Get Your Gear Back on Track: How to Fix Slipping Gears on a Road Bike

To fix slipping gears on a road bike, adjust the derailleur cable tension and limit screws. Slipping gears can be caused by worn components or incorrect cable tension, and should be addressed promptly to prevent further damage.

Road biking is an exhilarating and rewarding sport, but it can be frustrating when your gears start slipping. This common problem can be caused by a variety of factors, including worn components, incorrect cable tension, or misaligned limit screws. If left unchecked, slipping gears can cause damage to your bike and make your ride less efficient.

Luckily, fixing slipping gears on a road bike is a relatively simple process that can be done at home. In this article, we’ll walk you through the steps to adjust your derailleur cable tension and limit screws, so you can get back on the road with confidence.

Get Your Gear Back on Track: How to Fix Slipping Gears on a Road Bike


Understanding Slipping Gears

Slipping gears on a road bike can ruin your riding experience and put you in danger. It happens when the chain suddenly gets disengaged from the gears, causing the pedals to spin without any effect. This can either slow you down or cause you to lose balance and control, especially when you’re not expecting it.

We’ll help you understand and fix slipping gears on your road bike. Let’s start by defining slipping gears.

Definition Of Slipping Gears

Slipping gears happen when you shift to a higher gear, and the chain either doesn’t catch or slips off while you’re pedaling. This can be caused by misalignment, worn-out components, or lack of maintenance.

Identifying The Causes Of Slipping Gears

Identifying the root cause of slipping gears is crucial to fixing the problem. Here are the common causes of slipping gears that you should check:

  • Misaligned derailleur: A derailleur that’s not positioned or adjusted correctly can make the chain skip gears, especially when you’re shifting to a higher gear.
  • Worn-out cassette: The cassette teeth can become worn or damaged over time, causing the chain to slip off while you’re pedaling, especially when you’re shifting to a higher gear.
  • Dirty or worn-out chain: A chain that’s not cleaned or lubricated regularly can lead to loss of tension, causing it to slip off the gears.
  • Loose bolts or cables: Loose bolts and cables can lead to poor shifting performance, causing the chain to skip gears or not catch the gears correctly.

The Impact Of Slipping Gears On Your Riding Experience

Slipping gears can be frustrating and dangerous, especially when you’re riding uphill, or on rough terrain. Here’s how slipping gears can impact your riding experience:

  • Loss of momentum: When the chain slips, you lose the momentum you’ve built, making it harder to pedal and slowing you down.
  • Difficulty in climbing: Climbing becomes harder when your chain slips, making it harder to gain traction and keep up your speed.
  • Reduced efficiency: When your bike is not shifting gears correctly, you’ll be wasting a lot of energy, and your riding experience will not be as efficient as it should be.

Slipping gears on your bike can be a significant problem for your riding experience. Understanding the causes of slipping gears is essential to fix the problem. By checking for misalignment, worn-out components, and loose cables and bolts and properly maintaining your bike, you can avoid slipping gears and enjoy a smooth ride.

Fixing Slipping Gears

Do you experience difficulty while changing gears on your road bike? Is it slipping or making a grinding noise? Don’t worry; it’s a common problem with easy fixes. A slipping gear can occur due to cable tension issues, chain wear, or a bent derailleur hanger.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to fixing slipping gears.

Step-By-Step Guide To Fixing Slipping Gears

  • Shift the chain onto the smallest chainring and the largest cog.
  • Locate the cable adjuster barrel near the rear derailleur and turn it counterclockwise until there’s enough slack in the cable.
  • Use a 5mm allen wrench to loosen the cable fixing bolt and detach the cable from the derailleur.
  • Check the cable housing for fraying or kinking and replace it if necessary.
  • Use a cable cutter to trim the cable end and insert it back into the derailleur.
  • Tighten the cable fixing bolt and turn the barrel adjuster clockwise until the gear shifting is smooth.
  • Test the gears by changing them.

If the above steps didn’t work, it is time to check the derailleur hanger and the chain’s health.

Best Practices For Maintaining Your Bike’S Gears

Here are some best practices you should follow to keep your bike’s gears in excellent condition:

  • Clean your chain regularly with a degreaser and lubricate it using good quality chain oil.
  • Check the gear cables for fraying, and replace them if they’re worn out.
  • Ensure proper chain tension; it shouldn’t be too slack or too tight.
  • Inspect the derailleur hanger for bending and align it correctly.
  • Avoid cross-chaining; it puts excessive pressure on the chain and wears it out faster.
  • Get your bike serviced by a professional mechanic at least once a year.

Applying these best practices will significantly reduce the likelihood of experiencing slipping gears on your road bike.

Fixing slipping gears on a road bike may seem daunting, but it’s something you can do at home with the proper tools. However, if you’re unsure, it’s best to take your bike to an experienced mechanic. Follow the best practices to keep your gears in good condition and prevent any issues in the future.

Frequently Asked Questions For How To Fix Slipping Gears On A Road Bike

Why Do My Bike Gears Slip?

Sometimes bike gears slip due to a worn chain, improper cable tension, or bent derailleur hanger.

How Do I Fix Slipping Gears On My Bike?

You can fix slipping gears by adjusting cable tension, replacing a worn chain, or realigning the derailleur hanger.

Can I Fix Slipping Gears On A Road Bike Myself?

Yes, you can fix slipping gears on a road bike yourself by following our step-by-step guide in the blog post.

How Often Should I Check My Bike Gears For Slipping?

You should check your bike gears for slipping once a month or after any particularly rough rides.


Now you have learned how to fix slipping gears on a road bike. Always remember to check your gears’ alignment and cables for wear and tear. Clean the chains and derailleur pulleys regularly and lubricate them adequately. If fixing the issue yourself seems too complicated or risky, it’s best to seek professional help.

Proper maintenance can help prevent slipping gears and prolong the life of your bike’s drivetrain components. With these tips, you’ll be able to enjoy a seamless and comfortable ride. Happy cycling!

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