CyclingSite Logo  
Collected Wisdom



  CyclingSite > CO Collected Wisdom > Touring Info > On the Road > Shifting
    How do I shift a triple chainring bike?
    [Note: The following can easily be applied to bikes with more speeds...]

Hi. As I learn more about bikes and get in shape for CO I find more questions. I got my daughter a 15 speed bike. How does one shift through the gears on a 15 speed. You folks seem pretty knowledgeable - can someone help me ?

Jim S

Fifteen Speed.

That sounds like a triple chain ring (front) and a five cog rear end.

Without knowing the tooth counts, a good rule of thumb for most bikes on the road would be to spend most of the time in the middle chain ring, and shift the rear from low to high (large cog to small cog) as the bike gathers speed. This minimizes the need to continuously shift front and rear.

Most 3 by 7, or 3 by 8, or 3 by 9 gear sets have overlapping combinations. It is hard to guess about a 3 by 5 in that regard.

"Overlapping" gear combinations simply means that the actual ratios for all possible combinations appear to overlap when the combinations for each chain ring setting are lined up so that the cog settings match from ring to ring. The effect is that most combinations do not result in any meaningful speed difference between certain specific combinations.

That said, it is typically better to reserve the small ring (often called the "granny" gear) for steep hills, and the large, outer ring for pushing the bike's highest speed.

My typical usage for a 3 by 8 set is to stay in the middle ring for most conditions, and move to the lowest combinations when in my granny, and the highest combinations when in the largest ring. Most of the other granny and large combinations overlap with those in the middle ring, and for the most part serve a minimal usage.

Recapping, for a triple chain ring,, stay in the middle ring for most conditions, and move to the small ring for climbing and the large ring for speed. Adjust your gear combinations by shifting the rear only.

Hint #1. Make your chain ring changes when the rear is in one of the middle cogs.

Hint #2. NEVER shift into big-to-big or small-to-small combinations. BECAUSE:

A) It causes unnecessary wear on chain and gears, because the chain is forced into a kind of "diagonal" path between front and rear, causing rubbing of chain against cogs.

B) It is usually an overlapped combination - nothing gained.

C) It is often noisy.

Curt Coleman

    Back to Top  
  Page Last Updated: Jan. 20, 2003  
    CyclingSite > CO Collected Wisdom > Touring Info > On the Road > Shifting  

Copyright 2003, Artist's Touch or by original content developer.

CyclingSite Home Page General Info Photo Album Lists & Articles CO at a Glance CO Collected Wisdom CO History Bike Rides Stories & Humor Guest Book Collected Wisdom Home Page Back Up Next Site Map Insights Touring Info On the Road Average Speed CO Tourbook Drafting & PL Food & Drink Gear Drop Grade % Helmets Hydration Mascots On Your Left Shifting What to Carry Cycling Concerns In Camp Other Services What to Take Bikes Bike Equipment Camp Equipment Clothes What Else? How to Pack Training Miscellaneous Info