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Can I make it easier for a six year old to change gear?

ElliesDadElliesDad Posts: 245
edited July 2012 in MTB workshop & tech
My 6 year old daughter was struggling on inclines with her single speed bike (even gentle inclines!) so we have just got her a 7 speed kids bike with SRAM 3.0 grip shift shifters. These are fine when she changes the gears up but struggles to shift down, I assume because of the cable tension. Her little hands just don't have the strength to shift to an easier gear so I end up having to stop and do it for her.

I have thought about reducing the cable tension, but the gears are set up perfectly so doing this would throw the indexing out! Has anyone got any tips for reducing the effort needed to change a grip shift down the gears or whether SRAM gears have any sort of adjuster to make it easier?

Thanks.
2012 Boardman FS Team
2014 Giant Defy 2

Posts

  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    Nothing you can do except make sure that the internals are nice lubed and the cables are as clean and smooth as you can get them.

    I find Shimano Revo Shift easier to use.
  • ElliesDadElliesDad Posts: 245
    That's what I thought, I will have a good look at the cables etc.

    Presumably to change to Shimano would mean changing the derailleur as well?
    2012 Boardman FS Team
    2014 Giant Defy 2
  • Chunkers1980Chunkers1980 Posts: 8,035
    Yes.
  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    Maybe - there are two versions, one is Shimano compatible (called MRX 3.0)
  • ElliesDadElliesDad Posts: 245
    The rear derailleur is marked as "1:1 actuation ratio" so it looks like it will only be compatible with SRAM shifters.

    It's quite annoying that they knock out bikes with shifters that are difficult for kids to change, it seems to be a common problem from the web research I have done!
    2012 Boardman FS Team
    2014 Giant Defy 2
  • Just a thought, could you not make the grip bigger? I mean like wrapping it in something so that its thicker and therefore has more purchase?
    Boardman Comp 2011 Hardtail
  • EyesintheSkyEyesintheSky Posts: 183
    This might sound crazy, but you could stick some kind of handle onto the grip? So that when she pulls the grip down/up its further out from the point of pivot and hence easier for her to pull. it doesnt have to be huge but just a way of changing the shape of the grip :)
    Very funny Scotty, now beam me down my clothes.
  • That's what I was trying to say :lol:
    Boardman Comp 2011 Hardtail
  • YeehaaMcgeeYeehaaMcgee Posts: 5,740
    ElliesDad wrote:
    It's quite annoying that they knock out bikes with shifters that are difficult for kids to change, it seems to be a common problem from the web research I have done!
    Frankly, there's such little thought gone into most child bike designs that it's practically criminal.
    Most kid bikes I've seen have brakes that even a large grown up would struggle to squeeze hard enough to do anything at all, meaning that the kids haven't got a hope.
  • for this very reason i was looking at putting trigger shifts on my daughters bike, (same age as yours) she's been on her 20" wheel bike since last christmas and was fine up untill lately on the SS. that and some of the boys have now got new bikes (same size) with gears!
    ive put a grip shift on and as your daughter, fine going down the cogs but cant quite grip and twist enough to get it back up them, i wanted a trigger set up but was Significantly more expensive than gripshifts!
    am sure she'll get used to it, but is a bit of a pain for her!

    mind you, most the kids at her school have no idea how the gears work anyways!! a few iof the cycling events ive helped out with has been interesting!!!
    Timmo.
    After all, I am Cornish!
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  • snotty badgersnotty badger Posts: 1,593
    How about a good old thumb shifter? My first geared bike had them, but I was a bit older than 6.
    08 Pitch Pro
    14 Kona Unit
    Kona Kula SS
    Trailstar SS
    94 Univega Alpina 5.3
  • cooldadcooldad Posts: 32,599
    Thumbies are quite hard to use, especially with small hands. I still have them on one bike and upshifting is a pain.
    Which is why no one intelligent uses them anymore.
    I don't do smileys.

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  • snotty badgersnotty badger Posts: 1,593
    Ah well, I just thought she may be able to lever it better. In my head you use your wrist mostly with gripshift, thumbies more lower arm?

    It's been a while since I've used them tbh.

    Have you seen how much XT ones go for on eBay? Kinda proves CDs statement!
    08 Pitch Pro
    14 Kona Unit
    Kona Kula SS
    Trailstar SS
    94 Univega Alpina 5.3
  • Chunkers1980Chunkers1980 Posts: 8,035
    cooldad wrote:
    Thumbies are quite hard to use, especially with small hands. I still have them on one bike and upshifting is a pain.
    Which is why no one intelligent uses them anymore.

    So you ride that one often then.
  • cooldadcooldad Posts: 32,599
    Ah well, I just thought she may be able to lever it better. In my head you use your wrist mostly with gripshift, thumbies more lower arm?

    It's been a while since I've used them tbh.

    Have you seen how much XT ones go for on eBay? Kinda proves CDs statement!
    Down is easy enough, but up again I use my thumb knuckle and it's not the easiest. Can shift the whole cassette with one movement though. Although that bike only has 6 out back.
    The retro guys will sell a kidney for XT.
    cooldad wrote:
    Thumbies are quite hard to use, especially with small hands. I still have them on one bike and upshifting is a pain.
    Which is why no one intelligent uses them anymore.

    So you ride that one often then.
    Yeah, they're so censored I don't even bother to lock it up.
    I don't do smileys.

    There is no secret ingredient - Kung Fu Panda

    London Calling on Facebook

    Parktools
  • ElliesDadElliesDad Posts: 245
    Agree with Cooldad, I think a thumb shift would be even harder for her to manage at 6 years old.

    With the school hols starting tonight it looks like I will be busy stripping down the cables etc to see if a good lube will do any good. In the meantime, she is quite content spinning away in second gear! :roll:
    2012 Boardman FS Team
    2014 Giant Defy 2
  • mitomaniacmitomaniac Posts: 117
    For a friends kid had a similar issue... We ran the year cable in brake cable sleeve which had been fed grease didn't make a mass of difference but the slightly lower resistance opened up a couple more gears
  • cooldadcooldad Posts: 32,599
    Feed her lots of bacon. The protein should build up muscle, and if not, you get to eat bacon. So either way a win.
    I don't do smileys.

    There is no secret ingredient - Kung Fu Panda

    London Calling on Facebook

    Parktools
  • My son had problems with changing gears with his gripshifts on his Ridgeback MX20 so I changed it for a overbar thumb style shifter for £6 from my LBS. It works a treat and now he flies along
  • paul.skibumpaul.skibum Posts: 4,068
    ElliesDad wrote:
    It's quite annoying that they knock out bikes with shifters that are difficult for kids to change, it seems to be a common problem from the web research I have done!
    Frankly, there's such little thought gone into most child bike designs that it's practically criminal.
    Most kid bikes I've seen have brakes that even a large grown up would struggle to squeeze hard enough to do anything at all, meaning that the kids haven't got a hope.

    + infinity

    We have rental bikes for kids on the mountain and the ones we had last season were shocking, I felt bad charging for them - to send kids out onto our mountain where 50% of the adults are on triple crowns and the rest on 36mm stantion singles with 170 travel on a hardtail with cable discs, 60mm forks and 6 gears is bordering on neglegent - sure we tell them to stick to the green runs but narrow little tyres on a sea of gravel and no suspension on bumps and ruts and a hill you can get a good speed up on is ridiculous.

    Add to that brake levers you cant adjust anything like close enough for small hadns its a joke.

    This years fleet looks a little better but its fine margins.
    Closet jockey wheel pimp censored .
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