How To Set Up & Index Road Bike Gears | Road Bike Maintenance

How To Set Up & Index Road Bike Gears | Road Bike Maintenance


– Skipping or badly performing gears are a terrible thing to have. The game of gear roulette
when you shift a lever and hoping the chain goes
onto the correct sprocket can be a frustrating thing. So let’s solve those gearing problems. (futuristic music) Now in the setup we’re looking at today, it’s operated by a Bowden cable. The cable starts in the shift lever and is held in place there
by a small barrel-shaped end that sits within a ratchet mechanism. It then finishes at the derailleur, where it’s clamped in place. So when you move a shift lever, the cable, which is connected to a ratchet system within the lever, it
allows the cable to travel a predetermined amount,
which then correspondingly moves the rear derailleur
the same distance as the gap between the
adjacent cassette sprockets. Firstly, let’s look at the limit screws, as these play a part
in the complete setup. They do the job of
controlling the lateral limit of the rear derailleur. The H screw is the adjustment
for the highest gearing of the cassette, so this sprocket here, and the L screw sets how
far the derailleur can move in this direction. Ideally, these screws want to be adjusted so the chain doesn’t go
further than the lowest or highest sprockets. A great way of checking your limit screws are set up correctly is
to unclamp the gear cable and whilst turning the
cranks with one hand, push the derailleur inwards
slowly with the other hand and check to make sure the derailleur can go into the lowest
sprocket but importantly, not overshoot that sprocket
and into the spokes, as that can be both
dangerous as well as costly. Having to replace both the rear derailleur as well as any spokes. If the derailleur has
difficulty going onto the lowest sprocket, then loosen the L screw slightly until the derailleur can go into it. You wanna have it so
the upper pulley wheel of the rear derailleur is
directly beneath the sprocket. And on the flip side, if you don’t touch the rear derailleur and
allow it to find its way into the highest gear,
have a look from behind and see where the upper pulley wheel is. Too far to the right
of the highest sprocket when you look at it from
behind, you’ll need to gently screw the H screw in to bring it back directly underneath the sprocket. And if the upper pulley
is too far to the left of the sprocket, then
slowly unscrew the H screw. It’s important here to
not tighten or untighten these screws too much, as they
don’t need massive amounts of adjustment to move the derailleur. Okay, now those limits are set. Gently pull on the gear cable
and ensure that your gear lever thinks that you
are in the highest gear. So click the lever all the way in. We’re now going to turn
the barrel adjuster on the rear derailleur all the way in to the rear derailleur. Then undo it between 1 1/2 or two turns. Then, pull the cable through the clamp and make sure it has
some tension behind it, but not a crazy high
amount, also not too loose, and then tighten it in place. Give the pedals a spin. It should stay in the highest sprocket. If it’s moving onto an easier one, then undo the clamp and make
sure there is less tension on the cable. Happy? Okay, then let’s start
turning the pedals again, and at the same time, change
into a lower or easier gear, and you’ll notice that the derailleur is moving inwards slightly. If you’re really lucky,
then the gear has engaged. But that’s not actually
gonna be that likely. What you will need to do is
continue to turn the pedals, look at the gearing from behind, and check where the upper pulley is. If it’s not quite engaging
with the next sprocket, then turn the barrel adjuster outwards, therefore applying more
tension onto the cable until it does engage and go into place. And importantly, no rattly sounds. You want the chain to be perfectly central with the sprocket. If the chain was too far
to the inside of the bike, then you can gently
screw the barrel adjuster in a bit to reduce the tension,
meaning it will happily sit on that sprocket better. Right, now we should be all nice and quiet and no rattling. Then simply go through the gears and make sure they’re
working as they should, one click, one gear change. Now, there are, of course,
a couple of other things that can affect the gear indexing. So cleanliness. Make sure the cables are nice and clean. A big culprit here on many bikes is under the bottom
bracket, ’cause that can get absolutely caked in road debris. And also have a look
to make sure the cables are not kinked in any
way, as well as misrouted. This can create big problems. An out of line mech hanger,
that can be a real pain, as can a worn-out drive train. And finally, if all of
this isn’t solving it, think about changing your actual cables, because fresh inner and outer cables can make the world of difference. All right, I do hope
you’ve enjoyed these tips on how to index your gears
just that little bit better to give you perfect bike riding. Let me know, though, your
tips for indexing gears down there in the comments section, and also remember to like and
share this with your friends. Share it with someone whose
gears are always rattling and making an awful sound
on those group rides. Don’t forget, check out the GCN shop at shop.globalcyclingnetwork.com. And now, for another great video, how about clicking just down here?