Shifting gears on your geared bicycle

Warning: Shifting the gears under high load can damage the cassette cogs or chainrings, and possibly damage the chain itself. Avoid starting from a stop in a high gear (small rear cog and large chainring in front), and always attempt to shift with a light load on the pedals.

Caution: Avoid riding with the chain at extreme angles, with the chain in the small chainring on the front and the smallest rear cog, or the largest chainring in the front and the largest cog in the rear. These chain angles will cause increased wear on the chain, chainring and cogs.

Shifting the Rear Derailleur

The rear derailleur is controlled by the right shifters.

The rear derailleur controls the movement of the chain on the rear cassette. The rear cassette consists of a series of gear cogs that are reasonably close in size, therefore the gear shifts from one cog to the other is a small change in the gear ratio or pedaling efforts.

Shifting the Front Derailleur

The front derailleur is controlled by the left shifter and shifts the chain between the larger and smaller chainrings on the crankset of the bicycle. Shifting the chain onto the smaller chainring lowers the gear ratio making the bicycle easier to pedal up hill.

Selecting the Optimum Gear Ratios

The small chainring in the front and the large cog in the rear provide the lowest gear ratio and provide the “easiest” gear for riding uphill. The large chainring and small cog in the rear provide the highest gear and can be used for downhill riding.

Selecting the right gear for your leg strength and pedaling style will develop over time. If you find it is “too hard” to pedal up hill in the lowest gear, consult a professional bicycle mechanic about changing the gear ratio on your bicycle.

Warning: If the derailleurs are not shifting smoothly, do not shift into the large or small cog in the cassette as the derailleur could be out of adjustment causing the chain to jam and resulting in a loss of control.

Caution: Do not move the shifter when the bicycle is stopped or pedaling backwards. This could cause the chain to jam and result in damage to your shifting mechanism.

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