How to Add More Granny Gears to a Bicycle

Written by justin wash
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The super-low hill climbing gears on your bicycle, also known as "granny-gears," help you climb steep inclines by reducing the amount of effort you need to move the bike forward. Granny gears are the largest cogs on the rear wheel of your bike. Some riders may feel the need to increase the number of these gears when they first start riding so as to make hills easier to climb until they can build up the proper riding muscles. Luckily, as long as your rear wheel has a cassette-type freewheel, you can add as many granny gears as you like.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Cassette lockring tool
  • New large rear cogs
  • Chain whip
  • Adjustable wrench

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  1. 1

    Remove the rear wheel from your bike by lowering the quick-release lever and carefully pulling the wheel out of the frame. Untwist the quick-release nut on each end of the axle to remove the quick-release skewer.

  2. 2

    Wrap a chain whip -- a piece of chain mounted to a specially designed handle -- around a cog on the cassette clockwise. Set a cassette lockring tool in the lockring at the front of the cassette, then use an adjustable wrench to turn this tool counterclockwise while keeping the cassette itself from spinning with the chain whip.

  3. 3

    Slide the lockring and cassettes off of the free hub body of the wheel. Lay out your cassette cogs from largest to smallest, including any spacers between them. Decide which cogs you will do away with in order to install your new granny gears; your cassette can have no more than the number of cogs it already has as the shifters of the bike will not allow it.

  4. 4

    Replace any gears necessary with the new granny gears and stack up your cassette the way it came off of the wheel. The cogs should each have one spacer in between them and should gradually get bigger as you move from outside to inside.

  5. 5

    Slide the cassette back onto the free hub body of the wheel and twist the lockring into place. Tighten the lockring using a lockring tool and adjustable wrench. Reinstall the quick-release axle of the wheel.

  6. 6

    Take the wheel back to your bike and slide the axle into the rear frame dropouts. Set the chain in place on the new cassette, then close the quick-release lever to secure the wheel in place. Take the bike out for a test ride to try out your new granny gears.

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