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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 10-08-15, 02:05 PM   #1
baldilocks
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IGH commuter

Does anyone use a Internal Gear Hub for commuting? I prefer a Mountain bike, but have found a hybrid that I could put better tires on for the winter. It has a Shimano Nexus 8 speed IGH. Feel free to persuade or discourage me.
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Old 10-08-15, 02:08 PM   #2
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Does anyone use a Internal Gear Hub for commuting? I prefer a Mountain bike, but have found a hybrid that I could put better tires on for the winter. It has a Shimano Nexus 8 speed IGH. Feel free to persuade or discourage me.
I'm one of several forum members who ride a bike with an IGH. Mine has a Nexus 8. Once in a while it slips out of alignment on my 6th or 7th speed, then in somehow snaps back into place. It's easy enough though to adjust the alignment - all it is is adjusting your shifter cable until a couple of lines in the hub line up.
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Old 10-08-15, 02:12 PM   #3
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I ride an Alfine 8 speed hub on a rigid MTB frame as a commuter sometimes. I like it a lot. Depending on your budget and skillset you could build something similar out of a single speed mtb with an IGH added afterwards.
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Old 10-08-15, 02:15 PM   #4
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4 of my 6 bikes have an IGH, ranging from 80 years old to new, and I've never had a problem with any of them. I wouldn't use anything else for my primary commuter. Minor speed and weight concerns be dammed, I want reliability and low maintenance for daily transportation.
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Old 10-08-15, 03:02 PM   #5
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i had a Nexus 7 on my commuter when living in Sacramento. it always felt like a king when i down shifted to first while waiting at a light.
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Old 10-08-15, 03:02 PM   #6
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I have a Giant Seek 0 2014, with an Alfine 8 speed. It's OK. Noticeably draggy compared to derailleurs but I knew that coming in. Generally it shifts just fine. Some of the gear ratio jumps are a bit wide; often I find that one gear is too low and the next one too high. I've never had that with derailleurs.

The Seek 0 also weighs about double what my road bike does, so I probably blame the IGH for a lot more than it's really due. I just started riding this bike again yesterday to get used to the heavier bike and the shorter route before I have to put on the studs in a few weeks until next March.
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Old 10-08-15, 03:08 PM   #7
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Been commuting for 2 years now on my 2013 Brompton with 3 speed IGH(+ 2 speed derailer).
One thing to consider is how cold your winter rides are and if that will affect your IGH. In my
area it doesn't go below single digits; no problems so far:

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Old 10-08-15, 03:11 PM   #8
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I have a Giant Seek 0 2014, with an Alfine 8 speed. It's OK. Noticeably draggy compared to derailleurs but I knew that coming in.
i have an afline 8 on one of my commuting bikes, and i only really notice its "draggyness" in cold whether, which is a curse because that bike has become my dedicated winter beast.

however, the IGH, despite its drag, is also a blessing for winter riding because of all the gloppy salty mess that can make a conventional derailleur set-up more difficult to maintain.
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Old 10-08-15, 03:25 PM   #9
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I personally wouldn't get anything but the 14 speed... JMO
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Old 10-08-15, 03:26 PM   #10
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I have an Alfine 11 that I got in June. No problems or even hint of such so far (2,000 miles or so). I love the straight chain line that IGH can give you.
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Old 10-08-15, 03:39 PM   #11
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Nuvinci 360 here. For me it is about reliability and low maintenance.
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Old 10-08-15, 03:45 PM   #12
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i have an afline 8 on one of my commuting bikes, and i only really notice its "draggyness" in cold whether, which is a curse because that bike has become my dedicated winter beast.

however, the IGH, despite its drag, is also a blessing for winter riding because of all the gloppy salty mess that can make a conventional derailleur set-up more difficult to maintain.
I found the same thing until I disassembled and did the ATF dip. I don't notice a difference between my derailleur and IGH bikes now (although they are very different bikes so I am comparing apples to sign posts).
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Old 10-08-15, 03:46 PM   #13
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Does anyone use a Internal Gear Hub for commuting? I prefer a Mountain bike, but have found a hybrid that I could put better tires on for the winter. It has a Shimano Nexus 8 speed IGH. Feel free to persuade or discourage me.
I have a GT Eightball with a Shimano Alfine 8 speed IGH.


Great all around bike. I've put on Schwalbe Marathon Dureme 40c tires on it.
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Old 10-08-15, 05:06 PM   #14
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I use an Shimano 8 speed Alfine for winter riding. It's ok. I wouldn't ride in the winter with a derailler without fenders, the salt and sand will just eat your drivetrain alive.

I wouldn't ride when in the summer (unless it was free), I do miss the wider range of shifting and gears you get with a derailler. It's a little slower and a little clunkier.

It is low maintenance though. Not only does nothing get thrown into getting ground up in the derailler, but the chain doesn't have to handle being moved around like on a derailler. Just sits there straight all the time. Inside of the IGH stays very very clean in winter riding.
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Old 10-08-15, 05:09 PM   #15
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I have been using an Alfine 8 for 8 years, pretty much every day. I run it with an annual oil dip and the innards are as new. It is reliable, good down to -8C (I haven't tried any lower), but with the original grease, it sticks in gear below -5C, at least for 20mins of riding (leave your bike in a useful gear in the cold).

Pick a reliable chain tensioning system. Spring tensioners are for retro-fitting and should not be found on new bikes. Sliding vertical dropouts are best. Eccentric bottom brackets vary. I like the 2-bolt ones, and self-releasing wedges, but not setscrews. Horizontal dropouts are simple and light but work best with rim not disc brakes.
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Old 10-08-15, 05:18 PM   #16
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I have old 3-speed Sturmey Archer hubs on my commuter bike and my fun bike. Both are old steel road frames. One has all of the commuting encumbrances (chain guard, fenders, etc.) and the other is stripped down to the bare essentials.

For some reason, 3-speeds don't get much love around here. The community seems to be divided on whether 3 speeds are enough... or too many. But like single speed bikes, their practicality depends on the particulars of your commute: Terrain, distance, your physique, etc. It helps to choose just the right set of chain ring and cog to match your needs.

It's a toss up whether the benefits of an IGH outweigh the cost and weight, and the choice might come down to your aesthetic preferences. Out of two hubs, both 50+ years old, only one has ever needed repair, and I fixed it myself using repair manuals and spare parts that remain available to this day.
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Old 10-08-15, 06:13 PM   #17
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I have old 3-speed Sturmey Archer hubs on my commuter bike and my fun bike. Both are old steel road frames. One has all of the commuting encumbrances (chain guard, fenders, etc.) and the other is stripped down to the bare essentials.

For some reason, 3-speeds don't get much love around here. The community seems to be divided on whether 3 speeds are enough... or too many. But like single speed bikes, their practicality depends on the particulars of your commute: Terrain, distance, your physique, etc. It helps to choose just the right set of chain ring and cog to match your needs.

It's a toss up whether the benefits of an IGH outweigh the cost and weight, and the choice might come down to your aesthetic preferences. Out of two hubs, both 50+ years old, only one has ever needed repair, and I fixed it myself using repair manuals and spare parts that remain available to this day.
The only thing I have against them are the large hills we have where I ride. Other than that, I still like them and seriously wish I has the old Phillips 3 speed I restored when I was in high school. It had a Sturmey Archer hub on it as well. I loved it until it began slipping too much. I should have kept it.
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Old 10-09-15, 05:16 AM   #18
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I have old 3-speed Sturmey Archer hubs on my commuter bike and my fun bike. Both are old steel road frames. One has all of the commuting encumbrances (chain guard, fenders, etc.) and the other is stripped down to the bare essentials.

For some reason, 3-speeds don't get much love around here. The community seems to be divided on whether 3 speeds are enough... or too many. But like single speed bikes, their practicality depends on the particulars of your commute: Terrain, distance, your physique, etc. It helps to choose just the right set of chain ring and cog to match your needs.

It's a toss up whether the benefits of an IGH outweigh the cost and weight, and the choice might come down to your aesthetic preferences. Out of two hubs, both 50+ years old, only one has ever needed repair, and I fixed it myself using repair manuals and spare parts that remain available to this day.
I have a Sturmey 5 speed with drum brakes on my commuter. My ride is somewhat hilly; however I find that I almost never use 1st or 5th, primarily because of the wide range. I wish I opted for a 3 speed hub when I built the wheel.
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Old 10-09-15, 06:10 AM   #19
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I mostly commute on an IGH bike. Currently it's a ca. 1970 Falcon, currently sporting a Sturmey Archer 3 speed hub. I had a Shimano Nexus 8 on it for a while, but It wore out. Before that, it had a Sturmey Archer 5 speed, the early version that required two shifters. Actually, that might be the hub that's on it now, too; but I only have one shifter installed, so for now it's a three speed.
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Old 10-09-15, 08:18 AM   #20
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IGH really depends on your riding style and needs. I commuted for a couple of years on a bike I set up with a Nexus 8 hub. Worked fine, but depending on how I adjusted the gearing, I was infrequently looking for either a lower gear or a higher one. For my longer commute with hills, I switched to a derailleur setup with a wider gear range (11-36 cass, 34/48 rings). Shorter commute or flatter terrain and I probably would have stuck with the 8sp IGH. When putting together the new bike, Alfine 11 was new and still didn't give me all the range I was looking for; Rohloff was too expensive.

Since then, my commute has shortened and on the work end of a bus-bike-bus commute, I keep a 2sp SA S2C IGH bike locked up. Also have an electra Moto 3 with the SRAM I-Motion 3sp disk hub for fun. And until just recently, was using a folding bike with the Sachs 3x7 Dual Drive hub as intermittent commuter and travel bike.
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Old 10-09-15, 09:00 AM   #21
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I put a Nexus 7 on my Firmstrong cruiser. I was just trying to make it more ridable, but now it's my go-to do-all bike. Using Sheldon Brown's advice, I have a cog that will make 6th gear right at 70", but I sort of like the way it is now--- outbound, 6th is my flatland gear, though it's a little steep. Later, I can drop to 5th, and keep spinning pretty well, even if I'm a little gassed. I almost never use 1st, even with a 3 mile uphill to get home. Downhill, I go until I spin out, then coast.
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Old 10-09-15, 09:08 AM   #22
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Nearly every bike you see in major bicycling countries like The Netherlands and Denmark are IGH. There's a reason.

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Old 10-09-15, 11:00 AM   #23
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I have been using an Alfine 8 for 8 years, pretty much every day. I run it with an annual oil dip and the innards are as new. It is reliable, good down to -8C (I haven't tried any lower), but with the original grease, it sticks in gear below -5C, at least for 20mins of riding (leave your bike in a useful gear in the cold).
This is good to know. Very good to know. I'm planning on building a nexus 8 winter commuter bike for here in Montana, where we will inevitably get temperatures of -30 - -40 at least one week every year. (Yes I ride through that, carefully.) Maybe I'll make a thread about it if I have problems. The bike would be garage kept so I'm not sure if it would be a problem for me.
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Old 10-09-15, 03:46 PM   #24
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I agree that one disadvantage of the Shimano Nexus/Alfine 8 is that you may run out of gears if you are trying to add speed to your descent with pedaling, depending on the hill grade. I've progressed in my pedaling strength and technique that I no longer use my first speed to climb the hill to my house. My bike came with an 18T cog along with the Nexus 8. So I'm thinking of replacing the cog with the next lower size (16T) to bump the top end speed a bit while sacrificing some lower gear range.

Alfine 11 should be closer to road bike range - not quite there, but closer than the 8-speeds.

14-speed/Rohloff is $1500 by itself - not in my price range for sure.
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Old 10-09-15, 05:52 PM   #25
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I have a bike with the Nexus 8. I ride often in wet conditions. One thing to know about the Nexus is that (at least as I understand it) it is not as well sealed as the Alfine. Mine needed an oil bath after only 1500 miles.

I do love being able to downshift at a red light, but otherwise I'm not as sold on the benefits of the IGH as I was when I first got it. It makes changing a flat tire a major project.
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