I have recently bought Giant Escape 3 hybrid bike that came with:

  • Shimano FC-TY501 28/38/48 chainset 8/7/6-speed compatible
  • Shimano Tourney RD-TY500 7/6-speed rear derailleur
  • Shimano MF-TZ31 14-34T "cassette"

I find the gears are too low for my needs. I don't use the smallest chainwheel and I don't use the biggest sprocket either.

I thought I could quickly solve the problem low-cost by upgrading to CS-HG41 11-28T cassette but once I got round to removing the block it turned out that the "cassette" on the bike was in fact a freewheel. Bugger!

Apparently Shimano used to make FW726 11-28T freewheel but they are nowhere to be found.

How to solve this pickle? I'm thinking my options are:

  1. Replace the wheels with a set that comes with a 10 speed freehub, since replacing the hub alone would probably be close to the price a new wheelset if you consider the fitting cost and I wouldn't do it myself. Get a spacer and fit my CS-HG41 onto it.

    I'm perfectly fine with having 7 gears at the back and this would give me an opportunity for a further upgrade in the future should I ever needed it. It also seems the least fuss option.

  2. Replace the existing triple chainset with a double 34-50T compact or 36-52T semi-compact crankset (e.g. Shimano FC-A070 or maybe even FC-2300 both matching the existing chain and bottom bracket)

    The frame seems to have enough clearance for such upgrade but I guess I would have to replace the front shifter and possibly (?) the front derailleur too.

Does it sound like the right approach? Can you think of any other options?

  • 1
    Couldn't you get a taller triple chainset instead? Switching to a double would make you have to change the front shifter and derailleur. Also, you can always spin faster (many people have a very low cadence), the oft recommended 90 RPM in your top gear equates to 40 kph (25 mph).
    – Jonathon
    Commented May 12, 2018 at 17:03
  • 1
    Visit the local recycle station or cycle coop (if you have one). You may be able to swap the wheel with a used one or find a suitable freewheel and swap them for next to nothing.
    – mattnz
    Commented May 12, 2018 at 21:23
  • @Jonathon It is definitely an option, Shimano Tourney FC-A073 Triple 50/39/30 could work here, I guess. Commented May 12, 2018 at 23:53

2 Answers 2


Adding two or four teeth to the largest chainring will not improve you high gear very much. Right now your highest ratio is 48/14=3.429. Going to 52 will get you to 52/14=3.714, which is not much of an improvement. It is better to focus on the rear, where 48/11=4.364

Going to a new wheel set you need to check that the wheel is the proper width for the frame. The space between the lugs might be 126,130, or 135 mm.


The easiest option is just stick to your original plan of changing ratios in the rear. There there should be Shimano compatible 11-28 or 12-28 freewheels out there. I found one made by DNP after a little googling. (Note, not a recommendation, just an example). You local bike shop should also be able to help you find a suitable freewheel.

Re your other suggestions: replacing major components can be problematic and expensive, so should be approached with caution. Plans for upgrading the drivetrain, wheels etc can often cost more than buying new upgraded bike and selling the old one.

That said:

  1. You are correct about replacing the wheels (or at least rear wheel). Note you will need special tools for fitting the cassette.

  2. If you get a double crank, yes you will need to replace the shifter and derailleur. You could look at getting a bigger set of chainrings as an alternative to a whole new crank. See this answer for info on front ring/crank up-gearing.

  • I've seen comments about DNP parts being of questionable quality and sadly they seem to be the only alternative, I wouldn't put that on my bike. I enquired about the availability of the discontinued Shimano freewheels (there also was 11-34T MegaRange type and I've spotted one on a certain auction site), good suggestion about trying at LBS, but it still seems that replacing the stock wheels while they are still nice and true with a quality set and offsetting some of the cost by selling the current set to be the way to go. Thanks for your reply! Commented May 13, 2018 at 10:15

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