How to understand bike speeds

Real number of speeds

The manufacturer’s declared large number of speeds, which no mountain bike can do without, is, rather, an advertising move that does not quite correspond to reality. In reality, a modern bicycle has a maximum of three gears, which are determined by three front sprockets. But the rear sprockets are only auxiliary ones, helping to smoothly switch between the main forward gears, which provides greater comfort. So, if you are offered a bicycle with 21 gears, then you need to realize that it is equipped with three front sprockets and seven rear sprockets. The declared number 21 is obtained by multiplying 3 x 7, which does not quite accurately reflect the total number of possible gears, but is generally accepted among bicycle manufacturers.

Anyone who has decided to be puzzled by the purchase of a good modern bicycle may have a reasonable question: why do you need gearshifts at all? What, besides the price, they can affect and whether they are needed by an ordinary user?

If you answer this question in technical terms, then changing the gear allows you to change the cadence. Simply put, this term refers to the cadence and pressure applied to them. Changing the cadence is achieved by varying the gear ratio between the pedals and the wheel. This allows the rider to evenly distribute the pedaling energy.

In practice, it looks like this: when climbing a hill, you make the same efforts as on flat terrain, only you have to pedal a little faster. Or, conversely, to achieve maximum speed downhill, as well as on a flat, you will have to expend more effort without changing the pedaling speed.

Transmission functionality

Let’s see what the three front sprockets are responsible for:

  • The smallest of them is responsible for climbing the mountain. We considered this case at the very beginning;
  • The middle asterisk (main) is responsible for the normal walking or tourist mode;
  • Large sprocket for maximum speeds.

Different bike models use two types of derailleurs for gear shifting:

  • Planetary hubs or so-called internal switching mechanisms;
  • External shift mechanisms (front and / or rear).

Understanding the essence and purpose of a different number of speeds, you can start choosing a bike with the optimal number of gears for you. Try to take into account all the nuances: your riding style, preferred speeds and the type of surface (or lack thereof) on which you will ride. If you are still confused by something, try a ride using different switching modes, focusing on the comfort of the trip.

Cycling without pedals

The next exercise will be akin to riding a scooter, that is, without the use of pedals, but with the help of kicks. It is best to start this movement with a slight incline. We move smoothly, do not pedal yet. It should be remembered that the bike starts to fall when it stops moving; the stability of the bike depends on the speed, the higher the speed, the higher the stability. As soon as the first panic moods pass, it is necessary to move on to trying to control the bike with the help of the steering wheel. You can already choose the road where to go. You need to look not at your feet or at the pedals, a real cyclist looks at the road, otherwise the sense of the horizon is lost, and with it the sense of balance.

You can maintain balance with your feet, if for this you need to feel the ground, then you can even touch it for a moment with your feet. If a fall has begun or you need to get off the bike, one rule should be observed, the bike should be stopped, for this purpose the brake should be used. Only after braking and stopping the movement of the bike, you can get off it. If you get off the bike before it stops, then the bike will either run over you or hit you with the pedals, in both cases it is unpleasant. The exercise of riding a “scooter”, stopping and descent should be done until all operations are perfect.

Learning to ride a bike

Now we need to learn to move straight. The fact is that by tilting the bike in one direction or another, the cyclist sets the direction of the turn. That is, leaning to the left, the bike also moves to the left. This rotation can be counteracted by tilting the body in the opposite direction. Now you have to ride until you get the feeling of unity between the body and the bike, that is, until you get the feeling that you are a bike. controlled body part.

Keep your balance on the bike

You need to sit in the saddle and, without releasing the brake lever, try to maintain balance. To do this, it is recommended to try to lift your feet off the ground for a while. Exercise gives you the opportunity to feel the bike, its comfort and balance. If you feel discomfort in the steering or seat feel, you can quickly adjust them.

How to learn to ride a bike

Learning to ride a bike is not that difficult. First you need to set yourself up for a positive outcome. Find a serviceable and adjusted bike from someone you know (you can, of course, use your own bike as a training one). Find a flat area (with a slight slope). Finally, set aside a couple of hours of free time.

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It is recommended to divide the learning process into ten consecutive stages.


We pedal as much as possible. We are trying to pick up speed. Stops and even falls are possible. Do not despair, each time the path that you manage to “drive” will increase.

How to pedal on a bike

Let’s move on to pedaling. First of all, you should understand how this mechanism works. When turning forward, the wheel rotates; when moving backward, the pedals have a slight reverse. In the case of a multi-speed bike, the front sprocket is set to position 2 and the rear sprocket to position 3 or even 4.

Now you need to raise the rear wheel and turn the pedals a little so that the chain switches to the desired sprockets. The next thing to do. this is to determine the “leading” leg, that is, the one that will be more comfortable to press the pedal when starting to move forward. We sit on the bike and bring the pedal for this leg almost parallel to the lower frame. We hold the brake, the leading foot should be put on the pedal, and the other foot remains on the ground. We release the brake, press the weight of the whole body on the pedal of the “leading” leg, the other leg pushes off and stands on the pedal. We keep balance, coast, try to control the bike. We make a stop and repeat everything from the beginning. Until you have complete confidence in your ability to start moving on your own without using slopes.

We connect the second, “non-leading” leg to work with the pedals. To do this, we perform the exercise from the fourth stage, only after the second pedal comes to the extreme upper position, we press the “non-leading” foot on it, thus giving the bike additional effort, which means speed. We continue to maintain balance, we bring actions to automatism.

The bike needs to be adjusted to fit you

If the bike is fitted correctly in height, then a person, sitting in the saddle, will reach the lower pedal with his foot, and the leg should be slightly bent. At the same time, your feet should calmly reach the ground. This is a necessary step, since you will have to stand with your feet on the ground much more often than you will drive. Over time, as you gain riding skills, it will be necessary to readjust the bike so that the leg at the bottom of the pedal movement is fully extended, and only the socks can reach the ground. Standing in place, you should figure out where which handle is, for which brake it is responsible and how smoothly this brake works. Beginning cyclists are advised to use only the rear brake, as the front brake is difficult to control and is fraught with bruises and even a broken nose. Therefore, you should press the rear brake lever and perform the first exercise several times, sit on the bike and rest your feet on the ground. If the exercise can be performed without falling, then you can proceed to the next stage.

understand, bike, speeds

Speed ​​switches

Much more important than the number of speeds are the switches themselves, which are responsible for switching them. Two bicycles with the same number of speeds will ride differently if they have different transmission equipment classes.

If we talk about mountain and city bikes, then most often you can find derailleurs from two manufacturers: the Japanese company Shimano and much less often the American SRAM. Both companies have their own ranking of manufactured equipment from the simplest to professional.

What does this classification depend on? First of all, on the reliability and quality of gear shifting, the higher the class, the more reliable the equipment.

But here it is worthwhile to understand that the most top-end models are intended primarily for sports, they differ not only, and not so much in reliability, but in low weight, which is very important for racing.

Feel the bike. switch right

The only way to find the right combinations for your individual needs is to put your bike to the test. Everyone has different physical capabilities, and for someone 5 stars are enough, and for someone 10 is not enough, because the main trump card, whatever one may say, remains constant training, exercises and loads on the working muscles of the legs.

The switching figure shown is a rough guide for a beginner to use. Experienced cyclists who have learned to feel their bike are not monitoring the correct gear. The determining factors are the driving conditions and the level of training of the person sitting behind the wheel of a two-wheeled vehicle.

Alexandra Sirenko, only for

P.S. Video dessert. The guy on the BMX shows the trick and and breaks the chain. There is a slow replay.

How to switch

There have never been and never will be strict rules for gear shifting. But there are some combinations that help shift more efficiently and also extend the life of the entire drivetrain. Indeed, during operation, the chain is often skewed due to the arrangement of the sprockets in parallel planes, which causes its wear.

The figure shows the recommended gear combinations for different types of terrain.

In order to reduce wear and increase the service life of the gearshift mechanism, sprockets and chain, it is recommended to shift at the moment of minimum load. This means that shifting in the middle of a climb puts a very heavy load on the drivetrain, which could result in derailleur breakage and chain breakage.

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Therefore, riders and amateurs participating in cross-country competitions, where the load on all mechanics is especially great, try to protect themselves from unpleasant surprises and acquire high-class attachments, as well as monitor the condition of the chain and stars, regularly wash, adjust or replace mechanisms.

How many speeds are on the bike. depending on what!

So, a modern bicycle has 2-3 stars in the front (system) and 5-10 stars in the back (cassette). Gear shifting is carried out using the rear and front derailleurs, which work with the chain, throwing it over the stars of the connecting rod system and along the small stars on the rear wheel hub, from which the speed changes. Gear shift control levers (coins) can be in the form of levers and grip shift. a swivel shift mechanism on the handlebar.

The number of speeds is determined by the quantitative combination of front and rear sprockets. To calculate how many speeds on the bike, you need to multiply the number of chainrings by the number of rear sprockets. For example, there are 3 stars in the front, and 8 stars in the back, for a total of 24 speeds. There are other variations: 3×5, 3×6, 3×7, 3×8, 3×9, 3×10. over, systems and cassettes can have a different number of teeth on the stars, the speed also depends on this.

How many speeds on the bike

People who are far from cycling still have no idea that modern bicycles are equipped with a variety of speeds, a kind of “gearbox”. The presence of a gearshift mechanism makes it possible for a cyclist to ride in different conditions, which are determined by both the road surface and the terrain. And yet, how many speeds on a bike does a rider or amateur need to have to be completely happy? For everyone, happiness is measured in its own way, but we will try to find out what the programs are for.

Ratchet or cassette?

The ratchet is a composite device that, in addition to the stars, also includes a ratchet mechanism that is responsible for the free wheeling of the bicycle. It is attached by screwing it onto the bicycle hub.

The cassette consists only of a set of bicycle stars that are put on the hub (bushing) of the rear wheel with a drum. At the same time, it is held by the slot. And the ratchet in this case is part of the bushing.

Externally, when assembled, these two transmission elements are difficult to distinguish from each other, especially for an uninitiated user, but still possible. As a rule, if the number of rear sprockets is 6-7, it is most likely a ratchet. The number of stars in the cassette starts from 8, although there are exceptions, so this method does not give a 100% guarantee.

To be sure, you should take a closer look at the rear wheel. If you see a nut whose inner diameter consists of rectangular teeth, then it will be a cassette.

As mentioned above, the cassette may differ from the ratchet in the number of stars, but it may also have an equivalent number. But do not think that in this case the quality of the first will be identical to the second.

The cassette will be better and more reliable in any case, thanks to a more thoughtful design.

Number of leading stars

Another important parameter, which also affects the number of speeds, is the leading stars, or rather, their number. The classic layout is considered to be 3 leading stars on the “spider” (the basis for attaching the stars), but gradually they begin to abandon it.

Due to the large difference in the number of teeth of adjacent drive sprockets, gear shifting can be accompanied by big problems, for example, chain slack.

In professional racing bikes, this trend can already be clearly distinguished, with many manufacturers either reducing the number of leading stars to two, or returning to the classic version with one star. This helps to avoid various troubles, to reduce the weight of the bike, and, therefore, to increase sports performance.

Cycling Speeds: Important Facts

Prepared by: Ilya Zotov, Sergei Petushkov, Yulia Lipovskaya

How Do Bike Gears Work? | Bicycle Gears Explained

If the dimensions of the wheels and the frame of a bicycle are far from being accurately determined by eye, then the number of speeds can be “felt” literally by the piece. Apparently, this attracts so much attention to this property of the bicycle among cyclists.

In fact, the number of speeds on the bike is not the most important parameter. First of all, because in everyday riding, you are unlikely to use more than 3-4 speeds. An exception may be athletes or residents of mountainous or hilly terrain abounding in steep and long climbs. For walks, this number of speeds is enough for the eyes.

But why, then, do most bicycles have at least 21 speeds? This is largely a consequence of the marketing strategy of their manufacturers. On some bicycles that have an impressive number of speeds, their quality is poor. To understand why more does not mean better, let’s try to understand the technical component.

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.

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.

Useful Tips for Using Derailleurs on Your Bicycle

Of course, breakdowns and adjustments can be avoided if all the rules are carefully followed.

  • wash the bike and its parts as often as possible, and then dry it thoroughly, since dirt and corrosion are the main enemies of metal products
  • lubricate all parts with machine oil or grease (imported products do not cope very well, and often do harm)
  • climb on your own to repair mechanisms only in extreme cases, since inexperience can only aggravate the situation, so it is better to ask professionals or friends for help.
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In conclusion, I would like to say that you can fix any thing yourself if you do everything correctly, following all the tips listed above. Or even start monitoring its condition from the very moment of purchase. And then you don’t have to fork out for new parts, which, moreover, cost 2 times more than the bike itself.

When to adjust the front derailleur?

If you have experience, then repairing a bicycle with your own hands is not such a difficult thing. Sometimes it happens that the derailleurs stop throwing the chain to other stars or the derailleur needs to be pulled in order to change the speed. That’s when you need to adjust the bike’s front derailleur. This breakdown is not serious or complex, so you can easily fix it yourself. Generally, tuning can be done even in the field. You can also clearly understand when you need to repair your bike with your own hands, by the sound. If you suddenly hear that the chain has begun to touch the metal frame, then this is another sure sign that the bike has lost its derailleur settings.

Handlebar gear shifter: repair

The front derailleur itself is not repaired. And there is no sense, because the new one is quite inexpensive. The easiest way out of this situation is to simply replace the mechanism itself. It all starts in the same way. throw the chain onto the smallest stars. Then you need to remove the chain itself. After that, the adjusting cable is loosened. The front shift mechanism itself is held by a clamp, which is clamped with a screw. By unscrewing this screw, you can already remove the switch. Sometimes you need to twitch it a little, as over the years the details can “stick”.

The new switch is installed in the reverse order: installation, cable, adjustment. By the way, when aligning the front derailleur in height, you need to know that the distance from the frame to the largest star should be about three millimeters. Next, you need to place the crossover in the plane of the stars. To do this, you just need to look from above and set the mechanism with your hand so that it runs parallel to the asterisks. After all this, you need to adjust the front derailleur of the bike, because after replacing all the previous adjustments are lost.

Steering wheel switches

The switches here are exactly the same as on the rear wheel. They are absolutely no different, and even located exactly the same.

Rooster bent or broke

If the foot of the rear derailleur is oblique, then the mount is bent. You can fix this defect yourself.

  • Hold the foot with one hand and grasp the switch with the other.
  • Carefully, without sudden movements, align the position of the rooster until the rear frame is level.
understand, bike, speeds

The rooster should be replaced with a new one as soon as possible. Even if you have aligned it, such a detail will not last long.

How to adjust the rear derailleur

The rear derailleur is a machine that transfers the chain from one sprocket of the rear wheel to another. Today, the vast majority of high-speed bicycles are equipped with such a switch.

Cycling Gears Explained // Cycling Made Simple

The rear derailleur consists of the following elements.

  • Switch frame. The number of bike speeds depends on its length.
  • Two rollers that are responsible for the direction of the chain: the guide and the tensioner roller.
  • The mechanism itself (parallelogram).
  • Fixing bolt.
  • Low gear stop. screw marked L.
  • Top gear stop. screw marked H.
  • Cable guide groove.
  • Tensioner adjusting screw.

Setting the rear derailleur is necessary if the mechanism is out of order, the chain jumps over the necessary stars, the speed does not switch, a grinding or loud sounds are heard. You can configure the mechanism and debug its work yourself. You will need a Phillips screwdriver and a hex wrench

First, make sure the derailleur is vertical and parallel to the bike. If everything is in order, you can proceed to the setup. For convenience, turn the bike upside down, placing it on the saddle and handlebars, this will give access to the switch itself and the adjustment screws.

  • First, lower the chain to the smallest sprocket. Do this with the shifter on the right handlebar of the bike, it is she who is responsible for the rear derailleur.
  • Loosen the screw holding the cable. This is done in order to unlock the switch.
  • Prepare a screwdriver and find the screw with the Latin letter H.
  • Move the switch so (adjust with the screw H) so that the sprockets on which the chain lies (one star on the cassette, two stars on the switch) are in the same plane, i.e. form one line.
  • Take the cable with your hand. It must be pulled out as much as possible and fixed by tightening the screw.
  • Check if the switch is working properly. If it does not go well onto large stars, turn the thumbscrew counterclockwise, pulling the cable.
  • Now move the chain to the smallest star using the shifters.
  • Find the screw with the Latin letter L.
  • Change the position of the derailleur so that the largest sprocket in the cassette lies in the same plane with the derailleur foot, forming a straight line with it.