As we noticed some cyclists making a mess out of chain positioning on chainrings and sprockets, so we wrote an article about how to correctly use the bicycle’s gears. It’s true, when you buy a new cassette or a new crankset, you get them with instructions telling you how do it right, but just to make sure, we came up with our own drawing in this article. Keep in mind that chainrings are attached to the right crank arm, while the sprockets can be found installed on the rear hub.
The next advice should be quite easy to follow: never use the small chainring together with the smallest sprocket and never use the big chainring with the biggest sprocket. This ratio can be obtained by using the medium or middle chainring and, more than this, it’s a good way of wearing your entire transmission, chain, chainrings and sprockets. As you can see above, by utilizing this combination, the chain will be positioned in the form of the letter X, or the Cross Over effect.
A few pieces of advice regarding gear shifting
Observe the terrain you’re riding, and select the appropriate gear in time. Thus, if you’re heading towards a hill, connect your chain to the smallest chainring and to one of the lower sprockets (1-4). If you don’t do this at the right time, you will have to change gears while you’re already pedaling up the hill, under heavy load, wearing and tearing your transmission system and even risking a broken chain. You may have experienced situations when you shifted gears while pedaling hard and you could hear terrifying noises coming from the transmission.
Also, it doesn’t hurt helping the chain to move on chainrings and sprockets. When you change gears, try to relax your pedaling and avoid applying a great force on the pedal.
Make sure your derailleurs are perfectly set so they work at their best capacity. Also, shift gears one by one because if you do it too fast your pedaling might just idle until the chain connects to the desired sprocket and this can cause a serious fall.
If the chain drops from the chainrings/sprockets you can still help it recover by shifting gears in reverse to its direction of falling: if the chain drops towards the exterior shift in a lower gear, it falls towards the interior, shift in a higher gear. Be careful with this maneuver, gently pull the shifter lever as the chain may get stuck between frame and chainrings/sprockets and spokes, and don’t pedal too hard.
What is gear ratio?
One can determine a gear ratio by dividing the number of teeth in the chainring to the sprocket number of teeth. You can find a figure marked on any chainring, so let’s assume it is 46 in our case. As you can find a figure marked on any sprocket, we will take as an example, the smallest sprocket, having 11 teeth. Then, the gear ratio becomes 46:11=4.18 and you might have seen figures like this when reading about the features of various transmission systems. So, what does the result of our arithmetic mean? It represents the precise number of rotations performed by the wheel for a complete rotation of the foot.