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Gears on a Women's Bike
#1
I've got a women's cannondale optimo road bike. The gears are constantly slipping. I asked the bike store why this was happening and they said it's the extra sensitivity in the gears because it's a smaller gear shaft, parts, etc being a women's bike.
Is this true? Do I just need to learn how to use it properly?

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#2
Either there was real miscommunication between you and the people at the store or they just gave you the biggest pile of bullshit I've ever heard. On some real low end bikes, the shifting never really does work well and there's always some guy upset because he thinks it should shift just like the $2000 bike he test rode. But I believe this is a fairly high end road bike, yes? I can think of absolutely no reason a "women's" bike should work any different than a man's. The drive train components are identical, the only difference is the frame. And the frame differences are extremely minor.
I think someone at that shop was blowing you off. I'd recommend finding another shop that takes their female customers seriously. (And I'd let the owner know why you went to his competitor since he probably doesn't know his employees are pulling that crap.)
As to what's actually going on with your bike, it depends what you mean by "slipping". Is it jumping between gears, or is the chain jumping when you put a lot of force on the pedals? Does it happen all the time, only in certain gears, only uphill, etc?

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#3
Ok, thanks. That's what I thought and am pissed. I see you are from LA (me too). I bought the bike at Helen's in Santa Monica about a year ago after I'd done a triathalon with my very old cross-trainer bike. I was so excited to actually get a road bike (yes, a nice one) that when he kept insisting there wasn't anything wrong with my bike I actually stopped riding it b/c I was so turned off by the experience on the road.
One other option here is that I really don't know how to ride it properly. I did two triathalons with my cross-trainer trek and was so comfortable drastically changing gears from big to small, etc. I know that's not quite how road bikes work.
So, what do I do. Get a lesson? And from who?
BTW, my husband who is a tad bit more comfortable on his bike (we both upgraded together) would love nothing more than to give me tips. Please, please spare us both the discomfort.

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#4
I've known some good people in the past from Helen's so maybe you just got unlucky. I suppose it's possible you're doing some weird shifting that is keeping it from performing well. But, it probably just needs some adjusting.
If you're on the west side, go to Bikerowave (http://www.bikerowave.org/) on a Tuesday night. They'll check it out and teach you a little about how to work on your bike yourself. Shouldn't have to be this way, but I think you'll find shops will take you more seriously once you know a little more yourself. (maybe you can give your husband some tips...) At the least, maybe they can recommend a good shop. I only know the east side. good luck

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#5
Dave, thanks! Excellent advice. I'm actually in Silver Lake. What are the east side spots?

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#6
Here's another place you could try... http://www.rei.com/map/store#CA If they're anything in CA like they are here in Pittsburgh then you'll get some great advice and tips there too.

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#7
Bike Oven (http://www.bikeoven.com) in Highland Park.
They don't have a women's only night, but will take care of you.
There's also the Bicycle Kitchen in Hollywood (http://www.bicyclekitchen.com)

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