I am new to using a bicycle with multiple speeds. I got this new bicycle 4 days back with Shimano 6 speed rear gears. I don't know much else about the components.

There is no issue when I move to higher gear (2 to 3 , 3 to 4 and so on.)

But I face issue when I try to shift gears from 5 to 4 or from 4 to 3 etc. The chain does not shift and it makes a sound.

As a trick to get it to shift into the desired gear, I shift to next higher gear when the chain makes sound and then get back to desired gear. e.g. if I am riding in 5th gear and I want to shift to 4th I shift to 3rd for a moment and get back to 4th and then all's well with no more sound from chain. But I am afraid this trick may not be good and that I may be doing something wrong.

So I request guys to suggest me proper way to shift to lower gears.

I tried to find videos on youtube but they didn't help much. The videos show shifting should not be done while pedaling under pressure, so I followed this but shifting was still not smooth.

  • Are you shifting with a derailer (pushing chain from side to side onto cogs with different numbers of teeth)?
    – dlu
    Sep 29, 2015 at 11:49
  • It sounds like your gears need adjusting. This is not necessarily a problem, as all gears need adjusting from time to time, but equally it might indicate that something has been set up incorrectly or is (if the bike is not brand new) worn. For the simple reason that you say you are new to all this, I would recommend having a shop look at the bike. If you bought the bike from a shop, it's not unreasonable to ask them to take a look at it,
    – PeteH
    Sep 29, 2015 at 16:22
  • 1
    Hi it's a brand new bike. I am pushing chain from side to side using a circular grip on right. Actually I cant understand when I can easily shift to lower to higher why there is difficulty in vice versa.
    – Amit
    Sep 30, 2015 at 12:34
  • 1
    @amit its been a month now - how did you get on? Are you riding and changing better now?
    – Criggie
    Oct 30, 2015 at 0:16
  • 2
    @Criggie , yes it's better. I took bicycle to the shop, they adjusted it so it's better from 2nd Oct. But still I feel shifting from high to low is 80% smooth as compared to shifting from low to high and I have to be careful make sure that the shift has took place properly. On a busy road it's difficult to hear that sound.
    – Amit
    Oct 31, 2015 at 14:29

3 Answers 3


There is a problem with the cable that links the shifter to the mechanism (rear derailleur)rear derailleur adjuster

The cable has become slack over time and needs to be tighter. You can tighten it by turning a barrel adjuster if there is one present. it might be as pictured and there might be one where the cable leaves the shifter on the handlebar. looking in the direction of the arrow, turn the barrel adjuster anti-clockwise to make the cable tighter.

Make small adjustments, ie one quarter turn at a time. You could search for videos to help. It's straightforward when you know how, but difficult and frustrating the first time. Your local bike shop would be happy to help you too.


You either need to adjust the derailleur (specifically, the bowden cable tension) or consider a higher-level setup. Cheap stuff works as it costs.

  • 1
    Cheap stuff can work very nicely. In particular the modern entry level or one stop better kit from shimano can shift quickly, smoothly and reliably. BUT only if it's set up nicely, and one impression I've got is that the cheaper components need tweaking more often.
    – Chris H
    Sep 29, 2015 at 19:50
  • ok.. so you guys mean probably I am not doing it wrongly. In that case I will take the bike to shop again and ask to adjust the things again.
    – Amit
    Sep 30, 2015 at 6:46

If you can take this to a shop, get them to put it on a stand and show you how the gears should work after they adjust them.

  • Notice in the comments, this was done by OP back in October.
    – Criggie
    Jan 31, 2016 at 3:13
  • Welcome to Bicycles SE. We're looking for answers with more detail. An answer that says little more than "take it to a shop" should say why we can't give more specific advice and/or why this is the OP's best or only option. A short, one-line answer like this is likely to get downvoted, flagged for moderator intervention, and possibly deleted.
    – jimchristie
    Feb 6, 2016 at 20:32

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