3 Speed Bikes

The iconic photos of Audrey Hepburn include bikes, like this one from a Hollywood set.

Audrey Hepburn, heels and wheels

Fashion communities have worked out mashed-up collections from those photos, inspired by another time that fits our modern urban sensibilities …


and what we noticed is that the “most beautiful woman of all time” is riding arguably the best bike of all time, a 3-speed, step-through Raleigh.

In our travels, we see vintage 3-speeds transporting people to and fro in cities.

1973 Raleigh, my fashion accesory

Earlier this month, we rode this prototype bike during a demo.


Product managers always have their own pet projects. Maybe an idea that’s been simmering for years and this bike is part of project that may get released.

We hope it does. 3 speeds makes as much sense now, as they have since 1902.

We also wonder and have talked at length with the old dogs of Cyclocross why there isn’t a 3-speed drivetrain for riding road bikes in the dirt? There was back in the day, cause that’s all they had.


Maybe not a 3-speed, but what’s wrong with the current crop of 8, 9, 14 (and soon) 11 speeds internals for ‘crossing?

Weight and they’re not responsive enough to race on. See our posts on Dropbar Nexus for the reasons why.

* [Nexus Drop-Bar - One Month In](http://bikehugger.com/2008/09/nexus-dropbar-one-month-in.html)
* [Modal: Internally Geared](http://bikehugger.com/2009/07/modal-internally-geared.html)

You have to stop pedaling to shift and then you can miss shifts under heavy acceleration.

The old dawgs explained that they’d use modified Sturmey Archers back in the day with bar-end shifters for internal gears and external gears.

On the topic of three speeds and the pictures of Audrey Hepburn,  I’m looking to buy a folding bike for my daughter. 

She’s commuted before by bike,  bus and train,  but now she needs to take a bike on the train to avoid the bus.  Connecting by foot takes too much time.

The distances are less than two miles on either end.  There is some elevation on one segment,  but not much. 

I’m looking at the Abio.  Avoiding a greasy chain is important. 

I want to ask about the shaft drive:  is the loss in efficiency enough to notice? 

And any comment about the weight would be helpful.



Haven’t ridden a shaft drive that we’ve liked and find it to inefficient. Belt drives have improved significantly and we do recommend those and have [reviewed the Abio](http://bikehugger.com/2009/02/abio-folding-belt-drive.html). Get the belt set up right and it’s a good choice.

Thank you!  ... that’s a wrap on the decision.


Hi this is Howard from Abio Bikes.

Thanks for mentioning us!  Our Abio Penza shaft drive runs great and none of our customers can tell the loss in efficiency (if any).

The reason I suspect is that many of us have drive trains that are not perfect for example not tuned, dirty, not in perfect alignment…all of which can cause loss of efficiency.  When do people have time to bring their bikes to have their chain-drive properly tuned these days?

I’m willing to put $5 that the efficiency of the Abio Penza (shaft) is the same if not better than most chain-drive bikes out there!  =D

Howard - Abio Team

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