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Old 02-28-09, 08:41 PM   #1
clayborne
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Nexus 7, 8, or Alfine

I have seen a lot of threads comparing shimano to SA or SRAM but i have to go shimano due to the fact that my shop's (that i work at) distributer only carries shimano. That said, i am ready to make this IGH project a big commitment and was hoping to start soon. I need some recs from users or friends of users to help me decide which is best. I am young and my city is mostly flat with a few 5%ers and a few 7% but i am applying to law school to a few cities where 5%s are the norm . Nexus or alfine, coaster or free (i have seen neg feedback from drum users). I would love all your input.
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Old 02-28-09, 09:00 PM   #2
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I don't think there is a good reason to consider the Nexus 7. The Nexus 8 is about the same weight and costs just a small percentage more, and is quieter. I have a Nexus 8 and it works fine for my Surly Cross check city errand bike and bad weather commute bike. I use regular canti brakes, I did not want to bother with the rear drum brake. I mostly use my front brake anyways. I personally would not use a coaster brake either. A V brake or canti brake on the back would be my choice. However, if you live in a snow zone where disk brakes would be a big advantage for the winter season, and you ride in winter, by all means consider the Alfine. Alfine and Nexus 8 are mostly the same internal gear hub, except Alfine is set up for a disk rear brake. That would be overkill here in southern cal, but not in New England or the upper midwest.
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Old 02-28-09, 09:42 PM   #3
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Get yourself an Alfine or the latest Nexus 8 Premium. Alfine with disc brakes...yummy.
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Old 02-28-09, 09:59 PM   #4
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Info:

There have been 4 ever-improved versions of the Nexus 8: the SG-8R*20, -8R22, -8R30 and -8R31. The improvements have to do with hub sealing, shift quality and some bearing upgrades.

There have been 4 ever-improved versions of the Nexus 8 Premium (a.k.a. "Red Band"): the SG-8R25, -8R27, -8R35 and -8R36. The Premium includes some needle bearings where the regular Nexus 8 has plain bearings.

The -8R35 has two roller clutches instead of ratchets. The latest (AFAIK) version, the -8R36, has three roller clutches and is silent in operation. Shifting is fast and buttery, and reports are the hub stands up to off road use and is well sealed.

The Alfine versions (SG-S500 double roller, SG-S501 triple roller) adds some cosmetics and the ability to fit brake discs.

Opinion:

Get the SG-8R36!

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tcs

*"R" for freewheel hubs that can fit optional roller brakes; "C" for coaster brake versions.
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Old 02-28-09, 11:34 PM   #5
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I rode the 2008 Nexus and own a bike with a 2008 Alfine, and I definitely thought the Nexus was noticeably less efficient in the 4th gear, while I don't notice it with the Alfine. And the Alfine doesn't have the "grindy" sound and feeling in the 4th gear.

If it was me, I'd definitely spend the extra money for the Alfine over the Nexus (in fact, I did). I know it's sort of hip to say that they're exactly the same on the inside, but having used both I think the Alfine is definitely *at least* a little better.
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Old 03-01-09, 08:28 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by PaulRivers View Post
I rode the 2008 Nexus ...
Which "Nexus" did you ride? Was it a -8R20, -8C20, -8R22, -8C22, -8R25, -8C25, -8R27, -8C27, -8R30, -8C30, -8R31, -8C31, -8R35, -8C35, -8R36 or -8C36? Was the Alfine a -S500 or -S501? There are internal differences in each.

Quote:
I know it's sort of hip to say that they're exactly the same on the inside, but having used both I think the Alfine is definitely *at least* a little better.
AFAIK the Nexus -8R36 and Alfine -S501 are identical in internal mechanical features and operation (although not all of the parts interchange).

tcs
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Old 03-01-09, 10:12 AM   #7
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There have been 4 ever-improved versions of the Nexus 8: the SG-8R*20, -8R22, -8R30 and -8R31. The improvements have to do with hub sealing, shift quality and some bearing upgrades.

There have been 4 ever-improved versions of the Nexus 8 Premium (a.k.a. "Red Band"): the SG-8R25, -8R27, -8R35 and -8R36. The Premium includes some needle bearings where the regular Nexus 8 has plain bearings.

Thanks, this is what I was waiting for. -c
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Old 03-01-09, 11:56 AM   #8
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Does anyone know where to order the newest Nexus 8 premium online?
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Old 03-01-09, 12:12 PM   #9
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I'm always a fan of working with your LBS - you know, if you have a good one.

Bikeman is advertising the SG-8R36. AEBike has them listed too, and for a little bit better price, but they are not authorized by Shimano for internet sales so it's in-store only.

tcs

PS - BTW, hub gear fans, Biketools Etc is now listing the new S-A XRK8(W).
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Old 03-01-09, 12:32 PM   #10
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I own a couple of Nexus (Nexi?) hubs. I have the 7 speed on my Redline R530 and a 4 speed that is currently in the parts box. I have ridden the Alfine 8. My gut instinct would be to go with the newest Alfine 8 speed that has the brake configuration you prefer. FWIW I much prefer roller brakes and coaster brakes to other choices but that is me.

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Old 03-01-09, 03:43 PM   #11
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I have a major question about coaster brakes. I love the simplicity of them but to my dismay (and several attempts) never been able to ride one on 700s. This wheel is to a go on a nondrilled track frame so I am more the open to the coaster unless there is something terrible about them. I palned to switch out the fork so i could run a front brake, and use a clamp on in the rear if i need. Anyone have any major points against coasters. Thanks.
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Old 03-01-09, 04:27 PM   #12
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Great thread! I'm reading this with interest, as I have the same questions.
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Old 03-01-09, 07:57 PM   #13
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I haven't tried any of the current generation of coaster braked hubs, but SRAM has a great reputation in Europe. I would steer away from any unknown brands, the cheap ones that come on the WM type bikes are deadly.

I have a couple of the old Bendix 2 speed hubs and they are rock solid. The old Sturmey Archer TCS was an accident waiting to happen. I maintain one bike with a Shimano 3SC on it that does the job for the person that rides it. You can get roller brakes to fit the Nexus hubs, just have to make sure you order the correct hub.

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Old 03-01-09, 08:23 PM   #14
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The only 2 things I know of against coaster brakes are:
1. The braking performance is reputed to be terrible, though consistent in the rain.
2. Rumor has it that a coaster brake makes it incredibly difficult to remove the back wheel - say, if you get a flat on the road.
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Old 03-01-09, 08:37 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulRivers View Post
The only 2 things I know of against coaster brakes are:
1. The braking performance is reputed to be terrible, though consistent in the rain.
2. Rumor has it that a coaster brake makes it incredibly difficult to remove the back wheel - say, if you get a flat on the road.
1. Not terrible, just different, if you back it up with a front wheel brake you are golden, front brake should do the bulk of the work, you use the coaster for gentle stops and slowing.
2. Pure BS. Yes it can be complicated if you have chain guard, IGH and the like, but if you practice BEFORE you need to do it, it isn't too difficult. Also unless you totally blow out a tube you can patch it without removing the rear wheel.

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Old 03-01-09, 09:09 PM   #16
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I used an Alfine on one of my commuters. Sold the bike so now it sits waiting to be built into a 700c wheel for my trek. But, I would purchase it again that is for certain. Infact I purchased the alfine dynamo last night and once received I will get them both thrown into my rims and be in commuting heaven. Scratch that. Once I can find those mysterious STIs for the Alfine then I will be in commuting heaven.
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Old 03-01-09, 09:24 PM   #17
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Will any of these work with a frame with 120mm rear spacing?
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Old 03-01-09, 10:58 PM   #18
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For 120mm spacing, the only off-the-shelf 8 speed hub is Sturmey 8. Now that the updated model is shipping, that might be your best option.
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Old 03-01-09, 11:35 PM   #19
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Per Sheldon Brown the early Nexus hubs can be narrowed considerably though not sure about all the way to 120mm. Also not sure about current production versions.

Most SA hubs are listed on their web site as available in multiple widths. Other than the SA hubs everything else except the SRAM T3 and P5 are for 130mm or 135mm dropouts.
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Old 03-02-09, 12:18 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
1. Not terrible, just different, if you back it up with a front wheel brake you are golden, front brake should do the bulk of the work, you use the coaster for gentle stops and slowing.
2. Pure BS. Yes it can be complicated if you have chain guard, IGH and the like, but if you practice BEFORE you need to do it, it isn't too difficult. Also unless you totally blow out a tube you can patch it without removing the rear wheel.

Aaron
I just don't understand how it could be "just different", seems like either it stops the bike quickly or it doesn't, and I've read (though have not tried myself) that it doesn't. It sounds like from your post that you acknowledge that it's a pretty weak brake, to. I mean, you'll adjust to any braking system to a certain extent by giving yourself more space and braking sooner I guess...but a much longer stopping distance is "terrible" IMO. I consider stopping with my rims brakes in the rain to border on a "terrible" stopping distance, to be fair...

It also seem like if you're running a front non-coaster brake, you've defeated the point of having a coaster brake - 1, less maintenance, replacing pads, etc, and 2, same performance in the rain. Might as well just put rim brakes on both and get better stopping distance in dry weather.
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Old 03-02-09, 03:48 AM   #21
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The big problem with a coaster brake by it's nature is that it is a rear wheel only brake. This makes it a poor stopper compared to any bike with a front brake. Even in the best conditions the stopping distance is twice what a front wheel brake or dual brakes can provide per actual tests. This is due to weight transfer unloading the rear wheel under braking whereas it increases the load on the front wheel. Under emergency maximum braking there is almost no weight on the rear wheel with dual brake setups.

Also any bike with only a coaster brake loses alll braking if it has a chain failure or the chain jumps the sprocket.

Coaster brake hub bikes are popular in Europe as city commuter/shopping bikes but they are normally ridden quite slowly by American riding standards.
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Old 03-02-09, 09:58 AM   #22
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I currently ride a bike with a Nexus 8 hub and rim brakes.

Previously, I rode a bike with Nexus 7 hub, roller brake rear, and disk front. This combo worked really well, and if OP is swapping fork out anyway, definitely an option. Another option to keep the stock fork and pick up a front brake would be to go with a drum brake. Sturmey-Archer offers them, SRAM used to, when they were Sachs, no idea if they still do.

The Nexus hubs w/o brakes are fairly easy to remove once you learn a trick or two for undoing it and then rethreading the shifter cable at the rear. Hub brakes only complicate things, although disks should be pretty straight forward. With a coaster brake, you have to unbolt the torque arm on the left side; with a roller brake, you have to unbolt a torque arm and remove a cable.
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Old 03-02-09, 10:05 AM   #23
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Does anyone know where to order the newest Nexus 8 premium online?
Get in touch with these guys...

http://hiawathacyclery.com/cart/

Maybe not local to you, but a great little local shop. They can build it into a wheel for you and ship it out. Suprisingly good deals too.
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Old 03-02-09, 10:23 AM   #24
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I thought only the alfine was spaced in the 130s. That is pretty crucial. I think the coaster front rim or disc will be the best combo. I was trying to think of a scenario where a coaster brake might fail at high speeds by accidental braking or something. Weakness is something overcome. Thanks for the insight. From people of I have talked to locally, its seems that you either are fascinated by internal or you dont care.
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Old 03-02-09, 10:42 AM   #25
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I thought only the alfine was spaced in the 130s
My Nexus 8 Redline has a spacing of 135mm. As I understand the roller/coaster brakes does not change that spacing.
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