Bicycle HistoryHiking and sports bicycles

Hiking and sports bicycles

While gears became common parts of bicycles in the West already in the 1930s-40s, only one factory – at Kharkov – manufactured geared bicycles in the Soviet Union. Rear hub (planetary or epicyclical) gearbox was not made or used in the Soviet Union (unlike western countries), and gears were changed with chain. Starting from the second half of the 1950s, the use of three gears was common, they were added later on, reaching to the 6-12 gears.

By the 1970s-80s two basic geared models were developed – touring bicycles Turist and Sputnik, intended for ordinary roads and slim-tyre Start Shosse for driving only on smooth paved roads and for cycling sports. Turist was almost twice as expensive as regular bike (approximately average monthly wage), Start Šossee was even more expensive (much more than average monthly wage).

While majority of bicycles in the western countries had gears by the 1980s, relevant proportion in Soviet Union was in these times no more than 10%.