**Chainring/Cassette Cog Shifting Tips**

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**Chainring/Cassette Cog Shifting Tips**
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Posted: Aug 12, 2010 at 5:34 Quote
There is always the question....."Am I riding or shifting in the correct gears?" Well, this chart will give you more insight in answering this common question.

Here is the proper chainring/freewheel cassette cog combination while riding any terrain without putting undue stress on the chain, chainring & cog teeth, and quite possibly snapping (breaking) the chain under heavy torque.

1) Chainring: the sprocket(s) where the crank and bottom bracket are. Usually there are three chainrings, but if a bash guard is attached replacing the larger of the three chainrings (chainring 3), then there will only be two chainrings (chainring 1 & 2 or other words known as the lower and middle chainring). If a chainguide is added along with the bash-guard, then the chainguide will replace the smaller chainring (chainring 1). Leaving only the middle chainring or other words a single chainring. The most common of the middle chainrings are the 32T, 34T, 36T, & 38T chainrings. Most DH sleds with a single chainring use a 38T or a 40T chainring for a more concentrated cranking power which delivers more speed.

2) Freewheel Cassette Cogs: these are the individual sprockets that make up the rear freewheel cassette where your rear dérailleur is. Usually in todays times these freewheel cassettes are 9-speed cassettes, but there are also 8-speed (as depicted in the chart below) cassettes and 7-speed cassettes as well.

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Below is for a 9-speed cassette (8-speed depicted above in chart)

If you are in chainring one (smallest) you will only have the usage of cogs 1 through 6 (from the largest moving down), the upper 6 cogs. Anymore than specified, you are putting undue stress on the chain and cog & chainring teeth, and quite possibly you will snap your chain under heavy torque.

In the middle chainring you will have full usage/range of all 9 cogs (8 for 8-speed / 7 for 7-speed) without putting any undue stress on the chain, cog & chainring teeth under heavy torque.

In chainring three (largest) you will only have the usage of cogs 9 through 6 (from the smallest moving up), the lower 6 cogs. Again, anymore than specified, you are putting undue stress on the chain, cog & chainring teeth, and quite possibly you will snap your chain under heavy torque.

On another note:

Power shifting up while in a climb causes undue stress on your chain, chainring & cog teeth, and can cause the chain to snap (break) under heavy torque. Shift into a good climbing gear when approaching the climb, and if needed, down shift to a lower gear to ease the strain on the drive train. It is far better to spin your way up than it is to mash your way up to the top. In some cases, you can blow a knee out by mashing to much. It is also far better to shift in a fluent manner than it is to wildly shift. When you hear all that loud popping and snapping of your chain while shifting, either you are shifting incorrectly or your drive train needs to be adjusted or even serviced. When your drive train is correctly adjusted & maintained and you are shifting correctly, your shifting will be precise and fluent.

Posted: Aug 12, 2010 at 11:05 Quote
This is good stuff, I'd ask a moderator to make this a sticky if I was you!

Posted: Aug 14, 2010 at 8:21 Quote
Chilli your posts are great where are you getting this info from, I liked the one you did on frames as well.

This should be stickied along with the one on frames, Chilli when are you going to do one for brakes and shocks Smile

Posted: Aug 14, 2010 at 9:01 Quote
zaq123edcxsw wrote:
Chilli your posts are great where are you getting this info from, I liked the one you did on frames as well.

This should be stickied along with the one on frames, Chilli when are you going to do one for brakes and shocks Smile
Thanks man, greatly appreciated! I am happy that it is actually helping other riders out there, as this is its purpose. I have had great results from these on another site that I administrate/moderate. I have a few more that I will be posting in time, but that is a great ideal about the breaks and shock. I will have to look into that.

As per where I get this info, mostly my own knowledge that I have accumulated over time. I have been around for awhile riding and racing (BMX & DH, but not racing anymore). I also have incorporated many things, skills, and knowledge that I have learned from other riders as well over time. You know, trial and error, picking other riders minds, riding with many various skilled leveled riders, and also info from pro riders as well.

Posted: Aug 17, 2010 at 16:26 Quote
ChiliPepper1 wrote:
I get this info [from] mostly my own knowledge that I have accumulated over time.

mind if I dump a bit into here to help expand the topic? I learned a lot from reading tips, practice, and breaking things early on Razz so might as well put it all down into html land. feel free to copy-paste, just give credit where it's due.


"2" things destroy drivetrains: cross-chaining and chain tension. Crashes count for extra so stop riding your bikes' dangling-parts into rocks!

Cross chaining means stretching the chain too much side-to-side. The chain runs best in a perfectly straight line. There is *some* slop in all chains, and they will tolerate a certain level of off-center deflection. This is why you only run the small ring in the larger cogs, because there is too much side-to-side stress if you ask the chain to shift way down to the small cogs in the back. Same idea putting the big ring into large cogs. See the chart posted above!

When a chain "wears out", that slop in the links increases, and the entire chain will literally grow longer - not a lot! but enough to compromise shifting and running performance. An easy check is to take the chain off, lay it on a flat surface with the side plates facing left/right, and try to curl the ends together to make a circle. A new chain will bend a little bit, a worn chain will almost come together to touch ends before too much bending causes the chain to twist and fall over.

Less cross chaining means less wear on the chain, rings, and cassette cogs. Less cross chaining means your parts last longer and work better.


Chain tension can also cause damage, most common being chain suck (chain gets kicked-up and jammed between the chainrings and the underside of the chainstay/bb tubes) or dropped chains (chain bounces off the front chainrings). With very extreme chain tension you can damage the rear dérailleur by over-stretching it and causing parts to bend.

When you shift the rear into smaller gears, you decrease chain tension. When shifting into larger front rings, you increase chain tension. Vice versa, bothly.

Having many front and rear gears, you can get the same pedalling ratio by selecting different gear combos. For example, 1x6 might be the same as 2x4 might be the same as 3x2.

With that example, 1x6 will be very loose, 2x4 is perfect, and 3x2 is too tight AND too much cross chaining. Go look at the chart ChiliPepper1 posted again!


Shifting the front from ring-to-ring takes a lot of time and you loose a lot of pedalling power with the sudden change (mostly shifting down to a smaller ring; shifting into larger rings just needs you to hammer on the pedals more). Shifting rear gears is much smaller changes. Keep in mind what gear you will need on the next section of trail: is there a climb coming up? Then use the middle ring and a smaller cog before the hill, instead of the big ring and a larger cog, because you have more room to shift into easier gears with a smaller ring and middle of the cassette cog to avoid cross chaining. Are you coming upon a descent? Then shift out of middle ring and into 3x4 before you get to the top and head down, to increase chain tension and keep everything from bouncing around.

Big rings on downhills increase chain tension and help keep the chain from bouncing and slapping around. Smaller rings and middle-of-the-cassette cogs give you easier chances to up-shift when approaching a climb or when you get stuck in the middle and need low gears pronto!

I can't tell you how many times I have attacked a hill at 2x2 or 2x1, and tried to get into the small ring half-way up the hill... but I can tell you the number of times it shifted: like none!

Another neat thing is: larger chainrings are more efficient than smaller chainrings, when both examples are using a rear gear that makes the overall ratio the same. Instead of cruising around in 1x5, try 2x2. Instead of 2x7, try 3x4.


When changing gears, front or rear, it's best to pedal easy just as you try to change. Too much force on the pedals makes it much harder for the dérailleurs to do their job when asked. Just relax for half a pedal revolution, let the chain move to the new gears, and THEN resume mashing on the pedals. If you get good enough, you will only hear the CLICK of the shifter on a change. Mash the pedals AND try to shift, and you'll get lots of noise, or at least a harsh CLUNK as the tensioned chain drops into the next cog, or a CLICK-CLICK-CLACK moving into a larger cog.


This ties together all aspects: use the largest front ring possible, avoid cross chaining always, beware of overly loose or overly tight chain tension (chart above), and always plan for what's coming up ahead.


Beer all gear numbers referenced (3x4, 2x1, 1x6) are for example only and differ from bike to bike.

kinetic-uk is right: if stuff like this doesn't get organized and stickied... it's just gonna fade away. At the least there should be a perma-link to Sheldon Brown at the top of the forum? ... Unsecure image, only https images allowed: http://a.imageshack.us/img52/6892/smileyemoticonsmy2centsr.gif

Posted: Aug 17, 2010 at 16:42 Quote
Great stuff bro and thanks for the add on. I was getting ready to add on with a very similar addition as yours, but yours is great so thanks.....Beer

Who do you contact around here to make it a stickie?

Posted: Aug 18, 2010 at 0:13 Quote
This is a great 101 and 102 class LOL some of the stuff I just naturally figured out but it's good to know the science behind it.

Posted: Aug 18, 2010 at 3:32 Quote
ChiliPepper1 wrote:
Great stuff bro and thanks for the add on. I was getting ready to add on with a very similar addition as yours, but yours is great so thanks.....Beer

Who do you contact around here to make it a stickie?



Contact http://marquis.pinkbike.com/ he's a safe dude that'll sticky it for you, he stickied mine, send him a link via private message to the thread so he knows which one(s) to sticky.

Posted: Aug 18, 2010 at 3:41 Quote
kinetic-uk wrote:
Contact http://marquis.pinkbike.com/ he's a safe dude that'll sticky it for you, he stickied mine, send him a link via private message to the thread so he knows which one(s) to sticky.
Thanks bro!.....tup

Posted: Aug 18, 2010 at 3:42 Quote
ChiliPepper1 wrote:
Thanks bro!.....tup


No probs Salute

Posted: Aug 31, 2012 at 20:25 Quote
I never had any problems shifting or knowing what gear to be in... just felt natural to me. When youre spinning 100mph without going anywhere shift into harder gear, and vice versa.

Id probably point out one thing though, there really is no 'right gear' its really personal preferance to a certain degree. Some people like to mash a heavier gear, and some like to spin a high rpm. That said, there is a wrong gear, to simplify it simply say you dont want to run big/ big, or small/ small gear.

And lastly, keep it in the middle up front for 90% of your riding. In all honesty, with a 9 speed cassette theres very few times where you really need the big ring or the small ring up front.

Posted: Jul 7, 2015 at 19:25 Quote
Smile Smile Smile Smile This kind of thread is why I started to go to PB. Great information as I never knew the relationship of chain to gears. Thanks a bunch

Posted: Nov 12, 2015 at 17:35 Quote
bigquotesAnother neat thing is: larger chainrings are more efficient than smaller chainrings, when both examples are using a rear gear that makes the overall ratio the same. Instead of cruising around in 1x5, try 2x2. Instead of 2x7, try 3x4.

This! It took me a decent while of commuting before I caught onto this piece of advice.

Posted: Apr 5, 2017 at 16:46 Quote
I just picked up a used Hornet, so I'm new to this and don't really understand the lingo, so bear with me.

My chain is on the largest sprocket and I tried to change it to the smaller ones and it just skips So can anyone give me step by step instructions as to how to change gears?

Thanks
Harply

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