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New to bikes Diamondback Kalamar gear question

Old 03-19-15, 03:38 PM
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New to bikes Diamondback Kalamar gear question

I am a 37 year old out of shape guy who hasn't been on a bike since college. *I have 2 small kids and I desperately need to get into better shape.
*
So I read a little bit and saw a lot of suggestions for overwieght newbies to get hybrid bikes because of the upright comfortable riding.
*
I had a $100 gift card to Academy Sports and they had a Diamondback Kalamar in a small (15) frame. *I am a hair under 5'6". *I knew Diamondback was a decent brand so I got it.
*
Yes I know everyone will recommend that I go to a local bike shop and not a big box store. Well I am currently unemployed (looking for a job) and funds are limited. *With the gift card and my low funds the Diamondback Kalamar for $219 seemed like my best realistic choice, so go easy on this newbie for buying from a big box store*
*
No my questions. *It is listed as a 7 speed. *It has 7 cassettes in the back and the right grip has 7 gears that click into place, so that is easy enough. *It also has 3 cassettes in the front. *The left grip is a Shimano friction grip that has a + on top and a - on the bottom. *You turn it the same way you do the right grip, but it has no numbers. *It will click 7 times and will move the chain from the smallest to medium then to largest cassette up front.
*
So why is this not considered a 21 speed. *It has 21 different cassette combinations. *
*
Also the front chain doesn't move as seamlessly as the back. *I will turn the right gear shift and it will click a couple of times and the chain doesn't always move to the next cassette. *it will make noise and if I shift the back it will usually know the front in place.
*
Was something not put together right? *It this just something that I should expect from a low end entry bike from a big box store, or should it be working better?
*
Last thing. *How difficult and expensive would it be to switch out to a better gear shifter on my handle bar that actually has 3 numbered gears?
*
Thanks and sorry for the dumb questions* I
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Old 03-19-15, 03:57 PM
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See below:

Originally Posted by solo79
I am a 37 year old out of shape guy who hasn't been on a bike since college. *I have 2 small kids and I desperately need to get into better shape.
*
So I read a little bit and saw a lot of suggestions for overwieght newbies to get hybrid bikes because of the upright comfortable riding.
*
I had a $100 gift card to Academy Sports and they had a Diamondback Kalamar in a small (15) frame. *I am a hair under 5'6". *I knew Diamondback was a decent brand so I got it.
*
Yes I know everyone will recommend that I go to a local bike shop and not a big box store. Well I am currently unemployed (looking for a job) and funds are limited. *With the gift card and my low funds the Diamondback Kalamar for $219 seemed like my best realistic choice, so go easy on this newbie for buying from a big box store*
*
No my questions. *It is listed as a 7 speed. *It has 7 cassettes in the back and the right grip has 7 gears that click into place, so that is easy enough. *It also has 3 cassettes in the front. *The left grip is a Shimano friction grip that has a + on top and a - on the bottom. *You turn it the same way you do the right grip, but it has no numbers. *It will click 7 times and will move the chain from the smallest to medium then to largest cassette up front.
*
So why is this not considered a 21 speed. *It has 21 different cassette combinations. *
This is considered a 21 speed; of course many of your gear ratios will overlap so effectively you probably have around 11-12 speeds from the top of your range to the bottom.
*
Also the front chain doesn't move as seamlessly as the back. *I will turn the right gear shift and it will click a couple of times and the chain doesn't always move to the next cassette. *it will make noise and if I shift the back it will usually know the front in place.
*As you note below, the front derailleur (front chain) is not connected to an indexed shifter, like the rear derailleur.
Was something not put together right? *It this just something that I should expect from a low end entry bike from a big box store, or should it be working better?
*Big box stores definitely don’t tune the shifting correctly; they just put it together, but don’t “calibrate” the moving parts. It’s also likely moving parts need proper lubrication. A bike shop can do this for you, for additional cost unfortunately.
Last thing. *How difficult and expensive would it be to switch out to a better gear shifter on my handle bar that actually has 3 numbered gears?
*I’ll have to leave this to the experts – one issue I see is that this is the older freewheel design vs. a free hub (in the rear). Not as durable a design.
You’ll probably eventually tire of that suspension fork – it can’t be locked out, and will really counter your efforts to accelerate especially, and doesn’t look like the preload is adjustable. But, if you really enjoy riding, ride this until you know what you prefer in a bicycle and look for a nice used hybrid or road bike if money is still tight. You’ll probably end up with something 8 speeds or better, steel/aluminum frame, aluminum/carbon fork, and a more athletic seating position (this Diamonback is very upright, you may find it limiting after 10 miles or less).
Thanks and sorry for the dumb questions* I
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Old 03-19-15, 04:59 PM
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Originally Posted by solo79
So why is this not considered a 21 speed. *It has 21 different cassette combinations.
My answer from another thread:
First point;21/24/27/30spd are really just marketing. You're not going to use all the gear combinations because some are redundant,and others will cause cross-chaining which causes extra wear on the drivetrain and can cause issues from the chain being too loose/tight. It's better to refer to the drivetrain by the number of cogs(speeds) in the cassette,since this is what determines the cassette,rings,chain,and shifters you'll be using.

7spd is what's important in terms of what chain/cassette/shifter you use.

Originally Posted by solo79
Also the front chain doesn't move as seamlessly as the back. *I will turn the right gear shift and it will click a couple of times and the chain doesn't always move to the next cassette. *it will make noise and if I shift the back it will usually know the front in place.
Your front chainrings will never shift as smoothly as the rear cogs because they're shifting many more teeth. Front shifts change 10-16 teeth,while rears are usually only 1-3. Also note,the front shifter will have more clicks than rings because of 'trimming'. Your other issues could be a combination of a couple things. First,user error;you may just need practice. Second,this bike doesn't have high-end parts,so I wouldn't expect snick-snick shifting. Third,it's possible that it wasn't set up perfectly(you didn't get it from a bike shop),and/or it needs adjustment. The cables on new bikes lengthen(generally referred to as 'stretching',even though that's not what's happening) due to the strands of cable getting wound tighter. Your shifters should have barrel adjusters that allow you to compensate for this. If you're confident of your mechanical skills,you can look into it yourself following the instructions here. You could also swing by a bike shop,or a co-op/bike kitchen.

Originally Posted by solo79
Was something not put together right? *It this just something that I should expect from a low end entry bike from a big box store, or should it be working better?
See above.

Originally Posted by solo79
Last thing. *How difficult and expensive would it be to switch out to a better gear shifter on my handle bar that actually has 3 numbered gears?
Well,you could always mark them with a Sharpie. Depending on the shifter,it might be possible to swap out the marked piece with one from another model that has numbers,but that's prolly a bit of effort just to get numbers on there. It wouldn't cost that much to swap the shifter(prolly along the lines of $35 if you had a shop do it),but your best bet would be the aforementioned co-op;they tend to have used parts laying around and would do it cheapest. Or just live with it and realize + means higher gears/bigger rings and - means lower gears/smaller rings.
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Old 03-19-15, 06:05 PM
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7sp because its got 7 cogs in the back, and thats where most differences lay. Front gears are less picky about compatibility and dont increase every in number every couple of years. Some people do call this a "21sp." In this case, theyre specifying that it has three chainrings, where a "7sp" could have a double crank or single.

Smooth shifting is aided by ramps, pins, and cutaways in the teeth. Due to the larger diameter, these come up less often.

There are a few things you can do to improve your front shifting skills. First, pedal faster. Try to maintain at least 90rpm throughout a ride. This will seem insanely fast at first, but the relevant advantage is that your front shifting will now be smoother due to the ramps, pins, etc coming up more often. Second, ease off pedal pressure when you shift. Combined with a faster cadence, your shifts will now be alot smoother.

But, there is no escaping the fact that front shifting is clunky and requires a hefty motion on the low end. This is due to the larger cable pull required to shift the front vs rear. Higher end shifters mitigate this through better pivots and bearings; Ive found that Deore is the starting point for smooth front shifting. Anything below requires considerably more thumb pressure and clunks really loud.

There are several options for indexed front shifting. You can keep your twist style (but be aware that even the ones with numbers might not be indexed) or go for underbar or even overbar shifters.

For example, these

Shimano Altus SL-M310 Rapid Fire Shifter - Right, 7-Speed
Shimano Altus SL-M310 Rapid Fire Shifter - Left, 3-Speed

or

Shimano Shifters SL-TX30 Tourney 3x7 Pair

Cycling has a learning curve - if youre just starting out you might try to adapt first and then make changes later.
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Old 03-19-15, 07:52 PM
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Thanks guys I really appreciate it. So. Do you think this bike is sufficient to get me started? I have been riding 3 or 4 miles on it every day this week. I can already tell it is getting easier. Going for 5 miles tomorrow (I am terribly out of shape).

I want to get to where i can ride an hour and then probably work on speed, but right now one day at a time.

Again do you think this bike is sufficient to get me started and last about year then 'when (hopefully) I am much better and more knowledgeable I can upgrade.

I feel like I should have spent 2x as much at at local shop, that this bike isnt good enough, but then I remember I am completely new and this is just to get me started and it is not a life commitment to this bike.

A

Here are the specs

Frame DB Hi-Ten Steel Sport Hybrid Geometry
Fork Comfort Suspension 50mm travel
Cranks Comfort Compact Steel w/ chainguard, 28/38/48t
Bottom Bracket Cartridge Type
F. Derailleur Shimano TZ31, Down Route, 31.8
R. Derailleur Shimano TX-55
Shifter Shimano RS25 7spd Twist
Brake Levers Tektro Linear w/ reach adj
Brakes Tektro Linear
Cassette Shimano 7spd MegaRange Freewheel (14-34t)
Rims 32h SSW700 Double Tunnel Alloy
Tires Smooth Tread 700x38c
Pedals Comfort Platform
Handlebar Steel 50mm Riser
Stem Alloy Quill
Seatpost Alloy Suspension 28.6mm
Seat Comfort elastomer spring
Headset Threaded 1 1/8"
Colors Red
Chain KMC-Z51
Hubset (F) 32h Alloy QR (R) 32h Alloy QR
Spokes 14g
Grips DB Kraton
Extras Owner’s manual, Chainstay Protector, Clear Coat, H20 bottle mounts
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Old 03-20-15, 09:02 AM
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Originally Posted by solo79
Thanks guys I really appreciate it. So. Do you think this bike is sufficient to get me started? I have been riding 3 or 4 miles on it every day this week. I can already tell it is getting easier. Going for 5 miles tomorrow (I am terribly out of shape).

I want to get to where i can ride an hour and then probably work on speed, but right now one day at a time.

Again do you think this bike is sufficient to get me started and last about year then 'when (hopefully) I am much better and more knowledgeable I can upgrade.

I feel like I should have spent 2x as much at at local shop, that this bike isnt good enough, but then I remember I am completely new and this is just to get me started and it is not a life commitment to this bike.

A

Here are the specs

Frame DB Hi-Ten Steel Sport Hybrid Geometry
Fork Comfort Suspension 50mm travel
Cranks Comfort Compact Steel w/ chainguard, 28/38/48t
Bottom Bracket Cartridge Type
F. Derailleur Shimano TZ31, Down Route, 31.8
R. Derailleur Shimano TX-55
Shifter Shimano RS25 7spd Twist
Brake Levers Tektro Linear w/ reach adj
Brakes Tektro Linear
Cassette Shimano 7spd MegaRange Freewheel (14-34t)
Rims 32h SSW700 Double Tunnel Alloy
Tires Smooth Tread 700x38c
Pedals Comfort Platform
Handlebar Steel 50mm Riser
Stem Alloy Quill
Seatpost Alloy Suspension 28.6mm
Seat Comfort elastomer spring
Headset Threaded 1 1/8"
Colors Red
Chain KMC-Z51
Hubset (F) 32h Alloy QR (R) 32h Alloy QR
Spokes 14g
Grips DB Kraton
Extras Owner’s manual, Chainstay Protector, Clear Coat, H20 bottle mounts
The bike is fine. While the parts are low end, they are reliable and function properly - unlike generic parts. Regardless of product, there is always pressure to spend more and buy more expensive stuff.

I would suggest getting some chain lube and some basic tools so you can do some basic maintenance. Keeping your cables lubed, for example, can keep your shifting from getting rougher.

Maybe one day you will outgrow the capability of this bike, until then i would just ride it as is. The joys and benefits of cycling can be had on inexpensive bikes
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Old 03-20-15, 05:28 PM
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Your first bike is all about learning what you really want in a bike. Ride it into the ground,or after awhile get something else and keep this as a backup/beater/bad weather bike.
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Old 03-20-15, 06:06 PM
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I think 90 RPM might be a little light. 150 RPM is great and will take years off your life. All teasing aside, just ride the bike and enjoy it. Find a kid, any kid 11 or older, and ask them to explain how the gears work. Ride every day if you can. Try to use it for errands. Good luck and enjoy the ride.
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Old 03-20-15, 06:42 PM
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Thanks guys. I have rode it every day so far. Today i did 5 miles for the first time. I am actually looking forward to riding tomorrow. Over the last 15 years when i attempted exercise I dreaded doing it again.

I am actually amazed that I am enjoying it and looking forward to riding
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Old 03-20-15, 07:41 PM
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Originally Posted by solo79
Thanks guys I really appreciate it. So. Do you think this bike is sufficient to get me started? I have been riding 3 or 4 miles on it every day this week. I can already tell it is getting easier. Going for 5 miles tomorrow (I am terribly out of shape).

I want to get to where i can ride an hour and then probably work on speed, but right now one day at a time.

Again do you think this bike is sufficient to get me started and last about year then 'when (hopefully) I am much better and more knowledgeable I can upgrade.

I feel like I should have spent 2x as much at at local shop, that this bike isnt good enough, but then I remember I am completely new and this is just to get me started and it is not a life commitment to this bike.

A

Here are the specs

Frame DB Hi-Ten Steel Sport Hybrid Geometry
Fork Comfort Suspension 50mm travel
Cranks Comfort Compact Steel w/ chainguard, 28/38/48t
Bottom Bracket Cartridge Type
F. Derailleur Shimano TZ31, Down Route, 31.8
R. Derailleur Shimano TX-55
Shifter Shimano RS25 7spd Twist
Brake Levers Tektro Linear w/ reach adj
Brakes Tektro Linear
Cassette Shimano 7spd MegaRange Freewheel (14-34t)
Rims 32h SSW700 Double Tunnel Alloy
Tires Smooth Tread 700x38c
Pedals Comfort Platform
Handlebar Steel 50mm Riser
Stem Alloy Quill
Seatpost Alloy Suspension 28.6mm
Seat Comfort elastomer spring
Headset Threaded 1 1/8"
Colors Red
Chain KMC-Z51
Hubset (F) 32h Alloy QR (R) 32h Alloy QR
Spokes 14g
Grips DB Kraton
Extras Owner’s manual, Chainstay Protector, Clear Coat, H20 bottle mounts
The bike should do the trick. I had a DB Wildwood comfort bike at one time. However, these forums are kind of dangerous. Acquisition syndrome will set in. Check CLIST - you never know.
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Old 03-24-15, 03:57 PM
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Did 7.5 miles for the first time today. Feel great. 1.5 miles alcomst killed this fat old man the first day I road
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Old 03-24-15, 04:51 PM
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Your bike is fine. I ride a 1999 bike not too different than yours in that it has similar specs (with the exception that it has a solid front fork and a solid seat post). It easily does the job for a hour ride. I've had to buy new tires and invested in a better seat and that is all.
Take the bike to a bike shop and get the derailleurs adjusted and have them explain all those clicks on the front shifter to you.
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