How do gears on mountain bikes work

mountain bikes

Mountain Bikes are essential for adventure seekers and off-road enthusiasts. You cannot fully enjoy your biking experience if you do not understand how mountain bike gears work. Read on for tips and tricks that will ensure that you make the most out of your next biking trip.

Firstly, you need to understand the bike gear mechanism. Start off by ensuring that your chainrings are in place. Wipe off any excess or old grease and mud that may be on the metal surfaces of the chain system as it will affect your riding.

What are bike gears?

Gears on mountain bikes are similar to speeds. They are generally 1, 3, 18, 21, 24 or 27. Higher numbers are high gears while lower numbers are low gears. How do I tell what gear I am on? Well, your bike has shifters on the right and the left-hand side. For example, if you have an 18-speed bike, your left shifter will be labeled 1-2-3 and your right will be labeled 1-2-3-4-5-6, which means that for each number on your left, you get six different speeds on your right totaling up to 18.

When do I shift?

This is quite simple. When going uphill, shift down to the lowest gear. This is because it is difficult for you to pedal up a hill. When on a lower gear, you move a shorter distance thus making it easier to pedal. When doing downhill, you will have less resistance in the pedals when on a lower gear making the wheels spin faster and you will lose control of your bike. You would now require to shift up to a higher gear. If you require a big change, use the right shifter and vice versa if you require smaller changes.

As you are shifting gears, try to keep the chain in a straight line between the front and rear sets. Having the chain in extreme angles from left to right (the right-most ring in the front and the left-most ring in the back) stretches the chain and wears it out.


Using mountain bike gears is quite easy and simple once you know what bike gears are and when to shift. With adequate experience, you will get the technical knowledge that you may need to effectively use your mountain bike. Remember that choosing the right bicycle that can handle the type of terrain you want to venture is vital as the gear shift may work differently. All in all have fun since now you are now ready for your next biking adventure.

Be first to comment