How to Shift Sprockets on a Bicycle

How to shift gears on a bike

When choosing a bike, beginners pay primary attention not only to its design, but also to the number of available speeds. At the same time, they do not understand the principle of their work and believe that the more they have in stock, the better. Of course, if it is great without any speed at all, then this is no good. it is physically very difficult to ride it and reach some record indicators or pedal for a long time without the appearance of chronic fatigue. Great with the ability to shift gears opens up ample opportunities for the cyclist.

Benefits of timely gear changes

Timely and correct gear shifting on a bicycle will not only allow you to ride for a long time without much fatigue, but also climb such slides that ordinary bicycles will not be able to do. Competent and skillful gear shifting on a bicycle will ensure the following:

  • The work of the cyclist’s muscles will be at maximum efficiency, their efficiency will be really very high;

shift, sprockets, bicycle

  • The wear of all parts of the bicycle transmission will be significantly reduced or even completely eliminated. The chain, sprockets and the gearshift mechanism itself will last much longer than usual;
  • The health of the cyclist himself. The load on the knees is significantly reduced, which a cyclist must always and always maintain healthy.

Correct switching of bike speeds. we do everything correctly

An experienced cyclist, like a motorist, shifts gears very quietly, smoothly and smoothly. The inexperienced will ride in jerks, the gears will jam, the bike mechanisms will creak and crunch. the ride will turn into a battle with the bike without becoming a pleasure. There are some general guidelines for gear shifting that are recommended for both beginners and experienced cyclists:

  • The process of shifting gears itself should be carried out only while driving. It is highly undesirable to do this business while standing still, as the chain mechanism will break. If you have to change speeds on the spot, you need to raise the rear wheel of the bike and pedal. And only after that switch. Most often this is done to lower the gear, in case of forgetfulness, lower it while driving. There is an exception. special planetary hubs, but they are still installed on a very limited number of bicycles for city walks;
  • You need to switch at a time when the load on the circuit is minimal. At the same time, this must be done in a timely manner, without waiting for a decrease in speed. The pedals should rotate easily and naturally;
  • Before changing gears, you need to stop for a couple of moments and not pedal. Generally. Only after changing the speed can you start their smooth promotion. Gradually you will understand when the right moment comes and will do everything automatically, correctly;
  • It is very undesirable to switch several gears in a row at once, everything must be done measuredly, gradually and in order. Of course, in this case, no catastrophe will occur, but the switch will fail so sooner or later;
  • It is advisable not to shift reverse and forward gears at the same time. The chain will very easily get stuck between the stars and the mechanism will end;
  • When changing gears, make sure that there is no particularly large chain distortion. For example, if your bike has three stars in front and eight in the back, then it is advisable not to switch like 1-8, 3-1, 3-4, and so on. This can damage the entire switching mechanism, a wedge will occur.

It will be useful for beginners to find out, and for experienced cyclists to remember that the average working star in the unit is usually considered, therefore, most often the reverse speeds can be switched without compromising the speed of the movement itself. The pedaling efficiency will also remain the same and the chainrings will not have to worry about. Similarly, but vice versa, you can change gears from higher to lower. If you change gears on a bike exactly as described, then the above three most important advantages will always be with you.

Cadence. what is it and how is it related to gear shifting

The word cadence refers to the cadence of a bicycle. It is quite logical that cadence is directly related to the speed of the unit. The cadence must be maintained at a certain level. usually about eighty rpm (plus or minus ten rpm). With the right cadence, you will use your strength more evenly and will be able to protect your knees from unnecessary dangerous loads.

And some recommendations from professionals:

  • If you are passing an area with mud, then turn on an overdrive. so the probability of getting stuck will be much lower than usual;
  • If you are driving on sand, then it is advisable to put a lower gear. otherwise, when the speed decreases, turning the pedals will be very difficult. Although, if the section with sand is short, you can safely pass it in high gear, here the inertia force will help out;
  • Analyze the climb before climbing it. It is necessary to carefully look at all areas where the gear change will be optimal. On the track or off-road, always plan your route slightly ahead of time and calculate gear changes in advance;
  • Regardless of your physical condition, always maintain a single cadence.

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 switching gears is the quality of cunning professionals, which 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 plain, everything depended on the skills of the cyclist himself, and to ride in mountainous terrain, he had to adapt to the terrain conditions: while riding downhill, the cyclist accelerates the car as much as possible in order to drive up the next mountain by inertia. If the ascent is protracted, then the cyclist rides uphill until he can pedal. Then he dismounts the bike and proudly walks alongside to the top to continue the 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:

  • There is no need to change gears when the bike is stationary. This can damage the switches.
  • You should change gears even before your speed drops in front of difficult-to-pass areas (for example, sand or loose snow) or on the rise.
  • You don’t have to pedal hard when changing gears. Switching is easiest if no load is applied to the circuit and there is a speed margin.
  • When switching, you need to ensure that the chain is not strongly skewed. That is, you should not use a large chainring and a large rear sprocket. In reality, you should use the following gears: with a small star in front to 4-5 stars in the back, from the second front. from 3rd (2nd) to 6th (7th), and with a large front. from 5th to last 8- (9).th.

Now let’s talk about choosing stars. 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, ground conditions, tire pressure, wind, the rider’s physical condition, adrenaline and blood sugar levels. 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, on road bikes. averages 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 driving efficiency and cause fatigue faster. In difficult road conditions (driving on mud, sand, grass or snow), the gears are lowered due to the fact that the torque reserve is required. The technical capabilities of the switches do not always allow the chain to be dramatically shifted from small to large stars. For mountain hikes with backpacks, a set of chainrings, e.g. 48, 38 and 28 teeth, is usually sufficient.

When driving against the wind 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. Usually, however, 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.

How to switch speeds on a bike? How to adjust bike speeds

Many people buying a modern bicycle do not know how to use all its amenities. They are intimidated by all these cables, switches and a lot of different things. Naturally, they don’t know how to change the gears on the bike to make it easier to ride. However, if you delve into all this equipment and understand how it works, then the ride will become much more pleasant and comfortable. And fixing this or that node will become an exciting hobby.

For seasoned cyclists, gear shifting is no problem. But for beginners, it is worth explaining all the nuances associated with the question of how to switch speeds on a bicycle. Illiterate switching sooner or later can lead to an open circuit or even breakdown of switches. And if you are on a long trip, then it can seriously take you by surprise. Competent gear shifting. this is not only a guarantee of the health of your bike, but also the most productive ride in any terrain.

To make everything clear, consider the design of the bike. The left trigger coin is responsible for switching forward speeds on the device. The right trigger coin is responsible for shifting the reverse gears.

How to change speeds

It is imperative to switch speeds on the move, that is, you must pedal. You need to select speeds not only based on the terrain and your physical capabilities, but also so that the chain does not distort. You can make sure that there are no distortions simply by looking at the chain. If it moves parallel to the frames of the front derailleur, then the selected speed is optimal. Skew occurs when the chain at the front is large and the chainring is also large at the rear. That is, you need to evenly switch both on the cassette and on the crank chainrings. Extremes are undesirable here, unless they are on the bottom side.

A trick for better switch performance

There is one secret to how to properly shift the gears on your bike so that the chain and derailleurs wear as little as possible. When the chain is at the extreme sprocket, you need to squeeze the switches, and not immediately release them. You need to press the lever and, when the chain has shifted to the desired gear, drive a second or two, holding it, and only then release it. Over time, as you become more experienced, you will feel when to release the lever.

The myth and truth about ups

As for the upper levers, they switch with one click and do not require additional squeeze. Beginning cyclists are often frightened by the fact that it is categorically impossible to switch speeds when riding uphill, but this is not so. The rules for shifting uphill are very simple: If you need to reduce the speed on the chainrings, then you should slow down the torque with the pedals, that is, the shifting should be smooth.

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Decelerating the torque with the pedals when shifting forward gears should be because the difference between the stars on the front transmission is usually about 10 teeth. This requires smooth shifting. Therefore, when moving uphill, or just on flat terrain, it is necessary to slow down the torque of the pedals. Then there will be a smooth and correct switching. If, when lifting, you need to add speeds on the rear transmission, then you should slightly increase the torque with the pedals. Knowing how to switch gears on a bike correctly will significantly extend the life of your two-wheeled friend.

What not to do on the climbs

The only thing you should definitely not do when going uphill is to increase the speed on the front sprockets, switch from first to second and from second to third. You can increase the speed from behind absolutely calmly, without fear that something will happen to the bike.

If, after shifting the gears, you hear a clatter or other extraneous sounds, then this means that the shifting has not occurred, and it is necessary to squeeze the lever. Or the switches need to be set correctly. Proper gear shifting is best taught by personal experience. So ride, try, train. And then the question of gear shifting will not be difficult.

How to set your bike speeds so all your equipment works great

Adjusting the rear derailleur. The chain needs to be translated into a small asterisk. After releasing the cable, for this you need to unscrew the bolt that clamps it. Then we find the screw that is responsible for displacing the rear derailleur foot. It is marked with the letter “H”. Using a screwdriver, it must be displaced so that the gear on the cassette where the chain lies is in line with the stars on the rear derailleur. That is, lay in the same plane.

After that, we take the cable and pull it out as much as possible, then fix it with the screw, which we had released before. After fixing, we try how the rear derailleur works on the bike. If the chain is poorly transferred to larger stars, you need to tighten the cable. This is done using a special “lamb”, which is where this cable enters the derailleur, it looks like a nut with more convex edges. We twist it clockwise.

We put the chain on a large sprocket. This is done with the screw, which is marked with the letter “L”, change the position of the switch in order to move the foot and place it in line with the large star located on the cassette.

Bike front derailleur

Let’s start setting up the front derailleur. To do this, in the front we put on a small star, in the back. to the big one. Take a hexagon. to loosen the screw holding the cable. Take the screwdriver and the adjusting screw marked with the letter “L”, move the frame. It must be placed so that there is a gap of 3-4 mm between the inner part and the chain. When the lower limit is set, we need to fasten the cable back. To do this, we tighten it with our fingers and in this position we fix it with a screw.

Moving on to setting up the second asterisk

The cable is fixed, the chain needs to be placed on the back on a small sprocket, and in the front to be thrown over to the second. If the chain hits the frame, the cable must be tightened. We stretch it with “lamb”, it is located on the shifter on the left. You need to turn it until the chain stops touching the frame. After the gap between the frame and the chain is 3-4 mm, this means that the first two stars are adjusted.

Setting up the third star

The original chain may interfere with the frame. To fix this, you need to move it away from the bike using the adjusting screw marked “H”. This will increase the space between the frame and the chain. After everything is set, the chain should not touch anything.

The setting of the switches is identical everywhere and there is no difference. a 6-speed bike or 32 gears. It’s just that six or eight-speed have only a rear derailleur. After all, they have one star on the rods. As a result, their design has one less.

In this article, we discussed how to shift the gears on a bike correctly so that its components work properly and reliably, and also learned how to adjust gears. both the back and the front, it’s not as difficult as it sounds. You should try it once, figure it out, and then you can set up the equipment in a matter of minutes. Separately, it should be said about the chain lubrication, it must be specialized, in no case can the grease be used, it will kill the chain. So take good care of your bike and it will repay with great performance and ride comfort.

How to properly switch speeds on a bike. Forming a skill: how to switch gears correctly using the example of a Stealth bike with 21 gears

  • Optimum crank speed ensures joint integrity.
  • Acceptable cadence is the key to effective muscle work.
  • Exemplary speed preserves plant life of components.

You can learn and learn how to shift gears correctly on a mountain bike only after mastering its high-speed design. So, on any Stels Navigator model the following are installed:

  • 3 stars in the front and 7 stars in the back.
  • Handlebar shifters.
  • Rear and front derailleurs, which are regular metal frames attached to the frame.
  • 2 cables connecting the steering gears and frame spreaders.

The process of regulating the position of the chain between the stars with the help of frames is called switching. It is carried out by working with shifters. The latter are of two types: trigger (with levers) and pin (rotate). They are installed on the steering wheel in two copies:

  • The left one is responsible for the operation of the front transmission.
  • The right moves the rear chain spreader.

On the shifters, there are numbers showing the number of the current star. The asterisks are numbered from left to right. The shifting process itself consists in pressing or rotating the levers. When pressed (trigger shifters):

  • Upper Left Stick. Resets to smaller chainring in 3-1 sequence.
  • Lower Left Arm. Folds over to the large front sprocket (1-3).
  • Upper Right Handle. Throws to parts with fewer teeth located at the back (1-7).
  • Lower Right Lever. Moves the rear frame towards the large stars (7-1).


If the device is unpacked and assembled, the method for adjusting the brakes has been completed, the algorithm for how to switch speeds on a Stealth bike is clear. you can ride. When moving, it is worth choosing the gear ratio correctly, excluding chain distortions:

  • Big star. Used when driving from slopes and no wind. Cooperates with rear set 5, 6, 7.
  • Medium asterisk. It is used when starting, moving along a flat road and a well-groomed intersection. Interacts with the rear block 3,4,5.
  • Small star. It is used when riding on slopes, rough rough terrain, wetlands, viscous mud, sand, thick grass. Spins optimally with rear sprockets 1 to 3.

Rear gear setting

The next step is to adjust the chain travel along the rear sprockets. Most often, it is there that problems are observed, and it is no coincidence: there are more stars, plus a tensioner. First, carefully clean the mechanism of dirt.

Rear derailleur setting process:

  • Checking cock and bolts.
  • Gear Restriction Adjustment, Cable Tightening.
  • Selection of the optimal chain tension.

A bent cock must be replaced. Simultaneously checks if the switch is loose.

Setting L and H limits:

  • Loosen both screws.
  • Throw the chain to the highest (smallest) chain (front to maximum).
  • Tighten bolt “H” until the derailleur idler is aligned with the sprocket in one plane.
  • Engage first gear (largest, and in front. first).
  • Turn the “L” screw to match the roller with the star.
  • Check switching accuracy.
  • Tighten or loosen the drive cable. We determine according to the same principle as with the front derailer.

Scheme for setting the extreme limit for L

Are gears not shifting quickly, limits are correct, and is the cable tight? Then it’s time to work with the chain tensioner. Find the special screws “A” and “B”. The first adjusts the position of the frame relative to the smallest, and the second. to the largest asterisk.

Adjustment is carried out according to the principle: change to the appropriate gear and tighten the screw. By turning the knob “A”, the tension force is increased by raising the frame to the higher sprocket. Conversely, screw “B” lowers it to the large sprocket. An incorrectly set tension does not make it possible to easily select the desired gear: a too loose chain can hang in the space between the sprockets, and an overtightened one can break due to excessive tension.

Periodically adjusting the derailleurs on a speed bike is normal. It will be invaluable when the chain and cassettes are in good condition. Setting up the gearshift system in combination with the rules of use when cycling will significantly increase the resource of all components of the transmission, as well as use its resources to the maximum.

Operation: how to adjust the reverse speeds on any type of bike

Before starting the process of adjusting the rear derailleur, you should familiarize yourself with its configuration. The standard module has five adjustment elements:

  • nut fixing the cable;
  • cable tension drum;
  • limit screw for the lowest gear (Low);
  • limit screw for the highest gear (High);
  • chain tension screw.

The method “how to adjust the reverse speeds on a bicycle” consists of three steps.

Configuring Limiters

Performed, as a rule, once. when installing a new derailleur and in order to prevent the chain from jumping off at the outer stars of the cassette. The sequence of actions is as follows:

  • the largest star is installed in front, the smallest one at the back;
  • the cable is released;
  • adjustment is performed by turning the screw H clockwise or counterclockwise (the dereiler frame moves to the spokes or to the frame feather, respectively) until the rollers with the smallest cassette star lie in the same plane;
  • then the cable is pulled and fastened, the switch is transferred to the largest star in the back and the smallest in the front;
  • by rotating the screw L, they achieve a similar position of the rollers in relation to the sprocket.

Adjusting the transfer quality

It is a key operation in the process of how to adjust the rear speed range of both road and mountain bikes. The process technology is simple: the smallest sprockets are installed in the front and rear; by rotating the adjusting drum, they ensure that the transfer is triggered clearly and instantly:

  • if the tension of the cable is insufficient, the switch poorly (slowly) switches to lower gears (large sprockets). it is necessary to turn the drum counterclockwise;
  • with excessive tension. the derailer stays in the same position (it does not go well into the upper gears. small stars), emitting a clatter (metal clanks) during operation (the drum must be turned clockwise).

Tensioner adjustment (guide roller height or chain angle)

In the technology “how to adjust the rear speeds on a bicycle“, this adjustment is aimed at, all other things being equal, to improve the quality of gear shifting.

The smallest sprocket is installed in the front, the largest in the back. By turning the screw, the idler roller approaches or moves away from the sprocket. The task is to achieve a gap between the roller and the sprocket of 3-5 mm.

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, bike setup can be started 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 stars. If during the adjustment process any extraneous sounds occur, you can get rid of them using the latch;
  • check the tension of the cable and, if the tension is not correct, 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.
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Correct chain position

The main rule for the position of the chain is its parallel arrangement relative to the plane of the sprockets, without kinks and distortions. If, sitting on a bicycle, look from above at the chain in the transmission, you can see its location:

  • The front and back of the chain lie parallel or under a slightly noticeable bend. these are the correct speeds;
  • There is a sharp bend between the front and rear of the chain. this is a skew. It will be visible when setting the first speed at the front (left shifter) and the highest at the rear (right shifter). This ratio is not correct and may damage the bike chain and mechanisms.

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 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.

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 with the other hand hold the frame. Slowly pull out the problematic transmission element (rooster) until relatively level.

Please 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 in 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 using the hands. But if the rear derailleur is deformed too much, then it is advisable to replace it.

Please note: after performing specific manipulations to repair bent / deformed parts, do 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 road accident.!

The purpose of the speed switch

Changing gears while driving is essential for maximum comfort and energy savings. You can choose the mode that suits your specific conditions. It is necessary to change gears if:

  • You change the track. For example, start off-road driving from flat asphalt;
  • You are changing the way you ride. If you are accelerating or accelerating, want to slow down smoothly or not spend a lot of energy climbing uphill, you cannot do without a speed switch on your bike;
  • You maintain a certain pace of the ride. The speed selector helps keep the rider at a certain speed. This is especially true during long-distance trips, as well as competitions;
  • You ride in difficult weather conditions. Strong headwind or tailwind, slippery track. all this affects the quality of the bike ride;
  • You’re using your bike as an effective cardio workout. To improve your physical fitness, you can use your usual bike as an exercise machine. You will expend more energy during your workout using the speed switch.

The speed switch, or derailer by another name, appeared in 1950 thanks to the Italian cyclist Tullio Campagnolo. The mechanism is a system of stars (front “system” and rear “cassette”), to which the chain is directed by shifting gears. During shifting, the chain moves sideways to the desired sprocket. The front system usually has no more than three stars. The cassette is up to 10 stars.

Shifting between gears occurs when you select the desired speed mode using the handle on the steering wheel. It’s called a shifter. There are usually two handlebars on the steering wheel, a front and a rear. The shifters are connected to cables, which change the type of cycling.

Why randomly switch gears

The reason for this may be the condition of the cable that runs under the bike frame carriage. When pedaling, the frame flexes in different directions under load. These deformations affect the tension or loosening of the cable with each subsequent pedal rotation.

With a large friction of the cable, one-sided jerks occur in a certain area. the tension of the cable, in which it does not return back during the opposite movement of the pedals. The best way to solve this problem is to lubricate the cable.

If, nevertheless, the above methods cannot help, then more drastic measures must be taken. For example, to make the movements of the cable predictable and correct, you can install additional rollers along which the cable will pass. This will help fix the problem.

Another look at this topic:

Seized bike chain links. It happens that while cycling, you regularly feel that the pedals are jumping or jerking every three or four turns. This suggests that there may be links in your bike chain that are tight and not bend well. This happens most often.

Bicycle chain skipping. Chain overshoot causes one of two unrelated phenomena. direct overshoot and spontaneous gear changes. The main thing to solve the problem is to determine what exactly comes from the two cases.

Mountain bike step. On mountain bikes, 24 gears are common. Chainring system with 42, 32 and 22 teeth and cassette with 11, 13, 15, 17, 20, 23, 26 and 30 teeth. Such a system with a cassette as an example and consider.

Gear shifting on a bike. 1. Option. Matching transmission sprockets when driving through mud, sand, loose soil, tall grass, rocks and when climbing a mountain. using the smallest chainring with the largest rear sprockets.

Cycling gear selection. Experienced cyclists often give advice on how to choose gears on a bike, depending on the riding conditions. For example, in a city it is recommended to choose a ratio of 1.6. Where does this number come from.

Drive sprocket switch adjustment

Over time, the chain flip worsens, the gears shift poorly, or even fail altogether. Since there are few stars in front, it is simply impossible not to notice the malfunction.

If the problem of a tight jump of the chain or its absence is caused only by an upset switch, then it is quite possible to save the situation on your own. Why is the switch not working correctly? The main reasons include:

  • non-coincidence of the gear with the planes of the stars;
  • poor tension in the drive cable;
  • the switch is loose.

As practice shows, these problems do not come one at a time, so you will have to adjust everything at once, and not just, say, the tension of the cable.

At the first stage, we wipe the body of the device, as well as the sprockets and the chain from adhering dirt and dust. We check the mounting bolts of the switching device housing, tighten it all the way if necessary

Important: it doesn’t make sense to tweak a loose switch!

Next, we find the screws “L” and “H”. adjusters of the position of the shifting gear. We loosen them, but do not unscrew them completely. Our task is to tighten them in such a way as to achieve coincidence of the gear with the planes of the outer stars.

L adjustment:

  • Switch the chain to position “1” at the front and “maximum” at the rear. If the system works very badly, the chain is installed manually.
  • By tightening the adjusting screw, achieve full alignment of the shifter gear with the plane of the first chainring. Deviation up to 1.5 mm is not critical.
  • Loosen the cable fastening nut, tighten it slightly.

Front derailleur H setting:

  • Set the chains in reverse position: “maximum” in front, “1”. behind. For system 38 this will be “3” and “1”, respectively.
  • Tighten screw H until the shifter matches the large sprocket.
  • Tighten the cable in this position.

From top to bottom: cable fixing bolt, L and H adjusters

When the limits are set, the chain swap should recover.

If the screws are set clearly, and the system does not work well, try to tighten or loosen the cable. How to determine? The gears go tight from the highest to the lowest. tighten, on the contrary. release the tension

There are some simple guidelines:

You can only change gears while the bike is in motion. In a stationary state, the shifter will also work, but the position chain will not change. Then, after the start of the movement, there will be a sharp jump from one star to another. This could cause the chain to jump off or become stuck between the sprockets.

Switching speeds is possible only when there is no pedal load. When climbing up, overcoming bumps or quickly screwing in, the load is maximum, and it is too late to fold the gears. This should always be taken care of in advance. For example, if you see a rise in front of you, then you need to switch at least a few meters before it. Otherwise, the mechanism may simply not work. In addition, there is a possibility of damage to the stars and breaking the chain. However, you can switch on the mountain. High quality equipment allows you to do this. But both with an expensive quality body kit and with the simplest switch there is a way to switch on the mountain. It is enough to accelerate the bike until inertia appears, then release the pressure on the pedals and, while rotating the pedals while the bike is inertia (or is at the balance point), change the gear. In this case, switching will not cause difficulties.

For the same reason, on inexpensive switches, you cannot simultaneously throw off or raise the gear by several values ​​at once. This needs to be done in stages: click. chain movement. several turns of the pedals. click- and so on. In case you are trying to throw over several stars, you will need to make sure that the chain is in the right position and only then make efforts.

There is such a thing as prohibited transmissions. When changing speeds while riding, make sure that there are no strong distortions of the chain. If the front of the chain is on the outermost sprocket, and the back is on the outermost sprocket (or vice versa), then, in addition to the likelihood of the chain slipping, there is a risk of its premature wear and damage to the mechanism. The more parallel it is in relation to the frame, the better. Optimal combinations of front and rear chain positions can be indicated as follows:

  • 3. large front. 4-8 back
  • 2. middle front. 3-6 back
  • 1. small front. 1-3 back.

Setting the chain hop limits and quality on the front derailleur

The next part of the transmission tuning is the front derailleur adjustment. The work includes debugging the accuracy of the chain travel limits using the H and L-screws, as well as the speed of the chain transition when gears are engaged.

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If it was correct to start from the rear with the high gear limiter, then here first the position of the roller is adjusted from the side of the lower gears:

  • The chain is transferred to the “lower front, higher back” position.
  • The cable is detached from the derailleur.
  • By turning screw L, the minimum possible distance of the chain from the inner frame is achieved.
  • The cable is put on and pulled by the drum adjuster.

Setting the correct limiting with screw H differs from the L-setting by the reverse position of the chain on the stars (smallest in front and largest at the back) and the approach of the chain to the outer frame of the derailleur.

How to adjust the accuracy and response speed of the front derailer:

  • In front we include the highest gear.
  • We consistently transfer to lower gears.
  • We tighten the cable if the chain is tight and slow.
  • We reach the lowest star and switch in reverse order.
  • We release the tension by turning the drum if the chain does not go to higher gears.

Tightening and loosening the cable with the drum adjuster

When tuning, it is necessary to achieve fast operation of the switch on all stars. Initial position of the chain at the rear: when checking for insufficient tension, the smallest chain, and for excessive tension, the largest sprocket.

It is on this simple principle that the front and rear parts of the transmission are debugged. Quality parts such as shimano rarely need adjustments and last a long time afterwards. In any case, it is quite possible to fix the imbalance problem with your own hands without going to the workshop.

Setting switches at home

Now let’s figure out how to set up the 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.

Rear derailleur setting:

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.
  • Tighten and fix the cable with the locking bolt.
  • Large gears should be turned on 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. To do this, the chain is installed on a large chainring at the back and a small one 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 the front and minimum. in the back. The roller should not rub against the cassette, just be located next to it.

Rear switch: 1. retainer, 2. cable adjuster, 3. tension bolt, L, H. screws

How to properly set up the switch in front:

  • Check device attachment.
  • Release cable tension at minimum speed.
  • 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.

“Shimanovsky” switch front

Adjust the speeds on both bike derailleurs until the chain is free to swing from one chainring to the other. If it is difficult to go, 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.

How to properly switch gears on a bike

In fact, cycling gear shifting is a trained art that depends on the rider’s physical condition, long-term training, and the design of a particular bike. Consider various factors in this article.


First of all, the correct shifting depends on the bike device. Previously, there were no shifting problems, as there were no speeds on most bicycles. All obstacles were overcome with the power of the rider or on foot. To understand how to change speeds, you should study the design of the shifting system itself.

Speeds and stars

The first derailleur bikes were models such as the Tourist, the massive heirs to sport bikes from the 70s. They did not have a front derailleur, but the cassette allowed you to choose one of four speeds.

Over time, the number of available speeds grew, and now bicycles with 18, 21, 24 and 27 values ​​are becoming the de facto standard. Usually this is a combination of 3 stars on the front derailleur and 6-9 on the rear, in a combination of 3 and 7 stars, 21 speeds are obtained. Some high-speed models have already acquired 10 stars on the rear derailleur, but so far this is a rarity.

Actually, “speed” is a star, and the total gear ratio is obtained from a combination of the current stars selected by the front and rear derailleurs.

Switching mechanics

Correct switching does not require much knowledge. Almost all bicycle models are equipped with a cable that brings the force from the shifter. the control of the switch. to the switch itself.

When the cable is pulled, the derailleur frame moves and transfers the chain to the chainring of a larger diameter, when released, it falls or moves to smaller stars. These actions are performed without auxiliary mechanisms, using the flexibility of the chain and friction with the switch frame, i.e. the chain and all elements are under stress; transmissions are not provided for in normal operation. Because of this, there is a recommendation not to switch gears under load or without movement.

Correct combinations

Despite the fact that nominally there can be 27-30 speeds in the transmission, i.e. combinations of sprockets, not all of them are recommended to be used, as they are dangerous for the mechanisms of the bicycle. Why is this happening? Not all stars are in the same plane, which means that when they are combined, the chain experiences a load at a small angle, which causes additional friction and, as a result, bending of the links, then stretching of the chain and subsequent damage to both the chain and the stars.

The basic rule is the approximate parallelism of the chain of the plane of the stars, without distortions. In numbers, for the current classic 24-speed mountain bike, the value on the rear derailleur should be between double and triple the value on the front, with a few exceptions at the edges, such as combinations 1-1. Those. out of 24 options, it is recommended to use the following gearshift scheme:

  • On 3. the largest chainring. reverse speeds 6, 7, 8.
  • 2 stars. rear 6,5,4.
  • On 1 star. rear 1,2,3.

Of course, these rules may be violated depending on the conditions, but they have already become a generally accepted standard.


Consider the physical fitness of a cyclist.

Cadence is the cadence at which the cyclist rides. Ideal for long journeys is a stable cadence, i.e. if the pedals rotate evenly throughout the path, and the uneven terrain, the headwind is compensated for by combinations of speeds.

But if endurance is important only over long distances, then at any time you should keep in mind the health of joints and muscles. Many novice riders overload their knees, delivering maximum effort with each crank revolution. Not only does this tire and damage the muscles, but with prolonged repetition it will affect the health of the knee joint. Professionals use stable and frequent movements without serious strain on the legs. This mode is the safest for both cyclists and bicycles.

Training and preparation

To prepare for driving at the start of the day or season, it is recommended to use downshifts. The first 10-20 minutes of a long ride, the legs need a “warm-up”, for which the ideal cadence of 60 rpm (movements per minute) and the minimum load. i.e. speeds with 1 and 2 chainrings.

A similar recommendation in a more global sense. the first hundred kilometers of the season, especially on a mountain bike, should be overcome in low gears so that the legs “remember” the skills and are not damaged by too serious changes in the daily load.

Other principles

When it comes to gear shifting, these are almost always standard derailleurs, but there are other models, for example, planetary hub and “hello” from the automotive world. automatic transmissions.

Planetary hub

Urban bikes and designer choppers usually do not have a front derailleur, but there is a rare thing in the bicycle world. a planetary hub, when the gear and shift system is packaged in a single closed mechanism that is installed inside the wheel. This principle is used on cars, but does not find much recognition among cyclists, absorbs too much energy (up to 10%).

On the other hand, the planetary hub does not have any mechanical factors limiting shifting. you can change gears both under load and at the “inappropriate” moment. The mechanism will work properly.

Automatic switching

Of course, manufacturers do not live quietly in a stable market, and they are looking for new uses for their engineers’ talent. So, for a long time, the top firms Shimano and SRAM have been producing small batches of automatic gearboxes, where, using electronic sensors (Shimano Nexis, Auto, etc.), they switch speeds in the planetary hub.

There are also rare models with automatic gear shifting on a mechanical basis. the rotational speed is determined by the centrifugal force of the load, which is why the mechanism changes the gear ratio.

you can make a small list of theses, according to which, even before gaining the proper experience, you can switch quite accurately and correctly using the following speed switching rules:

  • switch only while driving and without serious load;
  • control the bike using the transmission, not muscular effort;
  • switch in advance, and not at the last moment, or when “it became too difficult”;
  • shift gears one by one and in turn in front and behind;
  • do not deviate from the normal combinations of stars;
  • keep the bike clean and avoid excessive wear of the parts.