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Old 07-01-13, 04:43 PM   #1
MichaelW
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NuVinci info, comparison, review

Had a search but couldn't find any dedicated NuVinci threads.
Big Bro is considering a bike with NuVinci 360. How does it stack up against the competitions such as Nexus, Alfine 8 and 11 etc. I am a very happy user of Alfine 8.
Does it take std 3-spline sprockets
Maintenance: The manufacturers suggest that it is maintenance free for the life of the hub. Does that mean maintenance-free in the Shimano Alfine sense ie occasional pootlers can ride for life on the factory grease but heavy users need to do annual oil dips.
How does the system work in wet winters and v cold conditions.
Is the 2.5kg weight really worth the advantages over Shimano 1.6 kg ?
Any user reviews or experience welcome.
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Old 07-01-13, 08:13 PM   #2
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I ride a nuvinci on my recumbent trike after i blew up a sturmey archer xrf8w. I've spent a bunch of time commuting on a nexus 7 but never tried an alfine. Hands down the Nuvinci is the best internal guts hub i have used. I say internal guts rather than gear because theres no gears, just gnomes and magic and some kind of lifetime grease. The infinitely variable drive is every bit as cool as you think it sounds. What's especially nice if you are used to igh's is that theres no big jumps betweent any of the gears because theres no damn gears. It doesn't slip, the shifter is easy to use. Just twist and go.



everything ive read says that these hubs really are sealed for life and will love you longtime. You can service the wheel bearings but the internals are a black box. Its made by Germans though and Germans engineer the hell out of everything. I havent experienced its ability to resist mud and snow but i have read it is fairly impervious.

The downsides i can see is that since you need to maintain no less than a 1.8:1 ratio of chainring to cog you are basically limited on your low end by the diameter of your wheel. It might seem silly for me to gripe about not getting less than 24 gear inches but on a recumbent in the mountains you can easily wanna get down lower than that.
360% is a nice range but if you gear a nuvinci for low end you might wind up like me wanting a double crankset. Of course if you gear it more sensibly you can get like 28-100 gear inches

for the price i was fine with this instead of the alfine 11
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Old 07-01-13, 08:18 PM   #3
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I have not tried one, but a friend has. He says to be careful if you try one, because after a 5 minute test drive he said he'll never be happy with regular gears again.

The only real downside is that they're heavy.
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Old 07-01-13, 08:20 PM   #4
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Also it takes a multi splined shimano cog. 3 spline wont work
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Old 07-01-13, 08:48 PM   #5
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Great review, Dan, and funny, too.
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Old 07-01-13, 10:05 PM   #6
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It's made by Germans? Isnt it made in the good old USA?
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Old 07-02-13, 06:20 AM   #7
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It's made by Germans? Isnt it made in the good old USA?
Yes it is. in Texas (and probably also China). I don't know why I said Germany....although for all I know they may employ Germans. Or not. I suppose a better statement on my part might be "It may be made by Germans, or not."

EIther way it kicks butt and if they could get the weight to be comparable with a conventional IGH it would be a real no brainer.

Since switching my trike to a Nuvinci I have noticed a sustained gain of about 1.5 mph on my average speed over a set 20 mile course. I attribute this to being able to get out of the low range and into the higher ratios easier and quicker than with conventional IGH gearing. I hate it when there's a bigger jump between gears 1 and 2 than between all the rest. I understand why its done that way but it makes it much harder to work out of that lowest gear without a big step. With the Nuvinci I can dial the ratio up gradually so its barely perceptible that I am gaining gear inches as I climb. Cadence can stay at just about your optimal range all the time and you just twist the shifter and the bike goes faster.

Its sorta like Lemond said... it doesn't get easier, you just go faster.
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Old 07-02-13, 08:41 AM   #8
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Since switching my trike to a Nuvinci I have noticed a sustained gain of about 1.5 mph on my average speed over a set 20 mile course. I attribute this to being able to get out of the low range and into the higher ratios easier and quicker than with conventional IGH gearing. I hate it when there's a bigger jump between gears 1 and 2 than between all the rest.
The "jumps" between the gears on an Alfine 11 feel pretty regularly spaced to me, and I think it has an equivalent range (maybe larger?) than the NuVinci. The gear ratios in the Alfine 11 are noticeably more regulalry spaced than on the Alfine 8.

I am not dissing the NuVinci, I have no experience with it.
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Old 07-02-13, 09:05 AM   #9
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Does it take std 3-spline sprockets
9 spline instead .. another Shimano based 'Standard'..

Range of 360% 180 up , 180 down .. less than a Rohloff, 526% .. that, direct shell drive is 11th of 14.

Chemical in the NuVinci is such that when not compressed its a lubricant, when it is compressed..
it is a 'traction' fluid.. transferring power between 2 smooth surfaces..

rode a bike, in the shop, with the Nu Vinci hub around the block, Own 2 Rohloff hub bikes..

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Old 07-02-13, 11:45 AM   #10
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The "jumps" between the gears on an Alfine 11 feel pretty regularly spaced to me, and I think it has an equivalent range (maybe larger?) than the NuVinci. The gear ratios in the Alfine 11 are noticeably more regulalry spaced than on the Alfine 8.
They feel regularly spaced on an Alfine 11 because they are. Its something like 11-13% between gears. Its Similar on a Rohloff; even steps all the way. Hubstripping has it all charted out how the steps between gears go on the Alfines and the Nexuses and Rohloffses and what you are describing is exactly what the technical specs bear out, as is what I am describing.
The Alfine 11 has something like 406% range, to the Nuvinci's 360% so yes more range but don't let the numbers fool you, its not 46% more than a Nuvinci, its like 12% more if you are comparing the two.

For me, I didn't think that what amounts to 1 more gear warranted the price of an Alfine 11 over the price of a Nuvinci and I was willing to pay the weight penalty to try something cool and different. Clearly not everyone is gonna see it that way. One things for sure, you get the ratios you get with a conventional IGH....with a Nuvinci you get the ratio you dial up. Its also very quiet.
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Old 07-02-13, 02:59 PM   #11
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For me, I didn't think that what amounts to 1 more gear warranted the price of an Alfine 11 over the price of a Nuvinci and I was willing to pay the weight penalty to try something cool and different. Clearly not everyone is gonna see it that way.
I couldn't agree more - I am glad to see the diversity of mechanism out there. I was intrigued by the NuVinci as well - I saw an REI branded bike at one of there stores that came with a NuVinci hug at a pretty good price.

I went with an Alfine because I'd found a Civia Bryant at a really good price on eBay this spring. It came with a Alfine 8 that had some pretty big jumps in the gear ratios, and I decided to replace it with an Alfine 11.

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Old 07-02-13, 03:05 PM   #12
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How do you like the Alfine 11 so far? I was going back and forth between that and the NuVinci. I might still try an Alfine.
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Old 07-03-13, 11:03 AM   #13
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How do you like the Alfine 11 so far? I was going back and forth between that and the NuVinci. I might still try an Alfine.
I have only ridden with the Alfine 11 for a couple of hours, but it seems like an upgraded Alfine 8 - more even gear spacing, and a shifting mechanism that makes more sense to me.

It's little hard for me to compare with a non-Alfine mechanism - my other bike is a carbon fibre road bike with Ultegra components, rim brakes, skinny tires, and a chain. This is a steel bike with Alfine components, disk brakes, fatter tires. and a Gates belt drive. The bikes are very different, but I don't know how much of that difference to specifically to the Alfine 11.

I like riding it more than my other bike but that's mainly due to the fact that I can just thow my leg over the this bike and ride without worrying about grease stains - and maybe the fact that my Ultegra equipped bike needs a derailleur adjustment after sitting over the winter. Let's see, it's a nice day. Do I just want to jump on this bike and ride, or do I want to dink with the derailleur on the other bike?
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Old 07-03-13, 12:37 PM   #14
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Check out hubstripping blog.. http://hubstripping.wordpress.com/atc-nuvinci/
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Old 08-15-13, 12:23 PM   #15
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How do you like the Alfine 11 so far? I was going back and forth between that and the NuVinci. I might still try an Alfine.
I set up a TI road frame so I could audition the 11-speed Alfine. It was a struggle to keep it in calibration. Somewhere around 5th -7th gear you could wind up in neutral. The hub got worse as time went by; gears started sticking and it might take a block for it to shift. Shimano refused to do anything about it. At this point I'm pretty sure they know they have a big problem and they are in so deep they simply aren't fessing up. So *that* was $650 down the loo. I plan to avoid Shimano in the future- I don't like getting taken to the cleaners like that. My local LBS thought maybe it was not a bad idea to put up a YouTube video of the part getting smashed. I do think its unethical to sell it and have someone else saddled with an unrepairable hub (by unrepairable I mean they might be able to get it working, but it won't stay fixed).

I went to a Rolhoff, which was a harder to set up on my road frame with vertical dropouts, but it works great and you never miss a shift. Funny that a company like Shimano with greater funds for R&D could not do what one engineer was able to do with the Rolhoff (always works). I also have a NuVinci, but have not sorted out what sort of bike I should put it on.
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Old 08-15-13, 04:10 PM   #16
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Yes it is. in Texas (and probably also China).
According to NuVinci's press releases and web site, the N360 is manufactured in China. The earlier N170 model was manufactured in the USA (Tennessee?) Fallbrook's corporate office is in Cedar Park, Texas.
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Old 04-17-14, 12:38 PM   #17
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I am wondering if the spheres are solid or hollow. If they are solid, perhaps some weight could be saved in a hollow sphere design? Is this even possible???

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Old 04-17-14, 08:44 PM   #18
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Yes it is. in Texas (and probably also China). I don't know why I said Germany....although for all I know they may employ Germans. Or not. I suppose a better statement on my part might be "It may be made by Germans, or not."

EIther way it kicks butt and if they could get the weight to be comparable with a conventional IGH it would be a real no brainer.

Since switching my trike to a Nuvinci I have noticed a sustained gain of about 1.5 mph on my average speed over a set 20 mile course. I attribute this to being able to get out of the low range and into the higher ratios easier and quicker than with conventional IGH gearing. I hate it when there's a bigger jump between gears 1 and 2 than between all the rest. I understand why its done that way but it makes it much harder to work out of that lowest gear without a big step. With the Nuvinci I can dial the ratio up gradually so its barely perceptible that I am gaining gear inches as I climb. Cadence can stay at just about your optimal range all the time and you just twist the shifter and the bike goes faster.

Its sorta like Lemond said... it doesn't get easier, you just go faster.


It's made by Germans in South Texas...
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