How to Change Gears on a Trek Mountain Bike

Updated February 21, 2017

Trek bikes are quality cycling machines, used by well-known cyclists including Lance Armstrong. Trek mountain bikes are among the leaders in recreational mountain biking, and come manufactured with a wide variety of features. Typically, the most important feature of a mountain bike is the gear-changing mechanism. This is the apparatus that allows you to change the ratio of pedalling torque and gear combination on different terrain, to gain a smooth ride and maintain a consistent pedalling rate. Trek mountain bikes are outfitted with external or derailleur gear-shifting mechanisms.

Place thumbs onto the gear lever levers located on both handlebars. The left shifter controls the front derailleur, and the right shifter controls the rear derailleur.

Shift the rear derailleur to a higher gear ratio to increase torque when ascending steep inclines. Push the right shifter up--away from the body. The shift should be done on flat terrain before an ascent while the pedals and chain are in forward motion.

Shift the front derailleur up to the exact position of the rear derailleur to add greater torque when ascending inclines. Flip the left shifter up to match the placement of the right shifter. Reverse the process for descending hills.

Adjust the front and rear derailleur corresponding to your riding style while on inclines and declines. Each rider has a different level of physical fitness and strength, so it may take a while to find a gear combination that works best for you. Remember to change only one set of gears at a time until you feel the most comfort while pedalling. Wait until you reach level terrain to shift to avoid ruining gears.


Consult a Trek owners manual for detailed gear-changing instructions.


Only shift one set of gears at a time to avoid damaging gears or the chain. As a rule of thumb, add torque to the rear derailleur first, then place the front derailleur in sequence after.

Things You'll Need

  • Trek mountain bike
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