After struggling while setting up my gears on two bikes with SRAM Force 22, I had to resort to searching the web for guides. Having realised it’s easy when you know how I’ve put together this guide on how to set up the SRAM front derailleur…Success guaranteed!
You will need 4mm and 2.5mm hex (allen) keys. Familiarise yourself with the various bolts (see below) before starting.
Step 1: Height of the front derailleur: Ensure cable anchor bolt is loosened. With chain on the small ring adjust the height of front derailleur so that the outer plate of the derailleur cage clears the tallest tooth of the large chain ring by 1-2mm (loosen front anchor bolt and use a coin or the guide line – as indicated in the illustration to the right). Use the inner limit screw to position the outer derailleur plate.
Step 2: Turn the inner limit screw (the one nearest the bike frame) while pedalling until the chain shifts up into the large chain ring. If necessary undo the outer limit screw a few turns.
Step 3: Alignment – To properly align Front Derailleur, line up the hash marks at the front and rear of the derailleur cage (see illustration to the left) with the centre of the large chain ring teeth (even easier if done before fitting the chain).
Use the inner limit screw to make lateral adjustments and the front anchor bolt to make rotational and height adjustments.
Step 4: Set outer limit. Shift into smallest rear cog. Adjust the outer limit of the front derailleur by turning inner limit so there is a 1mm clearance between outer plate and chain. Now turn outer limit screw clockwise until you just feel resistance.
Step 5: Anchor the front derailleur cable. Screw in the the barrel adjuster (often in the cable at the handlebars) to slacken the cable. Make sure the the changer is in the large chain ring position before pulling cable tight and anchoring the cable with the anchor bolt. Take up any slack in the cable using the barrel adjuster.
Step 6: Set inner limit. Use the shifter to release the cable tension by downshifting, as you would for a shift into the small chain ring. Shift the rear derailleur into the largest cog. Back off the inner limit screw while pedalling, to shift the chain down. Continue to back off the inner limit screw until chain noise disappears then turn screw another 45 degrees.
Step 7: Check to see that the derailleur is shifting properly and make small adjustments as necessary to dial in the shifting. Use barrel adjuster as necessary.
Step 8: Install chain watcher so that it is as close to the chain as possible when the chain is in the small chain ring up front and the large cog in the back without the chain watcher actually touching the chain. Slacken the fixing screw slightly and tweak the adjuster screw while applying inward pressure on the watcher then tighten fixing screw. Caution – it may move a little while tightening the fixing screw.
Front derailleur bolts and chain watcher fixing
Having seen a number of methods online, the above is a distillation of a few of them. If seeing a video helps, this GCN video is the closest to the method I describe above.
If you wish to print off a set of these instructions to make it easier in the workshop, you can download this PDF: SRAM FD setup Version 4
Updated May 2020