Muddy Ride

How To Adjust MTB Gears

Bike Tweaks

OK, hands up if you’ve been out on the trails and suddenly discovered noisy gear changes or the inability to select the gear you need exactly when you need it?

You Are Not Alone

Whether you’re a new or experienced rider and, you don’t have a pit crew, the “How” is easy and the process is perfectly explained in the video below. ‘Stuff Happens’ when we are out there on the trails. A flying pebble, tree branch, mud, there are all kinds of hazards waiting to mess with our gears.

Two days ago, I set out with perfect gears until a very muddy section of trail left its mark all over my front and rear derailleurs. Or, more to the point; what derailleurs? All I could see was a muddy expansion of dimensions and I could no longer access rear first.

Clearly something had moved out of place and it needed fixing before the next big climb because although I could have easily managed in second, the next three gears were incredibly noisy too and second seemed to be missing a beat on every pedal rotation. I found myself thinking more about what was going on behind my right foot than reading the trail ahead. Very distracting.

What Did I Need?

Well a hose would have been helpful but that not being an option, I found a fairly clean stream and washed off as much mud as I could with my hands. I didn’t want to use a stick for this just in case I caused damage when digging at the mud. It took a while but I did get a relatively mud-free working area and I could see the screws I needed to access.


I carry a Topeak Mini 20 Pro Tool. At 150 grams, its very light and is said to have 20 functions as the name suggests. Although, one reviewer at Chain Reaction Cycles said he had discovered 22. Regardless of how many functions, it has everything I need for trail-side fixes and gear adjusting.

  • Material: Tools, Bottle Opener: Steel; Tyre Lever: Alloy; Body: Aluminium; Chain Tool: CrMo; Bag: Neoprene
  • Allen Wrenches: 2, 2L, 2.5, 3 (2 each), 4, 5, 6, 8, 10m
  • Torx wrench: T25
  • Spoke Wrenches: 15g/14g/Mavic M7/Shimano compatible
  • Chain Pin Tool: Phillips & flathead screwdrivers
  • Bottle opener with spoke holder
  • Dimensions: 7.6x4.2x1.8cm

Challenges Ahead

Gears don’t work by gravity, they work via a tension system so, you can find a relatively flat place and flip the bike over to make adjustments. You will sometimes feel like you need a third hand but a little practice goes a long way.

Printed Version

I’m not going to provide printed instructions here but if you would like a copy, please let me know in the comments section below and you shall receive.

How to Adjust Your Bike's Gears for Maximum Shifting Performance

Tools and Spares

In the run-up to Black Friday, Chain Reaction Cycles (CRC) are holding weekly specials with offers across their entire range. If you need spares or a multi-tool, now is the perfect time to buy or get them on your desired presents list 🙂


Please understand that if you buy from CRC, I will receive a commission but this never affects your rights or the price you pay.

Questions and Comments

You will always receive a prompt response and your questions may well help other riders too. Please don’t hesitate to leave yours below.

Just Ride Hard, Ride Fair, Nobody Hurt

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