Types of Bicycle Gear Shifters

Bicycle shifters: design, types, repair

The gearshift system on a bicycle in mass production appeared relatively recently. It was mainly used to make sports bikes.

types, bicycle, gear, shifters

The vast majority of the population was content with single-speed bicycles. Times go by, and the situation has changed exactly the opposite. Singlespeeds on city streets are becoming a rarity.

Bicycle handlebar shifters. description

The shifter is the external feature that distinguishes a multi-speed bike from a single-speed bike. At the beginning of their development, they were installed on the bike frame, now, for the convenience of cyclists, they are placed on the steering wheel. Their professional name is shifters.

If the bike is equipped with two speed switches, then two shifters are installed on the handlebars: one, for controlling the front derailleur, is usually mounted on the left handlebar handle, and for the rear derailleur, on the right.

Design and principle of operation

The structural structure and principle of operation of the shifter is elementary, and since their inception, little has changed.

Consists of several parts: lever handle, movable block, retaining spring, arm of the movable block, wound cable and housing. This design is created in order to “feed” the cable and fix it.

Types of shifters

In the old days, coins were used to feed the cable “by eye” and fix it by tightening the nut.

Today, the technology has improved somewhat: they began to install ratchets, and the process itself was called index.

Shifters are:

Grip shift (rotating handle). The cable tension drum in such shifters is installed on the steering tube and rotates around this axis. Rotating the drum forward or backward changes the tension of the cable.

In the center there is an indicator of the set speed, some other models are equipped with a special remote display with an arrow.

Such models have a number of advantages: the integrity of the device, no unnecessary elements, excellent response to any number of gears and physically easy shifting (great for children and women). The main disadvantages of this design are random gear changes and a decrease in the convenience of grips.

Triggers. This shifter does not need to be twisted, it is equipped with one or two levers for gear shifting: one for increasing, the other for decreasing. Switches speeds in steps, i.e. one push of the lever. one gear change.

The advantages of this design include: intuitive control over gear shifting, no accidental shifting, as in cases with grips and no inconvenience of using grips.

The disadvantages are the fragility of the levers, the problematicness of quick switching to 2-3 gears (delayed operation) and incorrect alignment with the handbrake levers (can interfere with each other).

Dual Control is a development from the Japanese company Shimano. This drive combines two devices: brakes and shifters.

This drive device works in two planes: in the direction relative to the movement of the bicycle. it works as a brake, and in the perpendicular direction. it controls gear shifting.

Types of speed switches on a bicycle

There are only three types of switching mechanisms, in professional slang. derailers, there are only three speeds, two of which differ fundamentally from each other, and the third is hybrids of the first two.

External switch

This switching mechanism is the most common. It is installed on all types of bicycles. In most cases, with the classic gear system (3×8), two of these switches are installed on the bike: one on the large stars, the second on the rear.

The principle of operation of external derailleurs (front and rear) is to mechanically throw the chain from one chainring to another. This is due to the direction of the chain with a special frame. Structurally, the front and rear derailleur are different from each other.

This type of switch is reliable, easy to set up and maintain, has low weight and price.

Internal switch

Significantly different from the outside. On the surface, it may not be detected at all (it looks like a regular brake sleeve). But the fact is that gear shifting does not occur due to the chain throwing to another sprocket, but by changing the gear ratio inside this device.

The principle of operation of the internal switch, if you do not go into technical nuances, is similar to the operation of a gearbox in a car.

This switch is very comfortable to ride, and is not afraid of aggressive external environment, because absolutely protected. Also, the pluses of the internal switch include its property that you can switch it as you like and whenever you like: from 8th to 1st, from 2nd to 7th, whether the bike is in motion or not. this switch does not care.

Of the minuses of this device, they note the heavy weight, the impossibility of repair and, of course, the price.

Combination switch

Internal and external switch hybrid giving users a wider range of options.

The gear ratio control of such a device is more flexible, since in addition to changing the ratio inside the rear hub of the bike, it is possible to choose the use of rear sprockets of different diameters.

Despite its advantages, such a system is not popular among cyclists.

How to choose a speed switch on the steering wheel. tips

Usually, advanced beginners begin to change switches, adjusting the bike for themselves, or those who have a bike repaired. And as practice shows, they all face certain problems. after installing new equipment, the switches do not work correctly, or they are not configured at all.

Since the switches are, albeit the main one, but part of the whole system, they must fully comply with it and the price criterion when choosing a device does not really matter here.

When choosing a rear derailer, the “bike engineer” should consider the following factors:

Switch capacity. This term means with what difference in the number of teeth of the front and rear sprockets the derailer can work, i.e. how long the chain tensioning foot should be at the derailleur.

The capacity is determined in the following way. The difference in teeth in the chainrings is calculated and added to the difference in teeth on the rear chainring.

For example, the front cassette consists of 3 stars, the largest of which has 42 teeth, and the smaller 24. The difference is 18 teeth. Adds to the difference between the rear cassette, which is calculated from 34 and 11 teeth, 23. Total 41 teeth (1823).

Based on this parameter, the choice will be made.

Derailer arm geometry. This parameter cannot be considered without taking into account the characteristics installed on the bike shifters.

When designing a switch, manufacturers can use different geometry of the shoulder travel (trapezoid) of the derailer. And the shifters installed on the bye may not correspond to this design. the cable feed will be more or less. Throwing the chain in these cases will be incorrect, i.e. it will not fall into the plane of the desired star.

The purpose of the bike. When choosing a switch, you need to know exactly what purpose the bike will be used for. Whether it’s a walking or fitness bike, road or touring bike, cross-country or downhill bike, specific switches have been developed for each bike specialization with their own specific characteristics.

If a “soft” derailer for quiet rides is installed for a bike designed for fast cross-country driving, then it will not only fail to switch gears correctly, but will quickly become unusable. For aggressive driving on bumps, you need a derailleur that holds the chain tension well, and allows stable gear shifting in conditions of increased chain shaking.

These 3 fundamental parameters should be considered first when choosing a rear derailleur.

When choosing a front derailar, consider:

  • way of attaching the switch: using a clamp, on a special platform or on the bike carriage.

The most common way is with a clamp. In this case, one should not forget that bicycle tubes can be of different diameters.

  • Cable supply to the switch. Happens on the down and up tube of the bicycle.
  • The guide frames of the switch also differ depending on the number of stars set.
  • Do not forget about such a parameter as chain thickness. Although this parameter is not so critical.

How to replace and sort out the steering wheel shifters yourself?

What you need to consider when replacing the shifters on the steering wheel, discussed in the previous section, so that the release of the cable corresponds to the shift step on the rear cassette.

To remove the shifter from the handlebars

  • First you need to put the shifter in the lowest gear.
  • Unscrew the cable plug and disconnect it. bite off the end of the cable carefully so that the latter is not fluffed.

If this still happened, then the tip should be degreased and soldered with a soldering iron.

  • Take the grip off the wheel.
  • Loosen the lever of the shifter and remove it.

Installation of the shifter on the steering wheel is carried out in the reverse order.

If the coin is dismantled for cleaning, the shifter should be partially disassembled.

  • To do this, it is enough to remove the shifter cover by unscrewing the fastening bolts.
  • Unscrew the nut from the drive drum and disconnect the levers.

Do not forget that the structure is equipped with a spring and before removing the lever, the spring must be relieved.

  • There will be a ratchet drum under the levers.

You should not disassemble further, since this is sufficient for cleaning and lubricating the main components.

Everything is going in the reverse order.

Top Speed ​​Derailleur Manufacturers

The most famous switch manufacturers in the Russian market are Shimano and Sram. Both the first and the second have proven themselves excellent.

For many years there has been a heated discussion among cyclists about which company has the best equipment. Nobody has won in this dispute yet. Quality, lightness and reliability of derailers are the hallmarks of both companies.

How to properly shift gears on a bike?

Gear shifting rules are simple and not so numerous:

  • You need to switch only when the bike is moving. If you don’t pedal, nothing happens.
  • When switching, the load on the bike chain should not be too large. Switching should be soft and smooth.
  • Don’t switch uphill. The speed must be set in advance.
  • Correct speed change is a step change, i.e. one speed at a time. It will save the chain and nerves.
  • If you have a classic system (3×8), then each chainring has its own personal rear chainring. This will prevent chain distortions.

The large chainring is used for cruising. Average is needed for poor asphalt, dirt roads, etc. The small sprocket is invaluable for steep climbs, when driving on sand, long grass, etc.

Gear shifting on a bike is a complex and organic system. It cannot be divided into separate elements: everything must correspond to each other, and then the bike will “fly”.

Bicycle derailleur. Bicycle shifters: design, types, repair

The gearshift system on a bicycle in mass production appeared relatively recently. It was mainly used to make sports bikes.

The vast majority of the population was content with single-speed bicycles. Times go by, and the situation has changed exactly the opposite. Singlespeeds on city streets are becoming a rarity.

Bicycle handlebar shifters. description

The shifter is the external feature that distinguishes a multi-speed bike from a single-speed bike. At the beginning of their development, they were installed on the bike frame, now, for the convenience of cyclists, they are placed on the steering wheel. Their professional name is shifters.

If the bike is equipped with two speed switches, then two shifters are installed on the handlebars: one, for controlling the front derailleur, is usually mounted on the left handlebar handle, and for the rear derailleur, on the right.

Design and principle of operation

The structural structure and principle of operation of the shifter is elementary, and since their inception, little has changed.

Consists of several parts: lever handle, movable block, retaining spring, arm of the movable block, wound cable and housing. This design is created in order to “feed” the cable and fix it.

Types of shifters

In the old days, coins were used to feed the cable “by eye” and fix it by tightening the nut.

Today, the technology has improved somewhat: they began to install ratchets, and the process itself was called index.

Shifters are:

Grip shift (rotating handle). The cable tension drum in such shifters is installed on the steering tube and rotates around this axis. Rotating the drum forward or backward changes the tension of the cable.

In the center there is an indicator of the set speed, some other models are equipped with a special remote display with an arrow.

Such models have a number of advantages: the integrity of the device, no unnecessary elements, excellent response to any number of gears and physically easy shifting (great for children and women). The main disadvantages of this design are random gear changes and a decrease in the convenience of grips.

Triggers. This shifter does not need to be twisted, it is equipped with one or two levers for gear shifting: one for increasing, the other for decreasing. Switches speeds in steps, i.e. one push of the lever. one gear change.

The advantages of this design include: intuitive control over gear shifting, no accidental shifting, as in cases with grips and no inconvenience of using grips.

The disadvantages are the fragility of the levers, the problematicness of quick switching to 2-3 gears (delayed operation) and incorrect alignment with the handbrake levers (can interfere with each other).

Dual Control is a development from the Japanese company Shimano. This drive combines two devices: brakes and shifters.

This drive device works in two planes: in the direction relative to the movement of the bicycle. it works as a brake, and in the perpendicular direction. it controls gear shifting.

Types of speed switches on a bicycle

There are only three types of switching mechanisms, in professional slang. derailers, there are only three speeds, two of which differ fundamentally from each other, and the third is hybrids of the first two.

External switch

This switching mechanism is the most common. It is installed on all types of bicycles. In most cases, with the classic gear system (3×8), two of these switches are installed on the bike: one on the large stars, the second on the rear.

The principle of operation of external derailleurs (front and rear) is to mechanically throw the chain from one chainring to another. This is due to the direction of the chain with a special frame. Structurally, the front and rear derailleur are different from each other.

This type of switch is reliable, easy to set up and maintain, has low weight and price.

Internal switch

Significantly different from the outside. On the surface, it may not be detected at all (it looks like a regular brake sleeve). But the fact is that gear shifting does not occur due to the chain throwing to another sprocket, but by changing the gear ratio inside this device.

The principle of operation of the internal switch, if you do not go into technical nuances, is similar to the operation of a gearbox in a car.

This switch is very comfortable to ride, and is not afraid of aggressive external environment, because absolutely protected. Also, the pluses of the internal switch include its property that you can switch it as you like and whenever you like: from 8th to 1st, from 2nd to 7th, whether the bike is in motion or not. this switch does not care.

Of the minuses of this device, they note the heavy weight, the impossibility of repair and, of course, the price.

Combination switch

Internal and external switch hybrid giving users a wider range of options.

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The gear ratio control of such a device is more flexible, since in addition to changing the ratio inside the rear hub of the bike, it is possible to choose the use of rear sprockets of different diameters.

Despite its advantages, such a system is not popular among cyclists.

How to choose a speed switch on the steering wheel. tips

Usually, advanced beginners begin to change switches, adjusting the bike for themselves, or those who have a bike repaired. And as practice shows, they all face certain problems. after installing new equipment, the switches do not work correctly, or they are not configured at all.

Since the switches are, albeit the main one, but part of the whole system, they must fully comply with it and the price criterion when choosing a device does not really matter here.

When choosing a rear derailer, the “bike engineer” should consider the following factors:

Switch capacity. This term means with what difference in the number of teeth of the front and rear sprockets the derailer can work, i.e. how long the chain tensioning foot should be at the derailleur.

The capacity is determined in the following way. The difference in teeth in the chainrings is calculated and added to the difference in teeth on the rear chainring.

For example, the front cassette consists of 3 stars, the largest of which has 42 teeth, and the smaller 24. The difference is 18 teeth. Adds to the difference between the rear cassette, which is calculated from 34 and 11 teeth, 23. Total 41 teeth (1823).

Based on this parameter, the choice will be made.

Derailer arm geometry. This parameter cannot be considered without taking into account the characteristics installed on the bike shifters.

When designing a switch, manufacturers can use different geometry of the shoulder travel (trapezoid) of the derailer. And the shifters installed on the bye may not correspond to this design. the cable feed will be more or less. Throwing the chain in these cases will be incorrect, i.e. it will not fall into the plane of the desired star.

The purpose of the bike. When choosing a switch, you need to know exactly what purpose the bike will be used for. Whether it’s a walking or fitness bike, road or touring bike, cross-country or downhill bike, specific switches have been developed for each bike specialization with their own specific characteristics.

If a “soft” derailer for quiet rides is installed for a bike designed for fast cross-country driving, then it will not only fail to switch gears correctly, but will quickly become unusable. For aggressive driving on bumps, you need a derailleur that holds the chain tension well, and allows stable gear shifting in conditions of increased chain shaking.

These 3 fundamental parameters should be considered first when choosing a rear derailleur.

When choosing a front derailar, consider:

  • way of attaching the switch: using a clamp, on a special platform or on the bike carriage.

The most common way is with a clamp. In this case, one should not forget that bicycle tubes can be of different diameters.

  • Cable supply to the switch. Happens on the down and up tube of the bicycle.
  • The guide frames of the switch also differ depending on the number of stars set.
  • Do not forget about such a parameter as chain thickness. Although this parameter is not so critical.

How to replace and sort out the steering wheel shifters yourself?

What you need to consider when replacing the shifters on the steering wheel, discussed in the previous section, so that the release of the cable corresponds to the shift step on the rear cassette.

To remove the shifter from the handlebars

  • First you need to put the shifter in the lowest gear.
  • Unscrew the cable plug and disconnect it. bite off the end of the cable carefully so that the latter is not fluffed.

If this still happened, then the tip should be degreased and soldered with a soldering iron.

  • Take the grip off the wheel.
  • Loosen the lever of the shifter and remove it.

Installation of the shifter on the steering wheel is carried out in the reverse order.

If the coin is dismantled for cleaning, the shifter should be partially disassembled.

  • To do this, it is enough to remove the shifter cover by unscrewing the fastening bolts.
  • Unscrew the nut from the drive drum and disconnect the levers.

Do not forget that the structure is equipped with a spring and before removing the lever, the spring must be relieved.

  • There will be a ratchet drum under the levers.

You should not disassemble further, since this is sufficient for cleaning and lubricating the main components.

Everything is going in the reverse order.

Top Speed ​​Derailleur Manufacturers

The most famous switch manufacturers in the Russian market are Shimano and Sram. Both the first and the second have proven themselves excellent.

For many years there has been a heated discussion among cyclists about which company has the best equipment. Nobody has won in this dispute yet. Quality, lightness and reliability of derailers are the hallmarks of both companies.

How to properly shift gears on a bike?

Gear shifting rules are simple and not so numerous:

  • You need to switch only when the bike is moving. If you don’t pedal, nothing happens.
  • When switching, the load on the bike chain should not be too large. Switching should be soft and smooth.
  • Don’t switch uphill. The speed must be set in advance.
  • Correct speed change is a step change, i.e. one speed at a time. It will save the chain and nerves.
  • If you have a classic system (3×8), then each chainring has its own personal rear chainring. This will prevent chain distortions.

The large chainring is used for cruising. Average is needed for poor asphalt, dirt roads, etc. The small sprocket is invaluable for steep climbs, when driving on sand, long grass, etc.

Gear shifting on a bike is a complex and organic system. It cannot be divided into separate elements: everything must correspond to each other, and then the bike will “fly”.

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.

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.

Bicycle speed selector: types and choices

Modern bicycles are equipped with gearshift switches, which are especially useful when riding on a variety of terrain. Of course, in order to understand which switch option to choose and how to properly care for it, it is better to familiarize yourself with it and its features in more detail.

Description and purpose

The greatest comfort while cycling and excellent energy saving is provided by a gearshift or derailer. With it, you can choose the optimal travel mode, which is fully suitable for a specific route. The switch is especially useful if the track changes from paved to off-road trail.

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You also have to use the device when accelerating, smoothly braking, climbing uphill. It is worth noting that thanks to the switch on the bike, you can maintain a constant speed, which is very convenient when overcoming long distances. Difficult weather conditions such as strong winds or slippery tracks are also easier to handle with a derailer. It’s no secret that the bike is a great cardio trainer, which is greatly facilitated by the speed switch.

Derailer, which we know today, was invented in the 50s of the XX century by an Italian cyclist. The classic design is a block of stars. The unit that is installed in the front is called a system, and that in the back is called a cassette. The gears are shifted by shifting the bike chain to the side, which ultimately allows the chain to lie on the selected sprocket.

All stars differ in diameter, and the chain has a fixed length. Thus, it sags, but this moment is removed by a special tension spring, which is located on the rear of the switch.

Typically, bicycles have 1 to 3 drive sprockets and 3 to 12 driven sprockets. This number creates over 30 speed combinations. Of course, some transmissions can be repeated.

The switches are controlled by cables. The tension of the cables can be adjusted using the shift knobs. There are shifters on the handlebars that pull the cable. When you press the shifter, the frame is displaced, and the chain is thrown to the adjacent star.

There is also an option where the switch looks like a drum that simply spins to the desired speed mark. The bicycle derailleur can also be designed as a trigger or a combination handle. Recently, electronic shift control is gaining popularity, which allows you to shift through all the stars at once.

It is worth taking a closer look at how a traditional speed switch works. The system speeds are located on the left side of the rudder handle, and the cassettes are located on the right side. When shifting the chain from one chainring to another, it is important that the pedals rotate. Also, it is impossible to pedal back in the process of switching between speeds so that the chain does not jam and the transmission does not break. It should be noted that there is no rear derailleur on models with foot brakes.

Modern manufacturers present different types of switches, which are created for different types of cycling.

  • The external derailleur is the most common type and consists of front and rear derailleurs. This option works by throwing the chain between the stars through the frame. The advantages of this switch include lightness, clear design, and a large number of speeds. Also, energy is not lost due to friction of mechanisms inside.

However, it must be taken into account that such a switching system is subject to weather conditions. Over time, the chain will wear out due to strong distortion. Gears can only be changed while driving, and it is important to protect the bike from falling. Among the disadvantages, users also note the need for frequent maintenance.

  • An internal or planetary derailleur is a mechanism that sits on the inside of the hub at the back. It has only one star in the back and front, and a chain. The number of speeds in such models starts from 3. Most cycling models with planetary hubs are also equipped with a built-in brake system, which is very convenient.

The advantages include high resistance to unfavorable weather and bad roads, high reliability, durability, ease of maintenance. Also important is shifting gears without pedaling. In this case, you need to know that the internal switches have an impressive weight. In such models, excessive friction of the nodes occurs, which leads to difficulties in movement. Among the minuses, it is worth noting the complexity of the repair.

  • Combined. a hybrid of planetary and external switches. Most often they are equipped with urban models of bicycles. This type is characterized by the pros and cons of both switching mechanisms.

Popular brands

The most popular brand currently is Shimano. This company is known for producing a wide variety of switches, ranging from the cheapest to professional models. Many models from the manufacturer Shimano allow you to choose the best option for any bike: road, city or mountain. For beginners, the “Sora” or “Tiagra” model is an excellent option.

Among the popular manufacturers, Sram is worth noting. This company manufactures speed switches in different price segments. The main difference is the absence of thematic lines. Among the simplest and cheapest are the models “X-3” and “X-4”, and among the highest quality “X-7” and “X-9”.

Shimano’s main competitor in the near future is the Taiwanese manufacturer Microshift. The main feature of the company is good quality at low prices. Many European countries have already appreciated the speed switches of this company. It is worth noting that among the advantages of this brand there is another very important one. full compatibility with Shimano derailleurs. This plus can be used very profitably during repairs.

For lovers of the highest quality, you should pay attention to the German manufacturer Rohloff. Its planetary hubs are carefully selected and hand-assembled only. The advantages of the products of this company are huge, but it will also be quite expensive to pay for them.

How to choose?

The choice of gear shifter on a bicycle primarily depends on the price issue. However, it is important to consider some technical characteristics. One of the most important is the type of attachment. The following mounting options are currently available:

  • clamp to the frame pipe;
  • on a special site;
  • on the carriage of the bicycle.

It should be borne in mind that the last two options are quite rare guests on the modern market. When fastening with a clamp, consider the thickness of the bike frame.

When choosing a derailleur, it is also important to choose the type of steering cable wiring. Most often, the cable is pulled to the gear selector or down the bottom tube under the carriage or the top tube of the frame. Thus, there are universal derailleurs, as well as top or bottom link.

Another important point is the parameters of the star system. Two or three speed systems are most common. It is also important to know the number of stars in the rear derailleur as the chain thickness depends on this. It is better to take into account the dimensions of the largest sprocket, the capacity of the system, the minimum difference of teeth on the large and medium sprockets, the length of the carriage axis and the angle of the chainstays.

Installation and adjustment

Setting the gear selector is not an easy task, and it will be very difficult for a beginner to cope with it especially. Better to leave it to a specialist. But the rear and front derailleurs are worth learning how to set up yourself. This requires a number 5 hex wrench and a Phillips screwdriver. It is most convenient to set up when the bike is in a position with the wheels up.

The rear derailleur adjustment is as follows.

  • The chain by pressing the shifter on the right side of the handlebars is thrown to the smallest sprocket.
  • Next, the switch is unlocked by releasing the screw that holds the cable. This is done by unscrewing the screw marked “H” with a screwdriver.
  • This screw adjusts the stars holding the chain so that they are located along the same line.
  • Now you need to pull the cable, and then fix it using the screw.
  • Next, the switch is checked for proper operation. If necessary, you can improve the transition to large stars by turning the wing counterclockwise.
  • By pressing the shifter, the chain is transferred to the smallest star.
  • Use the screw marked “L” to adjust the switch position so that the largest sprocket and the switch foot are in line.

Front derailleur adjusts slightly differently.

  • The shifter moves the chain to the smallest sprocket at the front and the largest at the back at the same time as the pedals are pressed.
  • Then the screw holding the cable is released. This is done with a hexagon.
  • With the screw marked “L” using a screwdriver, move the frame so that the distance between its inner part and the chain is about 4 mm.
  • Then the cable is pulled and the screw is tightened that holds it.
  • To debug another star, you need to throw the chain at the back to the minimum star, and leave it at the smallest in the front. If the chain touches the frame, then you need to adjust the cable with a thumb, which is located on the left side of the steering wheel. It is worth remembering that the lamb must be mixed counterclockwise.
  • The third star is adjusted with a screw marked “H” and a screwdriver.

Subtleties of operation

The gear shifter on a bicycle works precisely and for a long time if it is used correctly. To do this, you should familiarize yourself with some recommendations. For example, switching between speeds should only be done while cycling. It is also recommended to reduce the pressure of the feet on the pedals when changing gears, especially this will facilitate the condition of the front derailleur.

Before going uphill, it’s best to change gears ahead of time. This advice should be followed by beginners who do not yet know how to “feel” their transport. Also, do not shift multiple gears at once. The transition between gears should be carried out gradually so that the chain has time to jump to the previous sprocket.

It is important to learn how to avoid over-skewing the chain. This happens if you use both small or large chainrings and chainrings.

How to choose a bike derailleur in the video.

Why the bike does not switch speeds, how to fix a breakdown

Cycling is often burdened with all sorts of problems, so constant maintenance is a must. Nevertheless, certain difficulties do arise sometimes. If something is wrong with the transmission components, then the transport in most cases fails. In particular, drivers sometimes complain that they do not switch gears on their bike: this kind of breakdown can be associated with various reasons. However, it can be easily repaired if the switch is readjusted correctly or worn parts are replaced.

Switch types

Bicycle derailleurs can differ in structure and mechanism of action. There are three types of systems:

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  • internal switching (planetary bushings);
  • external switching;
  • combined.

Internal shift mechanism is a non-standard option. Unlike the external unit, there are no sprocket and tooth cassettes or paddle switches. On these bicycles, everything is different. It has only one sprocket in front, a chain and another one in the back. The mechanism itself is located inside the rear hub. Thanks to this structure, it is resistant to adverse conditions (including bad weather), durable and reliable. over, it is easy to operate with it: you do not need to pedal to switch gears, and the brake can be built-in at all.

External switching mechanisms are a more common solution. They can be located in front or behind. At the front bicycle derailleur, the chain is transferred from one chainring to another according to this principle: it passes through the frame, which can be moved thanks to the parallelogram mechanism. When switching, the frame moves and takes a position above the required sprocket, and under its influence, the chain jumps to a similar position.

The rear derailleurs seem to work in a similar way. However, when using them, more stars are involved. For the front transmissions, up to 3 are enough. the rear ones can work with cassettes up to 9 stars.

External switch Shifter Planetary hub

Different types of speed switches have their own advantages and disadvantages:

  • Versatile, even suitable for bicycles with non-standard geometry;
  • simplicity of design is a guarantee that it is easier to maintain and repair in the event of a malfunction
  • The derailleur frame can touch the bike frame, which leads to an incorrect setting of the speed mode;
  • under load, it is quite difficult to transfer the chain (especially from a smaller sprocket to a large one)
  • The heavy weight of the structure can complicate the operation of the bike;
  • due to constant friction, rapid wear of the mechanism is possible

Rear Front

Causes of breakdowns

If the bike does not change gears, you need to find out the cause of the malfunction. This kind of problem can be associated with various factors:

  • Improper condition of cables and shirts. For effective gear shifting, these parts must be intact and clean. If there is contamination, they must be removed. If the cable is damaged due to wear (fluff or torn), it must be replaced with a new one.
  • Lack of lubrication. If there are no dirt or defects, but the bike does not shift gears well, the cable can be treated with Teflon grease. This will ensure proper glide. It is strictly forbidden to lubricate parts with thick compounds (like grease).
  • Deformation of the bicycle cock. The rear derailleur device may malfunction due to bracket problems. He could easily bend while transporting the bike. This nuisance is especially relevant in the case of purchasing a new bicycle.
  • Backlash between parts. During prolonged operation, the rear derailleur may have large gaps between the cable and other structural elements. Free wheeling is not always a bad thing, but if the speed does not switch immediately or it is difficult for the driver to adjust the mode he needs, then the backlash has increased significantly and the switch needs to be reconfigured.

Timely maintenance of your bike is essential to avoid breakage. Any changes in its work can signal possible problems. This does not necessarily indicate defects or wear. The gearshift mechanism may not work correctly due to the common mistakes of beginners. incorrect transmission settings or untimely cleaning of parts.

It is also important to be able to use it correctly to avoid breaking the speed switch on your bike. Firstly, it is possible to change the speed mode only while driving. if the pedals do not rotate, then an attempt to move the chain can lead to a breakdown of the entire structure. Secondly, this should be done only when driving on a flat surface and not uphill. If there is a climb ahead, you must change the speed in advance. Thirdly, for a smooth shifting, you should ease the load on the pedal (especially if the bicycle has a front derailleur).

The speed mode must be changed sequentially one by one. without skipping over several.

Deformation of the bicycle hinge Broken cable Loop between parts Lack of lubrication

Correct setting

First of all, you need to make sure that all parts are intact and undeformed. If this is not the case, the bike components must be replaced and only then proceed to setting the speeds. In particular, it is required to check for suitability:

Of the tools, you only need a wrench to tighten the threaded connections, with which you can tighten the bolts. When replacing the cable, pliers can also come in handy to help “bite off” the excess part. The further sequence of actions depends on the type of switch.

To work you need a torque wrench

If you need to adjust the rear derailleur, the instructions will be as follows:

  • The chain must be on the largest star in the front and the smallest in the back.
  • The bolt that fixes the rear crossover cable must be unscrewed.
  • The derailleur rollers should be set so that they are in the same plane with the desired sprocket. To do this, you just need to rotate the bolt with the inscription “H” until they take the required position.
  • Pull the cable well and tighten the bolt.
  • Then the speed switches to the lowest (so that the chain radically changes its position and is on the largest star at the back and smallest at the front).
  • The “L” screw must be turned until the derailleur rollers are directly opposite the large sprocket.
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For the derailleur on the rear wheel to work properly, it is important that the cable is not overtightened. If the transition from one speed to another is difficult, you should use the shifter. It will allow you to change the tension of the cable. then the switch will not work so tightly.

The front steering wheel switch is configured differently:

  • With the help of the rear shifter, you need to go to the middle star. This is necessary in order to avoid severe distortion of the chain.
  • The chain is installed in first gear, and the bolt securing the cable is unscrewed.
  • Turning the “L” screw will move the transfer frame so that the distance between the chain and the derailleur on both sides is the same.
  • Tighten the cable (not too much) and secure with a bolt.
  • After that, you need to switch to the largest star in front.
  • Screw “H” should be turned until the chain is exactly in the middle of the frame.

You can adjust the adjustment results with the thumb on the shifter, as is the case with the rear derailleur. If the triggers are too tight, it is recommended to loosen the cable tension slightly. If you complete each step in accordance with the instructions, the switch will work properly.

Combinations of stars

The speed of the bike is directly dependent on the gear cost. When transferring the chain from one chainring to another, the transport will go faster or, conversely, slower on the front gears and rear cassette. The number of speed modes, by the way, depends on the design of the transport:

  • If he has one front gear and a rear cassette for 6-7 stars, the bike provides 6-7 speeds.
  • If its design is equipped with 3 chainrings and a similar rear cassette with 6-7 stars, as in the first case, then the number of gears increases to 18 and more.
  • Rear cassettes with 9-10 stars are rare. They are used only by professional bicycles with a record number of speeds up to 27-30.

Different combinations of front and rear sprockets, in turn, allow you to choose the right mode for cycling in different conditions:

Types of handlebar speed switches on a bicycle

If you already ride or if you are just choosing a bike, then you have probably heard the name more than once. “shifters”. The shifter is the external feature that distinguishes a multi-speed bike from a single-speed bike. In this article we will tell you about the gear derailleurs that are installed on the bicycle handlebars.

What are modern shifters?

Shifters. in modern bicycles, special devices attached to the handlebars (previously attached to the frame) and allowing you to change gears. Changing gears is carried out, as a rule, by transferring force from the shifters through a cable drive to the switches, which change the position of the chain on the stars in order to change the gear ratio.In case of a bicycle equipped with two gear switches (front and rear), two shifters are installed on the handlebars. The left-hand lever is responsible for the front derailleur, and the right-hand lever is responsible for the rear derailleur. Also, the shifter activates the gearshift mechanism integrated into the rear hub of the bike (we are talking about planetary hubs).

Initially, the shifters were of a frictional nature, and the cable, stretched to the right degree, providing the chain transfer to the desired star, had to be fixed with a nut or other method. Significant progress in this area was achieved with the invention of the index method of gear shifting, when a ratchet mechanism began to be built into the shifter.

Types of shifters

There are many fundamentally different types of shifters. these are lever (keyboard), trigger shifters, the so-called grip-shift, monoblocks and dual-control shifters.

2.1 Friction shifters (primitive lever shifters).

Friction shifters are not used at all today, and only occasionally can you see them on old sports bicycles. They were usually mounted on a bicycle frame. Such a shifter consists of a lever with which the cable is pulled. The cable is fixed due to the friction force, there are no special fixing elements.

Hence the first drawback. if the tightening is weak, then there is an unauthorized downshift, if too strong, then it becomes difficult to switch. In addition, the clarity of the gear changes is poor. The more the cable is pulled, the further the handle becomes, which only adds to the inconvenience. Despite the fact that the friction shifters are solid flaws, there was no need to choose at that time.

2.2 Index single lever shifters

Thumb-lever shifters are practically not used today. Simple entry-level system. one lever that shifts gears forward and backward, attaches to a clamp on the handlebars. In terms of their design, index switches are similar to friction shifters. The difference is the presence of a special fixing washer, which is triggered when the switch is opposite the desired star.

2.3 Double-lever shifters

Lever construction is more perfect and stably working. Switching is done by pressing the levers. Structurally, double-lever shifters are 2 levers, which must be pressed and then the speed will change. These shifters are installed on all types of bicycles except for road bikes.

When you press one of the levers, the cable is stretched and an increase in gear occurs. Pressing the second lever down the gear. After pressing, the levers return back, which is very convenient, since there is no need to reach for the lever in higher gears. This type of shifter is great for driving on difficult terrain, as you do not need to take your hands off the steering wheel to change speed.

Double-lever shifters: 2.4 Gripshifts (re-shifts, twist-shifters)

Grip shift (grip-shift) in translation from English means “revolving handle”. In rotary type shifters, shifting is done by turning the handle around the handlebars. Gripshifts are not as popular as lever shifters and are mainly used on entry-level children and adults.

In such shifters, shifting occurs by rotating part of the shifter around the rudder tube. Clicking the shifter means the cable is locked in the desired position. Clarity of shifting is slightly less, but this is compensated by the ability to shift several gears at once.

2.5 Dual Control Road Bike Shifters

All of the shifters listed above are not suitable for use on road bikes. Previously, friction and index shifters were used, which were installed on the bike frame. But to date, special shifters have been developed, combined with the brake levers, and are called “dual-control”.

2.6 Shifters for internal switches (planetary hubs)

For bicycles with planetary hubs, special shifters for internal derailleurs can be used. Such a shifter is similar to a gripshift, or it combines a rotary handle and a trigger lever.

Types of handlebar speed switches on a bicycle

First of all, it will be useful to answer the question: “And why are there gear selection mechanisms on a bicycle??”. The fact is that the correct choice of gear allows you to vary the cadence (cadence) and the effort on them for the most efficient distribution of energy. This happens by changing the gear ratio between the pedals and the wheel. For example, when driving up a steep hill, you must select a gear lower: in this case, the effort required to press the pedal will decrease, although the number of revolutions of the pedals required to drive up the hill will increase. If, on the contrary, you are driving down a steep mountain, then you must select the highest gear that will allow you to develop the maximum speed. It was in order to change gears on the go that various types of switches were invented.

Switch types

All bicycle derailleurs can be divided into two main types:

  • internal gear shifting mechanisms;
  • external gear shifting mechanisms;
  • combined mechanisms.

Internal shift mechanisms (planetary hubs)

On a bike equipped with this type of derailleur, you will not see cassettes with sprockets of different sizes and with different numbers of teeth and hinged derailleurs. As a result, the wheel drive has only one sprocket in the front, a chain and one sprocket in the back. How then is gear selection ensured? The fact is that the entire mechanism in this case is inside the rear hub.

Appearance of the planetary hubThe structure of the planetary hub

Currently, a fairly large number of planetary bushings are produced with various numbers of gears (from 3 to 14). In addition, the vast majority of planetary hubs have a built-in brake. These gear shifting mechanisms are most widely used on road and walking bikes, although sometimes they can also be found on mountain bikes.

The advantages of planetary bushings are:

  • resistance to adverse road and weather conditions, due to the fact that the switching mechanism is completely in the housing;
  • built-in brake;
  • high reliability and durability;
  • the ability to shift gears without pedaling;
  • ease of maintenance.

However, planetary hubs have significant disadvantages:

  • high weight;
  • strong friction of nodes, which complicates movement;
  • repairability in field conditions.

External switching mechanisms. Front derailleur.

Its task is to transfer the chain from one chainring to another. The principle of operation of such a switch is very simple: a chain passes through a frame that moves thanks to a parallelogram mechanism. If it is necessary to switch, this frame moves and takes a position above the corresponding sprocket, as a result of which the chain also jumps to it.

Shimano deore XT front derailleur

The front derailleurs differ in several ways, as shown below.

  • Method of attachment to the frame. The most commonly used fastening with clamps. over, the clamps themselves can be designed for different diameters of the seat tube, which should be taken into account when purchasing. However, there is a mounting method in which the plate holding the switch is clamped by a carriage or cartridge in order to be able to mount the switches on frames with non-standard geometries.
  • Installation angle in relation to the frame. If this parameter is selected incorrectly, a situation may arise in which the derailleur frame touches the bike frame. In this case, correct gear shifting becomes impossible.
  • Method of fastening the cable. The drive cable, depending on the method of attachment to the bike frame, can be brought to the switch from the bottom or from the top. There are universal models of switches that are designed for two connection methods, but there are also those that are designed for only one.

In general, all front derailleurs have one significant drawback: they are practically unable to transfer the chain from one chainring to another under load (especially from a smaller chainring to a large one). Manufacturers are trying to solve this problem, as a result of which various systems appear that use pedaling energy for shifting. However, they are expensive and not very efficient.

Types of bike speed switches

This short article will focus on shifters and brake levers.

When cycling, the rider’s body positioning should be considered, which is why several types of derailleurs have appeared on the market. Mountain biking shows the biggest differences in style and switch placement.

Switch types can also vary from region to region, and many popular designs of this device can be seen every decade. Functionality and price also affect what style of shifter a person can use.

Thumb switches

This type of derailleur is most commonly found on mountain bikes. Derailleurs are mounted on straight handlebars adjacent to the brake lever.

Some switches of this type are located on the top of the handlebars, while newer models are located on the bottom of the handlebars for easy positioning.

Older models usually have friction-based switches. That is, the rider must manually adjust the cable tension by pushing up or down. Newer models have slots in which each press accesses a specific gear in the transmission.

The newest thumb switches also have a second index finger lever. Some switches of this type are integrated into the brake lever.

Rotary handle switch

These switches are relatively new in terms of mechanism evolution. Rotary handle mounts on straight handlebars and aligns with standard handle.

The rider simply twists his hand towards or away from himself to increase or decrease the speed, respectively.

The main advantage of this style is that the rider has immediate access to shifting without having to move his hand elsewhere. The downside is that this type of switch wears out quickly, and parts of the mechanism are easily grinded, which can lead to slipping.

This is because rotary knob switches are integrated into the steering wheel and can be more difficult and time consuming to maintain.

Curved handlebar combination switches

The road bike combination brake and shift lever is the newest model in the evolution of bicycle gear. On uneven roads, the steering wheel, brake lever and shifter are integrated into one well-tuned mechanism that reduces overall weight and shift times.

The shift lever is located directly behind the brake, while both levers move independently and do not interfere with each other’s functionality. Each combo shifter must be set to match its assigned derailleurs and gear sets.

Other types

The rest of the models are mounted on the spindle, bottom bushing and handlebar end. Stick derailleurs are most commonly found on older road bikes, are made from the simplest metals, and use a friction rather than rotation system.

Derailleurs mounted on the bottom hub of road bikes are designed to reduce the amount of cables used. Bicycles with this type of fastening are more streamlined. The shift lever is mounted on the steering wheel and inserted directly into its rear.

This style allows the rider to ride with their hands on the bar ends. Thus, focusing more on shifting rather than braking.