Do You Know What Gear To Use When Going Uphill On A Bike?

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Is the uphill ride is killing you? It could give you nightmares if you are a beginner. Moving up the hill riding a bike can seem to be dreadful. However, if you know the tricks and can shift your gears correctly, then you will not face much of difficulty.

So, the next question is – what gear to use when going uphill on a bike? Don’t worry, we have got you covered for this. Read this post until the end to get a fair idea as to what should be done for this.

Related: What Factors Cause Variations in Time Taken to Bike a Mile?

Climb Like A Pro – Tips On Cycling Up Hills

What Is The Best Gear Ratio For Hill Climbing Road Bike?

When moving uphill, you must know one thing that a wrong gear setting can get you tired easily. You will be pedaling harder and your bike can even come to a halt. Therefore, we recommend you use a lower ratio that will take care of it all.

That is right, as a lower gear is less tiring and simple to hit. Of course, going up a hill is all about endurance. It needs your legs to be stronger, you need more muscle power and the right cadence.

If you do not plan to stray that much away and your terrain is a mix of plains and sometimes hilly paths, then you must stick to 42/17 or 46/17. However, if you are treading along steep hills, then hitting 40/34, 50/34, 36/40, 34/32, 34/36, 32/20, or 34/30 may facilitate you additionally.

Related: How Many Calories Do You Burn Biking 30 Miles?

When To Shift Gears on a Bicycle?

To be honest, there is no right shifting. All you need to focus on is to maintain the rhythm of your pedaling, movement, and shifting. This will make it easy for you to shift gears while going up a hill on a bike. 

Just remember to pedal with power for a while before your shift. Then slow down and change your gear. This will take some load off the chain and derailleur. Plus, this will make shifting easy. 

Yes, What Gear To Use When Going Uphill On A Bike?

You know cycling uphill may look like a difficult task. It could be when you have additional weight, like, being overweight or carrying extra luggage. However, with fitter people, lighter baggage, and practice this can turn into an easy job.

Related: How Do I Properly Engage My Core?

Know Your Gears

If truth be told, there is only one way of knowing about your gears and this is to practice. We learned it by taking out bikes to a lonely place or away from the humdrum for this. Sometimes practicing at late night or early in the morning can also help.

You take your bike to a secluded place, start pedaling, and change gears. This is the best way to discover what speed and cadence you know while riding certain terrains. This will show you the right way of shifting and also help you find a comfortable spot.

Learning To Shift

This is equally important while learning about your gears. Most beginners tend to shift just when they hit the terrain. It is highly advisable that you shift before a terrain change, and keep pedaling, especially when you ride along hills. This will eradicate the chances of the chain skipping or falling off.


In case you are a novice, have a look at your chainring while riding your bike. This will help you understand what gear you pedaling in, at that time. Now, you can change the gear using rear cogs with middle or small chainrings. This will help you get a hang of how to do things around. 

Remember that this is what you need to follow diligently while riding uphill. Additionally, this practice will aid you further when changing into harder gears. There is no need to stress the chainring as well as you for this. Also, avoid the cross-chaining for the same, particularly when in the learning stage.

Drop Your Gears

Now that you have momentum while pedaling going uphill, you will have to drop the gears smoothly and rapidly. If the slope is long or the hill is steep, dropping the gear to a small chainring will assist you go up with ease. Of course, you need to fine-tune the rear gears for this too. 

In case, the hill is not that harsh or long, you can simply shift a few levers along with the rear ones. This is not that hard as you may think of it and practice can make it effortless even for a first-timer.

Sit, Stand, Or Dismount

Okay, this is a big question that we often get asked, should you sit or stand while going uphill. The answer is – as you wish, which means it is your choice that should be the resolve for this query. You may sit and pedal; if you know you are in control. 

While, standing may appear to be an easier option, but in reality, people with proper cycling skills should opt for it. If you are overweight, it is better not to stand on your pedals, for you may slip. 

Standing is risky and you must stay away from it when in the learning phase. Then again, it is better than dismounting and walking. Nonetheless, in some cases, walking can be a better alternative, as it is better than getting hurt. This is our two cents, you are free to decide otherwise.

Do It In Your Mind First

There certainly is a psychological factor while riding a bike uphill. You must do it in your head first and feel confident that you can do it. Convince yourself first that you can ride up the hill. Only then will you succeed.

A Little Goes A Long Way

In this line of thought, we must tell you that you should try going uphill first. Yes, in the first instance, it may take some time to reach your destination. Our advice to you would be – don’t give up easily. Fight it out and see how much can you ride up. 

It may seem difficult at first, but doing it every day and increasing inch by inch distance may be a great way to reach your destination one day. Keep at it and do not dismount easily that will take you through. 


It goes without saying that if you can find a shorter way to your terminus, you must take that route only. Hence, if you need to ride uphill for your job, college, or school, as a daily commute, you must find hidden gems via alleys, parkland, and backstreets. 

Avoiding steep hills most definitely is a wise thing. So, why not grab your bike and start exploring the surroundings for a shorter or convenient route? This is only practical and will prove to be beneficial in the long run.

Be Prepared

This is another imperative that you must pay attention to, as wearing proper bike clothes and boosting up your bike will make things better. This will increase your efficiency while riding uphill with a bike. 

As for clothing wear wicking clothes that will absorb sweat. Keep water bottle cages for those hotter days, but keep your luggage to a minimum. The bottom line is not to add extra weight while riding uphill. 

Stay fit, hydrated, eat well, and wear the right clothing while going uphill with a bike. All this will facilitate stress-free riding and most importantly, you will enjoy the ride.


How do I know If My Bike Gears are Good?

The best way to get a hang of what your bike gears feel like is to take your bike to a safe place away from traffic, like an empty parking lot, and shift through all the gears in the front and rear to understand how they feel while riding.

What Chainrings Are Used on a Geared Bike?

Most geared bikes have one, two, or three chainrings in the front (the rings attached to the pedal crank arm) and anywhere from seven to 12 gears or cogs in the back (or the cassette attached to the rear wheel).

What is the difference between a left-hand and right-handed shifter?

Typically, the left-hand shifter changes the front bike gears, and the one on the right controls gears in back.

What are your tips for shifting gears?

Pro Tip: Begin to shift into easier gears with your right hand early to keep a steady cadence.

What are the Gear terminology?

Low/High, Big/Small, Easy/Hard, Fast/Slow, Front/Rear, One-by, Two-by, Three-by… if your head is spinning already, you may want to brush up on the following vocab words: Low Gear = Easy = Good for Climbing: The “low” gear on your bike is the smallest chain ring in the front and the largest cog on your cassette (rear gears).

Hi! My name is Dario Lemut and I am the Founder of Cycling fanatic with over two decades of experience on all types of terrain. From long-distance races to rugged mountains. Sharing my experiences and knowledge on my popular cycling website, I'm helping fellow riders to discover new routes and adventures.

2 thoughts on “Do You Know What Gear To Use When Going Uphill On A Bike?”

  1. Knowing which gear to use when going uphill on a bike allows you to save energy and muscle power. If you foresee an upward slope, you must shift into biking uphill gears before you start climbing the slope. It is not recommended to shift gears when you are in the middle of traversing the road. While going uphill, using a lower gear is better. Smaller gear can help you accelerate faster without requiring too much effort in each pedal stroke.

    • If you are climbing a hill on a bicycle, using a lower gear is better than a higher one. Smaller gear can help you accelerate faster without requiring too much effort in each pedal stroke.


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