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Hey, where's Perry?
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Although I have been riding casually for about 8 years now, I am only now starting to pay close attention to what I am doing. Last week, for example, I noticed that I don't track nearly as well as I thought... within about 18 inches of center, I am all over the place. I understand fixing that is a matter of time, and paying attention to a smooth cadence. Easier said than done.

Today, I noticed that often when I downshift going uphill, the gear change is abrupt, almost to the point of being violent. Is this because of my vintage 2003 Sora drivetrain? Is it a matter of technique? (I can't make the gear change smoother by letting up the torque, but going uphill, that's just about the last thing I want to do.) Or, channeling Abe Simpson, is the answer a little of Column A, a little of Column B?
 

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Yeah, probably a little from column A, little from column B.

In my limited experience, proper derailleur adjustment can make a little bit of difference in the smoothness of shifts, and keeping things clean a bit more.

Shifts are definitely going to be smoother if you can keep the pedals unweighted. This is going to be really difficult to accomplish if you are standing up and hammering away while making the shift however.
 

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What the what???
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I'm certainly no hill climber, so I'm happy to defer to those with more experience, but I think the answer is a bit more of Column B than A. It's likely more about technique. Ideally, you want to be in the right gear at the start of the climb and do as little shifting as possible. Spin when you can. Get out of the saddle, when you need more power or the grade goes up drastically.

When you do have to shift, though, you're right that the answer is to build up a little extra momentum so you can lessen the torque before you make the shift. It sucks, but it's better than the violent shift on you and your drivetrain.
 

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Ease off on the chain. Pedal a little faster before the shift to keep your momentum up, then pedal slower while shifting. Just takes a little practice.

The tracking could be a number of things. Make sure your arms are bent and flexed. Use lower gears. Look down the road.

You beat me to it, Opus!
 

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Today, I noticed that often when I downshift going uphill, the gear change is abrupt, almost to the point of being violent. Is this because of my vintage 2003 Sora drivetrain? Is it a matter of technique? (I can't make the gear change smoother by letting up the torque, but going uphill, that's just about the last thing I want to do.) Or, channeling Abe Simpson, is the answer a little of Column A, a little of Column B?
You don't want to shift the front derailleur under load. It doesn't work well because it's on the tension side of the chain and if the chain comes all the way off it can be enough to make you crash.

You can avoid the situation when you see a steeper section is coming by shifting before you get there. Usually there's enough overlap between rings so that's not a big deal.

Modern rear derailleurs and ramped cogs work well under load although things are smoother if you ease off then too.
 

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Hey, where's Perry?
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
aw2pp said:
(I <s>can't</s> can make the gear change smoother by letting up the torque, but going uphill, that's just about the last thing I want to do.)
Corrected, BTW. Thanks for reading through my oxygen deprivation.

And thanks for the feedback / info.
 

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The good news for you is that even with your Sora shifters (which are fine, BTW), this is far easier to fix than in the old days of downtube friction shifters, because you can make the shift so quickly. With a little practice, you can learn to ease up considerably on the torque (really soft-pedaling with almost no pressure) for the fraction of a second it takes for the shift. You just have to get the timing right. The violence of your shifts is almost entirely attributable to this.

"vintage" 2003 drivetrain. LOL ;-)
 

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Any group set will shift with a thud under heavy torque of going up hill.

Like the previous poster said you just need to let up on the pressure. Also like he said it's really quick once you get the timing. Easing up for maybe 1/3 of a pedal revolution or so will do it. I don't pay much attention to that any more so maybe 1/3 is way off but put it this way it can be quick enough to do with no relevent impact on momentum and speed.
 

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+1 to all of the above, plus I always sit to shift during a climb, to remove my weight from adding any extra strain to the drive train while shifting.

I'm sure more skilled riders can probably do it while standing, but I find that when I try to do that it results in a "hard" shift which I don't imagine is good for my components.
 

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mcsqueak said:
+

I'm sure more skilled riders can probably do it while standing, but I find that when I try to do that it results in a "hard" shift which I don't imagine is good for my components.

Try shifting a bunch of your weight to your hands/bars for that brief moment. I don't know if that's 'proper' and something a lot of people do but it works well for me.
 

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The uphill downshift is also a good argument for keeping your cadence up and downshifting a little earlier than you really need to. The time required for the downshift gets longer as the cassette is moving more slowly. Plus if you're moving the drivetrain faster that makes it easier to let up on torque for a crank or so. It is vital to let up on the torque until the chain reseats on the next sprocket. Therefore the downshift will be done sooner and more gently when your cadence is not too low.

Dave
 

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I don't think there's a right or wrong here, but I'm going to buck the trend and offer that IME as long as a modern drivetrain is tuned properly (and yes, I consider '03 Sora to be modern), there's little reason to back off on torque when shifting at the rear.

I'll temper that comment with the fact that I always climb seated and (as dgeesaman touched on) anticipate the next shift based on a cadence range of 85-90. So whatever column 'technique' is in, apply that. :)
 

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Nice....a good, basic, "beginner" question with helpful answers :thumbsup: . I've had my LBS adjust my front derailleur 3 times in the last month for various symptoms. Each time they adjust it, it DOES get better....but now I'm thinking that some of the issues are due to some shifting-under-pressure errors on my part. I was under the belief that quality drive trains, once adjusted correctly, could handle any shifting procedure. I assumed "racers" didn't back off the torque ( momentarily) on shifting.

For instance, my front derailleur took way too long to shift to the big ring....some of it was adjustment, but I think I was not easing off the pedals as I powered along. Now I notice the shift to the big ring is smooth and relatively fast when I get off the power stroke.

Going uphill, my chain used to "jam" when shifting from the big to the small ring...I guess I was not letting up on the torque....

**
 

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Do they not make rapid-rise rear derailleurs for the road market? I had some XTR ones on my MTB that made it just awesome to shift while going uphill.
 

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'brifter' is f'ing stupid
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rezenclowd3 said:
Do they not make rapid-rise rear derailleurs for the road market? I had some XTR ones on my MTB that made it just awesome to shift while going uphill.
no...they don't. thank god shimano has been smart enough not to make them. :idea:
 

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With experience the lightening of tension is very subtle. It has to be done while cadance is still high so the pause isn't much because the preasure isn't that high or you were already grinding in to high of gear.
 

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My experience has been that Campy Chorus or Record will shift well under the pressure of climbing or sprinting. Shimano 105 and Dura Ace will shift, but it doesn't like it. Lots of complaining from the drive train.
 

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PJ352 said:
I don't think there's a right or wrong here, but I'm going to buck the trend and offer that IME as long as a modern drivetrain is tuned properly (and yes, I consider '03 Sora to be modern), there's little reason to back off on torque when shifting at the rear.

I'll temper that comment with the fact that I always climb seated and (as dgeesaman touched on) anticipate the next shift based on a cadence range of 85-90. So whatever column 'technique' is in, apply that. :)
Sounds like the OP and others are trying shift under load at sub 70 and probably sub 60 rpm so any drive train is going to balk and make noise.

Agree that a modern drive train better shift smooth a 85-90 rpm.
 

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I'm sure not everyone will agree, but you may want to read this Sheldon Brown article on standing while cycling. http://sheldonbrown.com/standing.html
After reading this article I have stopped standing up on climbs and noticed an improvement in my climbing ability. Standing up seems to sky rocket my heart rate and cause me to burn out faster.
 
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