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  1. #1
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    Gear shifting techniques

    When I'm coming to a hill, I often found myself shifting a little bit too soon for the incline, is there a rule of thumb when to shift? I was told when shifting gear, I can't go up and down a few at the same time, I need to give it time and do each one at a time, is that true?

    Appreciate your inputs.

  2. #2
    GMF
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    When to shift is a matter of experience and getting that intuitive feel for not only how fast you are going, but how fast you will likely be going as you start ascending the hill. That is just getting used to the bike. I guess a rule of thumb is to shift just as you can start to sense having to put some extra pressure on the pedals. Ease up for a pedal stroke, click the shifter, and resume climbing. Repeat as necessary until you hit the right gear for the climb.

    As for shifting multiple gears - yeah, no problem. I do it all the time. Just think of it like a manual transmission in a car. The analogy to stepping on the clutch is letting off on the pedal pressure. The pedals have to be spinning to shift, of course, but with only light pedal pressure you can make a quick multi-gear downshift (say you are coming off a downhill into a rapid steep incline).

  3. #3
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    IME, shifting both the front and the rear derailleur at the same time is asking for a mechanical problem. But feel free to shift multiple cogs at once. Modern drivetrains have no problem with that.

    Unless an incline is ridiculously steep, I don't shift until I actually start having trouble maintaining my cadence. Be aware that if you shift, especially your front derailleur, under high pedal pressure, you can snap your chain. So try not to let it go too long, either.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  4. #4
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    I don't have a bike yet (getting a 2011 Marin Pioneer trail disc for my first real bike), but I have been wondering the same thing about shifting. I've seen some posts in which it's said to shift into lower gears when going up hill. I guess the best answer would be to shift at "just the right time", and that time will vary from hill to hill, bike to bike, and rider to rider. As a general rule, do you downshift when the hill becomes a challenge?

  5. #5
    GMF
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    Quote Originally Posted by dr.lee.g View Post
    As a general rule, do you downshift when the hill becomes a challenge?
    Yeah - that is the reason why have gears

    But in all honesty, what do you mean by challenge? I like to push myself up hills, and want the challenge, so i am not going to continuously shift down until i am in my easiest gear, crawling up the hill at walking pace. Sure, that is no challenge, but not what i am going to do. (... unless i'm tired!)

    Basically, you shift the gear to match your desired exertion. If you want to really crank up a hill, you will be in a taller gear than if you want to sit back and take an easy spin.

    Not exactly the question, but my rule of thumb has always been, if your legs ache but breathing is OK, shift to an easier gear so you pedal faster for the same speed. If you are out of breath, but the legs are OK, shift to a harder gear to put a little more muscle into it. If neither of those help, slow down .

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by GMF View Post
    Basically, you shift the gear to match your desired exertion. If you want to really crank up a hill, you will be in a taller gear than if you want to sit back and take an easy spin.

    Not exactly the question, but my rule of thumb has always been, if your legs ache but breathing is OK, shift to an easier gear so you pedal faster for the same speed. If you are out of breath, but the legs are OK, shift to a harder gear to put a little more muscle into it. If neither of those help, slow down .
    You, good sir, are my hero.

  7. #7
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    I was told that my rear derailuer bent because I was shifting in the middle of a hard climb, and to stop doing that. Shift before the climb or release pressure when shifting.

  8. #8
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    There are other reasons not to shift under a heavy load, but I don't see how it could damage the rear derailleur.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  9. #9
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    I've noticed that under a certain cadence my front has problems shifting down, but I can't think of a reason for why it should matter. Because of this I have usually have to shift down at the start of the hill even though I don't really prefer to. Has anyone else experienced this problem?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by TXDesertRacer View Post
    I was told that my rear derailuer bent because I was shifting in the middle of a hard climb, and to stop doing that. Shift before the climb or release pressure when shifting.
    RD hangers are bent by dropping the bike on the ground after a fall for example...a shift under load will not bent the RD hanger...

    It will tend to wear out the chain and cassette faster...

    My RD will shift under all but the heaviest loads...that said I always try to shift gentle and take the pressure off at the moment of the shift...

    But sometimes you are just pooched.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by nshadow View Post
    I've noticed that under a certain cadence my front has problems shifting down, but I can't think of a reason for why it should matter. Because of this I have usually have to shift down at the start of the hill even though I don't really prefer to. Has anyone else experienced this problem?
    More of a fact of life....

    The FD has to move the tensioned side of the chain....The RD moves the loose side of the chain....

    So the FD spring has to be strong enough to deflect the chain under full tension.....and they just arn't strong enough..not sure you want them that strong anyway.

    The RD doesn't have to fight tension at all...


    So before the hill select which front chain ring you want...then get the RD into position for your speed, as the hill increases the RD can then shift down easily even if you have to keep power on going up the hill.

  12. #12
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    If you have a little momentum, you can back off the pressure and sneak in a downshift mid-climb. But as described above, the FD doesn't have a chance against a chain with a lot of tension.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

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