1. The most important thing about buying a new bike is to make sure it fits. The only way you'll know if the bike is right for you is to size up the bike and make sure that the bike's geometry matches your body's geometry. Ask questions and do some research.
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Thread: How to shift ??

  1. #1
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    How to shift ??

    Very new to bikes. This is my first bike ever. It has 18 speeds. 9 in back and 2 chainrings up front.

    Here is my problem: The shifting is not linear. In other words if it was gears 1-9 on the first chainring and 10-18 on the second I would have no problem.

    After getting the bike last week and experimenting it seems like to shift from lowest to highest in order I must go back and forth between the 2 chainrings.

    I might be in a lower gear change chainrings and my feet are flailing in the air.

    Does this make sense.

    I have a problem getting proper sequence so for now useonly one chainring to avoid confusion.

    How does one figure this out.

  2. #2
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    It's not like a car where you start in 1st gear and go through them one at a time as you accelerate, on a bike you are just picking a gear to match the terrain. You shouldn't pay any attention to what particular gear you're in as long as it allows you to pedal in the right cadence (pedal RPM).

    Think of the 2 front chainrings as gear ranges, like on a 4wd you have low and normal range. Say you are riding on terrain in the small ring and you find yourself needing mostly the small rear cogs in order not to spin out (downhill). This causes your chain to be at an angle (cross chaining) and increases wear and friction so you would be better off in the big ring. The opposite applies when climbing.

    Hope this helps some.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    It's not like a car where you start in 1st gear and go through them one at a time as you accelerate, on a bike you are just picking a gear to match the terrain. You shouldn't pay any attention to what particular gear you're in as long as it allows you to pedal in the right cadence (pedal RPM).

    Think of the 2 front chainrings as gear ranges, like on a 4wd you have low and normal range. Say you are riding on terrain in the small ring and you find yourself needing mostly the small rear cogs in order not to spin out (downhill). This causes your chain to be at an angle (cross chaining) and increases wear and friction so you would be better off in the big ring. The opposite applies when climbing.

    Hope this helps some.
    Yes.

    BTW JB Weld is great stuff.

  4. #4
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    Think of the front rings as major shifts and the rear cogs as fine tuning. For most XC style riding, you can, especially as a beginner, just major shift and doing it pretty infrequently.

    For example. Get started (pedaling away from the trail head) in the small ring (easiest or "lowest") up front and somewhere in the middle to larger cogs (so, something in the easier or "lower" half). Once you get up to speed, on flats or downhills, shift once in the front to the middle (next larger) chainring. That will be a major gear shift - since you're not moving the rear, you're shifting up a full range. When you reach uphill sections, just shift back down to the small ring up front for another major shift down (easier).

    After these major shifts, *if* you still need to fine tune the gear, make things easier by shifting down to larger cogs in the rear one at a time. Or shift up to a smaller cog for more leverage, again, one at a time. Meaning, give the bike time to shift and yourself time to feel the tension in each gear before shifting again.


    If you can find the right 2-3 cogs in the rear for your ability and terrain, you should be able to shift only once up front for major changes in terrain (up or down hills). Then, even less often, you could accompany that major shift with a fine tuning of 1 cog in the rear in either direction. As you get better, everything will be more natural anyway, and you'll start to use a larger gear range automatically.


    In general, try not to shift at all under major pedal/chain tension. This is hard on the drivetrain (both gears and chain), takes longer to shift if the shift is successful at all, and runs a pretty good risk of snapping even a new chain. If you end up on a tough hill in a gear that's too high, it's better to realize that and stop rather than stress your drivetrain. You can always head back to the bottom, shift to an appropriate low gear, and try the climb again. Then, next time, remember to down shift in anticipation of the hill before you're actually climbing.

    Another general tip is to not "cross" your chain too much. You don't want to ever use the fully crossed gears like smallest front ring -> smallest rear cog or biggest front ring -> biggest rear cog. The chain will be running at a significant angle across the gear teeth front and back, which causes excessive wear. Ending up in either of these chain lines probably means you should instead be somewhere in the middle front chainring and near the middle of the rear cogs for a similarly difficult gear.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by spivey44 View Post
    Very new to bikes. This is my first bike ever. It has 18 speeds. 9 in back and 2 chainrings up front.

    Here is my problem: The shifting is not linear. In other words if it was gears 1-9 on the first chainring and 10-18 on the second I would have no problem.

    After getting the bike last week and experimenting it seems like to shift from lowest to highest in order I must go back and forth between the 2 chainrings.

    I might be in a lower gear change chainrings and my feet are flailing in the air.

    Does this make sense.

    I have a problem getting proper sequence so for now useonly one chainring to avoid confusion.

    How does one figure this out.
    You are correct.

    They do it that way so that if you are riding and if you shift up the gear is a little to hard to push and you shift down and it is a little to easy to push...then you shift the front change ring and shift the back the other way and viola you have a gear right in between the two that were two high and too low.

    This is a big advantage when riding on the road, to help maintain candence and optimum efficiency and power.....not so much use if the terrain is varying like on a trail bike.

    Basically guess on which front ring you want to ride then shift up and down with the rear.

    If you guess wrong change the front ring...try to ride with the chain near the middle of the rear gear cluster.

  6. #6
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    To add to everyone's awesome advice, know that as the chain moves towards the center of the bike, you have lower gear ratios for slow but torque hill climbing. As the chain shifts away from the center of the bike, you get high gear ratios for fast speed but low torque.

    You may have noticed the respective levers on your handle bar's left and right shifter pods will run the chain in opposite directions. This confused the heck out of my friend when he was starting out. But we got him out to an empty parking lot where he couldn't hit anything, and had him work the levers while looking down to see what each lever did to the chain. There's no easy way to get that into your muscle memory without just doing it for a while. We had him focus on moving the chain in towards the bike for climbing, and away from the bike for speed. That made it click in his mind.

  7. #7
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    Lots of good explainions here , I would add that there is no "wrong" gear only a gear that doesn't work for you . If you want to try something different .try riding in just one gear ,pick the smaller front and one like the 18 or 19 in the back . You will learn that you are not as strong as you thought and that you can't spin the pedals as fast as you want to go.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zuarte View Post
    To add to everyone's awesome advice, know that as the chain moves towards the center of the bike, you have lower gear ratios for slow but torque hill climbing. As the chain shifts away from the center of the bike, you get high gear ratios for fast speed but low torque.
    this bears repeating.

    On a traditional 3 ring mtb drivetrain, the way I use it tends to be:

    small ring: climbing
    middle ring: most flat and downhill riding
    big ring: most road riding and the occasional long downhill

    With a 2 ring drivetrain, you'd go something more like this:

    small ring: climbing
    big ring: flat and downhill

    once you have that figured out, you can fine tune things with the rear cluster. do keep in mind that because shifts on the front chainring especially take time and you shouldn't make them when the chain is under a lot of tension, you need to shift from the big ring to the small ring before you need to climb up a hill. that still matters with the rear cluster, but as your skills improve, you can reduce the chain tension in order to complete a shift in the middle of a climb. that's not as easy to do with the front chainrings.

  9. #9
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    Everyone's advice here is spot on. Follow it and youll be fine.

    Another thing that I had to learn when I first started riding is when to shift.

    Don't wait until you're halfway up a steep climb to punch it down to granny gear. Plan ahead. If you think you're going to need a lower gear, drop it down beforehand and save your gearing. Don't be cranking super hard and then shift...this made me drop a lot of chains in the beginning because I just didn't understand there's a certain amount of finesse to use when shifting.

    Other than that, just plan ahead and practice. It takes a while to get used to stuff.

  10. #10
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    Excellent reading for new guys like me! But I have another question - Is there a better or best time to hit the shifter in relation to where the pedals are? Reason I ask, I dissasembled my 3 ring crank and polished it all up and noticed a ton of machining, grooves, pins and such on the chain rings, this has to be for some reason.
    So I have trigger shifters, should I hit the trigger at a particular time with the crank in a particular position/degree of rotation?

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Radamus View Post
    Excellent reading for new guys like me! But I have another question - Is there a better or best time to hit the shifter in relation to where the pedals are? Reason I ask, I dissasembled my 3 ring crank and polished it all up and noticed a ton of machining, grooves, pins and such on the chain rings, this has to be for some reason.
    So I have trigger shifters, should I hit the trigger at a particular time with the crank in a particular position/degree of rotation?
    Just hit the trigger and keep pedaling. Once it reaches the shift ramps/pins, the gear will change. The thing to remember is not to shift while loading the chain heavily (i.e. pedaling with a lot of force) or it will mess up the shift. Ease up on the pedals, but keep them moving, click the shifter and keep moving the pedals, and once the shift completes then go back to pedaling normally.

    Does anyone else here shift both shifters at the same time? I know I do when I need to grab a quick gear change on terrain that changes suddenly/abruptly....

    -S

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by shibiwan View Post
    Just hit the trigger and keep pedaling. Once it reaches the shift ramps/pins, the gear will change. The thing to remember is not to shift while loading the chain heavily (i.e. pedaling with a lot of force) or it will mess up the shift. Ease up on the pedals, but keep them moving, click the shifter and keep moving the pedals, and once the shift completes then go back to pedaling normally.

    Does anyone else here shift both shifters at the same time? I know I do when I need to grab a quick gear change on terrain that changes suddenly/abruptly....

    -S
    +1 on lightening the pedalling forces whenever you're about to shift. Just turn the drivetrain for one rotation before getting back on the power.

    I hit both triggers simultaneously whenever I'm changing gears on the crankset, just so the ratio jump isn't so big and unbalancing. It's very useful when charging up a hill and trying to milk the momentum as long as possible.

    As far as what part of the rotation it grabs, my crankset seems to grab the new gear as my right pedals reaches top dear center. The cassette is, of course, a crap shoot, because it's not on a fixed rotation.

    And let's make something clear - don't be afraid to be shifting gears constantly. If the terrain warrants it, don't be afraid to use it.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by shibiwan View Post
    Just hit the trigger and keep pedaling. Once it reaches the shift ramps/pins, the gear will change. The thing to remember is not to shift while loading the chain heavily (i.e. pedaling with a lot of force) or it will mess up the shift. Ease up on the pedals, but keep them moving, click the shifter and keep moving the pedals, and once the shift completes then go back to pedaling normally.

    Does anyone else here shift both shifters at the same time? I know I do when I need to grab a quick gear change on terrain that changes suddenly/abruptly....

    -S
    +2

    Try to anticipate when you need to change to a lower gear (higher on the cassette) With some practice it isn't hard to ease up on the force of your pedal stroke. your shifts will be much smoother and your chain and cassette will thank you.

    Pretty rare I will do front and back at the same time. Dropping the front usually gets me low enough, sometimes too low and I will shift to a higher gear (lower on the cassette)
    Sent via my heady vibes from the heart of Pisgahstan

  14. #14
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    All I know is the more I ride the less I shift, and plan to end up SS.

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