MTB gear: Whether you are riding in the city, on the road, on gravel paths, or maybe going crazy on mountain trails, bicycle derailleurs make it easier to ride in all conditions
- Part 1: Introduction
- Part 2: Buying Guide
- Part 3: Recommendations
- Part 4: Selection Guide
- Part 5: Frequently Asked Questions
Part 1: Introduction
It is important to remember not to change gears on steep sections and to adapt gears to the terrain when riding. Many people forget this, making pedalling inefficient. On flat stretches, we should shift to a medium or higher (heavier) gear, on downhills to a higher gear, and on uphills to a lower (lighter) gear. Moving should be done just before the start of a hill and should be smooth and steady. In the case of cheaper derailleurs, we advise against changing several gears at once.
Purpose of Gears on a Mountain Bike
The various gears on your bike help you get the most out of your pedaling, no matter what kind of terrain you’re riding on. The more variety you have in different landscapes, the more gears you may want to have in your mountain bike.
Gears can also help you get the most power on climbs. Going downhill, you can switch to a much smaller set of gears. The chain and pedals can keep up with the tires’ speed. This is because you can shift into a more extensive set of gears, and each time you press down on the bike’s pedals, it will have a more significant impact and push you further forward.
Understanding the Mechanism
Take a close look at your drivetrain from the sprockets (the giant gears at the pedals) to the freewheel (the set of sprockets at the rear wheel) and the chain connecting them.
Wipe away dried mud and old grease that may be obstructing your view of the metal surfaces, and consider what’s going on down here as you race down the trail and lock the thumb levers back and forth.
It’s much easier to teach a child how to balance a unicycle than to teach someone (even yourself) how to shift correctly. Knowing what’s going on under the handlebars when someone is using the shifter is critical to understanding when and how to shift.
When and How to Shift
We already have part of the answer to the “when” question: “before you have to.” But if you think “you have to” means the point at which you can no longer pedal in your current gear (because it’s either too hard gear for the uphill or such an easy gear that you just spin the pedals on the downhill ), your drivetrain is in for a short and miserable existence.
Instead, learn to anticipate how hard or easy your gear will be on the terrain and trail. Both are important because riding in a hardpack on a slight hill can be easier than pedalling through the sand on flat terrain. Forcing derailleurs to shift under load (when spinning hard) is hard on both components and muscles. Choose the gear you’ll need when you’re still on the downhill or pedalling quickly on flat terrain.
If you haven’t anticipated or misjudged the right gear, try soft-pedalling. Amplify one stroke (pedal very hard on one downhill stroke) so that the momentum gained allows you to soft-pedal on the next stroke. Change gears immediately after a power stroke, as soft-pedalling over the next few seconds will reduce chain tension and will enable the derailleur to move more quickly.
How to Care for Gears on Mountain Bikes
Derailleurs are a part of your bike that should be thoroughly cleaned, especially if you ride a lot in the mud and mud gets into the derailleurs. Keeping them clean is an essential part of making sure they don’t rust. And it can also help them not wear out as quickly.
When mud or anything else gets into the chain and gets between the chain and the sprockets, it will wear out both the chain and the sprockets. When it’s time to give the chain an excellent cleaning, it’s usually time to provide the sprockets with a good cleaning and vice versa. Just clean the sprockets the same way you cleaned the chain and re-lubricate them simultaneously.
Part 2: Buying Guide
When you see numbers like 3×9 or 3×10, or any other set of numbers concerning gears, it tells you how many gears are on a mountain bike and where they are located. In the examples I just mentioned, they both have 3 different gears in the front, and one of them has 9 teeth in the cassette in the back. And the other has 10 teeth in the cassette in the back. This means that a 3×10 will have 30 different gear ratios because any of the 3 front spots can be connected to any of the 10 rear spots.
Most mountain bikers either prefer a single speed or prefer a lot of gearing, but for those who want something more middle of the road, there is a 1×11 option and other 1x options that you can try out. Having only one disc up front, it’s still reasonably simple to use without overwhelming you with choices, yet still gives you a few options for different gears to switch between.
But on mountain bikes, the gears are entirely different. They are small in the front and more significant in the rear, with special features on each piece.
Part 3: Recommendations
An MTB bike should have an efficient drive train. Not so much a wide gear range, but a well-matched selection of gear ratios is essential. When it comes to MTB accessories, less is more – a 20-speed gearbox is an optimal choice. We care about getting the best possible energy transfer from your muscles to the bike’s drivetrain.
Unless those parts wear out, these are the most upgraded parts because mountain biking is all about climbing. Cyclists look for easy climbing by modifying the gear ratios.
The gears in all types of bikes are pretty similar. All bikes have the same components in the drivetrain, such as discs and cassettes, etc.
This will allow you to put less effort into the uphill climbs because the soft gears will be selected so that you don’t have to pedal frantically to get the bike to climb uphill. An MTB bike should have an efficient drivetrain. Not so much vast, but a well-matched selection of gear ratios is essential here. When it comes to MTB equipment, less is more – a 20-speed gearbox will be the optimal choice. Our aim is to get the best possible energy transfer from your muscles to the bike’s drivetrain.
What Do We Mean by Mountain Bike Gears
Gears are drivetrain components, also called groups. These components work together in perfect harmony to deal with chain shifting.
A group consists of Gear, Cassette, Chain, Front/rear derailleur, and Front/rear shifters.
The More, the Better
Contrary to what you might think, a higher number of possible gear ratios does not necessarily mean a better drivetrain. While in the past, the market was dominated by a 3-speed sprocket at the front and a 7 or 8-speed cassette at the rear. Nowadays, it is more and more common to find models with two front discs and 9, 10, or 11 rows in the cassette. On the other hand, high-performance riders who want to reduce the bike’s weight, reduce the risk of breakdowns, and simplify shifting use a single disc at the front and 10, 11, or 12 rows at the rear. They don’t need the same range of gear as recreational cyclists.
However, more advanced riders rarely talk about the drivetrain in terms of the number of rows and far more often in terms of the range of available gear ratios, such as 11-34. This means that in a cassette, the smallest sprocket has 11, and the largest has 34 teeth.
The lower the number, the more power you have to pedaling and the higher the speed you can achieve. The higher the number, the easier it is to set the chain in motion and the easier to ride up a steep uphill, but this translates into a lower speed.
Handlebars attached to the end of the handlebar: They can be mounted on straight handlebars or so-called shoulder bars. They are most often used to complement a basic set of handlebars, which are not available on specific handlebars.
they are rarely used nowadays. They are mainly found on lower-priced bikes. Although their operation is not the easiest, they allow fast shifting of several gears at once. They are less precise than tilt-shift paddles. And they made of cheap materials which do not offer adequate resistance to weather conditions.
Twist-shift paddles: they are fixed to the handlebar axle. They can be operated without taking hands off the handlebars, which may be necessary for professional riders. Change of transmission requires turning the handlebar in a specific direction.
There are two levers, one for pulling the cable and the other for releasing the cable. Depending on the manufacturer, they may require operation with the index finger and thumb or just the thumb.
It meets the needs of road riders. The gear lever here has been built into the brake lever, hence the name. Actions like this allow for shifting without taking your hands off the handlebars and brakes. Interestingly, brake levers have also been available electronically for some time. Of course, this requires compatible accessories.
Part 4: Selection Guide
How do you make a choice with so many options? Fortunately, it’s not as difficult as you think because the right solutions are almost self-explanatory. Manufacturers of bicycle accessories know precisely what kind of shifting levers will work best on which type of bike.
The choice depends mostly on our preferences. Touring and city bikes are likely to have either a zinc or rotary shift lever. Road bikes rely on road shifting levers, while mountain bikes have zinc grips, although some mountain bike enthusiasts opt for rotary clasps.
Part 5: Frequently Asked Questions
How Many Gears Should an MTB Have
Mountain bikes have between 1-and 40 gears, with most mountain bikes having between 7 and 28 gears and some custom mountain bikes having over 40. Adult mountain bikes have, on average more gears than kid’s mountain bikes do.
What is a Good MTB Gear Ratio
Mostly, the best and most recommended gear ratio combination is 32T on the front with 34T on the back.
What Gear Should I be in for a Wheelie on an MTB
To do a pedal wheelie on a mountain bike, it’s best to start on a level field in case you fall. You’ll need to be in low to medium gear at a fast walking pace. Then, move your pedals to 11 and 5 o’clock. When ready, shift your weight forward, then lean back quickly over the rear wheel.
Do You Shift Gears While Pedaling
You still have to be pedalling while you shift gears, but don’t be pedalling hard as you change them. Lightening the pressure on the pedals facilitates a much smoother, more quiet shift. This technique, too, is easier on your bike. Fourth, remember to shift into a low-numbered gear before you stop.