Bike gears: shifting explained for beginners

Use this for hills, or as your bail-out ring when you're totally out of energy. The Driving Force. But in both cases it's easy to end up making a bad choice if you don't know what's behind the sales speak.

Higher gear, higher gear ratio, and more work. Should I try to un-bend and adjust? The same is true of your body pedalling a bike. Stay out of the biggest couple of cogs in the back when you're in the big ring up front.

This is the area which most people don't understand. Not that it's important to do this vs the intuition thing , but it will give you a sense of what's going on. Adjusting the rear derailleur of a bicycle can be a mystery to say the least, and there are many variables that come into play.

chain - Help Me Understand My Bicycle's Gears - Bicycles Stack Exchange

Dave Doh! Notice that this is all independent of how many speeds your bicycle has. This example has three chainrings: For a 48t chainring with a 12t sprocket it has a ratio of 4: Is it right?

Archived from the original on 18 July In more recent times, an increasing number of race bikes are now being fitted with triple chainrings.

Continuing with the car example, using too low a gear at high speed would result in high fuel consumption. Cadence and efficiency when changing gear on a bike. In the left hand illustration, the smallest chainring is selected. Chain Crossing — small chainring This is another example of chain crossing — at the other extreme. By using this website, you agree to our use of cookies. Others find themselves pedalling furiously not getting very far, as they are in too low a gear small cog at the front, large at the rear.

I would probably switch up like so front gear,rear gear: How should I be shifting? Consider them as three gear ranges; in the case of a 3x7 setup, a low gear range with 5 different gears. It feels like there is overlap between the three front gears and that to shift the most 'smoothly' I'd need to constantly change both gears. Understanding the fundamentals of how gears work, and what effect varying the size of the front chainrings and rear cassette sprockets will have on your pedalling will help you choose the most suitable gearing for your ability.

The sprocket at the back has the ability to turn independently in reverse; this is called a "freewheel". The rear derailleur also has spring-mounted jockey wheels which take up any slack in the chain. Here's a pretty good article on Wikipedia about bicycle gearing if you'd like to get more in depth.

By clicking "Post Your Answer", you acknowledge that you have read our updated terms of service , privacy policy and cookie policy , and that your continued use of the website is subject to these policies. Van der Plas Publications. How to use your gears: There may be up to 4 chainrings [11] attached to the crankset and pedals, and typically between 5 and 11 sprockets [12] making up the cogset attached to the rear wheel.

Conversely, for the same pedalling effort, a cyclist could climb a much steeper hill in bottom gear than in top gear.