Gold Member Badge


  • You're all caught up!

1-Speed Vs. 7-Speed Cruiser Bike

author image Max Roman Dilthey
Max Roman Dilthey is a science, health and culture writer currently pursuing a master's of sustainability science. Based in Massachusetts, he blogs about cycling at
1-Speed Vs. 7-Speed Cruiser Bike
red one speed cruiser bike Photo Credit: Ron Chapple Stock/Ron Chapple Studios/Getty Images

Your cruiser bike is an ideal ride for city streets and rolling bike trails. Deciding whether or not to spring for a seven-speed over a single speed cruiser depends on where you plan to be riding. Seven-speed cruiser bikes use a derailleur to change the gear ratio between the chainring and the cassette, which makes it harder or easier to pedal at different speeds. A low gear decreases torque, so it's easy to pedal, but you'll lose speed. A higher gear makes it harder to pedal, but greatly increases your speed.

Video of the Day

Single Gear for Flat Terrain

A single speed cruiser bike has no derailleur; instead, a single gear in the back wheel and the chainring give you a single-gear ratio. Single speed bikes are simple, with no moving parts that require adjustment. This makes them extremely reliable and ideally suited to commuting around a flat city. However, since you can't shift into a lower gear for hills, you'll have to use a lot of energy to climb any inclines. Depending on where you ride, a single speed can be more than enough, but any hills will make riding a bit of a challenge.

Shifting Into Gear

A multiple-geared bike like a seven-speed cruiser has a lot more range than a single speed bike in terms of your pedaling. Because you can shift into lower gears for uphills and higher gears for downhills and flat roads, you'll have a much easier time negotiating changing terrain. A derailleur does require periodic adjustment, because the cables that connect your shifter to your derailleur stretch and wear out over time. This minor inconvenience is usually worth the trade-off of being able to conquer hills if there's a lot of incline in the areas you cycle in.

LiveStrong Calorie Tracker
Lose Weight. Feel Great! Change your life with MyPlate by LIVESTRONG.COM
  • Gain 2 pounds per week
  • Gain 1.5 pounds per week
  • Gain 1 pound per week
  • Gain 0.5 pound per week
  • Maintain my current weight
  • Lose 0.5 pound per week
  • Lose 1 pound per week
  • Lose 1.5 pounds per week
  • Lose 2 pounds per week
  • Female
  • Male
ft. in.


Demand Media