Home|Gear|Bicycle gears: what is it and how to use it right

Sat.09.2020

Bicycle gears: what is it and how to use it right

bike with gear

Every beginner has the same problem – doesn’t know what to do with bike gears in the first days. But it takes a couple of days to adjust to it and soon it becomes second-nature.

And here is the simplest question for you – would you like to know the basics from reading some free guide or would rather try to understand this already in practice? We can only say that it is way easier for you if someone would explain to you how to maintain a bike with gear.

Especially for those who are into learning some sort of tutorial or a guide we have prepared this article.

Before reading the full content we advise you to read an abstract about it:

  • Quick-term overview – basic definitions in daily use;
  • Biking gears explained in work – how all this works;
  • How to do shifting correctly;
  • Some basic principles of well-treatment of bike’s gears.

Let’s go through the basics: the main daily terms about the bicycle gear

bicycle gear shifter

So, what is the first term you should understand about all these things? The “gears”, of course. You may consider the bike gears the same as “speeds”. For example, if you have a bike with 3 speeds, so the number of gears will also consist of 3 gears. It is way easier to keep in mind. The same goes with 18 gears and 18-speed bikes.

The next term you should bear in mind is that there are high and low gears. Simply, numbers that are located in lower positions are low gears. In overwise, high gears are those that are in a higher position.

Let’s keep going on. The next term-destination is to know what shifting a bike’s gear means. To shift means to switch between one gear to another by using (sliding) the bicycle gear shifter. This device is located on handlebars.

Finally, you should also know what is to “shift up” and “shift down”. When you switch to a lower gear you are doing a downshift (or shift down). By turning on the higher gears you are upshifting (or shift up).

How to tell somebody else what numbers your gears are?

There two ways in which situation you can be. In the first case, you might have an ordinary 3-speed bike. Congratulations! You are very lucky because you have only one shifter that is already marked with a label with numbers: “1-2-3”.

In the second case, you can be an owner of a bike with 18, 21, 24, or 27 speeds. This means that your bike has two shifters. For example, let’s say you have a 21-speed bike. One shifter will have the numbers “1-2-3 and the second will be labeled with numbers “1-2-3-4-5-6-7”. But, if you just want to plus 3 and 7 you will get only 10, so why is it 21 speed? To count speed correctly keep in mind that for every number on the left shifter you get seven on the right one.

Shifting gears on a bike – how it works

  • When you are shifting the shifter moves the chain from one ring to another. You are just moving the lever and it’s it.
  • The left shifter has to change the ring that is next to the pedals of a bike. Number 1 is for the smallest ring, 3 – up to the biggest one. When you shift down by left shift you are going to a smaller ring.
  • By using the right shifter you are changing the ring on the rear wheel. The numbers are from 1 to 7. The biggest ring will be the first and the smallest will be the seventh.

How to use bike gears – a simple guide

shifting bikes

We have prepared a little guide for you in the order you get easier to remember when to shift gears on a bicycle.

Magic words to remember

The first thing you must learn by hard is this sentence: “font (left) gears are for major things, the rear (right) gear is for gradual ones”. This will help to save lots of time. If you try to do it in a hard way just try to use rear gears for common things all day long. You will quickly understand how much time you have wasted by gif against the system.

Also, remember that each company has a unique design of shifter. There is a difference between forms of various types of bikes. For instance, some bikes have grip shifters, mountain bicycles have trigger shifters and road bikes tend to have shifters been integrated into the brake levers.

Don’t do an oveshifting

You must focus on one shifter: don’t do it over time and wait before it will be the clean shifting. How can it be unclear? You might hear some noise or rubbing – this is the sign of unclear shifting.

Don’t do cross-chain!

It is a regular mistake of a rookie because it can be hard to switch only one shifter. How can it happen? If you turn on the big rings on the front and rear wheels. Because of huge torque, the chain can fall off the rings or simply stretch.

Shifting while moving

If you are doing downshift or upshift while you are riding on a bike it can help to do shifting easier, because in most cases the bike must be in movement.

What are the key points of the article?

  • You must know the next terms: gears, high and low gears, shifting, to downshift/upshift;
  • Now you know how to count speeds by seeing the numbers on shifters;
  • You can tell how shifting works in theory;
  • To shift bicycle gears – an easy thing if you know the magic words from the guide.

We hope that this article will make the life of a beginner way easier. Remembering such simple basics will help to keep your chain and rings in good shape.

Don’t forget to read our other articles that will make your ride perfect. Stay toasty!

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