Tag Archives: MN Bike Guide

Wacky Saturday time again, any ideas as to what this gift could be? What a very creative way to wrap something. When buying a bike as a gift, please make sure you properly fit it to the person riding.

Bike Pic Dec 23, wacky Saturday Christmas present wrapped

Wacky Saturday for last minute shopping, any ideas as to what this gift might be?

We think you will agree the person who wrapped this was very meticulous and creative!  When buying a bike as a gift, please make sure you properly fit it to the person who will be riding it. This is very crucial for not only comfort, but also for safety.

See all the places to explore with your brand new bike in the new national HaveFunBiking guide

Thanks for viewing Today’s Wacky Saturday Gift Bike Pic

Now rolling into our 10th year as a bike tourism media, our goal is to continue to encourage more people to bike and have fun. While highlighting all the unforgettable places for you to ride. As we continue to showcase more place to have fun we hope the photos we shoot are worth a grin. As you scroll through the information and stories we have posted, enjoy.

Do you have a fun bicycle related photo of yourself or someone you may know that we should post? If so, please send your picture(s) to: editor@HaveFunBiking.com. Include a brief caption (for each), of who is in the photo (if you know?) and where the picture was taken. Photo(s) should be a minimum of 1,000 pixels wide or larger to be considered. If we do use your photo, you will receive photo credit and acknowledgment on Facebook and Instagram.

As we continues to encourage more people to bike, please view our Destination section at HaveFunBiking.com for your next bike adventure – Also, check out the MN Bike Guide, now mobile friendly, as we enter into our 8th year of producing the guide.

So bookmark HaveFunBiking.com and find your next adventure. Please share all our picks with your friends and don’t forget to smile. We may be around the next corner with one of our camera’s ready to document your next move while you are riding and having fun. We may capture you in one of our next Pic of the Day posts.

Have a great day!

“Life is like riding a bicycle. You don’t fall off unless you plan to stop pedaling.” ~ Claude Pepper. No matter what you do in life, keep on pedaling. The destination is worth all the roadblocks and forks on the trail.

Bike Pic Dec 1, Pedaling Through Life, Reach That Destination

“Life is like riding a bicycle. You don’t fall off unless you plan to stop pedaling.” ~ Claude Pepper. No matter what you do in life, keep on pedaling. The destination is worth all the roadblocks and forks on the trail.

Planning your #NextBikeAdventure? View the new Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide and remember to register for the Root River Bluff & Valley Bicycle Tour.

Thanks for viewing Today’s Pedaling Through Life Bike Pic

Now rolling into our 10th year as a bike tourism media, our goal is to continue to encourage more people to bike and have fun. While highlighting all the unforgettable places for you to ride. As we continue to showcase more place to have fun we hope the photos we shoot are worth a grin. As you scroll through the information and stories we have posted, enjoy.

Do you have a fun bicycle related photo of yourself or someone you may know that we should post? If so, please send your picture(s) to: editor@HaveFunBiking.com. Include a brief caption (for each), of who is in the photo (if you know?) and where the picture was taken. Photo(s) should be a minimum of 1,000 pixels wide or larger to be considered. If we do use your photo, you will receive photo credit and acknowledgment on Facebook and Instagram.

As we continues to encourage more people to bike, please view our Destination section at HaveFunBiking.com for your next bike adventure – Also, check out the MN Bike Guide, now mobile friendly, as we enter into our 8th year of producing the guide.

So bookmark HaveFunBiking.com and find your next adventure. Please share all our picks with your friends and don’t forget to smile. We may be around the next corner with one of our camera’s ready to document your next move while you are riding and having fun. We may capture you in one of our next Pic of the Day posts.

Have a great day!

bicycle maintanace

Riding through the fall, a great way to spend time with your kids

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

For many, fall and the beginning of the winter signals the end of bike riding, especially kids. But why should the fun stop just because the mercury drops? Instead of ending the rides, get your kids excited to ride through the fall foliage. Here are some tips for encouraging kids to keep the fun rolling.

The Right Clothes for Fall Riding

There are some easy ways to keep your kids comfortable while riding but none as important as clothing. It’s easy to make the mistake of just bundling them up in heavy pants and hoodies, but that will only lead to them being cold in the long run. It’s better to reach for synthetic fabrics that wick moisture while insulating. Cotton will insulate, however it also absorbs sweat and will quickly leave your kids wet and cold. With a synthetic material, sweat is carried off the skin and allowed to evaporate quickly.

Fall

This ride might get cut short thanks to a cotton t-shirt and a lack of gloves. Keep warm and dry for fun fall rides.

Once you have your kids dressed well, take a moment to consider their hands and feet. Even if there is no wind, riding a bike at any speed will create a wind chill for the rider. Take special note of fingers and toes by wearing gloves and socks that are a bit heavier than the weather would normally call for.

The Right Trail Conditions

I know how tempting it is to try and squeeze every last moment of riding time out in the fall months. With that said, no kid will have fun if they are wet and cold. It’s best to avoid the trails if you have recently had rain. For one, the trails are more susceptible to damage and all that water is sure to find it’s place on your kids. A better idea is to enjoy the local bike paths that are paved and dry out quickly.

Wet pavement dries far faster than wet trails. Keep your kids happy and dry, by staying off wet trails.

Wet pavement dries far faster than wet trails. Keep your kids happy and dry, by staying off wet trails.

The Reward

I found the best way to encourage riding in less than perfect conditions is to shamelessly bribe my kids. If you can plan a destination, like a favorite burger joint or ice cream shop, your kids will usually be really excited to head out. If a destination isn’t possible, I like to put together a reward like hot chocolate once they get home. You will see that the Pavlovian effect takes hold after just a few tries.

Its Ice Cream Smiles Sunday around the world. Here in the Netherlands these young bikers stops along the canal route to enjoy a creamy cool treat before resuming her bicycle ride..

These young bikers stops along the canal route to enjoy a creamy cool treat before resuming her bicycle ride.

The best reasons

Finally, the best reason to enjoy the cooler months is that most others won’t. Having trails and paths to yourself is safer and allows everyone to focus more on each other. So whether you are heading into the woods, onto the roads, or just around the block, the fall is a perfect time to be with your family.

This year's Interbike show had a ton of great new bike helmets. Read on to learn about this year's best options for Comfort, Connectivity, and Visibility.

Bike Helmets showcased at Interbike featured comfort, connectivity and visibility

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

Bike helmets are more than a good idea in this day and age, they are a necessity. This year’s Interbike show had a ton of great new options in multi-functional head gear. Overall, The helmets listed below are some of this year’s best options for comfort, connectivity and visibility.

The Bolle bike helmets

Bolle is a company born in France in 1888. Through their first 70 years they worked almost exclusively in industrial production before launching their first tinted eye wear product in 1956. From that point forward they have pioneered the world with sunglasses, goggles and now cycling helmets. Bolle’s newest helmet, “The Trackdown”, is a prime example of their innovative approach to bike helmets. Within the Trackdown, they use a MIPS system to protect against rotational forces during a crash, offer ample ventilation and incorporate a clever “Sunglass Garage” into the helmet. Additionally,there is also a fleece liner designed to replace the helmets pads during cooler months.

Helmets

Bolle’s “Trackdown” helmet, Fleece liner, and “The One” helmet with liner and vent covers

Stay tuned because we plan to review “The One” helmet from Bolle in the coming months. Like “The Trackdown” it uses a fleece liner, but they also add vent covers to make it even more cold weather sensible.

The Coros Omni Helmet offer hands-free connectivity to your ride

Coros is a new brand on the scene with a unique approach to helmet connectivity. By connectivity, I mean a hands-free connection to your smartphone while riding. Make no mistake, there are plenty of ways to answer your phone or listen to music while riding. Where Coros has completely changed the game is they allow you to listen to the world around you while still being connected to your device. How Coros achieves this is through Bone Conduction Technology that activates your eardrum through vibration applied to the cheekbone. This leaves your ear open to receiving all the surrounding noise, while still listening to your favorite music. Additionally, the new Omni helmet incorporates LED lights into the rear to aid in visibility. Furthermore, those lights have a photoreceptor to turn on automatically when light levels are low.

Bike Helmets

Coros Omni Bike Helmet

Bike Helmets

The Omni Bike Helmet, with photo receptor covered and lights on.

Bike Helmets

Coros Omni bike helmet and Bone Conducting device (inset)

MagicShine Genie adds lights to its helmet

While talking about integrated lights, it would be impossible not to discuss the MagicShine’s Genie helmet. This helmet is the brainchild of one of the leading light makers on the market. They have integrated a 350 lumen headlight into the front of the helmet with a 20 degree swivel. For the back of the helmet, MagicShine uses 32 LEDs to light a rear blinker mounted to the helmet. The most amazing thing about this helmet is the fact that beyond the headlight and tail light, this helmet has handlebar activated turn signals, allowing you to easily signal your direction without taking your hands off the bars.

Helmets

MagicShine Helmet and remote (inset)

Helmets

Left turn signal, Right turn signal, and Both lights on

In the next few years we will be seeing more connectivity, more visibility and greater safety from all bike helmets. Based off the recent developments from the brands above, I think they will be leading the way.

If you look between the isles at Interbike you can see the future. I’m excited to say, when it comes to bicycles, children's bikes are the future.

Interbike’s Cascade of Clever Concepts for Children’s Bikes

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

If you look between the isles of Interbike (figuratively) you can see the future. I’m excited to say, when it comes to bicycles, children’s bikes are the future. Interbike had loads of unique and exciting bikes, accessories and programs for all the little riders out there.

Children’s bikes are the future

Most bicycle companies make kids bikes as part of their overall line, but very few make only kids bikes. Frog Bicycles exclusively produces children’s bicycles and was born out of a doctoral thesis on proper fit for kids bikes in England. Through exhaustive testing, it was found that children need a more unique bike fit than what the standard bike offers. Frog used that exhaustive research to develop their first bicycles and has been flying down the road ever since. Through clever frame design they are able to build bikes that fit kids with almost no proprietary parts. This leaves no concerns about replacing any hard to find bits if little Timmy breaks anything. Additionally, all the Frog Bikes are tested to adult standards rather than the less demanding children’s standards. Hopefully that can give you some peace of mind as your child’s body and abilities grow.

Frog Bicycles are making children’s bikes more comfortable through smart design.

Parts for kid’s bikes

While most of us aren’t going to start pulling our kid’s bikes apart to upgrade them with fancy components, there are plenty of high performance products available. One of the great things about your bike shop attending Interbike is, if they look closely, they can see things that aren’t readily available now, but will show up on production bikes the following year.

This lightweight suspension fork is made by Kay Xin Technologies for 20″ wheeled kid’s bikes

As I combed the Isles of manufacturers, it was impossible to miss suspension forks designed to meet the specific needs of smaller riders, brakes that allow children to easily control their bicycles and cranks and pedals made for smaller feet and legs.

Teaching them young

Project Bike Tech is a new program designed to getting school aged kids in front of a bicycle with a wrench in their hands. By working with local schools, they develop programs that tach kids engineering, and mechanical skills through bicycle maintenance. Although this program is in very few schools, it has been in existence for over ten years, and has introduced over 3000 students to the cycling industry.

A student of the Project Bike Tech learning to adjust a hub bearing

Sharing the experience

On top of all the products for kids, there were also ample ways to carry your kids along for the ride. Tern Bicycles showed their GSD, a new folding E-bike built with the capability of carrying your kids on the back. Additionally, Burley trailers had their line of children’s trailers on display.

Super fun on the Tern GSD

You can also see our recent article Kid’s Bikes; Why they are different and what’s best for your kids.

If you look between the isles of Interbike (figuratively) you can see the future. I’m excited to say, when it comes to bicycles, kid's bikes are the future.

If you look between the isles of Interbike you can see the future. I’m excited to say, its kid’s bikes.

 

 

With all the great things about fall bike riding there are some dangers as well. Read on to learn how to enjoy the fall riding season safely.

Finding fun and fitness in fall bike riding through the colorful foliage

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

Now that the kids have gone back to school, the days are getting shorter and temperatures begin to drop it is the best time of year to ride your bike. From a trail perspective, the dirt becomes softer as the fall rolls in because of lower temperatures and increased rainfall. Additionally, riding off road in the fall is a beautiful way to enjoy the change in foliage. That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the leaves changing if you choose to ride on the path or road. In fact, great fall rides often have specific vista points built into the ride. With all the great things about riding through the fall there are some dangers as well. Read on to learn how to enjoy the fall riding season safely.

Fall bike riding road hazards

Those beautiful fall colors are enjoyable, but also a sign of falls largest hazard. Falling leaves that mix with fall rains begin to break down and decompose on road surfaces. What is left behind is a slick slurry of organic matter perfectly suited to eliminate traction and cause a crash. As you ride in the fall, avoid riding too far off the edge of the road. Likewise, don’t ride too far into the middle of the road where leaves tend to accumulate.

Fall bike riding off road hazards

The same problems with traction and decomposing leaves exists off road, but it’s not as large an issue as on the road. Thanks to the soft dirt and rough surface, riders have a better chance of finding traction when the leaves get wet. What you should be on the lookout for is what you can’t see. Makes total sense, right?! Whenever you are on a trail that has fallen leaves, objects can hide in those leaf piles.

Being seen while fall bike riding

As the days get shorter, you need to be concerned with being seen in low light situations, that’s where proper lighting comes in. Lights, no matter your level of bike riding skill, are essential to make sure you have the safest ride possible. Plus, most states require bike lights to ride on a roadway (here is Minnesota’s law). The two types of lights on the market are lights that allow you to see, and lights that allow others to see you.

Seeing the trail

A great side effect to the shortened days is going for night rides with your mountain bike. Night riding was first born out of the necessity of riding, but has quickly become a fun part of the sport in and of itself. With this in mind, get yourself a high output light, strap it to your bike and head into the woods. In the long run you will see that riding at night changes how you see your local trails, and makes then new and fun.

Dressing the part for fall bike riding

Universally across on or off-road riders, the fall brings colder temperatures. To combat these temps you want to dress accordingly. Early fall rides force us to break out the arm and knee warmers, with long sleeve jerseys marching quickly behind. When dressing for colder weather, be sure to not overdress. Being too insulated will cause you to sweat past your cycling clothings ability to move moisture. At that point, you get wet, and cold, which defeats the purpose of wearing more clothing.

Lights are essential to make sure you have the safest ride possible. Here in this photo Brian Will, from Iowa's Cedar Valley Cycling Club lead a safe ride using trails and roads near sunset.

Falls unique events

Many charity rides are scheduled through the fall because of its great weather, and ambient beauty. One event type that is completely exclusive to fall is the sport of Cyclocross. What is Cyclocross you ask? Well, the best way to describe it is it’s just fun. A Cyclocross race is a timed (30,45,60 minutes) event that covers a one-mile course including, road, off road, grass, and sand sections with manmade and natural barriers. The best part of Cyclocross is that spectators can enjoy the action easily. Additionally, Cyclocross races are very family friendly and usually include things like food trucks, kids bike rodeos, and beer tastings.

How ever you decide to spend you fall, try and spend it outside on your bike. The Fall is a great time to get back on the bike, steal a few more hours in the saddle, or enjoy natures last show before the winters long sleep.

Back in the mountain bike saddle after a long holiday weekend, here is our bike pic for the day.

Bike Pic Sept 5, having fun post holiday with another adventure

Back in the mountain bike saddle after a long holiday weekend, excited for the next challenge, here is our bike pic to start your week.

What better way to continue your summer fun and your #NextBikeAdventure. View all the fun ideas and bike destinations in the latest Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide. Then plan your next outing with family and friends in one of Minnesota’s HaveFunBiking Destinations.

Thanks for Viewing Our ‘Bike Pic’ of the Day  

We are now rolling into our 10th year as a bike tourism media. As we pedal forward our goal is to continue to encourage more people to bike and have fun while we highlight all the unforgettable places for you to ride. As we continue to showcase more places to have fun, we hope the photos we shoot are worth a grin. Enjoy the information and stories we have posted as you scroll through.

Do you have a fun bicycle related photo of yourself or someone you may know that we should post? If so, please send your picture(s) to: editor@HaveFunBiking.com. Include a brief caption (for each) of who is in the photo (if you know) and where the picture was taken. Photo(s) should be a minimum of 1,000 pixels wide or larger to be considered. If we use your photo, you will receive photo credit and acknowledgment on Facebook and Instagram.

As we continue to encourage more people to bike, please view our Destination section at HaveFunBiking.com for your #NextBikeAdventure – Also, check out the MN Bike Guide, now mobile friendly, as we enter into our 8th year of producing this hand information booklet full of maps.

Remember, bookmark HaveFunBiking.com on your cell phone and find your next adventure at your fingertips! Please share our pics with your friends and don’t forget to smile. We may be around the corner with one of our cameras ready to document your next cameo apperance while you are riding and having fun. You could be in one of our next Pic’s of the Day.

Have a great day!

Tuesday morning and this mountain biking chick finds a dry trail to enjoy. In Minnesota, check MORC trail conditions before heading out

Bike Pic Aug 29, many trails are drying, check before mountain biking

Tuesday morning and this mountain biking chick finds a dry trail to enjoy. In Minnesota, check MORC trail conditions to see which trail systems may be open after all the rain, the last couple days.

What better way to continue your summer fun and your #NextBikeAdventure. View all the fun ideas and bike destinations in the latest Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide. Then plan your next outing with family and friends in one of Minnesota’s HaveFunBiking Destinations.

Thanks for Viewing Our ‘Mountain Biking’ Pic of the Day  

We are now rolling into our 10th year as a bike tourism media. As we pedal forward our goal is to continue to encourage more people to bike and have fun while we highlight all the unforgettable places for you to ride. As we continue to showcase more places to have fun, we hope the photos we shoot are worth a grin. Enjoy the information and stories we have posted as you scroll through.

Do you have a fun bicycle related photo of yourself or someone you may know that we should post? If so, please send your picture(s) to: editor@HaveFunBiking.com. Include a brief caption (for each) of who is in the photo (if you know) and where the picture was taken. Photo(s) should be a minimum of 1,000 pixels wide or larger to be considered. If we use your photo, you will receive photo credit and acknowledgment on Facebook and Instagram.

As we continue to encourage more people to bike, please view our Destination section at HaveFunBiking.com for your #NextBikeAdventure – Also, check out the MN Bike Guide, now mobile friendly, as we enter into our 8th year of producing this hand information booklet full of maps.

Remember, bookmark HaveFunBiking.com on your cell phone and find your next adventure at your fingertips! Please share our pics with your friends and don’t forget to smile. We may be around the corner with one of our cameras ready to document your next cameo apperance while you are riding and having fun. You could be in one of our next Pic’s of the Day.

Have a great day!

In this Bike Pic, a student from Washburn High School tests his mountain bike skills on the Jail Trail, near St Cloud last year, on a Minnesota High School Cycling League competition.

Theodore Wirth Park, a gift five minutes from downtown Minneapolis

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

In the western part of the Twin Cities, nestled between Golden Valley and Minneapolis is Theodore Wirth Park.  A space almost as large as New York City’s Central park. With in Wirth (as it’s known to the locals) you will find several scenic, natural areas around Birch pond and Wirth Lake, plus two golf courses and a fabulous mountain bike trail system.

For Twin Cities cyclists, it’s a natural playground you should be exited too explore.

Theodore Wirth Park History

What would become Theodore Wirth Park started in 1889 when 66 acres were purchased and established as a park. Now Theodore Wirth park (named after the park system’s superintendent from 1906 to 1936) has over 750 acres. The Central to the park is the Wirth Chalet, a stone and timber structure that offers events, and product rentals for snow sports.

Where to go in Theodore Wirth Park

If you are interested in riding the mountain bike trails of Wirth park, I find it easiest to park at the beach  house off Glenwood avenue. From there it’s a quick spin west over to the trailhead. If your interest are in the golf courses or Grand Rounds and Luce Line trails, the Golf Clubhouse on Theodore Wirth Parkway is your best starting point.

What are the trails like in Theodore Wirth Park

The trails at Wirth are predominantly designed for the intermediate rider. As you enter the trails at southern entrance you are greeted with a twisting climb up thorough rolling prairie and into well established woods. The trails themselves are well manicured and smooth with ample bermed turns. Expect to see narrow ribbons of brown winding through ample green surroundings. When you find your way into the northern trails, more rocks get introduced. The majority of the rocks are well embedded into the trails and act as exciting obstacles to manage. The northern trails also exist in denser forests, with far fewer field areas. Overall, the Trails at Wirth are fun and flowie, offer challenges for the most advanced riders while being accessible to casual riders.

Grand Rounds Trail

The Grand Rounds Scenic Byway is one of the countries longest continuous urban parkways. It is a connecting trail to more than 300 miles of regional trail around Twin Cities Metro Area. It also acts as the connecting trail between most of the parks in the Twin Cities area. That said, you can enjoy a day trip on the Grand Rounds Trail all over the Twin Cities via protected and paved bike lanes. The Grand Rounds travels through 7 districts:  Chain of Lakes (13.3 miles), Minnehaha (12.6 miles), The Mississippi River (9.2 miles), Downtown Riverfront (1.2 miles), Northeast (6 miles), Victory Memorial (3.8 miles) and Theodore Wirth Park (4 miles). Additionally, this trail is cleared by 6am every day through the winter if you choose to use it for commuting.

 

Luce Line Trail

The Grand Rounds Bike trail here connects to the binning of the Luce Line trail.

The Grand Rounds Bike trail here connects to the binning of the Luce Line trail.

The Luce Line trail is a 63 mile limestone path stretching from Cosmos in western Minnesota to Wirth park. It is available for Biking, hiking, running, jogging, and snow activities in specified areas. This trail is an exceptional way to explore neighborhoods and destinations west of the city.

How to help

If you ride and enjoy the trails at Wirth, consider volunteering for trail maintenance. The Minnesota Off Road Cycling organization (MORC) schedule trail work sessions on Wednesdays through the summer. Consequently, the group meets at 6 O’clock and welcomes anyone interested in helping. Wear long pants, boots, and work gloves because you will be doing hard labor. Moreover, you will find that the hard labor is enjoyable because you are giving back to fellow riders.

Winter riding in Wirth

The mountain bike trails in Wirth Park are extra fun in the winter on a fatty.

The mountain bike trails in Wirth Park are extra fun in the winter on a fatty.

While the trails are open through the winter, Fatbiking is not the only sport you can enjoy at Wirth. Therefore, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, tubing, sledding, skating, and, ice fishing are all available within the park. When planning a ride in the fall and spring, be sure to check the MORC website for trail conditions.

 

See how to get the most out of 100 years of technological advancements. You will find adjusting your front derailleur is easy if you follow these steps.

How to adjust your front derailleur for perfect and silent shifting

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

In the late 1920’s, in France, there was a bike race under way and it wasn’t the Tour De France. Instead, this race was a technological race that brought the derailleur into the light. Before 1928, bicycles had a maximum of two speeds, and you needed to remove the rear wheel to change those gears. As there was need for quicker shifting, the bicycle derailleur was born. Initial derailleurs consisted of nothing more than paddles that were actuated by steel rods located between the rider’s legs. Needless to say, there was a lot of finesse that went into shifting those bikes. Then after the second world war parallelogram derailleurs, what we use today, were developed so riders could shift their gears with ease. Read on to see how to get the most out of 100 years of technological advancements. You will find adjusting your front derailleur is easy if you follow these steps.

Front Derailleur

Early “Rod Style” Benelux front derailleur – Yikes

Front Derailleur parts

Limit screws (A) – The front derailleur needs to work within the largest and smallest ring. Limit screws work to stop the front derailleur from shifting outside of its intended range. They are adjustable as to match different types of cranks.

Derailleur Cage – The cage is what holds the chain on gear and what presses on the chain to move it from one gear to the next. The outer portion of the cage (C) is what helps the chain move from larger gears to smaller ones. In contrast, the inner portion of the cage (B) forces the chain from smaller gears to larger ones.

front derailleur

Common parallelogram front derailleur found on Hybrid and Mountainbikes

Derailleur Fixing Bolt (D) – The bolt that holds the derailleur in place on the frame. By loosening this bolt, you can re-position the derailleur for angle and height.

Cable Pinch Bolt (E) – The Cable that controls shifting needs to be held firmly in place. The pinch bolt does that job.

front derailleur

Different Pinch bolt and fixing bolt position for MTB/Hybrid (above) and Road (below) derailleurs

Location, location, location

You guessed it, the most important part of adjusting the front derailleur is its location. If the derailleur is not positioned properly, you will never achieve proper, noise free, shifting in all gears. The reason location is so important is that the front derailleur cage is formed to position the chain in very specific locations.

First step in adjusting the front derailleurs location is to set its height. You need enough room to fit a Nickel between the teeth on the largest chainring and the bottom of the outer cage when they are lined up. Any more clearance than that and the derailleur tends to have issues pulling the chain down from larger gears.

front derailleur

you should be able to fit a Nickle between the derailleur cage and chainring

Once you have the height set, adjust the angle of the front derailleur so that the outer cage and chainrings are parallel. Any misalignment will result in poor shifting and excess noise.

front derailleur

Proper alignment on the left, and misalignment on the right

Lower Limit

Set the lower limit by adjusting the screw marked “L”. To do this, shift the rear derailleur all the way up into the largest cog. Next check to see if there is clearance between the chain and the front derailleurs inner cage with the chain on the smallest chainring. If the chain is running on the inner cage, thread the limit screw out until you have 2-3mm (that nickel distance again!) between the chain and inner cage. When the opposite is true and you have too much clearance between the inner cage and chain, thread the limit screw in until there is 2-3mm of clearance.

Cable tension

Your Front derailleur should be properly aligned and the lower limit should be set at this point. The next step is to attach the cable to the Pinch bolt. Attach that cable by first making sure your shifter is in its lowest gear, Then pull the cable tight, and finally tighten the pinch bolt onto your cable. Usually, you can shift smoothly up from the smallest ring into the next gear right away, but if there is hesitation going up add cable tension either through a barrel adjuster or by loosening the pinch bolt, pulling the cable tighter, and tightening the pinch bolt down again. If the chain wants to shift up from the small ring over the next ring, release some tension. You know you have it right when the chain can pass from one gear to another smoothly and confidently without any banging or skipping noises.

Upper Limit

Setting the upper limit is as easy as getting the chain onto the largest chainring and threading the limit screw to offer 2-3mm of clearance between the chain and the outer cage. While shifting, ensure the chain cannot be shifted over the large ring and off the crank.

Trouble shooting

This guide is great if all the parts are new, but won’t overcome many issues related to worn or dirty parts. The most common shifting issue with older gears is poor upshifting. Chainrings are built with ramps on the inner surface to easily guide the chain from smaller to larger rings. As chainrings wear, these ramps wear as well. If you are having serious issues going from smaller to larger gears, but the gears are silent and problem free otherwise, you may want to consider replacing the chain, chainrings, and gears in the rear.

front derailleur

These Praxis Works chain rings have some of the best shifting thanks to carefully placed ramps.

Another key wear item is the front derailleur itself. Derailleurs are designed to pivot off a parallelogram design that requires each pivot run smooth and precisely. As the Front Derailleur wears, these pivots can begin to bind, while they generate play, leading to poor shifting.

Finally, dirty or corroded cables are a key cause in poor shifting. Replace cables once a year and lube them intermittently to keep them running smooth and freely.

When is enough, enough

Working on your bike is fun, but can be frustrating if things aren’t going according to plan. When things get out of hand, don’t be afraid to start from scratch and go back to step one. Any missed initial steps will make further steps impossible to complete. Also, remember that if it gets too tough, your local bike shop is happy to walk you through the process. You will pay a fee, but the one on one instruction is well worth it.