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Adjusting your gears? There’s an app for that + video

Otto Tuning System provides hardware and app to get your shifting perfect

If you’re not confident about adjusting your gears, the Otto Tuning System is a voice-guided iPhone vision App and tool that allows you to check and tune your rear derailleur easily. 

We all know the feeling of dodgy shifting. The chain doesn’t move from one sprocket to the next as crisply as you’d like, or it rattles as if it’s unhappy about the gear it’s in.

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If you’re an old hand at bike mechanics you’ll probably have your bike running smoothly again in no time at all, but if you’re not, the Otto Tuning System could help out.

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“The Otto Tuning System de-mystifies and simplifies the derailleur adjustment process, giving everyone the power to adjust their bicycle with professional precision,” says the company behind the design.

“Otto operates from the simple principle of ensuring the bicycle derailleur jockey pulley is parallel to and aligned directly below the cassette gear selected at every shift. A vision alignment system built on the iPhone front facing camera platform and Siri’s voice guidance is used in combination with a set of Otto gauges to precisely locate all critical components of a bicycle’s drive system.

“The Otto app offers progressive levels of functionality with both ‘check’ and ‘tune’ options… Simple enough for the weekend cyclist or bike racer to use, yet precise enough to earn a spot on the mechanic's workbench, it's ideal for pre-ride/pre-race shifting confirmation, after wheel changes, or for regular maintenance.”

Product Demonstration from OTTO DesignWorks on Vimeo.

You fit a gauge to your rear mech and show it the app via the iPhone camera. Then the app talks you through what you need to do in order to get everything set up right. It covers both the limit screws and the barrel adjuster. The makers say that the system offers accuracty to +/-0.125mm.

Now, if you’re a past master at getting your gears set up perfectly, you might think that an app is unnecessary. Well, you might be right, but this system might well help people get involved in sorting out their bike. Of course, you could get the info you need from a whole load of different sources, but some people like using apps.

The Otto Tuning System won’t work with every rear derailleur. Check out the list of compatible 9-11 speed Shimano and SRAM (not Campagnolo) options. 

The Otto Tuning System is priced £27.98 while the iPhone app is free. There is no Android version.

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Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.

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