An appropriate gearing system on your mountain bike lets you use your muscle power most efficiently. By choosing the proper gear, you can select the effort level you require for each pedal stroke. It can help you ride farther and faster if you know how your bike works and have more fun while doing it. If you know accurately how to change the gears on a mountain bike doubles your speed excitements.
By knowing how to change gears, how their sizes affect gear capacity, and how their interactions affect it, you can choose the gearing that is right for you.
4 Different Types of Bike Gears
It is a simple calculation of the number of chainrings at the front multiplied by the number of sprockets at the rear. With triple chainrings and a 10-speed rear cassette, the bike becomes a 30-speed machine, which is why each chainring can be used in combination with each of the ten sprockets.
Similarly, an 11-speed cassette paired with a double chainring gives an effect of 22-speeds, etc. Here are different types of bike gears that are used in bikes for increasing the speed level.
1. Standard Double
Standard double set-ups are primarily used for racing, offering the most extensive chainring sizes for the giant gears. This makes pedaling smoother and enables riders to keep up speeds when pedaling rapidly.
There are two chainrings at the front of the bike, paired with 11 sprockets at the rear. The gear ratios for most gearboxes’ inner ring are 39 t and 42t, and 52 t and 53 t for the outer ring.
Getting some gearing down would be possible, but the inner chainring will limit the gear range, so you’d better go with standard doubles if you’re planning to go low gear. You can form a semi-compact chainset if you combine a 52t-outer chainring with a 36t inner chainring.
A triple chainring gives the possibility of reducing the gear to a much smaller one.
With a large rear cassette, combined with the third chainring of usually 30t or smaller, you can obtain a low gear for steep climbs.
Many riders looking for an alternative, mainly if they are frequently riding on very hilly terrain, prefer the triple.
It’s even better if you have a lot of luggage because that makes gravity’s battle against you even more challenging.
The compact is a more compact version of a double cassette.
Usually, only one chainring is used; usually, a small 34t or 36tinner, paired with a large 48t or 50touter, reduces the gear ratio across the range.
Although the gear ratios are concentrated at the top, the top gear still allows for fast descents, as even the steepest Alpine climbs can tackle.
4. Hub Gears
It is one of some types of planetary gear systems rugged, low maintenance, and housed in a fat rear hub.
The Rohloff hub can have 14 gears, but you can also get it in four, seven, eight, nine, or 12 gear variations from Shimano, SRAM, and Sturmey-Archer.
This is one of the art in selecting a mountain bike since the number of gears you choose may be fewer than using a derailleur system, but at the same time, you still have another option to personalize gear ratios by choosing chainrings and rear sprockets.
It is nice to have hub gears on your everyday commuter bike since they are tough, low maintenance, and you can change gears without pedaling.
They are weighed down by their weight – causing them to struggle on hillier terrain and longer rides.
How to Change Gears on a Mountain Bike Properly?
A bike with an internal gearbox may have multiple front chainrings. The instructions below apply to bicycles with an internal gear system.
1. Chain it in the Front Chainrings with the Left-hand Shifter
These are the best ways to adjust the pedaling difficulty as you change gears:
- Starting from the middle chainring on the front chainring, switch to the outer ring and make significant adjustments as necessary.
- The chain can be put on either chainring if you have two chainrings.
- You should move your chain to the smallest chainring if you are climbing hills and rely on it being easier to pedal.
- Switch to the largest chainring in front if you want to pedal more forcefully, such as on a downhill descent. Read more on managing chainrings on your mountain bike.
2. Shift the Cassette Back Using the Left Shifter
Using this method, you refine your gear choices to find the ideal one:
- To make pedaling more progressive (i.e., while climbing), move your chain to the larger cog in the back.
- Make progressively harder pedaling use the smaller cogs in the back (e.g., while descending) by moving your chain to them.
If you think all this information will be difficult to recall, you are right. To develop muscle memory, you need to spend time experimenting with the gears until you create them. We have written a comprehensive mountain bikes reviews & buying guide, make sure to check it out!
9 Extra Tips for Proper Gear Changing
The following tips apply to any bike:
- Ensure that you shift right before you start climbing rather than at the halfway point when you’re slowing rapidly.
- You can shift gears on a hill by shifting one load at a time while releasing pressure from the pedals as you move.
- If you hear excessive grinding, you could be shifting while too much pressure is being applied to the pedals. Because of this, your gears will break down more quickly.
- Shifting from one gear to another is acceptable on flat or downhill sections.
- When you’re in doubt, choose a slower gear: Being in a high gear saps your strength quickly and can strain your knees.
- An easier gear and a faster cadence result in greater efficiency than pedaling slower in more complex equipment.
- During your ride, try to pedal at a speed you feel comfortable with for the duration.
- Eventually, you’ll learn what cadence feels right for you after a few rides.
- By acquiring a bike computer with cadence measurement capabilities, you can pay attention to your cadence as you ride.
The following tips will benefit a conventional bike with an extra front chainring:
- Make sure you don’t shift both gears at the same time. That will simplify your gear shifts and minimize your stresses on your drivetrain.
- You can also adjust your gearing by moving the chain between the shafts of the front chainrings.
- Cross-chaining is hard on the drivetrain. If you pick gears that place your chain on opposite sides of the front cogs and rear cassette simultaneously (cross-chaining), the drivetrain will wear out faster.
- Make sure the rear cogs you choose are relatively close in alignment with the front cog.
14 Common Gearing Mistakes made by Beginners
Can you help us identify which of these places you will likely be using? Different types of bikes can deal with various types of terrain. A hybrid bike provides a more comfortable ride while maintaining the wide, narrow wheels needed for speeding on city streets.
The following are some common mistakes beginners make while changing the gears on a mountain bike that should be avoided:
- You can use a road bike for cruising through the asphalt streets while looking sleek, aerodynamic, and comfortable.
- Speeds can be increased significantly by skinny tires, which are ideal for racing, commuting, and exercise.
- Mountain bikes designed with shock-absorbing suspension are ideal if you love exploring the outdoors. No matter what you encounter on your mountain bike, you can handle it.
- Many people buy bikes which have too much suspension, and they are sluggish and slow”. Mechanic says; for beginner mountain bikers on a budget, it is best to buy a bike with only the front suspension since it is enough for moderate mountain trails and won’t give you that heavy, slow sensation that bikes with much more rest can provide.
- Even though mountain bikes tend to weigh much less than typical road bikes, they typically offer easier gears so you can huff and puff up steep hills.
- Local bike shops have experts who can guide you through the selection process, so you get the tailor-made bike for your body type and lifestyle.
- When you purchase a bike from your local bike shop, you usually get a few free or discounted tune-ups that ensure the safety of your ride.
- Make sure you are comfortable on your bike before you ride out the first time.
- Put your feet on the pedals at their furthest point; your leg should be straight, and when pedaling, your knees slightly.
- Also, make sure that your elbows are bent slightly.
- If you are in this position, you will exert less effort and get hurt less frequently.
- The way you move will adjust your body during long-distance cycling changes frequently.
- Consider aches and pain after a ride; this will give you a clue as to whether or not you need to make a change.
Sometimes, when we see people riding steep hills in the big chainring or spinning out on gears too easy for the descent, we see people putting too much power through their pedals. While riding, your goal should be to maintain a pedal cadence (the amount at which your pedals make a full rotation) that is as consistent as possible.
The best part is you can get any mountain bike under your budget i.e best mountain bikes under 1000 dollars, and the best mountain bikes under 500 USD gives you the finest choice of features on an affordable budget.
That can be accomplished by shifting gears or by increasing power output. It is important to remember that power output is finite unless you are a Wonder woman and have a limited supply. Keeping your gears in place while riding makes a difference in inefficiency.