How to Adjust a Derailleur

Introduction: How to Adjust a Derailleur

Here is a quick and simple tutorial on how to adjust the derailleur on your bike. Though it may seem daunting to some, this is a surprisingly easy task and can be mastered with minimal effort.

You will need:

A bike

A stand, trainer or other means of lifting the rear wheel

A small Phillips or regular screwdriver

An Alan wrench (optional)

Step 1: Find Your Limits

On the back of your derailleur you will find two screws. One labeled "H" for "high" and the other "L" for "low". These may be reversed from the ones you see in this diagram.

Step 2: Release Your Low Limit

Release the "low" limit so about 4 threads are out. Shift down all the way. Then, using the chain tensioner knob and/or and Alan wrench, tension the chain until it is directly in line with the lowest gear. Once this is finished, simply screw in your "low" limit until the chain starts to move. This will be very subtle, so be aware. Once you see the chain move, back out the "low" limit screw one half of a turn.

Step 3: Shift All the Way Up

Release your "high" limit until about 4 threads are showing. Shift all the way up. Release some of the tension on the cable with the help of the tensioner or an alan wrench (if need be). Make sure the chain is lined up with your highest gear. Now screw in the "high" limit until it moves the chain. Now back it out one half of one turn.

Step 4: Start Shifting!

Start back up at your lowest gear and shift one gear down. If it does so sluggishly, simply release some of the tension in your shifting wire. If it does so eagerly, or "over shifts" tension the wire. Do this until your bike is shifting like new!

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    8 years ago on Introduction

    Nice. I was doing this wrong the whole time. I never knew about the chain tensioner. Thanks!