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Front Shifter/Derailleur issue
#1
Hello,

I have recently begun attempting to fix up my bike for summer/commuting to work now that I've moved. While checking through things, I realized that over the "sitting in the shed" time over winter, my front gears now won't shift. The shifter on the handlebar moves easily still, but the chain won't move to the other gears (it's currently in the middle of 3 front gears) and there seems to be no indication of anything happening when I try to shift. The rear will move perfectly through all the gears easily, the chain isn't worn, and I had a complete overhaul/tune-up on the bike (from a friend at college whom I no longer have easy access to for help on this) 3 years ago, with only minor riding time put in since then. I have little experience with fixing my bike myself (but I'm interested in learning), and was hoping to get some advice as to where to start looking for the issue. Should I be looking at the cable (it LOOKS like it's in place), the derailleur (again, it APPEARS to be in good condition, but I'm not entirely sure what part to be looking at for issues), the chain (I cleaned it and made sure it looked like it was in good shape), or somewhere else entirely? Or is this something that I need to take to a bike shop to look at? Thank you in advance for any help you can offer.
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#2
After it has been sitting in the shed, everything needs lube against corrosion and rust. Replace all housing and cable. I'd do both front and rear derailleurs. Lube all the pivot points on both derailleurs, including pinch bolts. Degrease and lube chain. Limit screws should be ok so just fine tune with barrel adjusters. If this is sounding foreign, take it to the shop, it will be worth it.
GO RIDE...
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#3
Hm, I understand it as: "Shifters move but the derailleur doesn't." Either the cable or the housing is broken or the cable is not tightened to the derailleur (though how that could happen from not touching it... beats me). Does the derailleur move at all if you try to shift?
Another thought: If the cable was broken the derailleur would sit on the smallest chain ring (assuming the limit screws are set correctly).
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#4
Update:
So, I went out today and made sure that everything was all lubed up (I had lightly applied triflow before noticing the gear-shifting issue, but went back and made sure to spray it, move the part, then spray it again), that all the parts are moving correctly, found and removed some gunk that was in one of the small rear deraillur gears that I had somehow missed before, etc. and checked all the cables (none were broken or disconnected) and that everything was tightened, and now it somehow magically seems to be shifting correctly (it would shift through all three of the gears while I had it off the ground, but didn't try it while riding it yet) even though I didn't find and/or fix anything that I'm aware of other than double checking all the bits. I'm going to sit down with the thing this weekend when I can actually get some daylight hours with it and make sure everything is together correctly and in good shape still (especially those cables) before I attempt to ride it, just in case. And I'll probably just go and get new cables and replace them just in case, since I don't remember how long ago it was that I did that last...

Thanks so very much for your help! Just knowing to check the cable, housing, and derailleur is a great help for me. At least I now know where to start looking.
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#5
Glad it worked out and you learned something! Especially after not riding for a while, the gunk that formed on the bike during the season starts to solidify. That's why I clean my road bike very thoroughly in fall when I have the feeling that I'll switch to the cyclocross.
Now you go for the "fun" part of replacing the cables and housing and setting up the shifting again, take your time, be patient. A lot of these things require tons of patience at first, after some time they'll be much easier. (Oh, and if you cannot remember how long ago those cables were replaced last time: what about the brake pads?)
Although I am not sure if those cables really need to be replaced. I only do that when shifting gets bad and corrosion is visible.
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#6
Hi Kitty,

Make sure you test it out on the road (under pressure) because things can be different...

I've often (and just recently) had a seized front derailleur (never happens to the rear but that may be due to the frequency of shifting on the rear) and soaking in petrol seems to get it going again... Looks like you've already sorted it though?

If it doesn't shift properly on the road, I'd look for a worn chain ring (middle if you have three), worn chain (you ought replace both) and worn cassette (the chain will wear with the cassette and produce the worn chain ring).

Remember, the bike behaves differently on the road when under pressure than simply turning the pedals on a bike stand or (in my case) whilst simply upside down...
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