​How to Maintain Rear Derailleur – It’s Not Really That Scary

How to Maintain Rear Derailleur – It’s Not Really That Scary

I have always fixed my own bikes. I don’t have any formal training; the only training I do have is through trial and error. If I don’t know how to do something I either ask someone or I search for the information. My gears started doing quite a bit of chattering (which was very irritating) a while back and I knew that I needed to do something about it.

I had the basic knowledge that my rear derailleur was responsible for moving my chain back and forth but I didn’t have a clue about how to adjust it. I found and article on adjusting your rear derailleur and it really showed me how simple it was to get a proper gearing adjustment.

There are 3 main components that you need to know about when adjusting your derailleur. These components are:

  • ​Inner limit screw
  • ​Out limit screw
  • ​Barrel adjusters

Inner Limit Screw

The above article really made it easy for me to locate the inner limit screw. This screw does just that, it limits how far over the derailleur can travel towards your spokes. The ideal inner most travel should place it directly underneath your largest cog in the back.

Out Limit Screw

After locating this screw I was able to set just how far out (or away from my spokes), my derailleur was allowed to travel. In this case its outermost travel takes it directly underneath the smallest cog in the back.

Barrel Adjusters

The barrel adjusters allow for fine tuning of the rear derailleur as it moves through each of the cogs (or gears). The article explained to me the exact procedure for getting the derailleur lined up with each of my cogs. The process did take a bit of back and forth but in the end my gearing was back to normal. I could switch gears now and not hear that horrible gear chatter.

Looking back, I think one of the reasons why my gearing was off was the fact that I had a bunch of dirt and grit lodged in my derailleur. I could tell immediately after washing it that its movement was much smoother. I guess cleaning your bike is an important part of good bike maintenance as well.

​Let Me Hear From You

​Surely I’m not the only one that has been nervous to tackle a rear derailleur adjustment. Why not share some of your stories here as well. I do like to hear from others as it provides for a very good learning opportunity. I await your comments patiently!

Let Me Hear From You
Robert Flaherty

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