belgiangoth wrote:It doesn’t help that my other bike has no rear brake and has track dropouts for fixed.
I am currently struggling with holding bike up, lining up wheel for gears and disk brake. Any smart hacks? (I don’t even know whether I should be leaving it on the big or small cog! That’s how long it’s been since I used derailleur gears)
a smaller cog (not necessarily the smallest) is best.
Get the chosen sprocket in front of the RD, then pull the RD backwards (FWIW some SRAM mechs have a locking button that makes this easy) whilst allowing the bike to lower down over the wheel a bit further. As the wheel is moving into position you need to be sure that the disc is entering the caliper, and that the disc is between the pads (not to one side of both of them....). Then (assuming vertical or forward facing dropouts) pull the wheel into the dropouts properly.
If you can lean the bike against something (eg a tree) then you may find that you can hold the stays and manoeuvre the bike over the wheel that way. It all comes easier with practice.