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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    21

    Question Just got my road bike....last week...chain issues...

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    So...I am fairly new to road biking. I have a specialized hardrock WSD and love it, but I am trying to lose weight and get into running and planning to run a 5K in the next few months and I wanted something different...so I bought a road bike and LOVE it. I bought the Specialized Dolce Triple.

    The only problem I have is that the chain sometimes doesn't catch when I change gears...what do I do? Is this normal? Let me know what you think.

    S

    (28.6 pounds down and counting!)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Buffalo, NY
    Posts
    194

    Dolce Elite

    Hello - I lurk often but rarely post anything but here - I have those exact same bikes - from the Specialized Hardrock right to the Dolce. The Dolce seems to come with shifting issues. I had the same problem. My LBS kept fixing it (once they stopped telling me it was all in my head) but it would go back to either losing the chain going from the granny gear up or just not wanting to shift into the highest gear. I finally switched to a compact double and all problems went away (of course). I hope you have better luck than I did.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    NY, NY
    Posts
    397
    Congratulations! It's pretty typical for a new bike to need adjustments at the beginning. I had the same exact experience when I got my road bike a few years ago. Assuming the bike is reasonably lubed and clean, you probably just need a minor adjustment. Take it to the shop where you purchased it and they should take care of it for free. This will be a great opp for you to get to know the mechanics better.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    21

    Smile Thanks...

    Quote Originally Posted by maryellen View Post
    Congratulations! It's pretty typical for a new bike to need adjustments at the beginning. I had the same exact experience when I got my road bike a few years ago. Assuming the bike is reasonably lubed and clean, you probably just need a minor adjustment. Take it to the shop where you purchased it and they should take care of it for free. This will be a great opp for you to get to know the mechanics better.
    That really helps....It also seems that the chain is a tad loose...since I am new to biking...can they tighten the chain? Or does it not work that way?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    NY, NY
    Posts
    397
    Our more mechanically oriented members can chime in here but I think the mechanic might adjust the rear derailleur (the mechanism that "picks" up the chain and moves it when you shift) to address this. A decent mechanic will know exactly what to do.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Uncanny Valley
    Posts
    14,645
    Did you buy the bike new? Did you change the gearing? If the chain and cogs are as they came from the factory, it would be extremely unlikely that the chain is too long. The first illustration on this page shows how to determine whether a chain is too long.

    Is that what you're experiencing? (Note that the mechanic shifts the bike into these gear combinations ONLY to test chain length, and they should not be used in general, because of the stress on your chain; hopefully your LBS explained that to you! )

    If not, why do you think your chain is too long? If by "not catching" you mean the chain is rattling in several gears rather than positively engaging a cog, then you likely need a cable adjustment - as Maryellen said, new cables do stretch and need to be tightened several times over the first few hundred miles. Hopefully your LBS offers a break-in service that includes adjusting all your cables. If you do it yourself or ask a friend to do it, don't neglect your brake cables. If it's rattling only in a lowest or highest gear, or coming off the cog entirely, then the limit screws may not be set correctly.
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    1,260
    Yeah take it to your bike shop, it happened with both my mountain and road bikes when I first had them. I also find that sometimes I have a hard time getting into the big ring in the front if I'm in certain gears in the rear so I need to shift on the right side a gear or two and then shift into the big ring. Probably means it's time for a tune up, but in the middle of a long ride I've got work with it!
    Help me reach my $8,000 goal for the American Lung Association! Riding Seattle to D.C. for clean air! http://larissaridesforcleanair.org
    http://action.lungusa.org/goto/larissapowers

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    21

    Chain

    I wasn't sure if my chain was long...just certain times the chain doesn't catch the so I kind of slip...I AM NOT explaining this well...sorry. It doesn't seem to catch the front chain ring. I will bring it to my LBS and see what she says.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    1,260
    Don't mind her random caps locks people, she has message board tourettes

    She's my real life BFF, and very new to the message board thing.
    Help me reach my $8,000 goal for the American Lung Association! Riding Seattle to D.C. for clean air! http://larissaridesforcleanair.org
    http://action.lungusa.org/goto/larissapowers

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    21
    I Like All Caps! It Fits With My Bubbly Personality. So Not Anger...excitement!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Washington, DC
    Posts
    1,321
    If you mean that you have trouble getting the chain to get into the big ring (but it shifts ok on the rear gears) then there are 2 likely options. One is that the front derailleur cable is too loose. You can tighten it at the barrel adjuster on the downtube by turning it counterclockwise. Try one partial turn (there are knobs on the barrel) at at time. If after a few turns this doesn't fix the problem, then the upper limit needs to be examined. You can look up instructions on the Park Tools website or go to the LBS for an adjustment. Note that often it will shift ok on a stand (at the LBS) but has trouble under load (when you're on it), so it's nice to teach yourself how to do this. Do not loosen (or tighten, but in this case you'd loosen it) the limit more than about 1/8 of a turn at a time.

    Also, cables do not stretch. If they are truly stretching, then they are probably fraying and/or slipping and are about to blow. This happens at the end of cable life, not at the beginning. Symptoms might be repeated spontaneous loss of cable tension. What happens with new cables is that they become more firmly seated in the housing over the first several rides just due to normal tension after installation. If you have persistent problems with "cable stretch" symptoms, then you might want to remove tension from the cable by shifting into the smallest ring and cog and loosening the barrel adjusters and the cable at the pinch bolt, then yank sideways fairly hard on the problem cable where it runs along the underneath of the downtube. Use a fourth hand tool or clamp to re-tighten the cable tension at least most of the way and then re-index (get proper tightness) using the barrel adjusters.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Limbo
    Posts
    8,783
    Another possible reason is you may not be throwing the shift lever over far enough.
    Do you have any problems with reaching the levers?
    2008 Trek FX 7.2/Terry Cite X
    2009 Jamis Aurora/Brooks B-68
    2010 Trek FX 7.6 WSD/stock bontrager

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Washington, DC
    Posts
    1,321
    hmm... or is it that there's a lag dropping into a smaller chainring? That might feel more like a slip. That could be too tight of a cable, a lower limit on the FD that's not set right, or you're shifting from the wrong rear gear (too high on the cassette towards big cogs will mean that there's a huge drop in chain tension such that the shift may not feel smooth or you can drop the chain...too low on the cassette towards the small cogs means that the FD has a hard time pushing the chain to the smaller ring and so the shift is sluggish).

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    St. Louis, MO
    Posts
    1,061
    My new bike came with a free tune-up. Call ahead. If you stop by when they are not busy, they will be more patient and willing to answer all your questions.
    "Well-behaved women seldom make history." --Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

    '09 Trek WSD 2.1 with a Brooks B-68 saddle
    '11 Trek WSD Madone 5.2 with Brooks B-17

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    London, UK
    Posts
    105
    A couple of things spring to mind. I am thinking that the issue is that the chain doesn't climb smoothly/quickly onto the large chainring at the front? if that is the case - read on, if not - please ignore.

    Firstly, don't gently stroke the paddle to change up. Make it a fairly brusque and definite change and at the same time ease off some but not all of the pressure on the pedals.

    If that doesn't help then it's likely the cable is a little loose - or that the upper end stop screw has been set a bit conservatively. It's very easy to start messing around with cable tensions/end stops & get into a right mess. If you are fairly mechanical I would ask the mechanic at the shop to show you how it works (buying the small Park Tools book is also an excellent idea).

    Finally, I'm afraid triples don't shift up front as smoothly as compact doubles do. And compact doubles don't shift as well as racing doubles. But you do get the benefit of a really wide range of gears (esp. very low gears). I would suggest you get very adept at both adjusting it & doing good positive changes. Much longer term a compact double is easier (& a little lighter) - but the shop should be able to make the triple work reliably if not perfectly crisply.

    Good luck.

 

 

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