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I recently bought a bike for the first time in 10 years and after riding it for a couple of days the rear derailleur curled up like an insect ready to die. Is there any way I could fix that or am I gonna need a new shifter?

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2  
It sounds like you just got both derailers on the smallest cogs. This causes the rear cage to fold up, trying to keep the chain taut. –  Daniel R Hicks Apr 28 '13 at 13:03
    
Is this a new bike or a used bike? I don't normally say this, but I think a trip to your local bike shop will provide you with some much needed pointers to get you back in the game. It might be that you're not using correctly as Daniel suggested, or it may be any number of things depending on how old the bike is. –  hillsons Apr 28 '13 at 17:55
    
when you have the chain on both largest cogs if the dérailleur is still too far back the chain is just too long –  ratchet freak Apr 28 '13 at 21:37
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Have you got a photo? The description could be anything from just needs your chain length adjusting a bit and/or learning which gear combinations to use to being totally broken. (With intermediate "can be unjammed if you are careful, then adjust/learn so it doesn't do it again".) –  armb May 2 '13 at 15:26
    
I bet you just have to adjust the chain length to be the right size. –  Chris Belsole May 21 '13 at 20:03

1 Answer 1

If the derailleur still shifts normally, you may have nothing to worry about. It sounds like it could be a few things:

  • Does your rear wheel sit in a dropout, or is the length of the wheelbase adjustable front to back? If it's adjustable, it's possible that the wheel skewer bolt got loose and allowed the rear wheel to slide forward, causing excessive slack in the chain.

  • Your chain somehow stretched dramatically

  • The spring in your derailleur is shot

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