How to align the front and rear speed shifters ?

My chain dropped from the front chain ring, and I put it back on the first gear I found, then the rear one fall off, and I put the chain back on the middle gear of the rear cassette.

So my question is, how do I align the chain on the front and back gears in order to put things back in order ?

  • It's not clear what you mean by then the rear one fell off. But after getting the chain back on the front ring and the rear cogs, the next step is turning the pedals with the rear wheel off the ground. The real question is why did the chain come off in the first place? It seems that the front derailleur needs adjustment, at the least.
    – andy256
    Jun 21, 2015 at 23:12
  • I just remembered, I think I shifted in un indexed speed above 1 in the front shifter it was empty, I don't know why it allowed me in the first place. Jun 22, 2015 at 6:25
  • by the "the rear one fell off" I meant: "the chain also fell off the rear chain rings as well." Jun 22, 2015 at 6:27
  • One thing that would be super helpful with a question like this is to supply details of the bike and your experience working with tools in general and bikes in particular. That would allow us to tailor the response to your situation.
    – dlu
    Jun 29, 2015 at 12:07
  • My favourite videos on the topic are Art's Cyclery videos on adjusting Front and Rear derailleurs in Youtibe.
    – Vorac
    Sep 29, 2015 at 10:02

1 Answer 1


It sounds like your derailer(s), or derailleurs if you prefer, are out of adjustment. Derailers work by guiding the chain from side-to-side to shift gears. They have limit screws that are supposed to stop the movement before the chain comes off, but if the limit screws are misadjusted it will be possible to shift beyond the limits of the chainrings in the front and/or the cogs in the back.

From what you've said it sounds like you can get things back on track (so to speak) by shifting both derailers towards the middle of their range, then put the chain back on – any cog and ring that seem close – and pedal (have somebody hold the rear wheel up when you do this). The chain should settle onto the proper gear. You may hear some noise from the chain as it runs against on or both of the derailers (and may bounce around between gears if you get it just wrong). You should be able to make the front and maybe the rear quite down by making small adjustments. In any case, as long as you are towards the middle, the chain should stay on.

If you find the chain coming off as you shift towards the extremes you'll need to adjust the derailers. Start with the limit screws. Parks has a articles on adjusting the front and rear as does Sheldon Brown. One thing to keep in mind is that rear detailers are also sensitive to the alignment of its hanger.

  • 1
    Yeah, it takes some bit of mechanical skill and know-how, but using the Park Tool and Sheldon Brown web sites, and being patient, it should be possible to properly align your derailers. The main thing is to not try to rush it, but go through the full alignment procedure. Then do it a second time. Jun 29, 2015 at 11:55

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