Hub vs Derailleur: There are two main choices when it comes to gearing with lots of options within each section. You can choose either derailleur gearing or hub gears. In general, derailleur gears are lighter, cheaper and more efficient with hub gears being lower maintenance and more reliable. In general derailleur gears are preferred by those on a budget and, with higher end systems, by those who are looking to ride faster. Hub gears are preferred by a lot of people who are interested in touring and riders who want a simple trike which requires less maintenance.
If you choose derailleur gears there are lots of options to select from to get the perfect gear system for you.
Road vs Mountain bike chainset: There are two main types of front gears or chainsets, road bike type and mountain bike type. There is a chart below of the chainsets we carry and their chainrings. In most cases we carry two options, a low cost and a more premium unit.
Road bike chainsets have larger chainrings giving a gear range which is more suited to powerful riders or riders who live in flatter areas. They can also pair well with 20” wheels to give a higher top gear and allow more speed without spinning your legs out.
Mountain bike chainsets have smaller chainrings which allows lower gears for climbing hills so they suit riders who live in hilly areas, touring riders and weaker riders better. They are also good to choose with 26” rear wheels to give lower gears more similar to a 20” rear wheel with a road chainset.
We also carry a couple of middle range chainsets which, while technically being mountain bike chainsets, have mid-range chainrings. These are great for getting the perfect balance of gears. Think of them as Goldilocks chainsets, if the road ones are too high and the mountain ones are too low these might be just right.
We also have a short crank chainset available for riders with shorter legs or with knee or hip issues which is 152mm rather than the more standard 170mm. The short cranks reduce the size of the circle that your foot tracks through the pedal rotation and by doing this they reduce the range of angles that your knees and hips go through. We chose a short crank chainset with small chainrings as the smaller levers mean you need smaller gears.
Bar end vs twist shifters
There are two types of gear shifters which work well on the vertical handlebars on our trikes, bar end shifters and twist or “grip” shifters. Twist shifters are common on our trikes and all available with bar end shifters as an option. There is no better or worse option, it is just about what works better for you. Some people prefer twist shifters and some prefer bar end shifters. The twist shifters are lower in cost and the bar end shifters are simpler and more robust so they will usually last longer.
The main twist shifters we fit are the Sram X5 9 speed twist shifters, they are an affordable, high quality 9 speed twist shifter with a large section to grip and a light action making them ideal for use on the trike. We do not offer 10 speed twist shifters.
The bar end shifters we use are the Shimano Dura Ace in 9 speed and the Sram SL500 for the 10 speed trikes with the SL900 11 speed version being available on the VTX+. We fit our bar end shifters slightly differently from most people. We set ours up so that you can shift to lower gears on the rear derailleur by pushing the shifter forward. This means that as you are pulling on the brakes you can push the shifter with your thumb and get lower gears selected for when you start off again.
Capreo rear cassette vs standard cassette
We offer custom and standard cassettes on our trikes. The custom cassettes have a smaller than standard smallest sprocket which gives a better top gear. This is used on 20” trikes to allow a more useful top gear for fast riding without having to resort to hub gears or giant chain rings which keeps derailleur selection more simple and reduces the overall cost.
The ICE custom 9 speed 9-32 cassette is made from a modified Shimano Capreo 9-26 cassette and is popular on our Sprint and Adventure 20 RS and FS trikes.
The ICE custom 10 speed 9-34 cassette is machined from scratch for us it is fitted as a 10 speed option on 20” trikes. It gives an even greater range than the 9 speed version as well as smoother, more consistent steps between the gears. We do not offer an 8 speed custom cassette option.
The standard cassettes we offer are from sram. They are also more affordable than the custom cassette options so they are great for riders who are looking to make savings on the spec of their trikes and don’t mind taking a rest on the downhills.
8 Speed vs 9 speed vs 10 speed vs 11 speed
All our Sprint and Adventure models are available with 8, 9 or 10 speed drivetrains. (the number of speeds is on the rear cassette, with a triple in front they would traditionally be called 24, 27 and 30 speed)
8 speed systems are low in cost and, although they offer a reduced gear range compared to the 9 or 10 speed options they should be enough for most casual and leisure riders.
9 speed systems are fitted to the majority of our trikes. They have lots of options for different riding styles and are a good balance of performance and price.
10 speed systems are used on the Sprint X and VTX models and available as an option on the other Sprint, Adventure and Full Fat models. They are lighter and more performance oriented than their 9 and 8 speed counterparts. They also offer a greater gear range.
11 speed is offered on the VTX taking advantage of lighter weight race orientated components.
Hub gear systems are low maintenance, simple to operate and ideal for touring riders. One of the greatest advantages of a hub gear system is the ability to shift gears while at a standstill so that if you have to come to a sudden stop there is no need to pull away in too high of a gear. This is a great advantage for people with knee injuries as it reduces the strain on the joints. We have three main hub gear options:
The Sram Dualdrive is a 3 speed hub gear onto which you fit a standard 8, 9 or 10 speed cassette which is operated by a derailleur. The DualDrive can either replace the triple front chainset to make things simpler or be used in conjunction with it to give a larger gear range and 72, 81 or 90 gear options. This number of options contains a lot of overlapping gears however, and can cause a lot of confusion. We would not recommend this option unless you really need the huge gear range at both the top and bottom ends.
The Dualdrive has a combined shifter with a twist shift for the derailleur and a small trigger for the hub or an individual shifter available.
The Shimano Alfine 8 speed hub gear has around the same gear range as a standard 9 speed cassette so it works very well when combined with a triple front chainset. This gives a similar range to a standard derailleur system with the rear gearing being enclosed and lower maintenance.
The Alfine 8 speed is available with a bar end shifter or a twist shifter. We tend to fit the bar end shifter.
The Rohloff hub gear has 14 equally spaced gears, with enough gear range to run a single chainring in front. The Rohloff hub is the standard by which other internal gear systems are measured and not many others come close. Unfortunately, the downside to this incredible, German engineered quality, is the price. The Rohloff drivetrain is our most expensive drivetrain option.
The Rohloff is available with a twist shifter only, we modify the standard Rohloff shifter so that the whole grip is rotated to make shifting very ergonomic and simple. Just twist one way for harder gears and the other way for easier gears, nothing else to consider.
|Truvativ Firex (mountain)||22-32-44|
|Truvativ Firex (mid range)||26-36-48|
|Lasco short crank||22-32-44|
|Gear System Name||Number of Speeds||Summary|
|8||Low cost drivetrain option with Sram X4 shifters and X4 rear,derailleur, 11-30,8 speed cassette.|
|Sram X5/X7 standard||9||Standard drivetrain option for 26” trikes and rigid 20” Adventures.,Sram X5 shifters, X7 rear derailleur, 11-34 9 speed cassette.|
|Sram X5/X7 custom||9||Standard drivetrain option for 20” suspension trikes. . Sram X5,shifters, X7 rear derailleur, 9-32 custom cassette.|
|Shimano Dura Ace/Deore standard||9||9 speed bar end shifter option for 26” trikes and leisure riders on,20” wheels. Shimano dura ace 9 speed bar end shifters, Shimano Deore rear,derailleur and 11-34 cassette.|
|Shimano Dura Ace/Deore Custom||9||9 speed bar end shifter option for touring and fast riders on 20”,wheels. Shimano dura ace 9 speed bar end shifters, Shimano Deore rear,derailleur and custom 9-32 cassette.|
|Sram SL500/X9 11-36||10||10 speed bar end shifter option for 26” wheels and leisure riders on,20” wheels. Sram SL 500 10 speed bar end shifters, Sram X9 10 speed rear,derailleur and 11-36 cassette.|
|Sram SL500/X9 9-34||10||10 Speed bar end shifter option for touring and fast riders on 20”,wheels. Sram SL500 shifters, Sram X9 10 speed rear derailleur and custom 9-34,cassette.|
|Sram SL900/Force||11||VTX+ 11 speed drivetrain. Sram SL900 carbon 11 speed bar end,shifters, Sram Force rear derailleur and 11-32 cassette. This drivetrain is only,compatible with a double chainset due to derailleur take-up.|