We have "7-speed' suggested, which to me says we are likely to get or perhaps should pre-emptively add the matching 18-30ish tags for all the other "N-speeds". The guidance from the proposer specifies that it is specific to cassettes, so I've suggested a description to make that explicit. I have tried to make it easy to edit my addition so that it could instead include rather than exclude the other 7-speed options.

But I don't know that there's a lot of point. The days when "10-speed" was a type of bicycle are gone, and if anything the categories that might make sense are the chain width ones. But then we get tags like "early-campag-10-speed" which is straying a long way from "tag:" and more into i-have-a-question-about-bikes-tag territory.

I note that we have a great number of 8-speed, 9-speed, 10-speed, 11-speed and 12-speed questions, none of which are thus tagged as those tags don't exist (yet). We also have a few 14-speed questions and more 3-speed, 5-speed and even some 18-speed and 63-speed ones.

I suggest removing the tag.

My feeling in general is to reject suggested new tags where there's no effort in the description, someone just thinks "oh, I need at least one tag. Um. bike... no, too general" so they put something random in. I've seen a rash of "X applied to bikes" tags added recently, and I think they're not helpful. At the very least I would prefer a longer description, and a bit more justification than "you can use X in, on, or related to, a bicycle". We have "carbon", "bamboo" and "steel" for example, but not "plywood" or "plastic", and the usage of those tags is extremely erratic (there are at least 5 questions about bamboo bikes that don't use the tag, and only 4 that do).

2 Answers 2


One reason to maintain these tags as intended by the tag's author, (i.e. that is is specific to the number of cogs on a rear cassette or free wheel) is that this is standard bicycle industry terminology.

One does not refer to a bicycle with 18 gear combinations as an 18 speed. Rather, you should use 9 speed for a 2 x 9 or 6 speed for a 3 x 6.

The reason for this is that component compatibility is often based off of the thickness of the rear cogs and the spacing between them. Your chain, cassette/freewheel, crank, chainrings, shifter, and in some cases brake options may be limited/identified by the number of gears on the rear cassette.

That means that this is a useful tag type, if curated properly.

I would suggest that the tag cloud for this purpose should include:

  1. Single-Speed/1 Speed
  2. 3 speed
  3. 5 speed
  4. 6 speed
  5. 7 speed
  6. 8 speed
  7. 9 speed
  8. 10 speed
  9. 11 speed
  10. 14 speed
  11. IGH/Internally Geared Hub
  12. Gearbox
  13. 1x9/10/11 - (Or something else to define a specific single front chainring a la narrow-wide)
  14. Belt Drive

    These tags would serve the purpose of separating and identifying the type of drive train on a bicycle, when necessary to answer the OP's question.

In addition, it might be wise to see if the UI for the tagging function when creating a question could be modified to show previously created tags in an organized format, with at least a rudimentary explanation of the tag or group of tag's purpose. That would, of course, require the cooperation of the SE staff and probably some time.

My suggestion would be that we keep and curate these tags, eliminating unnecessary ones (i.e. 18 speed, 21 speed, etc...) and creating the proper list as a preemptive measure.

  • Possibly add 2-speed just because it will make the retro-direct fans happy? And AFAIK Rohloff and 14-speed should be synonyms (or has someone actually put a 14 cog cassette into production?)
    – Móż
    Commented May 10, 2016 at 23:42
  • Shimano has a patent for an unreleased 14-speed external drive train. But whether it will see the light of day? Who knows... It would still be worth have to delineate the number of gears in an IGH hub. And since Rohloff makes other hubs besides the 14 speed they are famous for, no, it shouldn't be synonymous, IMHO. The only 2 speeds I'm aware of would fall under IGH (kickback style hub gears). Is there something else you're thinking of?
    – zenbike
    Commented May 10, 2016 at 23:46
  • en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Retro-direct It uses two opposed freewheels so whichever direction you pedal you go forwards, but if they're different sizes you get different gears (which is obviously why people do it). Can't rotate the rear wheel backwards at all.
    – Móż
    Commented May 11, 2016 at 1:24
  • That's pretty specific. I'd probably add a retro-direct tag. And IGH would still work. Or are they external freewheels?
    – zenbike
    Commented May 11, 2016 at 4:13
  • It's all external, "anyone" can make one if they have a lathe and can cut a reverse thread onto a hub. But yeah, retro-direct is probably a better tag. Should probably do IGH, internally-geared-hub and hub-gears as synonyms, because while the latter is ambiguous it's also very common and I think the great majority of uses are for IGH. People looking at autocomplete with get hub-gears for h, because I suspect that's how tag selection works :)
    – Móż
    Commented May 11, 2016 at 4:26
  • Sounds good to me.
    – zenbike
    Commented May 11, 2016 at 4:32

People can't use a tag they don't know exists, so having many ways to get the same result will help.

The tags for N-speed should all be synonyms for deraileur-gears, which is a distinct tag from IGH-gears.

Also we should remove the tag if the question isn't directly related to gearing.

Finally "ten-speed" (ie with letters) should be a synonym for road-frame.

  • 1
    Only the 2-speed through 12-speed are synonyms, though, at least in the sense that the originator meant. I think that is a particularly bad definition, but it's what people here decided to approve. Those also fall into the pit where they're both too broad to be useful (which 7-speed, exactly?) but also too narrow (how many 7-speed questions apply only to 7-speed?) Now I'm wondering whether dropout-spacing tags might be as useful :) 135mm or 135mm-spacing tags.
    – Móż
    Commented Apr 29, 2016 at 4:29

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