Raleigh20 PugFixie, Merc
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: London UK
Bikes: 1982 Raleigh Twenty Hotrod Fixie; 1984 Peugeot Premier Fixie, 2007 Merc Lightweight folder
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Originally Posted by cradduck
I have been trying to find a rear 3-speed 20" wheel but have been VERY unsuccessful in finding anything.. I'm lost.
If you can't find a wheel the next best thing is to find a three-speeed hub and a 20" rim (with the same number of spoke-holes) and then get a local bike shop to build the hub into the rim for you. (or learn how to do it yourself if you're feeling game - it's certainly fun).
It's a bit more expensive than finding one pre-built, but 20" wheels are a lot more specialist than 700c or 26" wheels so I think you're gonna have a hard time finding pre-built ones that aren't BMX ones.
Good three speed hubs are made by both SRAM and Sturmey Archer; Do a bit of research on the gear ratios the two manufacturers offer and go from there.
The other thing you could do is keep your eye out for an old english three-speed bike that's heading for the junkyard - salvage the hub for your own use (3-speeds last forever and usually just need a bit of an overhaul) and then convert the donor bike to fixed gear and sell it on to a hipster to cover the cost of the wheel-build.
My bike had a three speed when I bought it (a vintage 70's Raleigh) and I did exactly what describe to upgrade it to a 7-speed: buying a BMX rim, 7-speed SRAM hub and getting the local bike shop to build it for me. I've learnt to lace my own wheels since then but it was a simple enough job and even though some shops might seem puzzled at the request - they're likely used to building bigger wheels - they still shouldn't have any problems doing this for you.