How to Adjust Front Derailleur on your Mountain Bike or Road Bike

How to Adjust your Front Derailleur

The front derailleur adjustment sometimes becomes necessary in your bike riding experience. It can be done when performing maintenance or if the chain is grinding against the derailleur. Making these adjustments is an uncomplicated process that requires knowing to adjust front derailleur or front derailleur adjustment properly. You, therefore, don’t have to rush to a bike shop anytime you want this done.

How to Adjust Front Derailleur on your Mountain Bike or Road Bike

 Step by step guide on How to  Adjust Front Derailleur 

I am going to look at two issues, adjust front derailleur to fix shifting problems and fixing it when it’s malfunctioning.

Part 1: Resetting the Derailleur to Fix Front Derailleur Not Shifting

  1. Your first act should be finding out how a properly positioned derailleur looks like. This will give you an impression of the final outlook you should expect.
  2. The aim here is to have the derailleur rest properly above the chains. It should be curved parallel to the chainrings.
  3. If you notice the derailleur rubs against the chain or seems to be entangled in something, stop riding the bike. Turn it over and while pedaling with your hands, shift it up and down. Listen for any clicking, grinding or rubbing sounds.
  4. Check to see that the rear derailleur is functioning properly.
  5. Shift your bike to low gear. This prevents the chain from being stretched diagonally and makes the cable a little loose.
  6. Unwind the cable bolt and then make sure that the derailleur cable is tight. Once the derailleur cable is tightened, retighten the bolt. All this helps to make the derailleur adjustment smooth and easy.
  7. Look for the limit screws. They should be located on top of the derailleur or its sides. They regulate how low and high the derailleur can be modified. To adjust them you will need a screwdriver. These screws will bring the derailleur closer or farther away from the bicycle based on how much you tighten or loosen them.
  8. Adjust your chain so that it is on the smallest ring at the front and in the largest at the back. This will place the chain to the left. Adjust the derailleur.
  9. Ensure the high end of your derailleur is well aligned.
  10. Place the rear derailleur into the middle cog and then peddle the bike and see how well it shifts. If everything is functioning fine, go on and continue with your ecstatic bike rides.

Part 2: Fixing a Malfunctioning Derailleur

  1. If your derailleur is still hitting against your chain or it is bent at an awkward angle, then you may have to reset it. To do so, you will first need to shift to the rings on your far left. This means the smallest ring at the front and the largest at the rear.
  2. Relieve the cable of tension by loosening the barrels. The barrels have adjusters for this purpose. When you are turning the barrel adjusters, ensure you count the number of turns so that you return it to the exact position it was before.
  3. Carefully undo the bolt that holds the derailleur in place.
  4. Unclamp the bolts that hold the derailleur in position at the bike frame just enough to allow you to wiggle and shift the derailleur.
  5. Carefully and keenly place the derailleur in the correct position. Make sure the derailleur is at least 1-3mm above the largest chainring and that the derailleur’s curve aligns with the cog’s curve.
  6. After making all the necessary changes, readjust the derailleur so that it continues running smoothly.

Just following these steps you should get your derailleur fixed in no time. Enjoy your bike riding.




  • Failure to adjust the derailleur properly could lead to the chain falling off or shifting difficulties.
  • Do not rush when handling the cables and other delicate parts or you could cause changes that may be complicated to reverse.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Question: What can I do if my derailleur keeps malfunctioning even after fixing it several times?
Answer: It may be time perhaps you took to the bicycle shop to have it checked. The derailleur could also be extensively damaged and require replacement.

This article is published to help the cyclist who sometimes faces this type of unexpected problem. If you find your solution on adjusting front derailleur from this article then please leave a comment to inspire me on producing more articles like this. Happy Pedaling!

Sources: QuoraBicycle Tutor


Last Updated: 04.10.2018

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