How to Fix Bike Gears That Won’t Shift: Tips for Quick Repairs

Bike gears that won’t shift can be frustrating, especially when you’re out on a ride or commute. It can slow you down, make the ride less comfortable, and even be dangerous in some situations. Fortunately, there are some quick repairs that you can do to get your gears to shift smoothly again.

In this article, we will go through some simple steps that will help you fix bike gears that won’t shift. Whether you’re an experienced rider or just starting, these tips can be helpful in getting you back on the road.

So, let’s get started and learn how to fix bike gears that won’t shift with some quick and easy repairs!

What Causes Bike Gears to Not Shift Properly?

Before we dive into the tips to fix bike gears that won’t shift, let’s first understand what causes this problem in the first place. Here are some common culprits:

Dirty or damaged cables:

The cables that run from your shifters to your derailleurs can become dirty, rusted, or damaged over time, which can interfere with their ability to move smoothly.

Misaligned derailleur:

The mechanism that shifts the chain between the gears is called the derailleur. If it’s out of alignment, the chain won’t shift properly.

Bent derailleur hanger:

The derailleur hanger is the small piece of metal that the derailleur attaches to on the frame of your bike. If it’s bent, the derailleur won’t be able to move the chain properly.

Worn-out cassette or chainrings:

The teeth on your cassette or chainrings can wear down over time, which can make it difficult for the chain to stay in place when shifting.

Now that you know some of the common causes of shifting problems, let’s move on to the tips for fixing them.

How to Fix Bike Gears That Won't Shift: Tips for Quick Repairs

Importance of well-functioning gears

Well-functioning gears are crucial for any cyclist, whether you’re a commuter, a recreational rider, or a professional athlete. Smoothly shifting gears make riding more efficient and enjoyable, allowing you to maintain a consistent pace and cadence.

Properly functioning gears also reduce the risk of chain slipping, which can cause accidents or damage to your bike. Neglecting to maintain or repair your gears can lead to frustrating rides, reduced performance, and potentially costly repairs.

In this guide, we’ll go over some common causes of gears not shifting properly and provide tips for quick repairs to get you back on the road.

How to Fix Gears That Won’t Shift

Here are the step-by-step instructions to fix bike gears that won’t shift properly:

Check the cables:

The cables that control the gears can stretch over time, causing the gears to slip or not shift properly. Look for frayed or rusty cables, and replace them if necessary. Adjust the cable tension using the barrel adjusters on the derailleur.

Inspect the derailleur:

The derailleur is part of the bike that moves the chain between gears. Look for any damage or bending in the derailleur, and make sure it is properly aligned. Use a derailleur alignment tool to ensure proper alignment.

Clean the drivetrain:

A dirty drivetrain can cause gears to shift poorly. Use a degreaser to clean the chain, cassette, and chainrings. Lubricate the chain with bike-specific lubricant after cleaning.

Adjust the limit screws:

If the limit screws are misadjusted, the gears won’t shift properly. Use the limit screw adjustment to ensure the derailleur is not overextending or underextending.

Check the hanger:

The derailleur hanger is part of the bike frame that the derailleur attaches to. If it is bent or damaged, the gears won’t shift properly. Use a derailleur hanger alignment tool to ensure proper alignment.

Replace worn parts:

If none of the above steps have fixed the issue, it may be necessary to replace worn components such as the cassette, chain, or derailleur.

By following these steps, you can quickly diagnose and fix the issue with your bike gears not shifting properly. Remember to always wear appropriate safety gear and use caution when working on your bike. If you are unsure about any step, seek the help of a professional bike mechanic.

Steps to fix bike gears

Sure, here are some easy steps to fix bike gears that won’t shift:

  • Check for cable tension: If your bike gears aren’t shifting properly, the first thing you should check is the cable tension. If the cable is too loose or too tight, your gears won’t shift correctly. Adjust the cable tension by turning the barrel adjuster located near the shifter.
  • Check for cable routing: Make sure the cable is properly routed through the derailleur and that there are no kinks or twists in the cable.
  • Lubricate the derailleur: The derailleur is responsible for moving the chain from one gear to another. If it’s not moving smoothly, it could be due to a lack of lubrication. Apply lubricant to the derailleur and wipe off any excess.
  • Adjust the derailleur limit screws: The derailleur has two limit screws that control how far it can move. If the screws are not set correctly, your gears won’t shift properly. Adjust the screws to ensure that the derailleur is aligned with each gear.
  • Check the hanger alignment: The derailleur hanger is part of the frame to that the derailleur is attached. If it’s bent or misaligned, your gears won’t shift properly. Use a hanger alignment tool to check and adjust the hanger if necessary.
  • Replace worn components: If none of the above steps fix the issue, it could be due to worn components such as the cassette, chain, or derailleur. Inspect these parts and replace any that are worn out.

Tips for Maintaining Your Bike Gears

Here are some tips for maintaining your bike gears:

  • Regularly clean and lubricate your bike’s chain.
  • Check for any worn-out or damaged gears and replace them immediately.
  • Keep your bike derailleur clean and properly adjusted.
  • Don’t put too much pressure on your bike gears while shifting.
  • Avoid shifting gears when you’re pedaling hard.
  • Regularly inspect and replace cables and housing for gears.
  • Check for any debris or dirt that may be stuck in the gears and clean them out.
  • Get your bike serviced regularly by a professional mechanic to ensure all parts are in good condition.

Final Thoughts and Advice

In conclusion, fixing bike gears that won’t shift can seem daunting, but it’s often a quick and straightforward fix. Remember to start by identifying the cause of the problem and then work through the steps to address it. Keep in mind the importance of maintaining your bike gear regularly to avoid future issues. By taking the time to properly care for your bike’s gears, you can ensure a smooth and enjoyable ride every time. Don’t hesitate to seek professional help if you’re unsure of how to fix the problem or don’t have the necessary tools. Lastly, always prioritize your safety and wear protective gear while riding.

If you’re still experiencing issues after attempting these quick fixes, bring your bike into our shop for a professional tune-up. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.