I recently bought a new bike off of BikesDirect.


However, no matter what I do, I can't seem to get the front derailleur to do anything. The bike came in on the smallest cog, and no matter what I do, I can't shift it to even the middle one. I've tried changing the tension, changing the limit screws, etc. but I can't get it to move the chain. The derailleur itself moves when I shift, but it doesn't seem to move enough. It doesn't even come close to getting to the largest cog. I've watched countless videos and I'm out of ideas, so I was hoping if anyone could give me any suggestions.

Also, I find it weird that for my rear gears, whenever I shift either using the lever or the thumb button, it takes me one gear up or down depending on what I press. But for the front derailleur, the lever can shift it one at a time but the thumb button always shifts it all the way back to the smallest cog not going through the middle (and is very stiff). I was wondering if this was normal?

The bike is brand new so I don't think it has any mud or dirt stuck inside, and I've tried my best to align the derailleur cage parallel to the chain and the derailleur slightly above the largest cog.

Thanks for any help.

  • 2
    Just out of curiosity, is the "Pro-Set alignment tool" perhaps still installed in the derailer? Dec 1, 2012 at 23:55

3 Answers 3


Have you looked at the instructions for the derailleur? If not, it might help.

If the bike is a recent purchase, have you contacted BD? I'm not sure they will be able to help (how recent is a "recent purchase?"), but you have nothing to lose.

Your other alternative would be to go with the bike to a local bike shop, and let them repair it. It won't be free, in all likelihood, but you'll get results.


It sounds like the height of the front derailleur may be too low. It may not be picking the chain up high enough to get onto the large chainring. You need about three millimeters of clearance above the big chainring when the derailleur is trying to bring the chain over and lift it onto the large chain ring. The derailleur itself would need to be loosened on the seat tube and raised slightly. Also make sure the front derailleur is parallel with the chain. Here is a link that shows good photos of the front derailleur adjustment process, and how to measure the clearance needed to get onto the larger chainring. Hope this may help you.



If it's very stiff to shift I recommend lubricating it with some grease.

If using the gear cable does cause the dérailleur to move but not enough to shift the gears it's most likely a case of 'wrong tension', either too much or not enough.

  1. Take the appropriate hex key and free the gear cable to the front
  2. then 'shift' the front gears down to the lowest gear (if you have a road bike with drop bar compliant shifters, this will most probably be the little 'button' to the right of the shifter, on the left side of the handlebar)
  3. now manually push the dérailleur over hand (the big hunk of metal on a spring which the chain feeds through) so that it is lined up above the smallest cog on the front gears
  4. holding the dérailleur in position, tighten up the gear cable again.

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