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I am not a new rider, but I haven't ridden in a while. I got a new bike today

In the front gears, I have so much trouble in switching from 1 - 2 and 2 - 3. The problem is that the shifter changes its position from 1 to 2 but the gear doesn't follow it through. I need to make the shifter to the 3rd gear position so it changes.

I heard in on YouTube that you should stop shifting while changing gears. Is that true?

BTW: I tried both to stop shifting and to continue. I hear some hissing when I change from 1st to 2nd gear and it doesn't go through. Does it harm the bike? The shifters are soooooooo hard to press (the front ones). I didn't have this problem at the back of the bike.

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  • This is derailleur gears, true? Pedal on but without real power. So on the flat or down hill, get up to speed put less power on the pedals but keep them moving while changing gears. Can you try that and report back?
    – Willeke
    Commented Jun 23 at 11:00
  • If I misunderstood and this is about hub gears, again get up to speed, keep your legs moving without much power and halt them for a split second during or after changing gear. If you can avoid it do not shift under power.
    – Willeke
    Commented Jun 23 at 13:30
  • i used to stop my legs as I thought this is what I should do 🙂 , I ll try today and see how it goes Commented Jun 23 at 13:46
  • idk what are derailleur gears and hub gears tbh , but I meant the front gears if this is what you mean Commented Jun 23 at 13:48
  • Just checking - you're still turning the pedals over gently while changing gear, right ?
    – Criggie
    Commented Jun 23 at 19:20

3 Answers 3

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It sounds like you have too little tension on the front deraileur cable. You can try to turn the barrel adjuster outwards, i.e counter clockwise half a turn to tighten the cable. Then check if shifting improved.

If it does not help turn keep turning half turns. Keep track of how many half turns you made, then you can return to the current state if it was not the cause of the problem.

(If there is way too much slack to correct with the barrel adjuster you might have to tighten the cable at the pinch bolt). If it's a brand new bike and you are uncomfortable with messing around with it, the store will probably help you out free of charge.

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  • 1
    Should help you free of charge and apologize, as this should have been caught before handing out.
    – Willeke
    Commented Jun 23 at 12:42
  • @Willeke: To be fair some triple chainring setups never work 100% ”press the button” flawlessly and require some careful shifting by the rider.
    – Michael
    Commented Jun 23 at 12:57
  • Tell me something. My current VM needed adjusting, got a new biggest ring, needed careful shifting, got shorter cranks and for that went to two rings, today I got the technician to have a look and next time I am at the shop he will adjust something else to aid shifting. I am at the shortest edge of whom fit and as a weaker rider needed some unusual adjustments. But all done with a smile and a sorry/free of charge for the adjustments.
    – Willeke
    Commented Jun 23 at 13:26
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    Yes, a complete circuit. Both faster and slower is ok, it's pretty flexible. But as stated, if you go very slow in 2-3 front you risk jaming the chain. If you turn the barrel too much out it might come out. I've never done it, but it's not dangerous. If its far out I'd be inclined to screw it all the way back in and tighten the cable a bit at the pinch-bolt. But it might be wise to get some help from someone who knows what they are doing since FDs can be a bit finicky to get right the first few times you do it.
    – WornChain
    Commented Jun 23 at 22:28
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    The barrel adjuster is for minor adjustments, not to take up large amounts of slack.
    – WornChain
    Commented Jun 23 at 22:30
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You have to keep turning the pedals while changing gears.

Not stomping hard, but you also can't stop pedalling, coast and then push the shifter.

(yes this assumes a derailleur, which it 99.9% likely is)

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Park tool (no relation to me other than liking the videos) has a nice series of videos on deraileur adjustment on youtube.

I recommend going through these slowly from start to finish and doing every step.

Cross chaining

I think some of your rubbing/late shifting problem might also be due to cross-chaining. I know I did it when I started riding and didn't know any better.

Reponding to questions in comments:

Gear ranges

so i have 9 gears in the back and 3 gears in the front should it be (1 from 1-7 ) ( 2 from 2-8 ) ( 3 from 3-9 ) ? - GAMING WORLD

Yup, different geometries of shifters have different usable ranges, but it should be between 5 to 7 gears. (1 x 1 - 7), (2 x 2 - 8), (3 x 3 - 9) is what I had in mind.

Adjust the range in your head to a smaller number (1 x 1 - 5, 2 x 3 - 7, 3 x 5 - 9) if you still have some chain rubbing after completing the adjustments mentioned in the above videos.

Shifting down

and also what i should change first the back gears or the front and should I return to the 1st gear ( back and front ) every time I stop my bicycle - GAMING WORLD

I don't shift when stationary unless absolutely necessary and only by one increment both on the front and back unless (and when) it's absolutely necessary to get out in a hurry.

My usual gear range is middle gear in the front and around 3rd to 7th position on the back - nice for most circumstances in the wild or in the city.

I usually change down slowly as I'm anticipating slowing down. I first change down to midrange (5th gear or nearby if I don't have visual reference on the shifter) on the back shifter.

And then is the time to change down the front gears because I now know there won't be any problems shifting to whatever front gear I might need, because the back middle (5th) gear and it's neighbors (3rd, 4th, 6th, 7th) are in (or close to) every front gear range.

Don't worry too much if you're changing from the 2nd or 1st or 8th or 9th gear sometimes. As long as you in the end move to the recommended ranges, you're fine.

I usually don't use the lightest gear combination unless I'm in a steeper hill.

My go-to start combination is usually [1st front] x [3rd rear] or [2nd front x 3rd rear]. You can change up/down the front gear if you're in the overlapping areas of the back gears and it shouldn't pose any problems.

What I'm aiming for is a comfortable start (not too light so I'm not pedaling like crazy and need to upshift immediately).

If you need to stop suddenly and don't have time to downshift all the way and are stopped in a position with too high/heavy gears, I either push start myself if possible and then slowly and not extremely forcefully pedal while downshifting the back gears closer to midrange and then (or simultaneously, either works) shift the front gear. When I get there, I can usually already continue as is.

Sometimes you just need to forcefully pedal to get out, the bike will survive it, but it shouldn't bee to often - that is a sign of poor decision making or bad anticipation.

Don't shift by large increments when starting, you run a risk of chain getting stuck in the rear deraileur. It shouldn't happen unless you use really extreme force, but the risk is there.

If you're stopped in a hill or push starting is not an option, just sit down, lift up your bike by a saddle or middle bar of the body and with one hand on the shifter use one leg to spin the crankset and change gears until you're in a usable position.

When shifting for a stop, I pretty much always go: back gears to midrange/lighter midrange, front gear to mid/light setting.

When riding in a city (i.e. in stop-n-go traffic) I don't go for the hardest settings, ride more defensively and try to anticipate the stops/possible obstacles/problems.

Rushing for the largest cog in the front only ever produces problems unless you're cruising on the open road and can see obstacles coming up.

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  • thanks alot for all of your help and idk why nobody have actually mentioned it to me before but your gears rule makes aloot of sense , thanks for everything Commented Jun 24 at 0:19
  • so i have 9 gears in the back and 3 gears in the front should it be (1 from 1-7 ) ( 2 from 2-8 ) ( 3 from 3-9 ) ? Commented Jun 24 at 0:21
  • and also what i should change first the back gears or the front and should I return to the 1st gear ( back and front ) every time I stop my bicycle Commented Jun 24 at 0:22
  • @GAMINGWORLD Gear ranges: exactly - (1 x 1 - 7), (2 x 2 - 8), (3 x 3 - 9). It doesn't always match exactly, it might only be 4 to 6 step range, depending on your gear geometry.
    – mishan
    Commented Jun 24 at 0:28

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