50. How To Install a Front Derailleur

Removal and installation of a standard clamp-on front derailleur.

IMPORTANT: Nuts and bolts on your bike should always be tightened to the manufacturer's specifications.
How To Install a Front Derailleur
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Today we'll learn how to replace a standard band-type clamp-on front derailleur. We'll cover the E-Type bottom bracket mounted derailleurs in a future tutorial.


For this job you'll need a 5mm hex key for the derailleur's mounting bolt, and a phillips(+) screwdriver to adjust the derailleur's limit screws and remove the derailleur cage bolt. If you are removing the chain you may need a chain tool depending on your type of chain. You’ll also need wire cutters and either a 9 or 10mm metric open end wrench or a 5 or 6mm hex key to remove and install the front shift cable.

Front Derailleur Removal

The first step is to shift your chain onto the smallest front chainring. Then pull off the shift cable's end cap and loosen the cable pinch bolt. Remove the cable from the derailleur.

Now you'll need to remove the chain from the derailleur. Some chains have a special connector pin that need replacing if removed, so if you don't need to remove the chain for cleaning or replacement you can simply undo the derailleur cage's tail screw and flex the cage open to release the chain. Rest the chain on the bottom bracket shell to keep it out of the way.

If you are removing the chain, disconnect a link and pull the chain through the derailleur cage. Now you can undo the derailleur's mounting bolt all the way counter clockwise to remove the derailleur from the frame.

Front Derailleur Installation

Before installing the new front derailleur, apply some waterproof grease to the mounting bolt. Then place the clamp around the frame and tighten the mounting bolt just enough to keep it in place. At this point you still need to be able to move it by hand.

Now adjust the derailleur's height and angle. For height adjustment, the bottom edge of the outside derailleur cage should sit approximately 2mm above the top of the teeth on the largest chainring. For the angle adjustment, rotate the derailleur until the cage is parallel with your chainrings. Then fully tighten the clamp's mounting bolt.

If your chain is still on the bike, undo the tail screw on the derailleur cage and flex the cage to pull the chain through. Then re-install and tighten the tail screw again. If you have removed the chain, re-route the chain through the derailleur cage and reconnect it. Search the site for tutorials on how to use a chain tool or a quick release chain link.

Front Derailleur Set-up

Now preset the low-limit (L) screw so the small chainring appears halfway between the derailleur cage when viewed from above.

Thread the shift cable back into the derailleur, pull it tight and tighten the anchor bolt so the cable flattens. Then find a bare stretch of cable and give it a good pull to make sure the cable is seated and has no slack. Then loosen the cable, pull it tight again and re-tighten it.

Now you're ready to adjust the front derailleur as shown in previous tutorials. If necessary, trim the cable so there is about 2 inches remaining. Then slide on a cable end cap and crimp it in place.


Discuss this topic in the Derailleur Forums

09/18 Campagnolo shifter help

I inherited a bike with an Eddy Merckx frame about a year ago.  The bike has some Campagnolo components, including rear shifters which have an issue.  I'd rather repair the shifter than replace it because the bike as some sentimental value, and the longer I can go without replacing parts the better.

The thumb shifter usually locks when I try to shift, but if I hold the brake lever over to the right with my index finger the thumb shifter functions again.  My mechanic told me that a spring in the shifter needs to be replaced and that it can be hard to identify a compatible sprin... Read more >>

09/08 Tightening SL-M570 Thumb Lever

I have a Shimano Deore SL-M570 shifter (circa '00) that has a lot of up and down play in the thumb lever for the front derailer. Unless I press the thumb lever upward toward the body of the shifter, the loose condition causes it to miss the pawl to shift from the second to the third chain ring. If I open up the bottom cover on the shifter, it would appear that it can be tightened by the hex bolt that is visible, but there is a small metal plate underneath it, with two tabs that stick up on two sides of the bolt, apparently preventing it from turning ( Read more >>

09/07 Grip Shifter Replacement

Let's start off by saying I'm not mechanically inclined but like to fix on my own when able. I have, I'm guessing, a 15-20 year old 15 (3x5) speed Magna Outreach and the right 5 speed grip shifter (SRAM MRX 170-51) is broken internally and apparently 5 speed shifters are rare nowadays. My question is, will any shifter do or does it have to be compatible with the rear derailleur? I currently have a Shimano SIS rear derailleur. The reason I ask is, the old shifter has gear 1 almost 180 degrees away from gear 5. On the only 5 speed SRAM grip shifter I can find on the internet (SRAM MRX Comp), ... Read more >>

09/06 Chain Coming off Randomly / Front Derailleur

HI Guys,.. Got a real nice Trek 7.4 from craigslist the other day and the bike does ride like a dream... at least from what I'm used to (Wal-mart!)... But it does seem to have a gremlin that I can't figure out.  The chain will randomly come off the front gear set to the inside.  I've checked the inner limit setting and it's set so that there's just barely  any clearance between the chain and the derailleur when both front and back gears are set to the lowest gear.  It won't do it everytime,.. I don't see how it's even coming off, but it's happened 3 times in 2 days and it's driving me nuts... Read more >>

09/06 Rethreading chain - after derailleur dismantling (is it necessary to break the chain?

Novice question probably - so please be kind Smile

Unable to shift to small cogs on rear derailleur...so, I decided to do some cleaning of the derailleur as it was all gunked up. All good so far (except the shifter at the front still seems to be clicking to nothing - so perhaps I need to investigate the chain tension) but I've now created another problem with the chain.

Having dismantled the pulley and jockey wheel and cleaned them, and removing the chain... Read more >>

08/26 Blocked front derailleur?

I just changed the Altus lever (ST CT-15) on a mountain bike that had been sitting in my basement for a while.
Using the lever, I can't have the front derailleur move up or down (left or right) for an unknown rea... Read more >>

08/08 A Front Derailleur mounting and matching problem.


I have a Scott Sub (hybrid) from 2008. The stock components (mostly Shimano mountain bike components) were old and wearing out so i decided to strip the bike and replace pretty much everything with new and upgraded components. I decided to change the drive train to road bike components (a 10-speed rear cassette and a two-chainring set up front) and went about purchasing them.

Put everything on with the last major part being the front derailleur and it was here I ran into a problem. I’d bought a Tiagra front derailleur, FD-4600-B, and when it came to attachin... Read more >>

08/05 Shifter wont click

I have a 2012 Sram Red Groupset. I was replacing the cable for the front derailleur yesterday and i must have done something because now its fucked. Now when I put the cable in and attach it to the front derailleur it will not click into the correct position. The front derailleur will still move up onto the larger ring but after I take my finger off the lever it goes back into the smaller ring. Does anybody have any experience with this? what happened? adn how do I fix this?... Read more >>

08/02 What would you use to replace a Suntour alpha 3000 rear derailleur?

I'm quite attached to an old Mongoose "Hilltopper" mountain bike. It's perfect for it's role taking me back and forth to the metro station. Sturdy, comfortable, and not likely to be stolen.

Unfortunately, the Suntour alpha 3000 6-speed rear derailleur is toast. Is there anything I can buy that will replace it?

eab...

07/29 Derailers and Shifters - Adjustment help needed

Hello. I'm new to this message board - thanks for reading this.
I'm almost at my witts end with adjusting my wife's mountain bike. It's about 15 years old, Specialized brand 21 speed. Original Shimano shifters seem to be locked up - I've read that the grease hardens over the years. I tried loosening them up with Brake Clean spray, but to no avail.

I found a new pair of Shimano Shifters online (Amazon Prime) with very good reviews, so I decided to completely replace the ones that were on the bike.

The installation was easy, but adjusting the shifters - front ... Read more >>

07/24 Not sure what my problem is!

The other day I bought a mountain bike secondhand and have been researching it's problems trying you find the best solution. I managed to reattach the rear brakes after the cable had come out of a couple holders on the frame. I put air in the tires and took it for a test run only to find that the gears, which I fully expected to give me trouble, not only don't work so great, they actually won't shift at all. Both shifters (twist shifters built into both handles) click when turned, and visibly affect the cable tension, which does seem loose to me (though I know nothing about bikes). I used the ... Read more >>

07/24 Front derailleur adjustment

Hi guys,

I've followed these instructions
to adjust the front derailleur on a 90's MTB with 400LX components and I think I've done things right, but the chain keeps jumping directly from the outer chainring to the inner one.

Any hint?
Thanks...

07/06 Ultegra 11 speed right hand shifter

My 11 speed has become an 8 speed. Thought maybe cable slipped/stretched/frayed. Nope. Limit screws are right. It wont hit the final 3 smaller gears. Physically pulled the cable and it would track down the final 3. Tightened the cable anchor. Got it to shift to the bottom but woudnt shift to the top three gears. Removed the cable from the anchor and pulled it. Started working the shifter while holding tension on the cable. Im only getting 8 detents from the shifter.

What happened to my shifter?

Thanks for the help in advance...

06/28 Switching from Racing Shifters to Thumb Shifters!

Hi Guys!
I want to swap the racing handlebar brakes/gear shifters for normal v brake levers and thumb shifters - however the only affordable shifters I can find are for 21 speed (3x7) and my bike is only 14 speed (2x7). Can I set it up so that both the 2 and 3 on the left (front hub) shifter just cause it to be in 2 (because there is no 3rd gear on front)???
Hope I phrased it in an understandable way! its hard to write it out without pointing at stuff Smile... Read more >>

05/26 Derailleur locked up



I wonder if anyone can help with an issue I'm having with my rear derailleur.

I'm not really sure how to describe this but you can see here http://tinypic.com/r/2cwogbb/8 (direct images not working...). Basically when changing gears, the mech (which has recently been professionally fitted) locked up in the stretched out position and now I can't get it back. It has happened a few times before and released itself, but no joy this time.

Sorry if this is discussed el...

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