single speed bike vs 11 speed cassette 2

      from single speed to 11 speed external rear hubs … we’ve come a long way

When I was growing up most of my bicycles were single speed as that was most common in those days. In my teen years I finally got a Schwinn 3 speed Sturmey Archer internal hub which I bought with my own money. I remember going to the Gambles Hardware Store where the local Schwinn dealer was located at that time and ordering my bike. It was white in color with chrome fenders and I thought it was so beautiful. This is the only picture I have of it and as you can see it is a poor quality picture. I have had some nice bicycles thru the years starting as a child, but I don’t have any pictures of any of them other than this one.

my Schwinn 3 speed racer

Anyway, don’t quote me on any of this as I haven’t researched the development of power trains of bicycles. I am going strickly from what I remember as I grew up. I first saw the 3 speed internal hubs and then the derailleur system made its appearance. I think the first one was 5 speed and thru the years we have seen that numbers increase dramatically in both external and internal hubs. Rohloff makes a 14 speed internal hub. Just a few short years ago 10 speed cassettes became the industry standard and now it is 11 speeds. For those who don’t understand what I am talking about I will explain. The word “speeds” refers to the number of cogs (sprockets) on the cassette. The cassette is the name of the group of cogs on the rear wheel. Here is a picture of an eleven speed cassette.

11 speed cassette

As is often the case there have been conversations, controversy and concerns about going to yet one more sprocket back there. Some say that it will result in wearing out faster as everything is thinner and therefore weaker. I would have to admit that such an argument makes sense. But is it reality? I guess only time will provide the answer to that. Meanwhile there are those who are taking a look at it and reporting what they have experienced thus far. HERE is an article on the subject.

I am not aware of any trike manufacturers offering 11 speed cassettes on their trikes yet. My 2009 Catrike Trail came with 9 speed cassette. Later Catrike came out with 10 speed cassettes on their trikes.

It is my understanding that in order to go to an 11 speed cassette a new wheel is required as those used for 10 speed cassettes won’t work. Mind you I don’t know much at all about any of this. I am just going by what I have read about it … and that is very limited.

Yes, I know I have not mentioned the modern day internal hubs which are available options … and I am not going to … not here, not now anyway. I have written other articles about gearing and sprockets. There are still other articles you can discover by simply searching for words like: internal hubs, gearing, sprockets, derailleurs, cassettes, chains, etc. Just type the word into the search box and click on GO.

For sure it is nice to have multiple gears to choose from. They are especially appreciated come hill climbing time. I miss my Sturmey Archer 3 speed hub and would like very much to have one in my Catrike Trail’s drive train. 81 speeds would be great … especially when I need to downshift and can’t with my derailleur system … cause I am already stopped or nearly stopped and didn’t get downshifted as I should have. Being able to downshift while sitting still would be great. Of course, SRAM also makes one I would gladly settle for one of those in place of the Sturmey Archer.


SRAM 3 speed internal hub with cassette

I don’t know if one of these internal hubs is available along with an 11 speed cassette, but if is that would be 93 gears. I could handle that. It would help me to be able to …


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Author: Steve Newbauer

I have a few current blogs (tadpolerider1, navysight, truthtoponder and stevesmixedbag) so I am keeping busy. I hope you the reader will find these blogs interesting and enjoy your time here. Feel free to email me at tadpolerider2 at gmail dot com (@gmail.com)

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