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I was given a bicycle for my birthday (yai!), it has 24" wheels and it is awesome!

But it is single speed and sometimes it is hard to ride up-hill in my daily commute. Could I change the rear gear for a gears cassette? If so. Do I need to change the rear wheel as well?

PS. Am I using the correct terms? I'm new using english to talk about bicycles.

  • Do you know what type of bike it is? What size wheels (26"? 700c?) – Gordon Copestake Jul 22 '15 at 17:59
  • What do you mean by 'type?' Is not a mountain bike nor bmx. If that's what you mean? And it has 24" wheels. – ulitosCoder Jul 22 '15 at 19:23
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    Specifying the model may help. In general, adding gears to a bike that wasn't shipped for gears is annoying -- you don't have somewhere to mount a derailleur typically, so you need to use an internal gear hub and bodge the routing on. Generally, the right thing to do from a cost or time perspective is to sell the existing bike and buy a new one. – Batman Jul 22 '15 at 19:27
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    If it's not a mountain bike or a BMX what sort of bike is it? Make and model will help determine if it's possible or worth the upgrade. You might find it's cheaper to sell your existing bike and buy a new one with the right setup – Gordon Copestake Jul 22 '15 at 19:46
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    The cheapest solution might be to leave it single speed, but lower the gearing so its easier to ride up hills (you will need to pedal faster along the flat though). All that is needed is to replace the rear cog with a larger one. – mattnz Jul 23 '15 at 5:18
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Converting your single speed bike to geared one is probably not worth the effort, for several reasons:

  1. Cassettes and hub gears both need different kind of wheel hubs than single speeds. You will need to change the whole wheel.

  2. Single speed bicycles usually have narrower rear fork spacing (distance between rear fork dropouts) than geared ones. Your rear fork might not be wide enough to accommodate any geared hub.

  3. Being single speed, your rear dropout most likely doesn't have hanger for a derailleur. Add in parts, and derailleur than can be mounted on the axle do exists, but it adds extra layer of trouble for the whole enterprise.

  4. The frame of your bike probably doesn't have any cable guides either. You will have to either find add in guides, or use makeshift solutions.

In short, I wouldn't try it. It might not be possible at all, due to rear fork spacing. Even if it is possible, it's going to take money, special tools and quite some time put functional gears on your bike.

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