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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2. If possible, try to find a shop that will let you demo the bike on real dirt. Five minutes in a parking lot won't cut it. You wouldn't buy a car without a real world test drive, and a bike should be no different.
3. Don't belive the hype. Just because your favorite rider or best friend rides a certain bike, that doesn't mean that's the best one for you. Have an open mind and be realistic about your needs and ability.
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  1. #1
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    Questions about shifting (I dont know what Im doing)

    Well just got a new gary fisher piranha. Im loving it but im having some problems with shifting. This is my first bike in 15years and my first bike with multiple speeds ever. So that being said these questions may seem pretty stupid. First I have three gears in the front and nine in the back so I have a 27speed correct? It isnt really possible to shift to all those gears is it? If Im all the way in on the first gear in the front, 1 I think and I try to shift all the way out to the farthest gear in the back the bike does not seem to like this. It does it but I cant imagine putting that kind of angle on the chain to be correct. Am I supposed to only use three of gears in the back to each of the front gears so the chain stays some what aligned? So is that a nine speed? Also when shifting to the largest gear in the front I have to hold the trigger a few seconds or press it multiple times to switch gears is that correct or could my cable be a little to loose?

  2. #2
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    Here's a really good overview:

    http://www.sheldonbrown.com/gears.html

    You are correct that you never want the chain at too extreme of an angle. You can use the inner 4 or 5 cogs on your cassette (rear) with the inner chainring (front) for your lowest gears. The middle 4 or 5 rear with the middle chainring in front, and the outer 4 or 5 in the rear with the outermost chainring. That gives you about 12-15 useful gears.

    David B.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by muell
    Well just got a new gary fisher piranha. Im loving it but im having some problems with shifting. This is my first bike in 15years and my first bike with multiple speeds ever. So that being said these questions may seem pretty stupid. First I have three gears in the front and nine in the back so I have a 27speed correct? It isnt really possible to shift to all those gears is it? If Im all the way in on the first gear in the front, 1 I think and I try to shift all the way out to the farthest gear in the back the bike does not seem to like this. It does it but I cant imagine putting that kind of angle on the chain to be correct.
    Just a few notes on terminology that might help you: The front gears are called chainrings, or "rings" for short. The rear gears are individually called cogs, and the cluster of cogs is collectively called the cassette.

    SO, you are correct. That's call "cross-chaining", and it is not a good idea. Do a search on this site or on google and you will see more detailed explanation.

    Am I supposed to only use three of gears in the back to each of the front gears so the chain stays some what aligned? So is that a nine speed?
    As a general rule, I don't use the the upper half (as in smaller cogs) of the cassette in the small ring, or the lower half (bigger cogs) in the big ring. That is not a hard rule, some just avoil the upper or lower 2 or 3 cogs. You can use all the gears in the middle ring

    Also when shifting to the largest gear in the front I have to hold the trigger a few seconds or press it multiple times to switch gears is that correct or could my cable be a little to loose?
    Sounds like an adjustment of the cable tension or (less likely) front deraileur upper limit screw. It is not uncommon to need to hold the lever for a few moments until it shifts up, but not more than about a second. Do a search on front derailleur adjustment, it should cover all of this. I believe Park Tools has a good tutorial on this, or go to site of the front der manufacturer, both Shimano and SRAM have decent instructions.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by muell
    Also when shifting to the largest gear in the front I have to hold the trigger a few seconds or press it multiple times to switch gears is that correct or could my cable be a little to loose?
    That is normal. I had the same question back when I bought my first, multi-speed bike. What happens is that the rings up front are large, and the differences between them are large. So it takes a few seconds for the chain to jump up to the next larger ring. So push and hold until you feel the shift complete. Then let go.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by muell
    Well just got a new gary fisher piranha.
    Nice bike, actually. I like Fishers.

    Quote Originally Posted by muell
    First I have three gears in the front and nine in the back so I have a 27speed correct?
    Yes.

    Quote Originally Posted by muell
    It isnt really possible to shift to all those gears is it? If Im all the way in on the first gear in the front, 1 I think and I try to shift all the way out to the farthest gear in the back the bike does not seem to like this.
    It is possible to shift into all the gear combinations. However, it is true that most riders will avoid the extreme opposites. What you describe is termed "cross chaining". Most will avoid it.

    Many will disagree with me, but I suggest that you do not worry about cross chaining to the point where it interferes with your enjoyment of the bike. Just ride. Keep the cross chaining thing in the back of your mind. Avoid it when you think to avoid it. Don't worry when you do cross chain. Your bike will not probably explode from it. Eventually, you'll avoid it without having to give it a second thought.

    My point here is that some worry too much about cross chaining, seemingly to the point of panic. Don't fall into that trap. Just ride and enjoy the bike.

    Quote Originally Posted by muell
    Am I supposed to only use three of gears in the back to each of the front gears so the chain stays some what aligned?
    It is not that scientific.It is less stress on the chain to have it more or less straight. Keep that thought in mind. You'll be ok.

    I typically run middle-ring most of the time. I use the small ring up front when climbing hills. and since I'm going uphill, I tend to also use the bigger cogs in the back.

    When I'm in the middle ring, I give myself the freedom to use all nine cogs in the back. Though when I have time, I might adjust front and rear to make the chain straighter. Depends upon what trail I'm riding and how much time I have to think and make adjustments versus what it takes to keep the bike moving forward without crashing.

    Quote Originally Posted by muell
    So is that a nine speed?
    When you buy parts such as, say, shifters, you will see terms like nine-speed, eight-speed, etc. When buying parts like that, you have a nine-speed bike. In those cases, the term refers to the number of gears on the back wheel. A nine-speed shifter is for a bike with nine cogs at the back wheel.

    However, there are also bikes that have one ring up front and nine in the back -- 1x9. Those bikes can be called "nine speed". So you have to interpret the term within the right context.

  6. #6
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    I'll throw in a little advice for what its worth.

    When I started riding real mountain bikes, I shifted like a rookie. An experienced friend gave me this advice that helped me get better so I'll pass it on:

    1. When shifting to an easier gear, anticipate the gear change whenever possible and change it before you're drive train is under a lot of stress. (this'll extend the life of the drivetrain by a LOT)

    2. In general, when changing gears you want to make big adjustments with the chainrings, and "fine tune" the adjustment with with the cassette cogs. For example, if you're cruising on flat ground in your middle chainring and large cog and you see a short steep coming, first shift to your small chainring and if that is too easy of a gear, make the small adjustment on the cassette so you'll be able to clear the short steep w/o changing gears while climbing.

    3. Don't try to correct lack of anticipation by shifting the chainring and cassette at the same time....you'll likely just throw the chain. (learned this one from experience!)

    Regarding cross chaining and and shifting gears, I try not go beyond halfway down the cassette when in the small chainring; I use the whole cassette when in the middle chainring; and I try not to go beyond halfway up the cassette when in the large chainring. When I first started, I kept a close eye on my cassette to make sure I was keeping the chain where it needed to be, but after a while you'll find that it just happens.

    Don't know if this helps at all....or even if this is the info you were looking for....but here it is anyway.
    I've not been killed, only wounded...I'll just lie here a while and bleed, then rise again to fight another day.

  7. #7
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    thanks to all, This is the kind of advice I was looking for.

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