I searched the internet and this forum and couldn't find anything about this. I recently took off my rear wheel to change the tire and tube. Upon returning it, it shifts fine (no falloff or skip) however it's backwards from what I remember. The last person to do anything to my bike was a very experienced friend. He tuned it up and replaced a rear axle and returned it, I haven't done anything since. I distinctly remember the most resistance being when I had 3 on the left (front gears/crank) and 7 on the right (rear cogs) for a very long time. And when gearing down to ride up hill, visually I would see the chain on the smallest of the rear cogs. Now the smallest rear has the most resistance and reads out as 7, but the internet and other bikes tell me this is perfectly normal. I can't understand how this is mechanically possible and I'm starting to think I fooled myself somehow, or it's an alternate dimension paradox. Genuinely curious if anything like this is possible, not trolling you. It's a 2007 Norco Scrambler with stock shimano shifters and cassette

1 Answer 1


I'm starting to think I fooled myself somehow

And you are correct.

Smaller sprockets on the front or larger sprockets on the back give lower gear ratios (easier to pedal, but you go slower).

  • Feels so weird to think of it and remember spending all my time in 7, and gearing down(?) as much as 3 to go up a hill. There's no way the readout could be wrong?
    – DLN
    Aug 10, 2019 at 18:06
  • 1
    Not unless the shifter was replaced with one with gear indicator numbers that are reversed. Another possibility is you had a 'low-normal' derailleur that works the opposite way around than most derailleurs, and that was replaced with a 'high normal' one; but you didn't say the derailleurs or shifters were replaced. Aug 10, 2019 at 18:11
  • 7 down to 3 when encountering a hill is what the shifter's indicator will do as the chain moves from the smallest rear sprocket up through the successively larger sprockets, which the rider feels as "easier" pedalling. The larger the sprocket (tooth count is the unit of measure we commonly use, though the increasing radius of the circular sprocket is the actual physical property that generates lower gearing), the "lower" the gear. For every one turn of a crank arm, the bike travels fewer & fewer units forward as the sprocket selection gets larger.
    – Jeff
    Aug 10, 2019 at 23:19

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