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Old 05-15-04, 12:43 PM   #1
Nightshade
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Internal gear hubs vs derailers.

Can someone please explain why with all the advancement
in internal geared hubs derailers are still so popular??

In my view derailers were ok when all you had was a 3 sp hub
or a single speed hub. Derailers were an easy way to "gear
up" a bike. Now I wonder if derailers are still the best
way to put gearing on a bike. What do think??
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Old 05-15-04, 12:49 PM   #2
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Internal geared hubs are more expensive, more complicated and alot heavier. Those are the only two reasons but significant enough that it won't work for the majority of bikes.

It is totally impractical for road racing.
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Old 05-15-04, 03:17 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tightwad
Can someone please explain why with all the advancement
in internal geared hubs derailers are still so popular??

In my view derailers were ok when all you had was a 3 sp hub
or a single speed hub. Derailers were an easy way to "gear
up" a bike. Now I wonder if derailers are still the best
way to put gearing on a bike. What do think??
The big loser for internal hubs is that the gear-to-gear drive loses around 8% efficiency vs. a roller chain and sprocket drive. When people worry themselves to death over the tiniest performance advantage, 8% is huge.
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Old 05-15-04, 07:41 PM   #4
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Internal hubs for now are heavy and not as reliable as the derailleur system. BUT in the near future these internal hubs will be lightened by using more plastic internal parts. The biggest fear I have with this system is that, and I hope I'm very wrong, that these type of systems could replace the derailleur. Even if they don't, they are very difficult to repair by a home cyclist compared to a derailleur which could present a problem cost wise even if they just take over 25% of the market. Let me explain; your local LBS mechanic will be renamed technician, that in turn will provide a reason to jack up the labor rates to repair bicycles to $40-$60 per hour, combine that with routine maintence that you cannot do at home, and less reliability...hmm where have I seen this happen before...? Don't get me wrong, I personally think that a master bike mechanic SHOULD be paid more than $5-$7 per hour and probably closer to $10-$12.
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Old 05-15-04, 08:05 PM   #5
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y'all are weight weenies!! I love my internal gear hubs. In combo with another system, you can stretch the 7 or 8 speed hub to 14 to 24 speeds. IMO Rohloff is prob still the leading performance internal hub; I'd bet it's pretty competitive w/ der sytems overall, even in racing applications...
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Old 05-15-04, 09:21 PM   #6
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At $700+ for 14-speed Rohloff internal hub, derailleurs seems darn right cheap!
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Old 05-15-04, 10:44 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by randya
y'all are weight weenies!! I love my internal gear hubs. In combo with another system, you can stretch the 7 or 8 speed hub to 14 to 24 speeds. IMO Rohloff is prob still the leading performance internal hub; I'd bet it's pretty competitive w/ der sytems overall, even in racing applications...
Rohloff, besides being very expensive, is totally useless in racing applications as are all current internal hubs.
Internal hubs would require EVERY rear wheel to have a internal hub. Not cost effective, not lightweight and since there is no real reason to change from derailleurs, it will never work in it's current state.

Derailleur evolution is progressing so it's basically a "why fix what's not broken" scenario when comparing the two systems.
I really like internal hubs like the Nexus7, plenty to like but not for the majority of applications where weight, price, cost-effectiveness and simplicity rule the day.
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Old 05-16-04, 04:50 AM   #8
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For road racing use, derailers are by far the best option; but for MTBs, cross and maybe even Paris-Roubaix if it was very wet, a well-sealed internal system might prevent any possible shifting problems. But you would need as many (expensive) hubs as you had spare wheels, and changing wheels might be a bit tricky if you had track ends.

But for leisure use, I think they're great. Maintenence is not really a problem, as a recrational rider is less likely to put huge forces through it, and if the Rohloff is anything to go by they only need an oil change once in a while. Granted when they do go wrong they're a major problem. And most people I know that have bikes have 21 speeds, and only use maybe six of them, plus most people don't know how to use their gears properly. A seven speed hub, with the same range as a 21 speed system, is much more useful for that kind of rider, as they are less confusing and have fewer useless gears.

And besides, deraliers (and cables) need to be properly set up, and kept lubed and clean, but most people do not know the first thing about derailers,and the tiniest problem can make them shift poorly. A hub gear (and SS chainline) is much easier to keep healthy if you have no knowledge of bikes, and it takes a lot more effort to mess one up.
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Old 05-16-04, 08:00 AM   #9
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Very good answers thank's. I can see now that there are two
distinct types of riders.......The Go Fast race crowd and
the Leisure Riding crowd.

Taken in that context the internal hub will benefit the LR
crowd when used on their bikes. While the GF crowd needs or
wants less weight and ease of owner/rider repair. The LR
folk's will want low maintance with superior reliablity
and the GF folk's will always be tearing up equipment in the
pursuit of their racing endevors like any other racer.

For myself I am a classic Leisure Rider to be sure which is
why I wondered why the bikes offered to LR still use the
cheaper derailers. Most LR want a "price bike" not a reliable
bike that the internal hub would offer.
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Old 05-16-04, 10:19 AM   #10
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Don't forget there is no replacing of cogs or chain on an internal system and no derailers to break or wear out either.

Factor that in and the initial cost of the internal hub is likely the only lay out of cash you'll have to deal with. Most replace the cog set and chain many times on a conventinal hub and a few have had derailers break in a fall or a snag. Add up those costs and I'll bet the internal hub works out cheaper in the long run.
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Old 05-16-04, 11:05 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tightwad
Very good answers thank's. I can see now that there are two
distinct types of riders.......The Go Fast race crowd and
the Leisure Riding crowd.
Well, I will pipe in from another crowd. Doing any kind of dh, djing or freeriding where crashes are par for the course deraileurs are a horrible system. However cost is the limiting factor as is repair value. I dream of the day I can dump the deraileur, but for now they just don't offer enough of a positive.

However I do know several riders who use and love them. They are strong and aren't nearly as fragile as the deraileur system.

There are some advancements (not really advancements as they built upon one idea). There are a couple of companies who have take the idea of the rolhoff (which is heavy) and centred it on the bike like a bottom bracket. This remove any imbalancing and basically makes your bike feel more natural.

There has also been a push by a couple of engineers as well as honda to move to a cvt system (I don't know the mechanics behind it but it is supposed be efficient)...

There are people working on this problem, I am quite happy to see (hear) that shimano is creating a nexus line for mtb usage. I think that could be a good first step into eliminating a very weak (strength wise) system.
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Old 05-16-04, 11:28 AM   #12
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Internal do weigh a more and they cost more(partly due to low production). They are more reliable and probably durable enough for racers; I dought your going to break a gear tooth and I know for a fact the well lubed gears hidden from grit will far outlast derailer components say 100Kmiles and the flexy chain needed for derailers has 1/4 the life of single speed chains. 16,18, or 20 speed derailer types arent really 16,18, or 20 speeds now are they? I mean there are raitio overlaps and 'cross' combos that aren't usefull at all. That said high end racing will probably be better suited by derailers.
F1 cars use pancake pistons and downforce, and neither one of them is suitable for utilitarian cars that need pistons to last longer than one race and don't need to be sucking themselves to the road(infact it would often be disadvantage) and race cars racing motorcycles and race bicycles generally change gearing to suit each racecourse they come to, how many people change their chevy's transmission once a month? And yes they have a mechanical energy loss large enough to make a difference in a race, but it will not effect training as total crank revoulutions, crank force, and and total workout time are the effective factors distance covered and average speed don't matter here as you may as well be on a roller stand. (inside on a roller is mucho boring of course) in this case the longevity of internal should become a major asset, just jump on and go train get home put it away, less shop time(yours or LBS's)

A few more thoughts: less cogs means less dish=stronger or lighter wheel, single cog and single chainwheel means no complex heavy slack adjuster or front derailer and a lighter driveside crank shorter lighter chain.

Does that about sum up all the postings so far.
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Old 05-16-04, 11:54 AM   #13
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Another thing I thought of: top racers might want to make minute adjustments to their gear ratios, which is not really possible with hub gears. You can only change the final drive ration, not the individual gears.

One more thing I just thought of : what about trials riders? Surely they could benefit from being able to shift without pedaling? You could be sitting on a log or a rock or whatever, and think 'man, I need a lower gear to get onto that other rock', and with a hub gear, you could, but not with a derailer. Meh.
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Old 05-16-04, 11:55 AM   #14
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CVT =(continuously variable transmission)
Basicaly better than corncobs but I mean hey do you nead less than a 5rpm difference in cadence between gears? and most ctv are not that efficiant they just keep the engine at a constant rpm which in machines is efficiant in cyclists effiiance isn't changed that much between 60 an 100 rpm, and the mechanical losses in the system are significant. Two CVT already in use are hydrolic like tracked equipment uses(bulldozers, excavators, bobcats) where the motor runs a hydrolic pump and the tracks are driven by a hydralic motor and the operator controls flow(thus power) with a two valves hooked to two long levers(right track and left) full power reverse can be had just by reversing flow with the valves. The other is the variable pulley on snomobiles this uses a v belt and two pullies like an old cars fanbelt but one of the pullies is splitinto two circular plates when together the belt rides far from the pulley axle as more torque is applied the plates(which are held together by springs) start to seperate and the belt rides close to the pully axel creating a higher gear (like shifting to a smaller rear cog)
Both have a lot of friction.
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Old 05-16-04, 01:56 PM   #15
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Williams built a formula 1 car with CVT in the early ninties, so it can't be that bad. Stupid FIA did what all good governing bodies do and banned it
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Old 05-16-04, 03:46 PM   #16
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Interesting discussion.

Somebody built a CVT into a chainset, back in the late 80's........I can picture it, but I'm darned if I can remember it's name. It seemed to work but was fussy and likely expensive to manufacture and maintain.

We all know most modern derailleur benefits are wasted. Systems are set up and used inefficiently in applications where a good, durable 5-speed internal hub gear would be most suitable. The limited availability of 'odd' sized chainwheels and rear cogs shows how little we tailor gearing to our own riding styles and destinations. We just take what we're offered.

Reality is, if I'm off-road touring, I use a limited number of lowish gears. If I'm racing a flat TT or criterium, again I only employ a small number of the gears on offer. 20 'choices' an a road bike, and even more on an MTB, are usually excessive. Cue rant about status envy, manufacturers' marketing hype, rampant consumerism, etc., etc.

As an old-school British all-rounder type, I've always ridden fixed in winter, raced TT's with close-ratio 5 and 6 speed freewheels, enjoyed restricted gear road racing, both as a junior and after. The only times I ever needed the spread of a modern set-up was when touring with a load, in hilly terrain, or racing on long and difficult courses.

I think plenty of others share my belief that today's derailleur systems are wonderful in their element- it's just that they are not a good choice in all circumstances. Just as the Honda 50 is the greatest motorcycle ever made, according to sales, so there will always be a place for deliberately simple, repairable and durable bikes and components. The time is ripe for some further development in the utility sphere- and I'm not talking about absurdly pricey hubs.
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Old 05-16-04, 04:56 PM   #17
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Here are the 2 things I am keeping my eye on

http://www.g-boxx.org/index.html
http://www.descent-world.co.uk/forum...?topic=14118.0 (this site has links and pics)

I agree flaneur...in any given situration I 'usually' limit myself to 5-9 gears, however some circumstances I have used upward of 15...None of my bikes have the big ring on them (you are probably the opposite but the bigring offers me nothing for my type of riding)...
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Old 05-16-04, 09:19 PM   #18
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Let's forget weight, as it is a non-issue for the touring guy or for most utility cyclists. However:
- With a derailleur, one needs to pedal while shifting whereas it's possible to shift while stopped with internal gears.
- Internal gears are protected from the elements, but a derailleur is fairly easy to lubricate. Chain lubrification is similar in both cases.
- A priori, wheel removal and replacement is easier with a derailleur. No problem in getting the chain tight enough.
- Internal gears should be more durable. However, a derailleur system is easier to repair in the field: a nice option while touring.
- With a little ingenuity, one may build a personalised cassette (by combining cogs from different cassettes); one may also select proper chainrings. That way, one may decide the ratios one wants. Not possible with internal gearing.

The last two elements are important for me.
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Old 05-17-04, 07:50 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RacerX
Rohloff, besides being very expensive, is totally useless in racing applications as are all current internal hubs.
Internal hubs would require EVERY rear wheel to have a internal hub. Not cost effective, not lightweight and since there is no real reason to change from derailleurs, it will never work in it's current state.

Derailleur evolution is progressing so it's basically a "why fix what's not broken" scenario when comparing the two systems.
I really like internal hubs like the Nexus7, plenty to like but not for the majority of applications where weight, price, cost-effectiveness and simplicity rule the day.
Bingo. As the owner of three internal geared bicycles, I am now selling two of them and moving onto derailluer systems. WHY?

1. Weight, Weight, Weight - The Nexus 7 hub weights almost four pounds and when put on the rear wheel, feels like you're carrying two water bottles. This weight is significant and you will spend more energy moving that rear wheel when distances are longer than 25 miles. My experience has shown the heavy Nexus 7 load will lose momentum very fast. If you put this hub in the back of a road bike, you've effectively destroyed it's performance and created a hybrid. The heavy rear wheel means you will be be peddaling more and coasting less.

2. Friction Loses - The Nexus 7 or Sturmey Archer have both friction loses that feel like you're peddalling a generator. It's incredible how much energy is lost in this process compared to a cassette. There is NO way you lose just 8 percent compared to a derailluer system because it's much more. The bearing of a 105 hub is waaaaaay more efficient than what's inside the Sturmey Archer system. The Ultregra hub is incredibly light with low rolling resistance and as a result, you travel further with less effort. This alone is reason enough to choose a cassette over any hub system.

3. More Dangerous - Did you ever stand on a Sturmey Archer/Sram hub while going up a hill?? I wouldn't advise it. The gear can slip and over the handle bars you go! Furthermore, riding fast and hitting ruts and pot holes can cause the gears to slip into neutral.

4. Time Consuming in repairing Flat tires - Did you ever get a rear wheel flat tire on the Nexus system? If you did, get ready to spend some time because the is NOT easy to take off.

Over the past four years, my opinion on hub gears have changed. I used to think they were the greatest things in the world but I'm now moving away from them because my riding style is getting more aggressive. I will only keep one hub geared bicycle (Sturmey Archer) for commuting purposes only. My weekend bicycles will only use a cassette.

Last edited by Dahon.Steve; 05-17-04 at 07:59 AM.
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Old 05-17-04, 07:53 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tightwad
Can someone please explain why with all the advancement
in internal geared hubs derailers are still so popular??

In my view derailers were ok when all you had was a 3 sp hub
or a single speed hub. Derailers were an easy way to "gear
up" a bike. Now I wonder if derailers are still the best
way to put gearing on a bike. What do think??
This quote sounds like the individual is either new to cycling or never had a bicycle with quality components. (Durace, Campy)
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Old 05-17-04, 07:58 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mgagnonlv
- Internal gears should be more durable. However, a derailleur system is easier to repair in the field: a nice option while touring.

The last two elements are important for me.
The last option is critical when touring. A derailluer system can be fixed in most parts of the world but a hub gear system is not! I have trouble finding a quality wrench in New York City that will take the time to bother with a Stumey Archer hub. Most shops will tell you to just buy a new one because it's dirt cheap. In fact, asking them to service the hub cost almost as much as a brand new wheel.
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Old 05-17-04, 09:58 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by Tightwad
Can someone please explain why with all the advancement
in internal geared hubs derailers are still so popular??

In my view derailers were ok when all you had was a 3 sp hub
or a single speed hub. Derailers were an easy way to "gear
up" a bike. Now I wonder if derailers are still the best
way to put gearing on a bike. What do think?



Quote:
Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve
This quote sounds like the individual is either new to cycling or never had a bicycle with quality components. (Durace, Campy)
How can anyone engage in polite open discussion
when they will be held up to ridicule because they
are not fully up to speed with all the others who
post in bikeforums? How else can one learn from
others who are willing to share and ,at times,
mentor new or returning riders. I consider this
post to be arrogant, rude and adds nothing of value
to this discussion.
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Old 05-17-04, 10:33 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tightwad
Originally Posted by Tightwad Can someone please explain why with all the advancement in internal geared hubs derailers are still so popular??
In my guess, manufactures can produce a bike with a lower initial cost if they keep with a derailer system, and since derailers systems work better for performance orientated bikes justifying their use in that circumstance, large groups of buyers want to mimic thier heros who ride fast, even if they won't be using their bikes in the same way, so they buy what they see their heros use.
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Old 05-17-04, 11:46 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tightwad
How can anyone engage in polite open discussion
when they will be held up to ridicule because they
are not fully up to speed with all the others who
post in bikeforums? How else can one learn from
others who are willing to share and ,at times,
mentor new or returning riders. I consider this
post to be arrogant, rude and adds nothing of value
to this discussion.
I didn't mean to be rude. I was there myself not long ago and I'm still learning. If this post had been listed on the "Road Bike" forum, you would have been ridiculed as most of those posting are aggressive cyclists. I thought you were referring why hub gears with their high popularity are not replacing cassette based systems. This type of question comes from someone (like myself) who started out on a 3 speed folding bicycle. But the prospect of a hub based system ever replacing the cassette is likely never to happen because of the advantages of the latter are like night and day.

I don't regret the decision to buy that 3 speed bicycle and will probably keep it for commuting purposes only. I do regret buying my other 2 Nexus cycles when I should have purchased a road bike. If you're at the begginers level, a hub geared bicycle would be perfect.
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Old 05-17-04, 12:02 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RacerX
Rohloff, besides being very expensive, is totally useless in racing applications as are all current internal hubs.
Internal hubs would require EVERY rear wheel to have a internal hub. Not cost effective, not lightweight and since there is no real reason to change from derailleurs, it will never work in it's current state.

Derailleur evolution is progressing so it's basically a "why fix what's not broken" scenario when comparing the two systems.
I really like internal hubs like the Nexus7, plenty to like but not for the majority of applications where weight, price, cost-effectiveness and simplicity rule the day.
Agreed. The Rohloff speedhub is heavier than the Nexus 7! I highly doubt you can win a race with a four pound disadvantage on the rear wheel. I don't even think the cost of a hub gear is what's preventing the device from entering professional competition. A Sram 3 speed hub is less than $100.00 dollars. If you compare most cassette based systems on quality bikes, they're actually more expensive than one with an internal hub.

As Races X stated above, there is nothing wrong with the derailleur system and if kept clean and lubricated, will run well. I purchased a cheap Chromoly street bike with an older cassette system (Suntour). I don't get all the gears but then again, I'll only use 4 or 5 for the entire day!
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