How To Shift The Speed ​​On A 6 Speed ​​Bicycle

How to switch gears on a 6-speed bike

They allow you to go faster or spend less effort on movement than a single-speed transmission. over, in some situations, it will be completely impossible to ride a bike with one single gear (for example, on a very steep climb).

However, today almost no one doubts the expediency of a multi-speed transmission on a bicycle. The only question remains is the correct gear shifting. How to change gears correctly? Let’s formulate some simple but important rules:

Only change gears while the bike is in motion (this 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 shift, and even break the gearshift mechanisms or break the chain (this largely depends on the quality level of the bicycle components). The front derailleur is especially hard.

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 it in stages: after waiting for one gear to work well, go to the next (this moment also depends on the bike’s equipment class and the cyclist’s skill).

Avoid large chain distortions.

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

A typical modern bicycle 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 38 budget 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.

The conditions that we described above are just a guideline for understanding when and what kind of transmissions it is rational to use. But the determining factors are always the specific riding conditions and the level of training of the cyclist. Beginners should always remember about the correct cadence, which in general, with a uniform movement, should not fall below 60 rpm. And remember that you need to look not at the switches, but at the road.

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 are 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.

The gears were invented for convenience and more comfortable riding on the bike, thanks to them, you can choose the optimal force applied to the pedals so that the cyclist can easily overcome obstacles in his path (ups, downs, ground) There are several gearshift mechanisms on a mountain bike. types:

For rotary switches (grip-shift, revoshift). operate in a manner similar to the throttle stick on motorcycles. Gear shifting is carried out by rotating a special shift knob on the shifter. on myself or from myself.

Lever mechanisms (rapid-fire, trigger, dual-control) include shifters that switch speeds using one or two levers. There are single-lever and two-lever. In double wishbones. one lever is responsible for raising the gear, and the other, on the contrary, lowering.

Basically on modern high-speed bicycles, the right derailleur is responsible for shifting the reverse gears and the left. front.

Speed ​​bikes usually have 3 stars in the front and 6-10 (/. 2) in the back. If you look at the numbers on the shifters, the front stars from 1-3 go up (1 is the smallest star), and the back ones, vice versa. downward (1st largest).

Here are some more tips on how to shift gears correctly:

If on the left shifter (chainrings) the switch is in the “3” (the biggest star). mainly used for acceleration on a flat road, with this sprocket it is rational to use small rear sprockets on the rear wheel.

Small chainring position “1”, rational use with large sprockets on the rear wheel. You will need this for significant climbs, off-road driving, sand, etc.

When changing gears, ideally, you need to feel the bike yourself, control the load on the pedals, in general, everything will come by itself over time.

Additional rules for switching speeds on a bicycle:

Do not increase gear when overcoming hills, it is necessary to switch to lower gears in front of the mountain in advance.

Shift so that the chain is not too skewed. For example, on the chainring, the chain is on the largest chainring (3) and on the back also on the largest chainring (1). will be skewed.

Switching speeds must be carried out while the bike is moving.

Avoid abrupt switching, immediately through several stars, switching should be alternate. Before switching, it is necessary to wait for the clarity of the previous work, then switch to the next.

Do not start at the fastest gears to avoid breaking the chain or breaking the derailleur. Try to keep the shifting balanced if the pedal load is heavy. need to switch to a lighter gear.

There is no special science in shifting gears on a bicycle; at first glance, everything is simple. Two levers on the left, two on the right, or even just a grip-shift. what could be easier. But nevertheless, observing novice cyclists, one may notice not entirely correct and coordinated actions. But consistency when cycling is the most important thing! This is the only way you will be able to move as efficiently as possible on a bicycle, make maneuvers, overcome obstacles.

As an example, we will consider the most ordinary mountain bike (MTB) with three stars in front and 8-9 in the back.

Let’s immediately highlight the most common errors and problems:

Too heavy gear is a common mistake. Many newbies even say that 44 (or even 48) stars in front are not enough for them. It’s a delusion. Constantly spinning a heavy gear you are simply killing your knees. Try to keep track of your cadence (cadence) until it becomes automatic. You can even count the number of revolutions per minute for fun. If about 90-100, then this is very good. And so, gear 44-11 is enough to accelerate on the plain to

60 km / h. So try to convince those who say that 44 stars are not enough for the city. By doing this, you may help to keep people healthy.

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Curve transmission. it is not uncommon to observe how people, without looking at the chain, include gears like 3-1.2. In this case, the chain goes to bend, its wear increases, at the wrong moment it can simply fly off. The optimum chain position is when it passes from the chainring to the rear with minimal skew. So be sure not only to make it easy to twist, but also the position of the chain.

Switching under load. so even fragile girls manage to break chains, what can we say about healthy men. And what a crunch at the same time. When shifting, reduce the load on the pedals to a minimum, just rotate them with ease until the chain jumps to the desired sprocket. Therefore, it always makes sense to assess the situation, possible obstacles and change gear in advance.

Chain biting is when the chain is pulled up by the chainrings when shifting. An unpleasant situation in which the nib near the carriage assembly may be severely scratched. This could be due to cogging on the star, dirt, improper assembly and setup. This is another plus to why you need to watch the shift, and not just mindlessly clicking the shifters. All movements should be smooth, even airy.

Chain skipping. for example, you put a new chain on an already similar cassette (by the way, the chain resource

1500 km). As a result, when the load on the pedals increases, the chain slips and the pedals fail unpleasantly. This must be taken into account and travel more carefully until everything gets used to it. Even for a fairly strong cassette, the rubbing period is about 200 kilometers.

How to switch speeds on a bike: rules and basic mistakes

All truly modern bicycles are equipped with a large number of speeds, which greatly simplify the riding process. Different gear ratios allow you to change the speed depending on the terrain, road congestion or the banal fatigue of the rider. But for all this to be of practical use, you need to understand how to switch speeds on a bike, and do it right.

Road bicycles. Road bikes

City bicycles also include full-fledged road bicycles. light, mobile, with wheels 700×19-35s and a very high gear ratio, they are designed to ride on prepared surfaces and are capable of reaching a fairly high speed.

On a true road bike, shifting gears like trigger bikes will not work. The fact is that sports road bikes are equipped not with ordinary shifters, but with monoblocks, often referred to as pistols. Here, switching takes place with the help of the brake lever, which, in addition to direct pressure, can also deflect to the inner side of the steering wheel. Thus, the transmission on the cassette is lowered. It can be raised with a separate lever under the thumb.

Mountain bikes

The really versatile bikes are cross country bikes. It is convenient to ride them around the city, and they are not afraid of paving stones, and you can dash off outside the city for pleasure. On KK bicycles, in contrast to city bicycles, slightly more gears are installed. On a budget cross-country bike there are at least 21 gears (3 in front and 7 in the rear), and on advanced models around 30. In everyday life, only the cassette characteristic is often used to denote the number of speeds. So, a bike with a 3/10 set can be called a 10 speed bike.

Hardtails have a fairly large number of different gear ratios for comfortable riding both in the city and on rough terrain, and due to the absence of shock absorbers at the back, almost all the pedaling energy is directed to acceleration.

On KK, bikes are equipped with either trigger shifters or grips (on very cheap models, usually Chinese or children’s). The former are much more comfortable and hardy, while covering a wider range of gears (7-12), in contrast to grips (8 maximum).

Professional bikes

The flagships of the cycling industry have a wide variety of transmissions. On mountain models, the set most often has one star in the front and 11-12 in the back, some elements are made of carbon and titanium. Narrow bikes for street, BMX, trial and the like do not have speeds at all, and a driver for 8-10 teeth is usually installed at the back.

In addition to standard manual transmissions, there are also electronic gear shifters. They are controlled automatically or by the same shifter, but they are not yet very popular due to the huge price and complex maintenance. The gearshift cable is not used on bicycles with this transmission.

It is worth noting that each type of bike has its own gear ratios, which help to solve exactly its tasks. So it’s not a good idea to mount road cranks on a dirt bike.

The types of bicycles and their shifting systems are sorted out. And how gear changes on a bicycle from a technical point of view?

How the switching system works

There are two types of cables on a bicycle: for shifting and for braking. The speed and precision of the caliper work directly depends on the quality of the first. And the brake cable may not exist at all, since in older models of bikes it is reasonably replaced by hydraulic lines.

Among all manufacturers, Shimano derailleurs are among the most famous and accomplished parts. Only Sram can compete with them. The Japanese pay enough attention to both the entry-level groups and the professional equipment kits that go well with cool racing frames.

Planetary systems

In addition to the familiar external switches (in the form of a dangling foot on the rear wheel), there is another fairly common type of gearbox. planetary hubs. The mechanism of operation is such that a gear system with a set of different gear ratios is located in the rear hub housing. This design is very well protected from dirt and moisture, which allows it to work for many years even without special maintenance.

The Shimano Inter 3 and most Sram hubs use a clickbox as a derailleur. If you look closely, on the right side of the frame, on the rear wheel axle, you can see a cable line or a plastic box on the nut. this is the clickbox. It controls the gears inside, and itself is controlled by the shifter. The speed selector on the handlebars on a bike with a planetary is visually no different from a grip shift, but at the same time it has a set of other indexes and therefore is not compatible with conventional transmissions.

On some bushings, for example, the Sasch S7 and, in general, all versions of those bushings, to switch it was necessary to act like this:

  • During acceleration / deceleration, stop pedaling.
  • Switch the speed on the shifter.
  • Start pedaling in a new gear.

If you do not stop spinning, the gear will not change. Shimano Inter and Sturmey Archer don’t have this feature.


Breakdowns in the transmission are many times more common than with other components, and sometimes a number of problems can arise during shifting:

  • The chain tries to grab, but jumps back.
  • The rear derailleur on the bike does not respond in any way to the position of the shifter.
  • Shift index does not match gear.
  • The chain sags and falls.
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All of the above symptoms may indicate a malfunctioning switch or shifter, but in some cases this can be triggered by a simple break in the cable. Damage or reset of the derailer often leads to incorrect switching. You can correct this in a matter of seconds yourself, even without tools, simply by unscrewing the cable setting on the shifter or near the switch by a few turns. In addition, derailleurs often take on all side impacts and dutifully tolerate your carelessness in speed selection.

What not to do

For high-quality shifting on transmissions of low and medium price range, it is recommended not to do the following:

  • Switch speeds under load.
  • Switch multiple speeds at a time.
  • Start in not fully shifted gear.
  • If the chain is pulled under the carriage or bushing, do not try to pull it out by pushing the pedals harder.

Now let’s finally figure out how to switch speeds on a bike in different situations. In addition, we will study some of the features and secrets of switch control, as well as tricks for caring for the transmission.

Switching speeds on the bike correctly

If you constantly follow at least some of the rules for shifting speeds on a bicycle, you can significantly extend the life of the transmission. Many, without hesitation, pull the levers on the shifters. Doing this is strongly discouraged, since every component of the drive suffers greatly.

Here are some tips for using all the speeds on your bike correctly and safely:

  • Shift your bike speeds off load. To do this, you just have to accelerate harder, regardless of the selected gear and at the peak moment click the shifter.
  • If you stopped, at the beginning of the movement you found that the gear is set too high and it is impossible to start from it, it is better to switch it “on the fly” by lifting the rear wheel and turning the pedals to slow down.
  • Avoid tightly skewing the chain, say 3/2 or 1/9 sets. This will grind off the stars severely and may cause the derailleur to bend.
  • Don’t jerk the levers with all your might, unless you have expensive triggers. On old shifters, although there is automation, it still has no limiters, so there may be problems with the rear derailleur on the bike.
  • Avoid Blocking the Transmission with Branches and Grass.
  • If the chain suddenly starts to slip even on level road sections. contact a workshop to measure the degree of its wear.

In general, if the speed and terrain allow, try to think one step ahead, when to stick the speed higher, and after how much to slow down.

What speeds to use?

Many novice riders are also interested in which bike speeds should be used more often and which should not be touched at all. Unfortunately, this question cannot be answered with certainty, since all transmissions and people are different. Someone likes fast and aggressive driving, someone more measured, away from mud and extreme, and accordingly, the sets of speeds used will be completely different.

One thing is for sure: in 80% of cases, ordinary users practically do not use the left shifter, but simply put the second gear and eat until the star is erased. Indeed, set 2 / (where is any cassette gear) is very popular as it contains most of the most commonly used gear ratios, but it is worth using other speeds to extend the life of the transmission.

Improving switching quality

Nothing will provide crisp, smooth gear shifting on your bike like taking proper care of your drivetrain. By periodically analyzing the condition of the components, most problems can be avoided, thereby prolonging the life of the components.

The easiest service option is to visit a bicycle workshop. Carry out at least preventive work or, if you have the desire and funds, seasonal maintenance. However, you can take care of spare parts at home, without having experience.

Basically, all transmission maintenance is about changing the cable on time, lubricating and cleaning the chain and updating the settings. There are many different cleaning agents and special washes for bicycle chains. So you can wash and lubricate the components without even getting your hands dirty. You can clean the rear derailleur on a bike without removing it with a compressor and a brake cleaner, and unless a very lazy person can find a guide to replacing the cable.

Of course, in this way it is unlikely that it will be possible to achieve perfect and accurate switching to Turney or cheap MicroShift, but here it is easy to improve the work somewhat.

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 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 climbs, you need to have sufficient experience and good “feel” a bike;
  • Do not switch multiple speeds at once. Go to the next speed gradually, after the chain has completely changed to the previous one;
  • Do not skew the bike chain too much.

How to switch speeds 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, and the rear stars, on the contrary, 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 life.

Which gear to choose

There is such a thing as “cadence”. the cadence of the bike. 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 it has.

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 uphill leg tension will be great, 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 your legs.

Do 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.

How many bike speeds do you need and how to switch them?

A common but diminishing misconception that the more speeds the better.

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Need to ask the question which is better? Or who is better?

Today you can find solutions from 1 to 33 speeds. In various combinations: 1×7, 1×11, 2×9, 3×10 (the first number is the number of stars in front, the second number is the number of stars on the back of the cassette). Multiplying these numbers, you get the maximum number of speeds that you can “turn on” while riding.

What does “change gear” mean??

Gear shifting is a chain transfer from one chainring to another. This changes the gear ratio and force. “on pedals”.

Why does a bike need speed?

Primarily for comfort. Gears allow you to save power and choose a comfortable pedaling mode based on:

  • Road relief (plane, ascent or descent, acceleration or smooth braking);
  • The quality of the road surface (highway, country road, mountains);
  • Required speed;
  • Weather (tail or head wind);
  • The physical condition of the rider.

With the right gears:

  • Faster and more economical (in terms of physical strength) to move;
  • Get a longer service life of the bike components;
  • Reduce stress on knee joints.

And also go faster downhill, climb uphills with less effort, or drive at a comfortable constant speed.

How many high-speed transmissions are there?

Rear on the cassette, if the bike is multi-speed, usually from 5-11 stars. So transmissions are 7/8/9/10/11 high-speed.

If the bike has 6-7 speeds, then it has one front sprocket (gear) and a rear cassette of 6-7 stars. If 18 or more, there are 3 chainrings and a rear cassette of 6-7 stars. Sometimes the rear cassettes are 9-10-11 stars, which allows you to bring the number of speeds to 27-30.

The front usually has 1 to 3 stars.

Why did everyone want to make faster speeds before?

It was believed, not unreasonably, that the greater the gear ratio on a particular bike, the more accurate the gear can be selected for a specific terrain. It really is.

However, today they still came to the conclusion that it is possible to do with fewer sprockets on a bicycle. Thus, greatly saving weight, since the extra stars in the front and front derailleur are removed.

Why does the chain not fall off one star in front?

Development of recent years. a special Narrow Wide chainring with variable and higher tooth cross sections, as well as a special rear derailleur that dampens all unevenness. All of this together eliminates the need for a chain damper on the chainring.

How much does it all cost?

The trend is that the higher the class is the transmission. from 7 to 11 speed, the more expensive it is.

  • 7-9 speed bikes are put on the most affordable bicycles;
  • 10 speed bikes can be found on middle class bicycles;
  • 11 and even 12 speed versions are found on professional models.

The more stars in the cassette, the closer they become to each other and the chain will be thinner. From this, the price of such a product will be higher, and the durability is lower.

In the photo 10 and 11 high-speed cassette.

What do the numbers mean in the description of the transmission 48x36x26T?

They represent the number of teeth on the sprockets. If you are a beginner, then the information is almost useless for you as there is nothing to compare with. But if you are already an experienced bike enthusiast, you can choose a new transmission or bike according to your preferences based on the experience of previous bicycles.

How to properly switch gears on a bike

shift, speed, bicycle

If you want your chain and sprockets to last as long as possible, it is recommended that you switch at minimum load. Let us explain. shifting in the middle of a climb puts a very heavy load on the transmission, which can lead to situations up to a switch break or an open circuit.

Also try to shift early and avoid excessive chain skew.

Gear shift breakdowns.

After riding for a while, whether you lubricate the chain or not, attention to the drivetrain may be required. The chain may stop switching perfectly as at the very beginning. Problems can be as follows:

  • The gearshift cable is stretched. it is required to pull up with a special lever on the shifter or switch;
  • Too much dirt has accumulated in the cable jacket. better to replace together with a cable;
  • Rear derailleur not configured. tuning required, better in a workshop.

What types of steering wheel switches are?

They switch gears with special handles on the steering wheel. shifters. They are:

  • rotary. gears are switched by turning the knob;
  • (revoshift and grip-shift, grip-shift). when you rotate the handle towards yourself or away from yourself, the speed changes.

    lever. gears are switched by special levers.

Dedicated finger levers. One switches to high speed, the other to slower. These shifters are more convenient for many cyclists, less whimsical to maintain, but often more expensive.

Typically, the left shifter is responsible for shifting the three front gears, and the right shifting gears in the rear cassette. Thus, the left derailleur and chainrings are used to adapt to the main terrain. And the right one for private and short-term changes during the trip.

What “cadence”?

professionally speaking, changing speeds changes the cadence. Cadence is the cadence and the required pressure applied to the cadence by changing the gear ratio between the wheel and pedals. Cadence is important for strength and health benefits to evenly distribute the energy expended in pedaling.

The optimal cadence is considered to be in the region of 60-100 rotations per minute.

If you are riding uphill or on uneven terrain, you need to make a lot of effort to pedal, which, for a long time, threatens arthritis. Turning on low speed will make it easier for yourself to pedal, reduce stress on muscles and joints, but the bike will go slower.

On a flat track or when descending a mountain, you must turn on a high speed, then more effort is required to pedal (compared to models without speeds or other gear), but the two-wheeled horse will become faster, more stable, it will move smoother and more stable.

So how many speeds do you need to be happy?

Let’s answer this question as follows. As in the article, how much does a good bike cost, we note that it all depends on the use of the bike and the place of riding.

If you only ride on paths in a park or sidewalk, you really don’t need bike speeds. But fans of cross-country driving, long journeys with alternating ascents, descents and flat areas, real athletes will appreciate this parameter.

For city and folding bicycles, there is no need for more than 7-9 speeds. For them the thesis “the bigger, the better” does not work.

For mid to high end mountain bikes, 1×10, 1×11 (One star front and 10-11 rear) solutions are already available today. Wherein “Total” 10-11 speeds are enough even for mountainous terrain. On more affordable bikes, options like 2×10, 3×9 are more common.

For amateur riding, 18 speeds are enough. Driving in a city, park or woodland is less demanding on gear ratios.