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Old 08-16-07, 09:58 AM   #1
redmist
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building a city, fixed frame, internal hub commute bike

hello all,

i'm somewhat of a newbie here. i've been commuting in nyc for the last 17 years, in the past, mostly on el-cheapo $150 mountain bikes and most recently on a bog-fatty tired freestyle/jump bike. i ride somewhat hard and have bent my older cheap bike frames jumping off of curbs, running over potholes, and riding over cobblestone and the like. that's why i chose such a unlikely bike for commuting, besides, i like the way the bike looked (trek bruiser). anyway, this bike was stolen last week (i was drunk, and leaned it against the door of a deli and as soon as i turned my head towards the counter, someone grabbed it and jetted).

so recently, i rode a friends single speed fixed bike and then tried out some road bikes with flat bars at the LBS and decided that i wanted a more road bike for my commute (pedaling such a fat tire is really too much work). after pricing some name-brand bikes (specialized sirrus, gary fisher menona), i decided that i could probably build something custom for the same price or just a bit more ($700-$850).

i chatted with a friend who was a fixed bike aficionado and asked for his advice, and we came up with having a bike built for me at a LBS which i had not known (which he pointed out to me was just a few blocks away and specialized in fixies)

http://www.bikecult.com/works/index.html

so i went over there and found a friendly staff who were bike crazy. they recommended either a pake frame, a soma frame or a moth frame. i decided that i wanted gears for my ride over any one of the bridges instead of a single speed, so the shop recommended an 3 speed or 8 speed internal hub. i wanted slight riser bars, a comfy brooks saddle, front and rear brakes, and 700c wheels and slick tires.

does anyone have experience with these eternally geared hubs? i'd like some advice on which ones to are better than the others. are there any hubs that have disc brake mounts? on the moth frame i'm looking
at, it isn't possible to mount a standard brake so if i went that route, i would need to get a disc brake for the rear.

feel free to give me any advice on building a custom commuter bike.

thanks all for your advice!

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Old 08-16-07, 10:09 AM   #2
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I love the Nexus 8 speed on my L200. Shifting at stops is invaluable. Plus, near zero maintenance and a simple chainline that can easily covered (an chaincase will make the chain near zero maintenance). Sometimes it slips a bit if I forget to let off a bit and shift while the system is under lots of torque (like climbing a hill), but otherwise I don't think I'll go back to a deraileur system if I can help it. The SG8R25 is supposed to be even better than the SG8R20 on my bike. If you can get the Alfine components, better still.
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Old 08-16-07, 10:10 AM   #3
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Surly - Nexus

I recently built up a Surly Cross Check frame with a Shimano Nexus 8 hub. I put a Surly 1x1 fork on so that I could have a disc brake up front. V-brake in the rear. I have a Brooks b-17 saddle, fenders, and a Orgiin 8 SpaceBar handlebar.

An awsome ride.
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Old 08-16-07, 10:54 AM   #4
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As far as I know, there aren't any retail-available internal hubs with disc brakes in the US. The SRAM i9 and Shimano Alfine are both available as (spendy) imports from Europe, though, and both can be had with discs. You could always use a front disc and a rear V-brake with a Shimano Nexus 8 redband, or get a nexus with a coaster or roller brake.
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Old 08-16-07, 11:07 AM   #5
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The Sturmey-Archer eight speed hub is available in a disc model...but...you could use any of several coaster brake internal gear hubs to give yourself a secondary/back-up braking system - or - one of a couple of roller brake model internal gear hubs.

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...eternally geared hubs
This is my favorite thing I've read on the internet in months.

HTH,
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Old 08-16-07, 01:15 PM   #6
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As far as I know, there aren't any retail-available internal hubs with disc brakes in the US. The SRAM i9 and Shimano Alfine are both available as (spendy) imports from Europe, though, and both can be had with discs. You could always use a front disc and a rear V-brake with a Shimano Nexus 8 redband, or get a nexus with a coaster or roller brake.
i don't believe i can use a rear v-brake as the brake mount on the moth frame is too far away from where the rim would sit (at least that's what the bike shop told me) , that's why i was wondering about a disc option just for the rear as i don't like disc brakes.

i'm not familiar with roller brakes, are they any good? i'll have to do some research on those.

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does anyone have experience with these eternally geared hubs?
whoops!!!

Last edited by redmist; 12-12-07 at 09:00 AM.
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Old 08-16-07, 01:29 PM   #7
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If you can deal with 26" wheels,a Swobo Otis would be just the ticket for a flat city like NYC. 3sp/coaster rear,disc front,will take fenders/racks,nice ride.

If you're going to run an internal gear hub,you really want either a coaster or integrated/roller brake. Either will require much less maintenance than a disc or rim brake and will be uneffected by weather. Coasters don't require any cable routing or levers,roller brakes will let you freely spin the pedals.

A side note,most of the frames you're looking at are track or road frames. If you ride year-round in NYC,you really should look for something with clearance for wider treaded tires,full fenders,and proper brakes(I highly recommend discs for rain and snow). I know lots of folks who ride in the snow here in DC on road and track bikes,and just shake my head when they complain about the bad road conditions as I just plow along on my Safari.
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Old 08-16-07, 01:33 PM   #8
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That Moth frame won't take V,canti,or disc brakes. There's no tabs for discs,and no posts for canti's and V's. There's also no fender or rack mounts.
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Old 08-16-07, 03:41 PM   #9
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i'm not concerned with rack or fenders, and i've never had them in the past as i have a knapsack and take public transport in the rain i am concerned with rear brakes though. a roller brake might be suitable for the moth, but i'm wondering about it's effectiveness and reliability- especially when coupled with the complex workings of an internal geared hub.

maybe i'm taking things too far and i should just plunk for a ready-made- like a swobo otis (though i hate the coaster brake) - or even a specialized sirrus.

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Old 08-16-07, 03:43 PM   #10
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The folks at Bike Works are great. As for hubs, how 'bout the Rohlhoff? You could leave it to your grandkids after you're done w/ it.
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Old 08-16-07, 10:02 PM   #11
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Quote:
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As far as I know, there aren't any retail-available internal hubs with disc brakes in the US. The SRAM i9 and Shimano Alfine are both available as (spendy) imports from Europe, though, and both can be had with discs.
Alfine is now available in the Americas too. Same for the SRAM i9.
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Old 08-17-07, 02:47 PM   #12
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Where would one buy the alfine or sram i9 in the usa? There is a group buy going on in the cyclocross forum for a IRO Rob Roy. I want to set one up with an gear hub. The bike has places to mount things.
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Old 08-18-07, 06:51 PM   #13
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My LBS had to directly call Shimano Canada to get the part. What I've been told by the mech at my LBS is that Shimano Canada had just received a shipment of the Alfine group. I would guess it would be the same for Shimano USA too, or maybe a Canadian company is preparing a new bike with Alfino (Cannondale, Norco?).

I don't know much about the availability of the i9 except that it's listed with all its parts in the catalog of one of the biggest distributor in Canada... and that it's too expensive for me. Came at about 500 and some peanuts. I would suggest that you have your LBS call SRAM up or find a dealer for it in the US.
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Old 08-18-07, 07:26 PM   #14
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I'd recommend a Surly Cross-Check frame. I know you've got your eye on some track-style frames, but the Surly frame is much more versatile (and rugged). It takes crazy big 700c tires and has horizontal dropouts, and so will accommodate either internally geared or SS setups. It has eyelets for fenders and a rack, if you change your mind about those in the future, as well as essential cable routings for derailer, etc. I think that the frame looks really good, and it's reasonably cheap...and Surly is a great company, making really neat, innovative products.

http://www.surlybikes.com/crosscheck.html
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Old 08-18-07, 07:32 PM   #15
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Your idea sounds good, but is it just me or are you WAY past the 700 you were looking to spend?
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Old 08-18-07, 07:44 PM   #16
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It's just a shame that the Crosscheck ain't available in 26" tho.
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Old 08-18-07, 08:00 PM   #17
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Im looking at a bike called an SE Draft. A single
speed made by Fuji that can be had for about 200.00
if you can find one. Steel, 700'c wheels, F&R brakes,
flat bars etc.....if you could buy a 3sp prebuilt wheel
for it you could have a nice steel utility commuter for
around 350.00 after rack and fenders, etc
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Old 08-18-07, 08:14 PM   #18
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You could build up an older steel framed roadie into a decent 'eternally' geared hub. Theres some beautiful machines out there waiting to be loved again. Also, if you think you could manage with a three speed hub, The S-A 3 speed AW hub can usually be found cheaply at yard sales. I got mine for $5 at the refuse transfer station, together with an entire bike.
My costs to go this way :
circa 1990 7 speed Road Bike : $60 from LBS (used frame + campag crank, brakes, headset)
new bottom bracket: $40
track-style single crank fixing bolts: $5
pedals: $10
3 speed hub : $5
new cable and frame mounts & shifter for hub (ebay) : $30 all up
20t sprocket : $10
new brake cables : $10
new seatpost : $25
new stem : $25
Brooks B17 : $90
Shimano Nexus Dynamo Front Hub : $80
Wheels built at LBS including rim : $220
Tyres/Tubes : $50
Mr Tuffy Liners : $15
Riser Bar : $25

Total (I think that was everything) $700.
I already had a fair bit of this stuff from other bike, and you might too.

Sorry no disc brakes on an SA hub though.
picture here: Bring back the English 3-speed
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Old 08-18-07, 09:22 PM   #19
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Quote:
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Sorry no disc brakes on an SA hub though.
Why do posters keep saying this? Shimano employees?

SA hub with disc mount here.

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Old 08-18-07, 09:45 PM   #20
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Quote:
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Why do posters keep saying this? Shimano employees?

SA hub with disc mount here.

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SA AW hub (as found on old bike, as described, as entire thrust of that post)
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Old 08-20-07, 09:24 PM   #21
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thaks all for the responses. the surley crosscheck might put me over my budget, though it looks like a good basis for my project. i've been looking around for a used 80's steel road frame, but nothing thus far has really appealed to me. i found someone who is selling a giant bowery frame for $100, so i's thinking of using that bike as a starting point. it's aluminum, which is good for rust and as a daily rider, that's a good thing. i also considered the iro jamie roy, but that's about $200 more, though seems to be a good compromise in frame geometry- not as radical as a track frame, but yet not as laid back as a road bike. the bowery also seems to have road bike/track bike geometry- and from all the posts i see here, it seems to be regarded as a tough, durable frame. everything else about the bike seems to be the weak point, and since i'm building everything to my spec, i don't think i'll have a problem with the quality of the other parts.

the alfine hub seems to be the ticket, but is hard to find, and sems to be a bit pricey (as does the rohlhoff). i am looking at the shimano nexus 3 and 8 speed hubs as an alternative.

anyone think i should use discs instead of standard rim-type brakes?

anyone think that internal gears are a waste of money and i should stick to a standard cassette type gears?


thanks again all!!!
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Old 08-21-07, 07:37 AM   #22
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Quote:
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thaks all for the responses. the surley crosscheck might put me over my budget, though it looks like a good basis for my project. i've been looking around for a used 80's steel road frame, but nothing thus far has really appealed to me. i found someone who is selling a giant bowery frame for $100, so i's thinking of using that bike as a starting point. it's aluminum, which is good for rust and as a daily rider, that's a good thing. i also considered the iro jamie roy, but that's about $200 more, though seems to be a good compromise in frame geometry- not as radical as a track frame, but yet not as laid back as a road bike. the bowery also seems to have road bike/track bike geometry- and from all the posts i see here, it seems to be regarded as a tough, durable frame. everything else about the bike seems to be the weak point, and since i'm building everything to my spec, i don't think i'll have a problem with the quality of the other parts.

the alfine hub seems to be the ticket, but is hard to find, and sems to be a bit pricey (as does the rohlhoff). i am looking at the shimano nexus 3 and 8 speed hubs as an alternative.

anyone think i should use discs instead of standard rim-type brakes?

anyone think that internal gears are a waste of money and i should stick to a standard cassette type gears?


thanks again all!!!
Yeah, the Surly is a little costly...Universal Cycles is having a clearance on the Green Cross Check frame...it's about $300 (25%) off.

I don't have personal experience with internal hubs, but I know that lots of commuters like 'em. Another option might be to do a 1x8-- put in a standard 8spd rear, with a single-ring crankset. That way you could pick up a cheap prebuilt wheelset online (most rear wheels with internal hubs are a custom job). I bet that you could get some nice wheels for about $150, or even less...and with only one derailer, you'd be saving some cash as well. Put some of that saved money into a saddle and pedals, to make your ride more comfortable. Good luck!
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Old 08-21-07, 08:26 AM   #23
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Quote:
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anyone think i should use discs instead of standard rim-type brakes?
Absolutely. Discs are the only way to go. A coaster on the rear is also a good idea for an IG hub.

Quote:
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anyone think that internal gears are a waste of money and i should stick to a standard cassette type gears?
IG's are all right. My Milano came with a Nexus 8,I converted my 1x1 to a Nexus 7,and my Otis came with an i-Motion 3. I prefer the SRAM hubs because of the shifter connections;they're easier to remove/install.
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Old 08-21-07, 12:15 PM   #24
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Quote:
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anyone think i should use discs instead of standard rim-type brakes?

anyone think that internal gears are a waste of money and i should stick to a standard cassette type gears?
No to the discs. Especially if you are trying to hit a budget number. Save the money on both and buy a nicer frame or wheels or seat etc... As others have suggested run a 1x8 or 1x9. It'll be easy to find deals on standard components for this set up.

Don't worry, rim brakes will work just fine.

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Old 08-22-07, 09:11 AM   #25
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i'm sizing up a bowery frame, and it turns out the frame may be too big for my size. i've got to go to the lbs today, test ride a bowery and check to see if the frame is too big for my smallish frame (5-8). if a medium is too big, i may end up biting the bullet and plunking down for an iro jamie roy frame. any one have any comments if this is a good basis for a commuter?

i hope the medium bowery fame fits!


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