5 Steps for Indexing Gears in 5 Minutes


In an ideal world, your bike’s gears should shift smoothly as it goes up and down the cassette. If it is slow and cranky, then you will need to look at several possible culprits. Among others, gear indexing can offer a quick and effective solution. It might seem like a tricky task at first, but if you know the right steps, you can do it easily by yourself. 

Indexing gears can be done even if you have five minutes or less to spare. It does not require professional knowledge or technical expertise. Read on and we’ll share how you can do it! 

Before You Start with Gear Indexing 

While indexing gears could be the solution to slow gearing, this isn’t the holy grail. There are other things that you can do. The most important is to check and lubricate all the components. Using a bike chain lube can be effective. When the chain is dry or dirty, it can affect your gears. When properly lubricated, the components can move without any problem, preventing issues with gearing. 

A Step-by-Step Guide for Indexing Gears 

Indexing your gears should be a part of routine bike maintenance. It can be overwhelming for a beginner, but you can do it in five quick steps. For beginners, it might seem like too much work. However, with everything ready and if you know the right steps, you can do it within five minutes. 

1. Set the Gear to the Smallest Sprocket 

The first thing that you need to do is to shift the gear of your bike. At this point, your goal is to run on the smallest sprocket of the cassette. To do this easily, you can consider using a bike repair stand, so that you will have easy access to the components of the bike. You will need to turn the pedals until the gears settle to the smallest sprocket. 

2. Shift the Cassette

After turning the gear to the smallest sprocket, shift the cassette to the biggest sprocket. While you are turning the bike pedals, watch out how the chain moves. It may take quite a while to move to the next sprocket. This is indicative of a problem you will need to fix. 

3. Turn the Barrel Adjuster 

The next thing to do is to wound the barrel adjuster. All that you need is to turn it counterclockwise until the shifting becomes smoother. Doing this will also be moving the mech towards the wheel.  

4. Adjust the Limit Screws 

If shifting is still problematic, the next thing that you will need to do is to adjust the limit screws. The limit screws are important because they will be indicative of the full range of motion that your derailleur can make. Adjusting will lessen the likelihood that the chain will drop to the cassette. You will also need to push the derailleur gently. See to it that it does not hit the spokes. Otherwise, you are risking damage to the bike and hurting your fingers. 

5. Check the Gear Cable 

The last step is to inspect the gear cable, making sure that it is in its peak condition as it will also have an impact on gear shifting. The inner cable should enter the mech as you turn the pedals. One of the problems is that is can lack tension, which you can immediately address by turning the barrel adjuster. 

Other Ways to Prevent Gear Problems 

Your gearing system is one of the most crucial factors in your overall ride experience. When it does not shift properly, you will end up in frustration. Aside from proper indexing, below are other important things that you will need to do. 

  • Learn how to use gears on a bike. In some cases, the problem is that you are clueless about how it works, so the gear ends up problematic. By learning the fundamentals of gearing in biking, you will know what to do in different situations. 
  • Pay attention to routine bike maintenance. This will make sure that all the components of the bike are in perfect condition, even in the most demanding environments. The failure to maintain your bike can inevitably result in gearing problems. 
  • The rear derailleur alignment is one more thing that can help in smooth gearing. The hanger can be bent, and this can limit its functionality. Use a straightening tool to make sure that the hanger is square to the cassette.
  • As mentioned earlier, the chain can also be the problem. Chain health and cleanliness directly impact the bike’s gearing mechanism. It can also help prevent problems with your chainring and cassette. Pay attention to the proper maintenance of the frame and replace it when it is worn. 
  • In some bikes, the design of the frame can also be the culprit when you are experiencing problems in shifting. This is especially the case in a type of frame that comes with internal routing. There could be excessive cable friction, and this can limit the full functionality of the bike’s gears. 



Q: How do I adjust the gears on my rear derailleur


To adjust the gears on your rear derailleur, start by selecting the highest gear. With the wheel lifted, move the pedal. Set the limit screws then tighten the cable by turning the barrel adjuster. Adjust the cable tension and finish by shifting up.

Q: How do I stop my bike gears from slipping?


To stop your bike gears from slipping, check the cable. It is often caused by cable stretch, so you might need a replacement. Slipping can also happen when you mix a new chain with old cogs. Changing the barrel adjuster tension can also help to address the problem.

Globo Surf Overview 

From cleaning a bike chain to adjusting cable tension, there are several solutions to fix shifting problems. In this article, however, we focused on indexing gears. With a few tweaks in your bike’s gears, you can prevent the gears from skipping and you can have a smoother ride experience.

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Globo Surf
My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!