3-speed bikes have 3 different gear speeds, making cycle riding manageable and safe in any type of hilly region. But for that, you must have proper knowledge of the gear.

That’s why keep reading the complete article without skipping to know all the information related to this topic in detail. Because today I will acknowledge you about Bike speed, 3-speed bike, perfect gear for uphill riding, 3-speed bike working process, and other unknown information. So, let’s carefully uncover all the information.

What Is The Exact Meaning Of Bike Speed?

Generally, bicycle speed refers to bicycle gear. And, bike speed is usually defined as 1, 3, 18, 21, 24, 27.

However, in the past some bicycles were available with 10- and 15-gears. But in today’s new bikes, this kind of speed has become very obsolete. When the speed of the bike is mentioned, the first thing mentioned is the number of sprockets. Okay, let’s make me clear about that matter.

  • If you find 3 chainrings and 9 sprockets on a bicycle, then it is a 9-speed bike.

The higher the number of sprockets on a bicycle, the more expensive the bicycle gears are likely to be.

  • Apart from that, the ability to move smoothly and considering the weight is very lightweight.
  • Bicycle gears can be thought of as gears. So, you can think of gears as speeds – a bicycle that has 18 gears is called an 18-speed bike.

3-Speed Bike: Its Gears, And Entire Mechanism With Specialties


A 3-speed bicycle is a bicycle where you will find 3-gear ratios. But they are very easy-to-understand gears-

  • one gear is used for cruising,
  • another gear is used for descending,
  • and the remaining gear is used for extraction.
  • Whereas the rear wheel of the bicycle uses the hub gears on the inner side of the hub as the three-speed bicycles have a gear system with 3 forward gear ratios.

These types of bicycles have been in circulation since the early 1900s. And, now they offer considerable versatility in navigating uneven landscapes or various types of rough terrain without using too much power.

Its In-Shot Chainrings, Chain Hub AKA Mechanism & Usability:

In comparison, three-speed bikes tend to be heavier than derailleur systems. Well, let’s deep dive into its mechanism.

  1. Gear Hub: Gear hub systems that are internal to the bicycle are long-lasting and also run with very little maintenance.
  2. Chain System: These bicycles do not have a chain system that moves so no derailleur is needed, which means that chain guards can be easily mounted on your bike with full coverage.
  3. How The Gear Works: The drivetrain of the bike can also be kept sealed. In 1st gear of the 3 gears on a 3-speed cycle, the bike’s rear sprocket spins much faster than the wheels. In middle gear, the sprocket at the rear of the bicycle will rotate at the same speed as the wheel. In 3rd i.e. high gear, the rear wheel of the bicycle will spin much faster than the sprocket.
  4. Usage: 3-speed bicycle hubs are used in a variety of riding applications including time trialing, racing, cargo cycling, regular commuting, utility cycling, and city riding. Riders often prefer 3-speed bikes over single-speed bikes when riding in hilly areas.

Furthermore, 3-speed hubs are now preferred over derailleur systems for commuting and utility cycling in many parts of the world.

Some More Specialties Of 3-Speed Bikes:

  • Super Transmission Mechanism: The main reason for this is that all the gears and transmission mechanisms of this type of bike are locked very nicely compared to others due to which the cycle of the bicycle is very clean.
  • Easy Maintenence: Due to this, maintenance also becomes much easier and various types of road dirt cannot enter the gear.
  • User-friendly Shifting & Adjustment: A 3-speed bike allows you to shift from a complete stop and also you don’t have to worry about the sloppy adjustment of the bike from gear to forward gear.
  • Diversity: Having three different speeds on these types of bikes gives you a lot of versatility.

And, Conveniences & Inconveniences Of The 3-speed Cycle


  • Low Maintenances Charge
  • Don’t Need Any Routine Lubrication
  • Proper Durability
  • Safety With Perfect Twist Grip Shifting


  • Few Gear Speed
  • High Cost

Are Bike Gears Important For Uphill Riding?

Gear is very important for any type of riding. And, if that riding is uphill riding, then there is no question. In such a scenario, a proper understanding of gear is essential while cycling on any hilly terrain. Similarly, when preparing for Uphill riding one should know about the gear properly beforehand. Because in this type of riding, you should have proper knowledge about what kind of gear should be used or which gear you can use to cycle more comfortably & perfectly.

So it can be said that of course, bike gears are important for uphill riding. This type of cycle riding will feel a lot like normal road riding when you know what gear to use for riding on these types of roads. Furthermore, while you are riding uphill with a bicycle it is important to make sure that you are using a lower gear ratio while riding.

  • Cycling can achieve a higher level when the rider is using a lower gear ratio i.e. lower gear number or smaller chainring and a larger cog in the bicycle cassette.

Gera-Ratio Discussion:

  • The 48/17 gear ratio most riders use on their pre-built bikes for uphill riding allows them to enjoy a lot more uphill riding.
  • Also, you will get some more special gear ratio options, some of them are 48/16, 46/18, 46/17, 49/16, 49/13, and 46/16.
  • A ratio between 46 and 49 on the chainring and 16 to 18 on the bicycle cassette will satisfy most riders’ uphill riding needs.

Nonetheless, any biker can use the 46/17 gear ratio to the 42/17 gear ratio, if not want to shift too far. This is also a good gear ratio for a teenage rider.

Note That:

  1. But all the gear ratios that I have told you about so far can be used in flat and hilly areas.
  2. 34/32, 34/30, 32/20, 40/34, 36/40, 50/34, and 34/36 gear ratios can provide a much better output when going uphill riding in very steep or long hilly areas.

And, Something More To Know About Low Gear Effectiveness

If the gears are low enough, it is possible to ride uphill on any steep hill at 3 mph or 4 mph very comfortably.

  • Yes, you can ride a bike uphill faster than you might think. But no, that’s not possible in most cases, most of the riders can walk at about 3 mph on flat areas.
  • So if it is a steep hill, then the bike can go up at 2mph.

It’s important to remember that lower gear ratios require much less effort from the rider’s legs so that-

  • Riders can spin more wheels.
  • And the rider’s top speed can be much lower.


  • Lower gearing is much easier for you and also less tiring.
  • Using the wrong gear for uphill riding is highly likely to make your riding experience very frustrating and unstable.

After discussing and dissertation all the things about gear ratio, especially on low gearing, it is crystal clear that “Perfect Gear Selection plays a vital role in uphill biking”.

Then, Are 3 Speed Bikes Good For Hills?

Yes, 3-speed bicycles are an extraordinary selection for hills. Because-

  • With the mixture of gear alternatives, you can handily cycle in various hilly areas, uphill riding areas, or hilly flat terrains.
  • You can easily adjust to riding in hilly tracts with a 3-speed bike.

Already I have told you about the three speeds & gear of 3-speed bicycles. And, By utilizing those 3 gear speeds you will be able to process on hills very effortlessly.

These categories of cycles deliver you versatility, which is expected when cycling on hills. And, If you have adequate knowledge of the gear, you can ride your bike extra comfortably with a 3-speed bike. Yes, knowing about perfect gearing is a big plus in uphill cycling as well as the other type of biking.

Brief Discussion: How Does A 3-Speed Bike Work Exactly?

As we all know that a 3-speed bike has three-speed hubs that use a special type of “Planetary Gear System” to achieve gear ratios through the bike’s sprockets and wheels.

  • With this type of gear system, the bicycle’s planet carrier helps keep the sun gear in place during rotation.

Due to this, the planet gears are constantly rotating which causes the ring gear to rotate as well.

In the case of a 3-speed bike-

  • The rider can use the shifter according to his needs and selects the speed through it.
  • The shifter pulls up a cable attached to the bicycle which can be attached to whichever lever the cable is on.
  • As the lever rotates, the cable again presses on the pin of the lever. And, that pin is connected to whatever planetary gear system the bicycle has. Also, forces it to move sideways when the lever is pulled.
  • Whenever the planetary gear system moves from side to side on a 3-speed bike, the ring gear, the planetary carrier wheel, separates from the chain. As a result, the gear ratio changes constantly.

And, This is how the bicycle moves due to the constant movement of the bike gears-

  • Speed 1: Gear Ratio- 4:3
  • Speed 2: Gear Ratio- 1:1
  • Speed 3: Gear Ratio- 3:4

Final Words On 3-Speed Bike For Hills

Hope- you know more important information including Bike speed, 3-speed bike, uphill biking, gear speed, planetary gear system, and how it works on a 3-speed bike.

If all are okay, and you have earned all the things that I have discussed in the whole content to ease your uphill cycling, then why delay? Plan your next hills tour, and go out on an adventure with superb constant confidence.

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