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Old 05-17-20, 09:47 PM
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A bar-end shifter is basically just a lever attached to a rotating drum with a stop for a cable. When you pull the lever up, the shifter pulls cable; when you push the lever down, the shifter releases cable. Each shifter is connected to one of the derailleurs: the left shifter is typically hooked to the front derailleur, the right shifter is typically hooked to the rear derailleur.

Derailleurs work by forcing the chain side to side to cause it to move to a different sprocket. Most derailleurs - both front and rear - are designed so that releasing cable at the shifter causes the derailleur to move toward a smaller sprocket.

So, pushing the left shifter down will cause the derailleur to move toward a smaller front chainring, which is a downshift to a lower gear. Pushing the right shifter down will cause the derailleur to move toward a smaller rear cog, which is an upshift to a higher gear.

Your right shifter is probably indexed, meaning that it is "notched" so that moving it by one "click" will shift by one cog. But your left shifter - for the chainrings - is probably a friction shifter that lacks notches. For that, you just need to learn the hang of moving it far enough to cause it to shift into the next chainring. Because it's a friction shifter, you can easily use it to "trim" the front derailleur: if the chain is rubbing against the front derailleur (which can make a grinding or clattering sound), you can subtly move the front derailleur so that the rubbing is no longer happening.
If you can't use the left shifter to shift into the smallest front chainring, there's an adjustment problem with your drivetrain.

Unlike internal hub gears, derailleurs can only shift while the chain is moving forward, so you need to be pedaling. But, it also works best if there's not much tension on the drivetrain, so you'll want to soft-pedal while the shift happens. This sounds complicated, but you'll develop a feel for it.

In terms of ergonomic use of the shifters, refer to this:

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