How to Use Bike Gears to Avoid Cross-Chain The Right Way

Gear shifter on a bicycle. 8 speed bicycle.

According to WickWërks Cross chaining is the condition where the chain is running across the drivetrain centerline — for example: From the Big Front chain ring to Biggest Rear cassette cogs, or from the Small Front chain ring to the Smallest Rear cassette cogs. The two different cross chaining circumstances are depicted in the diagram below. Shown in Top view, looking down on the chain, chainrings, and cassette. It is illustrated as a triple, although it can also be used for a double.

High gear combinations
What is the effect of using HIGH, MEDIUM, LOW gear combinations?

This is a sample for a 24 speed or 3 x 8 Mountain Bike (MTB).

Proper High Gear Combinations

Heavy in pedaling (low cadence) but bike move fast (normally flat road).

High gear combinations

Proper Medium Gear Combinations

Slight lighter than high gear, but bike move slower (normally leisure ride).

Medium gear combinations

Proper Low Gear Combinations

Light in pedaling (high cadence) but the bike moves slow (normally slope or uphill).

Low gear combinations

Cadence = Pedaling Speed. Pedaling speed is depending on your leg's strength.

Gear Combinations to Avoid

Avoid these gear combinations as this puts additional stress on you bike components.

Gear combinations to avoid

Gear Combinations For Beginner Riders

Medium gear. Put the middle gear constantly to [2] and just shift the rear gear [4 5 6]. You will feel slightly heavier when you shift the gear from 4 to 5 or 5 to 6.


  1. USJ CYCLES. (2013, June 18). How to use bike gears ? [Blog post]. Retrieved from
  2. WickWërks LLC. (2018, March 19). Cross chaining – WickWerks [Blog post]. Retrieved from

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