Can You Add Gears To a Bike?

Can you add gears to a bike? This is a question that many cyclists ask themselves. The answer, of course, is yes! You can add gears to a bike by using a gear shifter. A gear shifter allows you to change the gears on your bike, making it easier or harder to pedal.

In this blog post, we will discuss the different types of gear shifters and how they can be used to improve your cycling experience!


Can You Add Gears To a Single Speed Bike?

If you have a single-speed bike, you can definitely add gears to it! In fact, adding gears to a single-speed bike can be a great way to make it more versatile. Single-speed bikes are typically only good for riding on flat terrain. However, if you live in an area with hills, adding gears can make it easier to ride up them.

There are two main types of gear shifters: derailleurs and hub gears. Derailleurs are the most common type of gear shifter, and they can be found on most bikes. Hub gears are less common, but they offer a few advantages over derailleurs.

Internal gear hubs are a good option for single-speed bikes as well, although there are two drawbacks: They’re pricey, and you must replace the entire drivetrain to get rid of them.

The cold setting is another method to add gears that is more common on BMX and track bikes. This method can also be used on mountain bikes. It involves bending the frame to make room for larger chainrings and cassettes.

There are a few things to keep in mind if you’re planning on adding gears to your bike:

  1. You’ll need to decide what type of gearing system you want.
  2. You’ll need to make sure your bike is compatible with the chosen system.
  3. You’ll need to budget for the cost of the new parts!
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Derailleur Gear Shifters

Derailleur gear shifters are the most common type of gear shifter. They consist of two parts: a derailleur and a shifter. The derailleur is a metal frame that holds the gears on your bike. The shifter is a lever that you use to change the gears. Derailleurs are operated with your right hand; most have two levers, one for upshifting and one for downshifting.

You simply push or pull on the appropriate lever to shift gears with a derailleur. Push the lever to upshift and pull it to downshift. It’s that easy! Derailleurs are very simple to use, and they’re very reliable. However, they can be prone to damage from dirt and debris.

Hub Gear Shifters

Hub gears are less common than derailleurs, but they offer a few advantages. Hub gears are located in the wheel’s hub, which makes them more protected from dirt and debris. They’re also simpler to use; you can only shift most hub gears with your left hand.

You simply twist the appropriate lever to shift gears with a hub gear. Twist it to upshift and twist it back to downshift. Hub gears can be found on some city bikes and touring bikes. They’re not as common as derailleurs, but they’re worth considering if you’re looking for a durable and low-maintenance option.

Internal Gear Hubs

Internal gear hubs are a good option for single-speed bikes as well, although there are two drawbacks: They’re pricey, and you must replace the entire drivetrain to get rid of them. Internal gear hubs are located inside the rear wheel hub. They’re protected from dirt and debris, which makes them very durable. However, they’re more difficult to use than derailleurs, and they can be expensive.

If you have a single-speed bike and want to add gears, internal gear hubs are a great option. Just keep in mind that they can be pricey, and you’ll need to replace the entire drivetrain if you ever want to get rid of them.

Cold Setting a Frame

If you have an older bike frame that wasn’t designed for gears, you can “cold set” it to add gear mounts. The cold setting is a process of bending and reshaping the frame to add mounting points for derailleurs. It’s not a difficult process, but it does require some specialized tools.

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If you’re interested in adding gears to an older bike frame, a cold setting is a great option. Just be aware that it requires some specialized tools, and it can void the warranty on your frame.

Over Locknut Dimension

Over locknut dimension (OLD) is the distance between the inside faces of the hub locknuts. It’s important to know your bike’s OLD because it determines the width of the rear axle. Most modern bikes have an OLD of 135mm, but some older bikes can have 130mm or less.

If you’re considering adding gears to your bike, check your bike’s OLD. You’ll need to ensure that the new gear system is compatible with your bike’s rear axle width.

Common Rear OLD

  • BMX – 110mm;
  • Track bikes and fixies – 120mm;
  • Road bikes without disc brakes – 130mm;
  • Road bikes with disc brakes and MTB – 135mm;
  • Boost hubs – 141mm.

If the frame is designed for OLD under 130mm, you have two choices:

  • Cold set the frame;
  • Or use an internal gear hub.

Do You Need Gears On Your Bike?

Gears can be a great addition to your bike, but they’re unnecessary for everyone. If you only ride on flat terrain, you may not need gears at all.

In recent years, there has been a rise in the popularity of single-speed and fixie bikes. These bikes are often seen as the preferred choice for city dwellers, as they are generally easier to maintain and require less upkeep than multi-speed bikes.

Additionally, single-speed and fixie bikes tend to be more lightweight and compact than their multi-speed counterparts, making them ideal for riding in crowded urban areas. However, it is not just city dwellers who are drawn to these bikes.

In fact, many people living in rural areas are also choosing to ride single-speed and fixie bikes. This is likely due to the fact that these bikes can be ridden on a variety of terrain, including dirt roads and trails.

Additionally, single-speed and fixie bikes often provide a more comfortable ride than multi-speed bikes, as they tend to have wider tires and a lower center of gravity.

So, what does this all mean for you if you are thinking about adding gears to your bike? It really depends on what type of rider you are and what your riding goals are. If you are primarily a city dweller who is looking for an easier-to-maintain bike, then a single-speed or fixie bike may be the best choice for you.

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However, if you live in a rural area and want to be able to ride on a variety of terrain, then adding gears to your bike may be the way to go. Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to add gears to your bike is a personal one and should be based on your specific needs and riding goals.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the cost of installing gears on a bike?

The cost of installing gears on a bike can vary depending on the type of gear system you choose and the complexity of the installation. Generally speaking, installing a basic gear system can cost anywhere from $100 to $200.

More complex gear systems can cost upwards of $500. Additionally, if you need to have your frame cold set to install gears, that can add an additional cost to the project.

Can I install gears on my bike myself?

Installing a gear system on a bike is not a difficult task, but it can be time-consuming. If you’re comfortable working with tools and have some basic mechanical know-how, then you should be able to install gears on your bike without too much trouble.

However, if you’re not confident in your ability to do the job correctly, it’s always best to consult with a professional.

Is it possible to add gears to a fixed gear bike?

You can add gears to a fixie, but it is a difficult and expensive process. It is often easier to sell the bike and buy one that already has gears.

Additionally, many people who ride fixies do so because they enjoy the simplicity of a single-speed bike. Adding gears to a fixie can take away from that simplicity and may not be worth the effort for some riders.

Final Words

Adding gears to your bike can be a great way to improve your riding experience. However, it’s important to consider whether or not you really need them before investing. If you’re unsure, it’s always best to consult with a professional. Thanks for reading!

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By Marco

Marco is an avid cyclist and passionate blogger. He takes great pride in sharing his insights and experiences with the cycling community, hoping to inspire others to take up the sport and enjoy its many benefits. His words are an ode to the joys of cycling, and the exhilaration it brings.

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