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Gear changing

ShortarmsShortarms Posts: 6
edited July 2010 in Road beginners
i am completely new to road bikes- so new that I rode my first one for about twenty minutes tonight, but in that time I managed to have the chain off twice.

I'm pretty certain it is something to do with me changing gears wrong.

I'm looking for any advice (nearing in mind I'm a complete novice) around changing effectively. Fir example should I be pedalling throughout the gear change? Do I have to go up through the gears on the bigger cog (don't know technical term) before switching to the smaller one and vice versa? The bike is inherited from a keen rider and he says it's working fine do it shouldn't be the bike, but I'm being impatient do thought I'd ask here rather than wait.

Thanks in advance


  • Buckled_RimsBuckled_Rims Posts: 1,648
    First off, what gears do you have? Make, model and number of gears all help because different sets have their own idiosyncrasies.

    Also is the chain coming off from the front or the back?
    Kona Jake the Snake
    Merlin Malt 4
  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    Keep pedalling but ease off on the pressure as you shift.
  • White LineWhite Line Posts: 887
    My winter bike often throws the chain off if I try to up shift too quickly. Ease off the pressure a bit, and push the lever - but don't do it as hard and as fast as you can.
  • StillGoingStillGoing Posts: 5,207
    Could it be you're crossing the chain i.e big ring at the front and back?
    I ride a bike. Doesn't make me green or a tree hugger. I drive a car too.
  • mattward1979mattward1979 Posts: 692
    Hard to say exactly what the problem is without knowing where the chain is coming off...

    Is it slipping off of the front or back chainrings?
    And is it slipping off the rings closest to the frame or furthest away?

    As for general gearing, if you have an 18 speed bike, doesnt mean that you have all 18 gears availiable to use... You might find that on your big front chainring, you can use the smallest rear cog (highest gear), and the next 4-5 gears down from that, and from the small front chainring you can use the largest rear cog (Lowest gear) and the next 4-5 gears up.

    But that is dependant on the bike and the setup..
  • ShortarmsShortarms Posts: 6
    The chain is slipping off the front rings, having had another crack this morning I think it may be because I've been trying to change the front cog when there is no gear to change to and the chain has been slipping off as I pedal. Silly I know but like I said I'm a complete novice. Does that sound plausible?
  • mattward1979mattward1979 Posts: 692
    yes depending on what gears/shifters you have..

    Most gears are set up so that you can only shift between the areas of the gears that will engage an actual ring.. but if your are slightly off, you could be losing the chain because of that.

    Just practice with shifting the front ring back and forward and get a sense for how many clicks etc it takes to cleanly move from cog to cog..
  • ProssPross Posts: 34,798
    Sounds more likely to be that the front mech limit screws need adjusting. Even under extreme shifting (such as when racing) it should be a reasonably rare event that you lose your chain if the mech is properly set up.
  • tmgtmg Posts: 651
    Not surewhat you mean by slipping off when no gear to change to

    Essentially there are only a couple of things to remember for changing
    1. Try to be in the right gear before you need it, particularly for hills as changing gear under such load can cause issues
    2. As the others have already said, ease off on your pedal stroke a little when you change, particularly when your changing from small to big on the front
    3. Try to avoid crossing the chain, so small / small and big / big should be avoided

    The only other things to consider would be set up of the mechs themselves
  • CiBCiB Posts: 6,098
    To answer the original questions:

    You have to pedal whlst changing gear, but not at full pressure. The chain needs to fall from one cog to another and can't under full load, so you need to ease off just slightly. You'll soon get the feel for this.

    You don't need to work your way up through all the gears like a car. The bottom few gears [biggest 2 or 3 on the cassette] are better suited to the small chain ring as there's less chain angle in this combination of gears, likewise the highest 2 or 3 gears [smaller cogs on cassette] are better suited to the large ring. The middle gears are a free-for-all where you can chop & change however the terrain / wind / apathy on your part suits you. Start off in whatever gear suits you best.

    The chain shouldn't be falling off though, unless you're changing under full load. Try the easing off a bit till you get the feel. If it still happens the limit screws on the front mech may need adjustng a bit, or you can experiment by adjusting the barrel adjusters on the cable near the gear levers out of the hoods a bit at time to see if that improves matters.
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