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3 speed IGH for commuting

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3 speed IGH for commuting

Old 10-23-12, 08:44 PM
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3 speed IGH for commuting

Anyone ride a 3 speed bike around town and on some hills?

I live in Los Angeles and was eyeing a Giant Via
http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-us/...1/11502/55837/
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Old 10-23-12, 09:06 PM
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I commute on a 3 speed. My commute is about 28 miles round trip. I usually get to commute three days per week, though I get to do it everyday this week. My area has minor hills, but lots of wind. (25+ mph sustained headwind today, with gusts over 30 mph.) To make a 3 speed work, setting up the gearing right is important.

I like the Via 1 a lot. One of my local shops carries the Via 1, and I found it to ride well. I've been eyeing it for a couple of years. Its gearing, with a 44t chainring and a 21t rear cog, yields about the same three ratios as what I ride on my own 3 speed. This setup works well for me on my commute. On fair weather days, I cruise in high gear. On windy days like today, I spend most of my time in the middle gear.
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Old 10-23-12, 09:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Scooby214 View Post
I commute on a 3 speed. My commute is about 28 miles round trip. I usually get to commute three days per week, though I get to do it everyday this week. My area has minor hills, but lots of wind. (25+ mph sustained headwind today, with gusts over 30 mph.) To make a 3 speed work, setting up the gearing right is important.

I like the Via 1 a lot. One of my local shops carries the Via 1, and I found it to ride well. I've been eyeing it for a couple of years. Its gearing, with a 44t chainring and a 21t rear cog, yields about the same three ratios as what I ride on my own 3 speed. This setup works well for me on my commute. On fair weather days, I cruise in high gear. On windy days like today, I spend most of my time in the middle gear.
Nice three speed from Giant but a little high priced. I pulled these numbers from Sheldon's gear calculator

1st Gear ---- 41.5 inches
2nd Gear -----56.5 inches
3rd Gear -----77.1 inches.

I think that's a little too high for my legs. I would prefer a second gear at 54 inches or maybe 52. That's easy to get by finding a 22T cog on the net. However, it's up to the OP if he feels that 41 inch gear would not be low enough for the hills. Only he can make that decision.

Last edited by Dahon.Steve; 11-24-12 at 12:40 AM.
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Old 10-23-12, 09:59 PM
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The Via line isn't a bad one. Whether or not the Via 1 will work for you is to actually ride it. See if you can take it for an extended test ride before making the purchase. Barring that, make sure the LBS has a pretty good return/exchange policy. The Via 2 might be help flatten out the hills a bit better, but then again, there are those who ride in the mountains with FG/SS drive trains...
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Old 10-24-12, 09:43 AM
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I have a 3 speed in the back wheel of my Brompton folding bike..
50:15t, in the 349 16" wheel. now a 54:15, Mountain drive Crank
so as if a double 21.6"t" granny.

had another one in the WABAC of Childhood..
Sturmey Archer is 100 years old , but the nationality of the brand has changed.

twin top tubes is novel.. can you hang a U lock between them?

gear range can be tweaked, you could buy one of their 5 speed hubs after getting the bike too.
parts are changeable..

Last edited by fietsbob; 12-07-12 at 11:24 AM.
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Old 10-25-12, 02:26 PM
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The trick with 3-speeds is to get the gearing right. People may assume that you want 2nd to be your level-ground gear, so you have 1st for climbing and 3rd for descending. However, in practice, this results in 3rd gear being uselessly high, and 1st not really being low enough for climbing hills.

It's better to set up the bike such that 3rd gear is your level-ground gear. 1st and 2nd are then usefully placed for acceleration in traffic, climbing hills and combating headwinds. If you spin out going downhill, just coast. Most of your riding will likely be done in 3rd gear- particularly if you ride a single speed at all- with 1st and 2rd as your backup gears.

One thing you do need is to be able to pedal through a wide power band. If you're used to a bike with a 9 or 10-speed derailleur system, you may struggle somewhat with the widely-spaced gears of a 3-speed. However, this capability comes from going out and riding the thing.
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Old 10-25-12, 03:02 PM
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I've done a fair bit of short day jaunts and grocery-getting errand type of riding on 3 speed IGHs. Longest distances have been about 40+ kms with day trip's worth of gear in one pannier and front basket. 3 speed step through frames are probably the most common rental bikes in the Nordic countries.

I agree about what's been said about gearing, typically 1st is a bit high to my taste. I've never thought about it the way Monster Pete suggested, but it might actually make sense.

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Old 10-25-12, 04:53 PM
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Monster Pete is right. I have a 50 year old 3-speed. It came with a 48T chainwheel and an 18T cog. Crazy high, but typical for that era. I put a 24T cog on it, and now I call my three speeds -1, 0, and 1, instead of 1, 2, and 3.

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Old 10-25-12, 05:43 PM
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primarily commute with a 1x9 or an 8 speed igh, have kept fairly careful track of the gears i use most often. they are ( in gear inches) around 36, 49 and 65 - these steps are amazingly similar to a three speed hub, just have to select the appropriate chain ring and cog for the wheel size.
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Old 10-25-12, 05:53 PM
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I've commuted on two 3 speed bikes for the last couple of years. I can't remember the Shimano's gear ratios, but I do have my Sturmey AW's data on me. I've only had to deal with mild hills, so a low of 41 inches was just right when I had some cargo. Second gear of 55 inches lets me comfortably spin at around 15-16mph. High of 73 inches lets me spin up to about 26mph when I'm in a hurry or have a tailwind. I have around 4k mostly city miles on the Sturmey and it has been super durable. Sometimes I do miss the 66 inch gear I have on my road bike, but I can do without it.

When my brother was shopping for his first "quality" bike I steered him towards a Giant with three speed Shimano hub gear. I'm more of a spinner and he is a masher, but it works just as well for him. Can't remember the model name, but That Giant is well made and has pretty good fenders.
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Old 10-25-12, 07:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Monster Pete View Post
The trick with 3-speeds is to get the gearing right. People may assume that you want 2nd to be your level-ground gear, so you have 1st for climbing and 3rd for descending. However, in practice, this results in 3rd gear being uselessly high, and 1st not really being low enough for climbing hills.

It's better to set up the bike such that 3rd gear is your level-ground gear. 1st and 2nd are then usefully placed for acceleration in traffic, climbing hills and combating headwinds. If you spin out going downhill, just coast. Most of your riding will likely be done in 3rd gear- particularly if you ride a single speed at all- with 1st and 2rd as your backup gears.

One thing you do need is to be able to pedal through a wide power band. If you're used to a bike with a 9 or 10-speed derailleur system, you may struggle somewhat with the widely-spaced gears of a 3-speed. However, this capability comes from going out and riding the thing.
Interestingly, the Sturmey-Archer S3X does set top gear as direct drive. I've read elsewhere on the board that it uses the bottom three ratios of the SR5(W) five-speed hub. According to Sheldon Brown's Gear Calculator, it steps .63/.75/1.0, or (rounding) 43/52/69 gear inches with a 46/18 ring and cog and 700x32 tire and 170mm crank arms.

Although the S3X is a a fixed gear hub, it does take a thread on freewheel. From what I've read, it's hit and miss on getting a freewheel cog that will thread on properly. ACS and Dicta are two brands that have at least some models that work. Because of it's range, a factory freewheel version of the S3X would be an interesting OEM option, but I can't see it happening because the good ol' AW and the Shimano Nexus pretty much define the term "three-speed". As it is, the only two bikes I know of that came standard with the S3X hub were the Felt Broughm and the Mercier Kilo S3X, neither of which is currently available.
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Old 10-25-12, 07:33 PM
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Originally Posted by rudypyatt View Post
Interestingly, the Sturmey-Archer S3X does set top gear as direct drive. I've read elsewhere on the board that it uses the bottom three ratios of the SR5(W) five-speed hub. According to Sheldon Brown's Gear Calculator, it steps .63/.75/1.0, or (rounding) 43/52/69 gear inches with a 46/18 ring and cog and 700x32 tire and 170mm crank arms.

Although the S3X is a a fixed gear hub, it does take a thread on freewheel. From what I've read, it's hit and miss on getting a freewheel cog that will thread on properly. ACS and Dicta are two brands that have at least some models that work. Because of it's range, a factory freewheel version of the S3X would be an interesting OEM option, but I can't see it happening because the good ol' AW and the Shimano Nexus pretty much define the term "three-speed". As it is, the only two bikes I know of that came standard with the S3X hub were the Felt Broughm and the Mercier Kilo S3X, neither of which is currently available.
The S3X is essentially a 5 speed wide range hub with the planetary carrier directly coupled to the hub shell, and no drive pawls on the ring gear.
The Felt Gridlock is another OEM bike with the S3X.
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Old 10-25-12, 08:19 PM
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When I built my current wheel for my 3 speed commuter bike, I considered using an S3X with a freewheel. If I knew exactly which freewheel would have properly threaded onto the hub, I probably would've gone for it. I ended up going with an S-RF3. The range works for me, though I still kinda wished I had gone for the S3X with a freewheel.
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Old 10-26-12, 03:23 AM
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I have a 8 speed igh but honestly only use 3 speeds most days, low for hills, normal pace gear and a omg im in downtown pedal faster gear


this is coming from someone in the seemingly hilliest city in America
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Old 10-26-12, 05:37 AM
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Originally Posted by rudypyatt View Post
...the good ol' AW and the Shimano Nexus pretty much define the term "three-speed".
Yep, although having ridden them all, I'd take the SRAM iMotion3 over either. Sturmey's got everybody beat with parts support and available shifters, though.
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Old 10-26-12, 06:25 AM
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Hi,

Originally Posted by Monster Pete View Post
It's better to set up the bike such that 3rd gear is your level-ground gear. 1st and 2nd are then usefully placed for acceleration in traffic, climbing hills and combating headwinds. If you spin out going downhill, just coast. Most of your riding will likely be done in 3rd gear- particularly if you ride a single speed at all- with 1st and 2rd as your backup gears.

One thing you do need is to be able to pedal through a wide power band. If you're used to a bike with a 9 or 10-speed derailleur system, you may struggle somewhat with the widely-spaced gears of a 3-speed. However, this capability comes from going out and riding the thing.
Personally, for the reasons you mention in the second paragraph, I wouldn't pick a three speed for any route that has sizable hills. If anyone does, I highly recommend that you follow the advice in the first paragraph. Spinning out going down a hill is much better than not being able to make it up the same hill.

Cheers,
Charles
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Old 10-26-12, 08:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Dan Burkhart View Post
The S3X is essentially a 5 speed wide range hub with the planetary carrier directly coupled to the hub shell, and no drive pawls on the ring gear.
The Felt Gridlock is another OEM bike with the S3X.
This reminds me of a 'hack' on Sheldon Brown's website about converting an AW 3-speed into a 2-speed fixed gear, pretty much by this method. This gives a direct drive and a reduction gear.
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Old 10-26-12, 10:46 AM
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I commute on an old Raleigh Sports with a SA 3 speed hub. It's a short commute; not even four miles one way. It's uphill on the way back. I find 1st gear easy enough most of the time, unless I've got a lot in my backpack. Otherwise, I look at it as a good short workout.
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Old 10-26-12, 11:37 AM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
Monster Pete is right. I have a 50 year old 3-speed. It came with a 48T chainwheel and an 18T cog. Crazy high, but typical for that era. I put a 24T cog on it, and now I call my three speeds -1, 0, and 1, instead of 1, 2, and 3.

If my math is right, you reduced 2 so it's the same as what 1 was, and 3 to same as 2.

Originally Posted by CycleRail View Post
I commute on an old Raleigh Sports with a SA 3 speed hub. It's a short commute; not even four miles one way. It's uphill on the way back. I find 1st gear easy enough most of the time, unless I've got a lot in my backpack. Otherwise, I look at it as a good short workout.
I ride an old Raleigh Sports, too. My commute is fairly flat, but I reduced my gearing a bit with a 21T cog in back. It does ok when I decide to ride near the river.

Last edited by gna; 10-26-12 at 11:44 AM.
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Old 10-26-12, 03:22 PM
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Originally Posted by gna View Post
If my math is right, you reduced 2 so it's the same as what 1 was, and 3 to same as 2.
Ah, you're right. So I should label my shifter 0, 1, and 2.
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Old 10-26-12, 04:06 PM
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Originally Posted by rudypyatt View Post
Interestingly, the Sturmey-Archer S3X does set top gear as direct drive. I've read elsewhere on the board that it uses the bottom three ratios of the SR5(W) five-speed hub. According to Sheldon Brown's Gear Calculator, it steps .63/.75/1.0, or (rounding) 43/52/69 gear inches with a 46/18 ring and cog and 700x32 tire and 170mm crank arms.

Although the S3X is a a fixed gear hub, it does take a thread on freewheel. From what I've read, it's hit and miss on getting a freewheel cog that will thread on properly. ACS and Dicta are two brands that have at least some models that work. Because of it's range, a factory freewheel version of the S3X would be an interesting OEM option, but I can't see it happening because the good ol' AW and the Shimano Nexus pretty much define the term "three-speed". As it is, the only two bikes I know of that came standard with the S3X hub were the Felt Broughm and the Mercier Kilo S3X, neither of which is currently available.
Some of the early hubs were tight even for the supplied lockring. If you're having trouble threading a freewheel onto an S3X hub, chase it with the stock lockring first.
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Old 10-26-12, 04:20 PM
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I have a 8 speed igh but honestly only use 3 speeds most days, low for hills, normal pace gear and a omg im in downtown pedal faster gear
this is coming from someone in the seemingly hilliest city in America
So which 3 are they? that is gear Ratios as gear inches ..

I added a Schlumpf Mountain drive , a good fit with a 3 speed
54:15. x 16" [1 3/8 tire 349 rim]

High range 77.1; 57.9; 43.4


Low Range 30.8; 23.1; 17.4.. (as if a 21.6t)

Both planetary gears so chain does not shift

And so the 43 to 30 shift can happen bogged down in a climb..

Last edited by fietsbob; 10-26-12 at 04:25 PM.
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Old 10-27-12, 08:46 AM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by Monster Pete View Post
It's better to set up the bike such that 3rd gear is your level-ground gear. 1st and 2nd are then usefully placed for acceleration in traffic, climbing hills and combating headwinds. If you spin out going downhill, just coast. Most of your riding will likely be done in 3rd gear- particularly if you ride a single speed at all- with 1st and 2rd as your backup gears.
This is interesting. Have you ever set up a 3 speed where most of your riding is in 3rd gear?

The problem with having your Sturmey 3 speed set up like this is the following.

1. 3rd Gear on an AW-3 or Sram Spectro or Shimano inter-3 has a lot of friction! These hubs were designed to be ridden in 2nd gear and riding in third was only ment for those wanting top speed going downhill. I can just imagine trying to ride all day in 3rd gear would be more work.

2. Large cogs to lower 3rd gear are difficult to source. You can buy 22T cog in abundance but trying to find larger ones are quite hard. It takes a real large cog to lower 3rd gear to something reasonable.

3. Installing a small chainring can give you the low 3rd gear but isn't this against what the manufactuer wants?

Using Sheldon's calculator, I created a situation that might actually work for me using a 23T cog and a Shimano 3 speed.

1st Gear -----------29 inches
2nd Gear -----------39 inches
3rd Gear -----------54 inches.

However, to get those ratios, I would have to use a 34T chainring! I don't know if this would destroy the hub! While the low gears are great, after a while, I would miss that high gear. Keep in mind, second gear is not really for head winds because it's too low at 39 inches. A good headwind gear is about half a step or full step lower. The jump from 54 to 39 is more than a full step and you'll find out real soon.

I do think it (39 inche gear) makes a good climbing gear for medium rollers while the 29 inch gear is great for hills! What I want to say is there really is no way to set up a 3 speed hub for optimum riding and headwinds.

Last edited by Dahon.Steve; 10-27-12 at 08:49 AM.
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Old 10-27-12, 10:40 AM
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I'd personally go 7-8 speed, as I gave away my 3 speed bike because the gear range was just too great to comfortably ride too & from work with it. It was great for a 3-4 mile local ride, on mostly flat ground. But once I hit inclines I'd either have too much resistance in 2nd gear, or be peddling and going nowhere in 3rd gear. 1st gear I'd spin out on going downhill,...and I didn't bother to change the chainring because it would make 2nd gear feel like 3rd, and 3rd was no good for most flats.

That schwinn Voyageur IG3 was great looking but a real PITA!!!
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Old 10-29-12, 05:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve View Post
1. 3rd Gear on an AW-3 or Sram Spectro or Shimano inter-3 has a lot of friction! These hubs were designed to be ridden in 2nd gear and riding in third was only meant for those wanting top speed going downhill. I can just imagine trying to ride all day in 3rd gear would be more work.
Actually, no. Some instrumented measurements by two of cycling's foremost gearing gurus starting on page three, here. The mechanical efficiency of broken in and correctly lubricated three-speed hub gears compare favorably in all three gears vs. other bicycle transmissions.

Last edited by tcs; 10-29-12 at 05:46 AM.
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