Understanding how your mountain bike works is important for you to be able to use it to its fullest capacities. A crucial part of understanding the function and performance factors of your mountain bike involves understanding the relationship between gears and mountain bikes. Knowing how to shift gears properly on your mountain bike plays a bigger role in your enjoyment, safety, endurance, and maneuverability than most people think. Good shifting habits can make the experience of getting out of the city and hitting the local riding trails much more enjoyable than they already are, and you can also reduce the amount of wear and tear your mountain bike experiences in the process. As a result, your bike can last longer, which means you can go longer without having to worry about repairing or replacing it.
In contrast, when you do not shift carefully or observe the importance of the relationship between your gears and the performance of your mountain bike, a number of bad things can happen to your bike. For example, the chain on your bike will be more likely to slip off track frequently, and in some cases your chain may even break while you are riding, which has clear negative implications for your safety, not to mention for your enjoyment. Furthermore, over time it is easy for bad shifting habits to lead to bending and warping in your gear sprockets, which means you may wind up having to replace them more frequently than you otherwise would. For all of these and more reasons, it is very important for a mountain biker, particularly if he or she is a beginning mountain biker, to understand how to shift gears on a mountain bike in the correct way. This article will discuss the relationship between gears and mountain bikes so you can learn to shift better and not only prolong the life of your equipment but increase your enjoyment of the sport in the process.
The first thing you have to understand is the process and mechanics behind shifting gears on a mountain bike. One of the most basic ways to learn how to shift your mountain bike’s gears correctly is to develop an understanding of which individual gears are modified by the shifters on your bicycle. It is likely that you already know that there are two sets of shifters on most mountain bikes. However, you may not know which set of shifters controls what. The gear shifter located on the right side of your bicycle’s handlebars is responsible for shifting the gears located on your rear wheel while the gear shifter located on the left side of your bicycle’s handlebars handles the task of shifting the gears on your front wheel. You should commit this information to memory because there are some situations out on the trail where you will need to modify the position of your chain on your front gears and there are other situations where you will need to change the position of your chain on the rear gears, and each of these changes requires a knowledge of the correct shifter to engage.
When riding, think about the occasions during which you might have to change your gears. You will discover that the more you elect to change your gear settings, whether in the front gear assembly or in the rear gear assembly, the sooner your chain and gears will need lubrication and eventual replacement. You do not need to spend all of your riding time constantly adjusting your gears up and down unless you are racing competitively through varying conditions and seeking every advantage to preserve your energy. In almost all other cases, you can usually remain in the same gear for some time before you really need to change your gears. Typically you will find you need to shift your gears when you approach a hill you need to climb or find yourself at the top of a hill you plan to descend. Similarly, when you have just finished going down a hill and are leveling off into flat or non hilly terrain, you will probably want to change gears. However, knowing when to change and when not to can save your gears.