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Cross chain happens when you are mixing the wrong gears and the chain is tweaked too far.
If the chain is on middle chainring(gear)in the front and the middle sprocket (gear) on the back, the chain runs straight.
Moving the chain to smaller front chainring and a smaller rear sprocket puts a significant twist on the chain.
At a given pedal cadence:
The large front chainring = faster speed.
The small rear sprocket = faster speed.
Small front chainring = more power, lower speed.
Larger rear sprocket = more power, lower speed.
Using big big, or small small twists the chain; cross chaining.
There is some flexibility but I hope you see that you need to use the various combination's to meet your needs.
Focus on using the middle chainring and just shift the rear sprockets until you get the hang of it.
That grinding is caused when the chain rubs against the front derailleur or the rear derailleur is not adjusted correctly.
Front derailleur grinding may be that you are cross chaining or it may not be adjusted correctly.
For this discussion it may be the same for the rear. If you are not "cross chained" and the rear derailleur is grinding, it needs to be adjusted. Simply turn the barrel adjuster for that derailleur 1/2 turn (no more) and try it. If it goes away, good. If it gets better go another 1/2 turn. It it gets worse, turn teh adjuster the other direction.
Thanks for posting the link to the article. I found it pretty interesting. My guess is that "cross chaining" is what causes that grinding noise when shifting. I figured that was just my cheap bike.
Thanks so much for the link to this article, it truly was a huge help! I wish I had asked earlier. I rode a quick 1.5 mile tonight and was really getting the hang of the soft pedalling.. thanks!
Here's a great article/primer for shifting.
It includes pictures and includes all the lingo and descriptions. Even uses twist shifters!
By the way, there is ABSOLUTELY nothing wrong with grip/twist shifters. I use high quality SRAM shifters on my mountain bikes and don't see how anyone can honestly claim that trigger shifters have any real advantage.
The people on this team will be glad to respond to specific bike questions, including shifting, but this will get you started.
I'd like to get an answere for this one too - dh thinks my gears need adjusting - I just leave mine in the middle most of the time and only change steep hills.
Doing all things through Christ who gives me strength.
As some of you know I haven't had my new bike very long and the last one I rode when I was a kid had no gears.. so this is all new to me. Mine is a cheap mountain bike and you change gear by twisting on the handlebars and I know that isn't the best method but I am getting used to it and quite like it actually.
The thing is that sometimes I get clanking or other offending noises so I wonder if any of you have some good tips for selecting the right gear and for gear changing techniques that could get a smoother effect?
My seat is exactly the right height now and I am eating hills much better... but I am such a rookie it is kind of 5 or 6 for flat and 2 or 3 for hills but I have 18 gears!! What am I supposed to do with them all?
I might sound stupid here.. but it might help someone else too.