How to Adjust the gears on a road bike

Gears are a key component on road bikes, as you'll constantly be changing up or down as you travel across varying inclines. If your road bike gears aren't changing efficiently (you hear a clicking noise or potentially even some grinding), then this guide will help you to get that fixed!

What you'll need:

  • A bike multi tool or hex key set

If you're missing anything, you can order everything on this list from our bike maintenance and tools sections.

Get in gear

Before you start, make sure the bike chain is in gear one on your front gears. Then, undo the pinch bolt and remove the cable. Once that's done, make sure the front derailleur is 3mm above the crankset.

Ensure the cable is in place and tight and then we can get the limit screws set up. If you don't do this, the lower limit screw will cause the chain to go into the frame and the higher limit screw will cause the chain to come off.

Make those tweaks

The lower limit screw is needed to adjust the lower cogs. To put the bike into the top gear, run the chain through and check it's not touching the side of the derailleur. Then, click through your gear selection to the top gear. As you do that, make sure you hear the chain catching on the lower end. Screw the limiter in so you don't hear that noise.

If it's no longer catching, move onto the higher end. Push the front derailleur - if there's still a gap, you'll need to screw it up otherwise the chain will come off when you reassemble. If you find the chain is not changing, you'll need to increase the cable tension. If you find it's over changing, just loosen the cable tension.

Tighten it up and test it out

Once you've got smooth changes, pull the cable back through and re-tighten the pinch bolt. If things still don't feel perfect, either let some cable out or tighten the power adjuster until the chain runs smoothly. Now give it a test and repeat the process if you still aren't getting perfect gear changes.

If dismantling your bike isn't your thing or you just don't have time to spend in the garage or shed, drop into your local Halfords store and one of our bike experts will be able to help for a small fee. As well as adjusting your gears so they change perfectly, we'll check your bike is safe to ride before getting you back out there!

Book your appointment