How to change gears on a road bike

How to change gears on a road bike

This is an in-depth guide to changing gears on a road bike.Road bike switches can be challenging at first, but this guide will walk you through the process of using Shimano, SRAM, and Campagnolo drop-bar shifters.

On road bikes, the converters and brakes are typically combined into one unit. There are a few small differences, but this is the most basic pattern on modern drop-bar bikes. They are also known as “brifters” at times.

Flat-bar shifters are used on the best road bikes. While they are fairly simple, different designs exist, so we’ve provided instructions for the two most common: thumb shifters and grip shifters.

How to change gears on a road bike?

You can shift gears on your road bike while riding on the balaclavas (with your hands on the top of the shifters, which will be your most-used position) or from the falls.

We have a more detailed look at how your gears work, which is well worth reading if you’re a new rider, but here’s a quick refresher to make the language below clear:

Smaller gear = easier gear (smaller chainrings, larger cassette cogs).

Larger gear = harder gear (larger chainrings, smaller cassette cogs).

However, to add to the confusion:

Upshift = more difficult gear

Downshift = simpler gear

Finally, moving ‘up the tape deck’ is a more ambiguous term.

When we use it on Bike Radar, we use the most literal meaning:

Moving up the cassette means moving from a smaller cog to a larger cog.

Going down the cassette means going from a larger cog to a smaller cog.

So, with that as clear as mud, here’s how you use your road shifters.

How to Choose the Best gear Combination?

How to change gears on a road bike

The best gear combination is a matter of individual preference. Don’t be afraid to experiment to find the most efficient and comfortable pedaling rate, or “cadence,” for you.

Shifting your front derailleur (left hand) produces large gear changes, whereas shifting your rear derailleur (right hand) produces smaller gear changes. With practice, you’ll explore that front shifting is useful for large changes on hills, while rear shifting is useful for fine-tuning your gearing until you’re pedaling comfortably.

Most riders find that a cadence of around 90 pedal rotations per minute is the most efficient and comfortable. A slower repetition can feel difficult, while a faster cadence can feel like you’re pedaling furiously but obtaining nowhere. If you want to measure your cadence, many cycling computers or apps have sensors that can do so. Using a sensor to measure your repetition can help you figure out when it’s time to shift gears.

Pro tip: lightly pedal while shifting!

It would help if you continued pedaling to shift, but shifting works best (and is smoothest) when you pedal lightly. When you apply a lot of pressure to the pedals while shifting, the gear change becomes unwieldy and abrupt. This is especially important on hills, so if you see a hill approaching, shift to a lower gear before beginning to climb! And, if you need to shift into lower gears as you climb, try to reduce the pressure you apply to your pedals.

If you need more assistance or advice on transferring, visit your nearest Trek retailer. There are always friendly people who enjoy assisting you in getting the most out of your bike.

To shift, you must pedal

The most important thing to remember when moving a road bike is that you must turn the brakes with your legs while also moving the shift lever. As you change gears, the chain climbs onto and drops off the various sprockets on your bike due to your pedaling. If you don’t turn the pedals, you can try moving with the levers, but the chain won’t move unless you do so.

On Pedal Pressure, it’s Simple

If you shift while riding by hand, you’ll notice that the chain has to move sideways and climb up and down the distinct shafts. The chain must flex sideways for this to happen smoothly. Make every shift with as little pressure on the pedals to ensure that it can.

Yes, it would help if you pedaled to change gears. But all that is required is that the pedals be turned. Your bike will usually shift when you pedal hard, but it will make some terrifying grinding and crunching noises. It may not always shift into the desired gear, and you may become stuck in too high a gear, forcing you to get off and walk. For these reasons, it’s best to keep your foot lightly on the pedals when shifting.

Be Prepared for Changes

To shift smoothly with light pedal pressure, experienced roadies keep an eye on the road ahead and the duration of their shifts so that hard pedaling is not required. An expert riding technique is to take a couple of hard brake strokes to get the bike moving fast enough so that you can soft pedal a couple of uprisings and make the necessary shift with light pedal stress, for instance, on a sudden steepening hill that catches you off guard.

Using the Trim Function

Some road bikes will include a front chain tensioner with a “trim” feature. The trim feature allows you to make minor adjustments to the front derailleur that will eliminate chain rub but will not result in a full shift into another chain ring. This feature comes in handy as we approach the previously mentioned “cross chaining” positions.

So, if you’re in the largest chain ring and start shifting into the larger cogs on the cassette with your right hand, you might hear a grinding noise, which means your chain is rubbing against the front derailleur. To accommodate this chain position, click the small lever with your left hand once to move the front derailleur slightly.

Similarly, if you’re in the smallest chainring and start shifting into smaller cogs on the cassette and hear a grinding noise, you can move the derailleur slightly by clicking once with your left hand on the larger lever.

How to use Shimano road bike shifters

Shimano Total Integration (STI) shifters employ a split-lever design to change gears.A tiny lever just behind the brake pedal moves the chain to a smaller cog, while the entire brake lever can be pushed to the side to move the chain to a larger cog.

The right-hand shifter controls rear shifting: To shift down the cassette into a relatively small cog (a bigger/harder gear), push the inner, relatively small paddle inboard (sweeping from right to left). Push the brake lever centerboard to shift the cassette into a larger (easier/smaller) gear (the small shift paddle will come with it).

The shifter on the left controls front shifting: Push the smaller inner paddle inboard (from left to right) to drop down into the smaller (smaller/easier) chainring.Push the brake lever inboard to shift into a larger (larger/harder) chainring (the small shift paddle will come with it).

Shimano shifters also have a trim purpose on the front (left) lever. Shifting the inboard lever with a relatively small throw (roughly half the amount of a normal shift) moves the cage of the front gear reduction inboard, preventing the chain from rubbing in certain gears.

Shimano Di2 (electronic) gears work similarly, but the electrical innards of the shifting mechanism are replaced with tiny buttons. On the other hand, these can be re-programmed to suit your desires and needs.

Grip movers

Grip shifters are associated with this approach to thumb shifters, but instead of a pedal system, they require you to grip them and twist your hand toward or away from you to shift gears.

Grip shifters were once common on road bikes but are now more commonly seen on the best kids’ bikes. On the other hand, SRAM continues to manufacture grip shifters for its mechanical mountain bike groupsets.

The left-hand and right-hand grip shifters, like thumb shifters, are used differently to change up or down:

Right side: The grip shifter on the right side of your handlebar changes the cassette sprocket.

To move up the cassette into an easier gear, you twist it towards you.The grip shifter on your handlebar’s left side operates the front derailleur and moves the chain between the front chainrings. You twist the grip towards you to change to a larger chainring and a harder gear. To change to a smaller chainring and easier gear, you twist the grip away from you.

Best Recovery Ride Gear

You will require simple equipment if you intend to ride slowly or recover.Use the small chainring at the front and the larger cog at the back to avoid the temptation to push too hard. Despite moving slower, your legs will feel less stiff, and your heart will work less.

Mountain Bike Accessories

You’ll have a few more options if you ride a mountain bike on flat roads.However, the fundamentals remain the same. It would be advantageous if you chose gears with the highest speed and lowest RPMs. Because mountain bike rides are frequently uphill, the gears are more ‘easy’ and less complicated.

FAQs(Frequently Asked Questions)

How to Use Campagnolo Shifters on a Road Bike?

A shift lever behind the brake lever shifts into a larger cog/chainring on both the front and rear, while a thumb-operated paddle on the inside of the hood shifts into a smaller cog/chainring.

How to Use Down Tube Shifters and Bar-End Shifters?

Bar-end shifters attach to the end of the handlebars and provide a lever for shifting gears. These are similar to thumb shifters and come in both indexed and friction shifter varieties.

These have recently appeared, offering a simple way to combine a hub gear with drop-bar brake levers.Down-tube shifters function similarly to up-tube shifters, but they are located on the bike’s down tube.

Why Do I Have to Change Gears?

Gears allow you to pedal with peak effectiveness no matter where you are. Are you approaching a hill? Downshift so that your legs turn faster than the rear wheel, resulting in lower speed but greater torque.


Practice, practice, practice, as with anything. Shifting gears on a bike can be difficult at first, but it will become easier with practice. Soon enough, you’ll figure out how to shift well enough to maximise your speed while conserving energy. The world is then yours to explore.

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How to Shift Gears on a Bike for Dummies?

How to Shift Gears on a Bike for Dummies

Riding a bike is one of the most enjoyable pastimes for people of all ages. It is a fun activity that everyone can practice. The trick is to learn how to ride a bike in the first place. If you do not know how to shift gears on a motorcycle for dummies, this article may be helpful to you.

You’ve heard of “shifting gears” on a bike, but what does it mean? Well, it means changing gears so you can go from one speed to another at any time. For example, if you’re going uphill, you would shift to a higher gear (lower equipment is used when going downhill). You can also shift gears when cruising down a flat road or even going faster than your usual pace.

The bike gear system explained

How to Shift Gears on a Bike for Dummies

Types of Bike Gears

Types of Bike Gears

There are three types of gears in a bicycle. Low gear, middle gear, and top gear. Each of these gears has a specific purpose.

Low Gear:

Low gear is used when you are traveling uphill. The purpose of this gear is to slow down. If you use this gear too much, you will burn out your legs. It is essential to use this gear only when you are going uphill. This will make your bike go slower and save your legs.

Middle Gear:

Middle gear is used when you are going downhill. If you use this gear, you can travel fast. When you are using this gear, your bike will go more quickly. However, you will get tired if you use this gear too much.

Top Gear:

Top gear is used when you are riding uphill. When you use this gear, you can travel very fast. If you use this gear, your bike will go very fast.

Parts of shifting Gears on bike

Parts of shifting Gears on bike

A bike’s gear shifter can be found near the handlebars. It would help if you looked for this shifter to shift gears

There are three main parts to shifting gears on a bicycle:

  1. The shifter
  2. The chain
  3. The pedals

The shifter has three buttons: a downshift, an upshift, and a neutral control. You are shifting into a lower gear when you press the downshift button. You are moving into a higher gear when you press the upshift button. The neutral button is used to change from one pack to another. The chain is what shifts the gears.

When to Shift Gears on a Bike

It’s straightforward to learn how to shift gears. You can quickly shift gears if you know how to ride a bike. It’s easier to shift gears if you practice first. It would help if you got comfortable with the gears you are using.

It is better to avoid shifting gears too fast. This can make you tire out quickly. This will affect your performance. Make sure you understand how to shift gears on a bike properly. 

1. Starting or stopping

When riding a bike, you will shift lower gears when you start riding. In this situation, you will shift gears by pushing down with the back of your legs and pulling the handlebars toward you with your hands. This will cause you to move forward. When riding a bike, you will usually shift gears when you start riding.

2. Riding on a Ground flat area

You may also shift gears when going down areas and flat terrains. You can use higher gears for a faster speed setting. This will help you to maintain your speed and momentum. After you have shifted gears, you can use a higher gear. You may also want to use higher gear if climbing slopes or hills. When riding on hills, you will want to use the highest gear. You will be able to increase your speed this way.

3. Going up uphills

the third time you need to shift, the gear is going uphill. It will be a little easier. By using your legs, you will be able to accomplish this. You will have to push the handlebars to the right. It will increase the distance between the front and rear wheels. When you are going uphill, you should try to use lower gear. It will make the bicycle move faster. When going uphill, you should try changing to a higher gear. This will allow you to slow down.

21-speed bike gears explained

In 21-speed bikes, the lowest gear (labeled 1) has the least distance between the crank and the most miniature rear wheel. As a result, the small rear wheel will rotate the most when you pedal. The advantage of the 21-gear bike is that it takes less time to pedal, and it’s more efficient than a standard bicycle.

How to change gears on a road bike Shimano

On most road bicycles, the gears are fixed. If you want to shift gears, you should pedal with your right leg. You will need to turn the pedals clockwise. Then, it would help if you pedaled slowly until the chain started moving. While pedaling slowly, you should put your left hand on the brakes. Then, you should remove your right hand from the brakes.

The next step is to pull the handlebar. Next, you should turn the bars clockwise. Keep your hands on the brake if you want to avoid accidents. After turning the handlebars to the correct position, you should begin pushing the pedals with your right leg.

At this point, you should remove your left hand from the brakes. You should pedal slowly, and you should try to maintain your speed. It would help if you increased the rotation rate when the rear wheel started to move. The next step is to shift the gears. Once you have turned into a higher gear, you should continue pedaling with your right leg.

How to shift gears on a mountain bike?

The gears on mountain bikes are similar to those on road bikes. You should pedal slowly if you want to shift gears on a mountain bike. Then, it would help if you turned the bars clockwise.

 Nowadays, there are so many types of bikes to choose from. Most of them have three gears. There is a front shifter and a rear derailleur on the handlebars. You will need two things to shift the gears on your mountain bike: the front shifter and the rear derailleur.

You will know which one to use when looking at the gears. Some gears are easier to use than others. If you want to use the gears on your mountain bike, you should check out the front shifter and the rear derailleur.

First, you will need to look at the front shifter. It would help if you turned it counterclockwise to move the gear. Then, it would help if you put your finger into the gear. If you want to use a bigger gear, you should turn the front shifter clockwise. You should turn it counterclockwise if you use a smaller gear.

You will notice that you will hear the gears moving. If you are having trouble shifting gears, you may have to adjust the tension on the chain. You can change the uncertainty of the chain by loosening the adjustment screw. Then, it would help if you tightened it again. Finally, you should make sure that you shift the gears slowly.

what bike gear to use on flat road

 Bike riders are supposed to use different gears to ride on a flat surface. These gears are usually used on bikes that don’t have hills. There are three additional gears on a bike that you can use to ride on a flat surface. These are the freewheel, the derailleur, and the cassette.

It is a good idea to know how to shift gears. If you don’t know how to shift gears, you will be unable to move them when you need to. You will end up having to stop to adjust the gears. This will slow you down.

The first gear on a bike is the freewheel. The freewheel is usually used to drive the bike. You will also need to use the freewheel to shift gears. If riding on a flat surface, you must use the freewheel to get to the next gear.


If you have read my blog, you know I am a big fan of bike riding. I have two bikes in my garage that I use daily for commuting. Recently, I decided to take a long bike ride and had some fun. There is a problem with shifting gears when riding a bike, and the bike is always moving forward. Due to this, I decided to write this article to help others who might be struggling with this issue.

FAQS-How to Shift Gears on a Bike for Dummies?

What is the best way to shift gears on a bike?

The best way to shift gears on a bike is to use the shifter. To do this, you need to hold down the clutch pedal. It would help if you placed the lever into the next gear as you shifted from one bag to the next. After you have shifted gears, you can release the clutch and let go of the brake. Then, you can move back into the previous gear if you want to. If you don’t know which lever goes into which gear, you can find out by reading the gear indicator on the bike.

How do I shift gears on my bike?

It is essential to learn how to shift gears on a bike. This is because the gears help you to maintain your speed. This makes it easier for you to ride the bicycle. To shift gears on a bike, you should push on the gear lever with your right hand while holding the handlebar with your left hand. Then, it would help to turn the gear lever clockwise to shift into the next gear. It will help if you continue turning the gear lever counterclockwise to change into the previous gear. As soon as you shift into the next gear, release the brake and move on to the next gear. If you don’t do this, you will lose momentum. If you have no idea how to shift gears on a bike, you should ask your friends to show you.

Why do I need to know how to shift gears?

If you want to enjoy biking more than you already do, you should learn how to shift gears on a bike. This is the easiest way to make it easier to ride a bicycle. You will need to shift gears when you ride a bike to keep going forward. You need to know how to shift gears to enjoy cycling more.

How do I know which gear to use?

You should use the gear that is appropriate for your riding style. If you are a racer, you should use the highest equipment. You can use the middle or lowest gear if you’re a recreational rider.

What do I do if I’m getting too high in gear?

If you are getting too high in gear, you should be able to reduce the speed of your bike. You will need to remove your right hand from the handlebar. It would help if you used your left thumb to pull up on the brake lever with your left hand. You can use your right hand to apply pressure on the accelerator lever.

If you want to go higher in gear, you can use your right hand to pull up on the lever. This will cause the chain to move up into a higher gear. This is easy to do, and you can continue riding the bike as long as you aren’t going too fast.

What should I do if I’m getting too low in gear?

Many cyclists have difficulty shifting gears. The problem is that they usually can’t shift to the desired gear. This cannot be very pleasant if you’re trying to go higher than your current gear. It would help you pulled up on the lever with your right hand to solve this problem. The higher the gear, the further you need to pull up on the lever. If you are trying to go lower in gear, you should use your right thumb to push down on the lever. The more pressure you put on the lever, the lower the load.

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