How To Fix Bike Gears That Won’t Shift?

Having problems changing gears on your mountain bike is a common problem. Problems shifting gears can be a very frustrating problem to try and fix. There is a number of reasons that could be causing the problem from the derailleurs to the chain. How to fix bike gears that won’t shift?

The first thing to access is if there is any damage to the derailleurs, the chain, or the cable. With the cable check if it is loose and needs to be tightened. You can try to put some lube into the shifter and chain but don’t take the shifter apart as it is full of small parts and pain to try and put back together.

In this post, we will go through how to fix bike gears that won’t shift. Let’s get started!

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Tools You Will Need

There are a couple of tools and materials you may need to repair the gears that are not shifting. These are as follows.

How To Fix Bike Gears That Won’t Shift?

The first thing is to try and access where the problem is. You need to check if there is any damage to the derailleurs and the condition and tightest of the chain. Then you need to inspect the cable if it is damaged and if is loose and needs to be tightened.

There are multiple reasons why this might be occurring. Some of these reasons are:

  • Derailleur problems.
  • Cable problems.
  • Limit screw misadjustments.
  • Chain problems.
Mountain Bike Derailleurs

Derailleur Problems

Checking the derailleurs is the starting point in trying to fix any gear shifting problems. Check that the derailleur is not damaged and that the derailleur hanger is not bent and it should be perpendicular to the rear wheel and cassette to get proper shifting.

If the derailleur is bent then it should be replaced.

Cable Problems

Problems changing the gears can be caused by the brake cables. The way the brake cable works on the bike is that you pull the brake lever from the handlebars, this creates a pull on the cable which in turn makes the bike slow down.

The brake cables consist of 2 parts the inner wire and housing. The cable and connections may just need to be cleaned. Over time the cables may become stretched, housing cable rusts, or become damaged and in this case, the bike cable will need to be replaced.

If it needs to be cleaned you need to make sure the brake cable, housing ends, and the little metal caps that cover housing ends are clean. There are a number of lubricants that help with cleaning the brake cables and a thin coating of grease will help keep things smooth.

Limit Screw Misadjustments

Limit screws on the derailleur stop the derailleur from moving too far inward or too far outward from the spokes and cassette. The limit screw adjusts how far up the cassette the chain will go, toward the lowest and easiest gear.

Simply, if the limit screw is set too low it will be too tight or restricting, the chain will struggle to reach the lowest gear. The same applies if the limit screw is set too high, but it will affect the smallest gears on the cassette.

bike chain oiled

Chain Problems

The last thing to check is the chain. You need to check that the B-tension screw is adjusted correctly. This decided how close the upper jockey wheel sits to the cassette. Turning the B screw clockwise moves the jockey wheel away from the cassette.

Your chain may also just need to be cleaned. The chain can be cleaned with are a number of lubricants such as WD-40 and a chain cleaning brush. You should make a real effort to try and clean, degrease, and lube your bike chain at least once a month.

This depends on where you are biking and how often. If you are mainly on the road just backpedal your chain with a clean lint-free cloth.

Wrapping Up

Finally, the first thing is to try and access where the problem is. This means that you need to check if there is any damage to the derailleurs and the condition of the chain. Then you need to inspect the cable if it is damaged and if is loose and needs to be tightened. And if worse comes to worst you can ask your local bike shop.

And that’s it for now! I’d love it if this post on how to fix bike gears that won’t shift. was helpful to you. Let me know if you have any questions and let me know if there is more to add.

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Bike Gears That Won't Shift