Index Rear Derailleurs and set Front Derailleur limits using E-Tube Project

Published October 20, 2020 by BetterShifting

Part of the process of building and setting up a Di2 bike is setting the front derailleur high/low limits and indexing or micro-adjusting your Di2 rear derailleur. This can be done without a computer, by using the shift levers for example.

However, not all bikes have a full set of shift levers and running through the process can be confusing on Time Trial bikes. It is therefore good to know that you can also do both of these things using a Windows computer - all you need is E-Tube Project 4.

You can also do this using the previous version of E-Tube Project: Adjust and set up your derailleurs using E-Tube Project 3.4.5

Possible E-Tube version 4 bug

Sometimes when I tried this procedure myself the Rear/Front maintenance options were not available. They were greyed out.

In that case simply disconnecting (using the disconnect button) and reconnecting to the bike fixed my issue. In the cases where it didn't work the battery charge indicator was not displayed either, even though the battery was detected by E-Tube.

Index / Micro-adjust your rear derailleur

On a mechanical road bike you would call this indexing, but the correct Di2 term is micro-adjusting. It is essentially the same, except with Di2 you can tell the system to move really small (micro!) steps in either direction in order to index the derailleur.

To get started just connect your bike to your computer and run E-Tube Project. Then open the maintenance tab. With the tab open make sure to select the derailleur you want to change.

In this case click Rear. The number that is displayed (+5) indicates the current adjustment value for the derailleur.

Adjust your rear derailleur

The on-screen instructions tell you to "move the derailleur to the position shown in the picture".

Don't bother. You can't.

What the application is trying to tell you is that it will move the derailleur to that position for you. If you click the start button you'll be told to rotate the cranks.

Adjust your rear derailleur turn the cranks

Once the derailleur has shifter to the correct position, the fifth cassette sprocket, you'll be shown the adjustment screen. In this screen you can shift the rear derailleur and change the adjustment value. This last thing is what we're after.

If you're wondering why the fifth sprocket and not the sixth or fourth? Or any other? It doesn't matter that much, but when in the 5th gear the chain line is relatively straight, making sure the adjustment is most accurate.

Another useful feature of this page is that it shows you what gear the bike thinks it is in. This can be a useful troubleshooting tool - sometimes the bike thinks it is in gear 3 when it is actually in 4. In those cases check the derailleur hanger, cassette installation and reset the indexing value. Then start over.

Adjust your rear derailleur adjusted

Micro-adjusting a Di2 rear derailleur goes like this

  • Shift the rear derailleur to the 5th sprocket and the front derailleur to the small ring. The application did this for you.
  • Keep turning the crank arms while performing the next steps.
  • Press the Left arrow (-) button to move the derailleur towards the inside until you hear it rub against the 4th sprocket
  • Hear that rubbing noise? Now use the Right arrow (+) button to back it off four steps
  • Press the End button at the bottom of the screen and E-Tube Project will store the requested changes

Adjust your rear derailleur settings changed

Set the Di2 Front Derailleur limits

Now let's set the Front Derailleur limits. Depending on what series hardware you have installed this page will look slightly different.

The older FD-6870 and FD-9070 front derailleurs have both a low and top adjustment bolt and only a top (or inner) electrical adjustment.

Current generation FD-R8050, FD-R9150 and FD-RX815 have only one adjustment bolt (Top) and setting them up is a it different. The Shimano help text tells you how to do this, but the general gist of it is:

  • Set the front derailleur height and angle
  • Adjust the front derailleur top adjustment bolt
  • Set the front derailleur low limit (electrical)
  • Set the top limit (electrical)

The process is also explained on the one bolt derailleur setup page.

Let's get adjusting

The indoor bike that I used to grab these screenshots has the FD-6870 installed, so I'll only set the Inner (top) limit using E-Tube Project. If you have a newer front derailleur installed the process is similar, but do pay attention to the Shimano help texts.

Adjust your front derailleur intro

Once you open the front derailleur adjustment page you'll see a notice telling you to adjust the bolts first. It'll also highlight the help icon at the top.

Adjust your front derailleur help text

Click OK to continue and it will tell you to move the derailleurs to the indicated position.

Adjust your front derailleur will move by itself

Once again, you can't.

The app will do this for you after you click next.

Adjust your front derailleur turn the cranks

After the derailleurs have moved to the correct position you'll see this screen:

Adjust your front derailleur adjust it

It shows you the current adjustment value and provides a bit of guidance on how to set up the derailleur. This is a good starting point, but you may have to do some more tweaking later. Set the derailleur up with the indicated 0 - 0.5mm of clearance and click next.

E-Tube Project will now save the settings.

Adjust your front derailleur saved

Done! Derailleurs set up and adjusted

The steps as described on this page should give you a pretty good starting point. They are by no means set in stone, so feel free to play around a bit and see what works best for you.

Any questions or comments? You can either send me an email or leave a comment below. Thanks!