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Thread: shifting gears

  1. #1
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    shifting gears

    Hey guys

    I'm extremely new to mountain biking, i was wondering if someone could provide me a resource on properly shifting, I don't have any reference materials that came with this bike so im hoping you guys can help me out, thanks ahead of time!

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    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scriv
    Hey guys

    I'm extremely new to mountain biking, i was wondering if someone could provide me a resource on properly shifting, I don't have any reference materials that came with this bike so im hoping you guys can help me out, thanks ahead of time!
    Easy.

    1. Use the middle sprocket in front almost all of the time. Shift into whatever sprocket in the back that you need to feel comfortable. If your legs hurt, shift into an easier gear. If you're out of breath but your legs feel fine, try a harder gear.
    2. As you approach a gawdawful hill, shift the front into the itty bitty sprocket.
    3. Save the big front sprocket for those two days a year when you have a tailwind or when you want to really blast a downhill.

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    You have to keep the pedals moving while you shift but ease the pedaling pressure.

  4. #4
    I ride a REAL Schwinn!
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    Anticipate your shifts. If you see a big hill coming up, shift as you begin climbing. This will ensure that you get into the proper gear (meaning you keep your momentum) and will prevent you from stalling out because you are pedaling too slowly for the derailleur to move the chain.

    You'll learn which gear combos and ranges work best for you over time as you get more experience on the bike, and shifting will come much more naturally. Do you have Triggers or Grip Shift style shifters?

    -Moab
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    New To bikes

    hey, you guys will think I am stupid. I bought a cheap mountain bike to just commute to work daily. It has gears you shift on the handlebars, left side you click 1,2, or 3. The right side you click 1-7. I have no idea what they numbers are for or when to use them??? I use 6-7 on the right with one most of time because it is just an easier ride. Anytime I try to switch out of curiousity - the wheels spin real quick and out of control. What and when should I use certain gears and what exactly are they for. Any help, without being made fun of, would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

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    Cannondale Commuter kateri235's Avatar
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    Use the crazy loose gears for uphill, and the tighter gears for downhill.
    Check out what these folks said above too!
    It'll be all good.

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    I always tell my guys to think of the front gears (the crank, referred to as chainrings) as gearranges. The smallest chainring is the lowest range, for steep hills or tough going. The middle chainring is for most "normal" riding, rolling terrain, etc. The "big ring" (rarely used off-road) is the highest gear, maybe for maintaining a high speed on a slight downgrade or whatever.

    The rear gears, "cogs", are to fine-tune your percieved pedalling effort. For these, the biggest is the lowest, the littlest is the highest. The theory is that we have an ideal, efficient pedalling cadence, and the idea is that we should keep that cadence as much as possible no matter what we're doing. (not always possible, but that's what you should strive for.)

    So, pick a front gear "range", and fine-tune your effort with the rear.

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    Senior Member godspiral's Avatar
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    By what you are saying the left switch is probably on 1, while the right is on 6-7. The left switch makes the chain move on your crank. The right makes it move on the back wheel. Each sproket is its own gear. on both wheels, left is easier low number gear, and right is harder higher number gear.

    Personally, I like to keep the right on 3-4 and the left on 3, but it varies with all bikes and riders. That gives me a few extra gears to change to on the right during up and down hills. On harder hills I will change the left. find a quiet street and change gears one at a time pedalling a few strokes in between, and waiting for the gears to actually change (usually takes 1-2 pedal revolutions -- chain will make a sliding sound.)

  9. #9
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pcmcm5
    hey, you guys will think I am stupid. I bought a cheap mountain bike to just commute to work daily. It has gears you shift on the handlebars, left side you click 1,2, or 3. The right side you click 1-7. I have no idea what they numbers are for or when to use them??? I use 6-7 on the right with one most of time because it is just an easier ride. Anytime I try to switch out of curiousity - the wheels spin real quick and out of control. What and when should I use certain gears and what exactly are they for. Any help, without being made fun of, would be greatly appreciated. Thanks
    Put the left shifter into 2. Try the right shifter on 4. If that feels too hard, put the right shifter onto 2 or 3. If 4 makes your feet spin too fast, move the right shifter to 5 or 6.

    Save 1 on the left shifter for steep hills.

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    Great thread guys.

    I am new to riding too. Today I tried going to "1" on the front gear and "7" on the rear right gear on flat terrain and all hell happened, the chain scraped all sorts!

    Should I only shift to 1 when actually going uphill?

    Any advice would be really helpful

    Thx

    Sean

  11. #11
    The Rabbi seely's Avatar
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    Sean, your problem was a result of "cross gearing", in that you were in 1 on the front, 7 on the rear, a combination of your innermost front gear and outermost rear gear. That puts your chain at quite an angle! This will result in poor shifting, reduced chain/gear lifespans and the chain rubbing your derailleur. Your best bet is to try to find a similar gear combination in your middle ring up front.
    commuter turned bike mechanic turned commuter (also a Velocity USA employee, but this is my personal account)

  12. #12
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mcpheats
    Should I only shift to 1 when actually going uphill?
    Yeah. That's pretty much all that it's good for. Think of it like a parachute. You very seldom need one but it's a really nice thing to have when you need it.

  13. #13
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    Thanks Seely

    I tried going up a hill on 2,7 and was treading water!

    I'll try a low combo like 2,1 for up hills and see if it's better. Would that work?

    Sean

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