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XT rear derail very hard to shift "up"

11240 Views 13 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  rlouder
I've been having an issue with the shifting on my '08 Foes Fly where you have to press exorbitantly hard on the XT thumb shift lever to get up to the 2-3 largest rear gears, and its almost impossible to get to the very largest (34T).

It's all XT equipment, (XT shadow rear der., cassette, shifter) in good condition and with relatively new Flak Jacket cables. The dropout doesn't look bent, I'll try to post some pics later.

I've made sure the end point limit screw isn't too far in, and tried spraying dry film lube through the cable jackets without much luck. Also completely de-greased and re-lubed derailleur and chain.

Any tips, im out of ideas..
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Put the rear wheel in the air and push the der with your hand while spinning the cranks. Does it move normally when you push it in to the big cogs? If so,.....

If it was a cable problem, it would hang the same going the other way. The der spring wouldn't be able to overcome the cable friction.

That's what I would try.
If it's not the derailleur and it's not the cable, maybe it's the shifter. Three years doesn't seem like it should be enough to start messing with a shifter pod, but if you ride in really nasty conditions, maybe it is.
Just pushing the derailleur itself seems to move smooth and easily to the largest gear, though I can't really tell if it feels like more spring tension than normal. It seems about the same as my other XT derail.

As for the shift pod, I removed the cable from the derailleur and ran the shifter through the clicks, and it moved smoothly and easily even up to the highest level which is where I'm having the issues.

Could this be a chain-line issue or perhaps b-tension adjustment? Also how would I know if my cables are shot?
It might be the shifter

I also found my xt shifers (770 series) too hard to push when at the last two gears of the thumb lever. I could never find why, though. I´m using them for maybe 3 years already, and I can´t tell whether it has gone or I´ve just get used to it. Maybe a bit of both.
I would change the cable and housing, how old is the existing?
Could this be a chain-line issue or perhaps b-tension adjustment?
It would be odd for the b-tension to move out of adjustment unless you are running a shorter chain. See if the pulley clears the big cog.

Also how would I know if my cables are shot?
You would usually notice poor shifting going the other direction - skips and jumps. The shifter moves the cable when going to bigger cogs (non rapid rise). The der spring moves the cable going the other direction.

I removed the cable from the derailleur and ran the shifter through the clicks, and it moved smoothly
Try installing the cable in it and create a little back pressure by holding the cable. It's a shot in the dark, but that might make a difference.
dan0 said:
I would change the cable and housing, how old is the existing?
I'll bet the rear loop is shot, kinked or gummed up
Thanks for the tips guys. I'll try a new rear loop tomorrow and a different derailleur after that.

As for the b-tension, this is more to do with the way the foes fly dropout is shaped. There is a lot of metal right in front of the derail so I have to put lots of b-tension to get it to come down to the smallest gear without hitting. I even notched the dropout a tad but the b-tension screw still has to be turned in at least 3/4 of the way.

Thanks for the tips guys. Turns out it was the relatively new garbage Jagwire (snagwire) cables I was running.

I ponied up a tad more for some real cables, the Shimano XTR set and I've never felt a smoother shifting experience. What a difference cables make! Can't wait to take it out this weekend :) :) Thanks again for the tips!
Jagwire makes really good stuff. My guess is that it wasn't the actual product that was garbage, but the actual install was done very poorly.
frdfandc said:
Jagwire makes really good stuff.
While I understand that may be your experience with the stuff, that certainly wasn't mine. The short amount of time and rides I got out of these cables is frankly appalling. They were routed/installed by a reputable shop, don't think it's the install.. :rolleyes:

I didn't start out to put down someones favorite product, but this is a review site so I will state my experience and would advise anyone else to steer clear of this cable in favor of higher quality options like Shimano or Flackjacket, which my brother has run with no issues for years now. :thumbsup:

Issue solved, thread done.
Not arguing here. But just saying that Jagwire is a good product. Use it everyday at work. Just IME is that when a cable issue arises, its either contamination (dirt, rust, etc.) or poor installation.

I've even had to fix OEM installed Jagwire cables due to poor workmanship.

And just because a shop is reputable, doesn't mean someone didn't mess up something.
Glad you got it working. Plus, I learned something. Cables are always the first thing I suspect with shifting problems, but mine has never been so bad that they caused the shifter to be hard to push without causing mis-shifts first.

I can't really go by the length of time the cables have been on the bike. The same cables will have issues sooner, depending on worse riding conditions. I can usually just replace the back housing loop and the cable a couple times before redoing the other housing sections and front der.
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