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How To Install A Front Derailleur On A Mountain Bike?

Looking to install a front derailleur on your mountain bike? There are a variety of reasons you want or need to change the front derailleur from being out biking and your derailleur not shifting through the gears properly or you are upgrading to a better derailleur.

Front derailleurs on a mountain bike can still be an essential part of the bike. The front part of the mountain bike derailleurs also has two types of dimensions which are 3×10 and 2×10. The popular one is the 2×10 front derailleur since those tend to come a little cheaper than the 3×10 ones.

In this post, we will go through installing a front derailleur, and you can go biking with confidence. Let’s get started!

Read more on common questions asked

Types Of Derailleurs

As we know that the main job of a derailleur is that changes the gears. By de-railing the chain and then pulling it off one cog or sprocket onto another. A bike can have only a rear derailleur, or both a rear derailleur and a front derailleur.

There are also front and rear derailleurs, especially for MTB and there are derailleurs for road bikes.

Mountain Bike Derailleurs

Double And Triple Chain Wheels

Today most modern front derailleurs are optimized for either double or triple chain wheels.

  • Double – Has an inner cage plate that extends down only slightly farther than the outer plate.
  • Triple – Has an extended inner plate that goes down considerably lower than the outer plate. The extended plate greatly improves shifting from the small to the middle chainring, because it acts closer to the middle ring.

Checking The Derailleurs Regularly

The derailleurs should be inspected regularly. A properly adjusted derailleur shouldn’t be making any real noise. If there is noise coming from the derailleur when shifting gears, the derailleur may need an adjustment.

If after the adjustment, the noise stills persists, it may be time to replace the derailleur. It is also worth going to the local bike shop to help to identify the problem and fix it.

There are others things to look out for when inspecting your derailleur, such as.

  • That the chain does not come off.
  • That the chain should line up smoothly with each chainring and be rubbing against the chain.
  • Any debris in and around the chain and the derailleur.
  • That the derailleur cage does not rub the crankarm.

What Can Cause A Front Derailleur To Break?

Derailleurs can break, there are a few common causes that break derailleurs. These are as follows.

  • Over shifting into the spokes, happens because your low limit screw was improperly set, which allowed the derailleur to move too far beyond the largest cog.
  • The hanger has been bent from an accident or letting the bike fall over on its right side.
  • The derailleur was built with a defect or it was a cheap derailleur, with the derailleur there was an area that was weak, and even a moderate vibration of the ride breaks the derailleur.
  • Simply it is old and cumulative wear and tear caused it to fail under those conditions.
  • Debris can get got in between the chain and the derailleur, which can break the derailleur.

Tools You May Need

There are a couple of tools and materials needed for installing a front derailleur. These are as follows.

Install A Front Derailleur On A Mountain Bike

Before installing a new front derailleur you need to check if you need to replace the old derailleurs. Make sure that there is no damage in the area where you are installing the front derailleurs.

Let’s get started installing a new front derailleur.

Remove The Old Front Derailleur

  • First, we remove the old, used, or broken front derailleur by removing the chain first from the link.
  • Once you’ve loosened the cables of your mountain bike’s front derailleur, you will have a much more accessible to remove the old, used, and/or broken previous front derailleurs.
  • Unscrew the outer chainring on the derailleur body, too remove.

Install The New Front Derailleur

Now that you’ve removed the old, used, and/or broken front derailleurs, the next step you’re going to take before you replace them with the newer ones is to apply greases or oils as the bases.

Another thing about waterproof greases or oils is that they contain one of the highest levels of water as well as durability and density, making your new front derailleurs more durable and sustainable to accompany your adventurous journeys using your mountain bikes.

  • Add grease or oil as the base to your front derailleurs.
  • After applying grease or oil as the bases to your front derailleurs, now it is to adjust the height. As with the rear parts, you need to set the lower and higher limits when adjusting the heights so your derailleurs will have steady moves around the limits you’ve set.
  • In adjusting the front derailleurs’ heights, you need to keep in mind the angles as well as ensure the bottom edge of the derailleurs’ frames doesn’t sit more than 2 to 5mm above the teeth’ top parts on the longest link.
mountain bike chain
  • Rotating the wheels and trimming the cables as the links, cables, cranks, cassettes, and wheels, move around the lower and higher limits help in setting the right angles for your front derailleurs.
  • Let the derailleur return to its position over the smallest chainring.
  • Refit the cable, and tighten the securing bolt.


  • Finally, do a test that everything is working as it should. If everything is smooth you have done the job properly.

Wrapping Up

Finally, I hope this article covering how to install a front derailleur was helpful. Making sure your front derailleur is working properly is important. Accidents do happen that can break your front derailleur and sometimes the front derailleur just breaks from wear and tear. Replacing the front derailleur is a fairly straightforward process.

And that’s it for now! I’d love it if this post on how to install a front derailleur on a mountain bike was helpful to you. Let me know if you have any questions and let me know if there is more to add.

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A Front Derailleur On A Mountain Bike