Shifting Gears

Shifting Gears on the GSD S00

When you start riding your new GSD S00, one of the first things you'll want to master is shifting gears. How else will you get yourself and your passengers up that big hill on the way home?

This article will explain how to shift gears when riding the S00. If you're new to cycling (or need to brush up on some basics) scroll to the bottom of the article for our best gear-shifting tips.

Article contents

  1. How do I shift gears on the GSD S00?
  2. Do I need to pedal while shifting gears on the GSD S00?
  3. How many gears (or speeds) does the GSD S00 have?
  4. What else do I need to know about shifting gears on the GSD S00?
  5. What should I do if I have problems shifting gears?
  6. How is shifting gears on the GSD S00 different from shifting gears on a regular bike?
  7. Tips for better gear-shifting

How do I shift gears on the GSD S00?

Use the Enviolo twist shifter on the right side of the handlebars to shift gears. Twist the shifter toward yourself to downshift and away from yourself to upshift.

Do I need to pedal while shifting gears on the GSD S00?

If you've cycled before, you've probably internalized certain gear shifting rules like "you have to pedal when shifting gears" and "don't shift while climbing a steep hill."

Due to the special nature of the S00's Enviolo hub, these rules don't apply. Since the hub is internally geared, you can shift at a standstill, while coasting, or even under load. That being said, for smoother shifting and to reduce wear and tear on your bike, it's always a good idea to ease off pedaling pressure at the moment of shifting.

How many gears (or speeds) does the GSD S00 have?

You might be used to hearing people talk about bikes in terms of how many "speeds" they have (e.g., "a 10-speed bike"). Usually, this refers to the number of discrete combinations of sprockets and chainrings available on a bike.

The S00 is a little different in that it has a stepless, or continuously variable, transmission—meaning it basically has infinite "speeds" within the available range. When you twist the shifter, you're changing the gear ratio between your pedals and rear wheel. You can set this ratio to any ratio that exists within the Enviolo hub's 380° range. This allows you to fine-tune your shifting to suit your riding style and conditions.

What else do I need to know about shifting gears on the GSD S00?

Shifting on the S00 is pretty simple, but here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • When you first start riding your S00, your twist shifter may feel a little hard to rotate. As you ride, the shifter will "break-in" and become easier to operate.
  • Be careful not to force the twist shifter too far in either direction, which can damage the shifting cable.
  • While the S00 can be shifted at a standstill, you'll have more shifting range once you get moving. Again, don't force the twist shifter.

What should I do if I have problems shifting gears?

One of the nice things about the S00's Enviolo hub is that it requires very little maintenance. However, the gear shifting cable may need to be adjusted from time to time for optimal performance and will eventually wear out. If you experience any gear shifting problems, the best thing to do is take your bike to your Tern dealer for help.

How is shifting gears on the GSD S00 different from shifting gears on a regular bike?

In many ways, it's exactly the same.

A conventional bicycle has multiple gears that allow you to maintain a comfortable pedaling speed (or cadence), even when going up and down hills.

The position of the chain on the rear cassette determines what gear you're in. When the chain is on the largest chainring (closest to the wheel), you're in the lowest gear. This gear offers the least pedaling resistance. When the chain is on the smallest chainring (furthest from the wheel), you're in the highest gear. This gear offers the most pedaling resistance.

Moving from a lower (easier) gear to a higher (harder) gear is called upshifting, while moving from a higher gear to a lower gear is called downshifting.

Your GSD S00 works the same way, with a few minor differences. As mentioned above, your S00 has a continuously variable transmission, so the hub doesn't have discrete gears or steps. Your S00 also has a belt instead of a chain, so there aren't any chainrings. But the concepts of upshifting and downshifting still apply.

Because the GSD has an electric motor, how easy or hard it is to pedal will depend on both:

  • what gear you're in, and
  • what e-assist level you're using.

Getting your most comfortable and efficient ride on the GSD will require you to both adjust the electric assist level and shift gears. The best way to learn how the e-assist levels and gears work in combination is to experiment and see what works for you.

Tips for better gear-shifting

Being able to shift gears smoothly and efficiently makes a huge difference when it comes to ride quality. It's also a crucial skill for carrying passengers safely. Here are a few tips for better gear-shifting:

  • Find your sweet spot. If you're just starting out with the GSD—or you've just added passengers—it may be tempting to put your bike in the lowest gear, since that's supposed to be the "easiest" one. But it can be hard to keep the bike balanced in a very low gear due to a lack of momentum. Try riding near the middle of your gear range until you get used to the way your GSD handles.
  • Downshift as you approach intersections. Ideally, your bike will be in a low gear when you come to a stop, so it's easy to get going again when the time comes. As you decelerate, downshift while lightly pedaling until you reach a low gear. 
  • Downshift as you approach hills. Don't wait until you're already straining to climb an incline to switch to a lower gear. It's best to adjust the electric assist and downshift as necessary before you start to climb. Otherwise, you may be forced to try to shift gears while applying heavy pressure to the pedals, which can lead to rough shifting. You could also lose your momentum and roll backward. If you must shift gears while climbing on the S00, it's not a big deal, but try to reduce the force on your pedals while you shift.
  • Avoid shifting under load. Shifting while applying heavy pressure to the pedals can damage your bike's parts or cause them to become misaligned (on the S00, it could cause you to over-crank the twist shifter and damage the shifting cable). Reduce the amount of force you're applying to the pedals as you use the gear-shifter. This can be achieved by downshifting as you approach hills and intersections and generating some momentum before upshifting when riding fast. The S00 can be shifted under load, but it's still best practice to ease off when shifting.
  • Practice makes perfect. Being able to smoothly shift gears when needed is an essential skill—one you'll be using frequently as you ride. If you're new to cycling or new to the GSD, you may want to spend some time getting used to how the gears change and how different combinations of gears and e-assist levels affect your ride. Find a quiet road or path and shift up and down through your gears until you feel comfortable. Once you can shift gears without thinking about it, you're ready to tackle your real route (and maybe add passengers!).