I have a single speed cycle and i want to have minimum of six gears on it, Is there a cheap and good way so that i can get gears on it?

  • 8
    Cheap? Trade the bike in on a used multi-speed. Unless the bike is a "fixie" built on a multi-speed frame you'd need to use an expensive multi-speed hub, plus somehow replace the coaster brake with another style. May 31 '14 at 16:01
  • 2
    Specifically, most single speeds have a relatively narrow hub (120mm) where multi-speeds have a wider one (135-145mm), so you can't just switch the hub.
    – Móż
    Jun 1 '14 at 23:34

If you're willing to accept 5 gears, it's really not that difficult. The main issue is finding a hub that's narrow enough to fit the dropouts.

Sturmey Archer make a wide-range 5-speed geared hub, with or without coaster brake, with 120mm OLD spacing. There used to be a 5-speed SRAM hub with 122mm (?) OLD, but it might be a job to track one down. If it's a steel frame with thin stays, you have a couple more mm of leeway. But most hub gears are 135mm OLD. Depending on the hub, it may be possible to remove axle spacers, but don't bet on it... anti-rotation washers don't count; they mustn't be removed!

Unless your current frame is a conversion, you may have a few cable-routing headaches too (although clamp-on cable guides aren't difficult to find).

It only really makes sense if you love the frame. Part exchange would probably be your best bet, but if you have a good reason to keep the bike then I say go for it.

My partner is very short (5'), and standover height is an issue, so she rides a kids' Fuji track. The cost of the Fuji, plus that of building a new wheel around the SA hub, was significantly lower than any WSD we could find.

Afterthought: A cheap and good way (albeit one that requires some tinkering, swearing, and an awful lot of luck):

5-speeds from the 50s tended to be 120mm OLD, so you might be able to swap out the SS freewheel for an old-fashioned thread-on 5-speed model. There are quite a few caveats, however. For starters you'll need a fairly narrow hub shell. Then you'll need enough free threads on the axle to shuffle the cones and locknuts off to one side, so there's enough axle showing to fit the wheel securely. Then you'll need to re-dish the wheel.

Then you'll just need a rear mech with a bolt-on hanger claw (assuming the frame doesn't have a threaded hanger on the dropout). If you're friendly with a local bike shop / junkyard, you might be able to blag these bits and pieces for free.

  • 2
    @Nishant, I just noticed the "mountain-bike" tag on your question. I guess it's a fair assumption your frame has 135mm spacing, in which case you could fit any number of geared hubs. Loads of options! Jun 5 '14 at 13:54

If it was a multi speed with single speed conversion kit then yes.
You will know it was a conversion if there are spacers on either side of rear gear.

If it is dedicated single speed then no cheap or good way.
The wheel does not have room for gears.
Even the dropouts are a smaller width.

Some wheels are set up that you can put a freewheel (or fixed) on both sides.
White has a freewheel that has two gears.
But that is not multi-speed - that is a bike that can be set up with different fixed.

And I agree with the comment from Hicks
Sell the bike and buy used multi speed
Single speed bikes are popular and sell at a premium on CraigsList


Internal Gear Hubs might be the only viable solution, But still as it was pointed out there might be few problems concerning cabling, especially without major alterations

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