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IGH for Winter = Success

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IGH for Winter = Success

Old 02-27-13, 08:44 PM
  #1  
tjspiel
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IGH for Winter = Success

For most of my winter commuting seasons I've used a derailleur based drive train. Virtually every year I'd have some issues with shifting. Further I've been unhappy with the amount of maintenance it took to keep the chain in halfway decent shape. Every spring I'd end up pulling the derailleurs off the bike to clean them up. Lots of grit in the jockey pulleys and pivots. This with full fenders and a generous front mud flap.

So I decided to try an IGH starting last winter. Well, last winter was about the wimpiest I can ever remember so it didn't count.

This year has been more typical. Not much snow in January but we had decent amounts in December and February. I've had no real shifting problems to speak of. I also used a rust resistant chain this year. It's stayed pretty much rust free and I've only lubed it twice so far this winter. I've used the same chains in the past but they were marginal with an 8 speed drive train and I couldn't find any available at the time that would work with 9 speed. Now I think you can get them. Regardless, I think using an IGH vs a derailleur has allowed the lube to last longer.

A couple of pictures are below. The first is the bike I was using a couple of years ago. I probably had just cleaned up the chain and relubed it less than a week prior to taking the picture. Once you get into a wet part of the winter where there is thawing and refreezing the chain seems to lose the lubricant pretty quickly.

The white spots on each bike is salt residue.






The IGH does have its downsides. I do notice the wider spacing between gears and there's a noticeable drag in colder weather. I plan on switching to oil lubrication next winter which I hope will alleviate some of that.
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Old 02-27-13, 09:08 PM
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IGH works well for me, as well. My commute is short and flat, and I'm in no hurry. My vintage Shimano 3-speed coaster brake hub is working quite well; I'm in 1st or 2nd gear 99% of the time, and I only have one rim brake to maintain.
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Old 02-27-13, 10:51 PM
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Wow! I really want an IGH.
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Old 02-27-13, 11:05 PM
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This is really encouraging.
I just got one with IGH. It'll be my new Winter/bad weather bike.

Hopefully it holds up.

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Old 02-27-13, 11:17 PM
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Great pics of the bikes and IGH. They are great to have in wet, snow, slush weather. When I first got around to getting one I was going to go chain with an IGH but ended up going with the Gates carbon drive. No oil for the chain ever, no worries, just ride and go!
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Old 02-28-13, 12:18 AM
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I like the idea but would need a high end IGH - otherwise would probably miss the range of gearing. I'm currently running a 3 x 7 drivetrain and still use all three chainrings in the winter because of the terrain on my commute. I am using corrosion resistant 8-speed chains though snd they do seem to handle things well.
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Old 02-28-13, 12:28 AM
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I have been a huge fan of the venerable Sturmey Archer AW for a very long time... with synthetic oil the hubs spins like it is a warm summer day even when it has been -30 C and beyond.

My current wheel set is on it's second bike now and the hub has been flawless through everything mother nature can throw at it... the only little issue has been with the shifter getting a little sticky in really cold weather.

Should add that the hub is older than I am and might need a new spring... I should overhaul it in the spring when I am doing a 3 speed workshop.
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Old 02-28-13, 12:34 AM
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Can you guys comment on the maintenance factor as I'm very interested in an IGH.

Do you need to do an oil soak with the innards once per year?

Also, my bike lives at ambient temp (outside all day during the day at roughly and in an unheated basement at night ... so usually at 10-30F always) ... does the constant cold affect IGH performance?

I find that for 95% of the ride I use the 44T ring and shift once per commute to the 32T ring for a small hill, so I think the gearing range would be OK?
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Old 02-28-13, 12:37 AM
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Originally Posted by acidfast7 View Post
Can you guys comment on the maintenance factor as I'm very interested in an IGH.

Do you need to do an oil soak with the innards once per year?

Also, my bike lives at ambient temp (outside all day during the day at roughly and in an unheated basement at night ... so usually at 10-30F always) ... does the constant cold affect IGH performance?

I find that for 95% of the ride I use the 44T ring and shift once per commute to the 32T ring for a small hill, so I think the gearing range would be OK?
The service interval on a Shimano nexus / Alfine IGH is supposed to be once a year / 6000 miles (IIRC), older Sturmey Archers that get oil lubrication need to get serviced every 30,000 - 40,000 miles.

Sounds like an SA hub would suit your flattish commute quite well and even hillier riding can be done if you are geared right... my winter bike hits the curb at 45 pounds when it is loaded up and 20% of this weight is the back wheel which has a deeply studded tyre and a hub that also houses the generator.


Last edited by Sixty Fiver; 02-28-13 at 12:41 AM.
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Old 02-28-13, 02:23 AM
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Originally Posted by acidfast7 View Post
Can you guys comment on the maintenance factor as I'm very interested in an IGH.

Do you need to do an oil soak with the innards once per year?

Also, my bike lives at ambient temp (outside all day during the day at roughly and in an unheated basement at night ... so usually at 10-30F always) ... does the constant cold affect IGH performance?

I find that for 95% of the ride I use the 44T ring and shift once per commute to the 32T ring for a small hill, so I think the gearing range would be OK?
Some IGHs use oil for lubricant. The Shimano Alfine 8 speed I have unfortunately uses grease but many people give them an oil bath about once a year. Shimano even sells a kit for that purpose. There are folks on this forum who live in the same area I do and don't notice any performance drop in cold weather. I do. Could be that it's in my head, however, there is at least one popular bike shop in town that gives the Nexi and Alfines oil baths as part of their regular overhaul and the reason is cold weather performance.

In the temp range you've listed it's probably not a big deal. You might notice it in the low teens. I really don't unless it's single digits or colder.
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Old 02-28-13, 05:18 AM
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I am looking at building-up or buying a 3/2sp bike post-tax return. A SE Tripel might be the one, right now . . . .
When I lived in Vermont, it was virtually impossible to keep up with the damage the caustic salt/slush mix would do to bikes. You knew at spring time, you would be tossing a few cogs and chains. Nothing like being stuck in in a 40 inch gear for 5 miles, either Thats when I came to appreciate SS and IGH. I cant see ever going back to exposed cogs.
Thanks for those snow pics and reminding me of daze gone by
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Old 02-28-13, 05:33 AM
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My Alfine used to get a bit sticky in very cold conditions, below -10C. It would fail to shift and stay in one gear for about 5 miles until it had warmed up. My solution was to leave it in gear 2 or 3 overnight.
I gave the innards an oil dip using cheap ATF rather than Shimano oil. The following winter it performed much better, with no sticking.
The oil dip is pretty easy to do.
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Old 02-28-13, 06:51 AM
  #13  
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Originally Posted by Burton View Post
I like the idea but would need a high end IGH - otherwise would probably miss the range of gearing. I'm currently running a 3 x 7 drivetrain and still use all three chainrings in the winter because of the terrain on my commute. I am using corrosion resistant 8-speed chains though snd they do seem to handle things well.
I see what you mean here. I use a Sturmey-Archer AW (actually an AG model with the built-in generator) and sometimes would like a gear between 2nd and 3rd. It's not usually a problem once you're used to pedalling in a wide cadence range, but it would nevertheless be nice to have. A four or five-speed hub would be perfect.

That said, I get by just fine with three gears, and the hubs are virtually indestructible if looked after. I give mine a few ml of engine oil from time to time and check the adjustment. My housemate had a shimano 8-speed which is another a good option. It's really set up as a 7-speed with a crawler gear, and you never find yourself in need of an in-between ratio. Combined with drum brakes front and rear it would be great as a winter bike.
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Old 02-28-13, 07:04 AM
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Interesting, I park next to one of these every day, which got me thinking of IGH-powered bikes with drum brakes (it seems like a steal at €599 MSRP).

Simpel Wegwärts

https://www.simpel-ch.de/velos/ww/bas...nvelo2012.html















opinions?
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Old 02-28-13, 07:10 AM
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Originally Posted by acidfast7 View Post
Can you guys comment on the maintenance factor as I'm very interested in an IGH.

Do you need to do an oil soak with the innards once per year?

Also, my bike lives at ambient temp (outside all day during the day at roughly and in an unheated basement at night ... so usually at 10-30F always) ... does the constant cold affect IGH performance?

I find that for 95% of the ride I use the 44T ring and shift once per commute to the 32T ring for a small hill, so I think the gearing range would be OK?
Similar conditions here, bike is stored in an unheated garage ( just a concrete box). This winter the coldest temperatures it has experienced were like -8deg C, no performance issues. I give it an ATF bath every half a year + a bit of teflon grease, costs very little money comparing to Shimano grease and oil. So far 11+K with this hub and it works as new. I use no more than 4 gears during my rides, but it's flat here, only few 3% hills, though winds can get very strong.
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Old 02-28-13, 07:22 AM
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Originally Posted by mikhalit View Post
Similar conditions here, bike is stored in an unheated garage ( just a concrete box). This winter the coldest temperatures it has experienced were like -8deg C, no performance issues. I give it an ATF bath every half a year + a bit of teflon grease, costs very little money comparing to Shimano grease and oil. So far 11+K with this hub and it works as new. I use no more than 4 gears during my rides, but it's flat here, only few 3% hills, though winds can get very strong.
Thanks for the response. What do you think of the north?
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Old 02-28-13, 07:55 AM
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I still use a 1x9 setup with derailer and have freezing issues at times in the winter too, but it's not often enough to be a real concern for me. I like the IGH idea as it just makes a cleaner bike with less hanging out and a shorter chain. For now, I have started using Marvel Mystery Oil in a spray can recently as a trial on my chain and derailer because my usual chain lube was not staying on there after I rinsed the bike off with a water hose and put the bike away at the end of a messy commute and it always looked bare and rusty. It seems to be adhering well and my derailer has been shifted ok since.
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Old 02-28-13, 08:41 AM
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Originally Posted by acidfast7 View Post
Interesting, I park next to one of these every day, which got me thinking of IGH-powered bikes with drum brakes (it seems like a steal at €599 MSRP).
I've never rode a bike equipped with that hub, but I've read some reviews and most people claim that the brakes are pretty weak for hilly terrain. If your commute is mostly flat, it might be a good choice. If you have some steep hills, it may not be a good choice.
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Old 02-28-13, 08:43 AM
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Originally Posted by shepherdsflock View Post
I've never rode a bike equipped with that hub, but I've read some reviews and most people claim that the brakes are pretty weak for hilly terrain. If your commute is mostly flat, it might be a good choice. If you have some steep hills, it may not be a good choice.
No hills and it seems like we're moving to Copenhagen which is even flatter
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Old 02-28-13, 08:43 AM
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+1 on the IGH for winter, I run the Alfine 8. This is my 4th winter with it. I've only serviced it once last summer I had the shop do an overhaul just for preventative maintenance sake. I like the fact that I can switch to a single speed set of wheels in about 5 minutes, which I prefer in the warmer un-studded tire months.

Up until this year I've only run a single speed or an IGH in the winter. But this year I've been alternating rides with my fat bike which has the traditional derailleur set up and the difference in drive train upkeep is considerable. It makes me understand why people have beater bikes just for winter. I just don't like riding beaters.

The 8 speed gear range is plenty, the jumps between gears are a little wider but the trade off is worth it. Understand that an IGH is not going to shift and perform like a race bike. But in my mind if you are a dedicated winter cyclist and you want gears and something that is easy to maintain, then an IGH is the only way to go.
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Old 02-28-13, 10:24 AM
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Just a note. The rust resistant chain in the picture is a KMC Z51RB. Several years ago I got 5 of them off Ebay for about $15. Not all of them had the required master link but I was able to find (after some trial and error) an SRAM PowerLink that worked.

Originally I used one with an 8 speed derailleur but found it to be just a touch too wide. Nevertheless in terms of corrosion it was a noticeable improvement over a standard chain. There was still some rust at the end of the season but not nearly as bad as what I'd normally experience. With an IGH the same chain has virtually no rust at all. I think the action of shifting in a derailleur drive train causes lubricant to wear off quicker. Just on hunch on my part.

KMC now has a 9 speed rust resistant chain available in the states. 45Nrth makes one as well.
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Old 02-28-13, 10:28 AM
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Originally Posted by acidfast7 View Post
Thanks for the response. What do you think of the north?
Excellent cycling infrastructure, people are nice (once you make them start talking to you, peaceful, weather is crappy but mild.
Drivers are mostly very attentive. I have a friend living close to Frankfurt, and he says people are little bit more reckless there.
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Old 02-28-13, 11:09 AM
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I am dealing with these same conditions here in Vermont and I've solved the problem by riding single speed. I have two single speed commuters. One is built around a mountain bike frame and is geared low enough to haul groceries, etc in panniers. The other is a lighter, faster bike. It's easier than you might think to ride single speed. If I can do it in these hills (and I'm over 60 commuting 4,000 miles a year) you probably can too. I've never had a breakdown that I couldn't fix with simple tools on the road.
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Old 02-28-13, 02:06 PM
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Originally Posted by tjspiel View Post
So I decided to try an IGH starting last winter. Well, last winter was about the wimpiest I can ever remember so it didn't count.
same here. my first couple of winter bike commuting seasons were on an old derailleur hardtail with canti brakes that i outfitted with studded tire and fenders. it worked ok, but after that bike was killed by a bus two years ago, i upgraded to an IGH/disc brake hybrid to serve as my winter/foul weather commuter. last winter was so lame that i never had the chance to gauge if the upgrade made much of a difference. however, this year we've finally gotten enough snow/ice/sleet/slush/general winter messiness that i can now fully endorse the IGH/disc brake combo for winter riding. i'd never want to go back to a derailleur/rim brake bike again for winter riding.
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Old 02-28-13, 07:30 PM
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I really like having an IGH when the weather is mucky.
Here's a shot of my bike in January, after returning from an 11 mile grocery and errand run. I've ridden with derailleurs in similar conditions and can say that I prefer the IGH for (hopefully) obvious reasons.

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