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Bicycle Shifters

Bicycle shifters control the gearing mechanism and select the desired gear ratio.

Bicycle shifters came into being ever since bicycles came with more than one sprocket on the front and back.  Shifters take care of the number of gear combinations that are available on a bike.  For example, a road bike with two chainrings up front and a five-speed freewheel on the back is referred to as a '10 speed' since the five rear sprockets could be matched with either of the two front chainrings (2x5=10).  As the numbers progress that system gets confusing.  The front sprockets that are attached to the crankarm are called chainrings.  If you have two chainrings, the setup os called a 'double'.  The gear cluster on the rear wheel is either a freewheel or a cassette.  Five gears on the back is probably a freewheel.  Eight to ten gears on the back, it has a cassette.  Shifting starts with the shift levers usually placed on the handlebars near the grips.  Pressure on the levers pulls or releases one of the derailleurs which moves the chain from one gear to another. Typically, the left shifter operates the front derailleur and the right is matched to the rear derailleur. The numbers indicate which gear  you are in.  The lower the number, the easier the gear is.  Grip shifters shift by twisting a section of the grip corresponding with the harder or easier gear. Trigger shifters work in pairs with two on each side.  One trigger will raise the gear and the other will lower it. To know the basics of bicycle shifters is to configure your bike to fit your needs. EquipBike.com will ship your chosen shifter to you free.