You’ve read our guide to starting MTB riding, and you’ve hit your first problem; your MTB won’t shift through the gears smoothly, or at all.
This 2-minute guide is going to explain what’s causing your shifting problem, and how to fix it.
What Causes Shifting Problems On Mountain Bikes?
Your mountain bike chain is the first place to start if you’re having shifting problems.
Assuming cables aren’t under pressure, and the derailleur is adjusted correctly – head for the chain.
Are there any rusted kinks? Are the gaps in the links clogged with grunge?
Fixing Chain Problems
Cleaning An MTB Chain
You can usually salvage a chain with:
- Grunge/chain cleaning brush
- Lots of elbow grease
However, MTB chains are cheap, so it’s best to just get a replacement.
Remember, if you’re replacing your MTB chain, it’s likely you’ll need a chain link remover.
How To Size An MTB Chain [And Remove Links]
Derailleur And Gear Cable Problems
Gear cables will stretch. They’ll stretch the most when they’re new.
So, if you’ve purchased a brand new bike or just replaced gear cables, this is likely the culprit.
Derailleurs can be used to loosen and tighten cables, but also to align the chain.
Maybe this was out of alignment from the factory, or it’s taken a knock.
All we know is you need to get it back into alignment in order get your MTB gears shifting again.
How To Adjust Gear Cables & Derailleurs
New bike? Took your bike apart (including removing the cables)?
Check the routing of gear cables.
Do they stretch when you turn the bars either way? If they do, they’ve been routed incorrectly.
They’ll need to be re-routed so there’s no tension put on the cables when the handlebars are at full lock.
How To Route Cables On An MTB
Thanks for reading our 2-minute guide to MTB gear shifting problems.
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