How To Use Bicycle Gears

How to adjust the gears on your bike. How to properly adjust the rear and front derailleurs on a bicycle: photo and description of the process

Despite the fact that the bicycle was invented a long time ago and, it would seem, should have been out of date for a long time, but this two-wheeled vehicle is gaining more and more popularity every year. Cycling enthusiasts prefer this type of transport due to its convenience, ease of operation, environmental safety and practicality. Not only ordinary bicycles are very popular, but also mountain, track bikes, which use modern innovative technologies. In order for the owners to enjoy cycling, they need to take care of it and monitor the condition of all parts and assemblies. If, in the process of cycling, you hear extraneous sounds, creaking, knocking and twitching during gear changes, it’s time to pay attention to such a detail as the gear selector.

Rear derailleur

The gear shifter is an important part of a multi-speed bike. Thanks to this component, it becomes possible to move in extreme conditions, which include upwind movement, ascents, poor road quality. The transmission unit must deal with all these problems. The quality of the ride and the safety of the cyclist depend on the smooth operation of the speed switch. This skill is very useful, and every bike owner should learn how to independently adjust the gear shifter. Every cyclist can make adjustments to bicycle shifters. You need to study the theory in detail by reading the instructions, or using the advice of experienced bike owners.

Before setting the derailleur, the rear derailleur must be adjusted. Placing the bike in the correct position (wheels up) will greatly facilitate the entire adjustment process. So, all the necessary details will be in sight, and it will be much easier to get to them.

bicycle, gears

Reasons for poor gear shifting:

  • physical defects of the switch parts;
  • contamination of parts. To prevent this from happening, the components of the transmission unit must be periodically cleaned of dirt, dust and old grease;
  • worn out cable with elements of damage. Such a part requires replacement;
  • damage to the cock.

If you observe damage, deformation and wear of the constituent parts, they must be replaced as they are practically irreparable.

If all parts are OK, adjust the switch. What does the speed switch consist of? The components of the speed switch are as follows:

  • Handle for gear shifting located on the steering wheel;
  • A shifter that attaches to the handlebars near the handles. Handles and a cable are attached to the shifter. It is with the participation of the cable that the impulse is transmitted from the shifter to the stars;
  • Cassette, which includes stars of different sizes;
  • front fixing mount;
  • rear derailleur, whose main function is to switch the chain to the required sprockets.

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.

What to do if you can’t adjust the bike’s rear derailleur

There are several methods for solving this issue. But if the standard tuning instruction did not work, to tune the rear derailleur you need to:

  • dismantle the chain, remove the cable;
  • move the switch to the chain position to the smallest star;
  • use adjusting bolts (this way you can tighten the cable);
  • set the adjusting bolt H to the extreme position;
  • move the part called the parallelogram to the big star and adjust the position of the bolt L.

The regulator is fixed with screws. It must be set to the extreme position. After that, the chain must be displaced in this order: the front cassette is the largest star in diameter, the rear, on the contrary, is the smallest.

Bicycle front derailleur

The transition to setting this mechanism is possible only when the rear derailleur is set. This feature is important to take into account before starting work. The figure shows the switch (round, black).

Leave the chain on the middle sprocket of the front block and place it on the large sprocket in the rear block. If chain friction is observed, re-engage adjuster L. To adjust stop H, the chain moves to the largest sprocket at the front and smallest at the back. The adjuster will help you position the chain in the optimal position without friction and excessive chain tension. At the end of the work, be sure to check the quality of its implementation.

Correct installation of the front derailleur

You can start the front derailleur setting only after adjusting the rear derailleur. Installation is the initial step in adjusting the speed switch. It’s very important to do it right.

  • before installing the switch, it is necessary to inspect the condition of the constituent parts and, if necessary, clean them of dirt and lubricate.
  • Next, adjust the location of the front derailleur. On the frame, it should be located along the pipe under the saddle.
  • Set the steering angle parallel to the drive sprocket on the front cassette of the transmission unit.
  • Next, you need to adjust the gap between the underside of the derailleur frame and the top line of the teeth of the large gear. The gap should be minimal.
  • Adjust the degree of cable tension.
  • Place the chain close to the inside of the frame.

It is also worth paying attention to setting up the chain. The bicycle chain is a very important element, with the help of which the impulse is transmitted from one chainring to another and the adjustment process takes place. The technical condition of the circuit is of great importance for the operation of the entire system. If, for some reason, the bicycle chain is stretched or deformed, this cannot but adversely affect the operation of the entire transmission unit. To prevent this from happening, the chain must be periodically removed and cleaned, and then set the correct position. There are lock and lockless models of bicycle chains. They differ in the way they are connected. To remove the locking chain, it is enough to find the link with the lock and disconnect it with a screwdriver. The lockless bicycle chain is disconnected using a squeeze. This tool helps to push the link axle out and make the connector. If it skews for some reason, this can adversely affect the gearshift process.

One of the best manufacturers of bicycle parts, including derailleurs, is the Japanese company Shimano, which has a proven track record of producing products in which Japanese quality is combined with budget and price. Shimano derailleurs (fig. 3) are suitable for all types of bicycles. Shimano derailleurs are installed on both regular touring bicycles and mountain and track bikes with gearboxes up to 33 speeds.

Another recognized market leader is Sram. The products of this company are used on bicycles of the city bike category, as well as on sports bicycles. Sram products are of good quality and affordable price for cycling enthusiasts.

Every bicycle owner who prefers this type of transport to others is obliged to understand how to switch its speeds. It is believed that the more speeds a bike has, the better it is. But in fact, speed only allows you to improve the quality of maneuvering and squeeze the maximum out of the bike’s capabilities, so then everything depends on the dynamic efforts of the person riding the bike. Conventional bicycles have a simpler design compared to high-speed ones. There is less hassle with such a bike, but it also has fewer possibilities. In the transmission unit of such bicycles there are only two stars: one large and one small. Multi-speed bicycles, which have gained popularity in recent years, have two sets of sprockets in their transmission units: front and rear. Each cassette contains stars of different sizes. To switch gears correctly, you need to remember a few basic rules:

  • If your bike is not equipped with a planetary hub, you only need to switch gears on it while driving, otherwise there is a danger of damage to the bike.
  • During gear shifting, it is not necessary to apply significant dynamic forces, in order to eliminate the danger of a burst of flowers, it is advisable to change gears sequentially, without making sudden jerks.

How to adjust the speed switch on a bike

It often happens that either the speeds on the bike are not switched clearly, or some new transmission elements have been installed. In this case, you will need to adjust the speed switch and it is quite possible to do this work on your own, without contacting specialized workshops.

Necessary terminology

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

Things to remember:

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

Why is there a violation of gear shifting

To understand what action should be taken to adjust gear shifting, you need to understand what causes may lead to the problem under consideration. Experts identify several such predisposing factors:

  • deformation of the rooster;
  • stretching the cable;
  • deformation of the speed switch;
  • malfunctioning return spring.

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.

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.

Note: After performing specific manipulations to repair bent / deformed parts, you should not use the bike for too long. this may end in a fall, another breakdown at the most inopportune moments. And in some cases, such carelessness can lead to a road accident.!

How to properly adjust the rear derailleur

To independently adjust the rear derailleur on a bicycle, you just need to strictly follow the step-by-step instructions from experts in this process. So, follow all the steps:

  • Move the chain to the small sprocket with the right shifter.
  • Unscrew the fixing screw and release the cable.
  • Find the screw with the “H” mark. Use a screwdriver to adjust this screw so that the smallest star lies in the same plane with the rollers, which are located in the foot (frame).
  • Pull the cable by hand and fix it with the screw.
  • Check the operation of the switch, and if it does not work correctly, the chain does not switch well to large stars, then you need to tighten the cable harder (either with the help of a drum or with a switch).
  • Move the chain to the largest sprocket available in the cassette.
  • Find the screw marked “L” and adjust it so that the tab (frame) and the sprocket are in the same plane. in this case, the crossover will not be able to get into the spokes of the front wheel.
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How to adjust the front derailleur

There are also clear and simple step-by-step instructions for adjusting the front derailleur:

  • Move the chain to a smaller star.
  • Unscrew the fixing screw and release the cable.
  • We find a screw marked “L”, with its help we adjust the position of the frame so that the chain is between the plates of the frame, but at the same time does not touch them.
  • We stretch the cable, fix it with a screw.
  • Now we move the chain in the cassette to a smaller sprocket. it is convenient to do this using the rear derailleur.
  • With the front derailleur, move the chain to the middle sprocket and look. if the chain on the second one touches the outer side of the frame everywhere, then you need to increase the tension of the cable using the drum located on the left shifter.
  • We switch the gear to the largest sprocket in the cassette and check. if the chain touches the walls of the frame, you need to move the last element so that the chain is in the middle. This manipulation can be done using the screw marked “H”.

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

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

What parts help to adjust the speed switches

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

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

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

Knowledge of the structure of modern bicycles helps to properly set up gear shifting

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

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

The front derailleur is in the pedal area

Rear derailleur located on the rear wheel

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

The bike chain is an important part of the drivetrain

Shifters are mounted on the handlebars and are responsible for gear shifting

The transmission cable connects the shifter to the derailleur

Speed ​​change mechanism

The work of the rear and front derailleur is as follows: if the cable is pulled, the derailleur frame moves the chain to higher sprockets. If, on the contrary, weaken the cable, then the frame will throw the chain onto smaller stars.

The speeds are switched with the help of shifters (coins) located on the steering wheel. The rear derailleur is adjustable with the right shifter. Thus, the chain jumps between the rear sprockets. And the front derailleur is adjustable with a shifter on the left side. So the chain jumps among the chainrings.

Gear shift types

Before making any adjustments, determine what kind of gear shift your bike has. There are 3 main types of switches.

  • External switching mechanism.
  • Internal switching mechanism.
  • Combined type.

The internal gearshift mechanism appeared earlier than the external one. The progenitor of multi-speed bushings is the English company Sturmey-Archer. It was they who created the first two and three speed hubs, which were released in 1902.

Internal gear shifting for mountain bike

The basis of this design is planetary bushings. This mechanism does not use cassettes. The transmission includes only 2 stars: front and rear. The whole mechanism is hidden inside. There is usually no front derailleur either.

All elements of the speed switch are hidden in the body

This mechanism is often found on road bikes, pleasure bikes, folding bicycles and city bikes. The system itself is located inside the rear planetary hub. This type of shifter can be seen, for example, on the Forward Surf city bike (3 gears).

This mechanism is difficult for a layman to adjust. Better contact a bike workshop if necessary.

External shifting on a 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.

External gear shift elements. derailleur and cassette

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

Bicycle chassis design, principles of operation. video. Combined mechanism

The combined type is a combination of external and internal mechanisms. It attaches to the bike’s rear wheel hub.

The combo derailleur is a hybrid of the external and internal types of bike shifting.

This mechanism is extremely rare, since it has collected all the negative aspects of both external and internal gearshift systems. It is configured only by a professional.

Switch classification

In the modern world, there are many companies that create equipment for bicycles. The best quality models are made by corporations such as Shimano (Japan) and Sram (America), producing entire lines of derailleurs.

Devices for professionals:

  • Shimano XTR, Sram ESP 9.0 and Sram ESP X.0 are leading the way in price and quality. They are mainly used in competition bicycles. They are characterized by low construction weight.
  • Shimano deore xt, Shimano Saint, Shimano slx finished second in the same category. Used in bicycles with 27 gears.
  • Shimano Deore LX, Shimano Dura-Ace, Shimano Hone. 3rd place. They are designed for devices with the maximum number of speeds.

Sports bike lines:

  • Sram ESP 7.0 and Shimano Deore are similar designs. Made from highly durable components and designed for 24 gears.
  • Sram ESP 4.0, Sram ESP 5.0, Shimano Nexave and Shimano alivio are cheaper than the professional line. They can handle up to 24 speeds and are designed for touring bike models.

Sram ESP 7.0 derailleur specially designed for sports bikes

Hobbyist Switch Line:

  • The Sram ESP 4.0, Shimano C201 and Shimano acera are bundled with cheaper entry-level hybrids and mountain bikes. Withstand up to 24 gears.
  • Sram ESP 3.0, Shimano Nexus and Shimano altus are designed for touring, city bikes.
  • The Shimano tourney is built for a calm, smooth ride. Shifts 21 gears.

There is no fundamental difference in the adjustment and operation of different switch lines from the same company. For example, different Shimano derailleur groups work the same and are interchangeable. Let’s say that the drive of eight-speed Alivio, Altus, Acera switches can be equipped with nine-speed Deore, Deore XT, Deore LX, XTR systems and vice versa.

What can affect the quality of the switches

It is important to find out what caused the problem.

Stretched rope

This defect is regulated by a drum on a shifter.

  • When the chain moves silently and bounces on large stars with difficulty, then the cable is stretched. Turn the drum clockwise until the part is tensioned to the desired position.
  • In the case when the chain does not want to go down to small stars, relax the cable by turning the drum counterclockwise.
  • Check the operation of the speed switch. Twist the drum if necessary. Adjust until the chain bounces smoothly.

Broken cable

If the part is damaged, it must be replaced.

  • Unscrew the fixing screw on the lintel.
  • Disassemble the shifter to remove the cable.
  • Insert a new one, treat with special grease.
  • Run it through the shirts and put them back in place.
  • Secure the new cable to the derailleur.

Changing the cable on the bike. video. Parallelogram spring problems

For better operation of the return spring, you need to wash it. Then lubricate after cleaning.

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, level the position of the cock until the rear frame is level.

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

Deformation of the switch

A common cause of such a breakdown is a blow from a bicycle. Usually the rear derailleur suffers, the front derailleur is very difficult to bend. After a breakdown, it is worth checking which parts are broken.

  • If this is a frame. align or change the part.
  • If the screw that adjusts the chain tension or the eyelet that secures this screw breaks, then it is better to replace the parts. Otherwise, the speeds will switch very badly.

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.

Most high-speed bikes are equipped with a rear derailleur

The rear derailleur consists of the following elements.

  • Switch frame. The number of bike speeds depends on its length.
  • Two rollers that guide the chain: guide and 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 needed 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 handlebar, 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.

Correct cycling gearshift setting

5 minutes Author: Mikhail Skvortsov 176

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

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

Why bike speeds don’t shift well

Usually, the thought of needing to fix derailleur problems comes when the chain is shifting too hard between the stars, or the gears are not shifting at all. The problem visits suddenly, as an option, you can contact the master.

However, this issue can be resolved in the service in a couple of minutes, and the money will have to be paid in an hour. Maybe you should tinker yourself?

Before proceeding with the instructions for setting up the bike speed system, let’s determine why it does not work correctly:

  • Switches are damaged. A complete replacement is needed to solve the problem.
  • Deformed cock. protection of the rear derailleur. Usually it is advised to change, but once you can straighten.
  • Spring worn or stretched cable. Replacement required, switch setting.

Very often, all the components of the transmission are in good condition, and the gears still shift poorly. New parts, or small workpieces installed in a transmission unit are a common cause of poor chain sprocket travel.

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.

Attention! If there is damage, and the tensioner is not parallel to the frame and cassette, then it will not be possible to correctly adjust the system!

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.

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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.

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.

We just saw an easy way to adjust the front and rear derailleurs. Is it really necessary? Adjustment of the shift mechanism is necessary for the transmission, like tires for a wheel. Timely assistance to the “traffic node” will allow not only to solve current problems, but also to prevent them in the future. Eliminate all inconveniences in time and ride with pleasure!

How to properly shift gears on a bike

If you’ve never ridden a high-speed bike before, the presence of handlebar levers and a row of sprockets on the crank arm and cassette are sure to ask you a lot of questions. In addition, sometimes happy owners of a bicycle with speeds or a simple mountain bike hardly understand why speeds are needed at all.

On a flat road with good coverage, it is quite possible to do without gear changes. The cyclist simply selects the optimal chain position and a comfortable gear ratio. The speed of the bike is determined by stubbornness and physical form. But it’s better to learn to play with gears here, choosing the optimal cadence depending on the angle of inclination and road conditions. Favorite gear ratio of most beginners 2-5 or 2-4.

To drive up a hill, drive through sand or snow, the speed ratio alone will not be enough. On bicycles at the same speed in such a situation everything depends only on the intensity of pedaling, the strength of the cyclist’s muscles, riding technique and the ability to “pull” in time.

The presence of gears greatly simplifies this process, but only on condition that the speeds are changed correctly and in a timely manner. In addition, you shouldn’t forget about the health of your knee joints. It is much more useful if the knees do not overload on difficult areas, but do more movements. i.e. more cadence.

Switch device

In order to properly use gear shifting, you need to understand how it works. The principle of operation of the bicycle transmission is based on the same gear ratio from school physics. This is how all manual transmissions work. To simplify, if a small star turns a large one, this is a power low gear (i.e. you can go up a hill without effort), and if a large one turns a small one, then the opposite is true. It will be high speed gear or overdrive.

Accordingly, on a bicycle we have an open transmission. There are large stars in front (2-3 pieces in the standard case), and a cassette of 5-8 stars behind. It remains to throw the chain between them. This is what the gear selector is for (both front and rear derailleur).

The movement of the chain through the blocks is provided by the front or rear derailleur, and the derailleur is associated with the levers on the bicycle handlebars (shifters). The right trigger usually adjusts to the front, the left trigger to the back. By combining different positions of the chain on the sprockets, the cyclist varies the speed of the bicycle, and with this, the gear ratio, and therefore the muscle effort required to obtain the result, changes. Shifting on the front block allows you to radically change gear ratios and quickly jump between main modes. Moving around the cassette makes it possible to more accurately select the desired ratio.

What are the transfers for?

The larger the sprocket at the back, the lower the speed of the bike, but the less effort it will take to twist. Low gear is ideal for uphill climbing, sandy, uneven terrain or snow. The wheel moves slowly, but with great force. Accordingly, if you get stuck in mud, this is the ideal ratio.

High gear provides a quick set of speed, but at the same time requires great physical effort from the cyclist. It is good for high-speed movement on flat roads, as well as for downhill driving.

As a rule, in each situation, the most convenient gear ratio is selected over time. Experienced cyclists don’t even think about it, changing gears automatically. A beginner needs to set everything empirically, because the speed of the bike will depend not only on the gears, but also on the physical condition of the rider. As we said earlier, riding in one gear with a high-speed bike is very bad. At least, the cassette is erased faster, and then a bike with speeds is not needed. But first of all, this demonstrates the inability to use the technique.

How to use gears correctly?

The gearshift mechanism is highly susceptible to adverse factors. In order for it to serve for a long time and never fail, several basic rules should be observed from the very beginning.

After buying a new bike, the first step is to set up the gearshift system. If it is already configured and works stably, then of course, you don’t need to go into it. We will tell you how to do this in another article. For example, here we wrote about the rear derailleur.

There are some simple guidelines:

Switch on the go

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.

Switch in advance

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.

Switch step by step

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.

Avoid distortions

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.

The best way to shift gears on a bike

As already mentioned, gear changes can only be made with minimal pedal load.

Therefore, the optimal speed switching scheme looks like this:

  • Pedaling vigorously, accelerate the bike.
  • Then stop pedaling. The moment when the bike is still moving by inertia at high speed without the assistance of a cyclist is optimal for gear shifting. If we are talking about grief, then you need to feel the balance point (although if you have enough strength before acceleration to move by inertia, it is even better).
  • At this moment, you need to click the shifter and hear the characteristic throwing of the chain.
  • After pressing, start pedaling again. at least until you hear the click of the chain that jumped to the adjacent sprocket. If there was no click, or instead of it you hear the crackle of the chain hanging in an indefinite position, slightly press on the same lever without pressing it all the way. Continue pedaling while doing this. The chain will change position within a few seconds. However, the technique only works when we have direct thrust. Therefore, the focus will work only in those cases when the switching (and up or down) is provided by pulling the cable. Otherwise there is little use. Then you can simply shift to the next gear, hear the shift and return the handle back. True, the chain can slip through the desired star. This happens on inexpensive, low quality switches or improperly configured hardware.

If you are doing everything correctly, but gears are still difficult to shift, pay attention to the condition of the chain and sprockets. After each ride, they must be cleaned of dirt and excess moisture. This is especially important when skiing in winter. The chain should be lubricated as often as possible. in the winter before each ride, in the summer once a week. The cause of switching problems may lie in the wear of the mechanism. If suddenly the chain starts to slide right over the teeth, then it’s time to change either the cassette or the corresponding star. Also, if the switch is already old, then the return springs could weaken and positioning could be lost. Such equipment will definitely not work to set up ideal work.

How to use the gears on your bike

Have you noticed that spring is in full swing

It’s not hot enough to hide in the shade while sipping a mojito, and not so cold to wrap yourself in a blanket and warm up with hotter drinks (I’m talking about tea, what did you think about?)

Finally, the time has come when you can roll out your two-wheeled friend and drive blood through the body.

In the article on contact pedaling, we casually touched on the correct gear shifting, so today I propose to consider it in more detail.

The time when a bicycle had only one speed is long gone, and today’s bikes have a considerable number of them.

Many are interested in the question of how to cope with all this stock of speeds?

Outwardly, the question seems to be simple, there are special things (shifters) on the steering wheel that you know, click and have fun.

But if you dig deeper, it’s not that simple. To enjoy driving, it turns out, you need to know how to switch these things correctly.

What does it mean right?

Most modern bicycles have 3 stars in the front and 7 to 10 in the back. It would seem, switch them at your own discretion and do not ask stupid questions.

But it turns out that there are such mutual positions of the front and rear stars, which it is extremely undesirable to allow.

No, this option is certainly possible, but it first of all indicates the inexperience of the rider, and secondly, that soon he will have problems with the gearshift system itself.

Why this is so, I will show with a simple example.

Look at the picture and find the difference. Don’t you notice? I suggest.

The figure shows a simplified diagram of the gearshift system (top view): the short black lines are our stars (front and rear), the red and green lines are our chain.

It can be seen from the figure that in the variant with the position of the red chain (incorrect), the angle of its longitudinal bending is much greater than in the green (correct).

This suggests that the red circuit is subjected to significantly higher loads than the green one, which means it will fail faster. At best, it will just fly off.

In addition, increased lateral loads can damage both the chain box and the rear derailleur itself.

I think the example is clear.

Now let’s figure out what the correct chain position is and how to achieve it in different driving situations in order to make the most of the shifting system.

Correct chain position and chainring

We will make a start from the front stars, there are fewer of them and they are responsible for the choice of the road situation.

The smallest chainring is numbered 1, the next 2 and the largest 3 respectively (depending on the number of stars in the block).

The largest sprocket (3) is designed for driving on a level road with good coverage

The next (2) will be convenient for driving on unpaved roads with bumps, small sandy areas, many bends, etc.

The smallest one (1) is useful on off-road, steep climbs, driving through mud, sand, rocky and other not particularly flat sections of the path.

But that is not all. Each of the large stars corresponds to a set of rear.

Rear sprockets are necessary for a more accurate adjustment to the road situation, and their numbering is exactly the opposite of the front.

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The largest star has number 1, and further in decreasing diameter 2, 3., how many of them we have.

So, if the number of rear stars is divided by the number of front stars, we get for each of the front stars several corresponding rear.

Example. We have a set of 3 front and 9 (for even counting) rear stars. Divide 9 by 3, we get 3. This means that each chainring corresponds to 3 rear.

Moving on a straight flat asphalt road, turn on the 3 front chainring, which means (remember the correct position of the chain) that it corresponds to 9, 8, and 7 rear.

We go to a dirt road with potholes from the wheels of the transport, we switch to 2 front, which correspond to 6, 5, and 4 rear stars.

We go down a mountain path with steep ascents, switch to 1 front, which corresponds to 3, 2 and 1 rear stars.

This is of course ideal; in reality, you can add one more on each side to the set of three rear ones:

2 front. 7, 6, 5, 4, 3;

1 front. 4, 3, 2, 1.

It may be difficult to remember the first time, but as you gain experience, this is introduced into the subconscious and brought to automatism.

So, we figured out the correct position of the chain and the ratio of the stars. Now let’s discuss the question of when to change gears.

When to change gears

I’ll start with what you need to remember: when getting on the bike, select the middle chainring (2) and start pedaling (pedaling).

I explain. In order to reduce the load on the knees at the start.

The bike was stationary, and you will need to make some effort to accelerate it.

On a large star, this effort may be too great, on a small star, it may not be enough to maintain balance.

As the acceleration progresses, we select the rear sprocket that is most suitable for torsion (remember what cadence is).

If the road surface and the site allows, we smoothly switch the stars to the maximum corresponding to the middle chainring (in our example, up to the 7th) and only after that we switch to the large chainring (3).

Shifting before lifting

If the quality of the road decreases (bumps, bumps, sand), smoothly switch the stars to the minimum corresponding star (in our example, up to the 3rd) and only then switch to the small front star (1).

As soon as the road situation begins to return to the original (flat area), we also smoothly return back to the middle chainring and then to the large.

The working chainring is medium! We start with her, and end with her.

How to change gears

Finally, we got to the last, but no less important question. how to change gears.

How not in the sense of where to press and what to turn, but in the sense of how to switch correctly so as not to break the wood.

As we said above, all switching should be smooth, without jerking and trying to jump over a star (or even two).

Wait for the moment of inclusion of the selected gear, and only then switch to the next.

All switching needs to be carried out only in motion: standing still, it still will not work.

Shifting before descent

There should be no unnecessary loads on the pedals during shifting: break the chain. Reached the required speed. temporarily removed the effort from the pedals (it is enough to simply accompany them). changed gear. continued pedaling.

Knowing and following these simple rules, we will greatly improve the quality of bike handling, save our own health and extend the life of our two-wheeled friend.

Speaking about extending the life of a bicycle, it is worth remembering about timely maintenance, but we will leave this for a separate article. In order not to miss it, I recommend subscribing to blog updates.

And finally, 9 useful tips:

I have everything for today.

Best regards, Sergey Drozdov

P.S. If you have any questions after reading the article, do not hesitate to ask in the comments.

P.P.S. You can familiarize yourself with the topics that will be revealed in the near future on this page.

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:

To rotary-type switches (grip-shift, revoshift). they work like the throttle stick on motorcycles. Gear shifting is carried out by rotating a special shift knob on the shifter. towards yourself or away from you.

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-lever shifters. one lever is responsible for increasing 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 derailleur is responsible for the 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, on the contrary, go down (1 is the 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 largest sprocket). 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 front sprocket, the chain is on the largest sprocket (3) and at the back, too, on the largest sprocket (1). there will be a skew.

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 load on the pedals is heavy. you need to change 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.

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.

wikiHow works like a wiki, which means that many of our articles are written by multiple authors. To create this article, 10 people, some anonymous, worked to edit and improve it over time.

Number of sources used in this article: 6. You will find a list of them at the bottom of the page.

Tired of pushing your single speed bike up and down? A bike equipped with speeds will make the ride more enjoyable and efficient, whether you are riding uphill or riding on city streets. Understanding the basics of gears can completely change the way you ride your bike, so check out these simple tricks and start riding with fun.!

This section will teach you how to determine if your bike has gears, and if so, how many there are. Click here to go directly to the step about switching.