Riders will have 2-3 large chain-rings on their front drive. Use your
smallest chain-ring for steep climbs and technical terrain; your middle for
single track and general terrain; and your biggest for roads, flatlands and down
Rear drives vary by today's standards, but generally you will see
6, 7, 8, or 9 stack sprocket-sets (the sprockets are called cogs, instead of
chain-rings). Here, the same rules apply, only in reverse. Your bigger cogs
called low gears are used in technical terrain, while the smaller ones provide
the cadence for flat, more general terrain.
Gears are shifted via front
and rear changers called derailleurs. Your rear derailleur is used more
frequently than the front. Front derailleurs are more often used in instances
when you're going in and out of seriously technical terrain, and on flatlands
when you're going into your big chain-ring. It's a safe bet to leave your chain
in the middle ring on the front, and do most of the shifting with the rear
drive. Your rear drive is the shifter on the right; the front is on the left.
When shifting, make sure the chain has room to change and is not under
considerable pressure, and don't grind your gears. Give yourself time to gear
down prior to a hill climb. Always maintain momentum while shifting, and shift
as you are pedaling. Riders should always be looking ahead and planning gear
changes before they are needed.
Trouble Shooting: Cables stretch with
age and might cause a skipping phenomenon while changing gears. If this happens
on the trail, and if you feel confident enough to try to resolve the problem
yourself, use the barrel adjuster located where the cable enters your rear
derailleur. Turn the barrel adjuster counter-clockwise in quarter-turn
increments to remove the unwanted slack.