This guide has been written by cycling review expert Alex Bristol
Last Updated on
How do gears work?
The question we need to address first before knowing when to shift gears on a road bike, is how gears tend to work. It has come to our attention and we would like to highlight that most modern road bikes have the gear shifters.
These particular gear shifters in-corporate into the brakes; therefore, the brake located on the left-hand side of the road bike has a different function than the right-hand side. The left-hand side brake helps in shifting the front mechanism.
If you are unaware of what the front mechanism is, it changes the big ring down into the small ring. Further, it leads us to the functionality of the right-hand side brake, which shifts the rear mechanism of the road bike.
This allows the timely change between the big cog to the small cog and small cog back to the big cog.
Some key points to know:
Another important thing to remember, the bigger the cog at the back of the road bike, the easier it is to shift gears. Also, the bigger the chain ring in the front, it becomes more difficult to pedal along. Thus, both the back and front have different mechanisms.
Moreover, how to get the best out of your gear is also essential, so here is our little take on it. Avoid the change of gear when you are pressing on the pedals really hard.
When should you shift gears on a road bike?
The above information would be useful for any newbie trying their luck at cycling, as it sums up what lever to be used for which purpose. Now, the next question along the journey is when should you be using them?
To answer this simple question, we need to understand that a major chunk of the time the use of the right-hand lever is more prevalent. This allows the alteration in gears at the back. This too has a science behind it.
The real differences are actually between the gears, they are quite smaller at the back. Thus, when the time comes to change gears, the rate at which you are going on the road, known as your cadence, will change a bit. Not too much!
But once you are near an extreme end of the sprockets of the back wheel, then a change of hand takes place. This is due to requirement of a big, or a small one of a different chain ring. It can be done using the left side alone.
This allows it to make a bigger jump than before. A crucial thing to remember is that gear shifting is not to be seen as your enemy, but as a friend. They are present on your mechanical road bike to help you pedal at the right rate, or cadence.
The right cadence depends upon cycler to cycler. But if we look at the average cadence it falls between the range of 80-90 RPM. This is considered to be the ideal value to fall into.