Geared Vs Non-Geared Bicycles | PedalChef

Key Takeaways

  • Geared bikes offer speed, adaptability, and comfort, but require more maintenance.
  • Non-geared bikes are simpler, slower, best for short distances and flat surfaces, and require less maintenance.
  • Your choice should consider riding style, purpose, budget, and personal preference.

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Are you contemplating a new bike purchase but can't decide whether a gear bicycle or a non-gear bicycle is right for you? Well, we’ve got you covered.

A gear bicycle offers speed and adaptability and is great for long distances and varied terrains but requires more maintenance. A non-gear bicycle is simpler, typically slower, ideal for short distances and flat surfaces, and needs less maintenance due to fewer components.

In this blog, we're going to delve deep into the comparison between these two types of bicycles, providing you with a complete guide to help you make an informed decision. So, let's dive in and explore the key differences and what suits you best.



Gear Bicycle Vs. Non-Gear Bicycle (Complete Guide)

Bicycles are an essential part of our daily life. They are used for commuting, for sports, and for fun. In the bicycle world, a significant division lies between gear bicycles and non-gear bicycles. Let’s take a closer look at each and how they stack up.

What is a Gear Bicycle?

A gear bicycle, also known as a geared bike, features a gear system that allows you to change the bike's speed and intensity. These bicycles come with derailleur gears, hub gears, or a combination of the two.

They typically have multiple gears, ranging from six to over twenty. The rider can easily adjust the gear ratio to suit the terrain or desired speed, whether they are ascending, descending, or biking on a flat road.

What is a Non-Gear Bicycle?

A non-gear bicycle, referred to as a single-speed bike or fixie, operates on a simple mechanism involving a single-gear ratio. These single-speed cycles are usually for relaxing rides, and they are commonly built as cruiser bicycles.

These bikes are straightforward and have no gears to shift between. The bike's speed is regulated only by the rider's pedaling speed: the faster you pedal, the faster you go.

Geared Bicycles Overview

A geared or multi-speed bike is the most commonly used among riders. If you’ve ever used mountain bikes, then you know the advantages of geared bikes and how they work. It’s a much different riding experience compared to a single-speed bicycle.

Types of Gears

When it comes to geared bicycles, there are two main types of gear systems: derailleur gears and internal hub gears. Derailleur gears are the most common and feature a system of sprockets and derailleurs that allow you to shift smoothly between gears.

On the other hand, internal hub gears are located inside the rear wheel hub and provide a more streamlined appearance and lower maintenance requirements.


Geared bicycles offer a number of benefits for riders, including:

  • Efficiency: By allowing you to adjust your pedaling effort to maintain a consistent cadence easily, geared bikes enable more efficient use of your energy on various terrains and inclines.
  • Versatility: With a wide range of available gears, these bikes can easily tackle diverse terrain, making them suitable for everything from daily commutes to weekend adventures.
  • Comfort: The ability to switch gears when needed can reduce strain on your muscles and joints, making long rides more comfortable and enjoyable.


Despite their advantages, geared bicycles also have a few downsides to consider:

  • Cost: Generally, geared bikes are more expensive than their non-geared counterparts due to the added components and technology.
  • Maintenance: With more moving parts, geared bicycles require more regular maintenance to keep them running smoothly. Derailleurs and gear systems can get dirty or damaged, necessitating frequent cleaning and adjustments.
  • Weight: Geared bikes are typically heavier than non-geared bikes, which can be a factor to consider for some riders. However, increased ease and efficiency during rides often offset the added weight.

Non-Geared Bicycles Overview

A fixed-gear bike, also known as a single-speed cycle, has a simple design with a single-gear ratio. The speed of these bikes depends on how fast the rider pedals. The gearless cycle is a much simpler design than gear cycles, so here is a complete overview of the pros and cons of fixed wheel cycles.


  • Easy to Maintain: These bikes have fewer components, making them easier to maintain and repair.
  • Lightweight: Non-geared bicycles usually weigh less, making them easier to carry around and maneuver.
  • Cost-effective: As fewer components exist, the bike's overall cost is usually lower.
  • Efficient and Less Complicated: We appreciate the simplicity of gearless bicycles, which makes them easy to ride, especially for beginners.


  • Limited Speed: Non-geared bicycles have a fixed gear ratio, limiting their speed and capability on different terrains.
  • Struggle on Inclines: We find it challenging to tackle uphill sections on these bikes, as there is no option to switch to lower gears for easier pedaling.
  • Poor Adaptability: Non-geared bicycles struggle on varying terrains and might be less comfortable for some riders.

Gear Vs. Non-Gear Cycle Differences

When it comes to choosing between geared and non-geared bicycles, several factors come into play. Let's break it down so you can see the differences and make an informed decision.

Geared cycles offer a versatile riding experience, allowing the rider to change gears depending on the terrain or difficulty of the path. On the other hand, non-geared cycles are more straightforward, with a single-gear setup that works on most flat surfaces.

As for maintenance, we find that non-geared cycles are less complicated and cheaper to maintain than their geared counterparts. This is because there are fewer components that require attention and potential replacement.

Here's a table summarizing the key differences between geared and non-geared bicycles:

Factor Geared Cycle Non-Geared Cycle
Speed Faster, due to gear-changing capabilities Slower, with a fixed gear setup
Riding Distance Great for long distances Best suited for shorter distances
Comfort Adjust gears for added comfort Can be less comfortable on challenging terrain
Terrain Type Adaptable to various terrains Ideal for flat surfaces and mild slopes
Maintenance Requires more maintenance due to gear system Less maintenance with fewer components

Geared Vs. Non-Geared Bicycles: Comparing Performance

Speed and Efficiency

When it comes to speed and efficiency, geared bicycles usually have an advantage. With multiple gears, they allow us to easily shift between different speeds, enabling smoother rides and a wider range of cycling speeds.

This is particularly helpful when we need to accelerate quickly or maintain a consistent pace over long distances. On the other hand, non-geared bicycles rely solely on our pedaling speed, which can be limiting and leads to fatigue more quickly.

Terrain Adaptability

Our experience with different terrains will also influence our choice between geared and non-geared bicycles. Geared bikes allow us to adapt our rides according to the landscape, making it much easier to conquer hills and rough terrain.

By shifting gears, we can find the optimal configuration for any uphill or downhill challenge, allowing us to maintain a comfortable cadence and tackle various inclines efficiently. These gear ratios help with terrain traction and performance.

In contrast, non-geared bicycles, with their single-gear ratio, are more suitable for flat terrains and short-distance rides. Riding a non-geared bicycle on rough or hilly terrains can be more demanding.

This is because we have to rely solely on our leg strength to adjust the speed and maintain stability. Although we can still navigate these terrains, it may require more effort and energy.

Geared Vs. Non-Geared Bicycles: Maintenance and Costs

Geared Bicycles Maintenance

When it comes to geared bicycles, we need to pay attention to several components like derailleurs, shifters, and chains. These are the parts that may need regular cleaning, lubrication, and occasional adjustments.

Also, geared bicycles generally have more intricate brake systems, like disk brakes, which could require expert attention for maintenance and repairs.

Non-Geared Bicycles Maintenance

On the other hand, non-geared bicycles have fewer components to worry about. Their simple design means that they are generally easier to maintain.

For example, we can often do basic repairs and maintenance on gearless cycles, such as adjusting the brake cables and keeping the chain clean and lubricated.

Comparing Costs

  • Initial Costs: Geared cycles typically have higher initial costs than non-geared ones. The starting prices for geared cycles often range around $300-$600, whereas non-geared cycles can start at $150.
  • Maintenance Costs: As we have discussed, geared bicycles can require more specialized maintenance, which can be more expensive.

Geared Vs. Non-Geared Bicycles: Choosing the Right Bicycle

Purpose and Riding Style

When selecting a bicycle, it's crucial to consider your riding style and the purpose for which you'll be using the bike. If you plan on tackling off-road trails or hilly terrain, a geared bicycle might be a better choice.

These bikes let you adjust the gears according to your preferred pedaling effort. On the other hand, if you mostly ride on flat surfaces or in urban areas, a non-geared bike may be more suitable since they typically require less maintenance and are lighter.

Budget Considerations

Another important factor is your budget. Generally, geared cycles are more expensive than non-geared cycles. Furthermore, you should keep in mind that geared bikes may come with additional repair and maintenance costs.

Before making your decision, weigh the benefits of each option against the price difference to ensure you choose the most fitting bike for your budget.

Personal Preference

Lastly, personal preference plays a significant role in choosing the right bicycle. Some riders enjoy the simplicity and ease of non-geared bikes, while others prefer the flexibility and customizability of geared cycles.

It's essential to test-ride both types of bikes to find out which one feels the most comfortable and suits your riding style best.