Hi, anyone upgraded an old ten-speed by throwing out the derailler and getting a 7- or 8-speed internal gear hub like those on sheldon brown's harris cyclery website? Would it save much weight? How hard would it be to switch out the hub and re-lace the spokes?
And how good would the gearing be? Would it be enough to take me on casual day rides with some light hills?
Does it give you a more balanced rear wheel?
Can you use multiple chainrings and a front derailler to increase your gearing options?
Is this just an insane line of thinking?
Let's discuss, because I'm intrigued by the possiblities,
Do a search on internal hubs and a BUNCH of threads will magically appear. They should answer the majority of your questions.
I'm at work, so I don't have time to type my experience out... again. But it you PM me I'd be happy to send you some material on my internally geared commuter.
To answer one of your questions: An internally geared hub bike does indeed make a fine mount for casual day rides. But if you're riding more than 15 or 20 miles and climbing any significant hills you might think twice.
Also: The weight of an internally geared hub will not give you a more balance rear wheel. On the contrary, adding between 1 to 2 lbs to the rear wheel, along with your rack and panniers or trunk, only makes your bike feel heavy in the rear. You'll notice it at first, but get used to it.