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Bike is a mid 80s Miyata with early Shimano 105 components. It's a 10 speed, 5 speed cog and 2 chain rings.

I recently had my front derailleur set up again by a good mechanic after it stopped shifting at all. He reinstalled the derailleur to height/angle, adjusted the limits, and installed a new cable. It shifted great for a few days, super fluid and quick. Now it has trouble traveling far enough to reach the larger chain ring and I feel like the shift cable stretched a bit and needs to be re-tensioned.

Is it likely the shift cable needs to be re-tensioned? Or the limits need to be readjusted?

  • There should be a "barrel adjuster" somewhere. – Daniel R Hicks May 29 '15 at 19:10
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Agree with others here - cables stretch only slightly, requiring one or two clicks/half turns of whatever barrel adjuster, either typically next to the headtube, or for the rear also where the cable meets the derailleur body. More than that, implies the cable actually slipped because the nut clamping it at the derailleur wasn't tightened enough. These are not complex issues, and every cyclist should learn how to at least make these basic adjustments, on principle to be more self-reliant, and also to free yourself from constant, costly, inconvenient trips to the shop. That said, the shop that did all the work should definitely follow up on what appears to be related to their work. Cables can also not be seated fully in the frame points etc. so another possibility exists there.

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If you rode the bike enough over the few days, yes it is likely the cable stretched, this is normal for a new cable. However, if you have only ridden a few miles, it is possible the retainer on the cable was not tightened down properly & the cable has slipped.

I would suggest making certain the screw securing the cable to the derailleur is tight. If it is, adjusting the limit screws will likely be enough to regain full shifting range. If it appears the cable may have slipped, I'd suggest going back to the mechanic & have him re-adjust it.

If you need to adjust the limit screws, reference the Sheldon Brown instructions. It sounds like you may need to adjust the high gear limit more than the low:

"The high-gear limit stop is pretty straightforward. It should be set so that the chain almost rubs on the outside plate of the front derailer cage when the bicycle is in its highest gear (large front/small rear). This will reduce the need for trimming as you shift the rear derailer."

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    Usually the limit screws do not need adjustment. They have nothing to do with the cable tension. A few careful half-turns on the barrel adjusters should do the trick. But yes, after some hours on the bike, new cables need some adjustment, thats normal. – linac May 29 '15 at 17:39

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