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Noob Help: I can't find out how to adjust my derailleurs?

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Noob Help: I can't find out how to adjust my derailleurs?

Old 02-22-21, 04:10 PM
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Jacques Derrida
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Noob Help: I can't find out how to adjust my derailleurs?

I recently bought a mail-order bike which is *basically* set up except that all the adjustments are wrong and probably whacked out by the postage. The chain sounds like it is opening the gates to Mordor.

I want to know how to set the bike up so it sounds like clockwork; except I can't because all the manuals and YouTube videos I've looked at don't really help with my bike (Which is a Kona Sutra; with MICROshift bar-end shifters; Shimano Deore setup.) The derailleurs seem so different from all the guides I have read. For example, there is not a Barrel Adjuster for indexing. There is the H/L adjustment for front and back, which I have got perfect, but everything is janky still: gear change is more 'ka-thunk-ratata-chunkᶜʰᶦᶜᵏᶜʰᶦᶜᵏᶜʰᶦᶜᵏᶜʰᶦᶜᵏ' rather than 'click.'

Do you know if there are any good resources for me to learn about this assemblage? I am very willing to read and learn to be able to service my own bike, but I am lost for where to look.

Any help would be enormously appreciated.
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Old 02-22-21, 04:16 PM
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If there isnít a BA at the derailer, there should be one at the shifter. Failing that, there should be an inline adjuster smack in the middle of the cable casing somewhere.
I canít imagine a bike like that sold w/o adjustment ability.
If you know what a barrel adjuster looks like, you should be able to find it. They all work pretty much the same anyhow. Once Youíve found your BA, proceed according to the videos.
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Old 02-22-21, 04:22 PM
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Should also check derailleur alignment if the bike did in fact get whacked in shipment. There are ways to do it on the cheap if you search, although I've only done it with a dedicated hanger alignment gauge tool.
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Old 02-22-21, 04:22 PM
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Russ Roth
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Some of the new rear ders lack adjustment barrels but in those situations there should have been one installed in-line in the housing somewhere near the handlebars. If it isn't there you'll need to install one, getting a rear der adjusted without some form of adjustment barrel is extremely difficult. You might want to start by seeing if the hanger is straight, I find when you put it in a gear in which the pulley are vertical you can stand back and see if it is close to straight or not, if it looks virtually straight it is probably close enough, if the pulleys look like they skew towards the wheel it is probably bent and needs to be straightened. This is the most typical bend due to shipping. Once the H/L screws are right I put the chain on the #2 cog and adjust the cable so the chain comes off the der with the same gap between the side of the chain and cog as the gap at the back and top of the cog; basically the chain off the der should run parallel with the #1 cog all the way around. If it does that then it'll shift smoothly up and down the range through all the gears with only a tiny tweak to get it perfect. If it runs parallel on that cog and doesn't shift perfect up and down the range then usually there's a kink in the cable somewhere that's the issue. But these are the trouble shooting steps I use.
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Old 02-22-21, 04:28 PM
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These videos helped me last year:
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Old 02-22-21, 04:37 PM
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It makes sense that the front derailleur would lack a barrel adjuster. It's a bar-end friction shifter: you just move the shifter as much as necessary whenever you shift.

The rear ought to have a barrel adjuster somewhere, though. Kona's marketing images for the Sutra show an inline barrel adjuster on the rear shift housing, between where it exits the handlebar tape and where it connects to the downtube.
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Old 02-22-21, 04:53 PM
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Originally Posted by surak View Post
Should also check derailleur alignment if the bike did in fact get whacked in shipment. There are ways to do it on the cheap if you search, although I've only done it with a dedicated hanger alignment gauge tool.
After you find the barrel adjuster for the RD and get both derailleurs adjusted, if you are still having problems then the culprit may be a bent derailleur hanger. This could have happened during shipping -- but also, some new bikes come with bent hangers. Shouldn't happen, but it does.

If you suspect the der hanger is misaligned, best to take it to a shop; any shop will have the dedicated tool and know how to use it. It won't cost you much money.

And let me add this: thank you for a very reasonable first post. I appreciate that you asked to be pointed toward the right resources, rather than pretending that they don't exist and expecting people here to walk you through the whole thing. And though you'll get good responses here, we also have a subforum for Bike Mechanics, which will be useful if you have any more issues.

Welcome to BF!
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Old 02-22-21, 06:26 PM
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You were lucky to find a Sutra. I heard they were sold out everywhere.
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Old 02-24-21, 09:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Jacques Derrida View Post
Any help would be enormously appreciated.
Where are you located. Maybe we can refer you to a bicycle coop local to you so that they can show you how to check derailleur (hanger) alignment and how to start the adjustment from slack or disconnected cables onward. Barring damage from misalignment, this will be straightforward.
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Old 02-24-21, 09:49 PM
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Bikes are almost never adjusted before they hit the box. Just FYI, online bikes can be some of the worst offenders but most bikes need adjustment of most things on it. It is not a postal thing.

For rear derailleurs you want to make sure you have checked your hanger first and make sure that isn't damaged (which could be postal) and then of course make sure the cable tension is correct and then adjust high and low gears. The Park Tool videos are excellent Truman and Calvin are excellent at what they do.

For front derailleurs make sure the derailleur is aligned properly with the chainrings and then same thing with the rear derailleur (minus the hanger).

If you are adjusting derailleurs make sure you are using the proper screwdriver. Phillips head and JIS are somewhat similar but only one is actually used on Shimano and other derailleurs and that is JIS. If you are having to adjust derailleurs a bunch stripping a screw will suck plus JIS works better in most cross head screws anyway including a lot of Phillips head screws.
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Old 02-25-21, 12:54 PM
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Originally Posted by veganbikes View Post
For rear derailleurs you want to make sure you have checked your hanger first and make sure that isn't damaged (which could be postal) and then of course make sure the cable tension is correct and then adjust high and low gears...
Um, no. Here, I'll fix it for you:
For rear derailleurs you want to make sure you have checked your hanger first and make sure that isn't damaged (which could be postal) and then of course make sure the cable tension is slack or fully disconnected and then adjust high and low limit screws to properly set the derailleur travel.QUOTE]

Originally Posted by veganbikes View Post
If you are adjusting derailleurs make sure you are using the proper screwdriver. Phillips head and JIS are somewhat similar but only one is actually used on Shimano and other derailleurs and that is JIS. If you are having to adjust derailleurs a bunch stripping a screw will suck plus JIS works better in most cross head screws anyway including a lot of Phillips head screws.
^ this is 100% correct, here.
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Old 02-26-21, 08:10 AM
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Since you didn't support your LBS with your purchase, take your bike to your LBS, tell them you bought the bike on-line, and kindly ask them to show you how to adjust your ders. It will be money well spent, and, you'll be supporting your LBS. Additionally, if you are not competent to thoroughly check every part of your bike to proper adjustment, please also ask your LBS to thoroughly go over your bike for safety. Again, money well spent.
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Old 02-26-21, 10:03 AM
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^ I agree with this. Unless you have a derailleur mount alignment tool, you won't be able to eliminate this primary error source. Take the bike to a pro. Again, where do you live?
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