|Stretching new cable.|
|Stock ferrule didn't fit.|
|Don't go without ferrules.|
|A step-down ferrule.|
|That bit of daylight is|
where the cable goes.
|What a cable stretcher can do|
if you're not careful
Let me admit that the front derailleur has always been my nemesis, even when installed by a bike shop. It would stretch and I'd have to pull it but I would screw up and shifting up front would suck for a while. Same thing happened here. I installed the cable but I couldn't get it tight enough, shifting would be okay for a while but it wouldn't take long for the cable to stretch (I could never seem to stretch it enough), so I'd pull the cable some more, I couldn't get it tight enough, shifting would be okay for a while...you get the picture. Clearly I was missing something and that something was a "cable stretcher" or a "fourth-hand tool". It's a clever little tool (mine is from Park Tools) that grabs the cable, lets you pull it tight, then lock that pull in place while you tighten the bolt. If you're not careful, though, you can mess up your cable while using it so let me give a few tips:
- Do not cut your cable until after you have used the stretching tool to install it. Even then, you'll probably want to cut it long the first time because it is going to stretch and you are likely going to have to pull it again. You do this because the cable won't fray as much if it is whole. If you try using it on a bare cable end, see the picture above.
- If you do cut it again, make sure you leave enough length to use the cable stretcher well-within the end cap. You don't want to knock the endcap off while you are using the cable stretcher. See the photo above.
- For the front derailleur, set the inside adjustment screw about midway. Once you install the cable, you are going to be screwing it in so make sure you have some room to do that.
- Set the chain in the largest cog in your cassette and the small chainring. This is as far in as your front derailleur will be going.
- Using the cable stretcher, pull the cable so your front derailleur is as close to the chain as possible. Though we will be using the screw to fine-tune the adjustment, you don't want to make a big adjustment with it.
- Lock the cable stretcher and screw the cable down.
- Stretch the cable with your fingers as much as you can. More than once.
- Repeat steps 5 and 6.
- Lastly, don't squeeze the tool with a death grip. It is not needed because with this tool you don't need that much effort to stretch the cable. If you squeeze too hard you can fray your cable even if you haven't cut it yet.
Since I used the cable stretcher my front shifter cable doesn't have slack and it shifts just fine. There is still some slack in the rear brake cable but I am not sure what I can do about that yet. The brake works just fine but when I go over bumps the cable slaps against the frame, which isn't harmful but it is annoying.