26. How to Shift Your Gears
Learn how to use your full range of gears: applies to 21, 24, and 27 speed shift systems.
Most bikes these days come with '21 speeds'. However, this doesn't mean you have 21 useable gears. Actually, on a 21 speed system it's closer to 13. A lot of people get confused by all of the gear combinations available. I myself didn't understand it when I first started using a multi-speed bike, so today we'll learn how to use your gears most effectively.
It's very important not to shift under pressure, as this will cause shift problems and damage your drivetrain. If you're going uphill and you need a lower gear, keep pedaling, but ease off and pedal lightly while you shift.
Most systems have three gears on the front, which are controlled by your left shifter. The rear gear cluster usually has 7 gears, with some systems having 8 or 9. Not to worry, the concepts here are the same.
For most everday riding, you'll want to keep your chain on the middle ring on the front, or number 2 on your left shifter. This allows you to use the full range of rear gears. Number 1 on your right shifter is the easiest gear for climbing hills, as it puts your chain on the largest rear sprocket. Number 7 on your right shifter is the hardest gear for going really fast, and it puts your chain on the smallest rear sprocket.
I find it helps to think of numbers 1 and 3 on your left shifter as options for extreme circumstances.
If you're climbing a really tough hill and your left 2 and right 1 combination aren't easy enough, you can shift your front derailleur to number 1 which drops the chain down to the smallest front chainring. While you're in the smallest front gear you can shift the rear gears between 1 and 3 for a finer range adjustment, but you should always shift the front back to 2, or the middle chainring before using gears 4-7 on the rear.
If you're going really fast and need a harder gear, and your left 2 and right 7 combination isn't fast enough, you can shift your front derailleur to number 3 which pulls the chain up to the largest front chainring. While you're in the largest front chainring you can shift the rear gears between 5 and 7 for a finer range adjustment, but always shift the front back to 2, or the middle chainring before using gears 1-4 on the rear.
Never use the full range of rear gears when you're in either the small or large front sprockets (number 1 or 3 on the front shifter). This causes too great an angle in your chain line, which can cause noise and shifting problems.
I want to swap the racing handlebar brakes/gear shifters for normal v brake levers and thumb shifters - however the only affordable shifters I can find are for 21 speed (3x7) and my bike is only 14 speed (2x7). Can I set it up so that both the 2 and 3 on the left (front hub) shifter just cause it to be in 2 (because there is no 3rd gear on front)???
Hope I phrased it in an understandable way! its hard to write it out without pointing at stuff ... Read more >>
I wonder if anyone can help with an issue I'm having with my rear derailleur.
I'm not really sure how to describe this but you can see here http://tinypic.com/r/2cwogbb/8 (direct images not working...). Basically when changing gears, the mech (which has recently been professionally fitted) locked up in the stretched out position and now I can't get it back. It has happened a few times before and released itself, but no joy this time.
Sorry if this is discussed el... Read more >>
I bought a very old Mongoose mtn bike from Goodwill for commuting to/from the metro station, and would like to replace its very old Suntour 3000 alpha rear derailleur. Is there a model of derailleur I'm likely to find that will allow me to keep the index shifting? Or should I give up and buy any old other derailleur for continuous shifting?
Thanks!... Read more >>
My bicycle had been shifting erratically on its own. I downshifted and immediately after downshifting a loud CLUNK jammed my tire. This is what the damage looks like---is this ... Read more >>
i bought a raleigh mtrax ht 1.0 but the hanger from the Rear Derailleur is missing ive been in a few bike shops and they are unsure what hanger i need. i've been online and there are hundreds of different shapes and don't want to start wasting money on hangers and they don't fit so if anyone knows the type of hanger i need would be very helpful
here is a stock pic of the bike
I have found what one... Read more >>
i have Hunter Shadow from years ago, probably the 80's, not a high end bike from Hunters in California.
it has 1.25" tubing. i sent it to a bike shop a year ago because I couldn't remedy it and they did a home made type of repair. the bike would never shift into low. same after they repaired it. no difference. the derailleur is the wrong one as it had no cable stop to attached the sheath or jagwire that fed up from the bottom cable stop.. now to the chase. i removed the front derailleur and the small and large chain rings and now have a 36 tooth middle chain ring left on the same crank... Read more >>
Hey guys, I'm a total novice when it comes to working on bicycles and I read through a lot of posts and I watched some youtube videos but I am really confused on how to get my derailleur back on. I was trying to get my back tire off to change the tube and some how the derailleur inadvertently "fell off". Also, a small metal piece fell off with(I did not see any screws land anywhere), which I have no idea where it goes or what it is for.
I don't know hardly any of the biking terminology so it has made it even more difficult for me to understand what I need to do to get it back... Read more >>
My new 10 speed Shimano 105 block came with a skinny aluminum spacer, which was intended to fit behind the block. Does this always need to be fitted or is it for special circumstances? I also have new 10 speed specific wheels and the chain does clear the spokes without the spacer. The new chain is not smooth under pressure, could taking out the spacer be a solution? Thanks.... Read more >>
Dear friends, I wanna buy a bike that will provide me both road and trail usage. and it should be also economical. There are lots of level of quality between shimano accessories such as Tiagra, Xtr.. and also same thing for Sram. Could you advice me the correct hierarchy between models acc to price. And advice a bike for both road and trail usage.Thanks in advance.. http://bikebest.net/versus/... Read more >>
The metal cap at the end of my derailleur cable somehow came loose so now the cable end has unravelled into multiple strands. They are a cut hazard and look ugly. Appreciate any suggestions on how to fix.... Read more >>
It's presently 0 Degrees F, with a -16 wind chill in Chicagoland...
It's been ~3 months since the overhaul of the 2 bikes, and I've been alternating them from the repair stand (Bunji Straps hanging from ceiling joist in basement)..
When I started I figured a squirt of oil was all that was needed. I had no idea what nice bikes I had!
I learned about strange part sizes from Here & Internet.
I learned about parts & "Alternate Parts" procurement from LBS, Here, & Internet.
I learned about loose bearings from the first dis-assembly.. and found b... Read more >>
I have two Deore LX derailleurs... one is a RD550 and the other is a RD565.
Which one is a better derailleur or is there a better one?? Any differences between the two other than the model number?? Both have the SGS long cage.
Trying to figure out the Shimano numbers and quality grades.
Thanks... Read more >>
I have a Boarman Hybrid Pro (2010 Model - White http://road.cc/content/review/4160-boardman-urban-pro-ltd) and the I have had a lot of repairs on it recently.
After the latest repair I noticed the chain was wobbling from left to right more than what I expected. I bought it back to the bike shop but they gave me lip service on the cause and the repair for the problem.
With further inspecition I noticed that that both rear derailleur pulleys are wobbling and are l... Read more >>
Hi, I need to replace and old broken RD-TZ30 drlr 7 speed.
Does anyone know if the Shimano Acera M360 7-8 Speed would be an ok replacement?
It is for an old (but much loved) Schwinn Jaguar beach cruiser.
Thanks!... Read more >>