How to Adjust Your Derailleur: Part Two
Step 5: Adjust the H Screw
The H screw is designed to limit how far the chain can be shifted on the highest (or smallest) gear. To adjust this screw, there should be no tension in the derailleur cable. If you feel tension, then loosen the cable adjuster until there is none. You may need to use the alan wrench to loosen the cable bolt if the cable adjuster does not relieve all the tension. As with the other limiting screws, use only quarter turns to adjust the H screw.
With the chain on the highest gear, get behind your bike and observe how the chain sits on the smallest gear while turning the pedals. The chain should be perfectly centered on the gear. If it looks like it is going to ride off into the axle, tighten the H screw clockwise. If it looks like it is rubbing against the other gears, tighten the H screw counter clockwise.
Continue adjusting until the chain is perfectly centered on the smallest gear. Then, retighten the derailleur cable using the cable adjuster or cable bolt.
Step 6: Adjust cable tension
Now you will use the cable adjuster to add and release tension in the cable to fine tune your derailleur. While turning the pedals, shift the chain up and down the gears. From behind your bike, examine the way the chain sits on each gear. The chain should be perfectly centered on each gear. If it looks like it is rubbing on a bigger gear, decrease tension in the cable by turning the adjuster clockwise. If the chain looks like it wants to fall off onto a smaller gear, increase tension in the cable by turning the adjuster counter clockwise. Continue adjusting and shifting around on the gears until the chain is centered on each gear.
Step 7: Add lubricant and go for a bike ride
Add a few drops of bicycle lubricant to the cogs and hinges of your derailleur. Make sure to use a real bicycle lubricant, not WD40! WD40 is not good for your bicycle. Use a rag to wipe away excess lubricant.
Now that your bicycle’s rear derailleur is fully adjusted, go enjoy the fruits of your labor with a long, relaxing bike ride.
Here are some great resources for learning more about your bicycle.
- Here is a slightly more in depth article on adjusting your rear derailleur by Utah Mountain Cycling
- If you want to see a well made video describing derailleur adjustment, you could do a lot worse than this video from BicycleTutor.com
- BikeWebsite.com has a lot of good information on general and specific bits of bicycle maintenance.
- Looking for a great cycling adventure in Portand? I recomend you start here.