Bikes can be categorized in many ways. It can be based on the maximum weight it can carry, the purpose it’s designed for, or, among many others, the number of speeds the bike is capable of accomodating.
When talking about bike speeds, it simply means the gear systems that make it possible for riders to switch the speed depending on the surface they’re dealing with. After all, you exert more energy when climbing a mountain than when dealing with a flat road.
Gears are the only parts of the bike that give you the option to handle something like a hill with ease.
A 3-speed bike, therefore, is a system of gears that has three forward gear ratios. This gears system isn’t new; it has been in use since the early 1900s, undergoing major improvements over the years to what it is now.
We’ll have detailed bike reviews of the best 3-speed bikes in the market, their strengths and weaknesses, and what sets them apart from other gears like the 8-speed drivetrain and the rest.
- At A Glance: Our Top Picks for Best 3-Speed Bikes
- Top 5 Best 3-Speed Bikes – Our Reviews:
- Why Choose a 3-Speed Bicycle?
At A Glance: Our Top Picks for Best 3-Speed Bikes
If you’re in a hurry, you can jump straight into our top picks (these are the 3-speed bikes that most people buy).
- Strida Folding 3-Speed Bike Top Pick
- Royce Union 700C RMX Women’s Bike Runner-up
- Pure City Classic 3-Speed Commuter Bike Runner-up
Top 5 Best 3-Speed Bikes – Our Reviews:
1. Strida Folding 3-Speed Bike
The Strida Folding Bike isn’t your regular run of the mill bike, right from its peculiar design layout. It’s a folding bike that can fit nicely inside the car’s trunk, thanks to a frame that can be detached easily and quickly.
Its 3-speed internal hub is positioned in the BB parts, which gives the rider the freedom to change gears by backpedaling, a feature that makes shifters and cabling redundant.
One of the most interesting components of this bike is the Kevlar belt chain with a 50,000 mileage potential and doesn’t require constant lubrication to achieve that.
- A 7000 series aluminum frame and fork
- 18” Kenda tires with aluminum wheels
- 3-speed STRiDA drivetrain with a 50,000 mileage
- Aluminum brakes
- It comes with a rack and a kickstand
- Can support up to 220 lb
- Quick fold
- Perfect commute bike
- Can move on strolling wheels when folded
- A 50,000 mileage drivetrain
- Upright riding position
- Powerful brakes
- Reliable gear hub
- Easy maintenance
- Very slow in headwinds
- Complicated design
- Has trouble dealing with corners
2. Royce Union 700C RMX Women’s Bike
Another big brand name, the Royce Union 700 RMX is one of the best commuter bikes for women. It provides the right kind of comfort that turns the most difficult rides into the most enjoyable ones.
It has a unique ZOOM Wishbone feature that adds suspension to the whole structure to enhance the ride’s quality, which most women will love. The bicycle also comes with extra accessories like fenders, a spring-loaded cart, and a kickstand that makes parking the bike easy.
There’s a bigger version for men too, that also comes with double-wall tires.
- Arrives with bike assembly tools
- Richly padded VELO saddle with shock absorbers
- Alloy wheel rims and alloy linear brakes
- All-terrain 700C tires
- 6061 aluminum alloy frame
- Very comfortable
- Effortless handling
- Can support heavy people
- Designed for women
- A reliable gear system
- Too expensive
- Unassembled shipping
3. Pure City Classic 3-Speed Commuter Bike
This bicycle is considered to be one of the best 3-speed commuter bicycles on the market. Simplicity is what defines the Pure Cycles City Classic bike as it comes with the traditional components like a bell and conventional pedals with reflectors.
The rear and front caliper brakes provide the rider with the needed stopping power necessary to make split-second maneuvers. The wheel rims are crafted out of 30 mm alloy, providing the tires with the support required to deal with all kinds of terrain for the best riding experience.
- 3-speed Shimano Nexus Revo-3 drivetrain
- Styling build and a rear rack for carrying small luggage
- Strong hi-tensile steel frame
- Double-walled alloy rims
- Stainless steel spokes
- Comes in 3 sizes
- Choice of three sizes for all types of riders
- Durable design
- High-quality Shimano components
- Reliable wheel rims
- Reliable gear system
- Ideal for commute
- A good-grip handlebar
- Requires assembly of parts after purchase
- Doesn’t perform well in challenging terrains
- Only good for beginner riders
4. Sixthreezero EVRYjourney 3-Speed Commuter Bike
A common name in the bike world, this beach cruiser is one of the best hybrid commuter bikes on this list that comes laden with good aesthetics and has received great reviews. It has a 19″ black matte top bar that gives the rider an upright posture for a comfortable long ride.
The city bike is also designed to accommodate tall people with a foot-forward positioning, which creates enough room for knees to move about freely during pedaling.
The 3-speed Shimano drivetrain is built for speed and easy handling. The rear wheel comes with a coaster braking system, while the front wheel makes use of the wheel disc brakes and the hand brakes at the same time.
The inseam 26″ wide tire is built for handling almost all types of terrain in any type of weather, especially rough mountain surfaces or slippery surfaces around the city. The bicycle is sturdy enough to support up to 300 pounds.
- A 19″ step-through aluminum frame
- Upright riding style that’s easy on the posture
- 3-speed Shimano drivetrain
- 26″ wide tires
- Front handbrakes
- Stylish with a black matte color finish
- Strong and durable frame
- Can Support heavy people
- Powerful brakes
- Quality gear drivetrain
- A high-performance hybrid bike
- A bit heavy
- Complicated assembling settings after purchase
5. Critical Cycles Mixte 3-Speed City Coaster Commuter Bike
The Critical Cycles Mixte is a city bike with a body built for comfort, durability, and speed, with all three aspects combining perfectly without compromising the performance in any way.
As a trekking bicycle built for a challenging area like a mountain, the Critical Cycles Mixte has some of the most powerful brakes you’ll ever find on a 3-speed bike. These are necessary to allow the rider to have control when dealing with tricky surfaces in any type of weather.
The frame is designed with the right size that makes mounting and dismounting easy, and with a top tube that helps regulate the pressure exerted on the seat post. This bike’s handlebars are equipped with faux leather that enhances a rider’s grip without causing too much friction in the hands.
- A step-thru high tensile stainless steel frame
- A Sturmey Archer internal 3-speed hub with a grip shifter
- Powerful coaster brakes
- Kenda Kwest puncture-resistant tires
- comfortable leather saddles
- Lightweight frame
- Tough and durable
- Beautiful design
- Comfortable for casual rides
- Reliable gear system
- Easy maintenance
- No quick release from the hubs
- Requires assembling before use
- Too simple for most professional cyclists
Why Choose a 3-Speed Bicycle?
Every multi-speed bike comes with its own advantages and drawbacks. When choosing a 3-speed bike, you should be aware of the benefits, and they include the following.
The internal hub of a 3-speed bicycle requires low maintenance throughout its use. The gearing system is safely sealed from coming into contact with the environment, reducing the wear and tear that forces conventional city bikes to require regular maintenance like lubrication.
Some can cover a cumulative mileage of 50,000 without as much as a drop of lube.
No need for external gears
One reason why these bikes are loved by commuters is that their gears are safely sealed in the internal rear hub; there’s no need for external derailleurs. This cuts down on the number of movable components, which ultimately reduces the weight of the bike while increasing its efficiency.
The chain can’t fall off
With a 3-speed bike, you can kiss goodbye to all the hustle of having to re-attach your chain mid-journey because it fell off. The internal hub holds the chain in place, and since the hub gears aren’t in constant switch mode, the chances of it falling off are very low.
Unlike most bikes, there’s absolutely no need for you to take your hands off the handlebars to switch gears.
Generally, 3-speed bikes have a twistable handlebar grip that allows the rider to change the speed on the move. The versatile handlebar grip helps them focus on the road reducing chances of running into obstacles or losing control.
You can change speeds in stationary mode
One of the reasons why 3-speed bikes are such a hit with commuters worldwide is their ability to change the speed even when the bike is stationary. This a unique feature that’s lacking in high-end brands.
With this, you can forget the unnecessary crunching of gears every time you start pedaling.
More speed range than lower speed bicycles
A 3-speed bike has more speed range than a single-speed one. The difference may not look much on paper, but when you hit the road, you’ll immediately notice how wide the gap is between the two bikes as far as performance is concerned.
A single-speed bike holds no candle. Even when compared with higher speed bikes like an 8-speed one, a three-speed bike has more balance as it’s less complicated.
Multi-speed bikes pack more functionality than conventional ones, which has made them so popular among cyclists of all walks and ages. The bikes offer the rider more control, which makes riding a fulfilling experience, be it a ride around the city or a long trek across the wilderness.
The market is full of 3-speed bikes aside from the ones mentioned in this article.
Whenever you read reviews, always pay attention to the feature options in relation to the price point. This guide should give you a rough idea of the bikes that you should be looking out for.