How to Adjust a Shimano 3-Speed Hub

Written by justin wash
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How to Adjust a Shimano 3-Speed Hub
(a downhill mountainbike gear wheel and gearshift mechanism image by Stephen Gibson from

Shimano's 3-speed internal hub is a device that allows the rider of the bike to change gears without the worry of chain tension and derailleur set-up and maintenance. The hub will even switch gears when the pedals aren't moving. However, without being adjusted properly, the Shimano 3-speed internal hub will not work correctly, shifting between gears and sometimes not allowing the bike to move at all. Learn how to adjust your Shimano 3-speed hub at home, and save time and money over taking your bike to the local bike shop to be serviced.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • 8-millimeter wrench

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  1. 1

    Set your bike on its kickstand or in a dedicated bicycle work stand sothat it will not fall over while you are working. You should be able to spin the rear wheel freely to perform this procedure.

  2. 2

    Press the shifter levers to shift into the second gear, or the middle gear of the hub. If your shifter doesn't have a gear indicator, shift down twice, then up once to find the middle gear.

  3. 3

    Inspect the rear wheel axle, where the gear lever cable meets the pushrod housing. The housing should have a clear plastic window with two red or white lines marked on it, and a red indicator inside the plastic. When the hub is adjusted properly, this red marker will be in the centre of the two markings in second gear.

  4. 4

    Loosen the cable adjuster nut on the cable near the chain stay of the bike's frame using an 8-millimeter wrench. Look again at the indicator in the pushrod housing. If the indicator sits too far to the right between the markings, tighten the cable adjuster until it is aligned between them. If the indicator sits too far to the left between the markings, loosen the cable adjuster until it is aligned.

  5. 5

    Tighten the cable adjuster nut using an 8-millimeter wrench, then take your bike out for a test ride. The hub should not skip, shift randomly, or cease spinning for any reason. If these symptoms still persist, there might be greater problems with the bike, and it should be looked over by a certified mechanic.

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