Can't dial gears in still

Checking for some follow up advice on gearing. I am to the point of trying to tweak he adjustment near the rear derailleur about a half turn every time I ride now. Sometimes some of the gears sound downright good, but I can never get the smallest, hardest to pedal gear to sound like it’s in gear no matter what. Any suggestions on how to dial this in better? I’ll be bringing it in for a spring tune up soon, so that will probably throw things off, but I just can’t seem to get the gearing to sound good on my kickr core.

Thanks.

This is a simple mistake I made and had the same issue turns out I hadn’t set the frame in square on the axle . Once I adjusted it was fine no more gear issue

I’ll give that a check.

Didn’t seem like there was any wiggle etc. Seemed square and tight.

Some of these may sound dumb, but seen questions on this forum about some of them.
Do you have the same speed cassette on the trainer as on the bike?
Do you have the correct spacers fitted to the trainer for the cassette?
Does the bike shift smoothly when not on the trainer?

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If all the other gears are shifting smoothly going up and down and it is only the smallest cog that is not working correctly, then we can assume your cable tension is correct and the friction of your cable and cable housing is not impeding the derailleur’s travel.
When in the lowest cog, does the cable feel tight?
This setting should have the lowest tension.
Your problem sounds like the derailleur doesn’t have enough travel to get into this gear.
If your using the correct spacer and your bike is square in the trainer, then tweak B screw or the derailleur limit screw.

Check to make sure the uppermost pulley on the derailleur is not contacting the cassette.
If so, adjust your B screw to pull your derailleur back.

Usually what ever the problem, I NEVER tell people to mess with their limit screws if they are using the same equipment that previously worked but in your case, you are taking off the wheel and using a different cassette so you may need to let your derailleur slide over a little bit more.

Yes. Originally ordered the machine and the 11 speed cassette. Only one I saw with the machine when I bought it. Ended up returning that and buying a 9 speed to match my salsa journeyman.

As far as I know. Didn’t see one with my refurbished kickr core, but figured out the what should have been with it and went down to my lbs. They gave me one. I suppose this could be the problem though.

Haven’t had any trouble with shifting really. Only exception would be now that I am moving the adjuster by the rear derailleur (I forget what it’s called, but it twists on the cable and I can see the derailleur moving slightly left and right when I twist it) it skips one in a while and I know I don’t have it dialed in right when it does that.

No issues before the trainer, but it’s my first bike, and with road noise, I guess I don’t know for sure how to compare the noise. The smallest gear doesn’t feel right either though. If it did that when I rode outside, I’d ask my lbs about it.

I’ll try to check the tension when I ride again this week. I’ll google it, but I’m not sure what the b screw or the limit screw are. Is on of those the one on the cable behind the derailleur that I’ve been tweaking to move the derailleur left and right slightly to try to get things lined up?

Did you fit the cassette on the trainer yourself? You are using a 9 speed cassette and it will require a spacer to be fitted on the freehub before the cassette.

Yep. Spacer first, and then cassette. Just a little ring that doesn’t seem too thick.

Shimano CS-HG400-9 11-34t. As best I could tell, this should be an okay replacement.

Salsa Journeyman Sora 650B Purple. Can’t post links I guess.

The adjustments on the derailleur are not too difficult.
There is a high and low limit screw and they do exactly that, they limit the lateral movement of the derailleur.
They have no effect on all the gears in between they only affect the biggest and the smallest cogs.
Set it too far over and the chain will pop over the cog and come off the cassette.
Set it not far enough, and the chain wont sit firmly on the cog.
This is a good exercise to learn the mechanics.
There are only 4 adjustments for a mechanical derailleur - high / low limit screws, B screw and the cable tension barrel adjustment.

Adjusting the rear derailleur isn’t too hard and it’s a good skill to have. I learnt off YouTube, just scanning through this seems like a decent video.

I limit myself to the basic adjustment (low/high level screws, barrel adjuster etc), if it looks bent and or damaged then I’d take it to a bike shop.