How to Index/Set-up your Gears on your bike

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One of the most frustrating maintenance tasks of owning a bike is indexing the gears, you will find gears will jump and slip over time and wont chain like they used to, this is completely normal and is because the cable will stretch naturally. You may also have just got a new Derailleur and need to index it, if so this guide will show you the fastest way to set your gears up.

First thing to do if you have just got a new dérailleur, if the gear cables and housing currently on the bike are old, you should replace them with new cables and housing, this is relativly cheap around £10 for a full gear cable set, doing this will mean shifting will be smooth and sharp. Replacing the cables is a routine task as soon as the gears seam sticky they should be replaced.
Anyway now you have your new cables installed the first this is to make sure all the barrel screws which are the screws which will be found on the back of the derailleur for adding tension to the cable are screwed in, there might also be one on teh shifter screw this in also.
Now shift into the lowest gear with the shifter (this would be 9 if you have a 9sp bike) and screw the high and low stop screws on the derailleur out.
Now with a set of plyiers hold the cable end and fasten it to the cable clamp on teh derailleur the cable should only be hand tight when pulling it through. you can add extra tenision to teh cable with the barrel screws after thi sis why you need to screw them in. now you need to turn the peddle and shift up don't worry if they aren't perfect you can make adjustments after. If the gears wont shift all the way to gear one give the barrel screw a few turns, this will add extra tension to the cable meaning it will shift higher, if the gears wont go down to the bottom gear screw the barrel screw in to release tension. you will find you need to keep making small adjust ments with the barrel screw over the first few rides but once right you shoudl have a full set of smooth gears.
And remember you cable will strech over tiem so just add more tension when it does and replace cables and housing as you would tyres. 
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