Shift up or shift down. Which is correct term?
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 28
  1. #1
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    88

    Shift up or shift down. Which is correct term?

    There seems to be confusion amongst articles written by different people.

    When we change from big cog to small cog (rear gear), do you term it "shift up" or "shift down"?

    If it says shift to higher gear, than there’s no confusion. But often it goes to say only “if you find it harder to ride, than shift up”, or "if you want to power up, than shift down". Why can't these writer make it less ambiguous.

    So what’s that?
    Last edited by novetan; 01-27-2013 at 06:08 PM.

  2. #2
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Posts
    21,062
    Quote Originally Posted by novetan View Post
    There seems to be confusion amongst articles written by different people.

    When we change from big cog to small cog (rear gear), do you term it "shift up" or "shift down"?

    If it says shift to higher gear, than there’s no confusion. But often it goes to say only “if you find it harder to ride, than shift up”, or "if you want to power up, than shift down". Why can't these writer make it less ambiguous.

    So what’s that?
    Do they really use "than" instead of "then"?

    At any rate English is a rather diverse language and many of its speakers don't practice it very well. MOST people would say "shift down" when they mean "shift to a lower gear" and when they mean "lower gear" they mean one with a lower gear ratio. Some people don't think about gear ratios and instead think about the size of the cassette cog or chain ring and so they reverse the convention. You often have to read for context to figure out what they are saying. Rather like some of the posts on this forum

  3. #3
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: gamara's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Posts
    1,113
    The term shift up or down goes back to the days of down tube shifters. So for the back cogs when you want to go to an easier gear (larger cog), you would have to down shift. However for the the front chainrings its the opposite. A downshift would be going to a harder gear (big ring). These terms for some reason were carried over when STI shifting was introduced by Shimano but which everyone likes to call brifters these days.

  4. #4
    @TwoWheelsDC
    Reputation: DownByFive's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    45
    Quote Originally Posted by gamara View Post
    The term shift up or down goes back to the days of down tube shifters.
    I'm guessing not, since it's first and foremost an automotive term. Shift up into a higher gear as velocity increases, to maintain the same engine speed. Shift down to a lower gear to increase engine speed at the same velocity or to maintain engine speed as velocity decreases. Gear indicators are labeled to follow this convention. Also, in motorcycles' sequential transmissions, shifting to a lower gear is literally a downshift, pressing down on the shifter with the foot, and vice-versa for upshifts.
    Last edited by DownByFive; 01-27-2013 at 06:58 PM.

  5. #5
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: gamara's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Posts
    1,113
    Don't guess. The invention of the bicycle itself precedes the automobile. The first modern bicycle transmission is by Campy, hence the down tube shifters. Upshift & downshift. These definitions were transposed over when integrated shifting was introduced. It has nothing to do with automotive or motorcycle technology what so ever. And please don't take my remarks as being snarky or what not. Its just a matter of fact that the bicycle has been around much longer than the automobile.

  6. #6
    Not a rocket surgeon.
    Reputation: tihsepa's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    9,402
    Quote Originally Posted by gamara View Post
    . Its just a matter of fact that the bicycle has been around much longer than the automobile.
    Yah, but not with shifters.

    No need to justify the true story you made up. It has everything to do with ratios and shifting to a lower ratio (higher number) Is a downshift. No matter what kind of vehicle or machine.

  7. #7
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    1,009
    On a similar note - So when you turn the AC up, are you raising the room temp or lowering it?

  8. #8
    irony intended
    Reputation: carlislegeorge's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    772
    I is still confounded. Is it shift up to lower gear with a higher number of teeth? Or is it shift down to a higher gear with lower number of teeth?
    2011 Tarmac Pro SL3 Project Black (gone but not forgotten)
    2012 Parlee Z5 SLi (because I can)
    2014 Colnago C59 AD04 (why not)

  9. #9
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Posts
    3

    Shift up or shift down. Which is correct term?

    Shift up = heavier gear.
    Shift down = easier gear.

    That's all.

  10. #10
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: BikesOfALesserGod's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    391
    Quote Originally Posted by steelbikerider View Post
    On a similar note - So when you turn the AC up, are you raising the room temp or lowering it?
    Neither. You are removing heat from the room faster.
    Life is like a dogsled team. If you ain't the lead dog, the view never changes

  11. #11
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Posts
    10
    Depends on sentence words and meanings.. Btw I agree with Micra..

  12. #12
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: looigi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Posts
    7,162
    FWIW: There are the letters L and H adjacent to the limit screws on many RDs. L is the limit for the largest cog and H for the smallest. This at least tells you what the manufacturer considers low and high to be.
    Last edited by looigi; 01-28-2013 at 05:04 AM.
    ... 'cuz that's how I roll.

  13. #13
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: JCavilia's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    14,702
    Quote Originally Posted by gamara View Post
    The first modern bicycle transmission is by Campy, hence the down tube shifters.
    That part's not quite accurate, unless you are using some particular definition of "modern". Simplex first introduced cable-actuated parallelogram derailleurs in the 30's. Campy improved on them in the 40's. The earliest derailleur systems (including Campy's earliest) did not have downtube shifters operating through cables, but used rods mounted on the seatstay. Car transmissions with multiple gears were around well before bikes with downtube shifters.

  14. #14
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    922
    Quote Originally Posted by looigi View Post
    FWIW: There are the letters L and H adjacent to the limit screws on many RDs. L is the limit for the largest cog and H for the smallest. This at least tells you what the manufacturer considers low and high to be.
    Exactly, every modernish derailleur I have seen that has the H/L designation refers to H = High as the smallest (in teeth and thus size) cog and L = Low as the largest (in teeth and thus size) cog. They are opposite for front derailleurs.

    So, you shift up (up shift) to move to a numerically taller gear ratio (= higher speed with the same cadence/RPM) and you shift down (down shift) to move to a numerically shorter gear ratio (= lower speed with the same cadence).

  15. #15
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    1,694
    Quote Originally Posted by steelbikerider View Post
    On a similar note - So when you turn the AC up, are you raising the room temp or lowering it?
    Lowering it of course lol

  16. #16
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: gamara's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Posts
    1,113
    Quote Originally Posted by JCavilia View Post
    That part's not quite accurate, unless you are using some particular definition of "modern". Simplex first introduced cable-actuated parallelogram derailleurs in the 30's. Campy improved on them in the 40's. The earliest derailleur systems (including Campy's earliest) did not have downtube shifters operating through cables, but used rods mounted on the seatstay. Car transmissions with multiple gears were around well before bikes with downtube shifters.
    Yes, Campy didn't first introduce the parallelogram based derailleur. They were the first one to popularize it, just like Shimano didn't invent index shifting. My point about the bike preceding the automobile is that the other poster had "guessed" that the terms we use were based on the automobile transmission. Yes transmissions of various forms were around before the advent of down tube shifters but because the bike has been around longer, its financial cost is much lower. Bill2 posted in General a vid about how the bike is made. Its a video from the 1940's but its incredible how it showed large scales of economy in an assembly line of thousands of workers making a complete bike from scratch. I asked a question about that video, questioning how much in today's dollars it would cost to make that same bike.

    Back in the 1930's, not everyone could afford to buy a car like it is today. It was an ultra luxury item. Only the wealthy could afford to buy a car. Keep in mind that in this time period, the world is still recovering from the first world war and the great depression. The bike at this time was cheaper than at any other time in history and factories around the world just like in that video were mass producing bikes for the mass consumer. Great giant factories like Bianchi in Italy, Raleigh in England, Peugot in France, Schwinn in the US etc. employing thousands were churning out bikes in vast numbers daily for the general public to be cheaply had. So an automobile that only the very wealthy could afford to purchase & maintain could somehow bring about the terms upshift & downshift onto a bicycle are a stretch. Besides, the transmissions back than were all over the place in design & execution. Watch any one of Jay Leno's classics garage video's on youtube & the term upshift & downshift really doesn't make sense for bicycles if based on that assumption. But hey if people want to believe that the way we shift is based upon the car, then fine. Imitation these days is the ultimate form of flattery.

  17. #17
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: looigi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Posts
    7,162
    So now we have:

    Up => Higher or taller gear ratio (ring/cog), Harder gear, Faster speed.
    Down => Lower or shorter gear ratio, Easier gear, Slower speed.
    ... 'cuz that's how I roll.

  18. #18
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: JCavilia's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    14,702
    This is becoming a silly quibbling battle, but no one is arguing that "the way we shift" is based on the car, but merely that the linguistic usage refers to higher and lower gear ratios, and that those terms were commonly used in connection with cars before multi-speed bicycles were common, and long before downtube shifters.

    It is certainly true that many bikes were made for a long time, and were the normal form of transport for many ordinary people, especially in Europe. But as for cars being an ultra-luxury item that only the very wealthy could afford, that began to change radically with the introduction of the Model T way back in 1909. Ford made 15 million of those in 17 years (and they weren't the only car on the market), so they weren't being bought only by the very wealthy. Not everyone could afford them, but they were not unknown to the masses.

    I don't see the relevance of different transmission designs. The thing about the terms up and down referring to gear ratios is that it's independent of design. Model T planetary gear system, clutch manual transmission, automatic; with all of them you start in a lower ratio (lower speed for given engine speed) and shift to higher ratio as speed increases. Just like shifting to smaller cogs on the bike.

    I have another question. If shifting to a higher gear is called "up" because you moved the lever up, what about the front shifter?

    Anyway, ride on, shifting up or down as you choose. I do more than half my riding on fixed-gear bicycles, which really were invented before cars ;-)

  19. #19
    Damn it's hot here
    Reputation: CActuskid's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    460
    Good Grief, I was less confused before I read this thread LOL

  20. #20
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: gamara's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Posts
    1,113
    Quote Originally Posted by JCavilia View Post
    I have another question. If shifting to a higher gear is called "up" because you moved the lever up, what about the front shifter?

    Anyway, ride on, shifting up or down as you choose. I do more than half my riding on fixed-gear bicycles, which really were invented before cars ;-)
    JC, I'm not quibbling. If you read my original post I clearly stated the answer to that question about the front shifter. Every major article printed since the advent of down tube shifting has been to downshift to the big ring for a higher gear. The same holds true for the rear as I originally explained as well. I've have tons of old mags that show that that was the common terminology used back then. The problem that I have & I'm guessing by this thread is that because many of the current magazines that we all so dependently rely on info for the latest tech will randomly cross use such shift terminology. I've seen many popular magazines do this now when referring to a shift to a lower gear whereby they will use both upshift & downshift in the same context in the same magazine. So what is a reader suppose to make of that???

    As for the transmission designs of that era, how does a shift stalk on the steering column whereby you move the lever left or right to shift constitute an up or down shift? If you had to push a button to select the gear you want, how does that constitute an up or down shift? That is all I meant for it being a stretch for us to assume that that is where the terminology for up or down shift to originate from for bicycles. By the way, I think you are reading far too much between the lines.

  21. #21
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: Dave Cutter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Posts
    1,904
    Quote Originally Posted by gamara View Post
    ....The invention of the bicycle itself precedes the automobile.
    I just love how cyclist keep repeating that:

    History of the automobile, History of the bicycle.

    I even read in one thread how the nations roads were built for bicyclist.

    History of the automobile - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    History of the bicycle - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

  22. #22
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: Dave Cutter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Posts
    1,904
    Quote Originally Posted by looigi View Post
    So now we have:

    Up => Higher or taller gear ratio (ring/cog), Harder gear, Faster speed.
    Down => Lower or shorter gear ratio, Easier gear, Slower speed.
    Looks right to me +1

  23. #23
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: JCavilia's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    14,702
    Whatever. I don't know from "major articles" in magazines, but I've been riding bikes with derailleurs for well over 40 years, and I've never said nor ever heard anyone say "downshift to the big ring for a higher gear." When I said downshift, it always meant going to a lower gear, whether that was shifting to a larger cog or to a smaller ring. This was long before Ergopower or STI.

    You completely missed my point about transmission design.

    BTW, you ever drive a Model T? Pretty cool how it worked. Two-speed transmission operated with the left foot pedal (throttle was a hand operated lever on the steering column).Push the pedal down to the floor for low gear, let it up all the way for high gear, hold midway for neutral. Not at all intuitive after operating modern cars, but surprisingly easy to learn.

    Bye.
    Last edited by JCavilia; 01-28-2013 at 12:46 PM.

  24. #24
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: JCavilia's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    14,702
    Quote Originally Posted by CActuskid View Post
    Good Grief, I was less confused before I read this thread LOL
    That's what you come here for, isn't it?

    You're welcome.

  25. #25
    'brifter' is a lame word.
    Reputation: cxwrench's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Posts
    14,453
    Quote Originally Posted by gamara View Post
    JC, I'm not quibbling. If you read my original post I clearly stated the answer to that question about the front shifter. Every major article printed since the advent of down tube shifting has been to downshift to the big ring for a higher gear. The same holds true for the rear as I originally explained as well. I've have tons of old mags that show that that was the common terminology used back then. The problem that I have & I'm guessing by this thread is that because many of the current magazines that we all so dependently rely on info for the latest tech will randomly cross use such shift terminology. I've seen many popular magazines do this now when referring to a shift to a lower gear whereby they will use both upshift & downshift in the same context in the same magazine. So what is a reader suppose to make of that???

    As for the transmission designs of that era, how does a shift stalk on the steering column whereby you move the lever left or right to shift constitute an up or down shift? If you had to push a button to select the gear you want, how does that constitute an up or down shift? That is all I meant for it being a stretch for us to assume that that is where the terminology for up or down shift to originate from for bicycles. By the way, I think you are reading far too much between the lines.
    you pretty much are quibbling. and i also think you should go take a look at 'all of those old articles' and re-read them. if that is indeed what they say, i'd be surprised.

    if you shift to a harder (or bigger, in gear inches) gear you're UPSHIFTING. if you shift to an easier (or smaller, in gear inches) gear, you're DOWNSHIFTING. it's exactly the same as a car or motorcycle. it has NOTHING to do w/ the direction the shifter (downtube or not) is moving. it has everything to do w/ the size of the gear in gear inches...which has an inverse relationship to the physical size of the cog on the rear wheel, but a direct relationship to the physical size of the chainring.
    I work for some bike racers
    I've got some bikes, some guns,
    and a bunch of skateboards

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

THE SITE

ABOUT ROADBIKEREVIEW

VISIT US AT

© Copyright 2019 VerticalScope Inc. All rights reserved.