Changing gear ratio on a Cleary Hedgehog- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Changing gear ratio on a Cleary Hedgehog

    After reading some complaints about the Cleary Hedgehog's low gear, I realized it's time for a change. The boy has been riding his Hedgehog for a year now. He's stronger, and knows how to pedal standing.

    His sluggish speed on flat ground was driving me nuts. I knew he can ride faster.

    I chose to change the crank, instead of the freewheel (which on the Hedgehog, as I understand, requires rebuilding the rear wheel with a different hub)

    I purchased the Spawn alloy crank (Alloy Cranks ? 102MM - Born to Ride | The World's Best Kids Bikes!). It's a square taper crank, which comes with a 28T chainring (the original Hedgehog's chainring is 25T)

    In reality, the Spawn crank required a shorter bottom bracket, and the bigger chainring required a longer chain:

    Changing gear ratio on a Cleary Hedgehog-spawn-crank-hedgehog.jpg

    I'm glad to report the effort was worth it: the boy now rides faster, without having problems on the ascents (we live in a flat town)

    When the bike will be handed over to his sister, I'll just replace the chainring to a 26T.

    I understand Cleary's approach for picking the original components; they wanted something which is light AND cheap. But the inability to change gear ratio on a single speed bike is a big penalty.

  2. #2
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    If you want to run a larger chainring at some point, I wrote about how you can rig up a 104 BCD adapter here http://forums.mtbr.com/families-ridi...ks-987658.html

    I would also remove that bashguard the Spawn cranks come with. It's super heavy and, IMVHO, unnecessary. You are also correct that using a smaller freewheel requires a new hub. Cleary built me a new rear wheel with an M30 hub and 13t freewheel for a very reasonable price, but there were some extenuating circumstances and I'm not sure if they'll do that for everyone.

    I definitely agree that the inability to change the gear ratio without great expense and/or effort is a huge demerit against what is otherwise a great bike.

  3. #3
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    So you need a new bottom bracket to make the change? If so which one did you use?

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by comphynum View Post
    So you need a new bottom bracket to make the change? If so which one did you use?
    I had a Shimano UN55, I think it was 68x107mm. the original spindle length was 117mm, and the Spawn crank was significantly far from the frame, so a 5mm correction on each side is reasonable.

    If you plan to ditch the chainring protector, and use shorter bolts, maybe even a 103 mm BB would fit there.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by comphynum View Post
    So you need a new bottom bracket to make the change? If so which one did you use?
    Personally, I didn't change the BB. It's been a year now and it's just fine.

  6. #6
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    How do you like the 28/16 gear ratio now that your child has had some time to ride it? The gearing is the only thing I dont like about the Hedgehog.
    Airborne Guardian

  7. #7
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    He's having no problems with 28x16. He needs to stand up a little more on the uphills.
    Maybe in 6 month I'll do the spider + 30T ring someone suggested here.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by comphynum View Post
    The gearing is the only thing I dont like about the Hedgehog.
    The wide riser bars are also a mandatory upgrade IMO.

  9. #9
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    I have it narrowed down to the Hedgehog and the Spawn Banshee. Any advice?
    Airborne Guardian

  10. #10
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    I like the geo on the Cleary better for sure. The HT is 2* slacker and the WB is longer which theoretically makes for a more stable ride. Otherwise though, off-the-shelf the Spawn is the better bike for sure. To turn the Cleary into a proper MTB on par with the Spawn you need to upgrade the following parts:

    -Spawn 102 mm cranks ($50+ship)
    -Cleary riser bars ($22+ship)
    -Schwalbe Black Jack tires (I think these were $35 shipped)

    So, right off the top you're adding well over $100 to the Cleary's cost. As currently built I'd say my son's Cleary is a better bike, but he's never ridden a Spawn so I can't say definitively if the geo differences make much of a difference in practice. If I had to do it all over again I'd probably just get the Spawn.

  11. #11
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    I'm with RMCDan. I upgraded the exact same components on my son's Cleary.

    Considering a 50$ price gap, the Spawn looks like a better bike: more options to adjust the bike, and lower weight.

    The Cleary is a longer bike, so as a trail bike it will probably last a little longer, before moving to the next bike. Other than that, I thing the Spawn is better.

    The Cleary should be either:

    a. Cheaper

    OR

    b. Equipped with a normal, low-rise bar (keeping the 19mm ends is OK); some option to change gear ratio.

  12. #12
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    And that's just the bare minimum. For stronger riders the ISO hub and 16t freewheel are still going to be problematic.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by RMCDan View Post
    And that's just the bare minimum. For stronger riders the ISO hub and 16t freewheel are still going to be problematic.
    @RMCDan you seem very knowledgeable. I would appreciate your feedback on this bike. I know it is a little heavy.
    https://stampedebikes.com/product/sprinter-ss-16/
    Airborne Guardian

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by comphynum View Post
    @RMCDan you seem very knowledgeable. I would appreciate your feedback on this bike. I know it is a little heavy.
    https://stampedebikes.com/product/sprinter-ss-16/
    Cranks are a bit long (114 mm vs. 102 mm on Cleary/Spawn), and the gearing adjustment options are much better on the Spawn. Otherwise, a very nice looking bike for the price.
    Last edited by RMCDan; 05-02-2016 at 10:21 AM.

  15. #15
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    Update: Changed the front chainring to 30T. I used a direct-mount-to-double-chainring adapter, to convert the 64mm bcd to 104mm bcd, and installed a 30T narrow-wide chainring on that.

    Worked great. The boy is strong enough now to deal with it on moderate uphills, and rides faster on the flats:

    Changing gear ratio on a Cleary Hedgehog-30t_2.jpg

    I did have to change the chain to 10 speed. The narrow gap between the chainring and the adapter leaves room for 10s or 11s chain only (this problem is valid for 30T rings only, which are small enough to interfere with the bolt circle)

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