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How many gears should I need on my folding bike

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How many gears should I need on my folding bike

Old 11-23-20, 02:12 AM
  #1  
Keegy bike
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How many gears should I need on my folding bike

Hi everyone

Just wondering is a 1x9 speed gear option sufficient for a folding bike ? I intend to ride mostly in the city or parks in Singapore which occasionally have slopes and uphills. Is it necessary to have more gear then that ?

Do let me know thanks
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Old 11-23-20, 03:23 AM
  #2  
alo
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Most likely you wont even use all 9 gears.

I have 3 x 9, and I normally only use 3 or 4 gears. I am not into competition, where people may use more.
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Old 11-23-20, 05:07 AM
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I would think plenty, especially if the range of the nine gears is reasonably high. Road bike cassettes can be quite narrow range, eg 12-25, but mountain bike cassettes can be much wider, eg 11-40. Foldies tend to be in between but if the rear cassette is something like 11-28 or 11-32 then probably good enough. It is fairly easy to expand the range a little, and perfectly feasible to expand it a lot on most foldies.
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Old 11-23-20, 07:40 AM
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The gear range is more important than the number of gear ratios. The higher number of gears gives you more options, but you may find that you only use a few anyway.
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Old 11-24-20, 08:05 AM
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It is personal ofcourse, but for me 1x9 is enough. I own a 20” fb with original 53 chainwheel and 36-11 cassette. If the steepest hills would become too tough for me, I would replace the front cw by a smaller one. Even then, the 11 would be way too heavy for me. But so far, 20” 53/36 (equivalent with 28” 38/36 !) Will do up hill (steepest). Down hill and/or tail wind I never shift heavier than 15 on my cassette.
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Old 11-25-20, 01:24 AM
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Thanks for the information

Appreciate the response, will take that into consideration
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Old 11-28-20, 08:57 PM
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1x9? Why? Hell, I'm doing just fine with a Raleigh Twenty with a three-speed Sturmey Archer hub and a 44-16t drivetrain. Direct drive is a 55 gear inches, low is 49, high is 62. I usually try to center my commuter drivetrains about a 55-56 gear.

Don't get too impressed with too many gears. What you really need is a gear midway in your selection that's comfortable for a 12-14mph cruising on the flats at your preferred cadence, then a gear or two above that, maybe two or three gears below it (you always need more choices climbing, downhills are made for coasting) and you're set.
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Old 11-30-20, 07:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Keegy bike View Post
Hi everyone

Just wondering is a 1x9 speed gear option sufficient for a folding bike ? I intend to ride mostly in the city or parks in Singapore which occasionally have slopes and uphills. Is it necessary to have more gear then that ?

Do let me know thanks
It really depends on how steep the hills are and how fast you want to go. If I was riding in some parks and there was a lot of foot traffic that would keep my speed lower, if the hills were shallow a 9 speed cassette would be more than adequate. But if I was trying to ride up and down hills as fast as I would on one of my full size bikes, I need a wider range of gearing.
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Old 12-01-20, 05:10 AM
  #9  
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This question has more to do with the rider than the bike. My wife rides a 2 speed Brompton and climbs thousands of feet. I have a 6 speed and have trouble keeping up with her on climbs. If you're a strong rider and don't mind standing up for climbs, I'd say less is more. I've been riding her 2 speed while she's away the last week on flat roads and it's fine.
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Old 12-01-20, 07:38 PM
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I have an 8 speed Xootr Swift and a Brompton which has gearing ranging from 32 to 95 gear inches. I use 2 different rear wheels on the Brompton....a chain pusher 3 speed on one and a Sturmey Archer 3 speed on the other. I also have a 58 and 38 tooth chainrings for greasy vinger shifting. I only use the 38 when going up 10% grades. 90% of the time the 3 gears and the 58 tooth chainring are all I need. Serious climbs do require sub 30 gear inch options especially if the climbs are long and there are headwinds. One of the problems with small wheeled bikes is getting higher gear inches. Solutions include IGH hubs, large chainrings or 11 tooth sprockets and maybe all 3. What could drive your call could be...
The terrain, flat or hilly.
The frequency and strength of headwinds.
DIstance you plan on riding.
How heavy a load you will need to carry
How fast you like to go.
Are you a grinder or a spinner?
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Old 12-02-20, 08:09 AM
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Here's a nice 27 speed Solorock
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00JOVTK2A..._V.5XFbJBTK686
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Old 12-02-20, 08:29 AM
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It's more about the gearing being low enough and/or high enough. Many gears are only good if you stay in the various gears for a while or if you're all about hitting a specific cadence.
So, yes: Low enough to be comfortable up the most likely hills you will hit, and high enough to also get a good speed going on the flats at least. Downhill, you can coast if need be.
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Old 12-18-20, 07:22 PM
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Singapore aint got many hills, just slight slopes around some main rds or pcn. So yeah, 9 speed is fine. I bought a brompton 6 speed thinking 2-3 speed is not enough, but ended up only using gear 3-6 only.
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Old 12-18-20, 08:14 PM
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It isn't the number as much as it is the range. Research 'gear inches' on the Sheldon Brown site. For my case, if I want to go up steep hills I need low to be about 20 inches. If I want to go fast I need high to be at least 100. inches.
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Old 01-07-21, 10:48 PM
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I have a Brompton with an Alfine 11 and I use all my gears riding through rolling hills.

It depends also on your style of riding. I keep my cadence between 85 an 95 most of the time.

For touring in the mountains, I have added a double chainring ---- this gives me a gear range of over 600 % (15 to 95 gear inches).

See
mybikesite.org/#Alfine11
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Old 01-07-21, 10:49 PM
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I agree --- to go uphill, and go fast, the range should exceed 500 %. I have this on most of my bikes on don't want to miss it.
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Old 01-08-21, 12:50 AM
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The more gears one has the more weight there is to lug around when folded and a higher risk of something going wrong. There is also our tendency to err on the side of too much.

I have mostly gentle slopes between me and the shops I visit, for which my single-speed coaster brake is adequate. I have a three-speed derailleur which will get me around the city, and a 5-speed gearset I could fit instead that would make life a bit easier when carrying heavy shopping. I also have a 3 speed crankset which would take me to other local towns on either rear gearset.

Decisions, decisions...
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Old 01-08-21, 01:01 AM
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9 speed is enough, more is just added weight and probably counter-productive
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Old 01-10-21, 07:39 PM
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On one bike, I have the Alfine-8 which is good for gently hills in the city. But I like the extra gears on the Alfine-11 for steeper hills.
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Old 04-07-21, 06:52 AM
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In Singapore, the folding bikes are wither 6 or 7 speeds only. Are they enough? Mostly flat terrain or roads or footpaths.
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Old 04-07-21, 07:21 AM
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If it is flat, then 6 or 7 is plenty.
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Old 04-07-21, 07:22 AM
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6 or 7 should be enough gears for a flat area. Actually 1 or 3 should be enough. Roger

Last edited by rhenning; 04-08-21 at 07:15 AM.
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Old 04-07-21, 07:29 AM
  #23  
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Thank you. I am very new to folding bikes.
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