For access to all of our training, gear, and race coverage, plus exclusive training plans, FinisherPix photos, event discounts, and GPS apps, sign up for Outside+.
Simplify your derailleur adjustment with this phone app.
Like learning a foreign language, figuring out how to work on your bike can be frustrating and overwhelming. But a new tool called Otto can empower even the most novice bike mechanic thanks to its voice-guided app that can tune a rear derailleur in just a few minutes. The product itself is pretty simple. There are two gauges that attach to your bike and sync with an app on your phone. The app is compatible with 9-, 10- and 11-speed Shimano and SRAM drivetrains and will walk you through the set-up process, asking how many teeth are on the largest and smallest cogs of your cassette.
The first diagnostic task is to evaluate the limit screws, which is done in the “complete” mode and can take several minutes. Once those are dialed, it will check the barrel adjuster using the “fast” mode, which can take less than a minute. Most shifting problems can be fixed through a few clicks of the barrel adjuster, making Otto a useful tool. It will even identify a bent derailleur hanger and help you through the process of fixing it. There are other variables that can affect shifting performance that Otto can’t address, such as worn-out cables or a damaged derailleur. But when you consider the cost of taking your bike into a shop to fix a problem you can now take care of at home, Otto will pay for itself after just a few tune-ups.