How To Use Road Bike Shifters | Change Gear On Your Road Bike

Here’s our complete guide to how to use the 3 main brands of shifter – Shimano, SRAM and Campagnolo.

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The gear changing mechanism on a bicycle has changed quite a bit over the past 30 years or so, but these days all of your shifting is typically done from the same levers that control your braking. Shimano, SRAM and Campagnolo levers work in a similar fashion but each of them function in a slightly different way. Simon talks through each of the three different groupsets and how exactly to shift into an easier or harder gear.

Watch more on GCN…
How to change gear like a pro 🎥
How to index your gears 🎥

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Leave us a comment below!


RedBattle3 says:

I dont have a Roadbike thats why I am watching this

TT CC says:

Finally found a vid that gives a clear explanation of gear shifting, which to use during up hill, which side controls what, and such. Thank you! I’ve been looking forever!

EinfachKeinFame says:

The first question moutainbikers got when they see a road bike

Jamon Perry says:

Question on cross chaining, The extreme is Big gear front to Biggest gear in the rear or vice versa….My question, where is the safe area ? I have an 8spd road bike how far can I go before I begin to cross chain ?

Greg Bond says:

Great vid.

John Smith says:

next video is how to fill up your water bottle

Tony Flies says:

I last had a bike made before 1990, and it seemed so much easier back then. (changing several cogs at the back when changing the front change ring for example). Guess I’ll have to practice. Thanks for the video.

sky ap says:

More confuse for beginners

Nathaniel Abaya says:

very helpful. thanks

Simon WoodburyForget says:

Optimally you want to keep the chain at a constant stress, now this depends on the distribution of the gear ratios, but as you move up with the back gears, you want to move down with the forward gears, larger gears require more chain, smaller gears require less chain.

Noah Willard says:

Those shifts were dryer than my DMs

Hafsah Mijinyawa says:

This video is old, but I just got a road bike and it’s basically like learning to ride all over again. So GCN’s vids have been super helpful to watch. Thanks for the resource and awesome/succinct/clear tutorials!

Phyzik says:

Yeah sorry but everyone here is the reason why non-cyclists are more nervous and anxious when it comes to learning about cycling. Those who don’t know can often be scared to ask in fear of a stupid reaction like your comments, people need to learn the basics first, and for christ sake learning Road Bike shifter’s is something ANYONE who hasn’t ridden a road bike will need to learn, so in my opinion this is one of the MOST essential videos GCN could make. Get off your high horse (or bike in this case).

hitchpster says:

He really made a mess with the Shimano gears, talking respectively left-right, rear-front. sorry. I watched another video and got it instantly.

Jacek says:

Shimano is totally natural for all those using Shimano/SRAM MTB shifters – ypu use big lever to pull wire and push smaller one to release. No problem. BUT if you have weird Shimano reverse sprung rear derailleur – its in the opposition to everything normal :)


Dylan Craig says:

Nothing beats classic down tube mounted friction shifters. There’s a romance to them. I miss my retro-modded 70’s Schwinn Super Le Tour so damn much!

Ashlee J says:

Thanks SO much for this video! I’m looking into getting my first road bike (coming from Walmart mountain bikes) and I’m looking to learn as much as possible so when I’m offered help I already have an idea of what I’m looking for. Can’t believe people are being so obnoxious about a video that’s obviously meant to help those with less experience. Thanks GCN for the basics videos! 😀

Fidelito says:

Great instructions, thanks much for sharing.

rick dalbey says:

When I get into my car, I either just shift the gear shift knob or drive an automatic.This essay on shifting the front gears and shifting the rear gears, moving from large sprockets to smaller sprockets misses the whole point. Its like explaining how the pistons work in an engine when all I care about is applying gas and going. I wish Steve Jobs had designed a bike.

Glenn Goysens says:

just wasted a whole evening messing with my front derailleur, someone should have told me about “trim shifting”,

Duceyque says:

Thank you for this great presentation. I have been having difficulty changing onto the large ring from the small ring. This should assist me with the change. Thanks.

V8 Power says:

Campagnolo are cool, shimano are terrible simply bad design, how can you downshift by turning entire lever and when you brake then it escapes from your fingers cause it turns lol

TheAlmorah says:

Can you please do a video for Microshift gears on a typical BTWIN TRIBAND 500 SE Road bike. I am confused! Novice! Thanks

Kari Kepala Gajah says:

Can i combine campy shifter with shimano gearset and crank?

Jaxon1127 says:

Thank you for explaining this, I just bought a Giant with the Italian gearshift and couldn’t figure out how to change back.

Akram Rahardi Rosyadi says:

hello, i got old road bike from my dad but it’s using downtube shifter that is kinda hard for me to use
(idk it’s really roadbike but it looks like one)

so the question is
can i use cheap shifter like shimano tx30 for my bike ?

Juan Ng says:

confusing lol

Tien Duong Ngo says:


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