How to properly switch gears on a bike 24

Tips for caring for your gearshift system

Many bikers agree that the bike is alive. But don’t let him show character. This is especially true of the gearshift system: if the speeds are switched without your participation or do not change at all when you want it, this does not always mean that the components are worn out or broken, most likely the problem is in dirt or grass that has gotten over chain or sprockets. Be sure to clean and lubricate the chain, sprockets and derailleur. this kind of care contributes to smoother and more accurate shifting, and therefore a comfortable ride.

It is very important to feel the bike well, then you will hear any extraneous sound. For example, an extraneous “metallic sound” can occur due to the chain being stretched. This quickly leads to component wear. Change the chain at least! once a season.

properly, switch, gears, bike

Ideally, one should strive to move to the intuitive level of shifting that athletes and experienced cyclists are perfect for. It shouldn’t matter to you how many gears and what type of drive you have on your bike. You will not think about switching at all: everything will happen automatically, depending on the current road or racing situation.

The clarity of the gears depends on the class of equipment, the degree of wear of parts, the correct setting of the mechanisms, the condition of the cables and their shirts, as well as the degree of contamination of the mechanisms and the chain.

And for dessert: scientists decided to create a bicycle with gear shifting using only thoughts:

Important addition from user Arkady Belousov:

Each sprocket has teeth and their pitch (distance between the teeth) is always the same and coincides with the length of the chain links, so the number of teeth on the sprocket is dictated by its size (diameter). The most important transmission parameter. the gear ratio (the ratio of the number of wheel revolutions per pedal revolution). depends on the number of teeth on the driving and driven sprockets. Usually it is the number of teeth and is designated (for example, “gear 42-14”). To transfer 42-14, one pedal revolution (one revolution of the driving sprocket) will require 42/14 = 3 wheel revolutions (three revolutions of the driven sprocket). The range of gear ratios for mountain bike transmissions will most often be from 0.68 to 3.8 (that is, more than 5 times). In practice, they just talk about the number of “speeds”, since common types of bicycles have approximately the same set of stars.

For a comprehensive assessment of the traction of a bicycle, the parameter “laying” or “step” of the bicycle is used. this is the distance that the bicycle travels in one revolution of the pedals in a given gear. Less stacking means better traction in a given gear, but less speed.

For driving in tough conditions (where more effort is required) gears with a lower gear ratio are better because they have less styling. It is easy to see that the smallest gear ratio is obtained by choosing the first driving (smallest) and first driven (largest) sprockets. The same applies to bicycles with a single front sprocket. for riding in difficult conditions, it is better to choose the first (largest) driven sprockets, and for light conditions, the last (smaller) ones are more suitable.

Cycle days. Not a day without a bike!

How to properly shift gears on a bike?

Any cyclist should know how to properly switch speeds on a bicycle. When they buy a bicycle for children, they are always interested in how many speeds it has. And the higher the number of speeds, the better. But experienced cyclists know that the speed of a bicycle depends on the rider, or rather, on the work of his muscles. And the art of competently changing gears is a quality of cunning professionals that allows you to squeeze the maximum possible resources out of the car in rough terrain.

It used to be simple: the road bike had one speed. Therefore, on the plains, everything depended on the skills of the cyclist himself, and to ride in the mountainous terrain, one had to adapt to the terrain conditions: while riding downhill, the cyclist accelerates the car as much as possible in order to enter the next mountain by inertia. If the ascent is protracted, then the cyclist rides uphill until the moment he can pedal. Then he dismounts his bike and proudly walks alongside to the top to continue his journey down again.

Modern bicycles have two sets of gears. front (sprocket) and rear (driven sprocket). It is extremely important to learn how to choose the right gear depending on the nature of the ride. First, you need to learn a few simple rules for gear shifting:

  • Shift gears only while the bike is in motion (this rule does not apply to planetary hubs).
  • Try to change gears when the load from the chain is removed or insignificant, otherwise you may not be able to switch, and even break the gearshift mechanisms or break the chain (this largely depends on the quality level of the bicycle components). Particularly hard on the front derailleur.
  • We do not recommend increasing the gear when overcoming hills, select gears in front of the mountain (riders use uphill shifting if necessary, but this technique requires skill and “feeling of the bike”).
  • Without proper skill, do not shift multiple gears at once. Do this in stages: after waiting for one gear to work well, go to the next (this moment also depends on the class of the bike’s equipment and the cyclist’s skill).
  • Avoid large chain distortions.

Let’s take a closer look at the switching process itself:

  • A typical modern bike has 2-3 stars in the front and 8-10 stars in the back.
  • The numbering of the front stars is from 1 to 3. in the direction of increasing stars, the numbering of the rear stars is from 1 to 8 (9,10), in the direction of decreasing stars.

For simplicity, let’s take the popular budget 38 drive as an example:

  • The large chainring is used when driving on a good, level road (asphalt or compacted soil) in the absence of strong headwinds. Trailing sprockets 8 to 4 are usually used with this sprocket. Although in sports skating and racing, you can often see any combination of.
  • The middle chainring is used when driving on dirt roads, bad asphalt, not very loose sand in combination with rear sprockets 6 to 2 (which does not exclude the use of the entire set of rear sprockets). On these programs it is convenient to ride in dense city traffic, maneuvering between various moving and stationary obstacles. When there is a strong headwind on the highway, a middle chainring is also often installed.
  • The small chainring is used with chainrings 5 ​​to 1. These gears are used when driving on very steep climbs, wetlands, sticky mud, sand, dense grass.

Drawing of parallel universes. Left (in red) is not correct. the universes of bike chains are parallel, on the left (in green) is correct!

Gear shifting during ascent

If you understand that you are changing gears as needed, then you have already missed the optimal moment to change. This means that you will not keep the required rhythm and inertia of movement. Be more careful next time. Never shift gears while pedaling hard, which will lead to rapid component wear.

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The most common mistake is rarely using the front derailleur. Shift the rear to a comfortable sprocket and operate the front derailleur. You will feel how much faster you find the desired gear, because the effect of one shift on the front sprocket can be compared to the effect of shifting to two sprockets of the rear cassette, and much less time is spent!

It becomes possible to quickly gain the desired speed with a single switch. Then, when you get into the rhythm of the movement, you have the chance to use the rear derailleur to fine-tune the gear.

How To Change The Gears On Bicycle. Correct Shifting SAVING POWER. SickBiker Tips.

Remember: first select the correct forward gear, and only then use the rear derailleur
to adjust the gear!


Regarding the speed (cadence). Each person is comfortable with their own cadence, at which the pedals will rotate with maximum efficiency. If the speed of rotation is lower than the rhythm you are comfortable with, then the strength will be wasted. If the cadence is incorrect, there is also a risk of injury. This is due to increased stress on the joints and muscles. So pay attention to this point when driving.

You don’t need to pedal too quickly, otherwise you will quickly get tired. Finding the ideal frequency for yourself is not difficult; rely on sensations. I will only add that in addition to road conditions, the choice of gear and cadence is influenced by the strength and direction of the wind, as well as the physical form of the cyclist at the moment.

Under any conditions, the goal is the same. to pedal at a constant speed and constant effort on them, regardless of the selected gear. The same rhythm significantly postpones the onset of fatigue and increases endurance. Consequently, a significantly greater distance can be overcome.

It is impossible in advance to accurately match a particular gear to specific road conditions. Of course, there are many formulas, graphs and tables, but most of them are calculated for road bikes, fair weather and smooth asphalt. Should the conditions change, and all the calculations are down the drain. The choice of gear depends on the road or lack of it, the slope of the track, temperature, soil conditions, tire pressure, wind, the physical condition of the cyclist, the level of adrenaline and blood sugar. There are other criteria that cyclists can use as a guide. One of them is cadence. It is known that the optimal cadence when driving on a horizontal surface. for example, in road bikes. is on average 95. 115 rpm, while for cross-country riders this value will already be 70. 90 rpm. But for amateurs and cyclists, this is just a guideline, not a rule. There is no need to try to start immediately from high gears, first in low gears we warm up the muscles, unwinding to optimal gears. When choosing a gear, as in any business, the cyclist needs to stick to the “golden mean”, and not go to extremes. A slow pace of driving in large gears is very detrimental to the condition of the knee joints. Pedaling too often will reduce riding efficiency and fatigue more quickly. In difficult road conditions (driving on mud, sand, grass or snow), the gears are lowered due to the need for a torque reserve. The technical capabilities of the switches do not always allow the chain to be dramatically shifted from small stars to large ones. For mountain hikes with backpacks, a set of chainrings, for example 48, 38 and 28 teeth, is usually sufficient.

When driving upwind or uphill, you need to switch to “lower gears” close to 1: 1. This set of gears increases cadence but decreases speed. When driving on flat terrain, the gear ratio can be 4: 1 to maintain speed. In a motorcycle race, a speed of over 100 km / h can be achieved. In these record-breaking rides, cyclists use a gear ratio of 8: 1 or more. However, usually the muscle strength of the legs is not enough to spin such gears from a place. Even athletes do not use gears greater than 5: 1, but rather increase their cadence.

In 1985 in the United States, John Howard set a speed record of 245.077 km / h. For the first time he covered 241 kilometers on a bicycle in one hour. Ten years later, Rompelberg Fred from the Netherlands broke his world bicycle speed record with a result of 269 km / h.

Many novice cyclists avoid frequent gear changes and even when riding upwind, leave the chain on the large drive and small driven gears. Their ride is more like the maneuvers of a sailboat against the wind. As a result, after such a ride, knee pain can naturally occur. Meanwhile, a competent cyclist when riding upwind, having reduced the gear ratio to 2-3: 1, will be able to maintain a higher speed with less effort. In small gears, pedal at a frequency of 80-90 rpm.

How to properly shift gears on a bike?

Recently I saw Alexei Baevsky, took the bottle holder from him to his Aggressor. Lesha reprimanded me and was CRASHED saying that I was changing gears incorrectly and I had a chain skew and soon it would be possible to throw it out. I got into no and started looking for material. Found several articles. I bring to your attention the most useful theses of them.

How to properly shift gears on a bike? : 41 comments

damn, but I switched on the spot and now it seizes what to do

Try to figure out what exactly is jamming and sort out the transfer system. You may just need to adjust the switches. How to do it is written here-

Throw it off the roof of the house, it will be fixed. The chain will break off the contacts will press down at first they will not spin for 2-3 hours and then it will work like new.

The question is: the bike has three sprockets in the front and 6 in the back. The rear shifts properly. one flip of a coin. one gear.
The front one is different. there are 6 divisions on the handle (on the steering wheel), therefore, in order to switch from one gear to another in the front sprocket, you have to move the handle (on the steering wheel) immediately by 3 divisions, because when translating to only one chain, it is not translated, but simply starts rubbing against the shifted switch. This is normal or you can somehow adjust?

Not okay. Switches must match the number of speeds

How to increase the switch travel for this? So that with one click, he would transfer the chain a sufficient distance (to the next sprocket)?

This is correct even if calculated mathematically
Only 6 divisions, 3 stars, 6 we divide by 3 it turns out 2, that is, for each star, two switchings should fall on

alexander, i have the same problem. Bicycle Stels Focus 18sors.

Hello, If you switch from 3rd gear to 2nd, then the chain remains in 3rd, and if you switch to 1st, then it goes to 2nd What to do?

I don’t remember exactly how to tighten or loosen the transfer cable (front derailleur), there was a similar problem I solved with the power of adjusting the cable tension

For a snack:
“The left (in red) is not correct. the universes of the bicycle chains are parallel, the left (in green) is correct!”

“Popular budget drive 38”
Big chainring. on a good, level road
“Small chainring. steep climbs”
Not a word has been said about the rear sprockets (by the way, I have only one star in front).

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“Increase gear when overcoming hills, pick up gears in front of the mountain”
“In difficult road conditions. gears down.”
Not only has it not been explained in any way what is meant by “raising” and “lowering” gears, but here in the text the same thing is called opposite terms.

“Uphill. on” low gears “close to 1: 1”
“Slow driving pace in large gears”
Again the same contradiction: according to the text, 1: 1 is both “low gears” and “high”.

Because of all this confusion (the use of the rear sprockets alone and in combination with the chain sprockets is not explained; it is not explained what and why “up” and “down” and what combinations of gears should be used in different conditions) on the first reading I did not have enough that I understood. Fortunately, on I found a description of what a “gear ratio” in a bicycle is (one paragraph was enough for this), and from there it was already possible to make relatively simple independent conclusions about how to switch speeds.

So this page pulls no more than 2-3 on a 5-point system: there are a couple of useful points, but for an educational program for a novice user of a multi-star system, this is not enough, and even more advanced users have nothing to read here.

Thanks for your authoritative opinion! If you have already spent so much time writing this little comment, can I ask you for a service? Rewrite what you think is necessary and send me, in the feedback form, the finished text in html format. I promise to add your version if everything is ok!

I agree with the author of the commentary, I didn’t understand a damn thing from the article))). What was meant when driving uphill or against the wind “1: 1”. How to get 1: 1, because any chainring is always larger than any rear sprocket. Or I misunderstood something.

“Any chainring is always larger than any rear chainring”.
Not always, on MTB there may be rear 36, front 22, the gear ratio will be even lower than one, namely 0.61 in this case.

I changed the camera and after that the speeds began to switch incorrectly (ringing of the chain when pedaling and their failure). what did I do wrong?

perhaps you just need to correctly find the position of the rear wheel on the frame, either push it back all the way or slightly forward, or it is better to move it all the way back and adjust the rear derailleur with the adjusting screws

Don’t mislead people. The lower the gear ratio, the BIGGER the styling! For persuasiveness, open the section “Drive axle, final drive” in any car manual.

When it comes to bicycles, there is a direct relationship. the larger the gear ratio, the greater the styling. Those. exactly the opposite compared to a car.

In order not to make such blunders, take a closer look at the topic first.

About cadence is not entirely true, it’s all about the knee joint, it is at a rotation speed of 80-110 rpm that the right amount of lubricating fluid is formed in the joint. Accordingly, if you twist slower or faster, it badly affects the knee.

I have now made myself a new automatic system. No more derailleur sprockets and chain tensioner. My front sprocket is telescopic and it grows from 38 to 70 teeth (according to the diameter of the star). under the pressure of the pumped brake fluid. And when I stop it decreases. And there is no rear switch. the chain is stretched and there are no stars on the rear wheel. I’m not worried uphill at all now. I also put such a system on the front. And then earlier, when you twist your hands, it was inconvenient to switch speeds.
p.s Pedal cranks are also telescopic In the front-top position, the length of the pedals is maximum (double), and in the rear-bottom position, the minimum (standard). There, the back of the connecting rod runs in a displaced circle that pushes it in and out.
So your topic does not quite suit me, but still curious.

How reliable is this system? How many kilometers have already traveled?

I recently got my hands on a bicycle (MTB, 21 speeds), after 1 week of riding, problems with the front and rear derailleur began to arise. after reading the article, I understood everything (of course, I am to blame, I did everything in reverse and without any logic). The problem is the rear derailleur is stuck at 4 speeds (2 to 5) and the front derailleur is missing the middle sprocket. now I think. is it possible to fix it?

Hello. I ran into this problem: the chain on the front sprockets simply does not switch. when you try to switch manually, there is a strong skew of the chain How to be ?

I put on a new chain, 1-2 teeth began to slip on small stars. Tell me the reason please

Maybe chain length plays a role. But honestly they say, I’m not a repairman to help with such questions

along with the chain, the cassette (rear stars) also changes, sometimes the system (chainrings), since they wear out along with the chain. I recommend changing the cassette, it is inexpensive

“Overcame 241 kilometers in one hour”. bullshit. It turns out that his average speed is 241 km / h? How much is the peak??

I bought a bike, I have 3 stars on the leader and 7 on the slave.
Tell me which one is better to learn to ride?
Well, to go slower. 1 front and 1 back?

If there is 1 on the front, then you can put 1-2-3 on the back, if 2, then 3-4-5, if three, then on the back there may be 6-7. Learning is worth riding everybody, it all depends on the speed and traction. On a flat road, you can walk to 3-6. It is better to ride uphill in lowered ones. It’s not a car, where it’s better to stick in the fifth after a speed of 100 and a couple of years of driving experience.

I can’t try it yet, today I only started learning to ride, I still don’t hold on to the saddle so that I can switch in motion

My brother came, held the bike while I was switching, and it is as described above. for different speeds, the levers perform an asymmetric function. I wonder why this is so.

And why can it be that the saddle leans back under the weight?
Just because it is not tightly clamped?
It seems great for me, frame 19, wheel 26, my height is 178.
Today I traveled a bit, the saddle is thrown back again, well, now I bought the key for 13, I already clamped it tightly to mine, then I’ll check if it holds it while riding.

Maybe this is a sign that the saddle needs to be lifted.?
When the saddle is even, then it is convenient for me to ride in general.

why is it wrong when in the 4th picture in red and how to fix it

“Try to change gears when the load is removed from the chain”. it is not clear here. When the load is removed from the chain. when is this? I’ve read that you need to switch when you just pedal, without any climbing uphill and other obstacles.

Hello, I have such a problem, when riding a bicycle when I switch the chainrings for example (when I switch from 1 to 2 it does not switch, when I switch to 3 it switches to 2 and to 3 at all) And on the rear wheel I have 7 stars how to do it correctly?

How to properly shift gears on a bike

The bicycle appeared as a fast means of transportation, but it was designed for hardy riders and was far from comfortable. On the first “balance bikes” the rider sat on the frame and kicked off the road with his feet, even such familiar things as pedals and a saddle did not appear immediately. Modern models, among other amenities, have a transmission that allows, if necessary, to change the effort on the pedals. Next, we will consider the design and explain the switching principle of the most common type of transmission. chain transmission. It is popular due to the relative simplicity of the device and undemanding maintenance.

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Most beginners, when choosing their first bike, focus on the number of speeds, believing that the more gears, the faster the bike goes. But the speed of the bike is more dependent on the pedal effort than the number of gears. A regular road bike with a single gear is just as fast as a high-speed road bike. So why do you need a lot of gears on a bike? We are going to answer this question and also find out important related points.

Why bike speeds are needed

In cars, gear shifting is necessary to reduce engine load and save fuel when driving conditions change.

Gear shifting in a bicycle transmission serves the same purpose: to reduce pedaling effort and reduce cyclist fatigue. If you ride slowly several times a week along a standard route, then the load on your muscles is more or less uniform and there is no particular need to change gears. However, if you are driving on tough, rough terrain at high speed or enjoying long rides, then it is extremely important to monitor the selection of the correct gear. To determine the desired transmission, you need to know about such a concept as cadence.

Cadence is the number of revolutions of the pedals performed by the cyclist in one minute. For example, they say: “cadence 90”. This means riding at a pace of 90 pedals per minute. There are also concepts such as high, low and optimal cadence:

Low cadence. you do a low RPM but still pedal effort. It is unsafe to ride at this pace for a long time due to the enormous stress on the heart and joints.!

High cadence. you pedal very quickly. The load on the legs is small, but there is little sense from such a ride. it is not very pleasant to move at a snail’s speed.

The optimal cadence is a pedaling tempo that is convenient for you personally, allows you to drive far and for a long time without getting tired. You ride for pleasure, but at the same time your muscles and joints are not overloaded and train endurance. For an amateur, the optimal cadence is 60-70 at the beginning of the season, and after a couple of months of continuous riding, you can pedal with a cadence of about 90-100. Athletes who do regular training are able to maintain an optimal cadence greater than 100.

Changing gears makes it easier for you to maintain a constant cadence all the way, whether you are driving uphill, with a headwind, or racing on smooth asphalt. The cyclist must constantly monitor the maintenance of the cadence. For this, it is convenient to use a cycling computer with the ability to calculate cadence.

How to find out how many speeds a bike has

Nowadays, almost every bicycle is equipped with a gear shifting system. There are usually 6 to 33 gears. For road or mountain bikes, 18-27 gears are a reasonable norm. Often even city or road bikes also have gear shifters, for this type of bike 6-7 speeds are enough.

To determine the number of gears, you need to multiply the number of front and rear sprockets. For example, on the cranks of a bicycle there are 3 stars and on the cassette of the rear wheel you see 7 stars, such a bicycle has 21 gears. gears, up to 33, are needed in rare cases and require more careful handling and also significantly complicates and increases the cost of bike transmission.

Having considered the concept of optimal cadence, let’s move on to studying gear shifting techniques.

How to properly switch gears on a bike

We have already understood why it is important to maintain a constant cadence. But moving, for example, on the ground is much harder than on asphalt and so that the cadence on the ground does not decrease, the gear should be lowered on the ground. You need to know that shifting to one gear on the driving sprocket changes the effort on the pedals 2-3 times faster than if you shifted to one gear on the driven stars. Changing the chainrings dramatically changes the load on the drivetrain and your muscles, so they are changed much less frequently than the rear sprockets.

The guide sprockets set the basic pedaling pace and must be shifted when driving conditions change rapidly. The small guide sprocket is designed for uphill driving and engages well before starting the climb. The largest sprocket is designed for high speed performance on quality surfaces or for descents. Usually there is a third star in the front in the middle, for standard driving conditions. Rear sprockets are needed to fine tune pedaling effort.

On descent, you can switch to a large guide sprocket for better acceleration.

Gear shifters are quite delicate mechanisms; if used incorrectly, they wear out quickly. You need to know some simple rules to keep your bike’s drivetrain working properly:

A strong diagonal skew of the chain is harmful and contributes to the rapid wear of the chain, and also requires expensive repairs with the replacement of sprockets. How to correctly combine combinations of asterisks is shown in the figure below. The larger the chainring, the smaller the chainring at the rear should be used with it. The two smallest chainrings should be used with the largest chainring. The two largest sprockets are designed to be paired with a small sprocket in front.

As you change gears, you continue to pedal, but you should not apply too much pressure on the pedals. If you are shifting the front drive sprocket, then generally reduce pedal effort to avoid jerking. Do not click gears. this will damage the switches. A simple rule of thumb: you can shift up to one gear in one pedal rotation. Some equipment allows you to change several gears at once, but for a beginner, it is difficult to switch correctly in this way.

The professional shifts gears silently. Hear one light click when switching. great, you did everything right. If the gear changes with multiple crunching, sharp crackling, then one of two things: you are shifting incorrectly, or you have a worn out misaligned transmission.

The more gears your bike has, the more carefully you should monitor the cleanliness and condition of the sprockets and chain. The limitation on physical dimensions forces designers on bicycles with a large number of gears to use thinner sprockets, chains and some other parts. All gaps in multistage transmissions are smaller, and parts are more compact, therefore, the sensitivity of such a design to contamination is higher, and wear is faster.

In the end, I would like to say that if you are going to buy a high-speed bike, then you just need to learn how to use the gear shifters correctly. Indeed, when skating, you apply physical effort, and the correct technique gives not only pleasure from the process, but also safely strengthens your body, increases your endurance. Gain experience and gear shifting will take place on a subconscious level, and you will stop wasting energy.

This article provides basic knowledge of manual transmissions. Material generally not applicable to planetary hub systems and other automatic bicycle transmissions.

How To Change Gear On Your Bike | Road Bike Shifting Made Easy