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Changing gears - what order?

GothmeisterGothmeister Posts: 62
edited November 2008 in MTB beginners
What is the most sensible way to change down when approaching/climbing hills? Do you change down through the rears first and then start going down the front (maybe changing back up on the rear)? Or go to a lower front gear first and select the rear?

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  • whyamiherewhyamihere Posts: 7,442
    Depends how steep the hill is. If you're going to need to drop a chainring, do that first and get it over with, it's harder to shift at the front when you're going uphill, then select your gear at the back to keep your cadence and speed right.
  • nferrarnferrar Posts: 2,511
    I usually change down on the front first as it's much easier to change the rear under load than the front so get the front out of the way before the hill and fine tune the rear for what the hill demands once you're on it.
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  • dave_hilldave_hill Posts: 3,877
    What is the most sensible way to change down when approaching/climbing hills? Do you change down through the rears first and then start going down the front (maybe changing back up on the rear)? Or go to a lower front gear first and select the rear?

    If I find myself on a hill which is gradually getting steep, I work my way through the rear set first until I'm in third from bottom, then I drop the front onto the smallest ring.

    However, if there's a sudden change in gradient, you're going to need to drop onto a smaller chainring first, then use the rear gears.

    Remember there's no hard and fast rule for the correct gear for any particular situation - the correct gear is the one that allows you to keep spinning, maximises the energy that you put into turning the pedals and feels the most comfortable.

    A mistake that many many inexperienced cyclists make is to try to "mash" too high a gear. Try to keep your pedals spinning at about 90rpm no matter what gear you're in and you won't be far off. And pedal smoothly - don't just push on the pedals, you need to be able to develop a smooth stroke that goes most of the way round, just moving your legs and keeping your upper body still but relaxed.
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  • stumpyjonstumpyjon Posts: 4,069
    Remember that the gear ratios overlap which means in reality a 27 speed drive train really only has about 20 ratios.

    I tend to find that dropping a chain ring is equivilent to dropping 2 to 3 sprockets at the rear so sometimes I'll shift both simultaneously, down on the front and up one on the rear to reduce the impact on my cadence.

    Dave's dead right about spinning rather than mashing the gears, something it took me a long time to realise until I saw one of my riding buddies power up a hill which I just stopped dead on. Because he was spinning he still had some power in reserve if he hit an obstacle (and he was way fitter and stronger than me as well :oops: ).
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  • Dan67Dan67 Posts: 658
    i tend to go with
    granny ring= 1-5
    middle ring= 3-7
    big ring= 5-9

    when goig up hill i tend to change gear where my cadence starts to drop. i dont do it all in one go as that would leave my legs spinning abit to fast.
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  • jojo90jojo90 Posts: 178
    I actually change both at once... so for example if I'm approaching a climb I will drop cogs on both ends at the same time, means you don't need to alter the cadence and the gearing is 'similar'. You can then start working up the rear gears as the climb progresses. I do the reverse for DH.
  • If your running a 44 32 22 front and 12-34 rear then dropping one gear at the front and two at the back will leave you pedaling the same ratio, and yes if you are going to shift the front then doit before the hill to save the graunching noises!
  • Dan67 wrote:
    i tend to go with
    granny ring= 1-5
    middle ring= 3-7
    big ring= 5-9

    when goig up hill i tend to change gear where my cadence starts to drop. i dont do it all in one go as that would leave my legs spinning abit to fast.

    +1
    The whole gear ratio's, 1-5 etc can vary depending on the speed of your bike, and how well the gears are set up. Try experimenting on flat ground, while going through the gears and seeing what keeps your chain straight and what puts it too far out of line, for example big ring on the front, 3rd 2nd and biggest ring on the back will twist your chain too much and wear it out far too quick... Personally this method helped me to get my gearing right when going up hills, and learn what works best and on what..
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