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Old 03-04-13, 09:18 PM   #1
LDB
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Internal geared hub

It's been suggested an IGH is the most maintenance free and arguably best choice for casual riding at leisurely speeds. Thoughts/comments/input?
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Old 03-04-13, 09:56 PM   #2
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IGH can take a lot of abuse, so it isn't so clear that casual riding is where they shine the brightest. They seen to do very nicely on commuter bikes. There is a fellow around town here whose bike has an 8 speed Alfine and he has done Paris-Brest-Paris a couple times - I think he was on that bike. And people go on long tours too with IGH. Of course people do all those things even with fixed gear bikes!

I mostly like getting the full range of ratios with a single shifter. When I am fresh at the start of a ride I can keep track of front and rear and avoid crossing the chain, but at the end of a long ride I get really tired and my poor brain can't figure it out and I am always getting caught in awkward configurations. There are roads around here that switch from steep up to steep down quite quickly. Mostly I would want to use my front shifter with its wider steps but it is slow to shift. With an IGH I can flip quick and easy through a wide range of gears.
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Old 03-05-13, 12:12 PM   #3
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It's been suggested an IGH is the most maintenance free and arguably best choice for casual riding at leisurely speeds. Thoughts/comments/input?
Yes, IGH are very trouble free while offering a decent gear ratios for the street of road. One must pay close attention to the front chain ring to get a lower ratios to make the higher ratios of the hub more useful. A 36 tooth front chain ring seems to be the best choice for 3,7,and 8 speed hubs when riding on the street.
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Old 03-05-13, 02:00 PM   #4
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I have a Sturmey Archer AW on my old 3-speed. Works best for short-mid distance jaunts on mostly flat terrain and trails. I can handle hills on it as long as they're not steep for very long. Anything steep that climbs for more than I guess about 1/4 mile turns kinda hellish on this thing.

I was going to attempt my 12-mile (each way) commute on the old 3-speed, but it wasn't quite up to it. There were a few climbs I just found too grueling.

But it's a great neighborhood bike and leisurely cruiser.

The gear hub is good for someone who's not too into bikes because you can shift it anytime, whether pedaling or not.
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Old 03-05-13, 02:13 PM   #5
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I'm a fan for commuting/touring and just riding around. I have the most expensive version - a 14-speed Rohloff - on my tourer and it is a delight. But I grew up with the sturmey-archer 3-speed and still have a lot of respect for them. Tough, durable, easy to adjust and, if you can be bothered, to strip down and fix. They allow you to run a singlespeed chain which as well as lasting longer than the multi-speed versions keeps a perfect chainline and allows commuters to put on a chainguard (unless they're too cool for such a thing!) and ride in ordinary clothes without worrying about oil etc.Good technology.
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Old 03-05-13, 09:26 PM   #6
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A chain guard is one reason I was thinking about one of the bikes with a Nexus. That and maybe being a little less appealing to thieves if there's not the usual gearset and derailleur visible at the back.
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Old 03-06-13, 02:09 AM   #7
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Shimano has a strong presence in components on most brands, huge company,
so most bikes seem to have shimano on them, IGH, (and derailleur drivetrains)
Nexus is their trade name.

Sram bought Sachs, they are not doing much in the IGH sector, currently.

Sturmey Archer now owned bySun Race, is making a larger variety of IGH Hubs,
than the old British company did.


I have a Sturmey Archer IGH , 3 speed in my Brompton.
a special narrow rear hub was made in UK ,
and now the new owners of SA continue doing that .

Rohloff, 14 speed, on the one I"ve been using most.. hilly here so range of ratios is good.
disc brakes .. Its Wet Here.

Last edited by fietsbob; 03-06-13 at 01:46 PM.
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Old 03-06-13, 11:25 AM   #8
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I should say that there is one main disadvantage of hub gears, and that is efficiency. It's said that there's up to 8% efficiency lost compared to a derailleur system. Some riders say they can feel it. I doubt you will even notice it unless you're racing or timing yourself, or it's a 10+ mile haul, or both.
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Old 03-06-13, 01:37 PM   #9
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On the other hand, I just threw the chain on my Zum at 40 mph, something that just does not happen on my 3-speed.
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Old 03-06-13, 01:46 PM   #10
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I should say that there is one main disadvantage of hub gears, and that is efficiency. It's said that there's up to 8% efficiency lost compared to a derailleur system. Some riders say they can feel it. I doubt you will even notice it unless you're racing or timing yourself, or it's a 10+ mile haul, or both.
I don't doubt that there is some loss of efficiency. That is one reason I wouldn't suggest an IGH for racing. But even when in the lowest gears on my rohloff, I can barely notice it and the question is, do I care that when touring or commuting I might lose a half-mile per hour for a given level of effort? No, I don't. Nothing is perfect, but this is a trade-off I am happy with.
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Old 03-06-13, 01:47 PM   #11
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Going up hills is inefficient..
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Old 03-06-13, 08:17 PM   #12
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I have 30 plus bikes at my disposal over 20 of them are IGH for a reason...

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Old 03-06-13, 08:47 PM   #13
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Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but there appears to be a resurgence in the use of IGHs. I think for the reasons you originally mentioned. They are low maintenance and durable. Also, the gearing is protected from the elements. I have 2 bikes with IGHs. One has a 1974 SA AW3 and the other is a more modern SRAM i-Motion 3 speed. They both work great.
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