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Re: Newbie doesn't understand gears

28 October, 2011 09:02PM
According to the online specification, your bike has 6-speed derailleur gears. If you look where the chain meets the back wheel you will see that there are 6 different-sized sprockets - these are your six gears. The gear change mechanism is a twist-grip as part of the right-hand handlebar grip; via a cable it adjusts the derailleur mechanism sideways which moves the chain to a different sprocket.

With this type of gearing, you can only change gear WHILE YOU ARE PEDALLING, which means that just before you stop anywhere you need to change down to whatever a comfortable starting-off gear is. Check this with the shop, but most twist-grip mechanisms twist back towards you to change to a lower gear, and twist forwards away from you to change to a higher gear; there should be an indicator or number by the twist-grip so that you can glance down and see which gear you are in (1 is lowest and 6 is highest).

Which gear is best for starting off in depends very much on what feels comfortable for you. Try gear 2 or gear 3 to begin with (on a flat path in a quiet park try starting off in each of the gears and see what feels right for you; it will vary as you get fitter anyway).

As you speed up from a start, you will find your legs spinning the pedals faster and faster; as soon as it feels comfortable change up to a higher gear. By the time you get up to comfortable cruising speed you may have changed up 2 or 3 or even 4 gears. When you approach a corner or junction it is often a good idea to change down 1 or 2 gears before you actually get there; if you think it likely that you will need to stop at the corner then you should change down to your starting-off gear.

Going up a hill you will find that you are pedalling slower and pushing harder on the pedals. Personally I change down to a lower gear almost as soon as I can feel that I am pushing harder, so that I can keep up a near-constant pedalling speed even though the bicycle is moving slower due to the use of a lower gear. On long and/or steep hills you may need to change down several gears. After a while you will get enough experience (or get to know the local hills) so that you can look at a hill and guess which gear is going to be most comfortable for getting up that hill.

Going down a hill, you can either relax, stop pedalling, and coast, or you can change to a higher gear and keep pedalling; at the bottom you may need to change down a gear or so to get back to a gear which is comfortable for riding on the flat.

Best of luck with your new bike.

- Murray
Subject Author Posted

Newbie doesn't understand gears

Puddlescat 28 October, 2011 05:33PM

Re: Newbie doesn't understand gears

Murray R Langton 28 October, 2011 09:02PM

Re: Newbie doesn't understand gears

Puddlescat 29 October, 2011 09:05AM

Re: Newbie doesn't understand gears

Murray R Langton 29 October, 2011 06:02PM

Re: Newbie doesn't understand gears

cotterpin 29 October, 2011 10:48PM

Re: Newbie doesn't understand gears

DocB 30 October, 2011 07:23AM

Re: Newbie doesn't understand gears

Murray R Langton 31 October, 2011 09:26AM

Re: Newbie doesn't understand gears

Puddlescat 05 November, 2011 11:26AM

Re: Newbie doesn't understand gears

DocB 05 November, 2011 06:42PM

Re: Newbie doesn't understand gears

Puddlescat 05 November, 2011 07:20PM



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