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Different kind of shifter
hi guys

just wondering if you could help me with my bike. i just got a new but cheap full suspension 21speed bike 2 weeks ago. im just trying to learn riding it and shifting gears and all. i do know the basic that when you go uphil, use lowest gear and downhill, the highest gear etc.

but anyway here is my problem. my right shifter shows 1-7 which i dont have any problem with that. but then my left shifter doesnt show the 1-3 gears which i usually read from articles. it only says H and L (highest and lowest i guess) with around 7-10 lines in there..(not sure how many lines in there)

my question is how would i know which of these are for the gears 1 or 2 or 3.

i get conscious riding my bike at times that i am trying a lot of combinations while riding it.

thanks for anyone who will read and share.
the front shifter is not indexed, it is a "friction" shifter, and you need to adjust to slightly different position depending on which sprocket you are on at the back.

Generally, you want to run the smallest front chain ring only with 1, 2 and 3 at the back to prevent the chain from rubbing on the larger chain rings. The middle chain ring can usually be used with all seven of the rear cogs, and the big front chain ring use 4, 5, 6 and 7.

Generally, you should be in the middle chain ring at the front. Then for climbing steep hills; use the smallest chain ring. For level ground, in a short time, you'll find your self using the largest chain ring.

Even though there are nominally 21 speed, only a dozen or so are useful and unique.

If you are riding exclusively on the street or paved paths, you'll find that you want to lock out the suspension in a few weeks. You will also want to get tires that have a continuous center band due to noise and lower rolling resistance.
thanks for the reply. appreciate it a lot.

i guess ill just have to concentrate on my left shifter since the front ring is already in the second.

i do have another question though. i noticed, and my friend did too, that while i was riding my bike, no matter how fast i pedaled, that i didnt go really fast. that was evident too when we were riding and another bike passed through. i was using the biggest ring and really pedaling hard.

do you think this is a bike issue or its just that i still am trying to learn my bike.

thanks again
Biggest ring in front and smallest cog in back would be your highest gear. Your overall speed will depend upon the number of teeth on that combination. And of course, how hard you pedal.

Further; some examples:
* my hybrid (originally 7 speed) came with a 44T (tooth) chain ring and 14 to 34T freewheel in back. I found the I was pedaling as fast I could in top gear, without really pushing hard. First step, I changed to a 13-28T freewheel; which gave me a slight increase in top speed. Next, I switched to a 28-38-48T triple front chain ring - that was the cheapest way to get more teeth in front. 20-20 hindsight; I should have got a 39-52T double front chain ring. As my legs have gotten stronger, and move only a little bit faster; I can still max out the 48/13 combo if there is a slight downgrade or even tail wind on the level.
* my commuter has 40-52T in front, and 14-34T in the back, and has larger wheels.
* my current project bike has 39-53T in front, and is getting 12-23T in back. This will not be good for climbing long steep hills, but is well suited to my nearly level commute. I may switch the front to 46-53T.
* our tandem ('94 vintage, we got it a few weeks ago) was originally equipped with 28-38-48T in front, and now has 28-44-54T; keeping the 12-30T in back.
Thanks for your reply guys. i really appreciate it!

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