How To Fix A Bike Gears Not Shifting

bike gears not shifting

It just posted it on YouTube as it was the simplest way to share funny videos online and wanted to showcase some men in a bike chat room and ask for their opinion.

Bike gears shift to the right when you take your hand off the right pedal. I watched the video and thought, “Why is this? Why can’t the gears shift themselves?” It looked to me like the gears had some sort of internal mechanism that kept them from shifting when you took your hand off the right pedal. I immediately began to look into it, and found that most bike gears in North America have a “shift guide” to help you know how to shift your gears.

Shift Guide

Graphical user interface

If your bike doesn’t have a “shift guide”, or if you can’t shift gears by yourself without consulting a diagram or video, the first thing you need to do is remove the sprocket from the bike. Take the chain off the bike. Look at the chain and see if there’s a “limit screw”. There should be a limit screw, so look underneath the sprocket and make sure the chain is out of the hole. Remove the sprocket and the chain from the bike.

The next step is to check your bike gears themselves for problems. One of the main causes of bike gears not shifting correctly is a looseness in the cable. When you take your hand off the right pedal, the cable will still move a little bit, but since the cable doesn’t have to keep the same tightness over the teeth like it does when you’re riding on a bike with a gear drive, the shift will happen less often. This means that it’s more susceptible to derailleur problems.

Bike Gearbox

A close up of a bicycle

To diagnose whether the problem is a cable or not, you can remove your bike gearbox (the part that holds the chain together). The problem will be obvious because the chain will be very tight, even with the bike gearbox removed. You can then pull on the chain to tighten it up – if there is no resistance, the gear wheels are making a full revolution each time you crank the pedals. If there is some resistance, the gear wheels are not engaging properly and may need some adjustments.

A rare cause of bike gears not shifting correctly is a case where you are going downhill at high speeds and suddenly start doing very hard efforts. If the front derailleur and the back stay fixed, this would indicate that the gears are slipping. Try changing the bike gears yourself by reversing the movement of the pedals. This can sometimes work to get the gears shifted correctly.


If none of these things help to fix bike gears that do not shift correctly, you may have to take the bike to a professional bike mechanic. There are many options available to mechanics that can help you with your bike gear issues. A small adjustment will usually be enough to get your bike gears shifting correctly again. A longer or different type of shifter can be used in some instances. If you are unsure as to what you need to do to fix bike gears that do not shift, you should take your bike along with you whenever you shop so that the proper tools are with you. These tools are important to get your bike gear to move properly. It can also be helpful to look online for different types of shifters. Some of the best bike gear shifters can be found online and you will be able to choose the one that is right for you.

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