Last Updated on April 5, 2020

Most of the cyclists and mountain bikers around the world have a common issue that is the maintenance of their bikes. Regular maintenance of the bike at a local bike mechanical shop is quite costly and time-consuming. So it is quite beneficial for them to learn about some basic maintenance issues of the bike. One of the natural issues is “Adjusting of mountain bike gears.”

How to Adjust Mountain Bike Gears

It is so tough to ride smoothly with sticky and indexed gears. As per the terrain, a biker has to shift up and down with gears. But without perfect adjustment and maintenance of gears, there a biker may be frustrated for the disturbing grinding noises as the shifting is not happening for another cog (chainring). So, a biker should have a basic knowledge of how to adjust a mountain bike gears, for his/her benefits.

If you are a mountain biker or a cyclist, then you should know how to adjust the mountain bike gears. Now, by knowing this, you can shift and use the gears correctly and easily without any outside mechanical cost.

How to Adjust Mountain Bike Gears

Here, we are providing you some essential tips and guidelines so that you become able to customize your bike gears yourself.

1. Know About the Parts

If you want to change your mountain bike gears, then your first job is to know about all the body parts of your bike. You have to know which part works for what reason. Know everything in detail. Most importantly, know about those parts which are familiar and related to the adjusting of the bike gears. Such As-

  • Chain-ring (Cogs attached to the paddle crank),
  • Cassette (the nest of cogs or ring on the rear wheel),
  • Derailleur (this is the moving part at the Cassette that pushes the chain from one ring to another),
  • Limit Screws (decide how far Derailleur can move),
  • B Limit Screw (adjusts how far below the Derailleur hangs),
  • Inner Wire (the metallic wire that is connected to the Derailleur and the shifter),
  • Outer wire (help inner wire to stay tight).

2. Collect Mechanical Tools

For adjusting the gears use a personal mechanical kit. Mandatory tools are –hex keys, screwdriver, plus, cotton or washer.

3. Cleaning

One of the causes of poor shifting may be dirty components. So clean every single part of the bike thoroughly. Leave no single trace of dirt. Clean the bike with wet, damp cloth or washer. Then dry the bike.

4. Raise the Bike on a Bike Stand

You have to spin the rear wheels freely without any movement of the bike. For the spinning of the bike wheel, you better use a bike stand. You may buy it from a local bike store or hire it from a mechanical bike garage. Now raise your bike off the land on the stand. And spin the wheel. Turn your bike upside down, and you can rest it on handlebars and seat. Now reverse the direction and spin the wheel to detect problems.

5. Adjust the Derailleurs of Both Rear and Front

Derailleurs are the components of a mountain bike that perform to shift bike gears and to keep the chain in the place. The rear Derailleur is attached to the Cassette of the back wheel. And the front Derailleur is attached to the pedals. After cleaning the derailleurs along with the whole bike, now it’s time to adjust the derailleurs.

To adjust the rear Derailleur, you should smoothly move the chain from small to the middle ring by using a barrel adjuster on the shifter and turning pedals. Then, unscrew the bolt, that holding the cable in the place, on the Derailleur.

Then move the chain back onto the smallest ring, and remove any of the inner wire slack. And now you have to shift through gears. After adjusting to the rear Derailleur, you have to adjust the Front Derailleur. For that, you have to move the chain onto the biggest ring.

Then after checking the position of the Derailleur, adjust the limit screw so that the chain is in the middle between derailleur plates. By turning the pedal, push the chain onto the biggest ring. Adjust the slack in the wire before tightening it. At last, you need a proper tuning of the gears.

When you see the shifting onto the smaller ring is slow, then tighten the barrel adjuster, and when you see the shifting onto the bigger ring is slow, then unscrew the barrel adjuster half a turn.

6. Identify the Shifting Problems

To identify the shifting problems, you have to check all the gears one by one by using your hand and turning pedal. Notice carefully where the chain slips off the gear, where the gears are having problems of shifting. Remember one thing, when you are checking one derailleur, then put the other Derailleur in the middle -gear.

7. Tighten the Wire Adjuster

Tighten the wire adjuster when the chain is not shifting up in your bike riding, if it seems that the chain is not shifting upper gears, then tight the wire adjuster by turning the adjuster counterclockwise.

8. Loosen the Wire Adjuster

Loosen the wire adjuster when the chain is not shifting down. As you know, lower gears are very nearer to the wheel. When there is a problem whit shifting to the lower gear, then loosen the wire adjuster by turning the adjuster slowly counterclockwise until the chain falls into the right gear.

9. Final Checking

After adjusting all the wires and gears, now check all the gears from up to down. To ensure that the derailleurs are performing successfully to shift the chain through all the gear.

10. Take a Short Ride

At last, take a short ride of your bike so that you can be sure that whether there are any other problems with the gears, which are needed adjustment.

Final Words

In this article, we have provided all the guidelines which are needed to adjust a mountain bike gears. Now, any biker can easily adjust his or her bike gears as per our provided direction.

Now, we hope that you will be able to fix your mountain bike’s gear shifting problems by yourself. You don’t need to go to any local bikes mechanical shop to adjust your bike gears. You can do it easily by yourself at no cost. Thank you for staying with us.


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