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Old 08-18-04, 11:02 AM   #1
CaroleeB6768
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Times have changed since I was on a bike!

Hi all,

I just purchased my first road bike since 1986, with the goal of completing the Pan/Mass challenge here in Mass next summer. I have a Bianchi Brava.

However, since I last rode in 86, a couple of things have changed and I have questions. I tried the search, but I can't find this topic (although I'm probably just not using the right words). Could someone please explain how to shift properly on these new bikes? My Brava has gray switches on each handlebar, but my shifting is not smooth. I am afraid I'm not doing it correctly and I don't want to hurt my bike!

Also, are toeclips still around, or do I have to go to the shoes that fit directly to the pedals to get the same effect? I currently just have pedals w/o toeclips.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 08-18-04, 11:11 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by CaroleeB6768
Hi all,

I just purchased my first road bike since 1986, with the goal of completing the Pan/Mass challenge here in Mass next summer. I have a Bianchi Brava.

However, since I last rode in 86, a couple of things have changed and I have questions. I tried the search, but I can't find this topic (although I'm probably just not using the right words). Could someone please explain how to shift properly on these new bikes? My Brava has gray switches on each handlebar, but my shifting is not smooth. I am afraid I'm not doing it correctly and I don't want to hurt my bike!

Also, are toeclips still around, or do I have to go to the shoes that fit directly to the pedals to get the same effect? I currently just have pedals w/o toeclips.

Thanks in advance!
As for shifting, you should have gotten an owners manual,and some instruction for the shop that sold it. Basically,assuming your brava is the same as current catalogue,the brake levers pivot inward toward the center of the bars to shift to bigger cogs in back and bigger chainrings in front. The thumb buttons shift to smaller cogs and smaller chainings. It won't shift right unless everything is properly adjusted. Stay out of the big cog and big chainring as well as the samll cog and small chainring.Toeclips are still available

Last edited by sydney; 08-18-04 at 11:16 AM.
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Old 08-18-04, 11:29 AM   #3
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Describe what you mean by - shifting is not smooth. Are you letting off on the pressure from your legs when you shift, especially when shifting the front? I get rough shifting when I try to shift through hard peddling. Plus it's not good for the equipment. Continue your peddling, but don't push as hard when you shift, that will make everything shift smoother.

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Old 08-18-04, 12:54 PM   #4
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BTW, the best riding position from which to use "brifters" is "on the hoods". With the crotch of each hand resting on the main body of the lever, your index and middle fingers naturally rest on the lever. You can usually activate the smaller lever (to go to a smaller cog or ring) with your middle or ring finger, or even your pinky. Activating the larger lever usually takes the index and the middle finger together. If your '86 bike had index shifting (it would have been the dawn of the SIS era), think of each activation of the lever as clicking the SIS lever one position up or down. Now, of course, you have index shifting on the chainrings as well.

As for pedals, yes, toe clips are still around. But saying you "have to" go to clipless pedals/shoes is like saying you "have to" use a pentium computer, as opposed to an old 286. Clipless pedals are much easier and safer to get into and out of than clips/straps, and the "full circle" pedaling effect is much greater, provided they're adjusted correctly.

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...since I last rode in 86, a couple of things have changed...
Carole, you win this week's "flair for understatement" prize. Welcome back; have fun! Good luck with the Challenge.
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Old 08-18-04, 01:18 PM   #5
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Welcome out of the time capsule. Bicycles are still chain-driven.....no change there....
As far as shifting, you just need to be a bit more forceful and you'll get the feel of what indexed shifting is all about.
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Old 08-18-04, 01:33 PM   #6
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As far as shifting, you just need to be a bit more forceful and you'll get the feel of what indexed shifting is all about.
What does 'a bit more forceful' mean? I'm trying to get the gist of index shifting on a road tandem. On a roadbike, I'm most accustomed to late 70s/early 80s shifting on the neck or downtube, though I recently acquired a mid 80s fuji with bar end shifters. My mtn bike is an early 90's 'trigger' shifter (didn't want the gripshift that looked like a fad at the time; or a suspension fork... ).
Anyway, the gf gets annoyed with me when shifting on the tandem, we clunk the gears a lot. I've been trying to shift more slowly to avoid the clunk; but you're saying more forceful. Whats the correct technique?
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Old 08-18-04, 01:46 PM   #7
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Lighten up on the pedaling, but use a more forceful snap on the shift lever. The tandem has the disadvantage of longer cables, so shifting will never be as precise as on a single.
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Old 08-18-04, 01:47 PM   #8
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Lighten up on the pedaling, but use a more forceful snap on the shift lever. The tandem has the disadvantage of longer cables, so shifting will never be as precise as on a single. You also need to anticipate your shifting needs better. If you downshift just before you need the lower gear, the shift won't be so clunky. This will all come with time and experience.
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Old 08-18-04, 02:11 PM   #9
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What does 'a bit more forceful' mean? I'm trying to get the gist of index shifting on a road tandem.
I remember the rear Ergo shifting on my tandem felt quite 'mushy' compared to an identical system on my road bike due to the long derailleur cable. As I stated, forceful meaning finger power. A bit of overshifting helps the chain hop on the larger cogs.
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Old 08-18-04, 02:16 PM   #10
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Anyway, the gf gets annoyed with me when shifting on the tandem, we clunk the gears a lot. I've been trying to shift more slowly to avoid the clunk; but you're saying more forceful. Whats the correct technique?
More important than technique...... communication between you and your stoker so she can anticipate a sudden increase in cadence...
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Old 08-19-04, 07:31 AM   #11
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Well, I gathered up all your helpful suggestions and went home after work to try and work out my shifting issues...and it was a lot better! I found the advice from madpogue to be right on target, and really helped me to visualize how I should be shifting:


Quote:
Originally Posted by madpogue
BTW, the best riding position from which to use "brifters" is "on the hoods". With the crotch of each hand resting on the main body of the lever, your index and middle fingers naturally rest on the lever. You can usually activate the smaller lever (to go to a smaller cog or ring) with your middle or ring finger, or even your pinky. Activating the larger lever usually takes the index and the middle finger together.
But thanks to everyone for helping come out of the dark ages of my last biking experience and into the new (for me anyway) era!!
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Old 08-19-04, 11:30 AM   #12
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BTW, the best riding position from which to use "brifters" is "on the hoods".
actually.. isn't the best riding position subjective? my hands are actually quite uncomfortable in the position you've mentioned.. i'm most comfy.. so BEST for me.. is to hold the "corners" of my bars..
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Old 08-20-04, 01:29 AM   #13
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actually.. isn't the best riding position subjective? my hands are actually quite uncomfortable in the position you've mentioned.. i'm most comfy.. so BEST for me.. is to hold the "corners" of my bars..
My answer was in reference to the question about shifting, but yes, I failed to say that it's the best position from which to shift "brifters". Ideal riding position indeed varies with ther rider, speed, road conditions, perceived need to impress those one is passing , et. al.

That said, if you're most comfortable at the point where the bars curve forward, you're probably ripe for a fitting and some adjustments. I favored that position for years, but only because I've always had road bikes with pretty conventional geometry, and I'm built like a lot of women, with long legs and a short torso. So the "hood" position was too much of a reach. My current road bike is a WSD (it actually says "For Women Only" on the hideous frame graphics; oh well, I never took direction well...), and I've had a biodynamic fitting done. After the fitting, including switching out the seatpost (to a "zero offset" type) and stem, I'm perfectly comfy on the hoods now.
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