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7 speed or 3 speed Electra?

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7 speed or 3 speed Electra?

Old 03-08-21, 06:58 AM
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MrWasabi 
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7 speed or 3 speed Electra?

I'm eyeballing some cruisers and am wondering folks thoughts on either a 3 speed or 7 speed? I'm in FL and my riding is 99% flat and paved. Are the extra gears useful over the simplicity of the 3 speed? I have a single speed Firmstrong Urban Man now and feel some extra gears would be helpful.

Thanks for any input.
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Old 03-08-21, 08:15 AM
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rhenning
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A 3 speed should be all you need and is simpler and needs less maintenance. Roger
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Old 03-08-21, 10:30 AM
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The Nexus three-speed has a 2:1 or so ratio and, as above, should be adequate, more robust and less expensive (than a seven IGH; I don't like cruisers with derailleurs).
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Old 03-08-21, 12:47 PM
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Iím rarely entirely content with a 3-speed, even on the flat.
Iím so used to be able to find that sweet spot where the legs are simply humming along, and 3-speeds seem not to hit that very often.
5-7 speeds give a nicer ride if you want to ride actively.
3-speeds can certainly work, but you need to be willing to adapt your riding to the bike rather than the other way around.
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Old 03-08-21, 11:30 PM
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Cruisers, to me (and everyone that I've seen riding them), are laid back and don't connote rapid, efficient travel. Guess if someone dreams they are flying along on one, they can worry about crank speed.
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Old 03-09-21, 04:29 AM
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I like 5 speed hub shifting cruisers. 7 speeds are good too, but without a derailer. Electra used to have the 8i.
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Old 03-09-21, 05:31 AM
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I put some left over parts on my Electra cruiser and made it a 9 speed. On windy days, or hilly routes I appreciate the the extra gears. I regularly use my beach cruiser to do 15-20 mile rides after work.

I also have a cruiser with a nexus 7 speed igh. Not a big fan of the feel and I let people borrow that bike to rides.
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Old 03-09-21, 08:45 AM
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Originally Posted by alloo View Post
I like 5 speed hub shifting cruisers. 7 speeds are good too, but without a derailer. Electra used to have the 8i.
Thanks for the input everyone.

I think the 5 speed hub sounds good as I'm leaning towards the simplicity of no derailleur. I don't see 5 speed options out there though, especially on an Electra. Again, I'm mostly riding flat and paved, not much distance on my cruiser, I have another bike for that but do think some more gears may help over my single speed cruiser at times if I'm not giving up reliability and simplicity too much.
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Old 03-09-21, 09:41 AM
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I'm sorry the 5i and 8i were on the Townie Go 5i (ebike).

https://electra.trekbikes.com/us/en_...ie-go/c/EB210/
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Old 04-02-21, 06:01 AM
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I understand the appeal of the three speed hubs but with a seven speed derailleur set up you get a lot more gear range for a lot less money.
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Old 04-02-21, 01:50 PM
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The 3 speed hub will get the job done and even tackle some hills and moderate wind, But often I would probably find I want a gear a little higher or lower. Out of curiosity I have sometimes left my 3 x 7 speed bike in one gear. It actually worked better then I anticipated using my 62 gear inch sprockets. Still able to climb the few less then challenging hills here and do OK against moderate wind.

Then I used just the 3 front rings keeping the back in 6'th. This gives me 45, 62 & 78 gear inches. This is a significant improvement over being locked in 1. I could live with that here, But IMO the benefits of using the 7 speed freewheel outweigh the increased complexity. Shifting the entry level Shimano Altus 7 speed derailleur and freewheel on my 2018 Giant Sedona is a breeze. Very reliable. IMO the 1 x 7 speed seems like a good option for most folks. My biggest complaint with the 7 speed is changing a rear flat, Which is a serious, messy PIA for the average person. Thankfully it doesn't happen very often.

Last edited by xroadcharlie; 04-02-21 at 01:58 PM.
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Old 04-06-21, 11:41 AM
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A few years back , I bought a new Shimano 3 speed wheel set after renting a 3 speed bike in DC while visiting my daughter .
I’d read , the Nexus 3 speed hub was bullet proof , the greatest thing since sliced bread .
NOT !
I’ve never been able to get it adjusted to work right . Every once in awhile I get it out and spend a couple frustrating hours trying to get it to work .
It worked (shifted ) once for one sequence of shifting and hasn’t worked again . I didn’t set it up like the instructions say , it wouldn’t shift with that little yellow bar in the middle .
If I want gears , give me a derailleur. So much easier to adjust and work on .
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Old 04-06-21, 12:49 PM
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For me, especially in the conditions you mention, I would find first usually too low and third too high on a 3 speed. With 5-8 speeds I would find the 3 near the center to be almost always perfect.
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Old 04-07-21, 11:23 PM
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If the 7 is a deraileur, forget that.
I just got a Nexus 7i on a roadster frame I wanted. The few rides I used it slowly in puddle conditions, I thought it was very nice. The paddle shifter works great. The roller brakes it also came with are a total drag. The 7i will be great for either city, commuting or longer highway rides. With the same cogs, it will be almost the same overall as a SA 5w. The 2 extra gears can make a big difference to fine tune speed. The Nexus came with 44/ 22T > 34 to 84 GI. This is the first time I used the SA 5w with such low gears. Way nicer on up hills of course. It was 46 to 117 GI.
I can now leave the Rohloff14 on my tour heavyweight.

I have also been using my new 584 rims and SA RD3 on an old CCM for 4 years. I did several highway rides, both a hilly 85.5 and a 100 miler. In the city it tends to be a startup 1st and cruise 2nd gear. 3rd is just for hills or big wind. Funny how it's slower, yet it tires me out less. 48 to 86 GIs.

Last edited by GamblerGORD53; 04-15-21 at 08:56 AM.
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Old 04-08-21, 12:26 AM
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There's a fun saying that goes, a three speed has too low, too high, and not quite right. That aligns with my experience.

I'm generally pretty happy with my 8-speed IGH, but I live in Oregon and I'm typically going either up or down a grade.

In Florida, I'd probably opt for the 3-speed over 7 just because I find 3 more appealing in a minimalistic way. Truth be told, if I lived in FL I'd have a SS/FG, and maybe one of those two-speed kickbacks just for fun.
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Old 04-15-21, 12:53 AM
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I had a Moto 3i and I felt it needed one lower and one higher since the choices are 3 and 7 I went with 7. I really like the 34 tooth low and the 14 high was fine. I swapped it out for a 34-11 as I liked the wider spread. I always hear about the "Complexity" of a rear derailleur but have never had issues, its a cable and 2 limit screws done. I cant see having 21 or 14 gears on a cruiser but its nice having a few for the hills and better to have a few extra you dont use often than always running out....and the 7s are less expensive.
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