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  1. #1
    Bossy Bunny mirage1's Avatar
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    Shifting the front chainring...is it my bike, or is it me?

    I'm a new rider (up to like a whopping 150 miles so far). I've been cruising around on the middle chainring up front very comfortably, just using the back gears, but I'm starting to feel a little more strong and decided to try out the big chainring.

    My bike doesn't seem to think I'm ready. I was able to get it to shift a handful of times, but never on the first try. I tried pedaling lightly at first (figuring it's got to have a little slack to get to the bigger ring) but that didn't seem to really work, so I tried pedaling a little harder, and that didn't help, so I tried pausing for a second when I shifted, and that worked like a charm one time and for s*** the other times.

    When I DID get the chain on there, wowza, I go a lot faster. So now I want to use it a lot! (I have a lot of flat to ride on around me.) But although I swear all the time when I'm driving my car in traffic, today was the first time I've wanted to swear at my sweet little bike.

    I've looked all around for info on shifting but there doesn't seem to be any mention of "technique" so to speak. My chain IS making some noise when I'm pedaling, which doesn't seem right, like something's rubbing, maybe?--I'm taking it to the LBS where I bought it to have him look, this weekend--but meanwhile, what the HECK.

    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
    Margie

    "Assume a virtue, if you have it not." ~ William Shakespeare

    This advice is the reason I'm masquerading as an athletic person.

  2. #2
    Certifiable Bike "Expert"
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    Um... what kind of bike?
    I don't even use the offensive term "Fred." -- Sheldon "All Cyclists Are My Friends" Brown (1944-2008)

  3. #3
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Let me guess ....

    STI shifters
    52 or 53 teeth on the large ring

    If so, there are three things you can do:

    1. Always shift with the tip of the shifter, not the middle .... a bit of a challenge for those of us with smaller hands. You might have to practically lean off the bicycle to do it.

    2. Double shift ... click once, and click again. If luck smiles on you, the second click might shift it.

    3. Change the big ring to a 48T ... that worked the best for me.

  4. #4
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    Keep pedaling while you shift with less pressure on the pedals. If it does not go in gear it probably needs adjusting. Do it without looking at it and concentrate on the feel.

    New cables generally stretch a little when they are first used and require a minor adjustment. This is routine. Most bicycle offer a 30-day free tune-up on new bikes for this reason and to have happy customers.

    You may be able to fix it with the barrel adjusters. If you do not know how to use them, take it back to the shop and get some instructions. My new bike was not shifting quite right and a quarter turn on the barrel adjuster fixed it. I was new to STI and luckily turned it the correct direction.
    What is better than getting your heart rate up and saddle time?

  5. #5
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    Maybe the front derailer simply needs adjusting?

    My wife couldn't shift onto her large chainring even though the LBS went through the gears on the bike stand before she took the bike home. I simply had to reposition the front derailer and it's been fine ever since.

  6. #6
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    Parktool.com has a wonderful article on adjusting your front deraileur. You may not need to adjust it but you can look at the article to see if the way it is currently adjusted falls within their guidelines. Or take it to the lbs.

  7. #7
    Bossy Bunny mirage1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phantoj
    Um... what kind of bike?
    Sorry, I guess I wasn't thinking that would make a difference in the case of "just won't get the chain moved over" but more info is always mo' better.

    It's a Diamondback Wildwood comfort bike, with the twist shifter. It actually shows a "2" when I'm on the middle one and a "1" or a "3" depending on which way I shift (can't remember which number is the big one but I know I twist back on my left hand to go faster ) so it's not that I'm not moving the shifter to the right spot (is that what indexed means, vs. friction?).

    The specs on the bike don't show the sizes of the chainwheel, just that it has a Shimano C50 front derailleur.

    Quote Originally Posted by Machka
    Let me guess ....

    STI shifters
    52 or 53 teeth on the large ring

    If so, there are three things you can do:

    1. Always shift with the tip of the shifter, not the middle .... a bit of a challenge for those of us with smaller hands. You might have to practically lean off the bicycle to do it.

    2. Double shift ... click once, and click again. If luck smiles on you, the second click might shift it.

    3. Change the big ring to a 48T ... that worked the best for me.
    I'm sorry, if I'd given more information you would have known this wasn't it. Thanks for the suggestions, though!

    Quote Originally Posted by dekindy
    Keep pedaling while you shift with less pressure on the pedals. If it does not go in gear it probably needs adjusting. Do it without looking at it and concentrate on the feel.

    New cables generally stretch a little when they are first used and require a minor adjustment. This is routine. Most bicycle offer a 30-day free tune-up on new bikes for this reason and to have happy customers.
    I suspect this could be it...I remember shifting the front a few times the first day or so I had it, just to get a feel for it, and I don't remember it being so difficult!

    Thanks, all--off to the LBS it is.
    Margie

    "Assume a virtue, if you have it not." ~ William Shakespeare

    This advice is the reason I'm masquerading as an athletic person.

  8. #8
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    Any new bike will experience cable stretch. Here's a quick way to check; shift onto the smallest front chainring. The derailleur cable should be taut, but not tight. If there's any slack at all, it's not going to shift smoothly onto that big ring.
    If there's a tendency for the chain to come off the big ring, (that is, to fall off to the outside) then you need to have the "high" stop-screw adjusted.

    The "big ring" isn't anything magical; if you have a lot of level road as you say, it's fine, but most riders can efficiently use the middle ring 90% of the time.

  9. #9
    Bossy Bunny mirage1's Avatar
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    Yes, I've been doing fine without it, but I literally gained like 2 mph without changing my cadence or effort level when I did get it on there. It was nice to be able to pick up the pace a little without having to work a lot for it!

    Thanks, all.
    Margie

    "Assume a virtue, if you have it not." ~ William Shakespeare

    This advice is the reason I'm masquerading as an athletic person.

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