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Road Cycling Maintenance: Running a Cable for a Font Derailleur

February 2016
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There are two tricks for installing a cable for your front derailleur.

First is getting the tension right, which isn’t all that tough… If you start out in the right gear.  Before you take off the cable the front should be on the smallest chain ring. This is wrong:


This is correct:


The second trick is properly routing the cable over the derailleur bolt. Something as simple as running the cable on the wrong side of the bolt will mean your bike won’t shift. There is a little ledge, call it a finger, the cable runs over:


From there it runs under the washer:


Once you get the routing correct, it’s just a matter of pulling the end tight with a pair of needle-nose pliers and tightening the bolt.

When I did that cable, I didn’t even have to index the derailleur, it worked perfectly.

If you don’t know your derailleurs, take a closeup photo that shows how the cable runs at the bolt before you remove the old cable so you can look at it after you run the new cable.



  1. bonnev659 says:

    i need to adjust my front derailer.. . when i switch from 34 to 50 chainring sometimes it pushes the chain too much outside and the chain ends up away by my pedals…

    happy riding

    • bgddyjim says:

      It’s the outer limit screw. Shift your bike to the small gear (hardest) in the back and biggest in the front. There should be 1 mm between the cage and the edge of the chain. Yours will be a bit more than that. Standing behind and to the right, looking down at your derailleur, you’ll see two screws. The inside one (closest to the bike) is the adjustment for the small ring. The outside is the big ring adjuster screw. You’ll turn that one clockwise a bit to move it toward the chain. Keep a mental note of where it’s set and don’t turn too much. A little bit at a time – if it’s not pushing the chain off of the ring all of the time, you should only need a quarter to a half turn on the screw.

  2. […] done a couple of posts already on simple adjustments for the front derailleur and how to change the front derailleur cable already, so I’ll lean a little bit on those. However, I didn’t give the front […]

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