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The derailer on my 21-speed bike looks like it's bent. It won't let the chain go onto the 3rd ring of the front derailer so, no I can't shift past the 14th speed. If I try it makes a loud sound, like it's about to rip apart the whole bike.

I am not sure whether the cable is loose or tight, but the derailer does looks bent. How can I fix or adjust this?

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Take it to a bike shop. Somethings out of alignment. – JohnP Aug 16 '12 at 17:28
If you want to try to adjust it, see either Sheldon Brown's site or the Park Tool site. Both have fairly extensive info on derailer adjustment. But if they look like Greek to you, take the bike to your local bike shop. – Daniel R Hicks Aug 16 '12 at 19:10
Out of curiosity, are people downvoting for the lack of research effort or the run-on sentences? – Neil Fein Aug 17 '12 at 3:25
Is it your front derailleur or the rear that's bent? If the rear derailleur, is the derailleur itself bent or the derailleur hanger (the portion of your rear dropout to which the derailleur attacks)? – Mike Samuel Aug 17 '12 at 16:05
@MikeSamuel -- If 1/3rd of his gears are "missing" then it's almost certainly the front derailer (which is a perfectly legit American spelling). And all 3-ring front derailers look bent to the naive observer. – Daniel R Hicks Aug 17 '12 at 19:57

If your derailleur looks bent, then it's probably bent. Take it to a bike shop.

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Actually, all front derailers look like they're bent. If you can't figure out the above-referenced web sites, and don't have a buddy that knows bikes, then likely a few minutes at a bike shop will fix it.

We'd attempt to tell you what to do here, but you first need to learn the terminology enough to describe the problem to us.

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