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Somewhat newbish question: Any way to make a single-speed multi-speed?

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Somewhat newbish question: Any way to make a single-speed multi-speed?

Old 10-08-10, 07:31 PM
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Somewhat newbish question: Any way to make a single-speed multi-speed?

Right, so, long story short, right now my bike of choice is a single-speed cruiser. Turns out my area has more hills than I thought when I bought the thing(sidenote: Don't do all your test riding in a perfectly level parking lot if you can help it). While money isn't super tight or anything, I really like the bike aside from the single-speed thing, and thus would rather not have to set it aside and get a whole new bike just to get some gear-shifting going on.

So I ask you guys. Do I have any options if I want to convert a single-speed bike into a multi-speed one? Or does it only go the one direction?

Thanks, guys.
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Old 10-08-10, 07:39 PM
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Depends on how it's set up. Got a picture of your SS? If it was converted and not chopped up you may be able to salvage it. Where do you live? You could also repost it for trade.
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Old 10-08-10, 07:44 PM
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An internal gear hub is an option. Those come in a variety of speeds and styles, and a wide range of prices. They're available in a lot of different configurations, and you can get ones with drum, coaster, or roller brakes if your cruiser has only got a coaster brake right now.

Gear hubs start at about $100 for a 3 speed gear hub in a pre-laced 26" wheel, and go up from there. Common numbers of speeds include 3, 5, 7, and 8. In my own personal opinion, Shimano is a good safe pick in the gear hub category, they boast good quality and design. Sturmey Archer offers a few more models than Shimano which are suited to small dropout spacing though, which a lot of cruisers have.

You will need to ensure that if you want one, that what you pick will have the right hub spacing for your cruiser, some cruisers have smaller dropout spacing than some of these hubs come set up for. Could you tell us a bit more about the cruiser and your hills, too? It could help narrow down your options. Does the cruiser have hand brakes or a derailleur hanger?

If you have only got minor hills about, a 3 speed may suffice. It is pretty easy to find pre made 26" 3 speed wheels for cruisers. Additional speeds would be very useful for getting a larger gear range to handle bigger hills, they're more expensive and harder to find in convenient pre made wheels though.

Last edited by Abneycat; 10-08-10 at 07:48 PM.
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Old 10-08-10, 08:11 PM
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It's just got coaster brakes, sadly. As for the hills, I can't provide any EXACT numbers off the top of my head, but damn near everything's somewhere around a 10-15-ish degree angle...Just enough to let it coast smoothly the whole way, or force me to constantly pedal and thieve all my momentum so my legs start hating me after a certain point, since the bike isn't geared for that kinda riding.

The big one is a large dip I have to get through, which is...I'd guess maybe 25-35 degrees? It basically steals every scrap of momentum I have, and while I can mash through it, that's not exactly good when you're looking to be able to turn a bike into a casual riding/small grocery shopping item, you know?
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Old 10-08-10, 08:30 PM
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The cheapest solution is to put a bigger sprocket on the rear or smaller one on the front, which won't give you more speeds, but will give you lower gearing. My Worksman came with a 22-tooth rear sprocket, i think. You'd need a longer chain also, I assume. If you do that, be sure to keep the old sprocket so you can change back at some point.

Just riding a while will make the hills easier, too, so don't assume that you'll always be where you're at.

If it's a new bike, then one hitch with using the 3-speed hub is that your wheels probably won't match unless you have a hub laced into your existing rim.

The reference to "If it was converted" assumes your bike was a 10-speed/derailleur-geared bike, which doesn't sound like what you have.
"be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."
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