleur adjustment tips to eliminate shifting issues

Experiencing issues shifting as you begin training for Kerrville Triathlon Festival on Sept. 28-29? Try your hand at a derailleur adjustment with these simple steps.

Derailleur designers provide a simple way for you to dial in shifting. You don’t even need tools (although, it’s easiest to make and check adjustments when the bicycle is supported in a repair stand). Keep in mind, these steps are for derailleurs that are not damaged or bent. If you suspect that it is, it needs more than this simple adjustment and you should call James Balentine with City Limit Cycles.

To adjust the derailleur, look at the point where the cable enters the rear derailleur. See that round, knob-like piece? That’s a barrel adjuster. It’s used to tune the derailleur adjustment.

Standing behind the bike, the barrel adjuster is turned either counter-clockwise or clockwise in half-turn increments until the shifting hesitation is cured. Which way do you turn it? It depends on what type of hesitation you’re experiencing. The most common problem is slow-shifting into easier gears (toward the spokes) due to the cable stretching. But, it’s also possible that you’re experiencing the opposite.

This rule will help you remember which way to turn it. If the derailleur is hesitating when shifting toward the spokes (the more common problem), turn the barrel toward the spokes (counter-clockwise). If it hesitates shifting away from the spokes, turn the adjuster away (clockwise) from the spokes. Turn it only a half turn, shift multiple times to check the adjustment, and repeat as needed to eliminate all hesitation.