minute/s remaining

Why Does My Mountain Bike Skip Gears?

Why does my chain keep skipping or slipping gears? This is a common question amongst many riders or bikers out there. Worry no more because today will be going to address the possibilities of causes in this guide.

Why Does My Mountain Bike Skip Gears?

The short response is, it is a problem with any of the following: rear and front chain, chain, cassette, as well as derailleurs.

Causes of Mountain Biker Skipping Gears

There are a lot of things why it happens, and some of them are simple adjustments.

Soiled Chain and Sprockets

One reason why chain skips are the buildup of dirt on the sprockets. If the chain oil and grime combine on the sprocket, it leaves a very thick black mixture on this part. If you use it without cleaning the bike, it will lead to slipping and skipping the chain.

The derailleur is Out of Proper Place.

If the derailleur is out of alignment, it will lead to unnecessary tension on the chain and cause it to slip gears while riding. It’s easy to know if this is the main problem. Look at the rear wheel, see the gear cog which the chain is on and look under it. Check if the pulley is rightly aligned with the gear?

Derailleur Pulley Cage is Bent

If the derailleur pulley cage is bent, it will give the same tension as the pulley cage is not in proper alignment. To see if this part is not in line, please check the rear wheel head-on. This will determine if the derailleur is not in line. But, if this is the problem, the only thing you can do is buy a new one.

Worn Chain

This is also one reason why your mountain bike is skipping. The teeth on the gear wouldn’t line and lead to the bouncing of the chain. A damaged chain is basically expanding, so the gap between the links is no longer what it must be. You can measure the distance by using a checker tool.

Worn Cassette

A damage cassette refers to the sprockets worn down far enough to lessen the efficiency. Checking visually is not suggested as it needs a special tool. On the other hand, there’s a sprocket wear indicator equipment to try once the cassette is damage. To utilize this, you must eliminate the rear wheel from the chain and frame. Put the chain links around the sprocket, utilize the flat portion as a level, and then pull it down. In case moving the first links is easy, this shows that this is not the main issue.

What to Do To Avoid Chain from Skipping or Slipping

The skipping chain has many solutions that you can do in the comfort of your home. There is no need to call a mechanic to assess and check the problem. You can do it by yourself. All you need to do is to follow this guide.

Clean Your Sprockets

Maybe one of the simplest solutions is to clean the sprockets of your mountain bike. Perhaps, this needs some elbow grease as well as lots of persistence. On the other hand, check that the derailleurs are in line over the sprockets if re-oiled and cleaned. If not, keep onto the next part once you give your mountain bike a try and know when the chain skips.

Derailleur Is Not In Line

Once the derailleur is not in a proper alignment, there’s a nut that links the shifter cable to this part. All you need to do is adjust it, and it will move the pulleys over one way.

Why Does My Mountain Bike Skip Gears

Derailleur is Bent

A curved or twisted derailleur usually occurred on the bike’s trail. It is highly recommended to curve it back in line. If the issue persists, you’ll have to replace the entire derailleur. There are many guides available on how to do it.

Damage Cassette

The lone way to repair the damage is cassette is to buy a new one. Here, you will need a lockring tool. Get rid of the wheel from the mountain bike, then take out the skewer ( a part that holds the tire to the frame of the bike). Use the tool to unscrew the lockring. Pull off the old cassette; put each sprocket of the new cassette on individually, matching the grooves up in the approved manner. Screw back the lock ring on and put back the skewer. Put back the tire on the mountain bike and then tighten and put on the chain.

Some mountain bikes come with freewheel assembly rather than a cassette. The process is almost identical except that the freewheel really screws on the wheel rather than slides onto the bearing. Don’t worry as it is easy to do. All you need to do is to follow the steps below.

  • Take off the wheel

  • Get rid of the chain from the sprocket

  • Get rid of the skewer

To loosen it, the lockring tool, which will go along with the grooves on the freewheel.

  • Detach the old freewheel

  • Put the new one

  • Replace the skewer

  • Put back the wheel on the mountain bike

  • Realign the chain


All the things mentioned can and do cause the mountain bike’s chain to skip and slip gear. There are simple ways on how to fix it. I hope the tips mentioned above will be able to assists you fix any problem like this so you will have a safe and enjoyable ride.

Product Recommendation 

The Bicycling Guide to Complete Bicycle Maintenance & Repair: For Road & Mountain Bikes

Proper maintenance of your bike can help to prolong its lifespan and at the same time keep you safe while riding on it. So, if you don’t have any idea about bike maintenance and don’t want to spend a lot going back and forth to the nearest mechanic, The Bicycling Guide to Complete Bicycle Maintenance & Repair: For Road & Mountain Bikes is here for you. 

Biking connects lots of active, affluent experts for whom biking is the core of a bright, vibrant, experiential lifestyle. It is an exceptional combination of gear, travel, fitness styles, and award-winning stories that bring this sport to life for passionate readers.

This is a fully revised as well as updated 6th edition of the best-selling guide to mountain bike proper maintenance from the leading and premier authority on cycling worldwide. It doesn’t matter if you own the newest model or a classic with many miles on it; newbie or skilled bikers alike need a guide that will assist them to get their mountain bikes out of the shop faster and stay on the rod longer. The Bicycling Guide to Complete Bicycle Maintenance & Repair: For Road & Mountain Bikes has been available for many years and continues to help bikers. 

It comes with troubleshooting pats to help you instantly identify and fix common issues. It comes with pictures and drawings to clarify all the directions so even newbies can get fixings the first time. It also has websites and contact information for bike and parts companies. The latest edition has the newest information on part kits as well as carbon fork specs. 

Keep your bike in good condition with the help of The Bicycling Guide to Complete Bicycle Maintenance & Repair: For Road & Mountain Bikes. Get yours now!

Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc, or its affiliates.

Enjoyed the article? 

You can find more great content here:

Why Are BMX So Expensive

About the author 


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}
Subscribe to get the latest updates