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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ello ello...I've been lurking this forum since last October, and have found this site to be a wealth of information regarding mtbing....really great stuff! Kudos to the site and all of its members.

I'm trying to get my feet wet, and have a question about shifting. I'm riding a brand new Specialized Hardrock. I started off riding around my neighborhood to make sure I understood when and how to shift....

For some reason, when I shift from the front 1st gear to 2nd gear....the chain completely derails off the sprockets. The rear is usually on 5th or 6th.

My bf is also a noob rider, and he's been experiencing some weird noises and jerky shifting when he shifts from the front 2nd gear to the 3rd.

Could it be that we're shifting into gears that are not meant for flat ground?

Any insight/help would be appreciated!

Thanks...

Amy:D
 

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Hello Amy

Welcome to the forums. Nice to see a couple that's riding together! I don't believe the problems you're experiencing on your new bike is related to the terrain. Often new bikes need some minor adjustments to the derailleurs in order for them to shift smoothly between cogs. Chances are this is probably the case. If you bought your bike at a Local Bike Shop, they'll probably do the adjustments for free. I would take both bikes to them and see if it's not just a simple adjustment.

Bob
 

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Take it in to the LBS for a tune-up but also look into a good bike maintenance book such as Zen and the Art of Mountain Bike Maintenance. As you keep riding your bike will require upkeep...and the more you can do for yourself the cheaper/faster it will usually be.
 

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Old man on a bike
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That would be Zinn's Art of Mountain Bike Maintenance, an excellent book. Also check that you're using good shifting technique, especially not putting a lot of stress on the drivetrain during shifts (a brief soft pedal as you shift is a good way to go). It's very likely to need a brief derailleur adjustment after a bit of break in. Have fun and welcome to participation in the forums!
 

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Absolutely Amy said:
Ello ello...I've been lurking this forum since last October, and have found this site to be a wealth of information regarding mtbing....really great stuff! Kudos to the site and all of its members.

I'm trying to get my feet wet, and have a question about shifting. I'm riding a brand new Specialized Hardrock. I started off riding around my neighborhood to make sure I understood when and how to shift....

For some reason, when I shift from the front 1st gear to 2nd gear....the chain completely derails off the sprockets. The rear is usually on 5th or 6th.

My bf is also a noob rider, and he's been experiencing some weird noises and jerky shifting when he shifts from the front 2nd gear to the 3rd.

Could it be that we're shifting into gears that are not meant for flat ground?

Any insight/help would be appreciated!

Thanks...

Amy:D
Sounds like an adjustement issue to me. Have a good LBS(Local Bike Shop) take a look at it and adjust it, most will do it for free or a very small charge. You can also ask to watch, and most shops won't object. They can even help you with tips on how and when to shift. Usually, they are very friendly and helpful.
 

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Sounds like the front derailleur is overshifting and throwing it off. As others have said, take it in for adjustments. It may seem like it doesn't quite shift up as easily after that, though. On the front derailleur, you need to be pedalling at a decent RPM to shift smoothly, because it has to make a larger step than when you're downshifting (going to a larger rear gear) in the back.
 

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Amy,

I'll second everyone's recommendation to get Zinn's book. Bike maintenance can be intimidating at first, but once you are comfortable with the basics, your riding experience will be much better -- it helps with overall confidence, I believe. Zinn's book is a great starting point, and keeps things easy enough to understand for those of us who are not naturally mechanically inclined.

Also, there are some excellent free resources online. Sheldon Brown's site is especially good for newbies. Here's a link to his section on all things related to gears: Good advice on shifting and basic derailleur setup:

http://sheldonbrown.com/gearing/index.html

Also, Park Tools website very comprehensive:

http://www.parktool.com/repair/byregion.asp

As others have said, take both bikes into your LBS -- ask the mechanic if you can watch over his/her shoulder so that they can perhaps explain how they are adjusting your derailleurs for you. Bringing in a box of donuts and some coffees for the LBS crew or some beers (depending on the time of day) can help grease the skids there. Having a good relationship with your LBS pays many dividends.

Welcome to the club!

Cheers, Chris
 

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Defiantly take both bikes in and get a tune up this is a great suggestion. I have my mechanic tune my bike up about once a month (he is one of my riding buddies).

A little more information on what gears you are in when this is all happening may be helpful.

Some Technical information to help you make things a little clear and hopefully learn something new...

There are three chain rings on the crank (front) and 7-9 sprockets on the cassette (rear, this is what makes a bike 21, 24, or 27 speeds).

The chain rings on the front are counted form smallest to largest 1, 2, 3.

The sprockets on the rear are counted largest to smallest 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9

Chain ring 1 (smallest gear on the front) is best used with the sprockets 1-4 or 1-5. Using Chain ring 1 with smaller sprockets can cause cross-chaining as snaky69 pointed out and this can be detrimental to the life of the drive train.

Chain ring 2 (the middle gear on the front) will work well with all but the smallest sprockets on the rear, but it has been my experience that all 9 gears work on my bike with the second chain ring.

Chain ring 3 (the largest chain ring) works best with the smaller gears on the rear (ie. 6-9)

So now my point to drive this all home.

Now that we all have the same frame of reference what chain rings are you having trouble shifting to and from and what gear are you in in the rear?

It is my experience that if I am spinning too fast when I shift form Chain ring 2 to Chain ring 1 (making it easer to turn the cranks) I will through the chain.

Is this like what is happening to you?

If it is just slow your legs down a bit as you shift then bring them right back up to speed to keep your momentum up.

Keep on riding:thumbsup: !

A
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks so much for the info....:thumbsup:

I'm on amazon right now looking for Zinn's, but it looks like there may be several editions of this book. Is there one edition that is better than the rest?

I really do appreciate everyone's advice......especially Anthrax's explanation of the gearing. I think that was the reason for the derailing.....being in the first chain ring and on the 6th sprocket in the rear.

Its been too wet outside to do any riding lately, so this might be a good time to go in to my LBS and have them take a look at it.

OH and.....anyone have any suggestions for a bike rack? I'd prefer one that goes on the spare tire....or on the hitch.

Thanks again!
 

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I bought the Zinn book recently...I think Version 4 is the newest version
 

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Get the latest edition you can find.
Zinn's book is good in that it explains more generally "how things work" so you can apply the knowledge even when your gear is not exactly the same that he writes about. The newer editions are more likely to adress the newer components directly, though.

Oh, also look for the instructions at the parktool website.
 
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