One of the most frustrating things that can happen while riding your bike is when your gears start acting up. Whether it’s a sudden loss of power while pedaling or your chain keeps slipping off, it’s essential to know how to fix bike gears to get back to enjoying your ride.
Why Are Bike Gears So Important?
One of the most critical inventions in cycling is bike gear. This allows riders to adjust their speed and ride style depending on where they are riding. Shifting your gear can help you climb hills quickly and easily. You will have a more enjoyable and pleasurable ride, no matter the terrain.
Your bike’s gears are an essential component. The pedals are converted into energy by the gear. You can also reduce the effort required to pedal by shifting to the correct gear. You can adjust the gears to suit the flat road or conditions.
Sometimes your gear may malfunction and cause you to have a frustrating and challenging ride. It is essential to inspect your gears now and again.
Tools You Need for Bike Gear Adjustment
To change a bike’s gears, you usually just need a few basic tools that are probably already in your toolbox. Depending on the type of bike gear you’re adjusting, you might only need a Phillips or flathead screwdriver.
Why Won’t Bike Gears Shift?
There are many reasons your bike’s gear wheels won’t shift. There are many reasons why your bike’s pulley wheels won’t shift. These include problems with the derailleur, cables, mis-adjustments, and malfunctioning chains. These issues can be explained better by reading the following to fix your mountain bike’s gears.
1. Derailleur problems
Sometimes, your bike derailleur may be damaged. This can prevent the mountain bike gears from shifting. The bent derailleur hanger or in an incorrect position. The bike derailleur hanger must be perpendicular to the cassette and rear wheel for better shifting.
2. Cable issues
Your bike’s gear may stop shifting because of a problem with the brake cable. Your bike may slow down if you misalign or misalign the brake cables. You should check the cable position frequently.
It is essential to keep it clean for optimal performance. You must replace an old gear cable stretch if your gear doesn’t shift. You may need to replace cables that are too worn or stretched.
3. Limit Screw Misadjustments
Limit screws can have an impact on the performance of bike gears. The chain will have difficulty reaching the lowest gear if the lower limit screw is too low. This will cause a problem where the mountain bike won’t shift into the gear.
Limit screws can prevent the chain from performing its task correctly. The limit screw can also be set too high and cause damage to the tiny gears on the cassette.
4. Cable Issues
Bike cables can have an impact on how your bike gear works. It is crucial to ensure that your bike chain is clean. It will malfunction if it is clogged with dust or dirt. It is important to degrease the chain and apply lube.
Maybe you need: How To Fix A Bike Chain?
How To Fix Bike Gear
Method 1. How To Adjust Bike Gears
1. Place the bike on a stand to raise it off the ground. The bike must be stable enough to allow you to turn the wheels without it moving. A bike stand is the best option for this. You can also check out if your local outdoor shop has a maintenance night where you can access all their tools for a small fee.
- You can also flip the bike upside-down and rest it on the handlebars or seat. You will need to reverse the direction in which you spin the bike if you do this.
- The nose of the saddle can be hung in the notch on a tree or low-hanging beam.
2. Locate your derailleurs. Your derailleurs are the devices that shift your gears and hold your chain in place. One is attached to the cassette (the collection) and the other near the pedals. Make sure that the gears or front and rear derailleurs are clean.
- The rear derailleur is more complicated and includes the derailleur, arms, and the 1-2 smaller gears through which the chain is threaded. This arm is pulled back and forth by a cable tension, which allows the chain to change gears.
- The front derailleur is attached to your bike’s frame and comprises a spring and two “derailleur plates” or small metal walls that make it so the chain can only stay in one gear.
3. Test each gear to diagnose shifting issues. Use one hand to pedal the bike lightly. Shift through each gear by clicking, beginning with the back derailleur. It would help if you went up and down each gear twice. You should note any places where the gears are having trouble shifting, and the chain is slipping off the gear, or the place where the bike needs to shift twice.
When testing one derailleur, put the other in the middle gear. If I’m trying the back derailleur and have three gears in front, I will leave the front derailleur in its middle ring. This will prevent the chain from stretching.
4. Locate the cable adjusters. To locate the adjusters, follow the cables to the derailleurs. They will appear as little nuts or barrels around the cables. Two adjusters may be found for each cable, one at the derailleur and one by the handlebars. These allow you to make subtle adjustments to your shifting smoothly by making small adjustments to derailleur cables.
5. Shift to the “problem gear.” You can pedal the bike with one hand and shift the gears until you reach a problem. Stop shifting and keep the bike in that particular gear if you spot an issue.
6. If the chain isn’t shifting down, loosen the cable adjuster. If the chain is not shifting when you lower the gears (lower gears are closer than the upper jockey wheel), loosen the cable adjuster and turn it counterclockwise. Slowly turn the barrel adjuster until the chain is in the correct gear.
- Always take your time and adjust bike gears slowly.
- It’s as simple as turning the adjuster in the direction you want. To make the chain move towards your bike, rotate towards it.
- Do not loosen the adjuster too much or it could become detached from the derailleur. To make significant adjustments, thread the adjuster into the derailleur. Then, shift into the smallest gear and loosen the pinch bolt. Finally, pull the cable with your hand.
7. Tighten your cable adjuster if your chain won’t shift “up”. If your bike is having trouble shifting up the gears (away) from your bike, tighten the cable adjuster clockwise. The chain will automatically switch to the correct gear when it is in the proper position.
- This is similar to turning the barrel adjuster in the direction you want it to move. To make the chain move away, rotate away from your bike.
8. You can return to the lowest gear and then shift up or down. After successfully correcting the problem, go through each gear again until the derailleur can shift through all of them.
- The chain should flow smoothly from one gear to the next every shift.
9. To spot potential problems, take a short practice ride. Sometimes, the bike may behave differently when you are overweight. Ride the bike around in a driveway or parking lot and go through all gears. You can note any issues and adjust your cables accordingly.
Method 2. Fixing A Slipping Or Limited Chain
1. Place the bike on a stand to raise it off the ground. The bike must be stable enough to allow you to turn the wheels without it moving. A bike stand is the best option for this. You can also check out if your local bike shop has a maintenance night where you can access all their tools for a small fee.
- You can also flip the bike upside-down and rest it on the handlebars and seat. You will need to reverse the instructions if you do this.
2. Shift to the lowest gear. This is the small gear closest to the bike on the rear derailleur. It is located closest to the bike on the front derailleur.
- Shift the derailleur that you aren’t using to a gear somewhere between.
3. The bolt that holds the cable in place must be removed. This bolt is located at the end of the cable that runs from your handlebars up to your derailleur. The cable is held in place by a small bolt. Use an Allen key to loosen the bolt.
Advanced Note: If you pedal your bike, you’ll notice that the chain slides down to the lowest ring. This is because derailleurs tighten the cable to keep the chain in place. You can also manually shift your bike by pulling on the cable.
4. Locate your derailleur’s “limit screws. To prevent your chain from sliding off, the derailleur must be contained within the area between the gears. Two small screws hold the derailleur in its place. They are located on either the top (front) or the back (rear) of the derailleur.
- The screw to the left is often marked with an “H” and limits the chain’s height. It also affects the outer gears.
- The screw at the right, often marked with an “L”, limits the chain’s reach and affects inner gears.
5. To prevent the chain from falling off, tighten the screws. To limit the chain’s movement, tighten the H screw if it is slipping near the outer gears on the front derailleur. If the chain falls closer to your wheel, tighten the L screws.
Consult your bike’s manual if the H and L screws are not marked.
6. Push the rear derailleur as far as possible with your hand. The chain will drop towards the wheel if the derailleur pushes too far. Alternatively, the derailleur may not make enough, and the chain won’t reach all the gears. The limit screws can be adjusted to move the derailleur. You will then actually see it move.
- If the chain is too long, tighten the low limit screw. This will prevent the derailleur’s movement to the left.
- If you cannot shift into any gear, loosen the limit screw. This will allow your derailleur to move further in.
7. The front derailleur should be adjusted so that the derailleur plates are on the opposite side of the chain. The chain should be on the smallest gear. Adjust the low-limit screw to ensure that the chain does not touch the derailleur plate.
- You should leave 2-3 millimeters of space between each end of the chain.
8. Attach the cable to the derailleur. Shift back to the most miniature gears, and pull the cable tightly by hand. It doesn’t need to be perfect; tighten it. Finally, screw the cable back under the bolt on your derailleur that you took it out of.
- You will often see an indentation in the cable that indicates where it was bolted previously.
9. To adjust your gears correctly, use the cable adjusters. Your bike should be able to shift smoothly between the front and rear gears. You can also use your cable adjusters to make adjustments if necessary. One click will change one gear.
What causes bike gears to slip?
There are some reason that causes bike gears to slip
The derailleur pulleys could be worn or out of alignment, the shifters could be broken, causing the gears to be in the wrong order, or the cassette could have a tooth that is broken or twisted.
Buildup of dirt and filth on the drivetrain components can also lead to shifting issues, such as chains skipping.
Bike gear shifter not clicking?
If your bike’s gears are properly indexed, each shifter click results in a single forward or reverse gear change. Skipping gears or getting stuck shifting are both indicators that your indexing needs to be corrected.
Bike not shifting to the highest gear?
It may be the cable tension when the limit screws have fully loosened the bike yet still won’t shift into the highest or lowest gear.
How do you align bike gears?
To align your bike gear, you can read the below instructions:
If you’re having problems shifting your bike into higher gears (away from you), try twisting the cable adjuster clockwise. The chain will change gears if everything is in order without your intervention.
You can try adjusting the adjuster if you want to change the chain’s direction. If you want the chain to go away from the bike, you need to face the other way.
The good news is that your bike can be fixed with some basic maintenance and adjustments. Even if you have a few bicycle parts that don’t work right, a little understanding of how they work can often adjust bike gears. Make sure to take care of your bike, so it continues to give you safe and fun transportation. BSXInsight hopes you find this article is useful.