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Old 07-29-10, 09:26 AM   #1
oneredstar
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3 speed hub recommendations

My girlfriend has a single speed cruiser that she loves. We recently moved to a city with way more hills than we had before, and thus she needs some more gear options.

Does anyone have any recommendations on 3 speed internal hubs. Any reason I should think of going to 7/8/9 internal instead.

Any thoughts are appreciated.
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Old 07-29-10, 10:06 AM   #2
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The new Sturmey 3-speeds are very nice, and very cheap. Not the same quality as a Shimano, but not the same price, either. You'd do fine with either one of those (Sturmey or Shimano) though Sturmey has more options to choose from.

As for the 7-8 speed IGH option, everyone seems to have glowing reviews of the Shimano Alfine ones, I haven't seen anyone comment on the SRam IGH units. I myself have a Sturmey 8-speed hub, which I love and got for a very good price, but the gearing requires a very small chainring. Most hubs have the middle gear as 1:1 but the Sturmey has first as 1:1.

Since Shimano came out with the Alfine hubs, the older Nexus hubs have gone way down in price... a good 3-speed will cost you around $70, and the Nexus 8 I've seen listed for $180, but it gives you the full range of gears. I paid $130 for my Sturmey 8-speed, and it came with everything.

So look at your budget, you can get many good choices under $200, and if you think a 3-speed will get the job done, less than $100. If the bike is very heavy and the hills are pretty steep, it wouldn't hurt to go with an 8-speed.

I'm sure some others with more experience with the different hubs can chime in, too.
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Old 07-29-10, 10:13 AM   #3
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To give you an idea of scale, here's my Sturmey XRD-8 next to a 16 ounce coffee mug (the big kind). 8-speed IGH's are not light... this one weighs around 3 pounds.

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Old 07-29-10, 10:14 AM   #4
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I'd have to say the more gears, and the wider range, the better. But it's also going to be more expensive, and the improvement is not necessarily worth the additional cost.

I do most of my riding on a folding bike with an 8 speed hub, but I also ride 3 speeds quite a bit. I like them both; but the way I ride them is totally different: with the 8 speed I pretty much ride with the same cadence all the time (and it's fast), while with the 3 speed I have to vary it a lot more. If the lady is comfortable with a one speed hub, an eight speed will be a pretty radical change. In my opinion it's only worth it if she really wants to make a radical change in her riding style.
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Old 07-29-10, 10:21 AM   #5
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Question : iHow hilly is it, where you moved to? , 7, 8, 9 gear IG hubs have a bit wider range ..





I have a British Sturmey Archer hub that came in my folding bike, they are the original IG hub
invented , patent 1st decade of 20th century ... 100 years ago..

25% between the gears, from low, low is 3/4, high 4/3 , Sachs/SRAM a trifle wider between ratios.

OTOH, I live in a town mostly on a hill,
so I spent up and bought a Swiss 2 speed internal geared crank-set low range uses the 3 hub gears again . heel hits button on the crank arm, shifts to reduction gear, opposite side shifts back.

a Rohloff hub ( I love mine, got a trekking bike with It in the deal) does the same, all inside the hub, 7 speeds - 2 ranges, the sequencing is done for you,
#7 = high in low range, 8 = low in High range
Rohloff has 14 ratios, made in Germany, to be interchangeable with entire mountain bike drive-trains.

A 5 speed are 2.. 3 speeds a wide and a narrow, N gear,1:1 is the middle of both,
so 3 .. 3 speeds make 7.

back to topic, where you live will suggest how widely the lowest and highest gear need be separated in range.

a useful calculator for the gear ratio ranges of various IG hubs is Here:
http://sheldonbrown.com/gears/internal.html

XRD8 [above] has a 1:1 gear as its lowest ratio 19t smallest cog possible,
small wheel gives lower ratio then, than possible with larger wheel .
Likely need a smaller chainring on the crank then, math engine will help figure out size

IG hub with drum brake + their Drum brake dynamo hubset is a very pratical combo..
S-A has 3 and 5 speed hubs with drum brake integrated too..
Sram has a 7 speed with a drum, and another version with a coaster brake..

perhaps a coaster brake would be a good thing , if the frame was made around having a coaster brake in the 1st place, and no other brake.. then add one of the hub front brakes to get good stopping power.

Last edited by fietsbob; 07-29-10 at 10:45 AM.
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Old 07-29-10, 11:39 AM   #6
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I have a British Sturmey Archer hub that came in my folding bike, they are the original IG hub
invented , patent 1st decade of 20th century ... 100 years ago..
The Three Speed Gear Syndicate's initial hub was first offered on the UK market in 1903, five years AFTER the Manchester Hub IGH.

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Old 07-29-10, 11:56 AM   #7
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Single -speed cruiser? I'm guessing a coaster brake and a narrow OLD.

The Shimano SG-3C41 is nice. It's used on probably 98% of the OEM three speeds in the USA. Shimano only offers a twist shifter for it.

The Sturmey Archer SRC3 has a beautiful polished aluminum shell. S-A offers a twist, trigger, dual paddle, thumb and bar end shifter for it. S-A is the only IGH manufacturer to offer extensive aftermarket support of their hubs in N.A.

The SRAM iMotion3 is a new design that shifts fast both up and down and has its shift cable inside the drop outs. It's only available in 130mm OLD, and SRAM only offers a twist shifter. The coaster brake is roller actuated.

Note when you compare prices that Sturmey IGHs typically come complete with all fittings and a shifter, and Shimano and SRAM IGHs usually require you to buy the shifter separately.

HTH,
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Old 07-29-10, 02:11 PM   #8
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Please don`t forget its the Range you need to suit you.So if you have trouble climbing,sprockets up to 26T are available for the sturmey.
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Old 07-29-10, 02:30 PM   #9
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I ride a new Shimano Nexus 3 speed hub, at first I was concerned with how it would preform with amount of hills in my town (which is known to mock the English countryside's rolling hills) but the hub has been able to handle them very well. I'm thrilled with how effortlessly it shifts between gears, so smooth and simple.
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Old 07-29-10, 03:08 PM   #10
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This is one of those "anything will do" things. Just make sure it's narrow enough to fit inside the bike's dropouts and you're golden.
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Old 07-29-10, 03:17 PM   #11
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Well...I think you're going to find an IGH has a very different feel than a single speed. That being said - and I mean this as a question, I'm not trying to challenge you, you just didn't mention anything about it - why not a traditional derailler? (cringes, waits for flaming...)
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Old 07-29-10, 04:51 PM   #12
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I live in a pretty hilly area - ride both deraileur and IGH bikes.
When keeping track of the actual gear ratios [actually gear in] most often used-
found that about 35 and 65 gear in were most used. Just so happens the range
covered by three speed hubs just about covers these two ratios. First gear is about 34, middle gear around 47 and third is 64 - this is a nice range for a surprising amount of riding. SA, Shimano or SRAM all will probably provide great service, was the rear wheel spacing as one poster noted - that will most likely dictate which 3 speed hub to actually get.
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Old 07-29-10, 05:03 PM   #13
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So if you have trouble climbing,sprockets up to 26T are available for the sturmey.
The Shimano, SRAM and Sturmey 3-speeds all use compatible cogs.

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Old 07-29-10, 05:29 PM   #14
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That being said - and I mean this as a question, I'm not trying to challenge you, you just didn't mention anything about it - why not a traditional derailler? (cringes, waits for flaming...)
No, it's a fair question. Since the bike in question is a SS cruiser, it probably has a narrow OLD, horizontal drop outs with no derailleur hanger and a coaster brake. None of these are insurmountable, but all these features would cause extra work if converting to a derailleur.

Oh, traditional derailleur? I suppose there have been cruiser bikes with derailleurs back to the late 50s or early 60s, but, and its a big but, cruisers with derailleurs have never been that big an item. There were many IGH cruisers prior, and it's still common enough to this day.

BTW, speaking of traditions, when the French cyclists were trying to work out acceptable, robust, marketable derailleur gearing in the 1920s, German and British cyclists had been riding really excelent IGHs for a quarter century.

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Old 07-31-10, 08:37 AM   #15
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Just so happens the range
covered by three speed hubs just about covers these two ratios.
This was my experience as well -- the folks who make the 3-speeds pay attention, and 3 speeds seems to be enough for a ton of applications.
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Old 07-31-10, 08:47 AM   #16
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why not a traditional derailler? (cringes, waits for flaming...)
No derailleur, because it is currently a single speed beach cruiser. No mounts for a derailleur.
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Old 07-31-10, 08:53 AM   #17
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Thanks for all the advise. I think I will buy her a Sturmey Archer 3 speed hub, and try it out. They are so inexpensive that if it does not work out, it is not a big loss.
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Old 07-31-10, 11:40 AM   #18
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No derailleur, because it is currently a single speed beach cruiser. No mounts for a derailleur.
I wonder if there's mounts for the shifting cables?
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Old 07-31-10, 08:04 PM   #19
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I wonder if there's mounts for the shifting cables?
Sturmey offers a wide variety of strap-on cable stops/guides. If you're not going for style points, hardware store zip ties work fine. Like they said in 1904, "can be fitted to any make of bicycle".

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