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Old 07-20-06, 10:13 AM   #1
dauphin
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Go ahead...laugh

I have been "browsing" and test riding road bikes for the past month or so and have ridden some nice bikes. Bikes from around 700.00 to 1,500.00 have been included in my test riding. Having logged quite a few miles on my "flat bar" Sirrus, I have become quite familiar with the selection of chainrings and gears using the rapid fire Shimano shifters. Pretty easy. 1,2,3 on the left and 1-8 on the right. When one starts using "brifters" are these selections just done by "feel"? Obviously there is no numbering system that you can glance at. I figure I am not the only one who has ever wanted to ask this question. I realize it isn't too difficult to glance down and check your chainring. Perhaps I am making this too complicated. It's just something I don't want to walk into a lbs and ask.
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Old 07-20-06, 10:55 AM   #2
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- i'm tempted to just give this answer:

Yes.

- but in reality you can get a little $9 indicator that fits in-line in the shift cable so you can get a visual indication of the current gear selected... (Nashbar had 'em a few months ago)...

- also, 'Flight Deck' means that if you use Shimano brifters and a Shimano cyclocomputer, you'll get a visual on the currently selected gear on the LCD... (not worth the $$$, IMHO)...

- but for those of us using cheaper 'puters, 'feel' is a pretty good indicator... i mean, either you're pedaling easy at a high cadence or not, right?

:-)
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Old 07-20-06, 11:00 AM   #3
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Shimano makes their Flight Deck Computer to work with their brifters, it shows you your gears and tooth counts and can calculate cadence without a cadence sensor. I have one on my Salsa, and like it a lot....

http://bike.shimano.com/catalog/cycl...=1153414380006

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Old 07-20-06, 11:40 AM   #4
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To me, it just flows naturally. Firstly, I do about 90% of my riding in the middle chain ring of my triples (an advantage of triples is that you don't have to flip back and forth between CR's so much - but you do tend to wear out that middle CR a bit faster). Therefore, most of the time all I have to keep track of is my cog placement and the trim function.

And that just seems to come naturally - perhaps my brain subconsciously tracks everything, but it has absolutely never been a problem.
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Old 07-20-06, 12:32 PM   #5
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I won't laugh if you won't. When I first used STI shifters I didn't ask how they worked and it took me a while on my first ride to figure which lever did what. Now I don't know how I could live without them. I love the fact that I can do multiple downshifts with a single action and shift with just a flix of a finger.
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Old 07-20-06, 12:53 PM   #6
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I guess I'm in Denver's camp generally. I ride a triple and since we have so many mountain roads around here, I ride quite a bit in the middle ring, sometimes in the small one, but mostly in the big 'un. Since I shift a lot because of all the ups and downs, I often just take a quick glance at the chain ring and/or cog to verify that I'm not cross-chaining. On our tandem I use a Flight Deck computer. It's a God-send for tandemistas!
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Old 07-20-06, 01:25 PM   #7
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I would guess the shifters would have to say "flight deck" compatible on them in order to work with that computer.
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Old 07-20-06, 01:52 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dauphin
I would guess the shifters would have to say "flight deck" compatible on them in order to work with that computer.
Not certain, but probably. If getting a Flight Deck computer is that important to you, ask your LBS to make sure the brifters are Flight Deck compatable. However, I wouldn't necessarily suggest a Flight Deck computer for a single bike. Why? There are equal or better computers out there for a lot less money. A good alternative has been suggested by linux author, by employing those in-line indicators, but really, a quick glance down at the chain is all that's necessary. Trust me, you'll get used to it.

Don't get me wrong, however, a Flight Deck is a decent computer, and you may have money to burn, but for me I'd just get a good $20-$40 Sigma or something like it and keep an eye on your chain. It's more fun to look at some Licra clad sweetie than your computer anyway! Oh, and then there's the road. Don't forget to look at it, too.
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Old 07-20-06, 01:53 PM   #9
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I think all of the STI shifters are compatible. You can also tell by looking for a little bump on the inside of the hoods. This is where the selection button will go. One downside of the Flight Deck is that with these buttons in the hoods you can easily hit one and put the unit in pause by mistake. The display of the gearing is pretty cool and I believe it will give you virtual cadence by knowing the speed and gearing.
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Old 07-20-06, 02:10 PM   #10
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It doesn't really matter which number gear you're in - if it's too high you should downshift and if it's too low you should upshift. If you're at the limit, you'll find out when you try to shift and it won't go.

Or am I just looking at things wrong?
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Old 07-20-06, 02:27 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by BlazingPedals
It doesn't really matter which number gear you're in - if it's too high you should downshift and if it's too low you should upshift. If you're at the limit, you'll find out when you try to shift and it won't go.
Yes, except for cross chaining.
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Old 07-20-06, 02:31 PM   #12
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I was riding with a friend the other day who commented that he only used three gears - the one he used most of the time, the one he used when he was going uphill, and the one he used when he wanted to go really fast. FWIW the bike was a 9 speed campy ergo with a dual ring in the front.
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Old 07-20-06, 02:31 PM   #13
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After riding downtube friction shifters for 30+ years, shifting by feel just comes naturally. I tend to just kind of remember what gear I'm in -- I almost never have to look.
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Old 07-20-06, 02:38 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DnvrFox
Yes, except for cross chaining.
I truly hate to hijack my own thread... but could you give me an example of cross chaining that even my simple brain can comprehend?
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Old 07-20-06, 02:38 PM   #15
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Check this link. Go to the bottom of the page and look at what Sheldon has on his new Raleigh.

http://sheldonbrown.org/raleigh-cadent/index.html
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Old 07-20-06, 02:44 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by va_cyclist
After riding downtube friction shifters for 30+ years, shifting by feel just comes naturally. I tend to just kind of remember what gear I'm in -- I almost never have to look.
... aging is a phunnie thang - I can clearly remember my 7th grade teacher, Miss Castro (I was smitten )
but can't remember whether I shifted a few seconds back, or what gear I prolly was in and moved too
don;t remember iff'n I closed the garage door when I left on my ride...
... but Miss Castro, whadda dish
... aging is a phunnie thang
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Old 07-20-06, 02:52 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Monoborracho
Check this link. Go to the bottom of the page and look at what Sheldon has on his new Raleigh.

http://sheldonbrown.org/raleigh-cadent/index.html
Thanks for posting that. Even in the blow up pic, I can't really see it as well as I would like. If I were to do a search for that item, what would I call it?
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Old 07-20-06, 03:07 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dauphin
Thanks for posting that. Even in the blow up pic, I can't really see it as well as I would like. If I were to do a search for that item, what would I call it?
See: http://harriscyclery.net/page.cfm?Pa...ils&sku=LD7706

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Old 07-20-06, 03:20 PM   #19
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Cross chaining is when you have your chain on the far left chain ring and the far right cog and vice versa. Usually makes some sort of not-so-nice noise and wears things out a bit.
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Old 07-20-06, 03:21 PM   #20
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My computer only measures speed, distance, average speed, and max speed. It also keeps track of the time. I'm no youngster, either. I grew up in the land of internal three-speed hubs with single chain rings. When I finally bought my first real road bike it had friction shifters - I thought they were way cool.

I can't tell you how resistant I was to moving up to index shifting. I kept telling myself what an advantage it was to be able to shift from the outer cog to the inner cog in one quick motion. I can do that on my Schwinn - only, now that I have index shifting on my brifters, I realize what a handicap friction shifting was (unless you were going to carefully move from one cog to the next, you never really knew what gear you would end up with). Also, brifters allow you to easily shift up and down as you feel necessary when standing out of the saddle. I don't know how I would even reach the downtube shifters while standing on my Schwinn - nor would I feel comfortable shifting on that bike while standing.

As for what gear I'm in - I don't really pay attention to it - when my body tells me I need to change gears, I shift.

Did you ask to know what cross chaining is? In a nutshell (and I haven't checked to see what Sheldon says about it), it is whenever you shift so that your chain is at the opposite extremes of your cogs/chain rings. My bike has double chain rings with a 9-cog cassette. An example of cross chaining would be if I am using the inner chain ring and the outer cog. This forces your chain to run at its most extreme angle - and, of course, your chain is not constructed to flex from side to side - so cross chaining puts undue strain on your chain and your gears.

If you analyze your gear ranges, you most likely can achieve similar gearing without using those extreme combinations.

I have modified my bike to include a super-sized large ring. It is so large, in fact, that I cannot use the inner ring with the outer three cogs because, at that angle, my chain will rub the large chain ring.

The mfr of the chain ring makes a spacer to overcome the problem, but, I haven't bothered with it because I know I don't need those gear combinations - that using them would cause undue wear on my drive train and I can accomplish those ranges with other non-cross chain gear combinations.

Now, most of what I know about bikes I've either picked up from my LBS, my personal experienced (most gathered in the last five years or so), or from this very informative site . . . so, if my explanation of cross chaining needs any brushing up, anyone else should feel free to do so.

Your questions are certainly not stupid.

Hope this helps.

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Old 07-20-06, 03:23 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlazingPedals
It doesn't really matter which number gear you're in - if it's too high you should downshift and if it's too low you should upshift. If you're at the limit, you'll find out when you try to shift and it won't go.

Or am I just looking at things wrong?

Had the road bike for 6 weeks and it is becoming natural now. Braking, steering, pedalling and gear changes. Gear changes are not a problem- most riding is in middle on the triple and I just change till I run out of gears. Then I know that more effort required or Time to change on the front. Don't need to look at the cassette to see what gear I am in, but then I am not pushing too hard at present due to the heat.
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Old 07-20-06, 05:00 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlazingPedals
It doesn't really matter which number gear you're in - if it's too high you should downshift and if it's too low you should upshift. If you're at the limit, you'll find out when you try to shift and it won't go.

Or am I just looking at things wrong?
No, your thinking machinery is still fine, I think. At least that's the way I learned 25 years ago, too. No silly numbers then either.
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Old 07-20-06, 05:05 PM   #23
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my computer doesn't work at all: Sheldon Brown doesn't address wireless models...it is VERY frustrating
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Old 07-20-06, 05:11 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by linux_author
- i'm tempted to just give this answer:

Yes. AGREED

- but in reality you can get a little $9 indicator that fits in-line in the shift cable so you can get a visual indication of the current gear selected... (Nashbar had 'em a few months ago)...

GOT ONE- DON'T LOOK AT IT ANYMORE: A GIMMICK

- also, 'Flight Deck' means that if you use Shimano brifters and a Shimano cyclocomputer, you'll get a visual on the currently selected gear on the LCD... (not worth the $$$, IMHO)...
AGREED - TRADED OFF BIKE - DON'T MISS IT.

- but for those of us using cheaper 'puters, 'feel' is a pretty good indicator... i mean, either you're pedaling easy at a high cadence or not, right?

ONLY WAY TO GO!!!!!!!!!!

:-)


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Old 07-21-06, 01:00 AM   #25
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My only complaint on brifters is their cost. Having already scratched one up in a wreck I was ready to go to friction bar end shifters had it been rendered useless. For the cost of a set of Shimano 105's I could replace the bar, tape, buy bar end shifters from Rivendell and still have money left over. Way to costly!

Also, I had to install "rollamagigs" (sp?) on the brifters to move the shift cables down and away from a handle bar bag. Other than than those two issues I don't mind using them and rely on the formula of shifting when I need to to keep my cadence up. I have no idea what gear I'm in nor do I care.
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