Saturday, October 18, 2008

Q&A: Carbon Bike Shifting Issues

Q: Hello Jim - I recently upgraded from my old faithful steel road bike to a modern full-carbon one. I love the light weight, the ride, the performance and the beautiful sculpted frame. But, no matter what I try, I can't get the drivetrain and shifting to work as well as my old bike. I've tried all the adjustments and even had my bike shop work on the bike. It's not that it's awful. It does hit all the gears, but it's noisy no matter how I set the adjustment barrel. And, I think it shifts a little slower, too. I'd really like the drivetrain and shifting to be as flawless as the rest of the bike. Can you help?

Wheels Manufacturing derailleur hangers
A: I think so, Matt. The issue is most likely the replaceable derailleur hanger on the back of the frame. Most modern carbon wonder bikes are made in China and for some reason they tend to use flimsy aluminum rear derailleur hangers. Since the hanger is what joins the derailleur to the frame and holds it aligned, you can see how one that flexed or was easily bent, could become the Achilles heel of a drivetrain and cause noise and balky shifting. What I recommend is replacing it with one made by the company Wheels Manufacturing. As shown above, they stock an excellent selection for just about any frame out there and they're not overly expensive. Wheels Mfg doesn't sell directly to consumers, however, so you need to order your dropout from your local bicycle shop or online from I made this upgrade to my Cervelo and am glad I did.

Good rides,

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