So, you have finally decided to upgrade and get yourself a geared bicycle, but you are scared as you have no clue how to use it. Don't worry we have you covered. This Blog will guide you with the basics of geared bicycle and teach you how you can shift gears efficiently to enhance you riding pleasure. We will help you become gear savvy- We promise
It is important to understand basic fundamentals of bicycle gears before getting a geared bicycles as various terms such as freewheel, cassette, Shifters might be quite intermediating for a beginner.
Parts of bicycle Drivetrain
Freewheel: Freewheel is a Single/Multi Sprocket unit mounted on a ratchet mechanism .
Rear Derailleur: Its the mechanism that guides the chain up and down the freewheel
Front Derailleur: It is the mechanism above the chain wheel that guides the chain up and down the chainwheel after you shift gears.
Chain: Chain is the unit that connects the drivetrain.Chain wheel: Chainwheel is the unit where your pedals are attached. Chain wheel comes in various shape and sizes and the correct chainwheel is selected based on your bike and its application.
Bicycle gears Basic
How to determine number of gears on your bike ?
The number of gears on the bike are determined by number of sprocket on freewheel and chainwheel. So if your freewheel has 7 sprocket on the rear and 3 sprocket on the chain wheel (7x3=21) you are riding a 21 speed bicycle. similarly if you have a 8 speed sprocket on the rear and 3 speed sprocket on the chainwheel you are riding a 24 speed bicycle and so on.
How to shift gears ?
1) Use left hand to shift chain through front Derailleur on the chain wheel.
The left hand side shifter allows the chain to move around the chainwheel. lets consider you have three sprockets on your chain wheel . if you shift the chain on the biggest sprocket it will make your pedaling significantly harder but giving you a better speed (usually advisable when you are going downhill and will need to control your speed) . similarly if you shift the chain to the smallest sprocket of your chain ring it will make you pedaling significantly easier (Usually advisable when you are climbing on a steep slope )
2) Use right hand to shift chain through the rear derailleur on the freewheel.
The right hand side shifter allows you to make minor adjustments to get the perfect gear ratio. The working principal for the rear sprocket is similar to that of the chainwheel but in reverse. Here if you move the chain to the to the largest sprocket it makes pedaling easier (recommended for climbs ) and similarly if you move the chain to the smallest Sprocket it makes pedaling significantly harder (recommended for better acceleration)
Bicycle Gear ratio
The ratio of gears between the front chain wheel and the rear sprocket is called gear ration on the bicycle.
The following tips apply for shifting bicycle gears
Know your terrain: Shifting your gear right before you anticipate it is a good practice . it is advisable to shift the chain on the lower sprocket in you have a climb ahead of you in say 30 to 40 meters rather than changing the gears once you are on the climb, this put unwanted stress on the chain and can lead to damaging your drivetrain.
Use One Shifter at a time: To simplify gear shifting and minimize unwanted stress on the chain you should shift one gear at a time.
Correct Gear ratio: The gear ratio is correct until and unless the chain remains straight. Good gear ratios are as follows