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Clicking or mis-shifting gears can ruin a ride and seriously impair your bike's performance - here's how to keep them shifting smoothly

Gears give a mighty boost to your cycling performance they help you climb hills easier and speed along on the flat, but if they are mis-aligned or poorly adjusted they can ruin a ride and take a significant edge of the performance of your bike. 

Luckily with a little know how they are easy to keep running smoothly and effeciently. In the fourth of our series of cycle maintenance videos Cycle Surgery chief mechanic, Andrew Brown, shows you how to set up your front and rear derailleurs for to ensure crisp, efficient shifts and how to fine tune your gears for maximum smoothness between changes. 

The whole series of our bike maintenance videos is available now on Youtube to help you get to grips with the essentials of keeping your bike running efficiently all year round. 

How to Clean and Lube Your Bike for Maximum Cycling Efficiency
How to Get the Best from Your Bike's Brakes
How to Keep Your Bike's Wheels Round, Tight and True
How to Adjust Your Bike's Gears for Maximum Shifting Performance
How to Choose the Right Gear Ratios for You and Your Bike
How to Cure Your Bike's Creaks and Squeaks
How to Choose and Set Up the Right Tyres for Your Bike

Plucked from the obscurity of his London commute back in the mid-Nineties to live in Bath and edit bike mags our man made the jump to the interweb back in 2006 as launch editor of a large cycling website somewhat confusingly named after a piece of navigational equipment. He came up with the idea for road.cc mainly to avoid being told what to do… Oh dear, issues there then. Tony tries to ride his bike every day and if he doesn't he gets grumpy, he likes carbon, but owns steel, and wants titanium. When not on his bike or eating cake Tony spends his time looking for new ways to annoy the road.cc team. He's remarkably good at it.

5 comments

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02curtisb [63 posts] 1 year ago
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How often do people find they need to adjust their derailleurs? Im finding that more and more often i need some sort of adjustment after any 50+mile ride. I know its expected after new cables due to soem strecthing etc. but has been ongoing for a while now. Using shimano 105 5700 i have heard is a bit of a tricky one to set up.

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Danger Dicko [282 posts] 1 year ago
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I need to view this. The Tiagra on my winter bike does not like being in the lower 4 gears. Slips like hell, phantom changes etc.

 

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Danger Dicko [282 posts] 1 year ago
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I need to view this. The Tiagra on my winter bike does not like being in the lower 4 gears. Slips like hell, phantom changes etc.

 

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caaad10 [190 posts] 1 year ago
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02curtisb wrote:

How often do people find they need to adjust their derailleurs? Im finding that more and more often i need some sort of adjustment after any 50+mile ride. I know its expected after new cables due to soem strecthing etc. but has been ongoing for a while now. Using shimano 105 5700 i have heard is a bit of a tricky one to set up.

 

I had problems with 105 pretty much from new which turned out to be the cables, I changed the cables for yokozuna items and have never looked back. The cables were expensive, but I managed to almost do 2 bikes with 1 set. The increased brake performance was amazing and a complete bonus as I'd only bought the cables to sort the derailleurs.

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Spangly Shiny [200 posts] 5 months ago
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He appears to be using a Posidrive screwdriver (which is too large) rather than a JIS screwdriver.

It would also have been useful to actually set up the gears from scratch rather than twiddle about with an already perfect alignment.

Setting the basic rear cable tension with the chain on the second sprocket may well result in too much tensioon in the cable to enable engagement of the first sprocket. I would rather first screw in the barrel adjuster, pull the cable tught by hand and connect, select the first click on the shifter then use the barrel adjuster to move the mech to the required position.