Spring seems to have finally sprung for good now. Taking a peek at my cycle log, you will see that I am finally putting on miles on a bike that goes places instead of spinning a wheel in place.

My going places came to a noisy halt with a misbehaving rear derailleur. I assumed this was merely the new chain, rear gearset, and rear shifting cable all settling down a mere 109.4 miles after replacement.

Can we fix it? Yes we can…’t

So, I did the obvious thing: find a video online showing how to readjust my Shimano rear derailleur. (If the video does not display during playback, switch to full screen mode.)

Looks easy enough, right?

I shifted through all the rear gears to verify that the upper and lower limit screws were adjusted properly. Still looked good after 109.4 miles, so I moved on to adjusting cable tension.

I tried a couple of times, succeeding in making derailleur behave even worse. I watched the video again, and tried adjusting cable tension again. Another four or five times, I had to call it quits. Now the chain wouldn’t even make it all the way to the largest gear. Time to quit while I was ahead.

Madone shift cablesBack to the bike shop.

Moments later the true problem is found: crossed shifting cables. Ghostbusters don’t cross the streams. And bike mechanics shouldn’t cross shifting cables on a Trek Madone.

A few minutes later the cables were back to factory specs, and I was on my way home. Too late to ride, so that would have to wait.

Ready to roll… back

The next day I was more than ready to ride. It didn’t take long to be disappointed by a still malfunctioning rear derailleur. I tried a quick twist on the barrel adjustment, but still the chain skipped on downshifting. At least the bike was still functional enough for the short ride back to the bike shop.

I assumed my visit was going to be a quick in and out. Well, you know what they say about assuming. I lost count on the number of adjustments and test rides, but I refused to give up.

WP_20140413_006 madone rear dual controlFinally, the bike shop mechanic had a lightbulb moment. He asked me whether I pressed the downshift lever to the click or beyond. To the click and beyond, like I always did. He suggested a gentler touch and sent me out for another test around the parking lot.

Qapla’! (That’s Klingon for “success!” What do you expect, I ride a Trek.) Alas, too late to ride anywhere but back home. But now my rear derailleur shifts trouble-free once again.

Let that be a lesson

The next time my bike needs shop work on the rear gear set and associated cabling (which I could have done myself had I the time), I will be double-checking for crossed cables before bringing my ride home.


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