Shifting (also called changing gears) is the secret to riding comfortably and efficiently whether you're climbing and descending, sailing along flat stretches with a glorious tailwind, pedaling for pleasure or going for glory. And today bicycles are easier, more efficient and more fun to shift than ever thanks to easy-to-operate and convenient shift levers integrated into the brake levers (or right next to them), and improved shifting components, too. These amazing shifting systems let you change gears almost as fast as the thought crosses your mind. And you never even need to remove your hands from the handlebars!
|Shifting the right lever (see the 6 illustrations below) controls the rear derailleur and moves the chain onto the different cogs in the rear. Notice that there are 2 levers, the main lever and the lever behind it, the inset lever. You move these levers separately and in only one direction, pushing them inward toward the center of the bike as follows:
|When you're just riding along, your hand can rest on the top of the lever (called the "brake hood") or on the lower part of the handlebars. In both positions it's easy to reach and operate the 2 shift levers built into the right lever.
|When you feel like it's too hard to pedal and want to shift into an easier gear, you push inward on the main lever. It clicks with each push and this moves the rear derailleur, which in turn shifts the chain onto the next larger rear cog making it easier to pedal. You can click the lever again to shift into an easier gear, and so on.
|When you feel like it's too easy to pedal and you'd like a harder gear, you push the inset lever inward. It clicks with each push and this moves the rear derailleur, which in turn shifts the chain onto the next smaller rear cog making it harder to pedal. You can repeat as needed.
|Shifting the left lever (see the 6 illustrations below) controls the front derailleur and moves the chain onto the different chainrings. Notice that there are 2 levers, the main lever and the lever behind it, the inset lever. You move these levers separately and in only one direction, pushing them inward toward the center of the bike as follows:
|The left lever operates like the right lever, with 2 levers, a main one and an inset one. Because there are only 2 or 3 chainrings, and they vary in size so much, the levers must be pushed a little further than the right lever to complete a shift. Like the right lever, you can shift with your hand resting on the top of the lever and when you're on the lower part of the bars, too.
|When you need to make it a lot harder to pedal (as you will when you crest a hill and start going a lot faster down the other side), you push inward on the large lever to shift the chain onto a larger chainring making it a good bit harder to pedal. You can do this in a single long sweep of the lever, or two shorter motions.
|When you need to make it a lot easier to pedal (as you will when you come to uphills), pushing the inset lever inward shifts the front derailleur in the opposite direction and moves the chain onto a smaller chainring with each click of the lever, which makes it a lot easier to pedal the bike.
|That's all there is to it! Now, with a little practice you'll be shifting up a storm and having more fun than ever. Remember, if you have any questions about shifting or anything else cycling, just drop by. We're always happy to help! And, please keep in mind, that if your derailleurs are out of adjustment and your bicycle isn't shifting properly any more we're happy to help you with the problem and get your bike shifting like a champ again. Just let us know. Thanks!