I have a road bike with Shimano Claris shifters and deraileurs.

I bought the bike new and everything has been 100% for about 3 months of good riding. I have noticed that shifting into the big chainring on the front needed me to move the shifter more and more over time. Sometimes I pull it far enough to click but the chain doesn't move up to the big ring.

The shifter itself also feels a lot looser than the other side, like it has some slack. I have been forced to use my other hand to pull the shifter as much as possible and then it moves up.

What should I be adjusting: the tension on the wire (undo the tension bolt while it is in the small ring and tighten it up) or the barrel adjuster? Or something else?

  • Hi, welcome to bicycles! Have you taken the bike to the shop where you bought it? Most new bikes come with a free adjustment visit because a certain amount of stretch in cables isn't uncommon with a new bike. (Though this sounds more than normal.)
    – DavidW
    Oct 1, 2021 at 19:07
  • Thanks, yes I was told that. Unfortunately I have let that voucher expire.
    – tread
    Oct 2, 2021 at 7:18

1 Answer 1


Adjust the barrel adjuster first. You need to be tightening the inner cable. This means you need the housing to be longer, which means you rotate the barrel adjuster counterclockwise to unscrew it.

If you run into the end of the barrel adjuster range, then you need to undo the cable anchor bolt, re-tension the inner cable and tighten the cable anchor bolt with the effective length of the inner cable shorter than it used to be. Do this with the chain on the small chainring and the shifter in the "small chainring" position.

If neither helps, then you might have some issue in the shifter. However, best to try the easy and free solutions first.

  • 2
    It’s strange that it go loose this much. I’d also check the cable housing (broken cable housing can cause slack) and make sure the anchor bolt at the derailleur is tight enough.
    – Michael
    Oct 1, 2021 at 15:47
  • Tightened the cable and it did help. I still need to yank on that level and push it far in. Perhaps oiling the cable housing, shifter and front deraileur might help it.
    – tread
    Oct 1, 2021 at 17:34

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