How to properly adjust your bike’s gear shifting

Correct installation of the front derailleur

You can start the front derailleur setting only after adjusting the rear derailleur. Installation is the initial step in adjusting the speed switch. It’s very important to do it right.

How To Get Perfect Gear Shifting On Your Road Bike

  • before installing the switch, it is necessary to inspect the condition of the constituent parts and, if necessary, clean them from dirt and lubricate.
  • The next step is to adjust the location of the front derailleur. On the frame, it should be located along the pipe under the saddle.
  • Set the angle of rotation parallel to the drive sprocket on the front cassette of the transmission unit.
  • Next, you need to adjust the gap between the underside of the derailleur frame and the top line of the teeth of the large gear. The gap should be minimal.
  • Adjust the cable tension.
  • Place the chain close to the inside of the frame.

It is also worth paying attention to setting up the chain. The bicycle chain is a very important element, with the help of which the impulse is transmitted from one chain to another and the adjustment process takes place. The technical condition of the circuit is of great importance for the operation of the entire system. If, for some reason, the bicycle chain stretches or deforms, this cannot but adversely affect the operation of the entire transmission unit. To prevent this from happening, the chain must be periodically removed and cleaned, and then set to the correct position. There are lock and lockless models of bicycle chains. They differ in the way they are connected. To remove the locking chain, it is enough to find the link with the lock and disconnect it with a screwdriver. The lockless bicycle chain is disconnected using a squeeze. This tool helps to push the link axle out and make the connector. If it skews for some reason, this can adversely affect the gearshift process.

How To Index Your Gears. Adjusting Your Rear Derailleur

One of the best manufacturers of bicycle parts, including derailleurs, is the Japanese company Shimano, which has a proven track record of producing products in which Japanese quality is combined with budget and price. Shimano derailleurs (fig. 3) are suitable for all types of bicycles. Shimano derailleurs are installed on both regular touring bicycles and mountain and track bikes with gearboxes up to 33 speeds.

properly, adjust, bike, gear, shifting

Another recognized market leader is Sram. The products of this company are used on bicycles of the city bike category, as well as on sports bicycles. Sram products are of good quality and affordable price for cycling enthusiasts.

Every bicycle owner who prefers this type of transport to others is obliged to understand how to switch its speeds. It is believed that the more speeds a bike has, the better it is. But in fact, speed only allows you to improve the quality of maneuvering and squeeze the maximum out of the bike’s capabilities, so then everything depends on the dynamic efforts of the person riding the bike. Conventional bicycles have a simpler design compared to high-speed ones. With such a bike there is less hassle, but it also has fewer possibilities. In the transmission unit of such bicycles there are only two stars: one large and one small. Multi-speed bicycles, which have gained popularity in recent years, have two sets of sprockets in their transmission units: front and rear. Each cassette consists of stars of different sizes. To switch gears correctly, you need to remember a few basic rules:

  • If your bike is not equipped with a planetary hub, you only need to switch gears on it while driving, otherwise there is a danger of damage to the bike.
  • During gear shifting, it is not necessary to apply significant dynamic forces, in order to eliminate the danger of a burst of flowers, it is advisable to change gears sequentially, without making sharp jerks.

How to adjust the front derailleur

There are also clear and simple step-by-step instructions for adjusting the front derailleur:

  • Shifting the chain to a smaller star.
  • Unscrew the fixing screw and release the cable.
  • We find the screw marked “L”, with its help we adjust the position of the frame so that the chain is between the plates of the frame, but does not touch them.
  • We stretch the cable, fix it with a screw.
  • Now we move the chain in the cassette to a smaller sprocket. it is convenient to do this using the rear derailleur.
  • With the front derailleur, move the chain to the middle sprocket and look. if the chain on the second one touches the outer side of the frame everywhere, then you need to increase the cable tension using the drum located on the left shifter.
  • We switch the gear to the largest sprocket in the cassette and check. if the chain touches the walls of the frame, you need to move the last element so that the chain is located in the middle. This manipulation can be done using the screw marked “H”.
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How to adjust the speed switch on a bike

Having become the happy owner of a bike, you should be prepared for the fact that over time you will have to carry out basic maintenance of the bike yourself. Of course, if we are talking about a serious malfunction, it is best to seek help from specialists, but many manipulations can be safely performed on your own.

How to adjust your bike’s gear shifting

Adjusting the front derailleur

  • We put the speed switch in the following ratio: the smallest star in the front and the largest in the back;
  • We unscrew the cable;
  • Using the screw of the limiter for low gears, we adjust the position of the frame, it should be at a distance of no more than 3 millimeters from the chain;
  • Stretch the front derailleur cable slightly;
  • Switch the speed to the middle sprocket and check if the chain is touching the outer frame. If it touches, it is necessary to tighten the cable more;
  • We put the derailleur on the smallest sprocket and check how easy it is to change gears. If the switch does not work, adjust the high gear limiter screw.

How to fix defects

The speed switch will work perfectly and the bike itself will be with a new (or not very old) cable, with absolutely intact shirts (and not dry!) ​​And not deformed (or in a small volume) stars and chain.

If the cable is just stretched, then you just need to pull it up. But if the cable breaks, then you cannot do without replacing this element. The process of replacing the cable is not difficult, the main thing is to strictly adhere to the recommendations of the specialists:

  • unscrew the cable fixing screw, which is located on the cross-over;
  • pull the cable out of the shirts;
  • if necessary, disassemble the shifter and pull the cable out of it;
  • a new cable must be inserted into a special groove in the shifter, and it is the metal tip of the cable that must enter into the groove;
  • lubricate the entire cable with a special grease, you do not need to spare the consumable;
  • pass the cable through the shirts;
  • there are special grooves on the frame, into which shirts are tucked;
  • fasten the cable with a screw on the front end.

In case of poor gear shifting, pay attention to the return spring. it must be clean and lubricated. To achieve this, you just need to rinse the spring under running water, dry it completely and lubricate it thoroughly.

If the frame of the rear derailleur is crooked, then this can only mean one thing. the cock is bent. If this is not critical, then you can correct the cock with your hands. you need to take the rear switch in your hand, which is fixed on the cock, and hold the frame with the other hand. Slowly pull out the problematic transmission element (cock) until relatively even setting.

Note: this “repair” of the cock is a temporary solution to the problem of shifting gears. The fact is that the rooster is a consumable that needs to be changed on time, and not constantly repaired / pulled.

In some cases, the bike owner pays attention to a deformed rear derailleur (the front derailleur rarely suffers on impact). it can also be returned to its original position with the help of hands. But if the rear derailleur is deformed too much, then it is advisable to replace it.

Note: After performing specific manipulations to repair bent / deformed parts, you should not use the bike for too long. this may end in a fall, another breakdown at the most inopportune moments. And in some cases, such carelessness can lead to a traffic accident.!

Setting switches at home

Now let’s figure out how to set up the high-speed system ourselves. Derailleurs on bicycles with multi-gear transmission are divided into front and rear. The latter are most vulnerable when riding in a variety of road conditions, the risk of damage is higher compared to the front ones, but the adjustment must be done at the very beginning. Obviously, the rear derailleur serves more stars, so it takes longer to set up.

Attention! If there is damage, and the tensioner is not parallel to the frame and cassette, then it will not be possible to correctly adjust the system!

First you need screws L and H. they are clearly visible, no need to look. Also includes a cable adjuster, tension and fixing screws.

  • H is used to align the roller with the small rear sprocket. By tightening the screw L, we set the roller on one straight line with the large rear sprocket.
  • Set the highest speed on the shifter.
  • Tension and fix the cable with the fixing bolt.
  • Large gears should be included without interference, otherwise, using the adjuster, the cable is slightly weakened. Additional tension will be needed if gears are poorly reset.
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Actually, the adjustment itself is made, it remains to adjust the switching accuracy. This is especially true for systems with a large number of stars. For this, the chain is mounted on a large chainring at the back and a small chainring at the front. By tightening the tension screw, we achieve the optimal position of the roller. as close as possible to the cassette. The same must be done and vice versa: set the chain to the maximum chainring in front and minimum. at the back. The roller should not rub against the cassette, just be located next to it.

How to properly set up the switch in front:

The same should be done with the H-screw. The maximum speed must be set, and the gap with the chain must not exceed one millimeter.

Adjust the speeds on both bike derailleurs until the chain is free to swing from one sprocket to the other. If it is difficult to walk, it is necessary to adjust the correct position of the cable using the adjusting bolt.

After all the manipulations, the entire system is checked. To do this, you need to ride a bike and try all the recommended gear ratios. Note that on mountain bikes, the transmission adjustment is a common periodic procedure, and if suddenly the transmission goes tight, we are not in a hurry to draw conclusions about the breakdown, but we do what is described above.

Do not think that a high-quality transmission does not need to adjust the shifting system. Yes, it may be necessary to do this less often for shimano components, but sooner or later you will still have to face.

We just saw an easy way to adjust the front and rear derailleurs. Is it really necessary? Adjustment of the shift mechanism is necessary for the transmission, like tires for a wheel. Timely assistance to the “traffic node” will allow not only to solve current problems, but also to prevent them in the future. Eliminate all inconveniences in time and ride with pleasure!

How the switches work

Using the handle and shifter, the cyclist activates the required speed. In a certain position of the handle, the cable is pulled. As a result of this tension, the frame is thrown onto larger sprockets; when the cable is loosened, it is not thrown onto small sprockets. As mentioned above, you can start setting up your bike from the rear derailleur. Procedure for adjusting the rear derailleur:

  • select the second star in the front block, and the smallest in the rear one and set the switch chain on them;
  • The bike’s rear derailleur system has two bolts that act as stops. One is abbreviated as H, and on the other. L. These two bolts are used to adjust the high and low gears on the sprockets. If during the adjustment process any extraneous sounds occur, you can get rid of them with the help of the latch;
  • check the tension of the cable and if the tension does not correspond to the required one, use the regulator located on the shifter;
  • Test the switching quality. If the switching occurs smoothly, no extraneous sounds are heard, then you did everything right.

Rear derailleur setting

The correct setting will help you to effectively and efficiently switch gears on your bike. The setting of the rear derailleur will be of good quality if all defects that occur have been eliminated, and all parts are new or in relatively good condition.

For those who are engaged in such a business for the first time, you need to know that this element of the bicycle structure in its design has two screws, which are indicated by the letter system: H and L. You need to start by choosing a higher speed, while the chain is located at the smallest of all the stars that are in the cassette. Now we turn the screw H to the position so that the gearshift roller goes down to the position from the small star. We turn to the low speed group and stop at the one when the chain position is on the largest of the cassette stars. Rotate the screw again, but now with the L value, so that the roller aligns with the position of the large star. On the shifter, the rear derailleur is at maximum speed. This will allow the cable to be properly tensioned so that it fits in the groove next to the fixing bolt and just tighten it. You can check the correctness of such manipulations if you switch speeds on a bike of a high category. If they turn on with difficulty, slightly loosen the cable tension. If the reset is not going well. a decrease in speed, then the cable must, on the contrary, be pulled.

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The last stage of the adjustment is the smoothness of gear shifting. To do this, you need to fix the chain at the front on the small sprocket, and at the back on the large sprocket and roll the pedals back. In order to adjust the gearshift on the bike correctly, it is worth installing the upper roller as close to the star as possible, but not touching it. This moment can be achieved by rotating the tension screw. This customization item is available on more expensive bike variants. On cheap models, it is most often absent.

Adjusting the derailleur on the bike

The process of changing the speeds occurs due to the fact that the cable is weakened, and then it goes into a state of tension. A high-quality adjustment may be necessary in the event that the mechanism for changing the speeds on the bike does not work well or is not clear enough. Also, another variant of the situation may be the replacement of old parts with new ones.

Reasons for poor performance

So, adjusting bike speeds starts with the rear derailleur if you need to adjust both. Otherwise, we set up exactly the one that needs it. But first, it’s worth understanding what exactly are the reasons that the gearshift system works poorly:

  • The cable is stretched;
  • The return spring does not work well;
  • Rooster. a metal part that protects the frame and the switch from deformation upon impact. is damaged;
  • There have been changes in the switch itself.

It doesn’t take much effort to solve the first possible problem. All you have to do is just increase the tension on the adjusting drum rope. In the case when the cable is very stretched, then it is changed to a new one. If the problem lies in the spring, it should be properly cleaned under a strong stream of water, and then well lubricated with special grease. If the cock is deformed, then you can notice it on the crooked gearshift frame. If the level of deformation is small, then you can do it yourself. To do this, grasp the rear derailleur and frame and bend the part to the proper level. But this technique is not long-term; in the future, the cock will require replacement. It also often deforms during impact. Deformations in the front derailleur are rare. If the frame is bent, it can be leveled, but if it burst and cracked, then only a replacement will help. Deformation of the chain tension adjustment screw may also occur at the rear. This problem is not global, but it will eventually lead to the need to replace the switch.

Front derailleur

Let’s move on to the next step in adjusting the bike speeds. Here the whole process is much easier and faster. Before starting work, make sure the front derailleur is properly installed and secured to the frame. Determining this is elementary: from the largest star on which the chain is fixed, to the frame there should be about 3 mm, and the frame itself should be parallel to the arrangement of the stars. Now we proceed to the direct setting of the front derailleur. We set the minimum speed. Remember that the chain is located at the front on the smallest of the stars, and at the back on the largest. We loosen the cable and turn the screw L until a distance of 1 mm is formed between the chain and the frame. Next, we attach the cable, as in the case of the rear derailleur, and tighten it well, but still not zealous. The whole process needs to be well experienced. Now we turn to absolutely opposite actions at the minimum speed and rotate the screw H until the same minimum gap is formed. If at the same time it is difficult to put the chain on large stars, then the screw should be slightly loosened.

You can find out the quality of the work performed only in a practical way. While riding, we begin to switch speeds on the bike. If the chain does not respond well to a decrease in speed, then a tension adjuster is installed on the steering wheel selector knob. Rotate it until the desired result is achieved. If the problem is with high speeds, then the cable must be pulled using the same manipulations.

Only practice will tell you thoroughly how to adjust the speeds on your bike, so don’t be afraid to act on your own and you will succeed. The ability to switch speeds on a bike conveniently and correctly is a guarantee of a comfortable ride.

Any specialized service center can help with the correct adjustment of the front and rear derailleur of the bike. The chain, cables and stars will be set up here.