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  • Know your Bicycle
Gear shifting made easy

Shifting the gears on a Bicycle can be a daunting task at first, with a lot of numbers and two derailleurs to keep track of. In addition to braking, shifting gears on a Bicycle is one of the fundamental mechanical functions of the Bicycle. Learning how to effectively shift gears is a basic skill that continues to grow and improve even for veteran riders. Proper shifting will increase speed, reduce rider fatigue, and improve endurance. In this article we are going to take a 21-Speed gear combination as a reference as they are the most commonly found gear combination on Bicycles. The ideology and tips remain the same for other gear combinations as well.


On the handlebar of a 21-Speed bicycle (the most common), you will see a left-side shift lever with the numbers 1, 2 and 3, and a right-side shift lever with 1 through 7. The lever on the left controls the three chainrings on your front derailleur, and drastically change how easy or hard it is to pedal. The lever on the right controls the cluster of chainrings on your rear derailleur and helps you make slight adjustments to your ride.

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If you are climbing a steep hill, opt for lower gears — 1 on the left side combined with 1 to 3 on the right. This will make it easy to pedal with minimal effort but will still keep the cycle moving forward. If pedaling feels way too easy and you are riding on flatter surfaces, switch to a higher gear — 3 on the left side combined with 6 to 7 on the right—to help you go faster. This will make the pedalling difficult but will generate more speed for 1 pedal rotation. For everyday flat-road riding, we would recommend sticking with the middle gear which is the 2 on your left-side shifter and using 3 to 5 on your right to find the perfect pedalling pressure and speed for you.


The gear combination is to be maintained correctly and is very important to maintaining the life of the gearing components. Ensure to not cross chain by moving drastically away from the recommended gear ratios. Anticipate the road ahead and shift gears before a hill, just like you would in a manual-transmission motor bike or car. Make sure to ease into gears, because if you make huge jumps—like clicking from the 1 on your left-hand shifter to 3 — your chain might slip off your Bicycle. There is no such thing as shifting too often, so frequently change gears to find a cadence that is not too hard or easy. But make sure the each gear is shifting fully, shifter is pressed to its full limit and at least 2 pedals between gear shifts. This gives the chain enough time to climb up or down to sit on the next chain ring.

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Shifting gears often is a great way to stay active and efficient on the Bicycle. Remember it takes time to develop a relationship with your Bicycle’s drivetrain, and start with the fundamentals. Thanks for reading our article on how to shift gears on your bicycle, we hope this arms you with the knowledge and confidence to ride your bicycle efficiently.


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