Gears reversed (1<->7) on the back disk after replacing back tire. Why?

Here are pictures starting with 2nd gear then going to 6th but the shift is actually reversed:


Not an expert BTW.

  • 7
    This is pretty hard to believe. Do you have a standard derailer-style rear, or is it an internally geared hub? Did the shifter cable come loose while you were working? Dec 20, 2020 at 14:35
  • 6
    Is it possible you've mis-remembered how they work ?
    – Criggie
    Dec 20, 2020 at 18:23
  • Can you post some pictures and add some commentary as to what else you think is different. Reversing direction of gear changes requires a new (low-normal vs high-normal) derailleur on a derailleur bike, and I don't even think hubs come in different directions.
    – mattnz
    Dec 20, 2020 at 20:05
  • 1
    @mattnz Thank you so much, did not expect so many replies. Here are pictures starting with 2nd gear then going to 6th but the shift is actually reversed photos.app.goo.gl/HDqZ5JPDCYPpNmTG9 Dec 21, 2020 at 12:34
  • @daniel-r-hicks everything went well I thought with the tire change, nothing came loose. Weird. Definitely this issue is out of my level of expertise. Dec 21, 2020 at 12:41

1 Answer 1


It's not possible for the operation of the gears to change just by reinstalling the wheel, so it seems likely that you have just misremembered which way this bike normally operates, which is different to your other bikes.

The derailleur has a strong spring that pulls one way, so the shifter adds cable tension to pull the derailleur sideways, against the spring force. When the shifter releases the cable tension, the spring force returns the derailleur back in the other direction. They come like this from the factory and can not be reversed.

Looking at the photos as you have presented them the harder gears are the lowest numbers and the easy gears are the high numbers, so the derailleur is obviously a 'low-normal' derailleur and has always been. This is different to the majority of derailleurs you'll have experienced before.

I hypothesise that this is not your bike but a child's so your memory of its function is limited and impressionable youngster is not confident in their memory of it either. Or rather, now you have put the idea of it having reversed in their head, they are confidently incorrect.

If it's working then great, successful tyre/tube change. In the photos its not in top gear (1)... If it's not shifting fully into the hardest gear then this would indicate low cable tension (opposite to most DIY guides) or a misalignment of the derailleur, but otherwise functioning normally.

  • Concur. OP might be treating it like a car where higher numbers are higher gearing, or might be confused by the front gears being the opposite way around.
    – Criggie
    Dec 21, 2020 at 18:47
  • Fair for you guys to consider likely, will check for the tension next time I get a chance. But good luck explaining my preteen she remembers her gears wrong, numbers really for her, so likely not the correct assumption. I appreciate you guys not giving up on me. When I check the tension will film it too, maybe more ideas will come to mind. Dec 21, 2020 at 19:12
  • I just wanted to confirm that the derailleur is "low-normal" or "rapid rise". You can see the specifications for the pictured bike here archive.trekbikes.com/us/en/2003/trek/mttrack220#/us/en/2003/… and the rear derailleur is a Shimano C050 which is a "low-normal" or "rapid rise" derailleur bicycles.stackexchange.com/a/46494/52479
    – GageMartin
    Dec 21, 2020 at 22:18
  • @DanielSilion yes gears can be confusing - does it help to consider that "small on the back is harder, but small on the front is easier" ? Generally speaking, for most cyclsits the front gears don't get changed very often, and most riders pick the big or middle ring and just leave it there.
    – Criggie
    Dec 21, 2020 at 22:40
  • So, you guys are saying it's supposed to be reversed, ok. Thank you. Will check again tomorrow but also it did not seem to want to go in 1st gear and some speed combinations make a clunky noise from the paddle area. I think I need an expert to look at it. Today a neighbor tried to help, maybe will invite him again tomorrow to give a last try together. Dec 22, 2020 at 0:17

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