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About Changing the Front & Rear Sprocket(s) on Many Bicycles

Gary Green The following information is for those who agree that riding a bicycle sitting on the seat or saddle as much as possible without having to stand and pump the pedals either on a flat surface or while going up an incline is the best way to ride a bike. One of the cheap and simple things a person can do to increase his or her riding efficiency and pleasure on a level or inclined surface is to make your bike easier to pedal. For example, most stock beach cruisers come with a front sprocket or chain ring that contains up to like 52 teeth and a rear cog with usually 18 to 20 teeth. (The industry is starting to get the message though and i see more new cruiser bikes with smaller chainrings). This makes for some hard pedaling for a lot of people and makes you have to stand to pedal when faced with going up a mild incline or even on level ground to get going. I knew there had to be a better way. I don't understand why the bike shops never tell the customer that you can easily change the front chainring (and the rear cog also) to suit your own strength and ability and maybe even offer to change the sprockets for the customer after the sale. When I discovered this fact, it made my single-speed bikes so much more fun to ride and I was able to sit down and pedal even when going uphill. I began to realize that the window of time where the large chainring is useful was only during downhill riding and only for a short period of time because usually I would gain downhill speed and the bike was traveling faster than I could pedal anyway even with the large chainring. So you suffer with the large chainring on most of your riding and it's mostly useful for a brief period while going downhill. I have even seen people walking their bikes because of being tired of pedaling with such a high gear ratio when they could have been easily riding them. In my own experience and experimentation with a singlespeed bike (a beach cruiser bicycle) I found that I like a   chainring with 28 teeth   and a   rear cog with 23 teeth   on a 26 inch wheel. This works for me. I bought a Trek beach cruiser and it came with 40 teeth on the front and 18 on the rear. That's not too bad, but I still changed it to my 32T X 23T combination. By paying attention to your gear ratios on your bikes, it will definitely increase your riding pleasure. And that includes all multi-speed bikes with derailluers or whatever. On single-speed cruisers you can generally change the rear cog by removing (using a screwdriver) the retaining-ring which locks the cog in place, just flip it out (you may have to struggle with it for awhile), remove the sprocket and replace it with the correct one and replace the retaining ring. You're done. Then for the front sprocket, unbolt the crank arm and remove it to access the large nut which holds the chainring sprocket in place. Unbolt the sprocket and replace it with your smaller one. Re-assemble and that's it. You'll probably have to shorten the chain a bit (one or two links) to take up the slack you have just created, but that doesn't take very long either. The point is, you set the gear ratios up for your own abilities and comfort. Of course, a younger and stronger person might like a higher gear ratio than the settings I have mentioned here.

Some Sprockets Available from . . .

Click Banners Above, L to R: 23T, 22T, 21T, 20T, 19T, & 28/32T ▬ 36T Chainrings

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Website Last Updated:   September 1, 2017