I recently bought a single speed - a Charge Plug Racer, and I realise I've made a mistake - too many hills on my commute and I need a smaller gear to help me up the hills. It's pretty hilly in my area.

I still like the simplicity of the bike, but cannot get up all these hills!

What's the easiest way to add a gear?

  • Can a hub be made that's got an internal hub on one side and a SS/freewheel on the other? Kinda like a flip-flop hub, but with gears. Oct 19, 2011 at 20:20

2 Answers 2


Depending on what you want, you might just be okay lowering the current gearing. It comes with a 42t chainring and a 16t freewheel, and switching to a 17t or 18t freewheel will decrease your overall top speed somewhat but make it easier to climb up those hills. If you want to have the option to swap for a harder gear when you're planning a mostly flat ride, you could either install a different sized freewheel in place of your fixed cog (on the flip side) or get something like a White Industries DOS 2-speed freewheel. In either case, you'd change gearing by loosening the rear wheel and moving the chain position by hand.

If you want to switch to a true multispeed bike, you've got a couple options. Easiest might be to purchase a new wheel built around an internal gear hub. Your rear dropout spacing is 120mm, and there are a few hubs that come in or can be reduced to near that width - notably the Shimano Nexus 8 Red Band, the SRAM P5, and several of the Sturmey Archer hubs can be made to work. You could also look into getting the frame cold set to a wider dropout spacing, which would open up more IGH options (the Alfine 8 being a great one) as well as conventional multi-speed cassettes - though you'll need to get a derailleur hanger chain tug, like those made by DMR.

  • 3
    I'd look at the internal hub option - probably the simplest way to go.
    – Gary.Ray
    Oct 19, 2011 at 21:00
  • I would vote for increasing the size of the freewheel to make it easier to pedal up the hills. Then you always have the option of switching down a gear if you get in better shape.
    – Kibbee
    Oct 20, 2011 at 2:12

I have a charge plug bike dressed up as special edition by the Jasper Conrad lot.As a replacement from a dealer for a substandard bike Apart from nice quality bits and their decor touches, it came equipped with a sturmey archer 3gear hub and after my previous freewheeled fixie it is great. It’s not up for anything more than modest hills, but suits my normal use. Whether it would be cost effective to convert a fixie is another story. Regards to all Ian T

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