Monday, 20 October 2014

Cargo Bikes: Gears and Gearing

Cargo Bikes: Gears and Gearing - Intro

 Most cargo bikes come with around 24 - 27 gears, unless they are from Holland. If you are building your own and which to choose gears to suite then perhaps follow the below advice.

 Cargo Bikes: Gears and Gearing - Shopping and General Use

Carrying extra weight will mean that you will need a greater gear range. I struggled buy with a gear range of 300% for a number of months pulling 35kg up fairly steep hills.

300% can be provided by a 1 x 9 setup, that is 1 chain ring at the front and an 11 - 34 cassette at the rear.

On flat ground you might choose a 42 tooth chain wheel up front, but for hillier areas operhaps a 32 tooth chain ring might be better.

 Cargo Bikes: Gears and Gearing - Kids and other Heavy Loads

A 3 year old and 5 year old will weigh about 30 - 40 kg depending on what you are feeding them, this really changes things, and 300% range will no longer cut the mustard.

A 22 tooth chain ring will now probably be required up front which combined with a 34 tooth sprocket at the rear will give a good low gear, for lugging heavy loads up fairly steep hills.

You highest gear may well be determined by you fitness and and your desired top speed, but I have found that a 32 tooth with the 11 sproket at the rear ios "stiff" enough for my liking, and I don't want to go that fast.

So in the end I have settled on a gear range of 450%

Cargo Bikes: Gears and Gearing - Conclusion

To work out your gear range, you can use this gear range calculator spread sheet.

Many European cargo bikes are sold with gears giving a range of just 250%, and for holland and London, this is fine. If you live in hillier areas, then you will be needing at least a 400% range, some high end hub gears can offer close to this range, but for the price savvy it will be derailleur gearing. . . or get off and push!

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