Snagged an old road bike from a friend. Bike has been working fine for my needs, but it seems that the back gear is unresponsive. It has vintage lever shifters and the left one moves with ease, but the right at first would not move at all. Been having a lot of trouble moving up hills and decided to try and fool around with it. I don't have much bike experience at all and I'm really just trying to find a solution (preferrably an inexpensive one) to remedy the problem. I loosened the screw-like bit on the side of the lever and was able to move the right lever some, but I am still having trouble with hills. All I want is some easier pedaling!
Hoping for some help! Thanks.
Difficult to tell whats stuck. But the first thing you should do is clean and lubricate everything that is connected to said lever.(old toothbrush works great) Tri flow lubricant is good, at this point use whatever you have on hand. Start with the lever, cable and than whatever you have in the rear since no information on bike and equipment given. Move back and forth and see where it sticks. Typically its the cable. Than readjust as needed, see repair guide on this site.
If cable is stuck its best to replace it. You can try putting a baggie on top end of cable feed cable through a hole in bottom and cinch around cable with a rubber band than hang and fill beg with some oil. It will slowly drip down through the cable. Put some rags under so as not to make a mess.
Never Give Up!!!
Fooling around could cause more problems. You need to first isolate the problem. Can you shift by pushing directly on the derailleur? If no then the problem is with the derailleur. If yes then try shifting by pulling on the portion of bare shift cable along the down tube (Google "bike part diagram" for terms). If that does not work then you probably need a new cable and housing. I would recommend in-person help (friend, bike co-op) given your lack of experience, or Google "replace rear shift cable."