How (and when) to change gears on your road bike

Your gears are designed to help you pedal at the right cadence

How To Video
How (and when) to change gears on your road bike

The No. 1 goal is to maintain a steady cadence of 80-90 RPM.

If you’re new to cycling, then using gears and gear selection can be confusing. There’s a lot to think about and it’s easy to get it wrong — or just not shift at all. If that sounds familiar, fear not, the crew from the Global Cycling Network is here to help. Press play and learn.

Let’s start with some basics. The bigger the cog on the cassette, the easier the gear. It’s the reverse up front with the chainrings. So, the bigger the chainring on the front, the harder it is to pedal.

For the majority of the time, you will be using your right hand to change gears at the back. The reason being is that the actual differences between the gears are much smaller in the rear, so when you do change gears, actually the rate at which you pedal, or your cadence, changes only slightly.

It’s only when you get to the extreme ends at the back that you then think about using your left hand to change into a different chainring, and therefore make a bigger jump.

Bottom line, your gears are designed to help you pedal at the right cadence for a given speed. What that is depends on several factors, but generally you want to maintain 80-90 RPM (aka revolutions per minute). Happy spinning.

Check out more How To posts on RoadBikeReview.

About the author: RoadBikeReview is an online community of cyclists who share a passion for the sport. Visitors of the site regularly purchase gear to upgrade their bikes, share inspiring photos of rides, and keep up to date with the latest industry and technology news. Which products perform best? Where to buy them? Where to ride? How to ride better? Cyclists come to for the answers.

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