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Old 06-23-06, 07:05 PM   #1
Speedub.Nate
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Any SRAM i9 gear hub updates?

With giddiness I read last month's Sram I-motion 9 thread ( Thoughts on the upcoming SRAM 9-speed hub (and the future of internal gears)? ) but still feel hungry for new information. Any i9 updates in the past six weeks anybody wishes to share?

My own comments & responses to some of the points made in that thread (or random musings, if you didn't read it):

- I'm very excited about the Sram i9. I don't expect it to compete with my Rohloff, but am anxious about the near 50% increase in gear range over my Nexus-8 on my street bike.

- My expectations are high. I want this hub to be a stepping stone -- a "gateway hub", if you will -- to riders unable to commit to a Speedhub drivetrain.

- I'm a realist! Derailleur will always be cheaper and lighter, and therefore dominant. But I expect gear hubs to make large strides in gaining acceptance by "serious" mountain & touring cyclists on mid- to high-end bikes.

- Further, can't derailleur only get better? Yes! Are even w-i-d-e-r gear ranges truly desired by cyclists? I think not! Derailleur drivetrains have room for improvements in build strength & shifting action, too!

- Twist shifting -- a common dig against gear hubs -- does have its benefit! I, too, was a Rapid Fire fan, but triggers & STI cannot allow you to shift through the whole gear range in one fluid twist, a feat a derailleur is most certainly incapable of.

- The Speedhub, while expensive, is most certainly not "unaffordable" when compared to the cost of a full XT or XTR drivetrain. Not convinced? Add up the price you'd fetch if you parted out the brand new XT / X.9 level drivetrain you typically find on a $1600-$2200 bike. A little elbow grease makes quite a dent in the price of a new Rohloff.

- The expense of wear items -- cassettes, chainrings, chains, and the occasional derailleur -- eat further into this cost over time.

- If you jump to a new bike in three or five years, you can once again part it out and re-install the Speedhub. At this stage, you'll be in the black!

Although I'm currently biased towards Speedhubs (if my screen name didn't already give that away), I would love to see some competition in this market. Though I'm not affilliated with Rohloff, I have been on their hubs since '01 (my wife since '03) and between Rohloff, SRAM Spectro & Shimano Nexus, we're done with derailleurs!

Last edited by Speedub.Nate; 06-24-06 at 08:28 AM.
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Old 06-24-06, 07:37 PM   #2
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Haven't heard anything new about the i9. I'm with you on hoping these new hubs are a step up over what we currently have. They do need to keep the cost down or you might as well go with a rohloff. Guess you heard about the Shimano Alfine Nexus, due in the fall? Only difference seems to be the disc brake option. I hope somebody is smart enough (OEM) to offer sti brake/shifters for drop bars for these hubs.
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Old 06-25-06, 07:35 PM   #3
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Haven't heard anything new about the i9. I'm with you on hoping these new hubs are a step up over what we currently have. They do need to keep the cost down or you might as well go with a rohloff. Guess you heard about the Shimano Alfine Nexus, due in the fall? Only difference seems to be the disc brake option. I hope somebody is smart enough (OEM) to offer sti brake/shifters for drop bars for these hubs.
STI shifters for internal gear hubs just ain't gonna happen, at least not anytime in the next, oh, ten years or so. Shimano pours a huge amount of R&D money into their STI shifters and road groups. The road market is large enough, with enough consumers willing to pay the "road tax" for their parts, that Shimano can recoup this investment and then some. But the market for internal gear hubs right now is mostly recreational riders and commuters, most of whom are riding bikes with upright handlebars, which of course means that they are going to be using twist or Rapid Fire type shifters. The number of people putting internal gear hubs in high end road bikes is vanishingly small. There might be a high end future for hubs in MTB, but there's no reason for them to become popular for road racing. There's just no way that Shimano is willing to front the development costs for a Nexus-capable STI brifter if they aren't going to get a payback - and they won't. Now, a real coup for them would be a new hub that just happened to require the same cable pull as existing Shimano derailers and shifters. But this would be a happy coincidence, if anything. I have no doubt that Shimano will develop a new next-gen hub at some point, but I can't imagine that they will bother to design it to match the cable pull of their road derailers and shifters - there's just no motivation there.

I am really excited that the OP pulled up my i9 thread! I haven't heard anything about them since I made that post, either. We might have wait until fall, since I don't think they're being released until sometime around then. We'll just have to wait and see.
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Old 06-28-06, 10:26 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by grolby
STI shifters for internal gear hubs just ain't gonna happen, at least not anytime in the next, oh, ten years or so. Shimano pours a huge amount of R&D money into their STI shifters and road groups. The road market is large enough, with enough consumers willing to pay the "road tax" for their parts, that Shimano can recoup this investment and then some. But the market for internal gear hubs right now is mostly recreational riders and commuters, most of whom are riding bikes with upright handlebars, which of course means that they are going to be using twist or Rapid Fire type shifters. The number of people putting internal gear hubs in high end road bikes is vanishingly small. There might be a high end future for hubs in MTB, but there's no reason for them to become popular for road racing. There's just no way that Shimano is willing to front the development costs for a Nexus-capable STI brifter if they aren't going to get a payback - and they won't. Now, a real coup for them would be a new hub that just happened to require the same cable pull as existing Shimano derailers and shifters. But this would be a happy coincidence, if anything. I have no doubt that Shimano will develop a new next-gen hub at some point, but I can't imagine that they will bother to design it to match the cable pull of their road derailers and shifters - there's just no motivation there.

I am really excited that the OP pulled up my i9 thread! I haven't heard anything about them since I made that post, either. We might have wait until fall, since I don't think they're being released until sometime around then. We'll just have to wait and see.

There is hope! First of all, I would be surprised, after seeing Alfine, if Shimano doesn't go for a drop bar solution in the next model year or two. The development costs should be minimal. BUT, I don't think we have to wait for Shimano. I recently came up with a design for an aftermarket shift adapter that would be able to (in theory) to convert any indexed shifter to any rear hub. It's actually pretty simple in concept. I plan on pursuing this (and I'm in the bike industry). I'm going to post some more here to gauge interest. Hopefully the demand is more than just a few wackos like us
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Old 06-28-06, 11:04 AM   #5
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Um... 10 years is a long time. You sure about that?
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Old 06-28-06, 08:49 PM   #6
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Um... 10 years is a long time. You sure about that?
Nope! Just not enormously optimistic, that's all. There's a huge amount of money in shifting components, especially for road bikes. Believe me, I will be thrilled if a solution is found here, although to be honest I have little interest in brifters with my internal gear hubs.
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Old 06-28-06, 09:24 PM   #7
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To heck with brifters. All Shimano needs to do, and this shouldn't be too hard (unless the issue below is a problem) is to modify an 8-speed bar-end lever to have the right ratio of cable pulls for the Nexus hub. A good deal of the tooling would carry right over.

The issue that could be a problem is if the shifting accuracy or range of an indexed barcon is less enough than that of a twist-shifter. I think the range aspect could be the main problem here.
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Old 08-30-07, 01:58 AM   #8
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I contacted the SRAM dealer in the US, I was told to check back in the fall. I haven't seen the i-Motion 9 in Europe either: I called the SRAM dealer in Hungary, and they told me that they ordered a couple of the i9 hub gears in April, but then had to cancel because SRAM kept delaying delivery. They told me that since there is a minimum order quantity and the season is over, I shouldn't expect them before 2008 &mdash; they are not gonna order N of them to have N-1 sitting in storage until next spring.

Let's face it: the season is over, and the i-Motion 9 turned out to be vaporware. Nice job, SRAM, I am getting a Shimano Alfine.
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Old 08-30-07, 02:15 AM   #9
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^^^^

If you are in Europe this place has good prices on the Alfine. I've ordered from them many times, it's a good shop. They have the i9 too, but not a disc version.

http://bike-components.de
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Old 08-30-07, 07:01 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by tkpapp View Post
I contacted the SRAM dealer in the US, I was told to check back in the fall. I haven't seen the i-Motion 9 in Europe either: I called the SRAM dealer in Hungary, and they told me that they ordered a couple of the i9 hub gears in April, but then had to cancel because SRAM kept delaying delivery. They told me that since there is a minimum order quantity and the season is over, I shouldn't expect them before 2008 &mdash; they are not gonna order N of them to have N-1 sitting in storage until next spring.

Let's face it: the season is over, and the i-Motion 9 turned out to be vaporware. Nice job, SRAM, I am getting a Shimano Alfine.
Here in Canada, my distributor had the i 9 in the 07 catalogue, and I was asured delivery by March, but here we are months later and they still don't have em. I have new bikes with the Alfine, but I have not been able to get those on the aftermarket either.
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