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I'm upgrading my Shimano 105 5800 shifters to newer 7020 shifters in order to equip my bike with hydraulic brakes. I'm not changing any other components as part of this upgrade. The kit shipped with the necessary cables but without inline barrel adjusters. I did some reading and the 7000 front derailleur has "integrated cable tension adjustment" so it appears that it doesn't need barrel adjusters. I am not sure if the derailleur manages this on its own, or is a combination of shifter + derailleur, etc.

Considering I will continue using my existing derailleur, I want to confirm that I should cut the new cable housings and add my old barrel adjusters to this setup.

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If you have the newer FD-5801 you don’t need the dedicated inline barrel adjusters. The derailleur itself has a built-in tension adjustment hex screw. It rotates the cable clamping point around which effectively shortens or lengthens the cable.

See page 18 in the manual: https://si.shimano.com/pdfs/dm/DM-RAFD001-05-ENG.pdf

Adjust the cable tension with the cable adjustment barrel (C) or cable adjuster on the frame so that the bracket indicator (B) or (E) is aligned with the input link indicator (A) or (D).

Of course you can still install inline barrel adjusters. They allow for an increased adjustment range, can be adjusted while riding and don’t require a hex key.

The FD-5800 doesn't have the integrated cable tension adjustment.

  • OK but the asker is keeping his old derailleur, which doesn't have the built-in etnsioner. – David Richerby May 13 at 9:22
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    @David dealers manual applies to FD-5801 too – Swifty May 13 at 9:25
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    Suggestion, include statement on FD-5801 vs FD-5800, 5800 needs inline adjuster. – Swifty May 13 at 9:41
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    Updated my answer accordingly. @DonatHolzer: Well, inline barrel adjusters are not great to use either. I miss the days when we had external cable routing with frame-mounted adjusters. Or even better when we had brifters with external cable routing. – Michael May 13 at 9:57
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    I have the 5800 so looks like barrel adjusters are going on... Unless it's time for another upgrade. Thanks for the help. – valsidalv May 13 at 12:50
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As someone mentioned above, you don't absolutely have to add the inline tension adjusters if there is adjustment on the derailer, but in my experience the adjustment on the front derailer is very limited indeed. It is also so much easier to make slight adjustments while riding with the inline one. I have the inline barrel with Ultegra hydraulic shifter/brakes and I'm very happy it's there.

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