Chain, check for stiff links, check for chain stretch or wear, check for chain twist. Cables, If they are stretched out remove the slack with the fine adjustments or using a needle nose and loosen the lock screw. Then adjust gears. Derailleur hanger, if it’s bent you will have alignment issues. Check it with a drop out tool and derailleur hanger adjustment gauge. Derailleur high and low limit adjustment. Just make sure it doesn’t over shift to the spokes or off the sprocket on the other side. Follow the other suggestions as well from the other members. Lube cables, check for kinks or areas of dirt.
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Fitness Minutes: (62,039) Posts: 1,054 12/11/13 3:37 P
SpeedyDog is right. Years ago, Bicycling Magazine put this snippet in one of its margins: "Never make fun of a Huffy. We all started on one." It's kind of a mantra for me. It's crazy to plunk down a ton of money on sports equipment for an activity you're just trying out. Those cheap bikes are a gateway drug. A lot of people buy them and use them for what they're best for: basic transportation. But some people buy them and then fall in love. They put thousands of miles on the bike. Maybe they trade up at some point. Even if they don't, the bike has served its purpose: it got its rider where he or she needed to be.
If your LBS turns up their nose at your bike, find another shop. They may explain that the parts weren't well-crafted, or that the bike wasn't assembled properly, but they shouldn't outright dismiss you or your bike. That's not just bad customer service, that's rude.
I'm riding a nearly 30-year-old Trek 460 I found in a thrift store in 2000. I paid $15. Since then, I've probably spent $2500 on that bike (the biggest chunk was replacing the old 27-inch wheels with 700c wheels and upgrading the Shimano 105 gruppo to an Ultrega gruppo). But I'd be hard-pressed to find a lugged steel frame bike with an Ultrega gruppo for what I've spent on my bike. In a world of carbon and aluminum, my trusty mount gets some looks (she still has the original paint scheme). But every now and then, someone recognizes what a treasure she is.
My point is, your bike is a wonderful thing. It's worth it to spend a little to get it back into fighting shape. And you do not need to apologize for riding a cheap bike. I'm sure you'd be just as upset if your bike was stolen as a person who owns a $5000 bike would be.
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First, there is no such thing as a "crappy" bike. Walmart sells a lot of bikes so they get a price advantage of mass buying. Your bike is made of heavier, and therefore, cheaper materials. However, the basic bike is very strongly built. In the world of bikes you can get it cheap, strong or light; pick just two. Strong and light is expensive. Heavy and strong is cheaper.
Your NEXT Avalon has a Shimano Tourney rear derailleur and a Shimano grip shifter. This system is referred to as "index" shifting. Your grip shifter has preset positions that correspond to the positions the rear derailleur.
There are a couple of different things that can be happening. The rear derailleur could be dirty and lacking lubrication. A new derailleur wears-in requiring adjustment. If you have crashed your bike, the derailleur can be bent out of alignment.
The cable from the shifter to the derailleur could have stretched, rusted or become dirty. The cable has to move freely to allow movement of the shifter to translate to movement of the derailleur.
The shifter mechanism may have become dirty or dry of lubricant.
Something that is less likely is that the chain my also be worn. A worn-out chain can accelerate rear in the drivetrain including the rear gears and crank.
A good bike shop can do a basic tune, which includes cleaning and lubricating mechanical parts, nut and bolt tightness check, and adjustments. This basic tune is about $50.
Let's say your derailleur is shot. The bike shop recommends an upgrade to Shimano Altus. Your Shimano Tourney derailleur costs about $10. The Altus cost $20. Figure another $10 to install the derailleur. A replacement chain for your bike is $6. A really good chain would go for about $20.
You may not need any new parts so you spend $50 for cleaning, lubrication and adjustment.. But let's say you do need some new parts. Worse cast you would spend $100 in repair cost. This seems like some pretty expensive repairs for a $130 bike. It would be up to you how much you want to spend to make the bike work better and last longer.
This is really the trap on bikes sold by Walmart. The bikes are assembled by people that don't have a clue. Nuts and bolts can be loose. Brakes can be out of adjustment. The drivetrain can be dry and poorly installed.
The basic Walmart bikes are not bad. There are just some corners that are cut to hit a low price point. My first mountain bike was a Huffy Granite I bought from Walmart in 1985 . I got a zillion miles on the heavy old $69 Huffy before it gave up the ghost. At the same time, a Specialized Stumpjumper was over $1,000!
I hope this helps. My advice is take your bike to a good bike shop. They can evaluate the bike and tell you what it would take to fix it.
Edited by: SPEEDYDOG at: 12/11/2013 (20:07)
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I had a problem of it randomly jumping gears - on inspection it turned out I had a couple of stiff links in my chain. I tried lubing and loosening them, but wasn't successfull in this. I replaced the chain for about $30 - solved the problem completely.
If you hear a 'clunk' every 2 or 3 pedal strokes as a particular part of the chain goes through the derailleur, then the problem is with the chain.
But if you are having trouble accessing the lower gears, I am guessing that there is a problem with the derailleur alignment. Sometimes a bent derailleur hanger, or the stops in the derailleur. A new wheel can also lead to a different alignment.
I agree with the suggestion to experiment with the stops in your derailleur - there should be a couple of screws that will allow you to adjust it, and ensure that the derailleur moves closest to your lowest gears (ie. the largest cog wheel on the cassette).
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Here is my take, but please let others chime in as well. I think you need to adjust the stops in your rear-derailer. The rear-derailer is the little piece that hangs down below the gear cog. There are two small screws - usually on the outside side of the derailler - one is the stop for the inner gear and one is the outer stop for the higher gear. Give each one a small twist as you move the chain to the lowest gear and then to the highest gear. See if this helps.
Admittedly, my bike is a cheap Walmart bike (NEXT Avalon), but lately the gears have been slipping a lot. I pretty much stay in 3rd gear (of 7 total), because it won't let me select 2nd or 1st and if I try 4th, it skips right on to 5th (which is too high for me at my re-beginner level). Even in 3rd gear, I'll be pedaling along and it will randomly catch like it's trying to change gears, even when my hand is nowhere near the shifter. It's becoming frustrating, and a few weeks ago, just as I was finishing my ride, the chain slipped off completely.
I'm wondering if there's anything I can try myself. I've thought about taking it to a bike shop, but I'm kind of afraid I'm going to be told "Well, it's a crappy bike, what do you expect?" or get a repair bill for more than the bike even cost!
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