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Difficult grip shifter on kids bike

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Difficult grip shifter on kids bike

Old 07-17-19, 07:48 AM
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Difficult grip shifter on kids bike

We bought a new bike for our 8 year old daughter (Liv Enchant Lite 20). She loves the bike except she can't shift into lower gears. She can shift up just fine when it's flat or downhill but then can't get out of the higher gears when going back up. Is there a way to make it easier? The twist shifter is REALLY tight for small/young hands and it's a real pain for me and disheartening for her having to stop and have me shift for her anytime there is a slight climb. I would expect such a thing from a walmart bike but this was a pretty expensive bike, at least for us. I can't easily take it by the shop we bought it from because it's several hours away. There is a shop near us that I could take it to but they didn't sell it so I'm sure it would cost me. I don't really want to spend more money 'fixing' a brand new bike. Any ideas?
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Old 07-17-19, 01:58 PM
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Make sure she is peddling when trying to shift.

Those things are impossible if the chain isn't moving. My kid had the same issue. Eventually I realized she always stopped peddling and started coasting when she was trying to change gears.

We talked about that and boom...she can do it.

Of course part it is just building some muscle.
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Old 07-17-19, 03:46 PM
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New grip shift is often times really tough for little hands to manipulate.
It's an inherent flaw in application. My 8yo ues her 9sp trigger shifters with ease versus her old bike's grip shifters.
I've seen this be an issue for both my kids, 2 of my 3 nieces, and numerous neighborhood kids.
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Old 07-17-19, 07:59 PM
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Grip shifters have to pull the cable at a tough ratio, due to the thickness of the handlebar. They're not for kids.

Thumb shifters are a better ratio, but the problem's in the name - a child's thumb is neither strong enough or long enough to use without a struggle.

Far better to use traditional MTB over shifters. These have a low ratio, and multiple fingers/palm can be used to shift them.
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Old 07-18-19, 05:51 AM
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Originally Posted by sullivan80 View Post
Is there a way to make it easier?
Ask the shop near you about installing a trigger shifter. Figure $20 or less for the part along with some labor costs for the install.
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Old 07-18-19, 09:27 AM
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I tried to make sure she kept pedaling but I'll watch it closer, that's a good place to start. It was pretty easy for me to shift so long as the chain was moving.

I may look at installing a trigger shifter if it doesn't get better after some use and practice. I've replaced shifters before so I think I could handle it if I had the right part.
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Old 07-18-19, 09:50 AM
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Even thought the bike is new, take a look at the shifter cable. Make sure the routing is smooth with no sharp bends or kinks, and that there's no fraying or other weirdness with the cable. Couple drops of oil on the derailleur pivot points couldn't hurt, either.
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Old 07-26-19, 09:55 AM
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I've worked with her a little more on the pedaling and hand position and it's just way too stiff. I've tried taking it for a ride and constantly shifting up and down as many times as possible trying to loosen it up and bit but it hasn't helped.

Next I'm going to talk to the local shop that sells this brand and see what they say!
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Old 08-03-19, 07:49 PM
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Just by a nice simple thumb friction shifter and toss that grip shift in a lake Seriously, I'm not a fan of any kind of indexed shifting for younger kids, too easy for things to get knocked out of alignment. You can get a cheap set of thumbies off Amazon for about $10.
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Old 08-04-19, 05:39 PM
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You might take a short section of foam pipe insulation and zip tie it around the grip shift to give your daughter a bit more to grab on to.

There is one other thing that comes to mind and that is the diameter of the shifter cable. I refurbished a bike a while back for a kid and when I tried to use the standard bike shifter cables that I have used on all my bikes it made the shifter very hard to twist. I got a pair that was made for Gripshift and was somewhat thinner. Here's a fairly old discussion about the cables being different https://singletrackworld.com/forum/t...es-dont-laugh/
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Old 08-05-19, 03:16 PM
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One of our kids bikes is like this.. I can barely shift it myself. Only solution I can see is installing a different shift setup like everybody else said. What we've done so far is just leave it in one gear.
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Old 10-28-19, 05:30 AM
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Grip shifters are very dependent on the internal indexer spring. There is a lot of tolerance particularly on SRAM, and the spring may just need to be squeezed.

I am very familar with this spring, because I have to fix loads of kids bikes where they have destroyed the handles by rough handling. When this happens the grip shifter separates and the spring falls out, and they are impossible to buy on their own.

Fortunately the shape is very simple. I make 1/4" strips from a tin can - usually beans - and they can be folded to shape using a pair of long nosed pliers.
The only critical part of the shape is the "v" in the top part this has to be correct or it will not index properly. I keep an original spring as a template.
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Old 10-31-19, 04:40 PM
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Had the same issue with my grandson. I found the Shimano Tourney FT55 7-Speed Thumb Shifter. They have a lever to shift up and a button to shift down, kind of cool. If you can find one they work great for my grandson.

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Old 10-31-19, 07:56 PM
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Same issue here. Just bought a bike off the shelf at a local store and it had grip shifters. My daughter is almost 10 and still has issues with it, even while pedaling. We leave it on the middle chainring up front now, and I just have her go through the cassette in the rear. So her 21 speed bike is effectively a 7 speed until her hands get a little more strength. If she absolutely needs the lower gears, she can shift down, and then I'll shift it back up for her when we get to the top of the hill.
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