Cannot get my front derailleur (3-speed) fixed, what is going on?

Recently started doubting my LBS. I am a returning customer for multiple years, they know I train 5 days a week and at least one 100-160km long ride per week.

Front derailleur never worked properly after service (cannot get into small ring).

Started trying myself, looked up multiple videos. I just cannot get this 3-speed to shift properly. Either I cannot get into smallest ring, or not in largest, no matter how I adjust.

But then all of a sudden, my front derailleur cable became loose. Couple mins later, when I demounted my cable in an attempt to re-tighten it (by loosening the bolt, pulling strongly, and retightening the bolt), I noticed that the cable was freyed.

What can be going on? I have Ultegra 3-speed btw. And the cable is 1 year old.

I am quite in distress, as I have planned a 120km ride tomorrow. I have retightned it, and have it stuck in middle ring. That works, I can do the whole ride in 2nd ring. But I am afraid it might snap on the go before I can get to a LBS.

Adjusting a front mech is usual straight forward, they are fairly brutish things to begin with.

I would start by replace the inner and outer cable. Backing all the limit and adjustment off and starting from scratch.

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A 1 year old cable can certainly fray if it’s done a lot of shifting like it sounds yours has, plus if it’s pulled loose then that’s going to fray it.

As to why it wouldn’t shift into the small ring, most common thing I’ve found in that case is the derailleur isn’t springing back the way it should. Either because the spring has worn out, and/or because the derailleur is gummed up and has too much friction for the spring to overcome. If it’s a derailleur issue then the cable would be a bit loose after the failed shift, since effectively the cable has been released by the shifter but the derailleur isn’t taking up the slack the way it should.

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I Have an old triple fitted bike. 22 years old…

I used for to and from work did Paris- Brest- Paris when i first bought the bike.

The front mech does sometimes stops working as it should cable routing generally is the issue. Some rust…I Often… i mean Often hit with a hammer - end of winter…WD40 to loosen off.

I would set the end stops at their widest then start setting the shift…

If that does not work, I would replace the Lot, Cables and outers … If Just serviced… Did you have the Bar tape replaced…?? If So did they change any of the angles?

As Previous statements… the front Mech is Robust… Recently… A tiny kink in the outer cable was stopping the front working… I nearly was buying a new front changer… Just a tiny kink in the outer.


Thanks for all the replies and helpful input. I believe I have Ultegra SL 6600 (triple!). My bike is from 2008 iirc (bought it new back then; Cube Agree), so I had a hard time figuring out what group set exactly is. Here’s a pic of my triple crankset:

Since my LBS messed it up, I decided I could mess it up myself and learn in the process, since my bike is already so old (saving up for an SL7 or Orca next year). So I replaced the cable myself and indexed it (using parktool and gcn videos). Now, it shifts perfectly.

However, is it normal after 100km of shifting between outer and middle ring the cable comes a bit loser? That you need to retune after the first ride to make it perfect? I know the cable was screwed very hard in, so it’s not slipping out of the front derailleur.

Finally, did not replace the outer cable because only the outer end of the inner cable that attaches to the front mech was frayed. But I DID fell on the shifter last year, so if a slight bend in the outer makes a difference, perhaps I should have replaced it.

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Well done! It’s always worth learning how to do things yourself.

And yes, it’s pretty normal for the cable to need a bit of re-adjustment after a few rides. It used to be called cable ‘stretch’, but it is just the cable adjusting a bit more into all the grooves and corners it has to go through

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