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Up the Gears!

Updated: Sep 26, 2023

With the current situation in the UK, lock-down is the perfect excuse for you to hop on your bike for your daily exercise and have a little play around. This is a quick guide to improve the function of the gear derailleur on a mountain bike and to ensure your gears index correctly.

This is without a doubt the most common complaint of people maintaining their own bikes. Once you understand how to adjust cable tension and set the limit adjustment screws, the process no longer feels like voodoo!

Limit Adjustment Screws Once the screws are correctly adjusted, they usually never need touching again! Incorrect adjustments can cause a great deal of damage to your mountain bike. So, unless you are certain they require adjustment, just leave them alone! If in any doubt, take it to a bike shop. It could save you a fortune in repairs!

Cable Tension With the correct cable tension, each click on the shifter will result in a change of your gear. Most bikes have a barrel adjuster on the derailleur and the shifter. Either of these can be used to adjust the cable tension. Use the shifter to drop into the hardest gear (smallest sprocket) and loosen the cable by rotating the adjuster barrel clockwise. Click the shifter on the handlebar to select the next gear, now you rotate the barrel adjuster anti clockwise whilst peddling until the real mech forces the chain up onto the next sprocket. All the gears should index correctly now. If not, ask an experienced cyclist for help and practice adjusting cable tension more often!

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