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Shifting under heavy loads?

Old 07-01-09, 10:21 AM
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Shifting under heavy loads?

I have a .5 mile span of freshly paved development that has practically been abandoned since the houseing market bust. They never even started building houses. So from one cul-de-sac to the other and back to start makes a mile. Yesterday was my first time out on the road bike. It's an 08 Felt F75 and at one point is a pretty steep hill that I ended up in the lowest gear by the time I hit the top and everytime I would downshift, I could tell it was really popping in there. Is this to be expected anytime I'm shifting under really heavy loads on this thing?

I'm just paranoid, right?
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Old 07-01-09, 10:23 AM
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try to let off a little when shifting but in reality you shouldnt break anything
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Old 07-01-09, 10:29 AM
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Originally Posted by jynx View Post
try to let off a little when shifting but in reality you shouldnt break anything

+1
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Old 07-01-09, 10:33 AM
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Assuming you are running Shimano, officially you are not supposed to be able to break it shifting under any load. In reality, I managed to down shift my FD while standing hard on the pedals on a hill and break my FD cage past repair. Shimano replaced it (105) under warrenty.

Soft pedaling is your friend.
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Old 07-01-09, 10:34 AM
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No only let off a little, but try shifting earlier, before you are really bogged down in the gear. That way there will be less pressure on the drivetrain.
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Old 07-01-09, 10:42 AM
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Originally Posted by exRunner View Post
Assuming you are running Shimano, officially you are not supposed to be able to break it shifting under any load. In reality, I managed to down shift my FD while standing hard on the pedals on a hill and break my FD cage past repair. Shimano replaced it (105) under warrenty.

Soft pedaling is your friend.
105 front and Ultegra rear.

My last time up I went from almost the highest gear to the lowest, I was shifting early enough to try and keep spinning at the same speed without slowing down.
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Old 07-01-09, 10:50 AM
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I'd rather shift the RD under load than the Front. The RD shifts by moving the slack part of the chain that only has tension from the idler (cage). The FD works on the rider-tensioned part of the chain so I never shift between rings without letting off first.

Edit: but in general I try not to shift under load regardless... less wear on everything.
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Old 07-01-09, 10:52 AM
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I bang into gears in all out sprints, haven't broken anything yet. The only thing that could happen is prematurely wearing out the cassette, or maybe bending a tooth on the cassette, but the chance is slim, and cassettes are only $60-$70...
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Old 07-01-09, 10:57 AM
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Originally Posted by exRunner View Post
Assuming you are running Shimano, officially you are not supposed to be able to break it shifting under any load. In reality, I managed to down shift my FD while standing hard on the pedals on a hill and break my FD cage past repair. Shimano replaced it (105) under warrenty.

Soft pedaling is your friend.
Who shifts their front chainring while standing? Next time you think about doing this, think of all the pain you'll be in if you derail your chain while standing on the pedals.
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Old 07-01-09, 11:22 AM
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^^ what he said, be in the chain ring you need to be in when you start the climb. Shifting the FD under load is a good way to drop a chain.
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Old 07-01-09, 11:46 AM
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Originally Posted by exRunner View Post
Assuming you are running Shimano, officially you are not supposed to be able to break it shifting under any load. In reality, I managed to down shift my FD while standing hard on the pedals on a hill and break my FD cage past repair. Shimano replaced it (105) under warrenty.

Soft pedaling is your friend.
I don't have the courage to attempt to shift the FD under load.
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Old 07-01-09, 11:49 AM
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Originally Posted by MattDC View Post
^^ what he said, be in the chain ring you need to be in when you start the climb. Shifting the FD under load is a good way to drop a chain.
Or at least sit down to shift the front ring. You don't need to shift before the climb necessarily (and here is where the high quality drivetrains make a big difference), but you do need to unload the drivetrain for half a pedal stroke while the front ring shifts.
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Old 07-01-09, 12:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Brian Ratliff View Post
Or at least sit down to shift the front ring. You don't need to shift before the climb necessarily (and here is where the high quality drivetrains make a big difference), but you do need to unload the drivetrain for half a pedal stroke while the front ring shifts.
I avoid it like the plague, every dropped chain I've during a race has been in this exact situation. Some times it can't be helped, but as a rule, I try not to be in that situation. But yes if I am shifting chain rings, it is seated with the pedals unloaded.
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Old 07-01-09, 01:00 PM
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How are you supposed to shift in this situation? Almost in the highest gear coming down a bit of a slope that hits this hill. I don't have the speed or momentum to make it all the way to the top regardless of if I'm shifting down to maintain a higher rhythem. If I shift the FD to the lower gear ring, then I'm not even pedaling because of the gear being too slow for the speed and if I down shift the RD instead, by the time I'm close to the top, I have to shift the FD anyways or I fall over.
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Old 07-01-09, 01:08 PM
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Originally Posted by MattDC View Post
^^ what he said, be in the chain ring you need to be in when you start the climb. Shifting the FD under load is a good way to drop a chain.
Did this last Sunday, almost started rolling backwards as I had no time to unclip.

Must have been quite the spectacle to the joggers that were coming down the hill in a pack. lol.
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Old 07-01-09, 01:17 PM
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"Under heavy load" is a bit ambiguous but if you let off a little when shifting, as Jynx said, you'll be absolutely fine.
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Old 07-01-09, 02:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Village Idiot View Post
How are you supposed to shift in this situation? Almost in the highest gear coming down a bit of a slope that hits this hill. I don't have the speed or momentum to make it all the way to the top regardless of if I'm shifting down to maintain a higher rhythem. If I shift the FD to the lower gear ring, then I'm not even pedaling because of the gear being too slow for the speed and if I down shift the RD instead, by the time I'm close to the top, I have to shift the FD anyways or I fall over.
Just keep shifting down as your speed decreases. When I have to cross over to the small chainring, usually I'll very quickly shift up two gears in the back and almost simultaineous shift the front. There is a small chance you will drop the chain... just something you need to deal with. Anyway, most of the time, if you drop the chain, you can pick it back up with your front derailleur by immediately shifting to the big ring.
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Old 07-01-09, 02:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Brian Ratliff View Post
Anyway, most of the time, if you drop the chain, you can pick it back up with your front derailleur by immediately shifting to the big ring.
I've tried this and can't seem to get it done, I'd love to see a video of it...anyone?
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Old 07-01-09, 02:23 PM
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I should have stated that I "accidently" down shifted while standing on a hill climb. I went to trim the FD and ... a bad thing happened. I was not trying to change gears. I was well into the climb.
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Old 07-01-09, 02:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Brian Ratliff View Post
Just keep shifting down as your speed decreases. When I have to cross over to the small chainring, usually I'll very quickly shift up two gears in the back and almost simultaineous shift the front. There is a small chance you will drop the chain... just something you need to deal with. Anyway, most of the time, if you drop the chain, you can pick it back up with your front derailleur by immediately shifting to the big ring.
That I didn't know, I'll have to give it a shot. Each time my chain hit my BB I always assumed I was doomed to dismount and then TT untill my heart exploded.
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Old 07-01-09, 02:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Village Idiot View Post
I have a .5 mile span of freshly paved development that has practically been abandoned since the houseing market bust. They never even started building houses. So from one cul-de-sac to the other and back to start makes a mile. Yesterday was my first time out on the road bike. It's an 08 Felt F75 and at one point is a pretty steep hill that I ended up in the lowest gear by the time I hit the top and everytime I would downshift, I could tell it was really popping in there. Is this to be expected anytime I'm shifting under really heavy loads on this thing?

I'm just paranoid, right?
The "clunk" noise you hear when changing gears is due to the amount of force you apply onto the pedals. You may lessen this by shifting earlier before the slope gets too steep. You may stay in the small front ring and progressively down shift as you go up the hilly portion. Experiment with the gear selection and you will find which gear to be in when starting the ascent.

That Felt F75 is a fine ride and way nice as a first road bike. Chains and cables do stretch over time. I think it stretches quicker when under a load like you say. Don't be concerned because chains need to be replaced anyways. If you enjoy climbing, there will be that price to pay. The other thing is your knees. Ascents also puts stress on the knees.

That's why you really need to develop good pedal form to take advantage of your power stroke and gear selection. Save the knees; save the cheerleader.
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Old 07-01-09, 02:39 PM
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Di2 is your solution....you can shift perfectly anytime you want in combo you want and it works perfectly everytime..unless the battery is dead
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Old 07-01-09, 02:42 PM
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when i first started riding it was my roommates mtb back in college --- i didn't think to shift in-time and i shifted under load and bent the RD 90*.... he was none-too-happy and i paid for a new RD
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Old 07-01-09, 03:35 PM
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Originally Posted by khatfull View Post
I've tried this and can't seem to get it done, I'd love to see a video of it...anyone?
I think he means if the chains ends up on the frame, e.g. shifted off the smallest ring. Then shifting back up will move it back onto a ring.

When it goes off the other side, I can usually pick it up with my fingers, so no need to stop. But in races, I just stay in the big ring to avoid any possibility of dropping the chain.
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Old 07-01-09, 03:43 PM
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Originally Posted by khatfull View Post
I've tried this and can't seem to get it done, I'd love to see a video of it...anyone?
Originally Posted by MattDC View Post
That I didn't know, I'll have to give it a shot. Each time my chain hit my BB I always assumed I was doomed to dismount and then TT untill my heart exploded.
I use Shimano (Ultegra) and it's pretty easy to do. I know it's harder to do with a compact for some reason, and I've heard that you can't do it with Campy, though I don't know it for a fact. Don't know how SRAM does.

I've dropped chains before in a race. I've always been able to get it back on without dismounting, indeed, without even losing much position in the pack. Now, usually, you end up re-chaining onto the big ring, so if you drop it on a very steep climb, you might be muscling a pretty big gear when you get it back on.
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