Switching speeds on a bike how to use it correctly


You need to adjust the forward speeds in about the same way, there is nothing difficult there, and you can figure it out at the level of intuition, therefore, we will consider only some points. The chain runs along the chainrings with a metal stop that can be adjusted with two bolts. The principle is the same, so, as mentioned earlier, there is nothing complicated about it. And, again, in order not to suffer again with the setting, switch the speeds correctly, as described above.


Sooner or later, any bike enthusiast begins to notice that the gearshift system emits extraneous sounds, such as crunching, rumbling, and so on. It happens that during a gear change, the chain jumps a couple of sprockets or the opposite situation: you cannot switch to the required sprocket. So what’s the deal? You just do not have gear shifting configured. So how do you set your bike speeds? Let’s try to figure it out.

switching, speeds, bike, correctly

The gearshift setting can get lost due to the fact that you are not familiar with the gearshift rules and are switching them incorrectly. Or your gearshift system is simply too dirty and needs to be flushed out. But the reasons are a separate conversation, and we will focus on setting.

We will not go into the nuances of professional tuning. professional cyclists are unlikely to search for speed settings on the network. Therefore, let’s move on to a short course on speed tuning:

  • Fix your bike upside down (using a special stand or simply placing it on the handlebars and seat). The speed setting is carried out using special bolts on the switch.
  • Now you need to set the chain in the leftmost positions (on the large chainring and small rear). After that, unscrew the part that serves to fix the cable to completely unhook the cable.
  • Now, tightening one of the bolts on the gear selector, you need to adjust the two gears so that they are opposite one another. You will know which bolt to turn by the “H” or “High” mark next to it. What does high speed mean?
  • After that, we install the chain in the rightmost positions of both stars (on the largest rear and smallest in front). Adjust the gears again with the second screw, which is marked “L” or “Low”. Putting the stars in one line.
  • Now, you need to install the chain on the middle sprockets at the front and rear and adjust the gear shifting as precisely as possible using a screw called a “thumb” and located directly on top of the cable. It must be remembered that our goal is to ensure that the middle gears are opposite one another. Before you start twisting the “lamb”, it is better to perform a test drive, which will give an idea of ​​how difficult it is to switch or, conversely, too easy.


Correct gear shifting is determined by one main rule, the observance of which is very important. when driving, you need to make sure that the chain does not twist. This can happen if the chain is engaged at opposite extreme positions of the chainrings and chainrings. With this arrangement of the chain, it clings to all possible and impossible obstacles, is exposed to uneven load and wears out much faster.

Here are some tips to help you switch gears correctly:

  • Better not to switch gears when driving downhill. The first thing that will happen to you is the loss of your riding rhythm, which will affect your stamina and movement speed, respectively. This is also not worth doing, since when climbing uphill the chain tension is already quite high, and if at the same time throwing the chain between the stars. Such actions will have a detrimental effect on the resource of parts, and, soon, a breakdown may follow. So you need to switch gears before lifting, at the moment of the greatest relaxation of the chain.
  • A huge number of cyclists rarely use the front derailleur on their bike. It is difficult to answer why it happened so, but, nevertheless, it is a fact. It is much more efficient to use forward gear when driving on a sloping road. One shift on the chainrings, in this case, will have more effect than two or three changes on the rear. Just put the chain in the back on the middle sprocket and shift with the front.
  • When a fairly serious descent is planned on your way, then, again, switch gears before starting to go down. This is due to the fact that when the process of driving downward begins, it is better not to be distracted from the brakes, and you will need to follow the road especially carefully, because falling on the descent is an unpleasant thing.
  • Gear shifting should be smooth. There should be no rumbling, rattling, knocking and other extraneous sounds. If you follow this, then the gearshift system will serve you for a much longer time.
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Any cyclist should know how to switch speeds on a bicycle and how to adjust them. Just stick to some simple rules to make your cycling comfortable and efficient. Plus, your derailleurs will last longer and save you money.

When we were little, there was no trace of speed on the bike, and no one thought about it. We just pedaled and the bike just moved. But today the simplest model of a bicycle is necessarily equipped with a certain number of speeds and has two brakes. At the same time, many people think they know how to switch speeds on a bicycle. But, in fact, it is not as easy as it seems at first glance.


However, the shifter is a kind of “heart” of the transmission system and, for the most part, it is he who is responsible for the quality of gear shifting. Today, a limited number of companies are involved in the production of high-quality derailleurs, and the most popular among them is the Japanese giant. Shimano.

To make it more convenient for customers, all Shimano derailleurs are divided into groups. Let’s dwell on each of them in order:

  • Shimano Tourney is the easiest beginner derailleur. They are distinguished by their low cost and high reliability. Bicycles equipped with components of this class are designed to be used at a leisurely pace on the track or on tightly packed ground. This Shimano derailleur cell needs constant adjustment and starts to fail if too much dirt gets on it. Fits Shimano 2300 Road Group.
  • Shimano Altus / Acera is also the entry-level equipment. But Acera derailleurs are already installed on bicycles designed for use in sand and mud, naturally only at the amateur level. For those people who, for whatever reason, cannot get more expensive options and ride both on the ground and on asphalt, this type of Shimano derailleur is ideal. Fits Shimano Sora Road Group.
  • Shimano Alivio. This group of equipment is something in between, it cannot be called professional yet, but it is no longer amateur. Equipped with Alivio derailleurs, the bikes are great for recreational riders and cycling trips. This Shimano derailleur group is reliable and unpretentious. The price-performance ratio in this group of switches is implemented most successfully. Fits Shimano Tiagra Road Group.
  • Shimano Deore is a professional line of derailleurs, but if you look at things soberly, the differences from the Alivio are not so great. All that changes is the indicators of lightness and reliability, they get a little better, but the price rises significantly. Fits Shimano 105 Road Group.
  • Shimano Deore SLX and XT are lightweight and reliable professional equipment. The reliability of the Deore SLX / XT derailleurs is eloquently reflected in the cost: the price of a Shimano Alivio rear derailleur is about 45. and the Deore costs between 90 and 110. Ideal for professional athletes to train every day. Fits Road Groups. Shimano Ultegra and Ultegra Di2.
  • The Shimano Deore XTR is the ultimate racing equipment. Not afraid of any stress. Extremely expensive. Fits Shimano Dura-Ace Road Group.

Shimano doesn’t just make derailleurs for mountain and road bikes. There are many derailleurs available for touring, city and adventure bikes. But we do not consider them, since these bicycles are not popular in the CIS.

Find your sport

The ability to choose the right speed when riding a bicycle is a skill that is necessary not only for athletes in competitions, but also for everyday riding for any person whose bicycle is equipped with a speed switch. Correct gear shifting contributes to a more comfortable ride, allows you to reach high speeds and allows you not to overload individual muscle groups and joints in order to maintain and develop speed, the chain of the sprocket and other transmission units will last much longer.

Why do you need to switch speeds

The greatest stress while cycling falls on the knee. The human knee joint is designed in such a way that the viscosity of the fluid that it contains is higher when pedaling slowly, which creates additional resistance to the joint. If the selected gear forces you to pedal very quickly, this also puts unnecessary stress on the joint. Strong overloads can lead to joint problems in the future. The frequency at which you need to pedal, or as it is called “cadence”, is within 100 rpm.

Of course, you do not need to count the number of revolutions while driving. The main factor in choosing the right gear is the driving experience. Maintaining speed on a level surface should be carried out with minimal pedal effort, and at the same time the speed should allow for even breathing. With experience, you will learn to feel the bike well and the gear selection on many surfaces and all speeds will be automatic.

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How to change gears correctly

Gear shifting should only be carried out on the move. The derailleur directs the chain to the sprocket corresponding to the selected gear, after which the chain gradually moves to a new position. In order for the shift system to last longer, the chain must be unloaded before shifting. Until the chain is fully seated in the new gear, you should also not apply excessive force to the pedals.

When changing gears, there should not be any overly noticeable sounds, in most cases this will mean that either the gear shifting is not correct, or the bike needs to be adjusted. Before a sharp climb uphill, it will be better to choose a gear in advance, since during the ascent, at low speed, it will be quite problematic to do it correctly. It is not necessary to shift several gears at once, it is better to do it sequentially, with a full chain transition in each gear.

Which gear combinations are better to use

Modern bicycles have 2-3 stars in the front and 7-10 stars in the back. The fore stars are numbered from small to large, and the rear stars are numbered from large to small. Accordingly, the combination 1-1 allows you to start moving at high resistances, for example uphill, the combination 3-10 allows you to maintain and develop the maximum possible speed. When shifting gears, it is necessary to adhere to such combinations of stars in order to prevent large chain distortion.

In practice, the 3rd gear is shifted in conditions of even asphalt, at a good speed, without noticeable headwinds. Reverse gear, in this case, must be at least fourth.

The second forward gear is used in worse conditions, it can be a dirt road, bad asphalt, windy weather, small surface relief. Reverse gear should be used in the range from 2 to 6-8, depending on the total.

The first gear is used when climbing a hill, passing through marshy areas, sand, mud, snow. Reverse gear is used from 1 to 5-7, depending on the total.

Correct gear shifting (for beginners)

Back in the dashing 90s, there was no such understanding as shifting speeds on a bicycle. Our iron horses had the same speed and were similar to each other, we braked with pedals and did not think about the fact that a cool novelty would appear soon. Bicycles with speeds have a foothold in the market, probably forever. But whether their owners know how to use them correctly, we will discuss below.

It would be strange to have a bike with different gears, but not be able to use them. Even modern children, when they receive a long-awaited two-wheeled friend as a gift, first of all ask the question about the number of its speeds. There is no limit to their joy when they hear some big number (supposedly, the more, the cooler). Cycling professionals always rely on their strengths, and not on this or that gear, but competent gear shifting will only multiply the cyclist’s abilities.

If earlier the bike driver hoped only for himself and adjusted to the terrain, now he has his own assistant.

The bikes are now equipped with two chainrings: front and rear. The front sprocket is the leading and the rear driven.

The correct selection of gear for a particular type of ride is of great importance. There is a whole block of rules on how to switch speeds on a bicycle:

  • It is forbidden to switch speeds if the bike is not moving (planetary gears do not apply to this);
  • While driving, you need to switch speeds at a time when the pedals are not spinning. At this point, the circuit is not under load, hence switching is easy and smooth. In the opposite case, it is fraught with difficulty in shifting gears, breakdown of the entire mechanism or chain;
  • When climbing a hill, you should not increase the speed, this must be done before climbing;
  • If you are new to cycling, you need to change speed after speed without jumping over several. ;
  • Severe misalignment of the chain will adversely affect the performance of the bike.

Tips for caring for your gearshift system

Cyclists are always very sensitive to their bikes. Some even talk to them and ask them not to let them down at the next race. Many treat their pets as if they were alive, so you need to take good care of them often and well. There are situations when the gear changes by itself or does not change when you need it. In most cases, this indicates worn out parts, but often there are cases when grass, dirt and debris gets into the mechanism or the part needs to be lubricated. With regular and proper technical inspection of your two-wheeled friend, he will serve you for a long time and faithfully.

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Always listen to your bike. If something is wrong with him, he will definitely let you know. Sounds that are not inherent in the normal operation of the bike are already a sign that you need to look at the details.

Always check the chain for contamination, adequate lubrication and elongation. Replace every season.

A professional cyclist (as mentioned above) feels his bike well, and intuitively understands when and how to change speed. Everything happens so reflexively that when you need to change the speed, you don’t think about it, but just do.


Cadence is the number of cadences a cyclist takes in one minute. Each cyclist has his own cadence, which must be chosen correctly in order not to get injured, and the pedaling speed was comfortable.

You need to move without changing the rhythm in any gear. This will save you strength for a long time, which in turn will help you drive more way.

How & When To Change Gear On Your Bike | Beginner Cycling Tips

They say that it is obviously impossible to match the speed to the road conditions. There are all sorts of calculations and calculations about this, but they are designed for ideal driving conditions, where the road is smooth as glass and the wind does not resist at all. As soon as one condition changes, all calculations become complete zero. Before choosing a speed, many factors affecting it are taken into account: the quality of the road, the ascents and descents, temperature, tire pressure, sports training and the well-being of the cyclist, the level of adrenaline and blood sugar, etc.

The average pedaling figure ranges from 95 to 115 rpm (assuming driving on a flat surface);

Average pedal scrolling figure ranges from 70 to 90 rpm.

How To Change Gears On A Mountain Bike: 2 Newbie Mistakes Trick.

But these figures are for professionals only. For beginners, however, you need to start gradually improving their performance, from each gear you need to squeeze the maximum and only then switch to the next one, there is no need to rush.

You should also not forget about your health, for example, high gear, combined with a slow pace, will negatively affect the joints of the knees.

In bad weather and bad road conditions, you need to downshift for more torque. The same goes for riding upwind or steep climbs.

September 19, 2018, American, Denise Mueller-Korenek, set the world speed record on a bicycle, 295.6 km / h.

Gear shifting and all the nuances

The simplest bike has up to three sprockets on the front wheel and up to ten on the rear wheel.

For clarity, you can consider a standard 3×8 drive:

  • The largest sprocket at the front is designed to ride on level ground with minimal wind resistance. In classic driving, as a rule, it is paired with several sprockets (from the eighth to the fourth);
  • The second largest sprocket, located at the front, is designed for driving on dirt or uneven roads. Combined with 7th to 2nd rear chainrings. Combination with all rear sprockets is not excluded. At this speed, the bike is more maneuverable, it overcomes wind resistance well;
  • The smallest sprocket at the front is combined with the fourth to first rear sprockets. This transmission is used when driving over rough terrain, on strong descents and ascents, on sandy and wetlands.

Shifting gears while climbing

In order for your iron horse to serve you happily ever after, you should not switch gears while moving (pedaling). This contributes to the wear of the elements.

The most common mistake is that cyclists do not use the front derailleurs, not realizing how convenient and effective it is. Accelerates faster, and the rear derailleur helps you better adjust gears.

The first step is to select the speed, and only then adjust it using the rear derailleur.


In this article, we analyzed how to properly shift gears on a bicycle, learned what cadence is and how important it is to determine the optimal pedaling rhythm for yourself. Gave advice on caring for the gearshift system and found out the absolute record holder of cycling.