bike gear shifter Inherited this bike and it's got this strange gear shifter that I don't understand. The one on the right is one to five with six spaced a little further away. It's got a 3 and 6 cog derailleur as you'd expect but I can't work out how this works. It's also all really stiff and hard to move which makes it a pain to test out.

  • I don't understand what you're asking. When you say you "can't work out how this works", what are you looking for help with? How to use the shifter to change gear? When to change hear? How the mechanism actually moves the gears? How to repair it? Something else? Commented Jun 21, 2018 at 20:28

1 Answer 1


Looks like the left-hand front shifter has multiple positions to allow you to adjust the front derailleur to avoid chain rub when shifting through the rear sprockets.

The shifter is probably corroded inside which is making the action very stiff - notice the rust on the central screw. The cable and front derailleur may also be contributing to the stiffness.

If you can get some light oil inside then work the shift action repeatedly you may get it to free up some. You can disassemble it, clean the internal components, lube with grease and re-assemble. If you are unsure about getting it back together properly, taking frequent pictures or even making a video of the disassembly process can help you remember where all the components are supposed to go.

  • These are from the dawn of indexed shifting. They are not really indexed shifters with defined positions but unlike friction shifter that allow continuous movement of the levers they have tiny steps allowing defined positions. You'll need to fiddle around to find the position where the shifting works perfectly and the chain no longer rattles. As @Argenti Apparatus suggests, both the shifters and the cables may be sticking. Disassemble and lubricate slightly, see how they work without cables and better replace cables and housings anyway.
    – Carel
    Commented Jun 21, 2018 at 17:26
  • I took it apart and oiled it, it switches easily now but something is misaligned or wrong because it can only either be on the middle cog or the biggest one, but on the biggest one it's messed up. So I'll probably just not use because it's fine with the other gears. Thanks for the help and explanations :)
    – thomb1602
    Commented Jun 21, 2018 at 20:20
  • 1
    @thomb1602 your inner cable has stretched a little with age. Take out some of the slack using the pinch bold down on the front derailleur. Avoid overtorquing old bolts.
    – Criggie
    Commented Jun 23, 2018 at 0:50

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