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How does a barrel adjuster work?

How does a barrel adjuster work?

Introduction- How does a barrel adjuster work?

Barrel adjusters are the little cups with holes at the bottom that can be screwed into your bike, used for adjusting cable length. You might find them at different places on your bike: the brakes, gear levers, derailleurs, or brake calipers.

Barrel adjusters are used to extend the distance a cable will go. Since both the brake and gears of many bikes use cables, the cables might lose their elasticity at some point. A great way to tighten them is by using a barrel adjuster.

A barrel adjuster is an easy way to make adjustments to your bike without any complicated tools. Depending on the problem with your cable, a barrel adjuster can help you fix it when you screw or unscrew it.

If the challenge is that your cable is loose and does not respond well, you need to unscrew the adjuster: a few turns will help increase tension in the cable and make the brake responsive. By unscrewing the adjuster, you are extending the cable, and making it go farther means it becomes tighter.

But if the brakes are too tight, you can loosen the cable by screwing the barrel adjuster down. This will easily loosen the tension around the brakes.

SRAM eTap Front Derailleur Problems

When there is no barrel adjuster in your front derailleur

The front derailleur is an important device on the bike that moves the chain from chainring to chainring. You need to ensure it is free from dirt, so it doesn’t develop issues.

Many derailleur systems do not have barrel adjusters. Only some modern bikes have them installed. The barrel adjusters can help you tune the derailleur adjustments by increasing or decreasing the cable’s tension.

If there is no barrel adjuster in your front derailleur, you will need to add an inline adjuster. This is cheaper and simpler to install — the choice is yours to make as you can still work with the shifter.


When the rear derailleur barrel adjuster stops working

Check your derailleurs frequently to make sure they are not clogged with dirt. If the rear derailleur barrel adjuster doesn’t shift easily, it could be an adjustment problem. The derailleur may be out of alignment.

The fix this, you need to tighten the cable and readjust the barrel. You can also turn the adjuster without the cable connected. If it doesn’t move, that means it needs cleaning. If after cleaning there is still no improvement, you will have to get a new adjuster.

Popular barrel adjuster brands 

Below are some of the popular brands of barrel adjusters:

  • Campagnolo brake barrel adjuster:  You can get vintage, pre-owned parts from online marketplaces or classified sites. They are usually in perfect or excellent condition, and there is often free shipping.
  • Shimano XT barrel adjuster: You can shop for these products online, and often qualify for free shipping. The barrel adjusters usually sell at affordable prices.
  • Avid inline barrel adjuster: Avid is a renowned company that sells all kinds of barrel adjusters. They ship to almost anywhere in the world.


Final Comments

Barrel adjusters are affordable, yet beneficial accessories to help improve your riding experience. If you find it challenging to maintain the right tension in your bike’s cables, you could consider getting barrel adjusters soon!


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