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Old 03-01-09, 03:46 PM   #1
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Any commuters with hub gears?

I'm wondering why he have two or three chainrings up front when there are hub gears?

I have two Dahon folding bikes that use the SRAM Dual Drive hub on the rear and I absolutely love the thing. Quiet, remarkably easy to set up, no maintenance and you can shift them sitting still.

Why no dual drives or hub gears on current production bikes (that I'm aware of)?

Is it a weight thing? Do they not hold up to daily abuse or heavy mileage?

I don't get it.

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Old 03-01-09, 03:59 PM   #2
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I tried an i-Motion 9 once and hated it.
Noisy, friction, heavy, a PITA to set up, and the big honkin shifter was butt ugly.

I'd rather run a regular 9-speed cassette.
It's whisper quiet, no extra weight or friction to slow me down, and with my friction bar-ends there is NO adjustments necessary until 3 thousand miles later when it needs to be replaced, and initial setup takes just a minute. I replaced my shift cable yesterday after re-wrapping my bars and it was easy as pie. Probably took less than a minute.
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Old 03-01-09, 05:04 PM   #3
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Most bikes are equipped with casssettes and derailers because they are cheaper and lighter, plus they can offer significantly more gear options.

That said, I think a hub gear can be a good choice for a commuter. I run a Nexus 8 and I like it because the gear itself is rugged and low maintenance and because it makes chain maintenance and wear less of a concern. I ride in rain / snow etc and like the internal gear hub.
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Old 03-01-09, 05:24 PM   #4
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I'm thinking about it for my commuter. Earlier this winter, the ice was really getting to me. There were a number of days where I was left with one gear by the time I got to work because the ice had clogged my rear cluster and all the other gears skipped.
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Old 03-01-09, 06:52 PM   #5
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I'm wondering why he have two or three chainrings up front when there are hub gears?

I have two Dahon folding bikes that use the SRAM Dual Drive hub on the rear and I absolutely love the thing. Quiet, remarkably easy to set up, no maintenance and you can shift them sitting still.

Why no dual drives or hub gears on current production bikes (that I'm aware of)?

Is it a weight thing? Do they not hold up to daily abuse or heavy mileage?

I don't get it.

John
Lots of bikes withy hub gears are available currently. Look at the bikes from Civia and Swobo for starters. Also virtually every major manufacturer has at least some bikes with gear hubs including models from Trek, Specialized and Cannondale as well as REI.

None I am aware of available fitted with the SRAM Dual Drive setup unless there is a MTB available with it, the original market it was designed for.

Some folks like gear hubs for commuting or urban bikes for their convenience. Others, such as one poster here, do not care for them. I personally do like them for their ability to shift at a stop and the ability to fit chain protection. Some weight increase but typically less than 2 pounds considering eliminating two derailleurs, the casette freehub and one or more chainrings. I believe the impression of increased weight is due to the weight all being concentrated in the rear of the bike when picking it up.

My LBS has offered me a smoking deal on a NuVinci rear wheel so I am going to try that out shortly. Fitting it to a old 1990 Trek 950 frame which is also suitable for adding an Xtracycle conversion onto for a cargo bike if I decide to go that route. Now the NuVinci hub willl add considerable weight to the bike but I am curious to try the continuously variable gear capability it offers.
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Old 03-01-09, 07:53 PM   #6
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Another huge fan of IGH here I have a battered old Raleigh 3 speed Sports that I put over 20,000 miles on as my only form of transportation for several years. Other than wear out items like brake pads, tires and the occasional chain it just kept on rolling rain or shine. I have never had a derailleur bike go that far without major drive train overhaul.

IGH may not work for everybody in every situation but I find that most people that try them and get used to them love them for the simplicity and durability.

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Old 03-01-09, 08:33 PM   #7
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I've been commuting for the last few years on a Breezer Uptown 8, with the Nexus 8-speed internal gear hub. It handles New England winter conditions pretty well (sometimes if it's down around 20 degrees F, it freezes and I can't shift).
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Old 03-01-09, 11:25 PM   #8
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I have a '99-'00 Bianchi Milano with a Nexus 7-speed hub. I presume it's the original and appears to work flawlessly, though I don't push it very hard with my flat 8-mile RT/5 day a week commute.
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Old 03-02-09, 03:49 AM   #9
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Primary reason you don't see them is cost. Secondary reason is that fewer gears are harder to market to american consumers...especially at a higher price.

They really aren't that hard to sell for any bike shop worth their salt for most non-competitive riders. For couples that just want to ride together...less fiddling and adjustments. For commuters, less servicing and more durable gearing.
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Old 03-02-09, 04:06 AM   #10
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Primary reason you don't see them is cost. Secondary reason is that fewer gears are harder to market to american consumers...especially at a higher price.
Geared hub bikes don't necessarily cost more. Around where I live, IGH is the primary gear choice offered for entry-level commuter bikes in LBS showroom. Cassette/der equipped bikes seem to be marketed more for performance-oriented people. I would think it's got more to do with your particular market demographics (and how your LBS wants to position themselves in that market) than price.

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Old 03-02-09, 04:15 AM   #11
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I've been commuting for the last few years on a Breezer Uptown 8, with the Nexus 8-speed internal gear hub. It handles New England winter conditions pretty well (sometimes if it's down around 20 degrees F, it freezes and I can't shift).
I just bought a Alfine hub to build into a wheel and looking it over I feel that the shifting mechanism that attaches to the hub could be improved. Quite open design and mostly plastic construction I note. Lots of opportunity for water intrusion and freezing up it appears. I personally like the more enclosed shifter designs on the SRAM iMotion9 and Rohloff hubs but they both are considerably more expensive.
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Old 03-02-09, 04:30 AM   #12
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It handles New England winter conditions pretty well (sometimes if it's down around 20 degrees F, it freezes and I can't shift).
I thought I got a faulty hub when it wouldn't shift in the single and low double digits. I'm relieved to hear it's the norm, although not a great feature to be "the norm". Aside from the inability to shift in cold weather, it's a great winter bike.
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Old 03-02-09, 05:47 AM   #13
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I've been commuting for the last few years on a Breezer Uptown 8, with the Nexus 8-speed internal gear hub. It handles New England winter conditions pretty well (sometimes if it's down around 20 degrees F, it freezes and I can't shift).
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I thought I got a faulty hub when it wouldn't shift in the single and low double digits. I'm relieved to hear it's the norm, although not a great feature to be "the norm". Aside from the inability to shift in cold weather, it's a great winter bike.
Internal Hub Gears are sensitive to very cold conditions, however there are several work arounds. On the Sturmey Archer oil bath you can go with a lighter weight oil/synthetic oil, I suspect the same could be done on a Shimano. Store the bike in a warm area and pedal fast to keep the oil warmed up.

FWIW I have had derailleur bikes freeze up too. Anything that is mechanical is going to have issues in colder weather unless precautions are taken.

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Old 03-02-09, 06:29 AM   #14
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Internal Hub Gears are sensitive to very cold conditions, however there are several work arounds. On the Sturmey Archer oil bath you can go with a lighter weight oil/synthetic oil, I suspect the same could be done on a Shimano. Store the bike in a warm area and pedal fast to keep the oil warmed up.
Shimano IGH's uses grease not oil, and the grease used starts to gum up when cold. Shimano's IGH design also seems sensitive to ice in the cabling system. The major reasons for ditching IGH's where I live is shifting problems when it is cold and their lack of durability for 4 season long range commuting (30-50 km RT), especially the Nexus 8 series is notorious for its tendency to self-destroy after a year or two of hard riding.

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Old 03-02-09, 06:41 AM   #15
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I wonder if you could use pure teflon grease. I don't think that would freeze.
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Old 03-02-09, 06:51 AM   #16
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My winter bike this year is a Jamis Commuter 3 with a plain non red band Nexus.
It has shifted and worked well in below zero [F] temps, also in slush, slop, mud, rain, snow, sleet. Store it in an unheated shed, which IMHO- is better as the bike does get freeze/thaw cycles, condensation on cold metal exposure, etc. There are lots of postings and opinions pro and con IGH,
based upon my few hundred km experience- I'm in the pro column.
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Old 03-02-09, 07:29 AM   #17
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Foldy 3-speed rear hub gears, and I love 'em. The only bike I'd avoid them on is a touring bike, where I'm hauling insane loads.
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Old 03-02-09, 07:54 AM   #18
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Shimano IGH's uses grease not oil, and the grease used starts to gum up when cold. Shimano's IGH design also seems sensitive to ice in the cabling system.
I've tried to figure out what exactly is freezing up about my Nexus 8 hub. I think it may just be ice on the outside of the hub where the cable attaches, so that the shifting mechanism can't rotate. A squirt of WD-40 on that spot before I go out seems to help.

Even when it freezes, I can still ride the bike as a 1-speed. The hub gives "warning" before totally freezing up by having stiff upshifts and delayed downshifts (you shift and it doesn't change gears until 10 pedal rotations later). When that starts happening, I get into my favorite middle gear and stay there.

An hour in my warm office and it's fine again. I still think it's a good commuter hub.

I have a derailleur bike but I don't ride it in the winter. Can someone tell me what happens to derailleurs when they get full of ice? Do they still shift, and if they do freeze, can you still ride the bike?
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Old 03-02-09, 08:11 AM   #19
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I got 16,000 miles on a Nexus 8 with no problems. I keep my bikes in an unheated garage
and haven't had any problems with the IGH in winter. Both derailers on my tricross
froze up on a blizzard ride home. Full of salty road slush, still ridable,but only in one
gear.I carry a little squirt can of lock de-icer, but I haven't had the oppurtunity
to use it yet. I may (or not) have the time to swap out my nexus for another IGH.
The model number I have is PITA to fix a rear flat.
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Old 03-02-09, 08:44 AM   #20
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I have a derailleur bike but I don't ride it in the winter. Can someone tell me what happens to derailleurs when they get full of ice? Do they still shift, and if they do freeze, can you still ride the bike?
There are several things in gear mechanism that can freeze, but the actual derailleur isn't the first one to fail in my experience. Indexed shifters freeze, cables freeze relatively easily. Then there's the real possibility of accumulating so much snow/ice on rear cassette that only the one sprocket you're currently using works. In all these cases you still have a single speed (or 2-3 speed, depending on how many front cogs you have and whether you can shift between them). I've never had my derailleur mech freeze or become stuffed with snow.

In very cold weather lubricant inside the freehub may freeze, resulting in gearless bike (the cassette "coasts" in both directions).

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Old 03-02-09, 08:53 AM   #21
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Shimano IGH's uses grease not oil, and the grease used starts to gum up when cold. Shimano's IGH design also seems sensitive to ice in the cabling system. The major reasons for ditching IGH's where I live is shifting problems when it is cold and their lack of durability for 4 season long range commuting (30-50 km RT), especially the Nexus 8 series is notorious for its tendency to self-destroy after a year or two of hard riding.
Shimano has developed an optional oil bath lubrication scheme for their 8-speeds. The latest versions are reported to be much improved in robustness/durablity (don't own one myself).

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Old 03-02-09, 09:02 AM   #22
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Why no dual drives or hub gears on current production bikes (that I'm aware of)?
There are a great many current production bicycles with two- to fourteen-ratio hub gears: commuter/city bikes, touring bikes, even some fairly sporty models.

There are a few current production bikes with dual drives - off the top on my head, Bianchi and BikeFriday offer some.
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Old 03-02-09, 09:24 AM   #23
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I built up an IGH commuter last winter. Commuted with it, 35mi r/t through the Spring, Summer, and Fall. No problems, and having done the same commute on various derailleur equipped bikes, I actually prefer the IGH for ease of shifting, lack of noise.
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Old 03-02-09, 09:42 AM   #24
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The cost of internally geared hubs is becoming much more "buyer friendly" as the cost of derailleurs, shifters, cassettes, and chains skyrockets.

My old seven speed Nexus hub has a more open and all metal ring area back where it shifts and this doesn't freeze up as much as my wife's newer eight speed which is plastic in that area. They both still freeze when it's really cold, though.


Guess that's the time for a fixed gear.
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Old 03-02-09, 09:59 AM   #25
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My 7 speed Nexus hub has never frozen and I ride through the winter in Cleveland. Another advantage is that I've got a chain guard, preventing ice and snow build-up on the exposed chain and derailler.

Love the IGH, which has inherent simplicity and low maintenance, and also wonder why they aren't more popular.

From my experience, the big advantage is when you compare it to a front and rear derailler system for city riding (not counting Morgantown and a few others). IGH is the clear winner. IGH vs. just the rear derailler is close.

If I was selling bike, I'd offer simpler bikes for the majority of people. Road and mountain bikes, for serious riders, need the front deraillers. For others, the thing's a hassle.
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