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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    251

    Help me diagnose my RD problem (with bonus LBS "Little Woman" rant!)

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    Hubby and I both have SRAM Apex on our bikes (Ruby for me, Roubaix for him).

    I brought my bike in because the rear shifter was "catching" when I geared down - it would sort of hang there and I'd have to shove it all the way in (braking also seems to help, but not if I'm not wanting to brake) for it to snap back into place so I could use it to gear up or down (that make sense at all?). It's also skipping when I gear down - no real problems gearing up.

    LBS adjusted (after I pointed out that YES THERE REALLY WAS A PROBLEM) the cable (I think??) from the shifter, and after a couple of tries, the catching thing is gone. But it still skips gears going down, and the wrench at the bike shop seemed to think that the only thing to do was to replace the shifter. I brought it home and adjusted the tension with the barrel to see if that would help, and I've gone from skipping two cogs to only skipping one - so it's a little better.

    Any ideas on what's happening with my bike? I read something about cable friction - is that it? Is it something I can fix? Or does SRAM just suck (I'm quickly leaning this direction)? DH has had the skipping problem as well, exactly where I have it.

    [rant]

    My "I want to learn more" rant - I am not an idiot. I'm actually somewhat mechanically inclined. I'm just a little chicken to go messing with the bike and potentially break something. Has anyone learned how to wrench their own bike without breaking anything in the process, and if so, any advice for me? YouTube only takes you so far, because most videos assume that you know more than you might actually know about how things work.

    The bonus "Little Woman" rant - WHY, oh WHY, must every wrench in a bike shop assume that I am an idiot who does not know how to operate my bike??? I think this condescending idiot finally realized that I was getting a little impatient with his tone, but first he started to ask me if the bike had fallen because of where the hoods were (no, my fitter put them there for my comfort). Without asking, he changed the position of the hoods to where he thought they were supposed to be, and had to change them back when I told him that the fitter had put them there. He couldn't understand what I was bringing the bike in for, and had me go out with it to try to recreate the problem. I geared down three times, which because of the skipping, put the chain in the granny gear in back (I had it on the big ring in front). I got a lecture about power and why where it was was bad (I know that, I was just trying to recreate the problem as requested, and it's actually all the way up there BECAUSE THE CHAIN IS SKIPPING, which he didn't seem to see!). I guess he was looking at the derailleur action, rather than where the chain was?

    There was another guy who managed to fix the catching problem, and he was much less condescending. But seriously, would you say these things to a guy?

    [/rant]
    "Susie" - 2012 Specialized Ruby Apex, not pink/Selle SMP Lite 209

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Houston
    Posts
    1,352
    No good advice here. Sram is good on mountain bikes However, I'd shoot myself in the foot before I ever had Avid brakes again. I'm also very happy with our wrench. He's very good to us.

    If I were you I'd be tempted to find you a new one.
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    northern Virginia
    Posts
    5,856
    I have SRAM Rival on my road bike and have no problems with it. I have no experience with Apex, don't know where it fits on the quality continuum for SRAM.

    I have had experience with Shimano Tiagra and Ultegra RDs. The Tiagra needed frequent adjustments. The Ultegra was great, never caused any problems.

    If I were you I would try to find a new LBS. I am not treated that way by anyone at my LBS. If I were, I would call the owner and tell him, because that is not the standard of service that he expects from the people he employs.

    p.s. One thing I have noticed with my current bike -- my handlebar bag sometimes hits the barrel adjusters for the derailleurs, and this can lead to shifting problems and require more frequent adjustments. When I am careful to make sure the bag stays clear of the adjusters, I have fewer problems.

    - Gray Trek Madone 4.7 road bike, mystery crack in top tube repaired by Calfee, Bontrager Affinity RXL saddle
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    6,478
    Problems with SRAM Force, never an issue with Shimano 105, on two different bikes.

    Shrug.
    So long as the wheels are still turning, life is good.

    Battswebb

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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    251
    Quote Originally Posted by Muirenn View Post
    Problems with SRAM Force, never an issue with Shimano 105, on two different bikes.

    Shrug.
    What kind of problems did you have?
    "Susie" - 2012 Specialized Ruby Apex, not pink/Selle SMP Lite 209

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Columbia River Gorge
    Posts
    3,583
    I have definitely had way more problems with cable drag leading to shifting issues on SRAM than on Shimano. Especially on my cross bike where I tend to get mud and grit into the cable housings. Regular maintenance helps. This video demonstrates the technique on a mtn bike, but it works the same on a road bike.

    Try that, it may make a huge difference. And I'd say, making this procedure part of regular maintenance, especially after wet rides, will help save your SRAM system from failure. I've managed to break two shifters due to leaving cable drag too long.
    Living life like there's no tomorrow.

    http://gorgebikefitter.com/


    2007 Look Dura Ace
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    2012 Moots YBB 2 x 10 Shimano XTR
    2014 Soma B-Side SS

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    2,559
    Yes, try new cables and housing. Gunk gets in there and then the spring isn't strong enough to shift crisply to a smaller cog. Or you get a crimp in the cable, or the housing starts to fray. Another possibility is a bent RD or derailleur hanger if the bike has fallen on it's right side.
    Oil is good, grease is better.

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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    251
    Quote Originally Posted by Wahine View Post
    I have definitely had way more problems with cable drag leading to shifting issues on SRAM than on Shimano. Especially on my cross bike where I tend to get mud and grit into the cable housings. Regular maintenance helps. This video demonstrates the technique on a mtn bike, but it works the same on a road bike.

    Try that, it may make a huge difference. And I'd say, making this procedure part of regular maintenance, especially after wet rides, will help save your SRAM system from failure. I've managed to break two shifters due to leaving cable drag too long.
    Thank you Wahine! I'll definitely try this. I also found this video which may be useful as well. Opinions anyone? That last step with the grease makes me a little nervous in terms of attracting dirt.

    I'm trying to figure out how to get the cable loose like he did in the video - it didn't look obvious to me on the bike.
    "Susie" - 2012 Specialized Ruby Apex, not pink/Selle SMP Lite 209

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Boise Idaho
    Posts
    1,192
    I would say good bye How much wear is on your chain? How about your cassette cogs? May be replacement time
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  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Columbia River Gorge
    Posts
    3,583
    Quote Originally Posted by luvmyguys View Post
    I'm trying to figure out how to get the cable loose like he did in the video - it didn't look obvious to me on the bike.
    The first part of this video demonstrates the technique really well.
    Living life like there's no tomorrow.

    http://gorgebikefitter.com/


    2007 Look Dura Ace
    2010 Custom Tonic cross with discs, SRAM
    2012 Moots YBB 2 x 10 Shimano XTR
    2014 Soma B-Side SS

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Taylor, MI
    Posts
    220
    Thanks. Great video!!!!

    P2
    2011 Trek Madone 5.2 WSD - Ruby 155
    2009 Trek 2.1 WSD - Ruby 155
    2013 Giant TCX W - Jett 155
    2010 Specialized Amira Comp - Romin 155

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    2,738
    I like the SRAM Rival on my road bike. That said, routing the shifter cables along the handlebar and under the tape the way SRAM and newer Shimano have it does cause more drag. I can really feel it when I ride DH's road bike with Ultegra 6700 with internal shift routing, compared to my Ultegra 6600 with external routing. So no, it's not just you. I would double-check the derailleur hanger like Deb recommended. I also had an odd situation where the RD itself got "stuck" in the wrong position on the hanger. Shifting to the smallest cog, loosening the the RD anchor bolt, and re-tightening it after the RD re-seated itself seemed to fix the issue. Bizarre, I know....

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Maine
    Posts
    983
    First of all, I'm sorry that you weren't treated well at your shop. Perhaps you should let the owner know??

    AS for the problem, I would definitely replace the cables/housing. What I will tell you though is that the read derailleur housing leaving the frame and feeding into the derailleur wears more quickly than any other piece, so replace that OFTEN! NOt only does it affect shifting, it also wears out that rear derailleur quicker as well.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Croatia
    Posts
    115
    Above all else, working as a bike mechanic does not make you an expert. I was fortunate to the point where I learned who the best mechanics in my city were so I have several very reputable mechanics I visit for different issues - one is a master of all skills fork related and one knows everything about fine inner workings of small mechanic such as gearing and hubs. Both are very knowledgeable and pedantic and they have taught me some valuable things along the way.

    Just by going from what I learned, I'd replace the rear der cable+housing if it's been about a year. You don't have to splurge, but don't skimp either. Make sure the cable is not at too narrow angles anywhere as it can make the shifting feel more sluggish. Cable tension is also a thing to look at and it is the first offender in cases of chain rubbing against the derailleur. It can also cause this inconsistent shifting you mention. Finally, another very important factor is the derailleur hanger. They are made of softer material so that they bend or break rather than the derailleur or the frame. However, sometimes they can get bent even without taking a hit, even when new. So I'd definitely have a look at the derailleur hanger before replacing the derailleur.

    I don't think the shifter is at fault and the fact that the dude simply tried to get you to buy a new derailleur + shifter before eliminating these potential causes first certainly does not instill any trust in his expertise on my end. Hope this helps!

 

 

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