If you have just had your first mountain bike or are new to biking, shifting gears might be difficult, and some people will prefer not to touch the gears at all. However, the gears are there to help you maneuver in any terrain.
It would be best if you learned how to shift gears; you will go far and choose how much effort you put while riding. With the knowledge of shifting gears, you can make your mountain bike your main form of transport, and you can easily beat traffic and even go on uneven terrains.
Gear Range on Mountain Bikes
Mountain bikes are the best for uneven terrains and climbing steep mountains and slopes. Therefore they mostly have low gears. The low gears allow you to climb steep hills easily.
The gear ratio is calculated by the gear you are using through the number of teeth on the front chainring and the number of teeth on the teeth on the rear sprocket. Usually, a range of 12T-32T or 11T-34T will work perfectly on mountain bikes.
Why You Need Gears? – Importance of Gears
For people who love adventure, you need to have different gears on your bike. At first, it might be complicated when learning how to use the gears, but you will realize that the gears are really helpful over time.
When climbing a steep slope, you will need them rolling over technical terrain, and the gears will also help balance your pedaling power.
When to Shift Gears?
It is important to know when to shift gears when riding. Mountain bikes mostly have grip shifters or thumb triggers. Different gears are made for different grounds. When you are on flat grounds or a tailwind, you should change your gear to a harder gear. If you doubt the terrain ahead, you can change your gear ahead before the terrain changes.
Use lower gears in hills and sloppy areas. Do not wait until you can feel the incline kick to change the gear for smooth riding. After shifting a gear, keep on pedaling with a little ease. If you push hard or stop pedaling completely, your chain may fall off.
After you’ve understood how to shift gears, now you should focus on knowing the shifters. The left-hand shifters usually change the front bike gears, and the right-hand gears control the gears in the back.
However, this will be determined by the number of chainrings on your bike. For instance, if your mountain bike has one chainring at the front, you will have a right-handed shifter. The thumb shifters on your mountain bike usually have two levers. One lever is for increasing the resistance, while the other lever is for decreasing the resistance. Grip shifters work the same way as thumb shifters, but they work by twisting a grip on the handlebar either forward or backward.
How to Smoothly Shift The Gears – Timing Is The Key
Most people admit that learning to shift gears at first is challenging, but once you have gotten its hang, shifting the gears comes automatically, and it is really simple.
Below are steps on how to shift gears on a bike.
- To shift to a different chainring, you should use the left shifter.
- To shift the rear gears, you should use the right shifter.
- When shifting the gears, always pedal lightly for smoother shifting. Also, make sure you do not backpedal during this process.
- When there is no resistance while pedaling, especially when you are going downhill or descending, shift into a harder gear.
- When riding and you are going too slow, and the resistance is too much, shift into an easier gear.
- Moving your chain closer to the bike makes it easier to maneuver, while moving the chain farther away increases your speed.
- Finally, to get better at shifting gears, you need to practice regularly. When you play around with the gears, you will see how simple it is to shift the gears.
Tips for Proper Gear Shifting
To maintain your speed when riding, especially on uneven grounds, you need to know gear shifting. Some tips that will aid in gear shifting and speed include:
- Watching your cadence
When riding, you will be tempted to use one or two gears to avoid regular shifting. This gets difficult since you are forced to pedal in lower cadences. Pedaling in lower cadences exerts tension on your chain, and it will get difficult to maintain the cadence.
For easy gear shifting, maintain a cadence of 70-95 revolutions per minute. This cadence will require you to shift your gears regularly, and it will prevent your chain from dropping.
- Right Timing
Timing when changing gears is essential in maintaining momentum. You need to change the gears before you need the gear. This will]
eliminate the possibility of spinning out when going downhill or grinding your gears as you are climbing.
To enhance the easy-shifting of gears, you need to frequently change your chain, keep your drivetrain clean, and tune-up your bike. These habits ensure smooth and effective gear changing. It will be more difficult to shift your gears if the derailleur or cables are out of whack.
Different Types of Gears
The different types of gears include;
- Standard Double: This gear includes two chainrings at the front and 11 sprockets at the back. These gears’ common ratios are 39t or 42t for the inner ring and 52t or 53t for the outer ring.
This setup is the most preferred by racers. It offers the largest chainring size for the biggest gear allowing you to pedal easily even at high speed.
- Triple: The triple gear involves having three chainrings. This gear allows you to add smaller gear options. The third chainring is usually 30t or smaller. When it is matched with the large ratio rear cassette, you can get extremely low gears. This gear is perfect for people riding in sloppy regions.
- Compact: The compact gear is a double set, but it is smaller. It is usually 34t or 36t for the inner ring; when paired with a 48t or 50t for the outer ring, it reduces the gear ratio.
Conclusion Knowledge of gears on mountain bikes is very important. If you are a rider or enjoy going on adventures with your mountain bike, learning how to use different gears will save you energy, and it will make your trips more enjoyable and fun. You can move on any ground with the knowledge of different gears, be it hilly regions or rough terrains; you can maneuver perfectly with your mountain bike.