I'm trying to troubleshoot my 24 speed hybrid bike. As it was, the front shifter was having very little effect. I would change gears and not much would happen.

When I had a chance to look at it, I noticed that the derailleur seemed to be barely moving when I shifted from 3rd to 2nd, and not at all from 2nd to 1st. I tried a few troubleshooting steps to tighten, loosen the cable, but nothing seemed to help.

Now I have completely disconnected the shifter cable and the derailleur is sitting in between 3rd and 2nd gear.

I'm wondering if that's normal resting place, and if it's reasonable to see very little movement when shifting like that.

Full Bikederailleur sideenter image description here

  • 27 speed? (3 in front, 9 in the back)
    – freiheit
    Mar 6, 2012 at 23:59
  • 2
    I'm no expert (hopefully one will come along soon), but a derailleurs resting place when the cable is slack should be in the highest or lowest gear, not anywhere in between. That's true of almost all derailleurs, whether front or back.
    – freiheit
    Mar 7, 2012 at 0:02
  • Pictures, Pictures, Pictures! For most mechanical problems, it can be very helpful to include detailed pictures of the problem areas from multiple angles, and possibly also an overall shot of the bike.
    – freiheit
    Mar 7, 2012 at 0:02
  • I had that same suspiciou, freiheit.. wasn't sure what to do about it being in the wrong place... I'll take a few pictures if that'll help!
    – Damon
    Mar 7, 2012 at 0:18
  • (the white stuff on the chain was from white grease )
    – Damon
    Mar 7, 2012 at 16:47

3 Answers 3


There are basically 4 possibilities:

  1. The derailer is bent.
  2. The derailer is gummed up, has mud in it, or is otherwise being prevented from moving. (You said the cable has been completely loosened, right?)
  3. The limit screws are misadjusted
  4. It's the wrong derailer for that gear setup. Eg, a double derailer on a triple crank.

(It is curious that the decal says "8 speed" -- not something you'd expect as original equipment on a 27 speed bike.)

(It appears to be a down-pull style derailer, and it should center over the granny gear when the cable is fully released.)

  • I fully disconnected the cable and it just sat between 2 and 3, yeah. I was messing around with the limit screws, but they weren't seeming to make a difference. I think my best next move may be trying to de-gum it (& i guess it's actually 24.. dear me)
    – Damon
    Mar 7, 2012 at 1:59
  • Sometimes there is "something" inside the derailer's cage, like hardened mud, some stone, or some other dirt. Have you tried to move it by hand, from side to side, to see if it "unfreezes"? Perhaps also spray with WD-40? Mar 7, 2012 at 12:33
  • Actually, given the general condition I see (is that mud on the chain, along with the rust?) probably hosing it down would be in order first. Mar 7, 2012 at 12:48
  • I tried to clean it with a coarse brush and some jig-a-loo... it got it moving a little more easily, but still doesn't pop back anywhere on its own.
    – Damon
    Mar 7, 2012 at 16:46
  • You may need to clean it some more, or it may be damaged, or the wrong derailer. When properly worked free the spring in it should shift it all the way to the small sprocket side, with no force required on your part. Mar 7, 2012 at 20:22

I wonder if your problem lies in the shifter unit? I had similar problems with my front derailer not moving much when the shifter was engaged. After investigation I found that the mechanism in the shifter was worn. When I replaced it things went back to normal. As for the position I have always started with the derailer nearest the frame and worked from there.

Good luck.


With the cable disconnected, if you pull the derailer out toward the biggest gear, does it "spring" back to the middle or smallest chainring? It actually should take a good amount of force to pull it out to the largest chainring. There should be a very noticeable amount of spring tension trying to pull it back inwards.

If it doesn't move and stays out at the biggest chainring, the internal spring might be broken, or very weak.

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