The perfect number of gears for your urban bike is three. Here's why.

The perfect number of gears for your urban bike is three. Here's why.

One? Three? Eight? Twenty-seven? Have you ever wondered what the perfect number of gears is for your urban or commuter bike? Well, I’m here to convince you that three is the perfect number.

#bikes #bikecommuting #cycling

Mondays by Joakim Karud @joakimkarud
Music provided by Free Music for Vlogs youtu.be/GC-B0w3JLZk

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Tom Babin is the author of Frostbike: The Joy, Pain and Numbness of Winter Cycling: https://rmbooks.com/book/frostbike/

50 Comments

  1. Beni on August 2, 2022 at 11:13 pm

    So sad i have only 1×6 speed



  2. Timmy Emmerich on August 2, 2022 at 11:15 pm

    Do you have a 3 geared bike? What does that look like?



  3. kvaks3000 on August 2, 2022 at 11:15 pm

    My favorite for city riding is single speed.



  4. Chris Whitten on August 2, 2022 at 11:16 pm

    The current 1x trend is ok if you are young and fit. I’m 63, live in an undulating landscape and use all my gears all the time. I can be in my big ring on the flat doing 35kmph, a few minutes later crawling up a hill in my lowest couple of gears doing 8kmph



  5. Yan Nikoloff on August 2, 2022 at 11:17 pm

    You just don’t know how to work with gears. You changing gears across cassette, which you shouldn’t do



  6. Raven Redwake on August 2, 2022 at 11:18 pm

    Hey so theoretically, if I have a mountain bike that’s a 27 speed or whatever, which of the front gears should I just stay in?



  7. Mark Smith on August 2, 2022 at 11:19 pm

    My e bike has 8. Top end could be faster though.



  8. Harald Engels on August 2, 2022 at 11:20 pm

    I grew up in a time where 2 or 3 gear hubs were quite the standard. I got my fingers on a 4 gear derailleur bike when I was 12 – and that was my best riding experience ever. Anything more complex didn’t make a big positive difference for me in an urban environment.



  9. Shenya The welder on August 2, 2022 at 11:20 pm

    I ride a seven speed, and I only really use 5, 3, and 1. For those same purposes. I’m not too strong in the legs, so I spend most of my time around 3, especially when I’m tired



  10. Eric Baillie on August 2, 2022 at 11:21 pm

    Depends on the city; for Amsterdam 3, for Toronto 5, for San Francisco 8



  11. Unca Reid on August 2, 2022 at 11:22 pm

    I ride a 50 year old Fuji "Finest". While ostensibly a "ten speed", I figured out long ago that it really only has six effective ratios due to overlap. I hate it. Low is not near low enough and high could be higher. I’m almost 70 and don’t want to kill my legs on the moderate hills. Three gears is not enough for this old man!



  12. GordoGambler on August 2, 2022 at 11:22 pm

    Funny you mention Grant Peterson. The bastard has NO IGH bikes. Pfffft.
    Absolutely ridiculous with steel upright bikes. Rim brakes are dumb too on everyday rides.



  13. Richard the Weaver on August 2, 2022 at 11:23 pm

    But why keep the rear derailleur? It causes spoke tension issues and downshifts under load just plain suck.
    Contrast to a front derailleur, where spokes are better balanced and downshifts are easy.
    Hmm, does anyone make a rear chain tensioner without a shifting system?



  14. Hammad S on August 2, 2022 at 11:24 pm

    What bike do you have



  15. Lemon Tree on August 2, 2022 at 11:25 pm

    No way! At least 7, better more.



  16. Guy Foti on August 2, 2022 at 11:26 pm

    does a 3 speed limit speed over a 7 speed at all?



  17. Wouter Oudes on August 2, 2022 at 11:29 pm

    Have you ever heard of the gear wars?



  18. Dave Haggerty on August 2, 2022 at 11:29 pm

    I’d give up my Schmano/Diore derailers for a variable speed belt drive.
    If it were bolt-on. I can’t afford to trade bikes.
    I test rode a belt drive once. It was wonderful!



  19. Paul Lee on August 2, 2022 at 11:30 pm

    3 will do for me as well



  20. Charles on August 2, 2022 at 11:33 pm

    The founder of the Tour de France is a total Chad. “Gears are for Betas” lol.



  21. Frank Meoño on August 2, 2022 at 11:35 pm

    Eventually bikes will have a cvt XD



  22. Lidge1994 on August 2, 2022 at 11:35 pm

    Depends on the use, the city and your own fitness.

    I go on recreational rides with several uphill sections before a long descent and am out of shape.
    I have 24 (3×8) speeds on my MTB and I use quite a few of them, 1×3 for when I’m tired and going uphill, usually, 3×8 for when I’m going down the long descent, 2×3-6 for most of the ride and 3×6-8 for the flat sections.

    I could probably ditch the lowest chainring if I had a 9-10 speed casette, but who knows.



  23. Pieter Talens on August 2, 2022 at 11:36 pm

    A long time ago I got a bike with 21 gears and while I do go up some nasty hills but I also only really use a handful of settings. I feel like about five to eight gears would be sufficient for me.



  24. maidpretty on August 2, 2022 at 11:37 pm

    3-speed sealed gear hub is enough for pedaling in most urban areas. In some places with crazy slopes you may need 5-7. That’s it. You don’t need a fully suspended MTB with 9000+ gears for cycling on tarmac.



  25. gblan on August 2, 2022 at 11:37 pm

    I have a 3-speed: fast, slow and broken.



  26. roof30 on August 2, 2022 at 11:38 pm

    I think the perfect number of gears is so individual that there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach. My commuter has 27 gears and I probably use about 12 of those regularly. Having said that, when I’ve taken it to other towns I’ve used the lower gears constantly to climb hills, or I’ve maxed out the high gears on the flats – it just depends on where I am. This is why I like having the range so that the same bike will be useable everywhere.



  27. Dimitar Petkanski on August 2, 2022 at 11:39 pm

    6



  28. Mason Hancock on August 2, 2022 at 11:39 pm

    They knew this 100yrs ago and "bike tech" muddied it up



  29. Martin Martin on August 2, 2022 at 11:41 pm

    I have expected some profound reasoning lol



  30. Gumbilitous on August 2, 2022 at 11:45 pm

    I have an old Raleigh from the 70s with a 3 speed internal hub, and it is amazing. Perfect for me, except for up hills it is a bit hard as first hill is still a little high of a gear



  31. Daniel Nielsen on August 2, 2022 at 11:45 pm

    Agree. I rode my e-bike for over a month before realizing I was using my gears almost backward 8^O Three gears or automatic would be ideal for me. Especially since in states with stop-sign laws (nearly all), bad bike paths (nearly all), and vehicles that don’t see cyclists, a person has to abruptly stop anyway, which means it’s hard to change gears while pedaling



  32. Mike Bayless on August 2, 2022 at 11:47 pm

    Most cars have 5/6… seems like should be about the same for a bike!



  33. Henry Lubinski on August 2, 2022 at 11:48 pm

    Wrong but hey he makes videos



  34. Roger Carroll on August 2, 2022 at 11:48 pm

    The perfect number of gears depends on the riding conditions. I live in a very hilly area, 8 gears plus an electric mid-drive is a must. With arthritic knees, just going downtown I need all the help I can get. There is no perfect combination of gears for everyone.



  35. YouTuber on August 2, 2022 at 11:49 pm

    For my commute I need two. One for every mood and strength. Sometimes I feel strong and take the faster one for the whole ride, on other days I just want take it easier. As people are different they need need a different choice of two out of…..3 to 8 ? I don’t know.



  36. Pathetic Prepper on August 2, 2022 at 11:51 pm

    Because cyclist can only count to……. watch vid..



  37. SokemRokemRobot on August 2, 2022 at 11:52 pm

    I like simple, too. That’s why I’d rather have a single speed bike. It means, less to go wrong, and lighter the bike. I know… I gotta work harder, though.



  38. Sławomir Śliwicki on August 2, 2022 at 11:52 pm

    According my expeirience 2 gears is good enough, especially there exists the hub with such solution. Sturmey Archer s2 (free wheel) or s2c (torpedo, rear break in pedals). No cabling, change gears by kick shift, rotate back pedals slightly. I have been using from few years s2 and it is fantastic. Front chainring 44T, back gear 22T ration 2 for 1st gear, for 2nd ration jump 35% up so we have 2,75. Both very good for flat cities. I thing SA S2 or S2C is very promising alternative to single speed or event to 3rd gears solutions if you do not want to cable your bike. Strongly recommended.



  39. Alex Quinlan on August 2, 2022 at 11:54 pm

    I commuted with a 7-speed internal gear hub. I used all the gears and yet didn’t feel the need for any additional ones. I was able to adjust the gear ratios by swapping the rear sprocket (which seemed to wear out once a year). If you’re using an internal hub, you might as well get the 7-speed, since they have the same footprint as the 3-speed.



  40. Henry Bergle on August 2, 2022 at 11:54 pm

    I like 5
    Feels just right



  41. Zipfelchefchen on August 2, 2022 at 11:54 pm

    I wouldnt call it perfect, but rather adequate



  42. DOR TSpiv on August 2, 2022 at 11:55 pm

    This is all preference. I have one bike with 7 gears and another with 20. I feel that with 7 I find myself wanting possibly one more climbing gear and few more fast gears. I also like to stay in a very narrow cadence range of about 80-105 rpm. And 7 can do that, but not for a massive range of speed. It’s good for low or fastm



  43. Kamil Jurewicz on August 2, 2022 at 11:57 pm

    If you dont need gears on your mtb you don’t need mtb to begin with 🤣



  44. scstinger5 on August 2, 2022 at 11:57 pm

    Totally agree! I mainly ride a single speed mountain bike now and realized that you really don’t need more than 1 speed. However, to be able to shift down 1, for up hills and up 1, for flats & down hills would be awesome! Going to put a 3 speed internal geared hub on my SS mtb and see if it holds up 🤙



  45. Greg G on August 3, 2022 at 12:00 am

    Everyone’s use case and physical ability is different. This is silly.



  46. Photo Hope on August 3, 2022 at 12:03 am

    I have rode for 15 years with a single gear no problem for hill or downhill, then i got my first madness 24 gears. 3×8 . I almost needed a manager to manage this gears, I have returned immediately after a week of ride mainly i was not used to it. Thanks Decathlon. and i bought the 1×9 11 to 36 gear fantastic to mange. But the gears are made by Decathlon and they are not smooth and I lose a lot of power due to stupid frictions. even though I found my self only using 4 of 9 gears all the time 11, 13, 15, 18 that’s it.



  47. Graveyard Shift on August 3, 2022 at 12:04 am

    I’d rather have a single gear for simplicity’s sake. Especially on an E-bike with a throttle that can take over on difficult areas.



  48. GUl Muhammad on August 3, 2022 at 12:04 am

    Here in Quetta( Balochistan, Pakistan) i have seen people with step through second hand single speed bikes, they put large chairning on front and smaller in back, they travel, take part in race, commute on that bike, when i was climbing a steep road on my mtb two boys own such bikes crossed by while talking, they were normal, like they are riding on a normal road, they crossed me like motorcycles cross cycle. In local bike race compettions they prefer these bikes over expensive carbon road bikes.
    The point is that they cycle daily, they don,t need such traps of light weight expensive carbon bike far racing, mtb for mountains, hybrid for commuting and touring bikes for touring



  49. alex2143 on August 3, 2022 at 12:08 am

    I have a 7 speed, and the shifter broke a while ago. Fiddled with it a bit until the gear was in a gear that I was sorta comfortable with most of the time. Haven’t really felt the need to fix the gear. Sometimes when I’m going downhill i can’t go superduper fast, and sometimes when I’m going uphill i have to put a bit of effort in it, but 99% of the time it works perfectly fine. Though I do agree that having a gear would make it just a bit easier for some of the ride some times.

    So I agree that 3 speeds is a good number. I’d have a sort-of default gear that you’d be cruising in most of the time, a lower gear that you could use for getting started and going up hills, and a high gear you could use to get a bit of extra speed when going downhill.



  50. Johny40Se7en on August 3, 2022 at 12:09 am

    3:49 🤭😅😆😂🤣