How to change speeds on a bicycle forward

Correct star combinations

Let’s see which sprocket combinations are applicable for a bicycle with three chainrings and eight chainrings. The main principle is simple: it is necessary that the combination of front and rear sprockets is always approximately in the same vertical plane.

The large chainring is matched with 4-8 rear chainrings. This combination is optimal when riding on a flat road.

The middle chainring is matched with the 3rd to 6th chainrings. This combination is suitable if you are riding on lightly rough roads, or if you want to give yourself more physical activity while riding on a flat road.

The small chainring is matched with 1-3 rear chainrings for uphill climbing. In this case, much less effort is required from the cyclist when pedaling, but more frequent pedaling.

Incorrect combination of front and rear sprockets, leads to a strong misalignment of the chain, shortening the life of not only the chain, but also the derailleurs.

Suspension is always a compromise

There is no perfect suspension setup. If you optimize the suspension to provide reliable support, the sensitivity to small impacts suffers. Suspension tuning. it is always a compromise, finding a balance between sensitivity and support. Therefore, it is important to find a suspension balance that suits your riding style and track.

Increasing the stiffness of the spring

Now we have to consider how strong you are as a racer and how difficult your tracks are. If you are a strong rider and feel that the rear suspension is often dropping to the bottom, or your fork is running low on travel due to harsh braking and quick turns, even if the overall bike does not feel soft, you may need to adjust the spring progressiveness. For more progressive spring rate you will need to add spacers (or remove if you are not using enough travel) Adding spacers will stiffen the last portion of the suspension travel, requiring more force to reach the bottom.

If you feel that you are lowering the suspension too often despite the correct air spring pressure Reduce the air volume in the fork or air spring chamber of the shock absorber using 1 or 2 volume reducers.

If you feel like you cannot reach the full stroke that you are counting on. Increase the air volume in the air spring chamber of the fork or shock absorber by removing 1-2 reducers.

Pro-Tip: If you’re making big changes to your fork setup, such as harder spring rate or adding more volume tokens, go back and adjust the spring rate and rear shock progressiveness accordingly. It is likely that with the improved front wheel confidence, you will drive more power, and you will need to readjust the shock. Get back on track and start again.

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SRAM derailleurs (SRAM DoubleTap) use a single lever to shift up and down. A short click will move the chain to a smaller sprocket, and further pushing the lever will move it to a larger sprocket.

The derailleur on the right handles the shifting at the rear of the cassette: push the lever inward (slightly from right to left) so that the chain shifts to a smaller sprocket on the cassette (overdrive / heavier). Push the foot further inward to move up the cassette (low / lighter gear).

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The switch on the left hand side is responsible for shifting the chainrings: push the presser foot inward (moving from left to right) with a slight pressure to switch to a smaller chainring (low / lighter gear). Move the foot further inward to shift to the large chainring of the cassette system (high / heavy gear).

SRAM eTap pistols (electronic) work a little differently than most other shifting systems. eTap. it is SRAM’s electronic shifting system. The functionality can be changed almost indefinitely, and with the default settings:

Right Lever: Push inward (shifting to the left) to shift to a smaller cassette sprocket (overdrive / heavier).

Left Lever: Push inward (shifting to the right) to shift to the larger cassette sprocket (low / lighter gear).

Both levers together: Press both shift tabs at the same time to toggle between the cogwheels on the front.

Campagnolo switches are again slightly different. the shift lever behind the brake lever moves the chain to the large chainring both front and rear, while the thumb lever inside the derailleur shifts to the smaller chainrings.

Campagnolo’s right derailleur is responsible for shifting at the rear of the cassette: press the shift lever behind the inner brake lever (right to left) to move the chain up to a larger chainring (low / lighter gear). Press down on the foot under your thumb to move the chain to the lower sprocket of the cassette (higher / heavier gear).

The Campagnolo left derailleur controls shifting at the front of the system: press the shifting foot behind the inner brake lever (left to right) to shift to a larger sprocket (up / heavier). Press the lever with your thumb to shift to a smaller sprocket (low / lighter gear).

EPS (Campagnolo Electronic Shifting System) mimics the action of mechanical shifters, but as with Shimano and SRAM, functionality is subject to change.

Shimano road derailleurs (Shimano Total Integration or STI) use a split lever design for shifting gears. A small lever just behind the brake lever moves the chain to a smaller chainring, and the entire brake lever can be slid to the side to shift the larger chainring.

The derailleur on the right handles shifting at the rear of the cassette: push the inner smaller lever inward (from right to left) to move the chain to the smaller sprocket on the cassette (up / heavier). Press the brake lever inside to move the chain to the large sprockets on the cassette (low / lighter gear).

The switch on the left handles the shifting from the front (on a so-called system): push the inner smaller foot inward (from left to right) to move the chain to the smaller sprocket of the system (low / lighter gear). Pull the brake lever inward to move to the large chainring in front (high / heavier gear).

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Shimano derailleurs also have a “semi-shift” function on the front (left) pistol. Shifting the inner lever with less pressure (about half as much as with conventional shifting) will move the front derailleur frame inward so that the chain does not catch the derailleur in the extreme positions on the cassette (driving with chain skew).

Shimano Di2 mechanisms (electronic) work the same way, but the mechanical inner pistol levers are replaced with small buttons. However, they can be reprogrammed according to your needs and desires.

How to change gears on a road or gravel bike

In this article, we will give a detailed guide on how to shift gears on a road bike. or any other bike with a ram handlebar (aka a drop bar). including step-by-step instructions for using Shimano, SRAM and Campagnolo derailleurs.

If you are used to switches on flat handlebars (shifters), then road-type switches or, as they are called, pistols can be intimidating at first with their complexity.

Unlike bicycles with flat handlebars, shifters and brakes are usually combined into one unit. pistol. There are a few different variations in the design, but this is by far the most common derailleur design on modern bicycles.

You can switch with a top grip (grip ha hoods switches). where you will spend most of your time. or from the bottom (drop grip) using the road derailleurs.

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We will take a closer look at exactly how your equipment works, what you should pay attention to if you recently sat down at a bicycle with a ram. but as a short educational program, let’s explain some things:

Light gears (small sprocket at the front, large sprockets at the rear) = lower speed

Heavy gear (big sprocket in front, small sprockets in the back) = high speed

To make things even more confusing:

Overdrive = heavier gear

Low gear = lighter gear

You’ve probably heard the phrase “up the tape” and it might sound ambiguous. So let’s make it clear that when we use this expression we mean:

Up the cassette = from the smaller star on the cassette to the larger star

Down the cassette = from the larger star to the smaller

Understanding the meaning of these phrases, we can go directly to the gearshift itself.


There are two main types of speed derailleurs. external and internal shifting.


The essence of switching speeds is to drag the chain from one star to another. Various combinations of front and rear sprockets allow you to regulate the cyclist’s load. But first, let’s turn to the bike drivetrain.

The transmission is all the parts and assemblies of the bicycle that provide the transfer of energy to the rotational movement of the rear wheel. The transmission consists of a carriage, a system of connecting rods, a chain, sprockets or cassette (or ratchet), front and rear derailleurs, as well as shifters (they are also sometimes called shifters).

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Gear shifting occurs through the shifters located on the steering wheel. Using the rear derailleur shifter, located on the right handlebar, the chain is thrown between the rear sprockets, and using the front derailleur shifter (it is on the left on the steering wheel) between the front sprockets.

Most multi-speed bikes have three drive sprockets and six to eight driven sprockets. The fore stars are counted from small to large, and the rear stars, on the contrary, from large to small.



This type of derailleur is used on most multi-speed bikes, from city bikes (like the Forward Dortmund 2.0) to mountain bikes (like the Forward Agris 27.5 3.0 disc). Gear shifting is carried out using the front and rear derailleurs.

Front derailleur The front derailleur transfers the chain between the chainrings. The derailleur design has a moving frame within which the bicycle chain runs. When shifting gears with a shifter, the frame moves and becomes above the desired star, which ensures the movement of the chain to this star.

Rear derailleur The rear derailleur is a spring-return mechanism that moves a frame (or foot) with rollers between them within a transverse axis. In one direction, the switch is moved with a cable, and in the opposite direction, with a return spring. When the derailleur is moved, the chain passed through it is thrown from one rear sprocket to another, and the chain tensioner automatically removes the chain slack.

Advantages of external switches: simple design low weight low price high number of gears

Disadvantages of external derailleurs:. highly susceptible to unfavorable external factors. need for adjustment and maintenance. risk of breakage when the bike falls. it is impossible to change gears if the bike is stationary


Riding on a flat road, uphill or downhill requires different efforts from the cyclist. On a single speed bike, there are no options, since there is only one gear. And those who have experience riding a single speed bike know how difficult it is. But in the case of a multi-speed bike, new possibilities appear. you can adjust the load. On a bike equipped with multiple gears, for example, it is much easier to ride uphill. Let’s figure out how the gearshift occurs.


City bikes often use an internal gearshift mechanism that is hidden inside the rear planetary hub (for example, the new Forward Surf 2.0 cruiser). Planetary hub bikes have only one chainring and one sprocket. The number of speeds / gears of the planetary bushings is usually from 3 to 7. The planetary hub has a rather complex internal structure.

Pluses of planetary bushings: they withstand adverse weather and road conditions well, since the mechanism and all its parts are enclosed in a case and, as a result, are reliable and durable; you can switch speeds without pedaling.

Cons of planetary bushings:. heavy weight;. very difficult repairs, impossible in field conditions.