Difference Between Gear Cycle & Gearless Cycle – Which one to buy?
In this article, I will be talking about the differences between gear cycle & gearless cycle. The article will also help you understand the benefits & disadvantages of each. Confused between cycles? Read on to find out which one should you be buying and to find a few recommended bicycles.
If you are only looking for a recommendation. I suggest you buy the Btwin MyBike if you looking to buy a budget bicycle with any gears. However, if you looking for a geared bicycle, you can go for the Btwin RockRider 340. This bicycle is equipped with 21-speed gear and comes with a comfortable front suspension.
Gear vs Gearless – What is the difference between cycles?
A gearless or a single speed cycle has a single gear ratio. The cycle goes faster or slower basis how hard you pedal. While bicycles with gear have multiple gear ratios. This enables the cyclist to change the gear ratio basis the terrain he/she is riding on. The derailleurs available on geared cycles lets you shift between different gear cogs, letting you maintain your cadence even as the terrain around you changes. This makes gear cycles more comfortable to ride over longer distances.
Don’t worry. I will go into details to explain how both these variants work and which cycle should you choose to ride.
Non-Geared / Gearless or Single Speed Cycles:
As stated above, these bicycles only have a single gear ratio. To go faster the only option you have is to pedal faster too. And this particular reason limits the speed at which you can ride your gearless bicycle.
There are two types of Non geared bicycles available:
1. Freewheel Cycles (Regular cycles)
These are the normal bicycle gearless cycles that most people have. In this bicycle, the back wheel is not fixed to the pedal and hence you can cruise on the cycles for a while once you reach a certain speed. This is also very useful when you are riding downhill and do not need to pedal as gravity helps you cruise.
If you are looking to buy a cheap but good quality gearless bicycle in India. You can go for Btwin MyBike by Decathlon.
As you would have already guessed, these bicycles have their back wheel hard connected to the pedals. So the bicycle moves only if you use the pedal. This allows the cyclists to even control the speed of the bicycle by just using pedals (There are no brakes on some models).
These bicycles are used generally in indoor track racing events. Some experienced riders also prefer to use these bikes to exercise. However, do note that riding Fixie bicycles is a totally different experience. You should not start riding them in crowded areas or streets if you do not have sufficient practice with them.
If you are looking at buying a Fixie in India, you can opt for orbARK cycles. You can ride these bicycles in both fixed as well as freewheel modes.
Do Note: IF you plan on buying a Fixie and is your first time riding this bicycle (In the fixed gear mode), you should first practice on safe routes where you will not find a lot of obstacles or people. Most importantly, practice stopping the bicycle abruptly or changing the speed midway.
Advantages of Gearless cycles:
These bicycles are simple to use. You don’t have to worry about which gear is right for you or if you shifting the gears correctly. You can simply enjoy the ride.
Since they use fewer components and easier to build, they generally cost lesser then comparable geared cycles.
These bicycles are also easy to maintain. Any bicycle shop will be able to service or fix your bicycle in a jiffy.
Cons of Gearless Cycle:
It is difficult to ride this bicycle over hills or bridges.
Your speed will be limited to how fast you can pedal.
Riding longer distance and difficult terrains might cause injuries to your legs/knees due to the constant stress on them.
Simply put, geared cycles let you choose the right gear ratio.
Say for example you are riding uphill, you can use a lower gear on your bicycle. This will help you pedal faster with ease (However, the cycle won’t go as fast are on a normal gear – but the effort required on your end is reduced).
On the other end, say you are riding on a nice flat road (slanting downwards), you can use the top gear on your bicycle. This helps you spin your wheel faster without pedalling too hard.
So basically, gears help you maintain your cadence (How fast you pedal per minute – RPM). Normally, experienced riders try and maintain their cadence between 60 to 90 RPM. This helps you ride comfortably without causing any muscle injury.
If you are planning on buying a good entry level geared bicycle, you can opt for the Btwin RockRider 340.
Help you change your riding gear as per the terrain. This makes your ride more comfortable and strenuous.
Geared cycles help you accelerate and ride faster (Compared to a similar single speed cycle)
You can cover larger distance using a geared cycle.
Cons of geared cycles:
Geared cycles cost much more
The maintenance required is higher. The replacement cost of cogs/gears is higher.
Which one should you buy?
A single speed cycle is apt for someone who rides mostly on flat terrains and does not plan on going for a long trip over the weekends. Non geared cycles offer you a much cheaper and simpler way to enjoy your time cycling.
However, for people who need to tackle small hills or bridges on their cycling route, should opt for a multi-gear bicycle. It will give you the much-needed comfort riding over tough terrains.
I hoped this helps you compare between cycles (Geared vs Non-Geared). Which one are you planning to buy? If you already have bought, how was your purchase experience?