Adjust Bike Gears Like a Pro

If your bike gears are not working the way they should be, you need not be panic. Sometimes, all they need are a few minutes of fixing, even without bike tools. A proper gearing of your bike is a great way to improve your cycling performance. Every clicking sound of the lever allows the chain to move smoothly from the sprocket.

However, if that does not occur, you may need to regulate your gears. So, here are some ways on how to adjust bike gears, whether the front or rear derailleur.

How to Adjust Bike Gears

Here are some steps to follow to regulate the gears of your bicycle:

Simplify Your Gear Shifting

Your gear cable is a thin wire that may run from the shifter going to the derailleur. For the parts of the bike, it works in a hollow on an outer casing. It means that the cable can take a course to the derailleur that engages the curves. The cable is in constant tension.

Also, the shifter of the gear coils the cable in and out. It allows the tension of the cable to increase or decrease. Moreover, it permits the movement of the derailleur on each side. A lot of shifters have indexed. That way, every click coils the cable in an appropriate amount. It also allows the derailleur to move.

Find the Barrel Adjuster

Another common problem is when the shifter cannot move the derailleur at the exact amount needed. In this case, the chain starts to rattle on the sprockets. Also, it bounces in between gears or needs two clicks to move. The cable is the usual culprit for this issue.

What you need to do is to look for the barrel adjuster. It is a hollow bolt that runs the exterior casing. You can find it at the shifter. It also has a metal socket on its frame, which you can call as the cable stop.

Also Read: Bicycle Seat Height – How to Set Right Height

Fine-tune the Gears

When you unscrew the barrel adjuster, it boosts up the tension on the gear cable or vice versa. You have to rotate the pedal using your hand while you change gear with the contrary. Also, you will need somebody to assist you and to lift the back of the wheel off the floor.

Firstly, you have to change the gear until the cable is at its loosest. It will be the smallest sprocket unless your bicycle has a standard or rapid derailleur. You have to click the shifter. The chains do not swing to the next gear without hesitation. Then, unscrew the adjuster. You must check out if the chain move back the other way around with just a single click. So, it may mean screwing the adjuster back a little. Next, shift it up and down to assess if the entire gears engage with the single-click shift. You need to move the adjuster in a quarter turn.

Re-clamp the Bike’s Cable

If the cable on your bike was very loose or overly tight, the adjuster might not have the correct adjustment. So, you need to shift the gear until the bike’s cable is at its wobbliest. Then, screw the adjuster entirely. You may use an Allen key or a spanner for this step. You have to unscrew the anchor bolt to let loose of the cable from the derailleur

Additionally, you may also check if the chain is on the tiniest sprocket. Hold the tip of the cable and pull it until it becomes tight. Then, you have to re-clamp the wire. Lastly, you have to fine-tune the gear.

Also Read: Bicycle Transmission

Deal with Slow-moving Shifts

The derailleur will move sometimes. Then, it slowly moves in the other way, and as you click it, it does not move. The problem here is the friction of the derailleur caused by dirt. So, what you have to do is to put lube on the cable. It will be easy on the bikes that have the cable partially uncovered. You have to move the gear until the cable becomes loose.

Then, disengage the outer casings from the cable until it stops on the bike’s frame. It will draw the exposed cable throughout the slot. Also, you can now slide the casings up and down the inner wire. Put lubricant on the wire. Moreover, you have to place some lube on the edge of the outer casings. Then, fit the outer casings back into the gear cable. If it is still sluggish, the last resort is to buy a new cable and outer housing.

Check the Bike’s Chain for Overshoots

At times, the chain also moves way too far and sometimes falls off the sprockets. Also, it may not shift far enough, even though you put the right tension to the cable. So, you have to regulate the low and high limit screws on the derailleur.

The large screw will out limitation on how far the gear can shift to the right. On the other hand, the low pin can limit how far the derailleur moves to the left. You have to make small alterations on the half turns. Do this until the gear stops to the right areas.


The gears of your bike that work well can make all of the difference when it comes to ease of ride and performance. Even though they may seem hard to handle, getting your gears together just needs simple processes. You see, they depend on proper adjustments and smooth operations. What you have to do is just to follow our step-by-step guide on regulating your bike gears. So, what now? Follow the steps and get your bike running smoothly.

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