How to Properly Adjust Bicycle Gears

Properly adjusted bike gears will always make your ride better. Unfortunately, not all bikers know the proper way of configuring their bicycle gears.

Now, if you want to know the proper procedures in adjusting gears, continue reading.

Steps for Adjusting Bike Gears

  1. Start by Raising the Bike. Lifting your bike to a fixed point is vital in cleaning bicycle gears and chains, more so when you’re making the adjustment. The proper way of raising your bike is by using a bike stand. However, if you don’t have one, you can turn the bike upside down. Just make sure that the bike rests on the handlebars.
  2. Find the Derailleurs. You also need to locate the derailleurs of your bike. The derailleur is the mechanism that enables your bicycle to shift gears and maintains the position of the bike chain as well. Check the one attached to the back cassette and the smaller derailleur lying near the pedal for the appropriate adjustment.
  3. Test Each Gear for Any Shifting Error. Lightly pedal the bicycle using your hand and engage the different gears. Check the bike gears starting from the back derailleur. Shift to the top gear and then down to the next. You can easily spot problems with the gears when you notice a chain or link slipping out of the derailleurs.
  4. Check the Cable Adjusters. To find the cable adjusters, trace the cables going to the derailleurs. Cable adjuster resembles tiny nuts or drums enclosing the cable. Usually, there are two adjustments attached to a bike, one resting on the handlebars and the other is at the derailleur’s tip. Cable adjusters allow you to make fine tunings to the gears.
  5. Shift to the Problematic Gear. This step will diagnose what gear has defects. Pedal the bike using one hand and then shift to the other gears. Some of the common gear glitches include stuck chain, gear skips, and trouble staying in a particular gear. If you observe one of these, stop shifting the bike and start fixing.
  6. Loosen the Cable Adjuster. You cannot make any adjustments on the gears if the bicycle’s chain does not move to lower gears. To fix this, loosen the cable adjuster by rotating it counterclockwise. Just make sure to turn the adjuster slowly so that it will properly fall into the correct gear.
  7. Tighten the Cable Adjuster for Shifting Glitch. If you encounter a problem in shifting your bike to another gear, the solution lies with the cable adjuster. You can tighten the cable adjuster by turning it clockwise. After doing this, the chain will engage naturally to the lower and upper gears.
  8. Dry Run All the Gears by Shifting Up and Down. You can check the integrity of your work by shifting the chain up and down. Just make sure to shift to every gear and that all the derailleurs follow the swings.
  9. Take a Short Ride to Spot Problems. After shifting all the gears by hand, you must finish the job by taking a short ride. This is very important because there are reported cases of bicycle anomalies when subjected to weight. Just have a short trip, note any problem or oddity, and then make the necessary adjustment on the gears.

Just follow these steps to make sure that the gears of your bike are fit. Always remember that properly adjusted gears will take you to the peak and even beyond.

Shifting Tips: When and How to Use a Particular Gear

If you are a bike enthusiast, you must know the proper shifting of gears. Knowing when to use a specific gear is a plus and is sure to take your career farther from what you expected.

Read the following and do the correct gear shifting next time.

  • Low Gear. The low gear is used for riding upwards. You must change to this gear as you traverse the steep spots to have a steady and comfortable climb.
  • Middle Gear. When you are riding on a flat surface, you need to shift to the middle gear. The middle gear will produce little resistance on the pedal but expect a continued run.
  • High Gear. This gear is best when accelerating, descending, or when you want to ride fast on a flat surface. By using the high gear, you will travel far in every step of the pedal.
Shifting problems and cog spacing

How to Adjust the Rear Derailleur for Better Ride

  1. Gear on Top. Place the gear lever of the rear derailleur to the top portion of gear. Then, rotate the pedals until it reaches the smallest portion of the cassette. If there is a cable adjuster, adjust by turning the adjuster clockwise.
  2. Remove the bolt. After ensuring that the gear lever is fixed on top, the next step is removing the cable-securing screw. Make sure to move the cable far from the derailleur.
  3. Push the Derailleur Manually. Using your hand, turn the pedal to push the derailleur towards the end wheel. If you properly adjust the derailleur’s screw, the chain will automatically fit the largest cog.
  4. Overlap the Clog. If the derailleur falls short from the cog and fails to get into the spokes, you need to rotate the adjusting screw clockwise to make it overlap.
  5. Final Touch. Use the lever to check all the gears. You need to do the final checking several times. If you find that the derailleur is slow when shifting to the lower gears, unscrew the cable adjuster.

Common Bicycle Gears and Their Respective Gains

  1. Standard Double. Racers usually stick to the standard double type of gear because it offers the biggest gear resulting to high-speed pedaling.
  2. Triple. The benefit of having a three-chainring set-up is the option to add a smaller gear. The third ring measures 30t or even lower, which can provide the best gear for climbing steep terrains or hills. The triple is preferred by riders who are always riding on very high lands.
  3. Compact. This gear looks like a double standard gear, but only a smaller version. The reduced ring usually runs in a 34t-36t interior with a 48t or 50t exterior. This gear allows the biker to run down fast in rough and high terrains.
  4. Hub Gears. This gear has a robust and sturdy built. Some of the hub gears available in the market today has 14 gears, but you can also choose between four, seven, eight, nine and 12 gears.
Adjust Bicycle Gears

Gears and Bike Components

  • The Number of Bike Gears. The number of the bicycle gears is determined by just getting the product of sprockets and the number of front chainrings. Thus, if you have 10- speed rear cassette with a triple chainring, you will have a 30- speed bike set up.
  • Reasons for Having Lots of Gears on a Bike. If you want to know the reason why your bicycle has lots of gears, the answer is for continued pedaling even on rough terrains. A high gear or big gear is shifted when going down at high speeds, while the low gear is used to climb high grounds.
  • Single-Speed Bike. In a flat land setting, people would likely use a single-speed bike because it requires low maintenance. Also, racers would prefer the single-speed bike to lighten the weight and eliminate any complications from faulty gear shifting.

These are the guides that will surely take you to the best ride you have ever had.  So, before you pedal, make sure that you have set the bike gears right and understood what you’ve read.