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Old 04-22-06, 05:06 AM   #1
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brifter for internal gear hub?

I was looking around randomly and discovered that Campagnolo front brifters are friction instead of indexed. I know that you can use standard friction shifters for internal gear hubs, albeit a bit sketchily. Brifter-type is my preferred shifting mechanism and it would be awesome to set up an old multispeed hub with one. What are the chances of a setup like this working?
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Old 04-22-06, 05:15 AM   #2
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Campy front brifters aren't exactly "friction" shifters which implies infinitely small adjustments. They are more like ratchets with several finite steps so you can use them with a variety of front derailleurs and cranks. They are more versitile than Shimano brifters (which have specific indexing steps and only work with their own dreailleurs and cranks) but aren't adjustable in fine enough steps to work reliably as friction shifters for your purposes.
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Old 04-22-06, 05:22 AM   #3
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Not even good enough for a 2 or 3 speed hub? Seems like it'd be ok at least for that, since it ought to correspond to the 2 or 3 front derailleur positions?
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Old 04-22-06, 06:25 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seggybop
Not even good enough for a 2 or 3 speed hub? Seems like it'd be ok at least for that, since it ought to correspond to the 2 or 3 front derailleur positions?
Only if the "clicks" happen to line up exactly with what the hub requires.

Remember, internal gear hubs are pretty intolerant of misaligned shifts so close enough isn't good enough. If the shift location isn't spot-on, the engagement clutches are only partly in contact and they will either pop out of gear or break.

A quote from "Glenn's New Complete Bicycle Manual", (1987 Edition) says;

"A multispeed hub must have a click stop for each gear. Do not use a derailleur control lever. Operating "between gears" will soon damage the hub."
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Old 04-22-06, 12:18 PM   #5
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Hillriders comments echo pretty much the same as I've been told when I looked into this idea.I wish shimano would make a brifter for their nexus hubs. Doesn't look like it will happen any time soon though. My guess if anyone has ever made a brifter work with a gearhub it would be the German or Dutch guys. Seems they are always engineering a fix for something and since gearhubs are a lot more common in their market maybe they have something we haven't heard about yet.
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Old 04-22-06, 08:08 PM   #6
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I'd personally be delighted if there were just a bar-con for internally geared hubs. I don't know whether the tolerances are such that this is impossible, though.

One might imagine, perhaps, a cable-pull ratio changer like the 'travel agent' for brakes, that would allow you to use an 8-speed barcon with a Nexus 8 hub. That would be da bomb for touring. Yes, you'd have to coast down hills but, hey, enjoy the scenery.
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Old 04-22-06, 08:37 PM   #7
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I've got a 2 speed fixed gear hub that I was controlling with a downtube friction shifter. Since a 2 speed hub has only 2 positions (all the way one way or all the way the other), it ought to work, even if no system more complex would?
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Old 04-22-06, 10:29 PM   #8
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I am using a downtube friction shifter with a three-speed hub, with no problems whatsoever. I'm not sure I'd shell out the money to try a Campy brifter if I wasn't sure it would work, but just because it "shouldn't" be done doesn't mean you can't make it work.
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Old 04-23-06, 01:28 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Seggybop
Not even good enough for a 2 or 3 speed hub? Seems like it'd be ok at least for that, since it ought to correspond to the 2 or 3 front derailleur positions?
If you are talking about three speeds I put a shimano 3 speed controler onto a heavy duty reflector bracket that bolts onto the stem and its in a great place for me. getto brifter. Im working whith 80s stuff though.

As for a seven the easyest way to see if it might work is to see if both units pull the same amount of cable. Chances are they dont.

That being said anything less than a seven speed and the brifter will probably be more expensive the the rest of the bike.

Don't let it stop you though.

Ive got a gas pipe nishiki with brifters on it that most would say "why" but as both were given to me free so why not?
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Old 10-11-07, 11:42 AM   #10
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Dahon used a set up with Shimano Tiagra brifters mated to a SRAM dual drive hub. Maybe a similar solution could work.
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Old 10-11-07, 03:18 PM   #11
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Dahon used a set up with Shimano Tiagra brifters mated to a SRAM dual drive hub.
Ja, low spec (no "trim") LH brifter for triple + three speed hub.

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Old 10-11-07, 11:24 PM   #12
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I am using a downtube friction shifter with a three-speed hub, with no problems whatsoever. I'm not sure I'd shell out the money to try a Campy brifter if I wasn't sure it would work, but just because it "shouldn't" be done doesn't mean you can't make it work.
The fact that you're doing it now and have not experienced any obvious problems to date does not mean that it is wise or not causing damage to your hub or danger to your health. It's not a good idea, period.
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Old 10-12-07, 06:40 AM   #13
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The fact that you're doing it now and have not experienced any obvious problems to date does not mean that it is wise or not causing damage to your hub or danger to your health. It's not a good idea, period.
Unecessary fear mongering. Friction shifters do the EXACT SAME THINGS as an indexed shifter - just doesn't have handy clicks. Please tell us theoretically how it could be damaged by using friction instead of indexed assuming the person shifting isn't a moron.
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Old 10-12-07, 10:10 AM   #14
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Partial engagement of the really small gears in the hub? Off just a bit, hit a hill, stand, oops ...
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Old 10-12-07, 12:37 PM   #15
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Unecessary fear mongering. Friction shifters do the EXACT SAME THINGS as an indexed shifter - just doesn't have handy clicks. Please tell us theoretically how it could be damaged by using friction instead of indexed assuming the person shifting isn't a moron.
I know how the levers work. Fear mongering isn't something I'm generally accused of! There are lots of things that "conventional wisdom" suggests are bad ideas that are actually perfectly harmless. I encourage creative mechanical solutions. This isn't one of the good ideas, though.

With derailer systems, there's plenty of audio and visual feedback to tell you whether you are squarely on the gear when using a friction lever. You don't get this feedback when using a internal gear hub, many of which are rather sensitive to the precise alignment of the gear shift mechanism. There are two possible issues here. One is that being out of alignment will cause greater wear to the internals of the hub, eventually damaging it in much shorter order than normal use. The other is that some hubs are designed such that, when the hub is not precisely in gear, it can actually "slip" out of gear, with the potential for injury (Sturmey-Archer, I'm looking at you). When using a friction lever, it's impossible to tell if the hub is adjusted just so. So yes, "theoretically" the hub or rider could be damaged by using a friction lever to shift the hub. It's not a death sentence or anything, but it's really just not a good idea - there's no way of knowing how well things are going or not until something breaks. Given that solutions abound for shifting internal gear hubs (do you think that a brifter would be cheaper than the Hubub and Nexus 8 shifter?), it's a pretty dumb thing to kludge. And I like kludges! But this one is pretty ill-advised.
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Old 10-12-07, 02:13 PM   #16
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The fact that you're doing it now and have not experienced any obvious problems to date does not mean that it is wise or not causing damage to your hub or danger to your health. It's not a good idea, period.
If his 3 speed is a Sturmey Archer, I see no reason why a friction shifter cannot be safely used. Full cable pull gives you 1st gear, complete cable slack for 3rd. The driver is engaged to the ring gear for both 1st and second, the only difference is that in 1st, the ring gear pawls are retracted, in 2nd, the driver moves just far enough into the ring gear to release the pawls to the engaged position, thereby providing direct drive to the hub. I'm sure a bit of practice would allow you to learn the feel of it.
As others have said, however, I would not be trying this with a 5,7 or 8 speed, and I don't know enough about the internals of a Nexus 3 speed to comment on that one.
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Old 10-12-07, 02:16 PM   #17
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This has come up before. I have experimentally tested a brifter through a travel agent to successfully shift a Nexus-7 through its entire range. Check out the last few posts from this thread:
Travel Agents?
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Old 10-12-07, 05:37 PM   #18
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If his 3 speed is a Sturmey Archer, I see no reason why a friction shifter cannot be safely used. Full cable pull gives you 1st gear, complete cable slack for 3rd. The driver is engaged to the ring gear for both 1st and second, the only difference is that in 1st, the ring gear pawls are retracted, in 2nd, the driver moves just far enough into the ring gear to release the pawls to the engaged position, thereby providing direct drive to the hub. I'm sure a bit of practice would allow you to learn the feel of it.
As others have said, however, I would not be trying this with a 5,7 or 8 speed, and I don't know enough about the internals of a Nexus 3 speed to comment on that one.
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I respectfully disagree, at least as far as this applies to the Sturmey Archer AW hubs that I'm familiar with.
The old SA hub has no problem with 1st gear or 3rd, but direct gear has a false neutral position that it can slip into, due usually to a bad cable adjustment or defective shifter. A friction shifter can potentially induce the same problem, unless care is taken to reference the shifter position to the proper engagement point.

The new SA hub doesn't have this neutral position hazard.
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Old 10-12-07, 06:06 PM   #19
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I respectfully disagree, at least as far as this applies to the Sturmey Archer AW hubs that I'm familiar with.
The old SA hub has no problem with 1st gear or 3rd, but direct gear has a false neutral position that it can slip into, due usually to a bad cable adjustment or defective shifter. A friction shifter can potentially induce the same problem, unless care is taken to reference the shifter position to the proper engagement point.

The new SA hub doesn't have this neutral position hazard.
Correct. However, the false neutral occurs between the point where the driver dissengages from the ring gear and engages the planetary carrier. If you can feel precisely the point where direct is engaged and stop the shifter there, I don't see a problem. The AW hubs will tolerate quite a lot.
As I may have neglected to mention, I have not tried this, but I would not hesitate to.
Like I said before though, hubs with more than 3 gears are less tolerant because of the stepped gearing in the planet carrier. The clutches need to be moved in precise increments for full engagement.
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Old 10-12-07, 06:33 PM   #20
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Dan, thank you for making this clearer. I may experiment with a friction shifter/SA hub setup to find out how easy it is to slot into 2nd gear, and how much finesse really is required.
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Old 10-12-07, 08:35 PM   #21
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Dan,

During the course of your bike business do you ever get to talk to any representatives of Shimano or Sram about gearhubs? If so, what is their opinion on brifters for their hubs?

Maybe we should all start pestering the companies to build them. Seems like discussing it amongst ourselves isn't getting us any closer to having brifters.
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Old 10-13-07, 05:25 AM   #22
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This has come up before. I have experimentally tested a brifter through a travel agent to successfully shift a Nexus-7 through its entire range.
A fellow on another list claimed to be operating a Sturmey 8-speed hub with a Campy brifter and a Travel Agent. Sorry, no further information.

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Old 10-13-07, 08:03 AM   #23
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Dan,

During the course of your bike business do you ever get to talk to any representatives of Shimano or Sram about gearhubs? If so, what is their opinion on brifters for their hubs?

Maybe we should all start pestering the companies to build them. Seems like discussing it amongst ourselves isn't getting us any closer to having brifters.
I do have contacts at both Sram and Shimano. Just how much influence these individuals have over product development, I don't know, but I will certainly put the bug in their ears.
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Old 10-13-07, 11:11 AM   #24
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I do have contacts at both Sram and Shimano. Just how much influence these individuals have over product development, I don't know, but I will certainly put the bug in their ears.
Could you ask about the future of this product:
SRAM i-MOTION 9 Carbon
Photo: http://phil.veloblog.ch/gallery/7/img%20043.jpg
http://www.sram.com/en/sramnation/lo...cf70da146c8dc8

After the successful i-MOTION 9 production kick off, SRAM presents exclusively at IFMA 2006 the future of internal gear hubs in a concept bike: an i-MOTION 9 carbon bike with 18 gears. The future bike uses the successful i-MOTION 9 hub with brand new carbon features. This combines highest efficiency with high-tech-design for a luxurious look. Carbon associates minimum weight with maximum stiffness, at the same time it can stand extreme loads. Until now, carbon was rather used in aerospace engineering and formula 1 racing cars. So far carbon hubs have only been available for high-end-roadbikes. Due to an its own carbon manufacturing facility, SRAM is setting new standards for internal gear hubs.
The target of this 18-speed drivetrain is to offer an alternative to standard sporty external drivetrain systems and to promote sportive trekking bikes. The concept bike features all known i-MOTION 9 benefits: large transmission, close and even gear steps, shifting while standing and shifting under load.

Further equipment:
The SRAM concept bike will be equipped with trigger shifters, guarantying sportive gear changing.
The 18-speed drivetrain is made possible by a double chainring, which is activated by a front derailleur. The rear chain guide with its double pulley mechanism helps to create the necessary chain tension. New Avid Juicy Ultimate hydraulic brakes and their carbon levers will provide the necessary stopping power.

Gear hub technical data:
Hub: SRAM i-MOTION 9 Carbon
Gears: 9
Transmission range: no information
Weight: extremely light

Find more information and pictures at www.sram-imotion.com
Tobias Erhard
PR Coordinator Comfort email: terhard AT sram.com
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