My friend gave me his bike because it was too small for him, I was new to biking so I didn't notice till now that T can't switch gears. My front derailleur is on middle gear out of 3 and the rear on the smallest one out of 4. When I try to shift (while pedaling) the cable tightens/releases but the gear doesn't change.

The shifter for the front gears clicks 3 times which is the number of the gears, but the shifter for the rear gears clicks 20 times, which is 5 times the amount of gears, I don't think this normal.

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    I'd suggest taking this to a bike shop. Diagnosing the problem in text might be time-consuming and you'll probably need to go to the bike shop either for parts or to get them to do the work. Commented Sep 3, 2018 at 16:56
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    Most likely the cables are sticking. This commonly happens on a bike that is not used for a while, especially if it's left out in the rain a bit. Commented Sep 3, 2018 at 17:46
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    By the way, it would be very unusual for a derailleur-style bike to have only 4 cogs on the rear. Generally 5 is the minimum. Commented Sep 3, 2018 at 20:54
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    If its got 20 clicks, I smell a gripshift or revoshift. That is a rotary format vaguely like a motorcycle throttle. They're known for being significantly imprecise and prone to breaking.
    – Criggie
    Commented Sep 4, 2018 at 11:34

1 Answer 1


The spring on rear derailleur pushes the cage away from the center of the bike, towards the smaller sprockets. If the derailleur cannot be moved by the shifter, the cable is too loose, or the cable housing has come out the shifter, cable stop on the frame, or the derailleur itself.

You can trace the cable run from the shifter to the derailleur. If you find the cable out of a stop, loosen the cable via the shifter and you should be able to pop the housing back in.

The spring on front derailleur pulls the cage towards the center of the bike. If the cage is stuck over the middle chainring, something is jammed. The cable itself may be jammed in the housing, or the derailleur itself may be stuck.

You can try manually trying to move the front derailleur cage to loosen it. Be careful not to catch you fingers between the cage and chain or chainring.

If you can get the derailleurs moving yourself, you probably should have a bike mechanic adjust the shifting for you.

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