Here’s our complete guide to how to use the 3 main brands of shifter – Shimano, SRAM and Campagnolo.

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The gear changing mechanism on a bicycle has changed quite a bit over the past 30 years or so, but these days all of your shifting is typically done from the same levers that control your braking. Shimano, SRAM and Campagnolo levers work in a similar fashion but each of them function in a slightly different way. Simon talks through each of the three different groupsets and how exactly to shift into an easier or harder gear.

Watch more on GCN…
How to change gear like a pro 🎥
How to index your gears 🎥

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  1. Can you please do a video for Microshift gears on a typical BTWIN TRIBAND 500 SE Road bike. I am confused! Novice! Thanks

  2. Shimano is totally natural for all those using Shimano/SRAM MTB shifters – ypu use big lever to pull wire and push smaller one to release. No problem. BUT if you have weird Shimano reverse sprung rear derailleur – its in the opposition to everything normal 🙂


  3. I last had a bike made before 1990, and it seemed so much easier back then. (changing several cogs at the back when changing the front change ring for example). Guess I'll have to practice. Thanks for the video.

  4. Thanks again for another well done video. This newbie or beginner wants all the help I can get. Any further advice? Question: What if my new Schwinn phocus 1600 is a bit to big, for I'm afraid it might be. I'm 5'-8" and the bike's 56cm??? Can I get smaller wheels, or no. Your thoughts?

  5. Question…

    Is it easy to brake while changing gears like you can with straight handlebars?

    I'm about to get my very first road bike style handlebars (with Di2 gears) and I'm thinking about how to slow down for traffic lights and such but still be in a sensible gear when it's time to go since obviously gears don't completely change unless you're pedalling.

  6. Question on cross chaining, The extreme is Big gear front to Biggest gear in the rear or vice versa….My question, where is the safe area ? I have an 8spd road bike how far can I go before I begin to cross chain ?

  7. Nothing beats classic down tube mounted friction shifters. There's a romance to them. I miss my retro-modded 70's Schwinn Super Le Tour so damn much!

  8. I have the Shimano ones with the click on the inside, but it is nearly impossible to shift to a smaller sprocket while on the drops. Any recommendations for this, or any recommendations for a shifter that is easier to use on the drops?

  9. This video is so useful! I was finding it hard to understand gear shifting and this video helped me out so much! You guys are the best!

  10. Campagnolo are cool, shimano are terrible simply bad design, how can you downshift by turning entire lever and when you brake then it escapes from your fingers cause it turns lol

  11. What about a non sti? I bought a bike and i dont know how to shift, its my first time for road bike cuz im a mountain bike user for the last 2 years

  12. Thank you for explaining this, I just bought a Giant with the Italian gearshift and couldn't figure out how to change back.

  13. When I get into my car, I either just shift the gear shift knob or drive an automatic.This essay on shifting the front gears and shifting the rear gears, moving from large sprockets to smaller sprockets misses the whole point. Its like explaining how the pistons work in an engine when all I care about is applying gas and going. I wish Steve Jobs had designed a bike.

  14. hello, i got old road bike from my dad but it's using downtube shifter that is kinda hard for me to use
    (idk it's really roadbike but it looks like one)

    so the question is
    can i use cheap shifter like shimano tx30 for my bike ?

  15. This video is old, but I just got a road bike and it's basically like learning to ride all over again. So GCN's vids have been super helpful to watch. Thanks for the resource and awesome/succinct/clear tutorials!

  16. Thanks SO much for this video! I'm looking into getting my first road bike (coming from Walmart mountain bikes) and I'm looking to learn as much as possible so when I'm offered help I already have an idea of what I'm looking for. Can't believe people are being so obnoxious about a video that's obviously meant to help those with less experience. Thanks GCN for the basics videos! 😀

  17. He really made a mess with the Shimano gears, talking respectively left-right, rear-front. sorry. I watched another video and got it instantly.

  18. Does anyone make Lefty flipped versions of these?
    Rear shift on the left hand, and front shift on the right?


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