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enter image description hereA few days ago I was given a vintage Basso gap frame and I’m beyond excited to be riding again, however, I’ve only ridden modern trail bikes until this point. Naturally, I’ve been researching and trying to learn more about downtube shifting but the bike only has the right lever (pictures attached). The bike also doesn’t seem to want to shift at all and I’m lost as to where to begin with it as this type of bike is new to me. I don’t know if I need to order new levers or if there’s more of an underlying problem. enter image description here

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  • Can you add a photo of the rear derailleur? There is only one shift lever pictured, so if there's a front derailleur then you have no way to control it (this may be perfectly OK for flat rides)
    – Criggie
    Apr 24, 2022 at 23:01
  • Sorry for the delayed response I attached a photo of the derailleur. It’s not overly flat on my commutes and has some minor inclines. It’s definitely not ideal but I do think it may work out. Apr 25, 2022 at 13:34

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Beautiful bike. I'm afraid there could be any number of problems behind this:

  • Cable is seized in the housing. Disconnect cable from derailleur and see if you can rotate the shift lever back and forth while keeping a little tension on the cable end. If seized, replace cable and cable housing.
  • Shift lever bolt is overtightened. Easy fix: loosen it
  • Derailleur is seized. With cable disconnected, will the derailleur swing in/out? If seized, replace. Finding a suitable vintage derailleur might take some looking.

Those are the most obvious problems.

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    Last night I looked over the derailleur and found that my tension screws were kind of out of wack and I’ve been making very slight adjustments with success so far. In the new photo I actually got it to shift up to the 5th cog fairly effortlessly. I have to wait before I can start looking at cables but I will update when I make some progress. Apr 25, 2022 at 13:38
  • @CheezRegister based on that photo, there's too much chain on the bike. The derailleur is folded double trying to take up all the slack, and you're not even in the smallest cog. Someone hasn't shortened the chain to length at some time in the past when replacing a worn one.
    – Criggie
    Apr 25, 2022 at 13:40
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    @CheezRegister General advise is to set the limit screws once and first, and then never touch them again. you should be able to push the derailleur around with your left hand while turning the crank with your right hand, with the bike in a stand or hanging off the ground. Mind out for finger-eating pinch zones though.
    – Criggie
    Apr 25, 2022 at 13:41
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The cable housing looks far too long. The derailleur cable turns 90° when it connects to the cable housing, which shouldn't be the case. Any curves in the derailleur cable (or brake cables) should be gentle curves.

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