How to Install a Hub Gear On Your Bike

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How to Install a Hub Gear On Your Bike

Nowadays there are many bikes and parts manufacturers around the world, every one of them coming with new designs and improvement in order to satisfy their customers. Hub gears are an alternative to the derailleur's systems. They represent gear changing systems sealed in shells so that their mechanisms are not exposed to environmental influences. Hub gears are not very suitable for off-road or downhill competitions. However, they fit well on city bikes, especially those with small wheels. The original hub gears only had three speeds, but modern versions can go up to 14 speeds.

In today's market there are urban bikes, kids' bikes, trial bikes, mountain bikes, downhill bikes, dirt bikes, cross bikes, full-suspension bikes, electric bikes, and more. You can choose a bike that will meet all of your specifications. You can also replace the parts on your bike by assembling parts from eBay. 

The History of Bikes

The walking machine was built in 1817 by Baron von Drais. In 1865 the Velocipede was built. This invention was eventually followed by the High Wheel Bicycle. The High Wheel Bicycle was modified during the centuries to reach the design of the modern bike that we are familiar with today. In the past, bicycles were simply used to get from one point to another. Today bikes are not only used for daily transportation, but they are also used for entertainment and competitions. Naturally, bikes will occasionally be in need of repair.

Types of Hub Gears

Before you choose a hub gear you should become very familiar with your bike. There are some distinct differences between a bike equipped with a derailleur and one that has a hub gear.

* A "torpedo" is a hub with a single speed that can be found on old bikes. It has a fixed gear system, which means that the rider has to keep pedalling while the wheel is rotating. It has a build-in brake system which can be used when the rider stops pedalling and pushes backwards on the pedals. Modern versions of this hub also have a free wheel mode which alternates with the fixed one by screwing or unscrewing a bolt. In this case an independent brake system is needed. This type of hub is recommended in flat areas because of the simplicity of this system.

* Another hub gear model is the one with an automatic gear shifter designed especially for city bikes in order to help the rider to watch the road instead of shifting gears back and forth. Models usually only have 2 speeds changed automatically by a centrifugal clutch depending on the bike's speed.

* Multispeed (three or more) hub gears are the real alternative to the derailleur. No greasing, adjustments, or maintenance is needed because of the encapsulated system. Gear shifting is done manually from a handle or shifter that triggers a cable from the lowest to the highest position. This makes the wheel rotation easier or harder.

* Hybrid gearing with derailleurs is designed for bikes that don't support a front derailleur. The rear derailleur work with the chain rings and the hub work separately.


From time to time you may need to check to make sure your bike is in a good condition and safe to ride. All screws should be checked and tightened if necessary. The brake fluid level and the brake pads must be checked and replaced if there is a high usage level. The chain must be greased in order to roll correctly on the chain wheels. If the bike is not used for a long period of time due to inclement weather or other reasons, it should be disassembled. All the replacement parts that could corrode should be kept in motor oil or grease. Also, before putting the bike away for the winter, it should be cleaned with warm water and then dried and greased in order to keep the steel components closer to their original condition.

Installing a Hub Gear

A derailleur system should be enough to satisfy the needs of ones who only use their bikes once or twice a week. However, for those who use their bike every day, a hub drive with a three or more speed should be purchased. A good quality hub requires very little maintenance. With a hub gear installation there will be less work to do because there is no need to install a derailleur. Installation can be done in a private garage or workshop. You will need the following items.

* a hub gear

* a shifter and a linking cable that should come with the hub

* new spokes if the diameter of the new hub is different from the ones on the old hub

* spokes nipples and protection can be used from the current wheel

* a rim, a tube and a tire

Required Tools

* keys, in order to take the wheel of the bike

* a special key for the spokes

* a screwdriver or another tool to remove the tire and the tube from the rim




The air from inside the tube should be released. The tyre, tube, and protection must be removed from the rim.


All spoke nipples must be unscrewed using the special key or a flat screwdriver. The spokes can be reused if they are in good condition with no rust on them. The simple old hub can also be kept if it is still usable.


Spokes must be inserted in the new hub, back on the rim, and secured with the spoke nipples.


Each spoke must be tightened. Be careful not to damage the rim.


The protection should be installed so that the spokes will not reach the tube. When the tube is put back on it should be inflated.


After installing the tire and the whole wheel on the bike, the rim should be corrected in order to make a perfect circle without touching the brake pads. If there is not a rim brake system installed then a pencil or a small wood piece should be placed on the frame and secured in place closely enough to the rim.

When rotating the wheel, the distance between this mark and the rim should remain equal. If the distance keeps changing that means the rim is not aligned and the spokes are not equally tightened. If the rim is close to the mark, then the spokes on that side of the rim should be loosened up, or the ones on the opposite side should be tightened by rotating the spoke nipples to the left or to right.


After getting a perfect rim, the operation continues with the installation of the shifter and the linking cable. Remember that a hub gear is always set on its lowest position because of the springs inside. The cable should be lubricated in order to use the hub properly.


A small chain is inside the hub. The cable should be attached to it in order to complete the hub installation.

When you are installing a hub gear, the rear brake system should be changed to a disc brake. The latest models of hub gears are dedicated to the chainless bikes which use a shaft drive that transfers the crank and pedal motion to the rear gear. The system can be adapted to the classic bike by bringing a few modifications to the frame and rear fork that keep the wheel in place. Before installing a wheel with a hub gear that is set in motion by a shaft drive, the cranks need to be changed in order to be compatible. The installation is similar to the one described above. The performance will improve so that the rider can exert less effort to cruise at a higher speed.


Enthusiasts who are serious about replacing their bike parts should spend time searching for the right components. You will need to consider a wide selection of bike products in order to find the right replacement parts. A variety of bikes and replacement parts can be purchased on eBay.

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