Monday, May 19, 2014

A Beginner's Guide on “Gear Shifting” a Mountain Bike


1. When biking, choosing the best gear is a matter of preference. This means that it is you, the rider, who knows what is the best gear to use. A fellow rider or biker can have a different gear from you on a similar trail or terrain.

Left Shifter (left photo) Right Shifter (right photo)
(1) The “left shifter” on your bike controls the front gear or “rings”; the “right shifter” controls the rear gear or “cogs”. (2) The “left shifter” creates a big change in your ride; (3) the “right shifter” is to make small adjustments during your ride; and (3) The “right shifter” is used more often than the “left shifter”.

2. Shift only when you can still “soft pedal” and not when you are already climbing the hill with full force.

3. On flat terrain, shift when you can no longer feel your pedal or the pedal is spinning almost out of control.

Rear Gear (right photo) - composed usually of nine gears or "cogs" from #1 (largest) to #9 (smallest); Front Gear (right photo) - composed of three "rings" from #1(smallest) to #3 (largest).

Gear Selection

While choosing the best gear depends more on the rider, here are some guides worthy to take note of:

4. When starting your ride, it is best that your front gear is at the middle ring (#2) as well as your rear cog (#5). Thereafter, depending on the terrain, you can make simple adjustments:

a) If approaching a hill but before the climb, shift to a lower front gear (#1), and you can gradually shift to a bigger cog (#4, #3, #2 and #1);

b) Once the trail flattens, you can gradually shift the rear gear to the higher but smaller cog (# 4 #5, #6,); and shift your front gear back #2; and

c) If going downhill or riding on a flat road, you may shift your front gear to the biggest ring (#3) and the rear to the lowest cog (#7, #8, #9)

5.  Always remember that lower gears are best for climbing; while higher gears are meant for speed on flat roads and terrain or downhill.

6. In using gears, it is important that the chain of your bike runs in a straight line in order that your bike would perform well.  Thus:

      a) If you are using the smallest ring (#1); use the rear cog (#1 to #5);

      b) if you are using the front middle ring (#2); use the rear cog (#1 to #7); 
      c) If you are using the front gear (#3); use the rear cog (#4 to #9).


7. To get a better feel and understanding of the above suggestions, try hanging your bike where you can freely move the pedals, turn the wheels and try shifting the gears. Observe how the gear shifts from the rings in front and to the cogs at the rear.

8. What is important in gear shifting is to grasp the idea that lower gears are best for uphill rides, higher gears are for speed; and shifting should be done only while you can still “soft pedal”.

    9. To learn proper shifting techniques, ride your bike often and practice.

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