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How To Shift Gears On A Bicycle

Hey guys, Dustin here, CEO of sixthreezero. Today, I'm going to talk about how to shift gears on a bicycle. Shifting gears on a bicycle can be a challenging endeavor if you've never done it before. It's not too bad once you get used to it, but if you've never done it, there can be a figuring out phase. So, I wanted to take you through a couple of things.

I've got three different bikes here. Our sixthreezero Explore Your Range, sixthreezero Body Ease, and sixthreezero Pave n' Trail. Explore Your Range is a seven speed. The Body Ease is a three speed, and the Pave n' Trail is a 21 speed.

I'm going to first just take you through the three speed. It's the easiest bicycle to shift. It's the easiest bicycle gears to shift. On the Body Ease three speed, on a three-speed shifter, all you generally have is a twist shifter. So if you can see right here, pretty easy, take my hand, all you do is the shift. Literally, just turn this. You guys can't be seen on camera here, but there's a dialup here, and if I just turn it backward, it goes to second gear. Shift backward again it goes to third. And to go down, just turn it forward, and it clicks. In the case of a three speed, shifting is very easy. You don't have to be pedaling, because the shifting is not related to the chain. It's related to a little pin inside of the actual gear. So you can just move that pin in and out. You can do it while you're sitting here, you can do it stopped, you can be pedaling, not be pedaling. And then once you get going, it'll just go into gear. It'll be in gear. So, that's it, basically. And it's pretty intuitive because you can just grip it like you're gripping your grip, and you can just literally cock your wrist back, cock it forward. So that's easy. Shifting a three-speed bicycle, very easy.

Now, on a seven-speed, very easy as well. There are two ways you can encounter a seven speed. There's something called a trigger shift, which we don't have on our seven speeds. We typically reserve that for our 21 speeds. But you can see a trigger shift is a little bit different. You use your thumb here. On our seven-speed, I'm going to show you the twist shift right now. Basically, it's the same as a three speed in that, you're going to just put your hand right here, just like you're gripping the bike, and you're just going to turn forward or back.

Now, the thing with a seven-speed is you cannot shift, or you don't want to shift when the bike is not moving. Because the chain has to move on the cogs of the rear wheel. The cogs are different sprockets. And the chain moves to a smaller one or a higher one depending on which gear you're trying to put the bike in. So, in order to shift a seven-speed bike that has not an internal, but an external derailleur, you need to be pedaling and moving. And then you shift, and the chain will move into place. If you shift while we're stopped right here, and you get on the bike, it's going to put a lot of torque on the chain to move while you start riding. And I see a lot of times the chains will fall off because it's not really ready to shift, or it's been kind of played with.

The other thing, too, on a seven-speed is, my recommendation ... if you're shifting on a twist shifter, try to go one gear at a time. You can, if you wanted to, you can just come in here and quickly crank this from one to seven. There's a likelihood in a lot of times, it's going to put too much torque on the chain, and the chain may try to move really fast, and it's going to fall off. So my suggestion on shifting a bicycle is one gear at a time. Click, let it go in. Click, let it go in. Click, let it go in. Now, if you're going up a hill and you need to get down gear really fast, you can obviously do a quick shift. What I'm saying, though, is it may force the chain out because you're trying to move that chain very quickly by spinning this. And sometimes the chain can pop off. Not always. And depending on the derailleur you're using, obviously, higher end derailleurs can endure that a little bit better than the lower end derailleurs. Biggest takeaway with a seven-speed just makes sure you're pedaling. If you're pedaling, it should shift nice and easy, as long as the derailleur is properly tuned. Again, pretty easy, twist shifter.

Now, moving over to a trigger shifter. This is a 21 speed. With trigger shifters, it's actually pretty comfortable as well. You just put your hands here. You guys probably can't see over my arm. But you put your hands on the grip and your thumb can go right here on the trigger, and all you do is the push. You just push down. In this case, you actually have two trigger shifters because you have two different locations of the chain that you're moving. You have actually three sprockets on the front chainring, and you have seven sprockets on the rear, that gives you 21 different speed options on this bike.

You're going to have one trigger shifter on your left thumb, one trigger shifter on your right thumb. And then these are labeled: 1, 2, 3 on the front, and basically it's: 1. 3. 5 . 7. Basically, the dots signify the even numbers, and the numbers signify the odd numbers. So, if you have this in 1 and this in 1, you're in first gear. If you have this in 1 and this in 2, you're in second gear. If you have this in 2, and this in 1, you are in eighth gear. If you have this in 3 and this in 7, you're in the 21st year. It's really easy. Another thing is just to make sure you're pedaling, too. You're pedaling, pedaling, pedaling, boom, shift. Boom, shift. Boom, shift.

Now, another thing, too, is don't try to shift these at the same time. Again, if you're having a multiple chain wheel, like a front chainring and a rear chainring, don't try to shift at the same time. If you basically want to go from first gear to eighth gear, or if you want to go from first to ninth, shift here first, then shift up once here. That's going to create less torque on the chain, it's going to be a smoother ride, easier to shift. I've also seen sometimes where if you try to shift these too fast, it can lock up the bike. If you try to shift in the front chainring too quickly. You just want to make sure, shift one at a time, let it go in, shift again. Unless you're in real dire need of shifting super fast, you just want to make sure the chain makes the transition, gets realigned properly, and you can keep riding.

So, that's my quick overview of shifting gears on a bicycle. If you have any questions at all, please reach out to us. The team at, call us on the phone, 310-982-2877. And don't forget, if you're looking for a bike, we've got a Body Fit Tool on our website, upon the top, right below the top navigation. Click it, take the quiz, it's going to fit a body perfect to your bike based on your height, your weight, and the type of riding you're going to do.

And also, we have a 365 return policy. So if you buy your bike and you don't love it, you have 365 days to send it back to us, no questions asked. And you can customize your bike on our website, choose your colors, choose your seat, change anything, do anything you want. Play around with it, it's super fun. So, thanks for watching, and enjoy the ride. 

DISCLAIMER: The 365-day return policy mentioned in the video above is no longer valid. Please refer to for the updated policy.


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