I'm working on adjusting my front derailleur; Shimano 105 group set 5700 series. On reading on the net and also watching a couple of online youtube videos there is comments about the barrel adjustment used to either tighten or loosen the cable to ensure that indexing occurs.

Now what I'm confused with is that the notes often refer to increasing the wire tension via a counter-clockwise turn. The question is counter clockwise relative to facing which way ? For an inline barrel adjuster depending if i'm looking down from the shifter on the handle bars, or looking up from the cable end of the derailleur the direction is different.

Is there an easy way to know which way to turn ?

  • A barrel adjuster is either screwed into the shifter or is composed of male and female pieces in the middle of the cable somewhere. When you "unscrew" to increase cable tension you turn the adjuster counter-clockwise (while holding the mating piece, if necessary), as viewed from the direction of the entering cable. If you think about it, "unscrewing" to increase cable tension makes sense, as it makes the cable housing longer relative to the actual cable inside. For an inline unit you can "unscrew" from either direction -- just do it from the cable's point of view in either case. – Daniel R Hicks Oct 31 '16 at 18:38

As the mnemonic goes: "Lefty loosey - righty tighty"

The indicated way to turn is always relative to the object the screw / the thread is fixed to. Examples:


If you turn the barrel on th rear derailleur towards the wheel, it's loosening. It tightens away from the bike.


The same goes for your STI: in this case loosening is towards the bar, tighening towards the front of your bike. If this was the STI on the right, it would be the other way round.

  • It helps to know that the cable gets tighter when the shiny ring next to the grey knob (in the above picture) shows more. – Carel Nov 2 '16 at 8:29

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