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Winter IGH Conversion Project

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Winter IGH Conversion Project

Old 10-31-14, 03:34 PM
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Bravin Neff
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Winter IGH Conversion Project

I'm thinking about converting one of my derailleur hybrids to an IGH bike this winter. Its a 2008 Cannondale Quick 4 hybrid, it is used for commuter/fun/pull-kids duties. I have some general questions.

1. Shifters. I can't stand the "backwards" (by my lights) orientation of Shimano Alfine/Nexus shifters. This applies to both the grips and triggers. This is a big enough deal I will avoid Shimano if this can't be remedied. Can it be remedied? I'm not yet married to grip or trigger, but I am married to directionality.

2. Sturmey Archer has the right direction shifter. I'm attracted to their 5 speed, but reviews say they're really noisey/ratchety. I have never seen one. Thoughts?

3. What do you think of that S-A 8 speed? It has weird ratios where first gear is 1:1; consequently you end up with a very small front chain ring to get a reasonable gear-inches range. Thoughts on that?

4. Technical question: My current bike is 3-front/8-rear. How does one get the chainline correct during an IGH conversion? I assume its not trial and error, but something like buying a front crank with the correct chainline. Is that correct? Is there wiggle room for fine tuning the chainline?

5. I have analyzed my actual biking habits, and it seems I fall predominantly in the 32(ish) to 90(ish) gear inch range. That's a 280% spread, and several IGH's seem capable of satisfying it: Shimano 7, Shimano 8, S-A 5, S-A 8. I dislike the uneven steps of the Shimano 8, which surprisingly bothered me when I tested one. Maybe I could live with it. Heck, maybe I could make a 3-speed work. Thoughts?

6. Anything else you want to add.

Thanks.

Bravin Neff

Last edited by Bravin Neff; 11-01-14 at 10:49 AM.
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Old 10-31-14, 04:23 PM
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I don't know how it is on modern hubs, but on my 50 year old Sturmey SA hubs, I have the following degrees of freedom for adjusting the chainline:

1. Flipping the cog over, because it's dished.

2. The cog sits on a couple of spacers, so you can change the order of spacers and the cog.

3. Putting the chain ring on one side or the other.
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Old 10-31-14, 04:43 PM
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NuVinci & Rohloff are both 2 cable Pull/pull so rotation is a setup choice
single cable have a spring pulling back ..

Im fine with my S-A AW 3 (& rohloff) THE S-A 5 Speed adds 1 more gear over and below the other 3

The 8 speed is all overdrive gears above 1st. best use: small wheels as the low gear is at best the wheel diameter if the cog and chainring is the same size.

The hub will have its Chain line, it may be slightly tweaked if the cog is dished, by flipping it over , the front crank is set up to match that .
the spindle length, the crankarm choice, which place on the spider you Put the chainring, and some shim washers between chainring and crank arm spider allow adjusting That.


Rohloff is evenly spaced , as you go down each gear is 86.4% of the next larger , or Up from from 1st 13.6% larger

NuVinci CVR is a continuously variable IGH 360% the chainring /coc Drive ratio is the middle one, that determines the gear range

Likewise No 2 in a 3 speed and N 3 in the 5 speed

R'off its N 11, as the 7 speeds are used a second time in a compound reduction gear low range.
the 7~8 shift is a double lowest-high to Highest -Low.
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Old 10-31-14, 05:59 PM
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Thanks for the help guys.

Regarding the Nuvinci and Rohloff, I'll probably never be able to justify the Rohloff, so that one is out for me. I am intrigued by the Nuvinci and reallly hope they improve the technology. Right now I have a hard time living with its weight and the reports of inefficiencies I read. Of course I should try one, but I have lifted a bike outfitted with one and I was like wow...
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Old 11-01-14, 04:56 AM
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I've used both the SA 5-speed and 8-speed. The 5-speed takes a little while to break in and can be a little rough in first and fifth gear while it does that, but I've never had any trouble with it other than that. The 8-speed is kind of weird, I think it was intended for use on small-wheeled bikes with the gearing arranged the way it is, but with a 32-tooth chainring and a 25-tooth sprocket it works OK with the 700c wheels I'm using it with, and I reckon I could use an even smaller chainring if I wanted.

One thing that probably is worth mentioning is that the 5-speed ticks in the top 3 gears as part of the way the mechanism works, and the 8-speed ticks in all of them but the lowest. With the 5-speed it's a relatively slow tick, which I'm used to from old SA 3-speeds, so I barely even notice it, but the 8-speed ticks much faster, and although it's quieter, the ticking is much faster, and because of that, when the hub's in certain gears it almost gives that rough feeling like the chain needs oiling. That's only the internal pawls that give that sensation though, I don't think it's the actual gearing running roughly. I've only been using my X-RD8 for about a month, and I'm basically used to the feeling now.
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Old 11-01-14, 07:25 AM
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I've had the S-A 5 speed hub (with drum brakes) on my commuter bike for a few years and like it very much. I rarely use gears 1 and 5 (and then just to see if they still work) so if I had to do it again I would opt for the 3 speed hub. The issue is that the ratios are very wide so unless you have a lot of hills the outside gears are not all that useful.
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Old 11-01-14, 07:51 AM
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I have the S-A 8 and let's put it this way: I don't need a bell on my bike because everyone can hear me coming. The gear ratio thing sounds weird on paper but in use it's not a big deal. I'm using it with 20" wheels.
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Old 11-01-14, 07:53 AM
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Matariki, it sounds like you are essentially a 3-speed rider. I am accustomed to more gears with closer gear spacing. Can you tell me what the transition like? I assume it is something basically everyone can adjust to, but I wonder...
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Old 11-01-14, 08:55 AM
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I use my 3 speed Brompton a lot .. what you do is adjust your pace slightly with the gear...

2nd to high , but 1st feels too low? downshift , then slow your cadence to match what feels right..

Or push the pace in 2nd so it doesn't feel too high anymore.. etc.

Last edited by fietsbob; 11-01-14 at 08:59 AM.
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Old 11-01-14, 09:24 AM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
I use my 3 speed Brompton a lot .. what you do is adjust your pace slightly with the gear...

2nd to high , but 1st feels too low? downshift , then slow your cadence to match what feels right..

Or push the pace in 2nd so it doesn't feel too high anymore.. etc.
This has been my experience too. I've ridden 3 speeds for well over a decade, mostly commuting and getting around town. The "wide" range hub has an overall range of about 1.8, and the gears are spaced further apart than on the typical modern road bike cassette. So, if the purpose of gearing is to match the peak of your power range to the conditions (wind, incline, acceleration, etc.), the match is never optimal with a 3-speed but it can be OK.

This is probably less important if you ride alone than if you're matching your speed to other riders in the peloton.

In my case it means that I sometimes stand up and honk, to climb a hill, and I can top out my cadence going down, whereupon I just coast. In fact, I generally coast down hills. I don't use 3rd extensively, and if my rides involved more hills, I'd install a bigger cog in back, or maybe consider a 5 speed if things got extreme.

Before I converted my second bike to 3 speed, I experimented with choosing 3 gears and sticking to them while going out on longer rides. It does take some getting used to if you instinctively switch to the optimal gear while riding a derailleur bike.
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Old 11-01-14, 09:37 AM
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From my own experience as an owner of everything from 2 to 14 speed IGHs, if it's just for street use with moderate grades, and not hauling serious loads, a 3 or 5 speed Sturmey Archer fits the bill very nicely. My 5 speed bike has a trailer hitch on it, and I have no difficulty pulling a loaded trailer around town, and the hub, a ball lock type 5 speed, has held up well in 5,000 km of use.
New wide range Sturmey Archer 5 speeds give you shifter options including a thumb shifter and a push/push trigger. Both work very nicely.
Sturmey Archer hubs give you the most adjustability when it comes to dropout spacing and chainline too, particularly if you get the longer axle version.
I've spaced 5 speed hubs out as wide as 126mm with nuts and spacers to avoid cold setting a high end steel frame. (Gios compact), or gone as narrow as 116.
I also own a 8 speed Sturmey Archer in a 700c wheel bike, and while it works OK, (the noise can be irritating) I recommend the 5 speed if you need a bit more range than the three speed.
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Old 11-01-14, 10:53 AM
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Thanks for the help guys. And Dan Burkhart, I love your Youtube videos. I have watched them multiple times and they are a valuable public service.
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Old 11-01-14, 11:11 AM
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Detroit is pretty flat, a 3 speed IGH would probably serve you quite well.
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Old 11-01-14, 11:45 AM
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I hear you, and I'm trying to talk myself into believing that. On the other hand, I am a cadence rider by habit, shifting gears to stay within a narrow range. Obviously people make the switch every day, just not sure how well I would fare. I could probably "practice" by intentionally using only 3 gears, appropriately spaced. That would give the "feel," wouldn't it?
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Old 11-01-14, 01:19 PM
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to test : you pick a 2nd gear.. the low is 75% of that one, the high is 133% ie 3/4, 1, & 4/3rds.

so roughly .. lets say a 15, 20, 26t..
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Old 11-01-14, 06:28 PM
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Anyone know if the Shimano units can reverse the direction of the grip shifters, or make the trigger shifters actuate in the same manner their derailleur versions do? (Anyone else find the opposite motion of them maddening like I do?!)
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Old 11-01-14, 06:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Bravin Neff View Post
Anyone know if the Shimano units can reverse the direction of the grip shifters, or make the trigger shifters actuate in the same manner their derailleur versions do? (Anyone else find the opposite motion of them maddening like I do?!)
The issue is that the spring returns the hub to low gear, to upshift, you have to push against the spring. This is backwards to Sturmey Archer hubs.
Don't know any way to change the factory shifters to do what you want.
There are aftermarket shifters that you might find more to your liking, but they ain't cheap.
Hot Rod Bicycle Parts Kustom Shifters
Jtek Bar-end Shifter
And, thank you very much for your earlier comment. I always appreciate feedback.
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Old 11-01-14, 07:32 PM
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Doing some more homework, it seems the Shimano Alfine 11 is the exception... that is puts the shifting directionality back to being consistent with the derailleur shifters. I am not sure I understood that correctly. Can anyone confirm that?
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Old 11-01-14, 07:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Bravin Neff View Post
Doing some more homework, it seems the Shimano Alfine 11 is the exception... that is puts the shifting directionality back to being consistent with the derailleur shifters. I am not sure I understood that correctly. Can anyone confirm that?
Yes, that is correct. The Alfine 11 is high normal. Forgot to mention that.
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Old 11-02-14, 06:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Bravin Neff View Post
Matariki, it sounds like you are essentially a 3-speed rider. I am accustomed to more gears with closer gear spacing. Can you tell me what the transition like? I assume it is something basically everyone can adjust to, but I wonder...
The ratios are:
[TABLE]
[TR]
[TH="bgcolor: yellow"]0.63 (Low)
[/TH]
[TH="bgcolor: yellow"]0.75[/TH]
[TH="bgcolor: yellow"]1.0[/TH]
[TH="bgcolor: yellow"]1.33[/TH]
[TH="bgcolor: yellow"]1.6 (High)
[/TH]
[/TR]
[/TABLE]

I am using a 42t chainring and 19t sprocket so that gives me the following gear inch ratios:

[TABLE]
[TR]
[TD][TABLE]
[TR]
[TH]37.7[/TH]
[/TR]
[/TABLE]
[/TD]
[TD][TABLE]
[TR]
[TH]45.3
[/TH]
[/TR]
[/TABLE]
[/TD]
[TD][TABLE]
[TR]
[TH]60.4[/TH]
[/TR]
[/TABLE]
[/TD]
[TD][TABLE]
[TR]
[TH]80.5[/TH]
[/TR]
[/TABLE]
[/TD]
[TD][TABLE]
[TR]
[TH]96.6
[/TH]
[/TR]
[/TABLE]
[/TD]
[/TR]
[/TABLE]

I would love it if the 5 speeds were narrowed into something like .75, .87, 1.0, 1.15, 1.3

[TABLE]
[TR]
[TD][/TD]
[TD][/TD]
[TD][/TD]
[TD][/TD]
[TD][/TD]
[/TR]
[/TABLE]
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Old 11-02-14, 06:43 AM
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Roughly 38 to 97 gear inches is a totally respectable range. I think I could get used to that. FWIW, I tried out a (goofy reclined beach-type) bike yesterday with a Shimano nexus 3 speed at a LBS. Besides that backwards shifter, I thought it was fine. Didn't notice much in the way of "inefficiency," though oddly I found the instant shifting took some getting used to.

Matariki, what do you think about the "noisiness" and "inefficiency" of the S-A five speed? Any of that stuff bother you?
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Old 11-02-14, 08:28 AM
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Cable breaks on an AW3 & it reverts to High Gear too . likewise Shimano's old 3 speeds ..

that is what happens with a rear derailleur .. Normal is where the return spring meets no resistance ,like from a slack cable.
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Old 11-02-14, 09:31 AM
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How will you tension the chain?
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Old 11-02-14, 10:50 AM
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Originally Posted by MichaelW View Post
How will you tension the chain?
Probably one of those tensioner thingys that locate in the derailleur mount.
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Old 11-02-14, 11:26 AM
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...those tensioner thingys...
They wont be silent , So, I wouldnt worry too much about the internal gear meshing noises in the Hub ..
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