How to properly switch gears on a speed bike

What parts help to adjust the speed switches

The multi-speed mountain bike or city bike is equipped with multiple gears and offers new possibilities. It is much easier to conquer peaks, ride on irregularities, even perform various tricks on it. To enjoy cycling, you need to set the speed switch correctly.

Those who first decided to independently understand the switch mechanism should first familiarize themselves with the details of the transmission and their functions.

A drivetrain is a collection of bicycle parts that can take on some of the cyclist’s load. It also helps you ride on difficult terrain, such as mountains.

Knowledge of the structure of modern bicycles helps to correctly set up gear changes

We will not dwell on each part of the bike in detail. Let’s consider just some of the elements that make up the transmission.

  • the front derailleur assists the chain in guiding the system. Attaches to the frame in the area of ​​the pedals;
  • the system is part of the front derailleur. It also consists of stars, different in diameter and number of teeth, which are attached to the connecting rods with special bolts;

The front derailleur is in the pedal area

Rear derailleur located on the rear wheel

The most reliable chains are matte gray. If the chain has a yellowish tint, this indicates its low quality. Nickel-plated chains are considered average in quality.

The bike chain is an important part of the drivetrain

Shifters are mounted on the steering wheel and are responsible for gear shifting

The transmission cable connects the shifter to the derailleur

How to set up gear shifting on a mountain bike or city bike

Speed ​​switches are actively used when riding both mountain and city bikes. Much depends on their quality work: the pleasure of cycling, the quality of the ride, and even your safety. Before each cycling season, this mechanism should be checked and, if necessary, correctly adjusted.

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.

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:

  • Check device attachment.
  • At minimum speed, release the cable tension.
  • Use screw L to create a gap between the derailleur body and the chain (1 mm).
  • Secure the cable with the adjusting bolt.

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.

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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!

External Shifting on Speed ​​Bike

The outer type belongs to most multi-speed bicycles. It is used on both mountain and city walking models. The mechanism is made up of gear shifters and stars that form a cassette or system. Variable speed with rear and front derailleurs.

Elements of external type of gear shifting. derailleur and cassette

This type of gear shifting can be seen on both the Forward Dortmund city bike (7 speeds) and the Forward Agris mountain bike (24 speeds). You can customize this switch yourself by examining the mechanism.

Correct cycling gearshift setting

Modern bicycles equipped with a gear system allow you to move quickly and with minimal energy losses in any conditions: long climbs, rough terrain, roads with sharp turns that require constant changes in speed and gear ratio. This can also include driving against the wind, off-road conditions, poor quality asphalt. In general, the value of the transmission unit is simply colossal, especially on mountain bikes.

Despite the invaluable help, the transmission is great and requires frequent attention, care, and sometimes long and tedious fuss. One component that needs to be taken up periodically is the shifting mechanism, which consists of front and rear derailleurs. At first glance, the arrangement of these parts seems complicated. In practice, setting up gear shifting is very simple.

Necessary terminology

To understand the process of self-adjusting the speed switch, you need to know the definition of some specific terms, otherwise it will be difficult to understand the instructions.

  • Speed ​​switch (crossover). This is a transmission element that is specifically responsible for gear shifting. If there is a rear crossover, then it also acts as a support for the tension of the bicycle chain. The crossover (back and front) can be described as follows: it is a parallelogram mechanism equipped with a powerful return spring, on which the frame is fixed. The rear derailleur has two rollers inside the frame. if the level of cable tension increases, then the frame shifts the chain to large stars, and if this cable tension decreases, then the chain is shifted towards small stars with the help of the frame. The mechanism of the front derailleur works in the same way.
  • Shifter. It is designed to switch speeds by changing the tension level of the cable. Most often, the shifter is located on the handlebars, but in some bicycles it can also be located on the lower tube of the frame triangle. Note:shifters and speed switches have a common connection on the steering wheel (this is provided by a cable) and are covered with a jacket.
  • Cassette. This is the name of the rear transmission unit, which consists of stars of different sizes (of different diameters and with a different number of teeth) and is installed on the rear hub drum. If the bike is old, then a ratchet is used instead of a drum in the rear hub.
  • Cock. It is a metal part that helps maintain the integrity of the frame and rear derailleur in the event that the vehicle has been hit. The rooster is always attached to the frame, and a cross-over is already attached to this metal part. When a blow occurs, it is this very cock that breaks, and the frame and the speed switch (crossover) remain intact.
  • System. This is the name of the front transmission unit, which consists of stars of different diameters and with a different number of teeth. These stars are fastened to each other and the connecting rods with special hollow bolts on the connecting rods, but you need to know that there are no hollow bolts in cheap bicycles. the stars and connecting rods are riveted to each other.

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.

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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.!

The more speeds the better?

Not always and not for everyone. For example, for road bikes it will be one set of speeds, for mountain bikes another set of speeds. And for kids and tricks, there may be only one speed at all, and this will be quite enough. You can find the whole variety of bicycles on the website If the bike has 3 stars in front and 7 in the back, a total of 21 speeds, which is quite enough for riding on technical descents and very steep ascents.

One of the founders of multi-speed bicycles is Tullio Compagnolo. Back in the middle of the twentieth century, he presented to the world a project with several stars both in front and behind. Soon, the number of stars began to grow rapidly. And today in some models of bicycles there are more than 10 pieces only on the rear wheel and, for example, 3 pieces at the front. In total, this will give 30 possible variations in gear shifting while riding.

Where and at what speed to drive?

To overcome difficult climbs, it is recommended to use a lower gear, thereby reducing the load on the knees and leg muscles.

After all, with a low cadence. pedaling per minute. there is a huge load on the knees and joints. In the future, this can lead to knee pain not only when cycling, but also when walking.

On the descents, on the contrary, it is worth choosing an overdrive, but the cadence should not be lower than 50 and not higher than 90. This is especially true for beginners. Low speed when moving down is bad, and high speed is dangerous, you can easily fall when you press the pedal.

Shifting gears on a bike: how to shift correctly?

How gear shifting works?

By switching the switch on the handlebars of the bicycle, the chain is thrown from one sprocket to another. Which leads to an increase or decrease in cadence. Depending on the frequency, the forces applied by the cyclist also change.

Let’s sum up

Multi-speed bicycles are essential for:

  • gaining and maintaining high speed on slopes and straight sections of roads;
  • for an easier ride on steep climbs;
  • skiing on cross-country trails, including both descents and ascents, stones and tree roots.
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To increase the service life of mechanisms designed for gear shifting, it is enough to follow a few recommendations:

  • It is allowed to switch the speed only while driving, or rather when pedaling. Otherwise, the chain will wear quickly and the front or rear derailleur may become detuned.
  • Do not change gear while applying effort on the pedals. If you have already begun to climb in this gear, then continue to drive it to the end. Or reduce the amount of pedal pressure, shift the gear and move on.
  • Watch out for chain misalignment. For example, you cannot have a chain in front and behind on a small or large sprocket. This will lead to accelerated wear of the chain and gear teeth.

Bicycle speed switching rules

Most modern bicycles have a chain drive. The force from the cyclist’s feet is transmitted through the pedals, connecting rods to the driving stars of the system, then the force is transmitted by means of a chain to the driven stars of the cassette. and then the effort is transmitted to the wheel and spins it. And the shifting of bicycle speeds occurs by jumping the chain from a chainring of one size to a chainring of a different size. When and what gear to use is very important. There are several rules for switching speeds:

  • You should only switch the bike speeds while driving;
  • Reduce foot pressure on the bicycle pedals when changing gears. It is especially difficult for the front derailleur, since it works with the circuit in the place of its constant voltage;
  • Try not to change gears when going uphill, select gear before going uphill. To switch gears during uphills, you need to have sufficient experience and good “feel” of the bike;
  • Do not switch multiple speeds at once. Go to the next speed gradually, after the chain has completely switched to the previous one;
  • Do not skew the bike chain too much.

How to switch gears on a bike

Most modern bicycles have 2-3 sprockets (front) and 7-10 sprockets (rear). The front stars are numbered from small to large, while the rear stars are numbered from large to small.

Consider a bicycle with three driving stars and eight driven stars.

Try not to skew the chain too much, this can greatly shorten its lifespan.

Which gear to choose

There is such a thing as “cadence”. the cadence of a bicycle. It is measured in revolutions per minute. Due to the physiology of the human knee joint, the normal cadence is 80-110 rpm. With a slower rotation, the fluid in the knee joint is more viscous and it is harder for the joint to perform its functions, and with a faster rotation, the joint becomes unnecessarily stressed. You also need to remember that stress is harmful for the knee joint, and the more the joint is tense, the more friction there is.

Based on the foregoing, it follows that the choice of gear is to keep the cadence at the level of 80-110 rpm, while with constant pedal effort and the less effort the better. It is clear that the tension of the legs will be great uphill, but on a flat road you can pick up gears in which you will not need to strain at all, and the pedals will turn under the weight of the legs.

You should not start from high gears right away. You should start moving at light speeds, warm up the muscles, spin the pedals to a normal cadence and then start switching speeds up.