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Is there any way to boost the return spring strength on my Shimano XT rear derailleur? All I can really do to keep my chain from coming off on rocky descents us shift into the third chainring, but it's a pain to shift again when going up the next hill
 

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I don't know which Shimano dérailleur you are currently using, but I just installed a Shadow XT model onto my San Andreas and all I can say is,
WOW!
I've taken it for a couple of rides around Bootleg, which is very rocky, and I didn't have a single chain skipping incident.
Also; the bike was much quieter on rocky terrain, because the new stop on the Shadow, keeps it from hitting the chainstays.
The Shadow models also have a slightly tighter return spring for more positive shifting.
One thing to keep in mind though; the old style Shimano dérailleurs in the med (GS) length could take up a little more chain in the small, small combo when run with a tripple ring crank.
The new Shadow models require a long cage (SGS) version for use with a tripple crankset.

Shimano has always said to run a long cage dérailleur with a tripple crankset, but you could fudge it on some bikes and use a med cage.
With the new Shadow models, you need to stick with Shimano's old guidelines more strictly.
 

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Check Zinn's book. As I recall, he describes a way for increasing the spring tension for Shimano derailleurs. That said, my copy of the book is probably about 5 years old now and that particular procedure might not be applicable any longer...
 
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