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For a beginner, the concept of gears on electric bikes might seem a little bit complex to understand. Of course, cars and more oversized vehicles usually have gears for speed control, but do the latest trends of road bikes also have gear? So let’s start from the basic gear meaning, so what is gear?

A cycle gear is a rotating circular structure with teeth designed to transfer force and motion with other teeth easily. Simply put, it is the part of a vehicle that determines the rotating shafts’ speed, torque, and direction. This is why it is important to understand how gears work and when to use them.

If you are clueless about how to shift gears on a mountain bike, how many of them you need, how speed can be controlled on a speed bicycle, or how to use your bike gears without hassle properly, then you are reading the right guide as all these will be discussed in detail below.

What You Need To Know About A Electric Bike Gear and Gear Shifter

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Every gear on bikes has two important parts: the chainrings and the bicycle cogs (rear cassette cogs). These two important parts determine the gears of a geared bicycle and how it does it. The front chainring is fixed on the front wheel, while the rear cog is fixed on the pedals. They both determine the rate at which the rider pedals and the rate at which the drive wheel turns.

Some bicycles have a single gear, in which case the gear ratio is constant and can not be changed. But modern electric bikes usually have more than one gear, resulting in gear shifting for efficiency and comfort under different circumstances.

But then, how do bike gears work? They work with the principle of energy conversion. The smaller gear wheel drives the larger one and produces a smaller or larger rotation of wheels in the process. Therefore, gearing basically converts the little energy produced by a cyclist’s legs to a larger force, allowing the geared bike to move faster.

For ease and convenience of the rider, the gears have shifters at the bike handles. This way, the gears can be changed with just a flex of the fingers. For road bike shifters, they are controlled by the same levers used for brakes. To apply the shifters here, the levers will be pushed sideways until you hear it click. But, for hybrid-style bikes that usually have flat bars, the bike gear shifter is operated with the thumb using set paddles.

Some bikes use grip shifters or a dial positioned in the inner part of the handle, which can be rotated forward or backward. Best budget commuter bikes such as the KBO Bike use a Shimano gear shifter, which is easier to use both for beginners and pros. So, generally, there are two types of bicycle gear shifters, the right-hand and left-hand gears, because of their positions on the bike, and they also have different functions.

  • Right Gear Shifters

The right gear shifter is the shifter at the right side of the bicycle. It can be used to shift your electric bicycle /gears depending on the type of gear your e-bike has. The right-hand gear shifter controls the gear in the back for a bike with both front and rear gears.

However, for bikes with a single chainring at the front, also known as the one-by, the right shifter will be the only shifter control you will find.

  • Left Gear Shifters

The left gear shifters only control the front chainrings of electric bike gears. But if you build your single chainring bike to have its rear gear at the left side, then the left shifter will control the shifting of the bike gear.

Switchgear Meaning And How To Use Bicycle Gears

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Gears are there to make pedaling a lot more comfortable regardless of whether you are on a tarred road or jagged terrain. By switching gears, the electric bike’s speed can be regulated. The bike can also be kept more steady with a single flip of the right gear shifter.

Therefore, anyone that masters the switching of gear will have a great and enjoyable time with their bike.

The first step is to understand how to shift gears on a road bicycle. And since you already know what the right and left gear shifters do, it is time to understand the use of the big and small levers. The big lever moves the chain into large rings or cogs, meaning that the left big lever moves the chain up the rear gear, while the right big lever moves the chainring at the front. On the other hand, the small lever moves the chain down the ring or cogs, and it works in similar ways as the big lever.

If your bike does not have big or small levers, you might be riding one that uses a double-tap system. A long push (clicking the lever twice) moves the chain up for these types of bikes, while a single push (clicking once) moves it down. Another type is the Grip shift, which uses dials. Moving the dials forward will move the chain to smaller front/rear gear, and backward dials move the front/rear gears to larger rings.

Cross Chaining

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Cross chaining is a popular gear position that illustrates how bicycle gear works. This is because it either has Big/Big or Small/Small gear combinations. When using Big/Big cross chaining, the rear cog and front chainring is in their largest positions. The Small/Small positions mean the rear cogs and the chainrings are at their lowest.

Note: When changing gears on a bike, you need to pay attention to your current needs. Do you need to go up? Or do you suddenly have to descend a steep hill? What is the recent action your bike needs to take? Determining this will help you conclude on the gear to use.

The most common road bicycle gears are the high and low gears. So, how do you shift to low gear? This is the combination of the smallest chainring in the front with the biggest cog gear at the rear. Luckily, the high gear is just the opposite of this.

How To Determine The Perfect Time To Shift Gears

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If you wonder what bike gear to use on flat roads, you should use harder gear, especially when the wind is blowing in your direction. It would help if you shifted to easier gear when you climb hills or ride on rocky terrains or when the wind is blowing against your direction. If you are unsure when to shift gears, always try to do it before the terrain changes, not after it does. Also, when you shift, make sure you keep pedaling but ease the pedaling, else the chain might skip or fall off the gear.

When you kick off on a bike, you should use the rear cogs and the small front chainring. This will make it easier for you to balance your ride, and then you can shift to harder gears. You also don’t have to make guesses to know which gear you are on. You can have a glance at the front chainrings and the rear to know the gear you are currently on.

It might be a good idea to avoid cross chaining when the chain is in a complex position. A cross-chain when the chain is in the big front ring and the biggest cog in the rear can affect the hardware and limit your choices when you want to shift again.

Miscellaneous Tips On Gear Shifting

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  • Use the left shifter to shift between the chainrings, and the right shifter to shift between the rear gears.
  •  When riding low bicycles, ensure you pedal with ease when shifting for a smooth and stress-free shift. Suppress the urge to back-pedal.
  • When riding at high speed with little resistance, shift into a harder gear, your bicycle speed will also increase. Also, shift to an easier gear when you pedal too slow and meet much resistance.
  • Moving the chains closer to the bike makes pedaling easier while moving it away increases the speed.
  • Always inspect your bike carefully before taking it out or using the gears. You can use the Multifunction Bicycle 16-in-1 Repair Toolkit if you notice any damage.

How Many Gears Are On An Electric Bicycle?

Unless you have prior knowledge about bikes, it can prove challenging to figure out the number of gears on any bike. But it’s simple figuring this out because the bicycle sprockets at the rear and the number of chainrings are determinants of how many gears your bike has. There is an average of 7 gears on a bike, especially on the 7-speed bikes such as the

Stealth Urban Electric bicycle KBO Hurricane

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All you need to do is count the number of sprocket gears at the rear of your bike, then multiply by the number of chainrings at the front. For example, a bike with three chainrings and a 10-speed rear cassette has 30 gears. Meaning that the 10 sprockets can be used interchangeably with the three chainrings depending on your preference. In the same way, a bicycle with two chainrings and an 11-speed cassette is, therefore, a 22-speed gear set-up.

But what is the gear ratio? And what does speed mean? These are also interesting things to know about bicycles. If you don’t like arithmetics, you will find the gear ratio explained as mild and straightforward. The gear ratio is the number of driven gear teeth divided by the number of driver gear (pinion) teeth.

Bicycle gear ratios show how much smaller gear needs to turn for the larger gear to make a complete turn. Due to this, the bicycle gear ratio is directly related to the speed. The bike’s speed is determined by the number of times the gears can rotate and how efficient the small driver is in rotating the larger one.


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