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What Gear to Use When Going Uphill on a Bike

what gear to use when going uphill on a bike

Your bike’s gear is an essential part that makes it easy for you to climb up hills and inclines. But the question is, do you know how to use it? Please read below if you want to know what gear to use when going uphill on a bike.

Lower Gears – Perfect for Uphill

Yes, the lower gears of your bike are what you need when biking uphill. Navigating on uphill roads requires a lot of power which means the first, second, and third gear should be used. The fourth gear will be used to maintain the speed, while the other gear beyond the fourth should be used on an uphill.

Once you are approaching the uphill, approximately around 200 meters or probably more, maintaining the speed of about 50 to 60 kph is essential using the fourth gear. It is expected that your speed will go down once you are pedaling the incline and the gravity takes over. By this time, you will need to start using the lower gears.

If and when you see traffic ahead of you or a curve or a bend within 100 meters, it is recommended to move to second gear. If you think that the bend is too steep, it is advised to move on first gear.

However, if you are a newbie and still familiarizing the gears, the first gear should be used when riding on the hills. Using the second gear is an option if you are confident enough to deal with curves, gradients, and traffic. When dealing with gentler bends and clearer roads, the third gear can be used but not more for your safety.

Other Things to Consider in Using the Gear Uphill

When bike riding uphill, the gear you will be using will also depend on many other things. Your fitness, strength, and weight will be considered. Likewise, the efficiency of your heart and lungs and the hill’s steepness will also play a crucial role.

Improving your hill-climbing skills is all about allocating some time to practice, most preferably two rides per week. What you do is find a hill to climb for a number of days where you alternate moderate days in between hard efforts.

Cadence is essential in biking uphill. It is the revolution per minute when your leg turns. It is expected that your cadence will be lower when biking uphill. But constant practice will make your legs spin faster as you see some improvement after practice.

The gear to use will also depend on how steep the hill is and the distance. The weight you carry and the available gears on your bike will also play a significant factor when going uphill. If you are dealing with a challenging uphill, the gear to use should be the one that will make you pedal quickly.

Also, the steeper the hill, the lower the gear ratio should be used by the biker. This action aims to keep the cadence at a very sustainable rate. For most regular bikers, the rate is usually above seventy revolutions per minute.

Learning How to Shift a Bicycle with Gear When Going Uphill

The gears on the front and the back of the bike are controlled by a derailleur. The rear derailleur is controlled by the right shifter of the handlebar. The right side shifter is used more frequently since the gears in the rear are smaller and are meant to fine-tune the pedal resistance.

The front derailleur and gears are controlled by the front shifter of the handlebars. You can sue the left shifter to make more dramatic gear changes. If your bike has only one shifter on the right side, then you only have a rear derailleur, just like kids and urban bikes.

Please note that the larger the number on the shifter, the harder it is to pedal your bike. This situation is good when there is low resistance, like trying to ride faster on a flat surface or going down the hill.

Meanwhile, the smaller the number on the gear, the easier it is to pedal. The smaller gear is ideal for climbing hills or bike riding going into the wind. In addition, always remember to shift gear only when pedaling forward while your bike is in motion.

Do not shift while on the hill, or there is pressure on the bike pedal. What you do is shift gears before you go to the hill. It is also best to avoid cross chaining where the chain is stretched between the largest gear at the front and the largest gear in the rear or when the chain is in the smallest gear on the front and the smallest gear at the back.

Also, improper shifting can damage the drivetrain and the chain of your bike. If you want to learn proper gear shifting, you need to find a place where there are few cars or traffic for your safety. This situation will allow you to focus purely on the bike ride and the shifting without the destruction of other road users.

When going uphill, experimenting on different inclines will give you the feel of using different gears and pedal resistance. If you are a beginner, it is best if you keep the front derailleur on the second gear for you to experiment on the rear only. As you get more confidence with shifting, change the position of the front derailleur to the first or third gears to experience and test how the bike is easier to ride.

While you are shifting, you can also listen to the gear as it fully engages with the chain. If you hear some noise or scrapping, you probably need to adjust your bike. Always remember that riding with gears will take some time to practice. Always remember to be patient as you learn while giving yourself enough time to learn.


Familiarizing what gear to use when going uphill on a bike is an essential skill to learn. Moreover, learning how to shift your bike using the available gears properly will help in having an easy ride, especially when going uphill. Invest some time to learn using your bike’s gears when navigating on various road surfaces.

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