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  1. #1
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    3 IGH vs Sturmey Archer 5 vs 6-8 spd derailer

    I was looking at some town bikes for around $500 or less, including maybe a $100 lock if possible with that budget.

    I found a Firmstrong Bruiser with the same derailer (but a revoshifter, which I less prefer), and no rack for $300.

    Then I found a Virtue bike for $599 with the SA 5 IGH, and fenders.

    Another Virtue bike has a 7 speed derailer, rack, fenders, and bell for $399.

    The virtue Seven is at downtownlabicycles.com (EDIT The Vitue bike here is a SIX an not the Seven. My bad)

    I have my eye out for some 3 speed hub bikes.

    I am mostly concerned with finding out which has the lowest gear available for hilly areas. The rest is of lesser importance to me.

    Who has experience with any drivetrains like this?
    Last edited by Kuto; 06-04-13 at 07:57 PM.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kuto View Post
    I was looking at some town bikes for around $500 or less, including maybe a $100 lock if possible with that budget.

    I found a Firmstrong Bruiser with the same derailer (but a revoshifter, which I less prefer), and no rack for $300.

    Then I found a Virtue bike for $599 with the SA 5 IGH, and fenders.

    Another Virtue bike has a 7 speed derailer, rack, fenders, and bell for $399.

    The virtue Seven is at downtownlabicycles.com (EDIT The Vitue bike here is a SIX an not the Seven. My bad)

    I have my eye out for some 3 speed hub bikes.

    I am mostly concerned with finding out which has the lowest gear available for hilly areas. The rest is of lesser importance to me.

    Who has experience with any drivetrains like this?
    OK, I'll give my opinion.

    First, I like the SA 5 speed overall. It's important to find a cog/chainring combination to make 3rd, your sweet gear. This way, you'll have two gears for climbing and two when going down hill. Learn to set this hub correctly because doing it wrong will cause it to slip!

    There are plenty of threads on the SA 3 speed hub. Some people like myself perfer to set 2nd gear as the sweet gear but others perfer to ride in 3rd gear all the time thus giving you two low gears.

    A 7 speed derailuer will give you more options because you can increase your range easier by changing clusters or rings. It will require more maintenance but not a whole lot since you don't have two or more chainrings.
    Last edited by Dahon.Steve; 06-08-13 at 09:33 PM.

  3. #3
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    GET THE SA 5. They are AWESOME and then some, especially after getting rid of the grease on the inside. Use synthetic grease on the bearings and 30w oil bath on the inside. The big steps do have a gap or 2. Those bikes have kindof short cranks at 170 mm. Mine are 180mm which is a huge benefit on hills.

    Also advise getting the dual drum brakes, even if they are the small size which comes on all store models.

    As for gearing, those Virtues come with 46/20T which is OK for alot of people. That GI range is 39 to 100.
    Mine last year was 46/18T which got me up 10% hills rather easily with 43.5 GI, but I am a masher anyway. My top 111 GI wizzed out at 43 mph. My SA hub beats 23 of my 24 speeds triple, BY FAR. Weight means nothing to a SA hub bike, mine was 52 lb + all year. Those bikes won't be much over 30 lb. Keep the level gear in 3rd where it belongs. Only old geezers need 3 low gears, and I'm 59.

    2 weeks ago I got a new chain and they tried to sell me a new cassette after only 4000 miles. WTH
    They are cheap annoying miserable JUNK. Carbonated cheeze ???
    Last edited by GamblerGORD53; 06-05-13 at 01:14 AM.

  4. #4
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    S-A current 5 has a 3 speeds' .75,1,1.33; for 2,3,4.

    20,33,33,20%
    Last edited by fietsbob; 06-06-13 at 10:27 PM.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Rob_E's Avatar
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    I wouldn't buy a bike based on which has the lowest gear. That is easily fixed by changing cogs and/or chainrings. Instead figure out what kind of range you need and how many gears you feel you need. I've gone from 24 speeds to 1 to 3 to something else. I find that I like a large range, but I can get by with a very small range. And I prefer hub gears, and will sacrifice some range to use one. So of your options, I would be most tempted by the five speed. And I would probably still prefer a 3 speed hub to a 6 speed derailer, but that's a personal preference, and depending on your terrain, fitness, willingness to walk, etc., you may be better off with more gears. When I ride my 3 speed, which is currently stuck in 2nd gear, I accept the fact that some hills will be easier to tackle on foot. It doesn't bother me to walk, but I do know people who hate to get off the bike, and I do know areas where walking up the steep hills means walking half of your commute, so that may not be practical. But it seems like no matter what the terrain, someone has done it on a fixed gear, so you can probably make it work with whatever bike you get.

  6. #6
    Not quite there yet Matariki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GamblerGORD53 View Post
    GET THE SA 5. They are AWESOME and then some, especially after getting rid of the grease on the inside. Use synthetic grease on the bearings and 30w oil bath on the inside. The big steps do have a gap or 2. Those bikes have kindof short cranks at 170 mm. Mine are 180mm which is a huge benefit on hills.

    Also advise getting the dual drum brakes, even if they are the small size which comes on all store models.

    I have the SA 5 (with drum brake) and I like it a lot. I don't know how hilly it is where you are, but I think that I could have been just as happy with a 3 speed. I rarely use gears 1 and 5. As Fietsbob points out the middle three gear ratios are identical to the SA3.

    Drum brakes are ideal for my all weather commuting. I always know that they will work great rain or shine. The best part, though, is that you don't have to deal with all of that black grimy rim dust when wiping down after a wet ride.

  7. #7
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    IGH have the benefit of gear changing when stopped .
    Derailleurs all have to be spinning.. pedals, cogs and such..


    Range is a simple choice of a cog and a chainring size that puts the hub's range
    into the best one for you..
    Last edited by fietsbob; 06-06-13 at 10:21 PM.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob_E View Post
    I wouldn't buy a bike based on which has the lowest gear. That is easily fixed by changing cogs and/or chainrings. Instead figure out what kind of range you need and how many gears you feel you need. I've gone from 24 speeds to 1 to 3 to something else. I find that I like a large range, but I can get by with a very small range. And I prefer hub gears, and will sacrifice some range to use one. So of your options, I would be most tempted by the five speed. And I would probably still prefer a 3 speed hub to a 6 speed derailer, but that's a personal preference, and depending on your terrain, fitness, willingness to walk, etc., you may be better off with more gears. When I ride my 3 speed, which is currently stuck in 2nd gear, I accept the fact that some hills will be easier to tackle on foot. It doesn't bother me to walk, but I do know people who hate to get off the bike, and I do know areas where walking up the steep hills means walking half of your commute, so that may not be practical. But it seems like no matter what the terrain, someone has done it on a fixed gear, so you can probably make it work with whatever bike you get.
    Changing cogs and/or chainrings requires the purchase of goods and services and/or possesing good mechanical skills to get the job done.

    Having at least one gear low enough to keep from struggling to pedal up a hill is very important if the terrain in your area would dictate such a situation. No good reason to gear your bike in a fashion that may set a unreasonably low limit of paved roads you can comfortably ride your bike on.

    The gear range going past sufficient flat ground performance is not much of a necessity. It might not be a good idea to rely on an increased downhill speed to get you to your destination on time while riding a bike, as it might decrease your level of safety by a considerable degree on your trip to say the least.

  9. #9
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    I live in a fairly hilly area, for a while kept track of the most common gear ratios I used for commuting and utility riding. There were two, the lower about 36 gear in, the other was approx 66. The gear range between these two ratios is almost identical to the range provided by a three speed IGH, the 1:1 middle gear of the hub works out to about 49 - the third most common gear I used. With chain wheel and rear cog set up to cover the range really needed, a three speed hub is pretty effective - however too many are geared much higher than really needed.
    ride long & prosper

  10. #10
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    however too many are geared much higher than really needed.
    change the hub cog 13~22t, and or the chainring tooth count,
    and you can make the direct, 2nd gear, anything you want.

  11. #11
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    Gearing for me came down to finding a combo with the middle GI near the same as a SS, 66 to 70.
    Only possibilities 46/48 with 18/19. This is the way SA hubs were designed and every last advertizement said high gear was for downhill. I use 92 GI on very slight slopes or tailwinds.

    Anyway, a way to have 71 GI in 4th would be 46/23 with high at 86 GI that gets you to near 28 mph. OK for some people.

    Changing a hub gear is a whole lot easier than on derailers and only costs $5 + shipping.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Rob_E's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kuto View Post
    Changing cogs and/or chainrings requires the purchase of goods and services and/or possesing good mechanical skills to get the job done.
    Yes, if you are only considering a bike that you will ride as-is, that's fine. But you have given a list of bikes with a price range of $300. If you're willing to spend an extra $300 to get the low gear you want, then I'm just saying that you can spend a lot less than that and get a bigger cog installed.

    But whatever bike you get, if you need the lowest gear possible, here is where you can figure out the gear range of any of your bike options: http://sheldonbrown.com/gears/

    You need to know the size of the chainrings in the front, the cog or gear cluster in the back, and what kind of hub it is (if it has a gear hub).

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