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Kids bike - swapping Shimano Altus to Microshift Acolyte - worth it?

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Kids bike - swapping Shimano Altus to Microshift Acolyte - worth it?

Old 04-10-24, 10:36 AM
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Kids bike - swapping Shimano Altus to Microshift Acolyte - worth it?

I take my son to school daily via bike - he's in the 2nd grade. I try to persuade him to shift gears but he's hesitant. To be fair, the shift lever is rather heavy when downshifting. The shift cables are reasonably new. I'm curious if it would be worthwhile to swap out 8 speed Shimano Altus for Microshift Acolyte. Has anyone done a side by side comparison? I guess its also possible that something is wrong or has been damaged with his current setup any that replacing it with anything new would be an improvement.

I guess this is half "would something new work better?" and half "would something new be better for small hands?"


Note - this is a repost, not sure where the previous post disappeared to. I had gotten a couple of suggestions that grip shifters would help. I'm thinking about https://www.rei.com/product/198985/s...hifter-8-speed and https://www.jensonusa.com/SRAM-Halfp...ips-Black-Pair
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Old 04-10-24, 11:03 AM
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I'd have to think there is something else going on that is making the cable hard to pull. And likely with the cable routing that might have bends that are too tight. Possibly making the loop going to the RD bigger will lessen some of the force needed. Might even be that his cadence is too low at the time he decides to finally shift.

I assume you have checked that the shift lever itself isn't just gummed up or otherwise damaged internally.

The only thing I see going for the Acolyte RD is that it pulls from a little bit different direction. But still that depends a lot on how the cable is routed on that particular bike. And maybe rerouting the cable might help. IE, along the top tube and down the seat stay instead of along the down tube and down the chain stay. But again, depending on the bike and how it has the cable stops fixed it may not be as feasible to change.

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Old 04-10-24, 12:54 PM
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Difficult grip shifters are always on the cable and housing, rarely the derailleur, shifter itself.

Without knowing the overall condition of the groupset on this bike, I can say with 100% certainty that a good RD with good housing and good cables with silicone always makes it "as new", even for the little hands.

So a rusty RD doesn't help.

Same, rusty cables in rusty housing doesn't help.

As grip shifters are pretty much entirely all plastic, they appear to be lightly lubed with a light clear grease. It's prolly the same silicone grease for water faucets, I just use silicone.spray.
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Old 04-13-24, 07:08 PM
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If the kid identifies as a non-shifter, accept them as they are...
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Old 04-13-24, 08:15 PM
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I rode single speeds for a long time before I learned gear shifting and I still ride single speeds and fixed gears to this day. In the case of a kids bike I generally wouldn't put much towards it monetarily since they will outgrow it quickly. You could try and make sure cables are properly lubricated and adjusted and that could help a bit and just having him practice shifting maybe while in a stand with you pedaling so he can get used to that without having to figure it out while also doing everything required for riding.

I think getting used to the motion and how it effects everything will be helpful and then they can transfer that more easily to riding because it is a natural motion. It is what I did to practice clipping in and out of my pedals, practice the motion and get used to everything and then when it got time to be on the bike I was ready to do it and it was a natural thing not something I was learning on the job.
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Old 04-14-24, 11:14 PM
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I replaced the cable and it made a HUGE difference. I've only seen poor shifting from a worn out cable, not difficult lever actuation.

Luckily the bike will get passed down to my younger son. This thing has seen hundreds of rides to school and will see hundreds more. Good kids bikes can be workhorses. Its a Frog 55. Of course its current rider should size up soon.
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