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  1. #1
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    New bike - skipping gears when shifting?

    Hi all -

    I have a new Giant Escape hybrid which I've put about 60 miles on these last 2 weeks. Last ride, I noticed when I switch gears on the rear cassette, it skips gears when downshifting. I have the stock shifters on the bike (SRAM X.4 Trigger), so there is a lever you push to downshift, then a button you click to upshift. Upshifting is fine, no missed gears.

    From browsing the web a bit, my newbie guess is the cable tension has slacked off due to the new cables stretching a bit? Is this something I can adjust using the barrel adjusters? I get a free tune-up at the shop I bought it from, so if it is something more involved I can take it there, but I am learning how to fix stuff and while the drivetrain is above my pay grade right now, I'd be more than comfortable with small adjustments (just don't ask me to take it apart then put it all back together again!)

    Also - and sorry here for the horrible description - on the front rings, I initially had a problem where I would push the shifter lever (the action is opposite from the rear rings - on the front, the lever upshifts, the click button downshifts - please, if there are better terms to use, let me know) and the chain wouldn't quite make it onto the bigger ring. I quickly realized if I pushed the lever in a bit more and held it for a second, I would smoothly shift gears. So that's what I've been doing with the rear, assuming they work the same as the front. Maybe I am pushing the lever in too much?

    Again, sorry for the awkward description, hard for a newbie to put this into words

    thanks for any insight/advice you can offer

  2. #2
    Que CERA, CERA jefferee's Avatar
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    Sounds to me like both shift cables need to be tweaked a bit--probably trimmable with the barrel adjusters.

    There's an off chance that the barrel adjuster won't give enough adjustment--in that case you would have to adjust the length of the cable by loosening the bolt securing the end of the cable to the derailleur, adjusting the cable position slightly (eighth of an inch or so) in the desired direction, and re-tightening.

    New cables and housings both tend to 'stretch' a little when first installed so adjusting after the first 50 miles or so is pretty common. You may have to tweak up the adjusters a few times, but things should settle down within a couple of hundred miles--at least until you replace the cables in a couple of years and start the cycle all over again.

    The Park tool website (specifically the repair help section at http://parktool.com/blog/repair-help) is a great bike maintenance resource, by the way.

    edit: linked the repair help page directly as it's difficult to find from the new, "improved" (i.e., not) layout.
    Quote Originally Posted by MajorMantra View Post
    Cycling (taken to the typical roadie extreme) causes you to cough up your own soul as every fibre of your worthless being sings in choral agony. Once you embrace the pain everything is dandy.

  3. #3
    Life is good RonH's Avatar
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    It's time to take the bike back to the shop for the FREE checkup and adjustments that should have been offered with the bike.
    My bikes: 2001 Litespeed Tuscany---2015 Cannondale Supersix EVO carbon 105 on order

    Life is like a 10-speed bicycle. Most of us have gears we never use. ~ Charles Schultz

  4. #4
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    Probably needs some minor adjustment. Take it back, shouldn't take more then 5 or 10 min to adjust.

  5. #5
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    It is something you can do yourself. But since the bike is new you should probably just take it to the shop so they can make a proper adjustment for you. It is much easier for them to do it on the stand, than for you to do it without a stand. It should take them only a few minutes.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by ARider2 View Post
    It is something you can do yourself. But since the bike is new you should probably just take it to the shop so they can make a proper adjustment for you. It is much easier for them to do it on the stand, than for you to do it without a stand. It should take them only a few minutes.
    I think it's something a bike owner should learn how to do themselves, but it's one thing you're buying when you get a bike at a LBS, the free tuneups.

  7. #7
    STFD mcgreivey's Avatar
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    If you bought it from a bike shop, they should have told you to bring it back in two or three weeks for a free tune up. If they didn't, you probably bought it from the wrong shop. But they probably did, so take it back for a tune-up.

    Or do it yourself, which isn't hard either.

  8. #8
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    I have a giant hybrid (rapid) with shimano quickfire shifters...if you press the downshift lever in all the way it will downshift two gears. If you listen you can hear it click twice. Probably the same thing with your SRAM shifter. Makes it easy to bang down through the gears, just have to get used to only flicking it until you feel the first click to downshift one gear on the cassette.

  9. #9
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    Thanks, guys - the replies sort of confirm that I am on the right track with the cable tension. I'll probably take it into the shop this weekend - they did offer the free tuneup, so I might as well take advantage of it.

    Quote Originally Posted by zoink View Post
    I have a giant hybrid (rapid) with shimano quickfire shifters...if you press the downshift lever in all the way it will downshift two gears. If you listen you can hear it click twice. Probably the same thing with your SRAM shifter. Makes it easy to bang down through the gears, just have to get used to only flicking it until you feel the first click to downshift one gear on the cassette.
    This is kind of interesting - could this be an intentional design element rather than poorly tuned shifters? (I used to work in IT, where one man's "feature" is another's "bug") I could see that being beneficial, but I would still want to tweak the tension - something like pushing in the lever halfway shifts once, pushing it in fully skips a gear. I'll have to mess around with that.

    Thanks for the replies! Much appreciated

  10. #10
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    It's probably intentional. They're MTB components and being able to quickly go through the gears would be helpful on trails. Some shifters allow for the same thing when shifting up as well. I just did a little bit of searching and haven't really seen it noted as a feature, but I did see quotes like this

    You've always been able to grab more than one gear with the thumb lever (lower lever) on RapidFire Shifters. With RapidFire Plus you can now shift two gears with the release lever too.
    Which definitely points to intentional.

    On the sram site for the X4 shifters one of their main advertising points is that is has "1:1 actuation and every unit of cable you pull moves the derailleur the same amount."

    So you're just pushing two shift lengths of cable through when you depress the lever fully on the right side...if that makes sense :/.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by zoink View Post
    So you're just pushing two shift lengths of cable through when you depress the lever fully on the right side...if that makes sense :/.
    It makes perfect sense - I'll chalk it up to user error and inexperience with the gear. Thanks for the reply!

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