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What is a "gear shift" when it comes to racing bikes? And are there other ways to refer to it? Thank you.

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The gear shift is a lever or other control that changes the gear ratio on the bike. The verb is "to shift gears".

https://www.trainerroad.com/blog/a-guide-to-bicycle-gearing-choosing-the-right-gears-for-your-road-gravel-and-mountain-bike/

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What about "change gears" as an alternative to "shift gears"? By the way, should I use the article "the" before gears in "change (the) gears"? Thank you.

Change and shift regarding gears means exactly the same thing. In automobiles, the lever is the "gear shift".

teal limeBy the way, should I use the article "the" before gears in "change (the) gears"?

It depends on the context.

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Would you please give me some examples in which the article "the" is necessary before "gears" and some in which is not needed? Thank you.

The gears on my bike are worn and need to be replaced.
Do not change ( Φ) gears when climbing a hill.

As a tidbit, the gears themselves and the arm that moves the chain constitute a unit called the derailleur, pronounced as if it was English, which it is now ( duh-RALE-ur ).

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AlpheccaStarsIn automobiles, the lever is the "gear shift".

That's called a gear lever in the UK.