November 7, 2005

    I have an old Nishiki Riviera and I can't shift to change gears. The lever moves but the chain doesn't. Can you help me fix it?
    One more thing I would like to know: Is this bike good to take it on a race (triathlon) or for a long ride (100 miles)? Thank you for your time and help.

Pablo N.

    Folks speak fondly of Japanese touring bikes from the 1980s like yours. Not only can you ride it long distances; its maker meant it to do that. But before you climb any mountains with that bike you should have a mechanic check it for problems. (For guidance see my tips on getting tune-ups.)
    Triathalons? Maybe. People who do lots of triathalons like to use light bikes, and they’d probably find yours a little heavy. But if you haven’t done lots of triathalons you won’t know the difference. Before investing in a lighter bike you might wanna see if you feel like doing triathalons often enough to justify the cost.
    On to that shifting problem. You don’t say which shift lever doesn’t work, so first the basics: Usually the left lever shifts the gears in front and the right lever shifts the gears in back. Pick one, and check it like this:
    Stand next to the bike and push the lever back and forth. Watch the derailleur (the thing that the chain goes thru); the derailleur should move back and forth too. If it doesn’t you probably should get the shift cable repaired or replaced—a pretty minor fix, but hard to explain without pictures, and I haven’t found any on-line.
    If the derailleur does move, your bike might have a bigger problem—one that you should give to a mechanic.

Mr Bike

Back to questions