A Beginner’s Guide on How to Shift Gears on a Bike

The Shifters

Typically, the left-hand shifter changes the front gears, and the one on the right controls gears in back. If you get flustered on the fly, remember this mnemonic device: “right equals rear.” For bikes that only have one chainring in the front (also known as “1x” or “one-by”), you will only have a right-handed shifter, unless you built your bike for the rear to be shifted on the left side.

Different brands of shifters all function slightly differently, but all shifters are pretty intuitive. Consult your bike shop at the time of purchase on how yours work or simply jump on your bike, make sure to pedal, and push your shifters to get a sense of how they function.

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