The Art of Shifting
How much do you know about shifting? To make riding more fun and bike repair less frequent, check out these tips from seven-time Canadian national cross-country champion Andreas Hestler from Bicycling magazine for a better ride and a longer drivetrain life.
Is cross chaining the answer? Riding in a combo of the big chainring and big cog, or the small ring and small cog, is generally not a good idea. But Hestler says, it can at times offer the ideal gear and races set their bikes to handle it. However, it’s rough to shift into.
Think before you shift. Your eyeing that hill climb before you and it’s all about anticipation. Anticipate your next gear and when to accelerate. Shifting after terrain changes sets you back energy-wise and slows you down. Same goes for sand and water crossings—think before you get in gear.
Care for your chain. Changing the chain, Hestler says, keeps you from having to replace your cogs and rings as often. And be weary of wet-dry riding, chains weaken in these conditions. Check your chainring and cassette for burrs and nicks.
Go easy. Make shifting light, careful and timely to avoid breaking something. “If you love your bike it’ll love you—shift lightly and carefully,” says Hestler.