Front Derailleur Issue

Found a road bike for the wife. 2003 Giant OCR2.

The guy had swapped out the front shifter with a Claris triple, ( came with a tiagra) it wasn’t hooked up when I bought it. Didn’t think slapping a cable on there and adjusting it would give me such a headache. haha.
What it is doing is on the first click of the shifter I can barely get any travel out of the derailleur, so I can’t make it all the way up to the third ring. Also I get chain rub on 1 or 9 pretty much however I set it up.

My possible theories are:

  1. The derailleur may be bent.

  2. The shifter may not be completely compatible with the tiagra derailleur. Tiagra setup is 9spd, Claris is 8spd. would that make any difference on the front derailleur if both are triples?

any thoughts?

The 8 speed vs 9 speed cassette should have no difference. The 9 speed is spaced tighter than 8 speed, so the total cassette width is different by only about 1mm; the chain line will be very minimally different at the FD.

Are you sure you have a Claris triple and not double? I assume it says triple on it or you know what a triple looks like vis-a-vis double FD, just wanted to be 100% sure. As for the front shifter, it doesn’t care how many cogs are on your rear cassette.

The Claris triple is designed for 50/39/30 rings while '03 OCR 2 shipped with 52/42/30. That doesn’t seem too big of a difference to me but the biggest difference will be on the middle ring (7.7% larger diameter).

Did you check the movement, rotation and height of the FD by moving the cage by hand and giving about 1mm spacing to the big ring (height) and properly in line with the big ring (rotation around the seat tube). If the cage won’t move right when it’s disconnected from the cable then it won’t possibly work when it is connected.

If that’s OK the biggest problem seems that you don’t have enough tension (if nothing is damaged and the FD is properly positioned). Did you turn the barrel adjuster fully clockwise and yank the life out of the cable while tightening it down on the FD? If you have excessive friction in the cable that could also be an issue with shifting, e.g. under the bottom bracket. Also make sure that the shifter is fully slack (i.e. 100% sure it is shifted to small ring) before tightening the cable to the FD. I usually have to turn the barrel counter clockwise once everything is connected up to get enough tension, that’s why I make sure it is fully clockwise prior to tightening the cable down. But you may have more upper body strength to pull the cable taut before tightening it to the FD than I have.

If the FD is OK positioned and the cable tension is good then I would say it most likely is the shifter itself that is a problem. Could be fixable? Maybe some salt/grime is in there that could be cleaned out with lubrication?

As for chain rub, yeah, you can’t expect to get all 9 cogs free of rub on every ring. I would be quite happy with 1-7 on the granny, 1-8 on the middle, and 3-9 on the big. But maybe you can get better performance than that; with an older bike nothing is straight anymore so you will definitely get more rub than with a newer bike. With a triple most of the time the chain will be on the middle ring, so sacrificing top gears for low gears on the middle makes sense to me for a beginner, especially with a 42T middle ring vs 39T. That would be for fine-tuning your indexing tension.

found out my issue, the genious I bought the bike from has a double shifter on the front instead of a triple. I should have inspected more closely, thats why the first click doesn’t pull much, because they have the trim feature on the claris too I guess. argh!

Ask said Genius if he has the old shifter.

I have the old shifter. Trying to fix it.