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On road bikes the shifters are integrated into the brake hoods. In the case of Campagnolo shift systems, the levers directly behind the brake levers are used to shift onto the large sprockets of the cassette and the large chainring. Pressing down on the levers located on the inside of the brake hoods shifts the chain down the cassette to the smallest sprockets and onto the small chain rings at the front.
In the case of SRAM shift systems there is only one shift lever on each brake hood which is located directly behind the brake lever as with Shimano. A short pivot shifts the chain to the next smallest sprocket. A longer pivot shifts the rear derailleur one to two sprockets higher up the cassette. The command from the lever is transmitted to the rear derailleur via the shift cable. The derailleur pivots and the chain move onto the next sprocket.
Gears which create an extremely bad chain line cause a higher level of friction on the chain. The level of efficiency is lower and wear and tear is greatly increased. The worst possible chain line is achieved when the chain is on the smallest chain ring at the front and on the smallest 2 sprockets on the cassette Picture 1 or when the chain is on the largest chainring at the front and on the largest sprocket on the cassette. Picture 2