My First Time Adjusting My Own Derailleurs
How did you spend your Saturday night? Me, I spent mine learning to adjust my SRAM Force road bike derailleurs. I couldn’t see paying my local bike shop (LBS) $69 to do a bike checkup that I should be able to do myself.
So rather than succumb to “the call of the LBS” I instead resorted to the intertubes and decided to do it myself.
First thing first, are your gears changing properly? If you change your gears using the shifters and it doesn’t nearly instantly change then your derailleurs need adjustments. If your gear clicks a while before changing or if you’re riding for a while and it randomly changes gears then it needs tuning.
Now that you know you have a problem you just need to get enough gumption to fix it. For me it took 12 years to build up the determination to try and do it myself. Yes, you read that right, 12 years … what can I say, that call of the LBS was very strong.
And the other funny thing is that I bought a few books years ago to learn and never got around to reading them. They’re so old now that the equipment they train you on isn’t even applicable any longer. I even have a nice Parks bike stand I hadn’t really used until tonight.
Anyhow, once I searched a bit online I found a video from SRAM on the Force derailleur installation and adjustment:
One I watched this 3-4 times I started to work turning the screws on my bike. The first thing I realized is that I messed it up a bit. They make it look so easy, bing bang boom it’s all setup for them. For me, not so much!
I realized one huge thing they had going for them was they didn’t have the chain on but I wasn’t about to go there right now. This wasn’t a tear down, it was a tuning.
Back to the intertubes!
After some more searching I ran into this video:
The picture quality isn’t that great but the content was and it really taught me a lot about how to make the necessary adjustments.
After a bit more trial and error and putting my chain into my spokes a few times I finally figured it out. The barrel adjuster was the key to me mastering the tuning. Once I figured out how it worked in conjunction with the high / low limiters I was golden and it was only a few more minutes till I was done.
Mind you, this was after I’d already spent 1.5 hours getting it wrong and getting frustrated. Hey, you’ll never learn unless you try and the more your fail the more you learn.
I know this all means nothing to you if you don’t have SRAM derailleurs but that’s not the point I’m really making here. You don’t have to pay someone to fix your bike, teach you how to use weights, or how to properly work out. Yes, it’s sometimes easier and less time consuming but it’s also more expensive and certainly not as rewarding.
Sometimes it’s better to learn how to fish instead of buying the fillet. Learn Fitness (cool name) and learn to fix your bike, it can be extremely rewarding and motivating. If you or your bike needs some tuning then get out there and make it happen. Do some research, read some articles & blogs, watch some videos, and slowly make the adjustments to improve it.
Remember, for your bike the worst you can do is make the gear shifting worse and make that LBS mechanic really earn his pay