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Gear snafu on a brand new bike

Old 07-09-24, 06:43 PM
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Gear snafu on a brand new bike

Hey everyone!

I made this account because I want to share a concern I had with a bike I just bought today. I can't post urls yet, so I'll list the model below.

My dad and I went to the local bike shop and we picked out a bike for me. It was delivered this evening, where it stood waiting for me as we came home from dinner. I took it for a spin around the block, and I had no problems.

About a half an hour later, I decided to go out for a longer ride. I was having a great time! About halfway into the ride though, something strange happened - suddenly, I found myself being physically unable to downshift. As hard as I tried, the shifter would barely budge in that direction. I rubbed part of my thumb raw just trying to downshift. A couple things: 1. During my initial ride, I was casually shifting and had no problems (we live in a flat neighborhood). 2. I was, and am still able to, upshift just fine; I was stuck in 4th and then 5th for the remainder of the ride.

Once I got close to home, conveniently (albeit frustratingly, as now my dad can't experience the problem for himself), the shifter loosened. I went inside and told dad what happened. He rode my bike around the driveway, but didn't feel as though there was a problem. But now I don't know if the downshifting is still tighter than it should be, or if it's supposed to be that way, and the problem fixed itself. To clarify: while I was shifting during my initial ride, I wasn't paying too much attention to how much force I was exerting while doing so. Dad said that downshifting is supposed to be slightly harder due to the chain moving to a larger cog (can anyone confirm this?). My mom, however, seemed suspicious when I explained it to her, and she said she'll ride it tomorrow to see if she can get a feel for the problem.

I really don't know how to feel about all of this or what to believe. Any insight would be very much appreciated, as I just got this bike, and want to love it.

Additionally, my dad is the one who knows about and upkeeps the bikes we have, so any information will be relayed to him.

The bike we bought is an Electra Bike Townie 7D EQ Step-thru.
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Old 07-09-24, 06:45 PM
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take it back to the shop?
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Old 07-09-24, 06:49 PM
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I would, but I don't know how willing dad's going to be to go through all that trouble if he doesn't think there's a problem.
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Old 07-09-24, 06:50 PM
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Yes if you got a brand new bike from an authorized dealer (likely a Trek store) then. you take it back and they fix it. If this is a bike within the first year of purchase usually many shops will give a free tune up (minus parts or anything that is not really a warranty issue like a flat tire) but a new bike should be exit tuned before it gets to the customer and if there is an issue bring it back right away and if things go out of adjustment usually you bring it back in the first 30-60 days for the first quick check-over. Usually any cables need some adjustment and just a general check of the bike as everything settles.

Originally Posted by AceOnABike
I would, but I don't know how willing dad's going to be to go through all that trouble if he doesn't think there's a problem.
If dad isn't willing take it back yourself but your dad should be willing, it is a free service and they should hopefully be able to do it nearly on the spot especially for a brand new bike. You can also call them in advance.
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Old 07-09-24, 06:54 PM
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My worry is, this particular problem may have fixed itself "enough" that the bike mechanic might not think there's anything wrong.
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Old 07-09-24, 07:19 PM
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Originally Posted by AceOnABike
My worry is, this particular problem may have fixed itself "enough" that the bike mechanic might not think there's anything wrong.
If you found a problem then it is something they should fi. Look I own a bike shop and free labor is not something I generally want to give out but in this instance that is something the shop should take a look at and would take a look at no problem and something I heavily encourage for all my new bike customers. I would rather take it to the shop and have them run through it and make sure everything is good then just say "everything is fine" and it not be and you have failures that take time and require new parts.

This is not a bike you have had long enough to worry about anything other than getting it fixed at the shop you purchased it from as it will be free and they should be happy to do it. You should never be in a position with a new bike that you are living with issues unless it is something to do with the quality of the bike but even then a new bike generally should function properly it may not be quick, smooth and snappy but it should work fine with no issues and if there are issues they need to be fixed.
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Old 07-09-24, 07:26 PM
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Thank you for your advice!
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Old 07-09-24, 07:41 PM
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Originally Posted by AceOnABike
Hey everyone!

I made this account because I want to share a concern I had with a bike I just bought today. I can't post urls yet, so I'll list the model below.

My dad and I went to the local bike shop and we picked out a bike for me. It was delivered this evening, where it stood waiting for me as we came home from dinner. I took it for a spin around the block, and I had no problems.

About a half an hour later, I decided to go out for a longer ride. I was having a great time! About halfway into the ride though, something strange happened - suddenly, I found myself being physically unable to downshift. As hard as I tried, the shifter would barely budge in that direction. I rubbed part of my thumb raw just trying to downshift. A couple things: 1. During my initial ride, I was casually shifting and had no problems (we live in a flat neighborhood). 2. I was, and am still able to, upshift just fine; I was stuck in 4th and then 5th for the remainder of the ride.

Once I got close to home, conveniently (albeit frustratingly, as now my dad can't experience the problem for himself), the shifter loosened. I went inside and told dad what happened. He rode my bike around the driveway, but didn't feel as though there was a problem. But now I don't know if the downshifting is still tighter than it should be, or if it's supposed to be that way, and the problem fixed itself. To clarify: while I was shifting during my initial ride, I wasn't paying too much attention to how much force I was exerting while doing so. Dad said that downshifting is supposed to be slightly harder due to the chain moving to a larger cog (can anyone confirm this?). My mom, however, seemed suspicious when I explained it to her, and she said she'll ride it tomorrow to see if she can get a feel for the problem.

I really don't know how to feel about all of this or what to believe. Any insight would be very much appreciated, as I just got this bike, and want to love it.

Additionally, my dad is the one who knows about and upkeeps the bikes we have, so any information will be relayed to him.

The bike we bought is an Electra Bike Townie 7D EQ Step-thru.
Bummer.

Originally Posted by AceOnABike
My worry is, this particular problem may have fixed itself "enough" that the bike mechanic might not think there's anything wrong.
There is something wrong or there isn't. If there is the shop can fix it. If there isn't, they can show you how to operate the bike.
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Old 07-09-24, 08:05 PM
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Downshifting on the rear derailleur does take more force, not because you are moving to a larger cog, but working against the derailleur return spring. (And for a while, there were some rear derailleurs that worked backwards from that, called Rapid Rise, it needed more force to upshift in back).

This could be many things. The shift cable may go through one of those plastic guides under the bottom bracket shell (where the crank spindle goes through), got dislodged, then remedied itself. Do you have grip-shifts, or trigger shifters, or "brifters" (combined brake and shift levers)? Each can develop faults in the shifter. Also, the rear derailleur may be misadjusted somehow or the chain has dislodged from the pulley, and downshifting was just jamming the pulley into the bigger cog, without the chain climbing up it to shift. The bike shop may be able to deduce.

Edit: Just looked up the bike, it's a 7 speed derailleur rear, 1X crank. Notably, it has one of those mega-range (large difference) steps between 2nd and 1st gear, and that can make shifting more difficult, though hyperglide ramps on the cogs help a lot. Also note, the picture (online, not the OP) I saw shows no "spoke protector" between the biggest cog and the spokes. The old chromed ones were tasteless, the newer clear plastic ones are fine, and if your bike lacks one, I recommend you have the bike shop put one on, they used to be required for safety, to keep the rear derailleur from going into the spokes (jamming the bike to a stop), but also, keeping the chain from dropping into the spokes and damaging the spokes, where they will eventually break. The bike shop should do this for free IMO, it's a safety thing. Hardcore bikers will say, "a chain will not drop off a properly adjusted rear derailleur." Yeah-yeah, and it's a rare occurance, but tears up the spokes if it does happen. I used to pull them off, now I put them back on.

Last edited by Duragrouch; 07-09-24 at 09:24 PM.
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Old 07-09-24, 08:49 PM
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I'm not there or the Dad's kid but- Seems to me that everyone who has or might be riding the bike are those without the mechanical skills to assess the bike's possible issues. There is a range of possible why the OP feels the shifting is not right. Some are rider controlled and others are bike related. With the vague and lacking descriptions I wouldn't want to venture a guess until I had the bike in hand.

Ideally this could be a learning experience is how bikes work as well as how family interaction goes.

Can the bike be ridden in a single gear? How far from home is the seller bike shop?

I won't say, as others have, that the shop owes free fixing if any unknown damage has been done (one of the more extreme possibilities). But they should take the time to look at the bike and assess it for safety/function issues at the minimum for free. It is in their best interest to have happy customers who find reasons to ride their bikes. Andy
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Old 07-09-24, 10:09 PM
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It truly could be something that 'fixed itself", like the bike being downshifted without pedaling, the cable housing head popping out of the stop, and then popping back in. If something like that happened, it isn't necessarily going to happen again and it didn't do any harm.
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Old 07-09-24, 10:16 PM
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better plan: Revo-7 shifters break.
have the shop replace it with a grip shift MRX. they are far more dependable.

i replaced a revo-7 two days ago... and a revo-shift 6 speed a week before that... both bikes now have GripShift MRX shifters, and happier riders.
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Old 07-10-24, 01:20 AM
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Were you trying to shift without pedaling?
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Old 07-10-24, 02:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Bill Kapaun
Were you trying to shift without pedaling?
That's a damned good question that escaped all of us. I'm interested to hear the answer.
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Old 07-10-24, 07:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Bill Kapaun
Were you trying to shift without pedaling?
Nope.
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Old 07-10-24, 08:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Duragrouch
That's a damned good question that escaped all of us. I'm interested to hear the answer.
I mentioned "There is a range of possible why the OP feels the shifting is not right. Some are rider controlled". And the possibility of the rider not knowing how to shift their gears with the least stress or most efficiency. Very few riders have been taught how to "use" their bike in this way, and instead the industry promotes the rider's not having to have any skills in using their bike, IMO. Whether this is a factor in this case we don't really know. Which is why when questions are not easily answered or are of a concern I suggest seeking more skilled people to help. Unfortunately in this form of seeking answers (posting text only, and text that is vague and without much specifics) our being able to truly assess the bike and rider is lacking. If there's something wrong with the bike a skilled person likely can understand and explain the issue fairly quickly, and offer solutions too. Andy

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Old 07-10-24, 08:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Duragrouch
That's a damned good question that escaped all of us. I'm interested to hear the answer.
It didn't escape Kontact or me. 😁
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Old 07-10-24, 10:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Duragrouch
Downshifting on the rear derailleur does take more force, not because you are moving to a larger cog, but working against the derailleur return spring. (And for a while, there were some rear derailleurs that worked backwards from that, called Rapid Rise, it needed more force to upshift in back).

This could be many things. The shift cable may go through one of those plastic guides under the bottom bracket shell (where the crank spindle goes through), got dislodged, then remedied itself. Do you have grip-shifts, or trigger shifters, or "brifters" (combined brake and shift levers)? Each can develop faults in the shifter. Also, the rear derailleur may be misadjusted somehow or the chain has dislodged from the pulley, and downshifting was just jamming the pulley into the bigger cog, without the chain climbing up it to shift. The bike shop may be able to deduce.

Edit: Just looked up the bike, it's a 7 speed derailleur rear, 1X crank. Notably, it has one of those mega-range (large difference) steps between 2nd and 1st gear, and that can make shifting more difficult, though hyperglide ramps on the cogs help a lot. Also note, the picture (online, not the OP) I saw shows no "spoke protector" between the biggest cog and the spokes. The old chromed ones were tasteless, the newer clear plastic ones are fine, and if your bike lacks one, I recommend you have the bike shop put one on, they used to be required for safety, to keep the rear derailleur from going into the spokes (jamming the bike to a stop), but also, keeping the chain from dropping into the spokes and damaging the spokes, where they will eventually break. The bike shop should do this for free IMO, it's a safety thing. Hardcore bikers will say, "a chain will not drop off a properly adjusted rear derailleur." Yeah-yeah, and it's a rare occurance, but tears up the spokes if it does happen. I used to pull them off, now I put them back on.
Funny, I too keep dork discs in place, specifically on my touring frame. I grew up in a home where my dad's go-to position on everything was "That won't happen" Well, merde happens and did happen. A few grams and a few bucks for a dork disc is really cheap insurance for folks who don't work on their own bikes, and even for those who do. The last time I put a chain into spokes was decades ago after a friend rode my bike. Not sure if he adjusted something or not but rear wheel was not pretty
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Old 07-10-24, 05:04 PM
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I always recommend spoke protectors on most bicycles and they may provide protection for spokes but they don’t always work judging by how many bikes come in for repairs where the derailleur or hanger was bent slightly inwards and as soon as the rider shifted into the large cog the derailleur got caught on a spoke destroying it and the hanger. I guess this thread just got turned into a dork disc fest!
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