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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 08-29-10, 07:11 PM   #1
jakewhaat
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Shifting gears

I just bought a bike with twist shifters and it's really confusing. I only use it at school to get to my classes from my dorm hall. Can anyone tell me what's the difference between the left and right shifters? Do the numbers on left and right shifters have to be the same? Which gear is best for flat ground? I think I totally messed up my chains because the numbers on each gear is different and when I try to pedal, it makes weird clanky noise and it doesn't go. Can anyone help me? Thanks
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Old 08-29-10, 07:39 PM   #2
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Left controls front and right controls rear.

Can you find someone to help you shift to 2 on the front and a middle number on the rear? Then, ride around without shifting until you learn the basics of how your gears work.

Google "how to shift gears on a bike".
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Old 08-29-10, 09:55 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JanMM View Post
Left controls front and right controls rear.

Can you find someone to help you shift to 2 on the front and a middle number on the rear? Then, ride around without shifting until you learn the basics of how your gears work.

Google "how to shift gears on a bike".

^^^^ What he said!

I had forgotten how confusing bike shifting is until I started teaching my son to ride a multi-gear bike (after years of him riding single speeds). I started him off by finding a gear ratio that allowed him to start without too much strain, but still do okay when he's riding on flat ground. We then went out to a less busy part of the bike path and I had him do some experimenting. He's starting to get it the same way I did -- mostly by trial and error (My first experiences were on a 3 speed internally geared hub; I wasn't even sure that shifting 'did' anything... then I had a 10 speed schwinn varsity with a non-functional front derailleur... so effectively a 5 speed) Great ways to learn, really.

Also -- based on your description of the clanking chain, you may need to have the derailleurs adjusted (you mention the bike was new -- did they throw in free periodic adjustments? Or was this a walmart/target/dept store special, so the build is suspect to begin with?) Either way -- you might want to turn the bike upside down, and manually watch the derailleurs and chain as you pedal with your hands -- this might give you a better idea of what is (and what is supposed to be) happening. Don't know how well this will work with twist grips, though. Also -- find a friend who knows bikes -- and have them help you learn... and help you figure out if the cables are loose or some other adjustment problem is making your shifting not work.

Good luck, and stick with it.
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Old 08-29-10, 10:04 PM   #4
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http://bicycletutor.com/gear-shifting/
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Old 08-29-10, 10:25 PM   #5
irclean
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Put the left shifter in the number 2 position and leave it there; just use the right shifter for now. Now... steal the pebble from my hand, Grasshopper.
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Old 08-29-10, 11:07 PM   #6
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+1 (what he said)

And there's also:
http://www.parktool.com/repair/byreg...ageField2.y=11

The shifting is the easy part. Adjusting the derailleurs so they stop clanking is a bit harder, but still within the skills of any pothead... I mean, bike shop mechanic. Might as well learn how to do it now; I learned about my first multispeed bike's friction shifters when I was 12.
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