If I keep pedaling when shifting up the front chainring, it would fail. Moreover, the chain keeps rubbing with the chainrings and produces many noises. Thus, I have to stop pedaling for around one second when shifting up.

My bike comes with a 'Shimano Sora, band-type 34.9mm' front derailleur. The chainrings are 50/34T.

I am new to road bike and don't know whether it is normal. I am not sure does it indicate wearing or misconfiguration. If it is normal, is the practice of stop pedaling the best technique when shifting up?

  • You should continue pedaling but ease up on the force. Apr 16, 2015 at 11:15

4 Answers 4


Use the Clutch!

This is what I always tell people when I'm teaching them how to shift gears properly. Chain-rings and Cogs are machined with *pickup points" that assist transferring the chain from one ring to the other, they only work while you're turning the cranks. So I tell people to let all the power off of their pedals, but keep the cranks turning and don't step back into the pedals with any force until the chain has fully shifted.

  • 3
    I'm not sure the "use the clutch" part will do anything but confuse people; its not like theres a clutch lever on a bicycle, like there is on a motorcycle.
    – Batman
    Sep 25, 2017 at 6:46
  • @Batman Not everyone has ridden a motorcycle, but lots of people have experienced grinding the gears trying to drive standard. I'm referencing cars with this expression, not motorcycles.
    – ShemSeger
    Sep 25, 2017 at 14:19
  • 1
    @ShemSeger I found it confusing as well. Mt first association was a rear derailleur with clutch (that keeps the returning chain taut). With ESL users and users who may not drive a car such metaphors easily get lost.
    – gschenk
    Sep 26, 2017 at 14:20

Completely stopping pedaling will not let you shift gears at all. You do have to reduce the tension in the top of the chain to shift front, so pedal, but with small force. The derailleur cannot push the chain sideways if it is under too much tension and thus pulled tight against the chainrings.

It is normal to reduce pedaling force when shifting.

  • Whereas the rear shifts even under load with the new generation of cassettes it is best to ease the pressure on the pedals when shifting at the front.
    – Carel
    Apr 16, 2015 at 9:50

As Sander already noted not turning the gears will not allow shifting at all. Thus turning the pedals without really stressing them is key.

When shifting to a higher gear with such a system it might be necessary to firmly press the shifting lever when shifting the front gear up, or even shift twice if misconfigurated. That stopping the pedaling helps for you might indicate that you are not shifting firmly and fast enough. Otherwise it wouldn't have any effect.

  • It should be noted that many 3x fronts have a facility to allow "fine tuning" the derailer (mainly when on the middle sprocket) by making partial clicks with the shifter. Apr 16, 2015 at 11:17

It sounds like the front derailleur needs adjustment. If you recently bought the bike from a shop then take it back for adjustment. If that's the problem then it will take only a few minutes. If it's worse, such a bent chain ring it will likely cost $$.

If you want to do it yourself, check out the front derailleur questions.

To change gears using derailleurs, you should continue pedaling.

Whether you need to pedal gently or not depends on the quality of the derailleurs and how well adjusted they are. Certainly most cyclists have learned to pedal gently when changing, because of the painful consequences if the chain slips off.

With medium level equipment (such as Sora) and poorly adjusted equipment (such as yours currently) I would certainly ease the pedal pressure when changing.

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