How to Set Up Mountain Bike Gears

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Setting up mountain bike gears requires the use of a 5-mm Allen wrench, a screwdriver and a set of pliers. Adjust gears so that they aren't rubbing the frame or the smallest cog with help from an experienced bicycle mechanic in this free repair video on setting up mountain bike gears.

Part of the Video Series: Bicycle Repair
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Video Transcript

Hi, this is Christian, from Mellow Johnny's Bike Shop, in Austin, Texas, and today I'm going to show you how to set up mountain bike gears. Basically, you'll need three tools; a five millimeter Allen wrench, a screwdriver, and a set of pliers. What you want to do is first, start off; go ahead and release the tension on the cable. You’ll go ahead and you'll use one of these three screws; primarily the H which is the hard, or hardest gear, the L which is the low, or easiest gear, the barrel adjuster for fine tuning, and then the B tension screw for the pitch or angle of the derider. Basically, once you start off in this H gear you can adjust it to where it's neither rubbing the frame nor that smallest cog. In this case it was rubbing the next cog up so back that off a little bit. You can still hear it rubbing just a little bit so back that off a little bit more. Once you've got the H screw or the hardest gear adjusted you'll go ahead and grab your pliers and pull that cable tension nice and snug. Then, tighten that down with that five millimeter Allen. Then, go ahead and shift up into the gears, and you're going to just shoot straight up to the lowest gear and check the tension screw on that one. Make sure it's not rubbing either the spokes or trying to shift into the next cog down. Looks like it's pretty good. Go ahead and shift through the gears. You can hear that noise right there. It's actually trying to shift up into the next gear so you'll adjust this away from the gear it's trying to shift into. And hear, that sound went away. Once you've got those rear gears adjusted you go ahead and move up to the front. This instance, the front, the chain is actually rubbing on the front derider and there's a barrel adjuster located at the shifter up here. You can go ahead and adjust that until you prevent that from rubbing. Again, you'll have the H and L. In this case, they're actually backwards. The L is for the low gear. The H is for the hard gear. The smallest is the low. The H, or hardest gear is actually the large. Go ahead and adjust those two screws. Once you've adjusted those you should be able to shift through all the gears without any rubbing. And that's how you adjust mountain bike gears.

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