How to Shift Gears on a Bike for Dummies: Guideline In 2021


How to Shift Gears on a Bike for Dummies

It seems very difficult for a beginner to understand how the gear of bike works. If you are a beginner, then it would seem very complex.

As a result, you will start thinking that you will not be able to understand it anymore.

There are many parts like gearset, cassette, compact, derailleurs, and etc. But, in reality, it is very simple to understand the working process of gears. Once, you understand it, then it will be very much easy for you but, you have to start cycling first.

So, if you are a beginner cyclist, and you are interested to know how gear shifting works, then, you are in the right place.

Let’s jump into the discussion without wasting time.

How to Shift Gears on a Bike for Dummies? A Proper Guideline for Beginners! 

As a beginner to understand the whole working process of gear shifting, you have to understand the basics first. So, at first, we are going to share the basics with you guys.

The Basic of Bicycle’s Gears

Well, when you are cycling a bike, you are the engine or the power supplier that forces the bike to move forward.

When you start pedaling, you are forcing the rear wheel to help your bike to move forward.

But, how and why do the rear wheel force your bike?

1. The answer is your bike’s gears. As you are giving the power to the bike using your legs that is constant. But, with the road condition, environment, and wind power, your bike’s speed will vary.

2.So, to help with that issue, the different gear ratios will help you to move forward with the constant speed. But, you need to know in which situation what gear ratio, you should use.

3.Most of the commuter bikes come with front and rear gears. The front gears are chainrings and the rear gears are cassettes.

4.On the crankset, there will be two to three chainrings. The outer chainring is the largest with more teeth. But, the inner chainrings are consequently smaller with fewer teeth.

5.The smaller chainring is more helpful to get more torque and speed with less effort and energy. And, the larger chainring is harder to pedal and it will provide you less speed.

Let’s Have a Quick Glance at Shifting

1. To shift onto the different gear or chainring upfront, you will have to lift the left shifter

2.If you want to shift one of the rear gears, you will have to lift the right shifter. You will have to shift this gear the most often

3.For getting a smoother shifting experience, while using the shifter you will have to pedal lightly. Make sure that you are not back-pedaling

4.There will be not enough resistance if you are cycling too fast. At that moment, shifting into a gear that is harder will be an advantage for you. It will help you to move forward faster

5.It will be hard for you to turn over the pedals if you are pedaling too slow. You don’t have to worry about shifting into an easier gear. This will make your ride more comfortable and easier

6.If we want to make this thing easier and efficient for you guys, then we would say that moving the chain closer to your bike will make your ride more easier and comfortable. This thing is shared by the FC Chambers

7.Most importantly, if you want to make it easier and comfortable for you, then you will have to practice more and more. There is no other way to be a pro cyclist instead of practice.

So, we suggest you practice more and more… 😉 

Now, You are Going to Learn About Your Bike’s Shifter

As we mentioned before, the left-hand shifter will help you to change the front gears. And, the right-hand shifter will help you to change the rear gears.

If you cannot remember the shifting, then remember our single piece of advice that “Right Shifter is for the Rear Gears”.

The functions of the shifters and gears may vary from brand to brand. But, the main function of changing gear by shifting is the same.

For that reason, we suggest you guys that you know how your shifters and gears work from the seller when you are buying your desire bike.

Right Now, We will Talk About Your Bike’s Gears! Some Shifting Techniques!  

 basic of shifting bike gears

Image Source: Pinterest

In most of the bicycles, there will be one to three chainrings or gear in the front section of gears. And, there will be seven to twelve chainrings or gears in the rear gears section.

The combination of the ratio of the front and rear gears varies from model to model and brand to brand of bikes.

To understand the game of shifting gears, you will need to practice cycling more and more. For that, we suggest the beginner cyclist choosing an empty place.

We mean you should avoid the traffic at first when you are learning gear shifting or cycling.

Let’s Know When You Should Shift the Gears! Interested?

It is the most important part for beginner cyclists who are interested to know the proper gear shifting. You should know which road condition and environment condition, you need what gear combination ratio.

It is very much important. Because without a proper gear combination ratio, you will be in trouble while riding.

Want to know the right gear ratio?

1. When you are on a hill track. You will want to shift onto the easier gear. When you are climbing the hill roads, then you should use the easier gear. And, when you are riding on flat roads, then you will have to use the hard gear to move faster. That will help you for moving forward in the windy environment too.

2. When you want comfortable riding, then you have to use the middle chainrings of the rear gear section. It will make your riding bicycling more comfortable.

3. If you don’t want the cross chaining while riding, then your gear combination should be like this – the biggest chainring of the front and the biggest rear chainring too. Otherwise, you may make a combination like this – the smallest chainring of the front and the smallest rear chainring too. This will avoid cross chaining while you are riding.

But, as we mentioned before that there is no alternative to practicing more and more to be perfect while shifting the gears. So, be patient and practice more and more because you will not learn cycling overnight.

How Do Road Bike Gear Shifter Works? 

Well, all the gear shifter working processes are almost the same. But, from brand to brand and model to model, it may change slightly. The main functionality is the same for all types of bikes.

Now, we will share some small tips or knowledge to get help in remembering things more easily.

Here, they are-

  • Smaller Gears = Easy Gears (Bigger Cassette Cogs & Smaller Chainrings)
  • Bigger Gears = Hard Gears (Smaller Cassette Cogs & Bigger Chainrings)
  • Harder Gear = Up Shift
  • Easier Gear = Down Shift
  • To a Larger Cog from a Smaller Cog = Up the Cassette
  • To a Smaller Cog from a Smaller Cog = Down the Cassette

These short notes will help you to understand how and when what gear or shifter you need to use to get a smoother ride.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Is the gear “1” lower or higher on a bike? Should you keep pedaling when you are going to change the gear?

Answer: Yes, it is mandatory to keep pedaling when you are about to change the gear. Doesn’t matter whether you are changing to smaller or bigger, you should keep pedaling.

Is a bike with more gear better for you?

Answer: Yes, a bike with more gear can be a better option for a bike. Because it will provide you more options or choices for choosing the speed limit along with comfortable. But, more gears can confuse a biker if he or she doesn’t have enough practice.

For a beginner, a bike with less gear is much better. With the flow of time, the beginner biker can upgrade to more gear bikes.

Our Verdict:

In our discussion, we tried our level best to talk about how to shift gears on a bike for dummies. We hope you were able to provide you guys enough information about shifting or changing the gears of the bikes.

But, to be able to shift or change the gear more smoothly, you should practice a lot. Without practicing more, you cannot understand the working process. Along with reading the guideline, you should practice also.

If you guys want to know more about bikes and other stuff then feel free to knock us. We will be reaching out to guys as soon as possible.

Best of luck guys.

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Jonathan James

Hey! I am Jonathan James, editor and co-founder of the Honest Kid Biker.I ride simply because I love to.There is nothing about cycling that I don’t like! I sometimes take part in group-rides and compete in races.

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