Installation Instructions for a Shimano Front Derailleur

Written by matthew ferguson
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A front bicycle derailleur is a small mechanism for transferring the chain between chainrings. The front derailleur sits directly above the chainrings and contains a cage, through which the chain passes. When front gears are shifted, the derailleur and cage pivot, shoving the chain onto the selected chainring. To work precisely, a Shimano front derailleur must be installed at a certain height and angle to the chainrings.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Phillips screwdriver
  • 5mm Allen key

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  1. 1

    Use a Phillips screwdriver to remove the screw that holds both sides of the Shimano derailleur cage together. The screw can be found in one corner of the cage.

  2. 2

    Spread the two sides of the derailleur cage apart and fit the cage around the bicycle chain. Replace the derailleur cage screw, and tighten it using the Phillips screwdriver.

  3. 3

    Locate the derailleur clamp mounting bolt. The clamp attaches the derailleur to the seat tube of the bicycle frame. The bolt tightens the clamp in place.

  4. 4

    Use a 5mm Allen key to loosen the bolt. Separate the clamp.

  5. 5

    Fit the Shimano derailleur clamp around the base of the bicycle seat tube, just above the largest chainring.

  6. 6

    Use the 5mm Allen to tighten the clamp bolt. Leave the bolt loose enough so that the derailleur position can still be adjusted. The bolt will be fully tightened once the derailleur is properly positioned.

  7. 7

    Use your finger to push the derailleur cage out and over the largest chainring. Shimano recommends a clearance of 1 to 3mm. Raise or lower the derailleur as needed to satisfy the recommended clearance.

  8. 8

    Use your finger to push the derailleur cage out and over the largest chainring once again. Look down on the cage and observe the position of the cage to the largest chainring. The outer plate of the derailleur cage should be parallel to the side of that chainring.

  9. 9

    Pivot the derailleur to the left or right as needed, until the outer plate of the derailleur cage and chainring are perfectly parallel.

  10. 10

    Use a 5mm Allen key to fully tighten the derailleur clamp pinch bolt.

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