Front Derailleur Not Moving: What Went Wrong? Find Out!

You are shifting gears in your bike to pull out a stunt or just for a forthcoming climb. But the shifting doesn’t happen at all. Rather your front derailleurs let the chain slip with your bike not moving forward.

So you’re frustrated and thinking why is my front derailleur not moving?

Well, a front derailleur might not be working for many reasons. One of the common reasons why your front derailleur may not be working is that its movement is jammed. Moreover, misalignment and bent cage are also common occurrences for which the front derailleur stops working.

But in order to fix these problems, you should learn more in detail about the equipment and parts. To help you with that we have written a full article on it. So, read along. 

Front Derailleur Not Moving: 4 Common Problems

A front derailleur is constituted of simple parts which can look very easy to work with. The most common problem with derailleurs is their sluggish shifting issues. As much as there are shifting problems with di2 rear derailleurs, front derailleurs also face the same situation.

Front Derailleur Not Moving: What Went Wrong? Find Out!


They require attention and a closer look into the smallest details. Because even a minute change in position and cable tension can immobilize the front derailleur. While the process of fixing the front derailleur may sound tough to some people, it’s actually not that hard.

Fortunately, a faulty front derailleur doesn’t always need to be repaired at a workshop. Adjusting a front derailleur is quite simple and easy if you know the steps. Following our solutions from the next section, you can easily repair it yourself.

Here are the 4 common problems why your front derailleur might not be moving and their solutions.

Problem 1 of 4: Dirt and Grit

The housing is a very convenient place for the dust to settle in. They can easily work their way in and create friction. The shifting in both sideways is disturbed due to the friction generated in the system. As a result, the front derailleur can’t move at all. 

Front derailleurs movement problems occur mainly as a result of issues in the cable system. The continuous movement of the derailleur is hampered due to the friction in the shift cable. 

This is because, at the shifter, the derailleur is held back and released. This ends up the front derailleur getting jammed and not being able to move.


When the housing and cable are detached, check if the housing slides smoothly or not. You can also try cleaning the cable and putting some lube on it. Here are some lubes that we found to work exceptionally well with cables: 

After that, readjust the housing to see if it has helped move.

First, you need to look at the housing stops. If the cable is barely open, check to see if there is an opening in the housing stop. 

You can inspect the cable on these bikes by putting them in the lowest gear. And then shifting the derailleur without pedalling to slacken the cable. You need to take out the housing from the stops.  

Problem 2 of 4: Misplacement of the Cage

Almost every front derailleur can be adjusted manually in case of their height and rotation. And here lies the extreme possibilities of misalignment and misplacement of the position. If the cage is placed high above the biggest ring, it will not function properly

When the cage is too high, it can result in the chain shifting over to the largest ring.  And if the cage is too low, the chain will get jammed at the time of shifting not letting the front derailleur move.


Generally, the chainring and the cage are positioned parallel to each other. But sometimes intentionally bringing some changes to the rotation improves the shifting.

For instance, the bike shifts poorly to the smaller rings. Even though the cage rotates parallelly properly and the limits are maintained. 

In this way, the rotation of the cage moves more towards the direction of the inward. It supports the chain with a push which helps it to get detached and make the shift.

Problem 3 of 4: Chainrings Being Worn Out 

With time, chainrings will start decaying and eventually end up being ramshackle. In a worn-out ring, the chains will not be able to perform well. 

The pin and the ramp used in shifting will also start falling into pieces. As a result, it will lead to the shifting performance being hampered.

Front Derailleur Not Moving: What Went Wrong? Find Out!


The tooth of the chainring can get distorted in shape due to the pressure. It can get bent and create unruly sounds. The chain can also get caught up in this. It basically happens when the bracket bearing at the bottom gets loose.

Another common problem with chainring is it moves unsteadily in a particular direction while spinning. It will result in unintended shifts which can make adjusting the index and setting limit screws difficult. 

The limit screws wouldn’t move and without the proper setting of limit screws, the front derailleur won’t move.


Firstly ensure that the mounting bolts are properly tightened. Specifically, it’s because a crank bolt needs more torque to function than a chainring bolt. However, the replacement of the chainring would be the best decision if the shape got distorted.

Here are some good quality chainrings that you can get as replacements for your worn-out chainrings:

Replacing the chainring is the best option but you can also consider re-bending the tooth. While training to re-bend the truth if it snaps, don’t worry about it. It goes without saying that the ring will work just fine without the tooth. 

Problem 4 of 4: Inappropriate Parts

Bikes are generally produced with specified and individual equipment. But if the chainring is not of the correct size it can create complexities. 

Also if different parts are used from another front derailleur it won’t function smoothly. As a result, the bike will start having compatibility issues and movement will get hampered.

These are the common problems why your front derailleur might not be moving.


Inappropriate parts from another front derailleur will end up not moving and causing difficulties. Firstly ensure that while buying equipment and parts for the bike you’re buying the one that is specified. Check out the manual if you have any confusion. 

Front Derailleur Not Moving: What Went Wrong? Find Out!


And if it seems that incompatible equipment is installed then look for the alignment and position if it’s correct. If not, then change the parts and buy the right one ASAP.

By following these instructions carefully, your front derailleur will get easier to handle. The mechanic can always help you if you have trouble understanding the instructions. If your front derailleur is still not moving get it checked in the workshop.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What Does A Front Derailleur Do?

A front derailleur provides the mechanism which helps to shift the chain from one chainring to another. When you move along with the front shift lever it actually travels sideways. It carries the chain along with it.

What To Do When The Front Derailleur Is Not Moving?

First, you need to readjust the cable by pulling tight. Then the anchor belt should be tightened again. Reposition along with the larger chainring. If that doesn’t work, rotate the inline barrel adjuster anti-clockwise. This is to improve the tension in the cable.

Should The Front Derailleur Be Tight Or Loose?

The front derailleur should be tight enough so that the cable can’t slip. All the sacks in the cable should get rid of by pulling up the pliers. You can make sure that the adjustment is right and perfect. You have to check if there is any rubbing while shifting to the largest chainring.


That was our take on why your front derailleur is not moving?

Front derailleur can have quite a few reasons to turn out dysfunctional. But you can fix these easily at home by yourself. Always start with keeping a proper check on the basic adjustments.

Good luck with your bike!

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