How to use bike gears
Many people today prefer multi-speed bikes over single-speed bikes. And this is not surprising, because they make it easier to drive through various hills. And if you have purchased one of these bicycles, we suggest reading our article, which will help you understand the gears.
How to find out the number of gears
First you need to figure out what gears your bike has. With the help of our tips, you can easily do this:
- Count the number of gears at the base of the pedals. To get the hang of changing gears on your iron horse, you need it to be equipped with sprockets. It is very easy to check their availability. It is enough to look at the pedals, in the center of which there will be one or more rings with teeth on the outside, which enter the chain. These are called chainrings. And it is them that need to be counted.
Most bicycles have 1 to 3 chainrings.
- See how many sprockets there are on the rear wheel. After you have examined the pedals, you need to look at the rear wheel. You will see a chain running from the front sprockets, one row of different rings located in the center of the wheel. These rings will be the rear sprockets.
Count their number. And if your bike has gears, there will be more rear sprockets than front sprockets. Some bicycles have up to 10 pieces.
- Finally, to figure out how many gears your bike has, you need to multiply the resulting 2 values. That is, multiply the number of front sprockets by the number of rear sprockets. The final figure is the number of gears on your iron horse.
For example: You have 3 stars in the front and 6 in the back. It turns out that the bike has 18 gears (3×18). In another way, they can be called speeds, because we are talking about the fact that the bike is high-speed.
Another point: if your bike has only one sprocket on both sides, then it only has 1 gear (1×1). That is, it has a so-called fixed gear. And if your bike is like that, then you will not be able to switch gears on it, because it is one-speed.
How to use gears correctly
It takes a little practice to master gear shifting. We advise you to heed our recommendations and do everything as follows:
- Remember what the right and left switches are responsible for. If you want to shift into reverse gear, use the right switch. And vice versa. This is very convenient and will help you to quickly bring the switching process to automaticity. Also know how these mechanisms work. The derailleur moves the chain from side to side to catch the new gear. This applies to forward gear. As for the rear, it has its own switch, which, thanks to the handle, also moves from side to side.
- If you want to pedal more easily, then downshift. Yes, you can change gears on your bike to make it ride easier or harder on a wide variety of terrains. And if, for example, you need to drive and make a minimum of effort, then a low gear will help to do this. You will start pedaling quickly and easily, but the bike will go slower.
There are 2 methods of downshifting:
- switch to a smaller star in front;
- switch to big star at the back.
- If you want to drive better but harder, go up to a higher speed. This can be done in a similar way to the situation described above, only the other way around. You shift into a high gear, which means you will go faster, pedal less often, but it will be harder for you to do it.
Here, too, there are 2 methods of upshifting:
- switch to large star in front;
- switch to smaller star at the back.
- Learn to shift gears on the road. That is, practice. She will help you to thoroughly understand this issue. You just start changing gears and learn how to do everything correctly in one trip! At the same time, study on a flat road where it will be safe for you. It is advisable to choose a park or something similar.
Remember that you will hear clicking sounds as you shift gears. And this does not mean that some detail has broken. This will indicate that you are doing everything right. Distinctive sounds inform you that the gear has been changed. And do not forget that you only need to change gears while driving. Because the chain can only catch new stars when it is taut. And she stays in this position only during pedaling.
Learning to understand how and when to change gears
It’s not so easy to immediately understand when to switch. But over time, this knowledge will come. Until then, keep on reading our guide to help you.
If you are just getting on the bike and starting to ride, select a low gear. Often, the first cadences you make are the hardest because you need to pick up the optimal speed. Each time you start driving, change the gear to one of the low gears to get back to speed faster and easier.
Do this also when you need to completely stop the bike and then start pedaling again. For example, you stopped at a traffic light, and then you need to quickly go further.
When you know you will stop shortly, it is also a good idea to downshift to make it easier to get started next time. Especially if you need to leave some difficult place.
As your speed increases, don’t be afraid to upshift. After all, when you go fast, you will realize that pedaling becomes too easy. And this means that you need to increase the gear. this will help you move more efficiently and faster. In fact, the process will look like this: You change gear and notice that pedaling has become more difficult, but your speed is getting higher.
If for your trips you have chosen a flat terrain (for example, city streets with small hills), then use the so-called medium gears. That is, do not let yourself go too easy or difficult. let there be balance. This is very convenient because it allows you to develop the necessary speed and cope well with bumpy roads. For example, you have an eighteen-speed bike. Use the second in front and third in the back for a comfortable and optimal ride.
Remember to downshift when approaching high hills. This is important because without such a transition, you can simply get stuck. After all, it is almost impossible to ride a bike up a hill in a very high gear if you are not a professional. Therefore, reduce gears until you find it easy to climb a hill.
Note: At first you may find climbing a hill very strange and slow. And besides, not very convenient. But if you learn to keep your balance, everything will be fine. You will get used to it and will be able to climb hills of different heights without much effort.
Likewise, shift into high gears if you are going down a flat road. If you want to develop a tremendous speed downhill, then engage a high gear. But remember that with such high-speed movement you need to be very careful, since if you move incorrectly, you can damage yourself.
When changing from one gear to another, do it carefully so as not to damage your joints. Sure, getting the best out of your bike is fun and challenging, but always be safe. You don’t need to pedal too hard if you don’t want your joints to be stressed. Otherwise, over time you will get painful sensations, and even the most real problems with the joints.
And in no case choose gears in which the chain can become crossed. What does this mean? And the fact that when changing gears, you can see that the chain is sometimes located in a diagonal position. This is not a problem if you change gears correctly. But if you allow cases when the chain runs either along the largest or the smallest stars in the front and rear, then you can be sure that it will wear out in the shortest possible time.
When you encounter strong winds en route, select a lower gear. Yes, you will move a little slower, however, it will be easier for you to overcome the wind for a long time.
The difference in size between the sprocket at the front and rear determines how hard you need to pedal to drive. For example, if both the sprocket and the sprocket have the same dimensions, then with each pedal rotation the rear sprocket will rotate 1 time. On the other hand, if you prefer a large chainring at the front and a small chainring at the rear, then the rear wheel can rotate several times at any pedal pressure. This will give you the opportunity to gain excellent speed, but it will take more effort.
If you see an elevation, always change gear in advance. No need to press gears in a hurry just before lifting. this increases the risk of injury.
When going uphill, do not use the lowest gear.
And most importantly, don’t be afraid to master the bike with all its mechanisms. Once you learn to understand the gears, driving will become much more enjoyable and comfortable.
How to properly change the camera on a bike?
Reasons for replacing a wheel can be very different. from frequent breakdown by a nail or “snake bite” by the edge of the rim to updating the wheel and transferring an old proven camera to it. There is no difficulty in changing the camera on a bicycle. Let’s consider how to do this and what you may need in the process.
If we change the camera in “ideal” conditions, we already have a garage ready, a toolbox, a repair kit, and a new camera. Unfortunately, things are not always so “successful”. It may turn out that the camera burst on the street during a long drive or even at a competition.
Always have with you
The easiest option is to carry your camera and pump with you. Not every damage can be sealed, and it is easiest to change the entire camera. The only drawback of this kit is weight and volume. A set for gluing is a small box, but a spare tire is already a serious piece of rubber that can interfere in a small bag, if you have it with you at all.
Unfortunately, the condition of the roads and the general sensitivity of modern bikes to damage means that it is impossible to travel beyond the city center without a spare bicycle camera or a repair kit. What is needed for replacement in the minimum version?
- “Spare wheel” or repair kit.
- Key or multitool if the rear wheel is not mounted on an eccentric.
- Pump to pump a supplied or repaired chamber.
With these tools, you can easily unmount the rear wheel, remove the camera and install a new one in its place.
The repair kit should be considered separately. Many do not open it from the moment of purchase, but in fact, you can assemble it yourself. Homemade repair kit comes out several times cheaper.
What’s in the repair kit?
- Patches. usually several pieces of 2-3 different types. In modern industrial kits, patches are made of synthetic rubber, smooth on one side and rough on the other. On the smooth side, they are sealed with foil or plastic wrap to stay clean.
- Camera cleaning tool. for better adhesion, the surface should be clean and slightly rough, for this use a small metal “grater”.
- Glue. glue for rubber, “melting” it and forcing the patch to form a single whole with the camera.
- Degreaser. rare, but appears in kits. One of the main problems when gluing is the residual grease or grease on the surface, which prevents the patch from sticking, the camera can be treated with a degreaser before gluing.
Recently, some have been using anti-puncture gels, and it is enough to pour sealant into the new chamber before pumping and carefully “disperse” it along the inner cavity of the chamber.
Those who changed the camera with their own hands know, perhaps, the main problem. this is the bending of the tire bead. Modern tires fit so well to the rim and are so rigid that it is not always possible to do it with your hands.
Therefore, in the composition of many multitools or kits, de-beading is added. These are small plastic or metal “spoons” that are inserted between the tire and the rim, allowing you to pry and bend the tire, and then put it back on.
So, what actions need to be performed to change the camera. Everything is simple, the main thing is accuracy and a small amount of physical strength.
- Flip the bike.
- If the brakes are V-Brakes, remove (open) them.
- Loosen the screw or release the wheel with an eccentric.
- Raise the chain, remove the wheel.
- Release air from the chamber (if any).
- Pry the camera with a bead or any other elongated object (keys, screwdriver, multitool) at two points, at a distance of 10-20 cm from each other.
- Expand the dots little by little, freeing one side of the camera.
- Pull the nipple out of the rim.
- Get the camera.
So, the camera is removed, you can repair it or print a new one. Installing everything back:
- Route the tube inside the rim.
- Check the nipple and under the tire for nibbling and wrinkling.
- Pump up the camera a little so that it takes shape.
- Insert the tire back over the rim.
- Put the wheel in place (you should be careful with the chain, it is easy to confuse its position).
- Fix the wheel with a screw or eccentric.
- Reinstall the brakes.
- Pump up the camera.
- Flip the bike.
That’s it, the replacement is complete! As you can see, there is nothing complicated in this process.
Changing your camera is a simple process that every cyclist should be prepared for. A puncture on the road, damage to the camera in the forest, or just updating a bicycle wheel. it is always pleasant to deal with the problem yourself and quickly deal with the problem, and not to carry the bike to the workshop.
Every serious cyclist already carries a repair kit and a pump with him, being ready for any eventuality.
How to properly shift gears on a bike?
Gear shifting is one of the main mechanical functions of your bike. Choosing the right gear for a particular section of the road will not only increase your efficiency, but also make the trip more comfortable and save energy on long routes.
The recommendations below are not relevant for planetary gearshift systems that can also be shifted on the spot.
There are a few simple rules that we recommend you follow:
1) Shift gears only while driving, while you are pedaling and driving the transmission.
2) When changing gear, the chain must not be too tight. In this case, transmission breakdowns are possible until the chain breaks.
3) We do not recommend jumping over several gears at once. It all depends on the level of the switch itself and the general state of the transmission, but in any case, we advise beginners to shift gears consistently.
4) Try not to skew the chain if your bike has a front derailleur.
Below is a diagram to guide you when changing gears if your bike has a front derailleur.
For the convenience of the cyclist, some rear derailleurs are marked with the correspondence of the position of the rear derailleur to the position of the chainring in order to avoid chain skew.
A misaligned chain can adversely affect gear shifting and can lead to rapid wear on the bike’s drivetrain. In fact, if the bike has 3 stars in the front and 9 in the back, that means you can choose any of the 27 speeds. But using all speeds in a row is not recommended. Remember the phrase by the artist Charles Monroe Schultz: “Life is like a bicycle with ten gears. We all have programs that we don’t use. ” over, in today’s bicycle industry, more does not always mean better or faster.
There is a tendency among modern bicycle equipment manufacturers to provide a bike with a large gear range with a small number of sprockets. So, for example, the modern transmission with one chainring at the front and 12 at the rear completely covers the range with 3 stars at the front and 9 at the rear, not to mention the outdated groups with 6-8 stars on the rear wheel. As a rule, with fewer chainrings, the transmission is more convenient to operate, maintain and set up, and also has less weight.
Most efficient switching
Remember one rule: there is NO perfect gear, switch! We see people very often spend too much energy climbing a steep incline on a small rear sprocket, as if trying to break the cranks. Or the rapid flashing of the legs of cyclists riding downhill in too light gear. Your goal while riding should be to maintain rhythm (the speed at which your pedals go through a full revolution) as much as possible. The cadence is called cadence. You need to monitor it and maintain it in a certain range. For professionals, it starts at 80 rpm. This is necessary not only in order to maintain the transmission, but also for the health of your own knees. We recommend switching frequently to improve efficiency while riding.