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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

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Old 03-20-11, 10:06 PM   #1
hoyc
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Derailleur vs Internal Gear Hub?

Hi,
I have a new project that I want to undertake this summer. I wanted to build up a geared bike to take on longer trips between cities and also around town bike as I'm moving to a hillier area come may.

Now I was thinking of finding an old road bike to fix/tune up, but then the idea of a three speed hub or five speed popped into my head. I think this would serve my purposes as even before i converted my bike now, i really only used three gears, one for flat ground and two for hills.

I really appreciate the cleaner look of having no derailleur and also the lower maintenance and greater durability.

However I know internal hubs suffer from being much heavier and lost efficiency in some gears.

Now would it be worth it to go this route or should i just suck it up and get gears? This would go on an old 80's road frame that will be taken long distances but also used around town.

EDIT: also I'd figure I ask this in SSFG since there would be more appreciation of singlespeed aesthetic rather than just "don't be dumb get a derailleur"

Last edited by hoyc; 03-20-11 at 10:16 PM.
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Old 03-21-11, 04:58 AM   #2
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I've used a SRAM S-7 hub and i just picked up a nexus 8-speed IGH for a new build I'm working on. IGH's work fine and for a long time all you could ride were single speeds or upgrade to a 3 speed. Many of the major manufacterers are still producing bikes with 3,5,7,8,9,11,and 14 speed IGH's becasue they seem to be regaining popularity for many of the reasons you mentioned. (Simplicity, able to shift at stops, less external parts to get damaged, less adjustment and maintenance, etc.)

Build this bike. Post pics.
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Old 03-21-11, 05:41 AM   #3
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ummm, this is ssfg, what is all this talk of multiple gears?
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Old 03-21-11, 06:35 AM   #4
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ummm, this is ssfg, what is all this talk of multiple gears?
Never you mind. Go back to the kids table. The adults are having a discussion.
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Old 03-21-11, 01:58 PM   #5
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I would go visit the LBS and check out some builds that use the internal hubs.

I bought my wife a Bianchi Milano with the 7-sp internal hub a few years back. I suffer regrets today because the thing is so damn heavy. Just make sure you are prepared.
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Old 03-21-11, 02:42 PM   #6
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Saw a lot of long distance (1000+) mile tourers running IGH... They all seemed to love them.
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Old 03-21-11, 03:15 PM   #7
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Wrong thread.
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Old 03-21-11, 08:28 PM   #8
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LOL! Actually, an IGH is a good hub... consider you will be riding in one gear most of the time.
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Old 03-21-11, 08:35 PM   #9
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Wrong Subforum.
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Old 03-21-11, 08:58 PM   #10
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I had a Nexus 8. I liked it.
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Old 03-22-11, 08:36 PM   #11
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Had a Shimano Nexus 8 on a ss cx frame, loved it, rode it a lot, sold it. I'd do it again in a heartbeat, or do a 3sp.

But if you got a derailleur hanger, why not use it? Cheaper parts.
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Old 03-22-11, 09:21 PM   #12
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a 3 or 5 speed IGH isn't too expensive, and I think they're cool too. They work pretty damn well really. I'll probably convert my townie geared bike to one eventually.
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Old 03-24-11, 09:50 PM   #13
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Can someone clear this up for me? So for a say three speed hub, is the 1:1 gear the highest gear? or the middle gear?

Ideally I'd like it to be the former, as I'd prefer my top gear (the one i'd stay mostly i'd think) to be the most efficient and without the friction loss malarky that I keep reading about.

If not, does anyone know anything like this that exists? Or am I making the friction loss stuff out to be a bigger deal than it actually is?
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Old 03-25-11, 04:49 AM   #14
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Or am I making the friction loss stuff out to be a bigger deal than it actually is?
If speed and efficiency are your number one goal, get a standard drivetrain. If low maintainence and cruising (or distance) is your thing, get the IGH.

Yes, an igh is a little heavier and probably a little slower than a derailleur drivetrain but most of the people who ride them don't care because we aren't bolting them to our race bikes we are using them for cruising and touring at which they excel. Go to your LBS and test ride something with an IGH and you'll see what I mean. they aren't better or worse, just different.
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Old 03-25-11, 04:22 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by HandsomeRyan View Post
If speed and efficiency are your number one goal, get a standard drivetrain. If low maintainence and cruising (or distance) is your thing, get the IGH.

Yes, an igh is a little heavier and probably a little slower than a derailleur drivetrain but most of the people who ride them don't care because we aren't bolting them to our race bikes we are using them for cruising and touring at which they excel. Go to your LBS and test ride something with an IGH and you'll see what I mean. they aren't better or worse, just different.
This.

And this covers pretty much all you need on the IGH pros and cons. Notice that SRAM has brought out their own two-speed:

http://hubstripping.wordpress.com/

We should move this discussion to a different sub-forum, but I'm not sure which. But the OP is right: On aesthetics, the IGH is way cool.
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Old 04-02-12, 01:47 PM   #16
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I know that I'm late on this thread but I did a lot of research before converting to an IGH, and this is the type of thread a relied on.
I've done just over 1,000 miles in the last 3 months on a SA 5 gear hub which I put on an old (early 1980s) steel frame Raleigh.
The bike weighed less after the changeover namely because I changed the rear wheel to an aluminium 700c tourer and took off all the other bits and pieces. It took about a week to tweek the gears as the tension stretched the gear cable but after that I haven't touched it.
The ride is different, although you have less choice it makes you ride within a smaller range of gears, I've even found that I now change up on climbs that previously I would have sat in a lower gear.
With regards resistance, I've done the maths and read all the articles on relative gear efficiency and the facts are that there is a slight deficit compared to well maintained and top end derailleurs, but, once you're pushing past 300-400 watts, that relative resistance reduces down to negligible.
I much prefer the ability to change down at a stop so that I can pull away more easily and it's not too much of a hassle to take the pace off to change on the go. The best bit is that when I change gear, I know it and there's no messing around with the chainline.
I was nervous about changeover but wouldn't change it for the world. For the hacks that moan about weight and resistance, it's easier to lose a few pounds than spend thousands on carbon fibre and if you're pushing at less than 200 watts then you're not a serious cyclist.
It was on the expensive side to do the conversion but I've learned a lot in the process and have finally researched ride position and optimal cadence, so by the time I've got round to changing my crankset it'll be as good as it gets.
I had thought about making a fixed gear, but after speaking to a few people and considering knee joint mechanics (I'm a chiropractor, so I know about knees) a single speed would shred my patellae within a decade.
So, this is my last bike (I've had about 20), I use it to commute, I'm going to start racing with it this summer (105 and 127km long races respectively) and I think I might do a tour or two as well. I don't think I'll go back to derailleurs because for the expense of perhaps replacing the chain or hub in the next 40,000 miles or so is nothing compared to running a car doing the same mileage.

Hope this helps.
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