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Old 09-14-16, 12:40 PM   #26
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I've taken apart the Sturmey Archer AW a few times. Getting the pawl springs in is tricky, but the rest is easy.

If you are riding a 3-speed hub and haven't oiled it, oil it. You can't do any harm by doing so, and you are likely to improve its longevity.

Believe me, pedaling lightly while shifting an AW is just fine, but I emphasize lightly.

Lifting the wheel to shift a derailleur is rarely convenient, especially if the rear end of the bike is loaded with luggage.

Perhaps I'm more mechanically inclined than you are. I can literally adjust the cable on an AW with my eyes closed, doing it all by feel and sound. Also, removing and replacing a wheel with an AW hub is easy for me. Of course, I am not a typical cyclist. I worked at bike shops as a mechanic. But we don't have full chain cases here in the US. Those definitely take time.
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Old 09-14-16, 10:01 PM   #27
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I'm not a pro mechanic, though I'm quite mechanically inclined. I've found that adjusting the AW by feel actually works better than eyeing the indicator rod through the hole in the axle nut. The method that I use is as documented at St. Sheldon's site.

Getting the wheel in and out to fix a flat takes me a couple minutes. Since my bike has upright bars, I just flip it upside down in the grass. Better still, I haven't had a single flat since I switched to puncture-resistant tires a couple years ago.

You're right about the gear spacing on the AW hub. I realize that a 3-speed hub with closer spacing would be a bit more complex, but I'd love to try one. I want to put a 3-speed on my winter bike when its existing drivetrain disintegrates into a pile of rust, and I'll probably set it up so that high gear is the cruising gear, and low is for mooshing my way through wet snow.
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Old 09-15-16, 02:42 PM   #28
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I have been commuting on Alfine 8 since 2007. It is convenient, clean and easy to use. Wheel removal is really not that hard. The only problem I've had was before I started oil dipping the innards, when it was on original grease. After a week of -10C nights and 0C days, the hub would refuse to change gear until about 20mins into a ride. After oil dip the cold weather performance is as good as normal and it operates more smoothly.
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Old 09-15-16, 04:34 PM   #29
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I've been commuting on a Nexus 7 for 15 years and about 60,000 miles, daily, year round. I did have to have the hub innards replaced about 7-8 years ago. Other than that, it has required no maintenance except for annual greasing. The only problem is that ice can form in the shift cable housing. Regular cable replacement prevents this.
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Old 09-16-16, 01:52 AM   #30
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I've taken apart the Sturmey Archer AW a few times. Getting the pawl springs in is tricky, but the rest is easy.

If you are riding a 3-speed hub and haven't oiled it, oil it. You can't do any harm by doing so, and you are likely to improve its longevity.

Believe me, pedaling lightly while shifting an AW is just fine, but I emphasize lightly.

Lifting the wheel to shift a derailleur is rarely convenient, especially if the rear end of the bike is loaded with luggage.

Perhaps I'm more mechanically inclined than you are. I can literally adjust the cable on an AW with my eyes closed, doing it all by feel and sound. Also, removing and replacing a wheel with an AW hub is easy for me. Of course, I am not a typical cyclist. I worked at bike shops as a mechanic. But we don't have full chain cases here in the US. Those definitely take time.
That's what I don't get. If you go low maintenance with an IGH why keep the chain exposed to require high maintenance? And if you make an IGH, why not put an oil port on it?

I'm an amateur, I like to think I know what I'm doing and therefore know what not to do. I like to take things apart but not getting it back together again as good as it was spoils the fun. If it's designed to take apart as little a possible, it's quite hard to get it exactly right. I have another bike with a SA3 that I'm going to sell, and the gears need to be adjusted, so I'm going to give listening and feeling a try.

Of course it's better to oil the IHG regularly, I'm just a bit too lazy and admire durability too much feel any kind of urgency. Also I only recently upped my standards of maintenance because the risk of theft decreased so I can enjoy a nicer bike. My bikes used to be outside at night a lot and then a certain indifference towards the bike helps enjoying it, worrying about the bike too much kind of takes the freedom out of cycling.

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You're right about the gear spacing on the AW hub. I realize that a 3-speed hub with closer spacing would be a bit more complex, but I'd love to try one. I want to put a 3-speed on my winter bike when its existing drivetrain disintegrates into a pile of rust, and I'll probably set it up so that high gear is the cruising gear, and low is for mooshing my way through wet snow.
3-speeds with the gears closer together are produced in the 50's and 60's, but I'm afraid they are quite difficult to find and probably are quite expensive too.
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Old 09-17-16, 03:26 AM   #31
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I've commuted on chain driven bikes with rear and front derailleur before and switched a year ago to a Rohloff with Gates Carbon drive. The difference in maintenance is huge.
The chain needed constant maintenance, especially during the winter month. The shifting got iffy when water got into the cable housing and rusted out the cables and the chain needed constant oiling.

With the belt drive and the IGH = no maintenance, even if the bike has been put away dripping wet. Close to 5000km on that bike and still rides flawlessly. A dream for commuting, which is 9 miles one way and I ride it year round, every day, no matter what the weather.

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Old 09-17-16, 07:29 PM   #32
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Thanks for all the insight. It's great, but I should also have asked about roller brakes. I currently have canti brakes. I haven't had a problem with rim brakes yet, they seem less touchy and easier to maintain than disks. But I'm now having to replace my rear rim due to brake wear. My frame doesn't have the bosses for disk brakes although I can replace the front fork. Are good roller or drum brakes worth the expense? There are a few steep hills in my area but I don't usually have to brake that often being that it's all country roads and some highway to get to work.

Thanks again.
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Old 09-18-16, 12:57 AM   #33
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Thanks for all the insight. It's great, but I should also have asked about roller brakes. I currently have canti brakes. I haven't had a problem with rim brakes yet, they seem less touchy and easier to maintain than disks. But I'm now having to replace my rear rim due to brake wear. My frame doesn't have the bosses for disk brakes although I can replace the front fork. Are good roller or drum brakes worth the expense? There are a few steep hills in my area but I don't usually have to brake that often being that it's all country roads and some highway to get to work.

Thanks again.
I've no experience with disc brakes, but drum brakes are the best. They are practically no maintenance, they hardly wear, so you'll have to readjust them once every 3 years or something and if you don't they will still stop you. They have all the stopping power you possibly need and it takes a very heavy cargo bike and quite a mountain to have any chance of fading through heat. And that's without the modern cooling plate with fins. They always work and they always work the same and they will keep working.
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Old 09-19-16, 08:00 PM   #34
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Roller brakes are quite common in Europe, particularly on higher end city bikes, and we have them on most of our bikes either both front & rear or front roller and rear coaster. No problems on any downhills here.
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Old 09-19-16, 08:07 PM   #35
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The other day I test rode a bike with an Alfine 11. It was dead silent. Seemed to work very smoothly. Quite a contrast to my noisy Alfine 8.

Perhaps many of my complaints are customer service oriented. But, all the money given to shops who refuse to warranty the thing is reason enough to hate it. Especially when the money doesn't solve the problem. And none of them ever offer refunds...they just want more money.
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Old 09-19-16, 08:44 PM   #36
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Drum brakes are probably the lowest maintenance brakes. That's what the bike share bikes have. They don't need special frames or forks. But they are the heaviest, if that matters.
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Old 09-20-16, 09:14 AM   #37
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I have a Giant Seek 0 that came with an Alfine 8 from the factory. For a couple of years I hated it but I recently did some maintenance and it's better now.

From the factory they had brazed on some ferrules to guide the shift cable, and their placement was horrible. It caused a significant kink in the last couple of inches of cable, so the shifting was very slow and draggy.

On the last maintenance I just left the cable out of the next to last ferrule so the cable could make a smoother curve, and it shifts great now, with half the pressure on the shifter.

The hub is heavy, but the whole bike is heavy. After about 2000 miles I did a service where I did the automatic transmission fluid dunk. I don't know if it helped or not. Maybe a little, or maybe only when it's cold.
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Old 09-20-16, 09:21 AM   #38
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As far as brakes, the Giant came with hydraulic discs. I'm pushing 3000 miles so far and I haven't done anything to them other than wave the power washer over them to knock out the junk and road salt.

They are noisy as hell though.

Pads are cheap, I think about $8 a pair (aftermarket). I bought a full replacement set (from ebay) when I bought the bike, but it's been 3 years now and the original pads are not even 1/2 worn yet.
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Old 09-20-16, 06:14 PM   #39
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3-speeds with the gears closer together are produced in the 50's and 60's, but I'm afraid they are quite difficult to find and probably are quite expensive too.
Indeed, I'm keeping my eye out for one, but I'll probably have to outbid @noglider for it.
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Old 09-22-16, 03:42 AM   #40
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I had a disappointing experience with the Shimano Nexus 8. After a few years of use the retaining clip (which holds the gear cassette in place) broke. According to the parts list it should have cost .75 USD. They told my LBS they didn't make it anymore and I would have to buy a new unit. I did, a Nuvinci N360. I've been happy with that for about 5 years now. Absolutely no maintenance, no friction and a range from 27-97 gear inches with the cog I use. It is heavier than the Shimano, but, as many have said, you don't notice it riding, especially since I am usually carrying other "stuff" while commuting.

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Old 09-22-16, 06:43 AM   #41
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I experienced nothing but frustration in the 6 months I had a nexus 8. I redid the shift cable several times(including having a professional bike mechanic friend double check my work), but nothing seemed to help. The hub seemed to slip with any hard pedaling, and standing on a hill was a gamble. Flats were definitely not fun, and the drag from the hub was definitely noticeable. I sold the bike in favor of something with a triple. I know some people love these hubs, but I don't really see an advantage. Derailleurs are so cheap in comparison. If I had spent the time I spent fiddling with the igh on cleaning my drivetrain, I would have come out about the same with maintenance. Just my .02.
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Old 09-22-16, 09:07 PM   #42
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I experienced nothing but frustration in the 6 months I had a nexus 8. I redid the shift cable several times(including having a professional bike mechanic friend double check my work), but nothing seemed to help. The hub seemed to slip with any hard pedaling, and standing on a hill was a gamble. Flats were definitely not fun, and the drag from the hub was definitely noticeable. I sold the bike in favor of something with a triple. I know some people love these hubs, but I don't really see an advantage. Derailleurs are so cheap in comparison. If I had spent the time I spent fiddling with the igh on cleaning my drivetrain, I would have come out about the same with maintenance. Just my .02.
Your experience is very similar to my own.
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Old 09-22-16, 09:24 PM   #43
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and most IGH shifters are made for 22.2 mm handlebars. Mounting any IGH shifter on a bike with drop bars (23.8 mm) is a challenge; sometimes an insurmountable challenge.

The Sturmey Archer bar ends are pretty nice. I also did this last year, which I thought might be weird, but actually has been fine:

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Old 09-23-16, 06:12 AM   #44
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The Sturmey Archer bar ends are pretty nice. I also did this last year, which I thought might be weird, but actually has been fine:

That is true, the new Sturmey Archer bar ends, which are available for their three and five speed hubs, are quite nice. J-Tek makes aftermarket bar end shifters for both the Shimano and Sturmey Archer 8-speed hubs, and those too work quite nicely, though they add considerably to the cost of the project.

So yes, someone who's committed to the project can definitely get an IGH shifter onto a drop bar one way or another. But I suspect a lot of the commuters on this forum are looking for relatively easy solutions, and will not have the patience to track down a trigger shifter like the one in your photo, which is over 60 years old. The newer ones are much more difficult to fit onto a 23.8 mm handlebar.
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Old 09-23-16, 11:19 AM   #45
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But I suspect a lot of the commuters on this forum are looking for relatively easy solutions, and will not have the patience to track down a trigger shifter like the one in your photo, which is over 60 years old. The newer ones are much more difficult to fit onto a 23.8 mm handlebar.

I'll save them some time: Just PM @nlerner! He has a thousand!
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Old 09-23-16, 11:29 AM   #46
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One or two people here on BF have suggested that you could shift a three-speed hub with a friction shifter. I bet it wouldn't be too hard with a little practice. It would be safer if you didn't use an AW because of the so-called neutral gear between 2nd and 3rd. In fact, I think @rhm said it should be possible to use a left brifter. In theory, you would adjust the middle position of the shifter for 2nd gear. You just need the tightest position to get you into 1st and the loosest position to remove all slack from the cable.
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Old 09-23-16, 01:05 PM   #47
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I've commuted on chain driven bikes with rear and front derailleur before and switched a year ago to a Rohloff with Gates Carbon drive. The difference in maintenance is huge.
The chain needed constant maintenance, especially during the winter month. The shifting got iffy when water got into the cable housing and rusted out the cables and the chain needed constant oiling.

With the belt drive and the IGH = no maintenance, even if the bike has been put away dripping wet. Close to 5000km on that bike and still rides flawlessly. A dream for commuting, which is 9 miles one way and I ride it year round, every day, no matter what the weather.

Thomas

I have had the same good experience commuting with Gates Carbon drive, Rohloff hub and disk brakes. I still get flat tires once in a while though but overall not much weekly maintenance.
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Old 09-24-16, 07:48 AM   #48
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I don't know about the 95%, I think you are forgetting all the single speeds with kickback brakes and the French and Italian love for derailleurs which hold up very well in sunny weather use in warm climates.
Agree. I was thinking of the single-speed kickbacks/coaster as effectively IGH (entire drivetrain is internal, enclosed, and near zero maintenance).

When you consider how many IGH (including single speed kickbacks) there are in Germany, NL, Scandinavia, and Switzerland I'd be surprised if the derailleurs used for commuting are even 5%. If you include road racing and mountain bikes not used for commuting then it's a different story.
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Old 09-24-16, 10:12 AM   #49
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Agree. I was thinking of the single-speed kickbacks/coaster as effectively IGH (entire drivetrain is internal, enclosed, and near zero maintenance).

When you consider how many IGH (including single speed kickbacks) there are in Germany, NL, Scandinavia, and Switzerland I'd be surprised if the derailleurs used for commuting are even 5%. If you include road racing and mountain bikes not used for commuting then it's a different story.
It's not that it never rains in France, but they have a tradition of riding and producing derailleur and I assume this tradtions continues among commuters. Cyclists tend to stick with certain technical solutions which are normal in their country and made by their own manufacterers, whether they are the most sensible or not. Here we call a presta valve a French valve, because it's typical for them and we have to use an adapter. The Dutch kept using bottle dynamo's until the battery fed leds turned out be much more practical, but better solutions like a hub dynamo were extremely rare for half a century. The Enlglish stuck with their oil bath chaincases for decades allthough innovation on the chain made that unnecessary.

I believe it has much more to do with local manufacterers and what they know than with consumers beeing rational and practical. The French had a part in almost every bike innovation in the 20th century, but internal gears were English, German and even Swiss an Dutch, bot not French. The French invented and produced derailleurs, so I think that if a Frenchman thinks about gears, he sees a derailleur.
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Old 07-15-17, 08:04 AM   #50
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Posting in an old thread, I know, but I just wanted to post an update:
I found a Shimano Alfine 11 with a complete Di2 system with drop bar brake controllers. I decided on the 11 because it's an oil lubricated hub. I had taken a look at Aaron Goss' web page that features tons of rusted out grease lubricated hubs from poor maintenance and not enough grease upon assembly. There was some email conversation with Aaron as well and after contemplating gear ranges and price it was almost a no brainer. The hub I wound up with was a new take off mounted to a 32 hole disk rim, it was on Craigslist for $500. It even came with compressionless brake housing. I finally got all the componets I needed, mounted it, and had my first real ride on it today on my morning commute. I paired it with a 36 tooth stainless chainring by Surly, and am using the Surly Singlator to tension the chain. I do have sliding dropouts, but I also have fenders and need the rear wheel in just the right spot. I can play with that some more and will see if I can do without the tensioner. I also wound up getting a new steel front fork (for free) with a disk brake mount, took the rotor and rim off the Alfine and built a new front wheel with an Avid BB5 road caliper. I laced the Alfine to a Mavic A719 - double wall, double eyelets - with straight gauge spokes. I don't like how the manual suggested I mount the battery and junction box so I purchased an extra cable long enough and a small bag to house those components under the saddle, and I can stuff a tool/patch kit in there as well. The rear makes use of the cantilever brakes I had originally, but seeing as how the yoke rubs on my pannier rack and it feels weak I'm going to upgrade that to a direct pull canti with a travel agent.
My first ride was great, but I do notice there is the occasional snap or click as if something isn't catching, it happens sometimes when I shift from 5 to 6, but never shifting from 7 to 6. And it seems to be less frequent the more I ride it so I'm writing it off as a break in, get oil on the gears, kind of thing. I also don't know how long this thing has been sitting in the shop I bought it from so I am going to change the oil in it. I did get Shimano oil and the Rohloff cleaning kit, I'll be able to get that done today and see if there is any improvement there. Other than that and getting use to shifting it, I really like it. I really don't notice the difference between it and my old derailleur drive train except in the lower few gears, it doesn't have that direct drive feel that a derailleur system has. It's softer but not spongy, it kind of feels like an exercise bike in the gym or something. When I get up to speed though, it still feels a sporty. Granted I slammed by bars so it's a bit more roadster like instead of trekking like so it's probably all in my head. But really no difference in performance is noticed, it feels just as lively as the new derailleur system on my other bike.
If you guys are interested I can post an update in a while and let you know how this hub is working out.
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