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Does Hub-Gearing Make You Slower?

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Does Hub-Gearing Make You Slower?

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Old 05-22-09, 08:47 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post

Oh yeah, when I think that I could run a 1/8" chain, it reminds me, that chain will last 20 years or more. I've never seen one of those stretch. Amazing what a difference that 1/32" makes.
1/8 chain stretches just like 3/32 chain but because it is used on bikes that should have virtually straight chain line and no side loading, it lasts longer.

I replace the chain on my fg road bike every 4000-5000 km which is when it's about to hit that 1/16 over.

Now... 3/16 chain...that is the bomb.

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Old 05-22-09, 10:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
1/8 chain stretches just like 3/32 chain but because it is used on bikes that should have virtually straight chain line and no side loading, it lasts longer.

I replace the chain on my fg road bike every 4000-5000 km which is when it's about to hit that 1/16 over.

Now... 3/16 chain...that is the bomb.
I'm not too far from Kings Island, I think 3/16" is what they use to pull coasters up the first hill.

Even though I'm a pretty much an IGH convert, this thread has opened my eyes as to the kind of abuse a reasonably priced setup, like Shimano's Alfine kit, can take. Don't want to start a Shimano love fest, but pretty amazing for the price point.

As an engineer, the chain quips have got my gears turning; is this not perhaps and ideal setup for timing belt drive? Of course, the somewhat pesky problem of threading the drive belt through the chain stays remains.
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Old 05-22-09, 11:04 PM
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Trek Soho... belt drive and 8 speed Alfine IGH.

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Old 05-22-09, 11:57 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
That's cool, tatfiend. How does the torque limiter do its job? Does it cause slippage like a clutch? I hope it doesn't suddenly disengage, leaving us stomping on pedals that offer no resistance!
No real technical information in the document. Just the statement that the torque limiter is in current hubs from what I read.
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Old 05-23-09, 05:13 AM
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Quick note regarding IGH hubs and free spin time. At least with the Rohloff, the manual (or perhaps an FAQ on their web site) talks about how length of time the wheel will spin when lifted off the ground and turned is greatly reduced compared to a derailleur system because the seals kick in due to the lack of weight on the wheel itself. In real use, with a rider, you don't see that happen. You can see the same effect when you move the bike forwards or backwards without a rider - the pedals will turn slightly. Some of this disappears over time as the seals 'break in.' In that regard, it isn't an adequate measure of efficiency.

However, I would definitely agree that an IGH is less efficient overall. Still love mine though. Have had the bike go down plenty of times without any shifting problems at all. Now if they would just do something about the shifter......
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Old 05-23-09, 05:52 AM
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Some facts on the Nexus Premium:

SG-8R25 (and previous models) is the older version. It has 2 roller coupler + 1 bolt coupler. This gives some shifting issues around 5th gear when the bolt coupler is engaged. I have some older one on my Dahon Mu Xl Sport and I think this is the reason of my major complaints, in particular it gave problems for out-of-saddle cranking and/or fast starts (gear slipping).

The newer version SG-8R26 now has 3 roller couplers. There might be some other changes as well (seals, weight, efficiency). The new version is now said to be identical to the Alfine hub, SG-S501 (except the casing). I did not try the new one yet but I expect it to shift smoother than my old version (anybody experience?). The rapid fire triggers might also help for higher shifting precision. I have the twist shifter which seems not precise enough for the delicate hub.

There are people who prefer it over the Rohloff. The Nexus seems to be advantgeous for loaded shifting and less noise (I did not ride a Rohloff, unfortunately, so I cannot comment). Regarding weight, there's also a slight advantage for the Shimanos (Nexus Premium: 1665g; Alfine: 1590g; Rohloff: 1700g (CC), 1800g (CC EX), 1825g (CC DB)). Also I don't know how the Nexus keeps up with high performance riders power. Of course the gear range with 308% is less than the Rohloff's phenemonal 526%.

Alfine weight (source):
"For the full assembly consisting of hub, dust cap, inner chain guard, 20T sprocket w/outer guard, snap ring, driver cap, cassette joint, cassette joint fixing ring, 1 pr no turn washers, and 1 pr supplied shimano acorn axle nuts, the total weight is 1847 grams".

Compare this to a XT drivetrain:

hub: 250g
QR axle: 100g
longer spokes: 50g
add another 50g to arrive at same wheel sturdiness
cassette: 261g
dereilleur: 250g
longer chain: 50g
larger chainring: 10g
chain guide: 100g
Total weight: 1.071g
Total price:€300,-

Weight difference: +750g
Price difference: -€130

The average livespan of the XT cassete+chain is 5.000km.
The livespan of the Nexus might be 20.000km.

Efficiency loss:
Chain: -1%
Dereilleur: -1% (perfectly clean)
Hub (pedaling): - 5-3%
Hub (coasting): unknown.

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Old 05-23-09, 11:03 AM
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Interesting analysis! All this really makes me want to go out and buy one and do something with it.

How do you figure the lifespan of the hub is only 20,000 km? That sounds short. And they haven't been around long, so is it an educated guess, or is that based on testing?
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Old 05-23-09, 11:59 AM
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You should of figured this out by now, but it's not how fast, light or heavy a bike is, it's all in the rider.
I could be sitting on a fully setup touring bike with a IGH and go against a novice commuter on a full carbon bike and prolly still pull away, not bragging it's just it's all in the rider. So don't worry about that little extra weight, it just means that you are just going to be that much stronger and faster in the whole scheme of things.
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Old 05-23-09, 02:59 PM
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That's right, Metricoclock. After all, the rider is the engine. The bike is the chassis and the transmission. You don't hear people comparing transmissions and guessing quarter mile times on them.
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Old 05-23-09, 03:45 PM
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I actually use my tank of a bike to incorporate my leg workout.
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Old 05-23-09, 04:11 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
That's right, Metricoclock. After all, the rider is the engine. The bike is the chassis and the transmission. You don't hear people comparing transmissions and guessing quarter mile times on them.
When you are talking cars you can always get a new engine or a new car which comes with a new engine.
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Old 05-23-09, 07:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
I actually have an 11 tooth SA cog...I can;t remember where I got it and have no idea what bike would have used it but if I put it on my Twenty I'd have some serious road gearing with 104 GI at the top.
I recall SA making 12t and 13t cogs but Moulton had to custom make an 11t cog for John Woodburn's 1962 Cardiff-London record with a close ratio SA hub in a prototype Moulton.
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Old 05-23-09, 11:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
1/8 chain stretches just like 3/32 chain but because it is used on bikes that should have virtually straight chain line and no side loading, it lasts longer.

I replace the chain on my fg road bike every 4000-5000 km which is when it's about to hit that 1/16 over.

Now... 3/16 chain...that is the bomb.
How about 1/4" chain. It was used on bikes until about 1910 or so per the book "The Dancing Chain". Of course finding sprockets for modern bicycle drivetrains that take advantage of the width might be a bit difficult, not to mention the weight penalty.
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Old 05-23-09, 11:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Metricoclock View Post
You should of figured this out by now, but it's not how fast, light or heavy a bike is, it's all in the rider.
I could be sitting on a fully setup touring bike with a IGH and go against a novice commuter on a full carbon bike and prolly still pull away, not bragging it's just it's all in the rider. So don't worry about that little extra weight, it just means that you are just going to be that much stronger and faster in the whole scheme of things.
Yes, the engine is the critical component but the rest makes a difference too ! If you're going to use a car analogy, then you should also realize that when they want to make a faster car they don't stop with just improving the engine. They also attempt to reduce the weight and enhance the aerodynamics just like they do with bikes. You can bet they also concern themselves with transmissions too.

It should also be noted that a major way to improve fuel efficiency is to make the engine do less work by, - reducing the car's weight and improving aerodynamics. And yeah, the cars with manual transmissions usually get better mileage than the automatics.

So, no, it's not all in the rider. The rider is the most important factor but not the only one. If I've got to climb up a steep hill that goes on for 10 blocks into a 20-30 mph headwind, you're not going to convince me that a single speed beech cruiser is going to work just as well as a nice light bike with drops and a triple.

Now, in the scheme of things, is an IGH going to make that much performance difference for most commuters? Probably not. I'd certainly consider one for winter use and I like to go fast as much as anyone else. On the other hand, I would never take an IGH equipped bike on a group ride. I work hard enough to keep up as it is. I'm sure there are guys in the group who would manage OK. Not Me.
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Old 05-23-09, 11:24 PM
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As has been mentioned bike speed is highly dependent on the rider and their condition and experience.

Also usually difficult to directly compare bikes as most IGH bikes have wider tires and are not built for minimal weight compared to road bikes. The most accurate comparison would be to build two rear wheels, or complete bikes, as identical as possible except for gear trains. Same rims, tires etc. Gear both for the same top gear overall ratio as closely as possible. Have the same experienced rider ride both over the same course repeatedly and compare times.

Repeat again with rear wheels incorporating all of the high end gear hubs available. Only then IMO could you pretty definitively say that one is "slower" than the other and by how much. The result still might vary in repeated tests with the terrain of the route chosen.
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Old 05-24-09, 12:17 AM
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Originally Posted by tatfiend View Post
As has been mentioned bike speed is highly dependent on the rider and their condition and experience.

Also usually difficult to directly compare bikes as most IGH bikes have wider tires and are not built for minimal weight compared to road bikes. The most accurate comparison would be to build two rear wheels, or complete bikes, as identical as possible except for gear trains. Same rims, tires etc. Gear both for the same top gear overall ratio as closely as possible. Have the same experienced rider ride both over the same course repeatedly and compare times.

Repeat again with rear wheels incorporating all of the high end gear hubs available. Only then IMO could you pretty definitively say that one is "slower" than the other and by how much. The result still might vary in repeated tests with the terrain of the route chosen.
The best and most expensive Rohloff might make sense in some endurance type of race, but I would think that since you don't typically see IGH's on racing bikes, it's a pretty safe bet that derailleurs have the performance edge. People like Lance Armstrong go as far as doing wind tunnel tests to improve their speed. He and others wouldn't be shy about using an IGH if they thought it would give them an edge.
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Old 05-24-09, 06:18 AM
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Originally Posted by tjspiel View Post
The best and most expensive Rohloff might make sense in some endurance type of race... People like Lance Armstrong go as far as doing wind tunnel tests to improve their speed....
Does Lance commute? This sucker weighs 47lbs with rack/basket/lights/fenders/tools. I am thinking about dumping the IGH so I can get the weight down under 45lbs
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Old 05-25-09, 09:05 AM
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Originally Posted by tjspiel View Post
The best and most expensive Rohloff might make sense in some endurance type of race, but I would think that since you don't typically see IGH's on racing bikes, it's a pretty safe bet that derailleurs have the performance edge. People like Lance Armstrong go as far as doing wind tunnel tests to improve their speed. He and others wouldn't be shy about using an IGH if they thought it would give them an edge.
If this was the bike racing forum I wouldn't recommend a IGH for the simple fact there are no production integrated brake/shift levers. Not to mention the difference in the spacing of the gears on a race bike vs. a commuter bike. However, since bike commuters aren't professional bike racers they don't have the same issues to deal with nor the same priorities. Getting to work in 20mins or 20mins + 15secs is equivalent for a commuter. For a pro bike racer 15 secs could be the difference between winning and 20th place.

Bike commuters also don't have professional mechanics to clean and tune their bikes daily!
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Old 05-25-09, 11:46 AM
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Originally Posted by vik View Post
If this was the bike racing forum I wouldn't recommend a IGH for the simple fact there are no production integrated brake/shift levers.
Incorrect.

http://www.dynamicbicycles.com/buy/Bikes.php?prodid=75

http://www.bikecommuters.com/2009/01...ke-first-look/


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Old 05-25-09, 03:51 PM
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I was aware of that bike and the shifter that comes on it, however, since the shifter is not available separately and since most people aren't going to buy a bike just for the shifter it's not much of an option.

You can buy a JTEK bar end shifter for drop bars that will work with Shimano IGH, but that won't satisfy the racing crowd that wants an integrated brake/shifter combo.
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Old 05-25-09, 06:03 PM
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Originally Posted by vik View Post
I was aware of that bike and the shifter that comes on it, however, since the shifter is not available separately and since most people aren't going to buy a bike just for the shifter it's not much of an option.


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Old 05-25-09, 06:56 PM
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Someone needs to let Lance know about this...
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Old 05-25-09, 09:33 PM
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Now for the next topic: how much hysteresis is there in those drive belts?
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Old 05-25-09, 09:52 PM
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Has anyone one here ever completely submerged their IGH? I rode my derailleur bike through two feet of water several times last summer. (passed cars that were stalled even ) It's still running fine today.
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Old 05-26-09, 12:57 AM
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Originally Posted by AlmostTrick View Post
Has anyone one here ever completely submerged their IGH? I rode my derailleur bike through two feet of water several times last summer. (passed cars that were stalled even ) It's still running fine today.
One member of the Yahoo IGH bikes group linked to in my signature block below reported submerging the hub on his Alfine IGH equipped MTB while on a off road trip in Mexico. He reported no signs of water intrusion when he opened it up on returning home. IIRC he was using the latest version of the Alfine hub which according to Shimano has improved sealing.

He reported converting to the Alfine due to destroying too many rear derailleurs while mountain biking. No problems so far after 600+ miles of MTB use per his last report.
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