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Internally Geared Hubs - Build Advice

Old 03-31-06, 10:14 AM
  #1  
yoyodyne
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Internally Geared Hubs - Build Advice

a friend wants me to build him a bike using an internally geared hub but I have never messed with one before and am seeking advice. he's a coworker and is older and rather large. He's very excited about the idea of a bike built just for his needs, and I'm happy to oblige, but have a few questions on the hubs and frame. His desires are disc brakes (at least in front) and an internally geared hub (3 speed preferred). I would also like to use a 29er or cyclocross type frame with 700c wheels as I think it'll fit his usage.

after some research I've realized there are three choices for the hub, sturmey-archer, sram s7/p5/t3, and shimano nexus. My question is this... the sram s7 seems to be the only hub with 135mm rear spacing. the sturmey-archer AW3 is 126.8 or 118.8 and i'm not sure what type of frame i can get to match that spacing. does anyone have recommendations when it comes to internally geared hubs and frames which match his spec? advice would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 03-31-06, 02:28 PM
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SheldonBrown.com has some good data on rear axle widths. Road frames from the 1980s tend to have 126 to 128mm rear spacing, to accommodate 6- or 7-speed freewheels; in the 1960s, 120 was almost universal, as were 5-speed freewheels.
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Old 04-01-06, 10:14 AM
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Any frame suitable for an internally geared hub will have horizontal drop outs, which will 99% of the time mean it's made out of steel. Steel is springy, so if you have 130mm drop out spacing on your frame, you can run 125mm to 135mm hubs. You will have to pry/push the frame to the size you want, but it isn't too difficult and the frame will stand up to it fine.

If he's old or challenged enough to find this a problem to do every time the wheel needs to come off, you can cold set the frame to the specific width you need.

As for hubs, the Sturmey Archer hubs whilst fantastically durable, do have a problem with slipping out of gear(Is this in the high gear only or all gears?). The Sram and Nexus hubs don't have this problem(to my knowledge).

His desires are disc brakes (at least in front) and an internally geared hub (3 speed preferred). I would also like to use a 29er or cyclocross type frame with 700c wheels as I think it'll fit his usage.
Very few 700c frames have attachments for disc brakes and the ones that do probably don't have the horizontal dropouts/steel frame you need. How about a Sturmey Archer drum brake in the front instead?, less powerful than a disc brake, but a lot less maintenance aswell, still the same reliable all-weather braking.

A new 700c frame will likely have 130mm spacing, whilst the 3spd hub he's hankering for will probably come in around 118mm to 126mm, anything more than a 5mm difference will need the hub respaced and/or frame cold set.
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Old 04-01-06, 11:47 AM
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I've just built a Rolhoff 500/14 into a 26" wheel and fitted it into an Orange P7. Nice and easy. All bits needed came with the Rolhoff. What a hub. What an easy gear change.What a price!. On test as a shop demo bike now. It'll be interesting to see what customers make of it and how the hub performs over time.
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Old 04-01-06, 11:57 AM
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Rohloffs are over a $1000, aren't they?
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Old 04-01-06, 01:16 PM
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How big is he? It may be worthwhile to go sram just for the 135mm spacing and consequently, more bombproof wheel. I do not know first hand, but I have been told that Nexux and Sram are more efficient than SA 3sp. If he is just starting out, less drag would be....uhh less of a drag.
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Old 04-01-06, 01:28 PM
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I know Jobst Brandt and others say Sturmey-Archers have a design flaw in which they slip out of gear when in second, but I have never experienced the problem when my shifter is properly adjusted. I pedal out of the saddle on mine, and I ride the bike fast -- with no problems. Regular maintenance usually consists of squirting oil in the hub once a month or so. Mine has been fantastically reliable, and whatever drag exists on paper is not noticeable on the road. Parts are widely available and cheap. I bought the hub (a 1974) used for $3 and laced it to a new MA3, and I think it's the bees' knees. Sturmey Archers are still in production and are more than a century old, so they must be doing something right.

The Rohloff is compelling, and I'll try one eventually, but the price is difficult for me to stomach.
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Old 04-01-06, 03:10 PM
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Although I've never (accidently) experienced the gear-slippage/no-gear issue, it exists between "normal"/2nd-gear & "high"/3rd-gear and can normally only occur if the shift linkage is out of adjustment. The Sturmey Archer hubs are now mfg by SunRace & the specs are on their website. They are nice hubs.... very durable & reliable.
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Old 04-01-06, 03:29 PM
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The current Sunrace Sturmey-Archer hubs are a 'no intermediate gear' model. They don't slip out of gear, similarly to SRAM.
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Old 04-01-06, 04:15 PM
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Hmm, Surly Karate Monkey 29er with a front disc, rear cantis and a SRAM geared hub. Built with a rigid fork, 700x35 tires, a rack for your groceries, and you've got a killer city bike.
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Old 04-01-06, 07:14 PM
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Take a gander at

https://www.sheldonbrown.com/harris/b...os8/index.html

I just built one up around my 1x1 frame



For a nice affordable frame, take a look at the Rob Roy

https://www.irocycle.com/id24.html
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Old 04-02-06, 01:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Old_Fart
Hmm, Surly Karate Monkey 29er with a front disc, rear cantis and a SRAM geared hub. Built with a rigid fork, 700x35 tires, a rack for your groceries, and you've got a killer city bike.
The Karate Monkey certainly is a nice bike, but if it's never gonna see any serious off-road action, it wouldn't be as nippy as a cross frame.

Also, considering the person it's being built for prefers a 3 speed hub(has he tried more gears and disliked them?) the 135mm dropouts on the Monkey would probably have to be cold set to something a bit smaller.
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Old 04-02-06, 01:11 AM
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Originally Posted by dobber
Take a gander at

I just built one up around my 1x1 frame


Nice bike, dobber.

Hows the Nexus fair off-road?
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Old 04-02-06, 02:23 AM
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Just a quick question - what cranks are you guys running with the Nexus rear hub? I am planning a build with the hub but am chewing what crank to put, and what BB size. Thanks!
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Old 04-02-06, 05:54 AM
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Originally Posted by zzxxyy
Just a quick question - what cranks are you guys running with the Nexus rear hub? I am planning a build with the hub but am chewing what crank to put, and what BB size. Thanks!
I'm running a set of Bulletproofs on a Shimano 113mm. Chainline is pretty straight, this with a Nexus 8 and the cog flipped outward.
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Old 04-02-06, 08:11 AM
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Originally Posted by spider-man
I know Jobst Brandt and others say Sturmey-Archers have a design flaw in which they slip out of gear when in second, but I have never experienced the problem when my shifter is properly adjusted. I pedal out of the saddle on mine, and I ride the bike fast -- with no problems. Regular maintenance usually consists of squirting oil in the hub once a month or so. Mine has been fantastically reliable, and whatever drag exists on paper is not noticeable on the road. Parts are widely available and cheap. I bought the hub (a 1974) used for $3 and laced it to a new MA3, and I think it's the bees' knees. Sturmey Archers are still in production and are more than a century old, so they must be doing something right.
Agree with all of spider-man's observations above except for the maintenance schedule. A drop of oil once a decade or so should be sufficient for an SA-AW hub.
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Old 04-02-06, 01:33 PM
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I've commuted for the past two years with a nexus 7 equipped bike with no problems whatsoever. I've put 11 000 Kms on it and it just keeps on running like new. I disassembled and re-greased it at 7 000 kms, to fiddle with it and see the little gears inside. There was no real need for an overhaul, but I'm a curious sort.

Anyway, good stuff.
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Old 04-03-06, 01:35 AM
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Valid "bang-for-the-buck" models include:

Sram 7 speed (300% range)
* Electra has this as a pre-built wheel kit for mountain bikes and cruisers, but I don't know if it has a coaster brake or not; and you don't want the coaster brake.
*Sram is not sensitive to crooked chainlines and will work in these cases that would break the Shimano that must have a perfectly straight chainline.

Shimano 8 speed (300% range)
* Shimano makes a "premium" version with less friction than their regular offerings.
* Quality bike parts (Harris Cyclery, A E Bike, Airbomb, etc. . .) has this as a pre-built wheel for 700C bikes
*Use the drum brake version, not the coaster brake version.
*The drum brake version will work for bikes that already have brakes; just don't install the drum brake portion.
*Nexus gears can be flipped to help straighten out the chainline (it is absolutely required to be straight).


Gearing: Your crankset will be exactly like a single speed bike, and it will use a 44 or 46 tooth ring (if using the Nexus 8). This ring should be made of steel.

*Sugino touring crankset is a perfect match. Remove all chainrings, purchase "Rocket Ring 52 teeth BMX/Universal Alloy silver chainring", have the teeth ground off of the 52T rocket ring at any garage. Put the Sugino steel 46T chainring on the inside and the new shiny silver chain guard (that $10 Rocket Ring) on the outside of the crankset's chainring attachment points. 46 teeth is an excellent size for the Nexus 8 onto a 26" wheeled bike.
*A 44 tooth crankset provides the option of using a mountain bike (disc shaped) bash guard as a chain guard, and this provides even greater utility because the bike will not grease your pants. 44 teeth chainring is an excellent size for the Nexus 8 onto a 700C sized bike.
*Shimano also makes a 46T Nexus crankset, but the chainring is alloy, and this conflicts with the long-lasting nature of gear hubs (normally matched to touring/commuting bikes).

Other answers:

Find an REI sporting goods store. Study their well-done Nexus 8- based long distance touring bike (less than $800).


Typical touring /commuting bike parts:
SKS Chromoplastic Fenders (one size larger than you think you'll need)

Bike rack: aluminum, with the special "bent" rear legs that prevent panniers from striking the rear tire.

Rims: Sun CR18 rims for the 700C or Sun RhynoLite rims for the 26" bike

Brakes: Kool Stop brake pads (with the patented formula that doesn't eat up rims)

A wide saddle, such as Trek's Selle Royale
* Saddle width should be increased in direct proportion to upwards riding posture. Fully upright will use a Schwinn springer saddle (whereby the handlebars will be at least two inches above the saddle height). The Trek Selle Royale works with the handlebar height at least 1/16" above saddle height.
This allows the use of normal clothing when riding the bike.

Tires: Your 700C bikes should use Panaracer T-serv (soft-riding, all weather, does not stick into road cracks), and the 28mm size provides speeds past 25 miles per hour (extreme high performance) while the wider sizes provide additional support for gravel roads and less speed. An inherent flaw in the T-serv (and all modern tires) is that performance demands a very narrow rim for the given tire size. The 26" version works in the 1.25 size if the rims are Sun CR18 or even more narrow. Unfortunately, the all-weather compound becomes extremely unpleasant if the rim is wide, whereby too much of the sticky stuff contacts the road.

Tires: Your 26" bikes should use a tire carefully sized to the rims. Performance slicks will only ever provide performance on matching narrow rims. For standard mountain bike rims, use Schwinn Typhoon Cord blackwall (18 mph with little effort on flat city road, much quicker on tarmac, actual pressure limit is 65 pounds) or any other extremely fast 26x2.1 size tire (Schwable, Innova, Conti, etc. . .) Do pay close attention to rim size because wide rims will cause wide contact patches, thus limiting you to tires (26x1.9-2.1) that perform well despite wide contact (because of harder, less-sticky rubber). Continental does have a 26x1.6" performance tire that can work if the interior of the wheel is no more than 3/4 inch wide (Sun Rhyno-Lite).

Tires: All modern touring bikes use kevlar lined tires

Valves: All touring bikes use Schrader valves.

Bottom Bracket: Touring bikes use Shimano UN 52, 53 or 73 Square Taper. Bottom bracket spindle length determines chainline. Chainline must be straight. This may take several attempts.

Stem: Touring bikes use a threaded stem. If this is not available, there are products by Nashbar, Tom Ritchey, Delta, and Dimension that can help you adjust Aheadset, and other threadless, up to touring bike height.

Handlebars: Touring bikes are sized to the rider in an odd way. Imagine a line between the handlebar grips and the front axle. This imaginary line must be paralell with the existing line of the head tube and stem. This is optimum steering, but it is not vital. Most vital is rider comfort, and the extremely narrow tolerances of handlebars to seat (Touring bikes are hardest to size because of the long distance rides).
Touring bikes always have relatively high handlebars. This is not a problem with areodynamics as long as the rider is at an angle and never at a "C" shape.
*The minimum example of this is drop bars that are wide and at least 1/16" above saddle height. Higher is certainly okay. The drops should always be below saddle height. If these are used, auxiliary brake levers should also be installed on the top grip.
*Next up are Moustache Bars. These start going forwards (a lot) before they go back, thus causing more reach. The "loops" can be used as a far forwards reach to duck out of the wind. These are normally about 1/2" above seat height.
*Upside down North Road style touring bars can be wrapped up nicely to match a road bike frame. Installed this way, they resemble moustache bars, but they provide the rider a choice of upright riding whenever it is wanted (due to longer grips).
*The normal example of touring are right side up 23 inch "North Road" bars. Should you wish a modern-looking equivilent, Trekking bars (sort of like a figure 8 or a car steering wheel) are also exactly the same proportions. These are normally 1 or 2 inches above seat height.
*Should any of the above options provide an uncomfortable "falling forwards" sensation to your customer, get a pair of "Dimension Crusier Bars, Alloy, 24"" and cut 1 1/2 inches from the ends to get them down to regulation North Road 23" size. Any 24" cruiser bars should do. These bars do not go forward of the stem and they have a higher rise. They're ugly as shipped, but look beautiful cut down to a normal size. Observe the rider carefully to make sure they are not sitting with their backs in a "C" shape that would catch the wind.
*Upright bars are supposed to put pressure between the thumb and finger, but never onto the wrist. If this happens, just tilt them slightly.
*Examples of sizing issues include: 1) Pants chafing because the seat horn and handlebars are a bit too low. 2) Rider sitting in a "C" shape like a boat sail because the handlebars are too high. 3) Prostate area pain because the handlebars are too far forwards or too low. 4) Overreach with arms stretched out and back hunched because drop bars are too far forwards and simultaneously too low.

Chain: It is well-known that Shimano/KMC chains are made to destroy gears after only 1000 miles, so use an SRAM or Campy chain instead (7 speed, not 8, not 9). KMC does make a nifty half-link in 3/32 size for use if your bike frame has vertical drops (non adjustable). You may also use a 1/8 chain (designed for a 3 speed), and 1/8 half-links are very common. The chain will be neither tight nor loose when installed correctly. The chainline should be straight; however, it is very unfortunate that this has to be regulated with bottom bracket spindle length.

Flywheel Effect (wheel velocity): Should you combine a heavy to middleweight bike frame with a lightweight wheel, you get a bike that won't coast. That results in a very exhausted rider. Storing energy (like a battery) and then releasing it in an efficient nature is the hallmark of a touring bike. This is why most touring bikes have heavy tires and wheels. In fact, it is impossible to get the wheel too heavy unless it has a steel rim.
A heavy flywheel effect is the only way to compensate for the use of platform pedals, and touring bikes DO use platform pedals. What does all this mean? Just make no attempt at causing the wheels, rims, tires to be lightweight.
If you make one that won't coast, Conti Town and Country or Schwinn Typhoon (fairly light weight, but works) will fix the 26" wheeled bike in a spectacular way. For a 700C that won't coast, Panaracer Crosstown is the special heavy version of their touring tires, and it (700c X 32mm) will coast very comfortably, thus relieving the distance rider of constant pedaling.

This type of bike normally uses a dynohub on the front, and this powers a headlight. It is preferable that ALL parts (especially tempting electronics) bolt on instead of using a quick release. Quick release=instant theft. Bolt-on=stays put.

Good luck, and go have a look at that REI Novaro 8 speed. They did well.
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Old 04-03-06, 02:32 AM
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I couldn't be more detailed than Daniel, but I would like to suggest yoyodyne to make a search about this issue in the Foruns.
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Old 04-03-06, 06:44 AM
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daniel, just wondering what you base your advice on?
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Old 04-03-06, 07:42 AM
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Originally Posted by dafydd
daniel, just wondering what you base your advice on?
A few qualifiers such as "in my opinion" (IMO) or "I read on the Internet that...", or "I heard through the grapevine that..." seem to be in order. In fact every declarative statements in this long list of advice seems to be calling for "IMO."
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Old 04-03-06, 12:53 PM
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I sure hope none of my bikes find out that shimano chains tear up gears in 1000mi.......whoooeeee! am I in trouble or what?
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Old 04-05-06, 12:30 AM
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I've been pondering a similiar build. Redline is about to (due sometime this month last I heard)come out with a Monocog 29er. Standard monocog has horizontal dropouts, disc tabs, disc-ready hubs, rigid fork. Sturmey archer makes an 8-speed disc-brake hub. Add disc brakes, 32 or 38c tires, BAm! instant bombproof commuter. Other, more expensive choices for a starting point include Trek Soho (comes with Avid bb-7s), Gary fisher Rig or Rig frameset (frameset comes with a rigid fork instead of a RockShox Reba). Rig and Soho feature eccentric BBs.
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Old 04-10-06, 03:31 AM
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Originally Posted by dafydd
daniel, just wondering what you base your advice on?
Non U.S. markets that ride touring bikes instead of driving cars.
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Old 04-10-06, 03:38 AM
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike
A few qualifiers such as "in my opinion" (IMO) or "I read on the Internet that...", or "I heard through the grapevine that..." seem to be in order. In fact every declarative statements in this long list of advice seems to be calling for "IMO."

IMO? Yes. I agree! I would sincerely regret writing something that I didn't personally agree with, so absolutely everything I write is . . .IMO

Heard on the grapevine? No. I like to try things out for myself. It is an expensive hobby that causes me great enjoyment. So, I didn't just hear it. I tried it.

Yes, I went to REI and tested this:
https://www.rei.com/online/store/Prod...1&source=14543

I find that product differentiation, such as the need to purchase a road criterion bike for speed, a mountain bike for general purpose, and a comfort bike for comfort. . .to be even more annoying than I am.
In my opinion, advertisements are for the purpose of profit, and that their information is not intended as education. And, I find it sad, yet incredible, that most U.S. customers give in to such direction so easily. Possibly worse, is that marketers are welcome to make declarative statements, yet I am not.

For me, it is such a wonderful thing to be talking about the Nexus 8 Premium (and similar) instead of talking about 30 greatly overlapping gears that supposedly cause extra speed by a laborious, time-consuming requirement of constantly flapping a distant lever through one or two gears at a time in a non-intuitive pattern. I tried it. I bought a gear hub, and then my derailer system made its only fast trip--into the trash. This was a personal decision, and it is my wish that everyone should decide these things for themselves, rather than the usual lemming-like method.

Although, I am sincerely sorry to annoy you, I wish you would accept it as the entertainment of a different point of view.

As such, here's one that's sure to annoy, yet I believe it to be true:

We used to throw away bald tires, and we should continue to do so for the reasons of too much traction/friction on dry surfaces due to maximized road contact, combined with reduced stopping ability on wet surfaces should make for. . .a quick trip to the trash can). There! Wasn't that annoying?
In my opinion, frequently being advised to purchase bald tires is far more annoying.

Last edited by danielhaden; 04-10-06 at 04:46 AM.
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