Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Commuting
Reload this Page >

Internal Gear Hub

Notices
Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

Internal Gear Hub

Old 05-20-13, 10:17 AM
  #1  
BicycleCrazy
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
BicycleCrazy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 159
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 18 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 6 Times in 1 Post
Internal Gear Hub

I am considering a new commuter bike with either a 3 or 7-speed internal gear hub. I like the idea of low maint. and the area I ride is not too "hilly" so it sounds like a great low maint. option.

Looking for feedback...pros and cons.

Thanks!
BicycleCrazy is offline  
Old 05-20-13, 10:28 AM
  #2  
lostarchitect 
incazzare.
 
lostarchitect's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Catskills/Brooklyn, NY
Posts: 6,976

Bikes: See sig

Mentioned: 18 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 40 Post(s)
Liked 49 Times in 32 Posts
From my perspective, pros are that it is low maintenance, you can shift gears at a stop light (that's major!), and it gives the bike a nice streamlined look. Cons are smaller gear range and/or bigger steps between gears. I commuted on a 3 speed IGH for a year or so in NYC and it was totally adequate for getting over the bridges and such. I did crave more gears and eventually got a 5 speed hub, but I never got to use that one much as it malfunctioned a lot--so by the time I got it fixed under warranty, I was not really riding that bike much and ended up selling it.

Anyway, are they adequate? Totally. Will you crave more gears? Only you know. I would think a 7 speed IGH would be a sweet spot for commuting.
__________________
1964 JRJ (Bob Jackson), 1973 Wes Mason, 1974 Raleigh Gran Sport, 1986 Schwinn High Sierra, 2000ish Colian (Colin Laing), 2011 Dick Chafe, 2013 Velo Orange Pass Hunter
lostarchitect is offline  
Old 05-20-13, 10:35 AM
  #3  
Matariki
Not quite there yet
 
Matariki's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Monkey Bottom, NC
Posts: 1,000

Bikes: A bunch of old steel bikes + an ICE trike

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
I have a 5 sp IGH in my moderately hilly area. I rarely use Low and High unless I want to see if they still work. I wish I would have just gotten a 3 speed and so that is what I would recommend for you.
Matariki is offline  
Old 05-20-13, 10:45 AM
  #4  
erg79
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 542

Bikes: 2012 Jamis Coda Comp; early 80s Univega Nuovo Sport

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
The big "what if?" that people like to throw out as a deterrent to an IGH is changing a flat. Make sure you have some nice puncture-resistant tires and/or practice taking the rear wheel off. You'll still want to figure out how to do that--it will give you a good idea of how the IGH works once you figure out how to remove the cable and to put it back together again.
erg79 is offline  
Old 05-20-13, 10:58 AM
  #5  
hubcap
One Man Fast Brick
 
hubcap's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Chicagoland
Posts: 1,121

Bikes: Specialized Langster, Bianchi San Jose, early 90s GT Karakoram, Yuba Mundo, Mercier Nano (mini velo), Nashbar Steel Commuter, KHS Tandemania Sport

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by erg79 View Post
The big "what if?" that people like to throw out as a deterrent to an IGH is changing a flat. Make sure you have some nice puncture-resistant tires and/or practice taking the rear wheel off. You'll still want to figure out how to do that--it will give you a good idea of how the IGH works once you figure out how to remove the cable and to put it back together again.
I agree that practice makes perfect. I also think this fear is overblown and probably perpetuated by people who don't own IGH bikes. Anyone that can change a flat on a derailleur equipped bike should have the capability to remove the wheel with an IGH. Once you have done it a couple times it really isn't significantly more time consuming or involved than any other bike.
hubcap is offline  
Old 05-20-13, 11:11 AM
  #6  
Mumonkan
Brown Jersey Winner
 
Mumonkan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: The Bad Woods.
Posts: 8,806
Mentioned: 14 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 243 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 12 Times in 12 Posts
ive been on a 3 speed fixed IGH hub for a few months now, i basically love it

my commute has some decent hills and i find it perfectly fine. i previously i used a single speed fixed gear and i like the gears cuz it mostly keeps me from sweating and keeps my avg speed up

ive changed flats with it and i really dont find it any more annoying than changing a flat with a single speed bike, theres only one other thing to disconnect/reconnect
Mumonkan is offline  
Old 05-20-13, 11:21 AM
  #7  
lostarchitect 
incazzare.
 
lostarchitect's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Catskills/Brooklyn, NY
Posts: 6,976

Bikes: See sig

Mentioned: 18 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 40 Post(s)
Liked 49 Times in 32 Posts
Originally Posted by erg79 View Post
The big "what if?" that people like to throw out as a deterrent to an IGH is changing a flat. Make sure you have some nice puncture-resistant tires and/or practice taking the rear wheel off. You'll still want to figure out how to do that--it will give you a good idea of how the IGH works once you figure out how to remove the cable and to put it back together again.

This is actually super easy once you have done it one time. Just practice at home. I actually find it easier than with a derailleur bike, and my hands get less dirty because I touch the chain less.
__________________
1964 JRJ (Bob Jackson), 1973 Wes Mason, 1974 Raleigh Gran Sport, 1986 Schwinn High Sierra, 2000ish Colian (Colin Laing), 2011 Dick Chafe, 2013 Velo Orange Pass Hunter
lostarchitect is offline  
Old 05-20-13, 11:22 AM
  #8  
lostarchitect 
incazzare.
 
lostarchitect's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Catskills/Brooklyn, NY
Posts: 6,976

Bikes: See sig

Mentioned: 18 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 40 Post(s)
Liked 49 Times in 32 Posts
Originally Posted by Matariki View Post
I have a 5 sp IGH in my moderately hilly area. I rarely use Low and High unless I want to see if they still work. I wish I would have just gotten a 3 speed and so that is what I would recommend for you.
That was the case with my 5 speed as well. However something with more narrowly spaced gears might lead to using more than the middle 3 gears.
__________________
1964 JRJ (Bob Jackson), 1973 Wes Mason, 1974 Raleigh Gran Sport, 1986 Schwinn High Sierra, 2000ish Colian (Colin Laing), 2011 Dick Chafe, 2013 Velo Orange Pass Hunter
lostarchitect is offline  
Old 05-20-13, 11:27 AM
  #9  
I-Like-To-Bike
Been Around Awhile
 
I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Burlington Iowa
Posts: 29,432

Bikes: Vaterland and Ragazzi

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 12 Post(s)
Liked 1,171 Times in 787 Posts
Originally Posted by hubcap View Post
I agree that practice makes perfect. I also think this fear is overblown and probably perpetuated by people who don't own IGH bikes. Anyone that can change a flat on a derailleur equipped bike should have the capability to remove the wheel with an IGH. Once you have done it a couple times it really isn't significantly more time consuming or involved than any other bike.
100% correct, except that I KNOW this fear of fixing flats is way overblown and definitely perpetuated by people who don't own either Sachs/SRAM or S-A IGH bikes.
I-Like-To-Bike is offline  
Old 05-20-13, 11:35 AM
  #10  
alan s 
Senior Member
 
alan s's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 6,977
Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1496 Post(s)
Liked 189 Times in 128 Posts
IGH = UGH

for lots of reasons, all of which wil be covered in great detail, no doubt.
alan s is offline  
Old 05-20-13, 12:13 PM
  #11  
tjspiel
Senior Member
 
tjspiel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Minneapolis
Posts: 8,101
Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 52 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 13 Times in 9 Posts
For commuting I use a derailleur bike most of the year and an IGH equipped bike for winter. I wouldn't want to the use the IGH for summer group rides but for commuting it works well.

From a maintenance standpoint, an IGH is probably better if you ride in crappy weather a lot, otherwise I'm not sure it really is. They do require some periodic maintenance.

Last edited by tjspiel; 05-20-13 at 12:17 PM.
tjspiel is offline  
Old 05-20-13, 12:18 PM
  #12  
I-Like-To-Bike
Been Around Awhile
 
I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Burlington Iowa
Posts: 29,432

Bikes: Vaterland and Ragazzi

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 12 Post(s)
Liked 1,171 Times in 787 Posts
Originally Posted by alan s View Post
IGH = UGH

for lots of reasons, all of which wil be covered in great detail, no doubt.
No doubt. Excruciating detail to include cryptic "efficiency" measurements, Anal-R weight wienie lamentations, and OCD need for gears to climb mountain peaks and compete in the TdF.
I-Like-To-Bike is offline  
Old 05-20-13, 12:18 PM
  #13  
mikhalit
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Bremen, Germany
Posts: 365

Bikes: Poison Chinin IGH

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I like my Shimano Alfine 8 very much, mainly for the low maintenance it requires (it requires some though), silence and the smoothness of shifting. I like how quickly I can shift to the lowest gear when encountering a hill or sand, etc. I really don't like its weight when I need to carry my bike and I don't like when my chain stretches.

On a derailleur equipped bike you can shift in the rear at the stop light almost as well. Shift the shifter, lock your front brake, lean a bit on the handlebars to raise the rear wheel and push on the pedal to rotate rear wheel and to let the chain move to the right sprocket. Pretty simple: shift, lock, lean, pedal. Not possible to shift to the lowest gear like with IGH, but that's ok, normally I need only a couple of gears lower to start from the intersection.
mikhalit is offline  
Old 05-20-13, 12:29 PM
  #14  
Monster Pete
Senior Member
 
Monster Pete's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Warwick, UK
Posts: 1,049

Bikes: 2000-something 3 speed commuter, 1990-something Raleigh Scorpion

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
I ride a 3-speed as my primary bike (Sturmey-Archer AG). I converted my existing bike from a derailleur setup. It already had horizontal dropouts so chain tensioning isn't a problem, and I was able to route the shift cable under the bottom bracket as with the old RD. I have it set up so that 3rd gear is my level-ground gear, with 1st and 2nd used for hill climbing and acceleration. This gives a useful low gear in exchange for having to coast down steep hills, which to me is far better than the alternative of struggling up that steep hill on the way home. The steps between gears are fairly wide, but with practice you will find yourself with a wide enough 'power band' that this isn't really an issue.
Monster Pete is offline  
Old 05-20-13, 12:43 PM
  #15  
megalowmatt
Senior Member
 
megalowmatt's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: North County San Diego
Posts: 1,664
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I have both. OP - not sure where you live, but given the area I'm in, I don't find the IGH to be any less maintenance free than those with a derailer. From my personal experience, the IGH has been a bit more temperamental than the others, as it developed a "skip" when shifting down from 5th to 4th. It took a while to troubleshoot and I finally just replaced the cable and housing and seems to have gone away. The drawback is if something happens, there's not a lot of user-servicable parts and if it needs to be worked on the whole wheel needs to be sent in.
megalowmatt is offline  
Old 05-20-13, 12:48 PM
  #16  
Steely Dan
born again cyclist
 
Steely Dan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Chicago
Posts: 2,398

Bikes: I have five of brikes

Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 200 Post(s)
Liked 61 Times in 26 Posts
Originally Posted by tjspiel View Post
For commuting I use a derailleur bike most of the year and an IGH equipped bike for winter. I wouldn't want to the use the IGH for summer group rides but for commuting it works well.

From a maintenance standpoint, an IGH is probably better if you ride in crappy weather a lot, otherwise I'm not sure it really is. They do require some periodic maintenance.
+1

i have a winter/foul weather IGH hybrid and a derailleur road bike that i use for commuting. when the weather allows, i'd much rather be on my road bike. when the weather doesn't allow, my IGH beast fits the bill.

horses for courses, as they say.
Steely Dan is offline  
Old 05-20-13, 12:48 PM
  #17  
Rob_E
Senior Member
 
Rob_E's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Raleigh, NC
Posts: 2,709

Bikes: Downtube 8H, Surly Troll

Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 302 Post(s)
Liked 22 Times in 21 Posts
Well, my Nuvinci hub it a real pain to deal with when I get a flat, although I believe all my issues have been dealt with in the newer model. It looks like the new model has a fairly simple way to remove the cables when you need to remove the wheel, which puts it on par with other hubs.

That said, I love it, and whenever I think of replacing it, the thing the tempts me most is simply the newer model of this hub. Moreso than other hub gears, the Nuvinci does add significant weight, and I carry it up and down stairs daily and often load it on the front of the bus, but the weight doesn't bother me much. Even less-so when it's rolling.

I think an IGH is fine for a commuter if you're comfortable with it. My Nuvinci bike is my commuter, and my back up bike has a 3-speed hub. Even with the 3 speed, it gets the job done.
Rob_E is offline  
Old 05-20-13, 12:49 PM
  #18  
tjspiel
Senior Member
 
tjspiel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Minneapolis
Posts: 8,101
Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 52 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 13 Times in 9 Posts
Originally Posted by megalowmatt View Post
I have both. OP - not sure where you live, but given the area I'm in, I don't find the IGH to be any less maintenance free than those with a derailer. From my personal experience, the IGH has been a bit more temperamental than the others, as it developed a "skip" when shifting down from 5th to 4th. It took a while to troubleshoot and I finally just replaced the cable and housing and seems to have gone away. The drawback is if something happens, there's not a lot of user-servicable parts and if it needs to be worked on the whole wheel needs to be sent in.
That's true. It seems the risk depends heavily on the make and the model. Sounds like old SA 3 speeds are pretty bomb proof and repairable. If my Alfine blows up it would suck. A derailleur is a much cheaper replacement and there's only so much that can go wrong.
tjspiel is offline  
Old 05-20-13, 12:59 PM
  #19  
BicycleCrazy
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
BicycleCrazy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 159
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 18 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 6 Times in 1 Post
Thanks for the feedback! Several mentioned required maint. of the IGH. I assume this refers to periodic lube etc?
One of the models I'm considering is the Jamis commuter 3
BicycleCrazy is offline  
Old 05-20-13, 01:08 PM
  #20  
fietsbob
Banned
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: NW,Oregon Coast
Posts: 43,599

Bikes: 8

Mentioned: 197 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7607 Post(s)
Liked 1,343 Times in 850 Posts
The Nexus 3 seems OK 42:20 is a 2.1:1 ratio.


2 bikes with a Rohloff hub, a Bike Friday pocket Llama, and a Koga WTR..

And 1 with a Sturmey Archer 3 speed and a 2 speed Schlumpf mountain drive crankset,
also, planetary , reduction or direct, geared. its a special for Brompton, model.

here it Is hilly. the MD allows the low range to run through the 3 speed twice.. 6 distinct gears.


the AW3 I drip oil into it via the hollow axle end , after temporarily removing the shifting indicator chain.
The MD gets some light grease eventually , it was well filled when shipped , and so,
some excess came out, in the initial miles, so its still fine..

Rohloff has a Flush and re lubricate procedure, done about once a Year.
mech is needle bearings and ball bearings in abundance..

Last edited by fietsbob; 05-20-13 at 01:39 PM.
fietsbob is offline  
Old 05-20-13, 02:06 PM
  #21  
modernjess
ride for a change
 
modernjess's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Posts: 2,221

Bikes: Surly Cross-check & Moonlander, Pivot Mach 429, Ted Wojcik Sof-Trac, Ridley Orion. Santa Cruz Stigmata

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
in year 4 with the alfine 8 on my cross check commuter bike. I think it's a perfect solution for this bike. As a year round commute solution it's done everything I'd hoped it would do. I whole heartedly recommend them for this use.

Maintenance - I've had to readjust to cable due to stretch a few times and I had it overhauled last year for preventative sake. That's it. Chain stretch is not an issue as I have horizontal drop outs. Changing flats is not an issue at all with a little practice.

Con's - They're heavy.
Gaps between gears are a compromise if you are used to 20 or 30 combinations. But overall range is good. I feels like you lose something in the power transfer from the pedal to the road, Not sure why that is but it is.
modernjess is offline  
Old 05-20-13, 02:15 PM
  #22  
DogBoy
No one carries the DogBoy
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Upper Midwest USA
Posts: 2,320

Bikes: Roubaix Expert Di2, Jamis Renegade, Surly Disc Trucker, Cervelo P2, CoMotion Tandem

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5 Post(s)
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Nexus 8sp here. The flat thing is bad if you default to tube removal, but most flats can be repaired easily enough and that doesn't require removing the wheel. Unhook one side, use cotton balls to find the snag, then use a tube patch and if needed a tire boot (paper dollars work really well for this). Reinstall tire, inflate and off you go. Worst I had was 3 repairs. I changed out tires between summer/winter. Now I'm using a derailleur setup, and keeping the chain clean is much more difficult.

For a commuter, I like the IGH, but I wished for lower gears sometimes in winter with nasty headwinds, snow on the ground, cold temps and hills.
DogBoy is offline  
Old 05-20-13, 04:45 PM
  #23  
dynaryder
PatronSaintOfDiscBrakes
 
dynaryder's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: BicycleSPACE warehouse in SW Washington DC
Posts: 6,980
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Originally Posted by hubcap View Post
I also think this fear is overblown and probably perpetuated by people who don't own IGH bikes.
This is highly dependent on the specific IGH. If you have a SRAM Dual-Drive,you just push the button down and pop the shifter box off,then it's just loosening 15mm nuts and pulling the wheel like a derailleur bike. If you have a newer Shimano 3spd,you use a 3mm hex to remove the shifter box,then it's just the 15mm nuts. If you have a Nexus 7 or 8 with integrated roller brake,then it's a whole different story. And if you have the Euro-spec roller brake,like the ones that came into my clinic last year,then I would suggest getting a new hub.

Originally Posted by hubcap View Post
Once you have done it a couple times it really isn't significantly more time consuming or involved than any other bike.
On my derailleur/disc bikes;flip bike upside-down,pop QR,remove wheel. No IGH hub is that simple.
__________________

C'dale BBU('05 and '09)/Super Six/Hooligan8and 3,Kona Dew Deluxe,Novara Buzz/Safari,Surly Big Dummy,Marin Pt Reyes,Giant Defy 1,Schwinn DBX SuperSport,Dahon Speed Pro TT,Brompton S6L/S2E-X
dynaryder is offline  
Old 05-20-13, 05:24 PM
  #24  
weshigh
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 600

Bikes: All-City Space Horse!

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I've been riding my Shimano Nexus 8spd IGH for about 1 1/2 years now. I just moved it over to new All-City Spacehorse frame I built up. I'm a big fan. I've had some issues with skipping gears here and there, but took my minor cable tension tweeking to solve. I really like being able to change gears while stopped and its clean look. I've done 100mile rides on it, road it across Iowa and commute 30miles a day on it. You can feel there is some inefficiency in it, but I'm just riding and does not matter that much to me.
weshigh is offline  
Old 05-20-13, 05:26 PM
  #25  
weshigh
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 600

Bikes: All-City Space Horse!

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Oh, also changing flats is slightly more annoying and need to make sure a axel bolt wrench is in your tool bag, but there are good videos on youtube that explain how to change it. I've found once you do it a few times its not that big of a deal.
weshigh is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell or Share My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2023 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.