How to Set Up Bike Gears

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Setting up bike gears typically requires the use of three tools, including a screwdriver, a 5-mm Allen wrench and a set of pliers. Discover the four points of adjustment used to set up bike gears with help from an experienced bicycle mechanic in this free repair video on setting up bike gears.

Part of the Video Series: Bicycle Repair
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Video Transcript

Hi this is Christian from Mellow Johnny's in Austin, Texas and today I'm going to show you how to set up bike gears. What you'll want to do is you'll need three tools, basically a screwdriver, 5 millimeter Allen wrench and a set of pliers. You will have basically four points of adjustment, a high screw which is the high gear or hardest gear, the L screw which is the low gear or the easiest gear, a barrel adjuster for fine tuning, a B tension screw which changes the pitch or angle on the dryer and the 5 millimeter Allen wrench you'll need for this fastening bolt which will be for cable tension. Basically what you'll want to do first is loosen up the cable tension. You'll go ahead and check the alignment on the rear gear or rear cog here on the H or hardest cog. Once you have aligned that to where it's neither rubbing the frame nor trying to get into the next gear there you want to make sure that's running nice and smoothly, then you'll go ahead and adjust your barrel out so you can get some adjustment both for and aft, grab your cable, you can usually rest your thumb right here on the dryer to put some tension on the cable, needle nose pliers or pliers just to grab that cable like that, go ahead and tighten that bolt down and you'll shift all the way up to the lowest gear and in this case it doesn't really want to go up there so you'll want to go ahead and adjust this L screw out and that will allow that gear to shift up into that easiest one. While you are up in that gear you'll want to go ahead and check the B tension screw which is as I said the pitch. If you have a noise such as this one here basically you'll need to adjust this B tension screw in, that will make that noise go away and you can go ahead and shift through the gears and any time you get any strange rubbing if the gear is trying to shift up into the next one you can back that barrel adjuster away, got to fine tune that position on that. That's how you set up the rear and then if you want to come forward to this one here you can see you're going to need the same tools for this one, this particular one is adjusted and shifted off the large chain ring. There is again you'll have an L and an H screw. This is actually the large one or the hardest gear so they're actually backwards from the front ones. You'll need to adjust that screw in to prevent that chain from coming off so we are actually having some alignment issues on this front dryer so we'll go ahead and shift that down into the smallest gear, loosen up that cable tension. You'll check that front this outer plate on the dryer, you can see this front plate right here is not perfectly straight with the front chain ring so there is an adjustment on this side of the drier here that allows you to rotate the front drier to align these to the front drier and the that allows you to rotate the front drier to align these to the front drier and the chain ring. Once you have got those aligned you'll need to readjust these screws here to prevent that chain from rubbing. Once you have done that you can reconnect your cable, go ahead and adjust this outer screw for the outer plate here which will prevent it from shifting over and off that front chain ring and that's how you set up bike gears.

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