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It happened again, but much worse this time. Someone shifted the front derailleur from 2 to 1 and the rear derailleur from 5 to 9 without pedaling when I was in school. Does this do any significant damage to any of the components, and should I take it to service to get it checked out?

Bike: Scott subcross 30
Front-derailleur: Shimano altus
Rear-derailleur: Shimano alivio
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    This is unlikely to cause any problems, so long as you don't "force" the gears when you first start riding. Nov 14, 2022 at 13:28

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This is harmless. All they did was to remove the tension from the cables. Sure, this means the chain will have some shear force on it from the derailleurs, but it's just the little bit of force from the springs. If it was the other way around, it might be a bit more serious – cables over-tensioned, and a lot of shear load on the chain. In that case it might be worth checking the chain links that were between sprocket and derailleur.

I suspect whoever did this might even have meant well: there is a semi-myth that you should store bikes with released cable tension. See When not used, what gear should I store my bike in for discussion; it doesn't actually matter.

Just be gentle with the bike whenever something like this happens – don't start riding with the derailleurs as they are, instead lift the back wheel and rotate the cranks so the chain can settle without load, perhaps also shift once back and forth with each derailleur to check it's still ok, and to get out of the small sprocket. Then you should be fine.

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