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In-line derailleur cable adjusters(11 posts)

In-line derailleur cable adjustersthe_gormandizer
Jun 21, 2001 2:57 PM
I have a new CAAD4 built up with Ultegra and was about to take it back to the bike store for a "tune-up". It's a two hour drive, so I want to make sure I get all the issues addressed while I am there. When they built up the bike they did not install the cable adjusters that cam with the group, I think because the newer frames do not have the required braze-ons (not that one brazes on aluminum). Should I ask them to install those in-line adjusters? I think they look kinda ugly, and I'd like to get some advice as to whether they're necessary or whether you can get the same result with a screwdriver. Thanks.
Please explainKerry Irons
Jun 21, 2001 5:56 PM
What adjustments can you make to a derailleur cable with a screw driver? The cams let you make adjustments on the fly (while riding) but the rear derailleur essentially duplicates this ability with its barrel adjuster. I find that the ability to dial in the shifting with cable stop adjusters gives the "final touch" to dialing in the drive train, but you'll have to decide whether you've been missing this capability or not.
Please explainthe_gormandizer
Jun 22, 2001 6:33 AM
Thaks for the response Kerry. As a newbie, I haven't reached the stage of making adjustments while riding. This is probably just ignorance on my part. If you could clarify how one would use the barrel adjusters for on-the-fly adjustments I'd appreciate it.
Def. Barrel adjusterCima Coppi
Jun 22, 2001 7:03 AM
A barrel adjuster is a black, hollow, spring-loaded tension bolt that is located where the derailleur cable enters the rear derailleur. It is used to fine tune the cable tension for smooth shifting. STI and Ergo shifting also have barrel adjusters on the downtube (at the shift lever bosses or on special braze-ons on the head tube) to aid in fine tuning of both deraileurs. Since you have Ultegra (STI I assume), the shop should have installed the aforementioned adjusters. They are required for good smooth shifting.

I'd take the bike back, and have them install the correct components. You'll be happier in the long run, especially since you live so far away from a shop.

Good luck
Def. Barrel adjusterJofa
Jun 22, 2001 7:30 AM
By no means all new bikes use these anymore. Mine has aluminium adjusters which came with the frame, but in the era of odd cable stops on or around the head tube, many frame designs make the fitment of extra barrel adjusters tricky. I'll agree, however, that the 'on the fly' adjustment is worth having, although it's nothing that can't equally be achieved with the adjuster on the rear mech ( front mech tweaking shouldn't ever need this level of accuracy).

To the original person who asked what 'on the fly' adjusting is... it's just that when you hear a ticking noise, that you judge from experience to be a slightly mis-aligned rear mech, you can correct this alignment by using the barrel adjuster on the frame. Usually it's about a quarter turn anti-clockwise, which effectively lengthens the cable-housing a tiny amount, to compensate for cable stretch... although, the cause is more often attributable to slightly sloppy wrenching on the workstand.

In any case, in the current world of 9 and 10 sprockets and narrow chains, mechs seem to go out of alignment when the wind changes... so these things are useful. If you haven't got them, don't fret, the mechanic probably judged that they don't fit your frame. Use the adjuster at the mech whenever you stop, instead.
Def. Barrel adjusterthe_gormandizer
Jun 22, 2001 9:32 AM
I wanted to explain what I meant, since my terminology might not be accurate. When the BS built up an identical bike to mine, they included an "in-line" barrel adjuster plus a short (maybe 4") cable housing between the STI levers and the original housing. The barrel adjuster is at the location where the original cable housing meets the additional cable housing. They did not fit the aluminum adjusters that came with the group because the Cannondale frame cannot accommodate them --- although I did see other Cannondales with the adjuster on the downtube in the store. So my question was whether I should be concerned about not having the adjusters, since I could ask them to put them on. The fact that I have ridden 500 miles and not missed them might just be due to my lack of experience.
don't worry about itJack S
Jun 22, 2001 10:28 AM
you'll never need it for the front and rear adjustments- if ever needed- can be done using the adjuster on the mech itself
re: In-line derailleur cable adjustersgrz mnky
Jun 22, 2001 12:06 PM
Get the barrel adjusters installed and save some serious frustration. You can't easily dial in the front der. since there is no second adjustment, nor can you dial in the rear while riding. When you set the CAAD 4 cables up use the opposite side boss on the down tube and then cross the cables under the down tube on their way to the BB (use the little rubber rings to avoid scuffing the paint). This keeps the barrel adjusters from contacting the head tube and wearing off the paint. I did this on my buddies new CAAD 4 that I built for him - so far it works great.

You could go with the normal routing and use the little clear plastic discs to prevent the paint from getting worn off.
re: In-line derailleur cable adjustersthe_gormandizer
Jun 22, 2001 2:38 PM
So it sounds like you installed the barrel adjusters closer to the down-tube braze-ons. From what I saw, the BS put them near the shift levers so the barrels are in plain sight in front of the handlebars. Your method sounds a bit more aesthetically pleasing.
re: In-line derailleur cable adjustersgrz mnky
Jun 22, 2001 4:21 PM
Yes, I've seen it done both ways, but personally I like the looks and it's more in line with other types of adjusters. Dunno, but I think it's easier to drop your hand/arm down into a relaxed position and make the adjustment than it is to fiddle with something up around the brake lever and risk an unintentional steering input.
re: In-line derailleur cable adjustersblb
Jun 23, 2001 11:26 AM
I agree with Jack S. Come-on, once they are set, adjustment is rarely needed, if you need frequent on the road adjustments you have problems with your equipment.