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Lesson 11 – Bicycle Gears

Read About Bicycle Gears


Read the vocabulary terms to understand the reading better.


A force is the push or pull on an object that makes it move.


A gear is a wheel with teeth around it that slot together with other gears.

Input Component

The input component of a machine is the part that makes the other parts move.

Output Component

The output component of a machine is the last part that moves.


A pedal is a lever pushed by the foot to run or control a machine.

Bicycle Gears

Bicycles have two sets of gears. The front gears are connected to the pedals. The back gears are connected to the rear wheel. The bicycle chain connects the front gears to the back gears. Changing gears changes the amount of force needed to move forward.

High Speed, Low Speed

Notice the different sizes of the gears at the back. The smaller gears are the high speed. The larger gears are the low speed.

In low speed, the chain is on the largest gear. This largest gear moves the back wheel about as fast as you move the pedals. The bicycle moves more slowly than in higher speed, but pedalling is easier.

When the bike is in high speed, the chain moves onto the smallest gear. The wheel moves many times each time the pedal turns. The bicycle moves more quickly, but you have to pedal harder.

Input and Output

Machines need a force to make them work. The input component of a machine is the part that makes the other parts move. On a bicycle, the pedals are the input component.

The output component of a machine is the last part that moves. Bicycle pedals make the rear wheel move. The rear wheel is the output component.

To learn more about bicycle gears, watch the video by Design Squad Global on Youtube.

Now Show What You Know!

Complete some questions about the reading selection by clicking “Begin Questions” below.