I am very new to the bike maintenance, but want to learn how to do it myself. I have got a MTB which won't change the gears at front. It's basically stuck in the granny gear at the moment. I tried to lower down the front derailleur as it was too high I think, in order to do that I had to slack the cable a bit. It still unable to change the gears. Any advice what I can check will be appreciated a lot. I attached some photos.

back view

front view


  • 1
    Welcome to the site. When you say it won’t shift, can you describe in detail what happens when you try to shift? My first concern is that the cable is extremely rusty. Also, can you move the derailleur side to side easily by hand, or is it quite difficult?
    – Swifty
    Commented May 12, 2019 at 6:56
  • A good cleaning and lubricating, housing and cable replacement should help.
    – Carel
    Commented May 12, 2019 at 7:40
  • 1
    Thanks for your comments. When I try to move derailleur by hand from side to side it's possible but there is quite a bit of resistance. When I use shifter to move towards bigger disk, gear 3, I do feel pull on the cable but I think it's not enough to move the derailleur. Also the shifter goes only to position 1 or 2 and doesn't move to the 3.
    – Math_manul
    Commented May 12, 2019 at 7:51
  • I'd disconnect the gear cable from the derailleur, add a little bit of e.g. WD-40 to the springs and hinges and move it up and down by hand a lot. Then repeat. Either replacing the gear inner and maybe even outer cable would be the next steps - or try inserting some lubricant (WD-40 first, if it helped some light oil later) into the outer gear cable.
    – nitzel
    Commented May 12, 2019 at 18:10

1 Answer 1


The derailleur does look too high in your second picture. The bottom of the outer cage should be about 2-3mm above the tips of the teeth big ring when directly over it. The cable is probably too loose which is preventing the shifter from pulling the cage far enough outwards.

I'd run through a step-by-step adjustment process as front derailleur adjustment can be tricky to get right.

Start by disconnecting the cable from the shifter and making sure the derailleur can move through it's full range by pushing it by hand. The spring is quite stiff so there will be quite a lot of resistance.

Check that the shifter and cable runs freely. Pull on the end of the cable and work the shifter. I'd also check the cable housing to make sure it's inserted into the shifter and frame stops properly. You may want to take the cable out and clean and lubricate it, or even replace it.

A complete description of the full derailleur adjustment process is more than can be provided easily in text here. There are numerous videos and articles on the web that show you how to do it, but the best by far I think is the one by Park Tool Company: https://www.parktool.com/blog/repair-help/front-derailleur-adjustment.

BTW, I think the tab under the cable shift bolt seen in your first picture should be rotated 90 degrees anti-clockwise, so the finger goes over the cable.

  • Thanks so much! I did think the cable might be too loose as well.
    – Math_manul
    Commented May 12, 2019 at 12:42

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