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What are the standard shifting methods? I only know the shifting dial on flat bars and the old fashioned levers on ten speeds. I'm not asking about when to use a particular gear but the mechanics of shifting methods. Thanks.

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There are many mechanisms available. Have you looked at the wikipedia article? –  Chris H Oct 3 '13 at 15:53
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The standard for a road bike is the "brifter", an integrated brake/shifter. For a time-trial or triathlon bike, it is the bar-end shifter. For mountain bikes the standard is likely triggers. Once you get into hybrid or general purpose bikes, it would be hard to pick a standard. –  farski Oct 3 '13 at 20:41
    
Pretty much all non-electronic shifters work with cable pull. The various lever schemes are all equivalent. "Brifters" and twist-grip shifters have to be a bit different internally to "suck up" the cable somehow. –  Daniel R Hicks Oct 3 '13 at 22:50
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Are you asking about the mechanics of how the gear changing works? Or just what different styles of shifter are available? If there former, there are two basic mechanisms, either the cable moves a derailleur (front or rear) that physically moves a chain from one sprocket to another, or (simplifying a bit) it changes which gears are engaged inside an epicyclic (mostly hub gears). There are also a very few non-electronic hub gears that change without cables, either by back-pedalling (duomatic) or mechanical speed dependent (e.g SRAM Automatix). Also the Schlumpf bottom bracket has a heel lever. –  armb Oct 4 '13 at 11:19
    
Fire and forget question. –  joelmdev Oct 5 '13 at 22:39
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closed as unclear what you're asking by joelmdev, amcnabb, Benzo, freiheit Oct 27 '13 at 5:39

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1 Answer

With the exception of the new electronic stuff, every shifter out there that isn't the old friction style works on a ratchet and spring mechanism to index the amount of cable being pulled or released. Is that what you are asking?

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Thanks for the answers. More to the point, I was looking to buy a road bike or mountain bike and wanted to know how their shifters worked. If they were easy to learn and use; if they weren't, then maybe I'd be better off opting for a new bike with a twist dial shifter like I have now. Thanks again, RA. –  Ron A Oct 6 '13 at 3:57
    
They're very intuitive, regardless of brand. –  joelmdev Oct 6 '13 at 5:34
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