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Economista25 09-27-12 03:33 PM

Xootr Swift and Internal Gear Hub upgrade
Hi folks:

I have decided to purchase an Xootr Swift and would like to ask you some questions as to the possibility of upgrading the bike with an Internal Gear Hub. My questions are the following:

1. What kind of (brand and model) IGH will I need to upgrade the Xootr Swift?

2. What parts needs to be replaced?

3. Will this upgrade make the bike lighter? Faster?

4. What would you consider be an average cost for this upgrade (parts and labor)?

Thanks in advance for your help.

Dynocoaster 09-27-12 04:07 PM

How many gears do you want? What size wheel? 406 or 451? It can be done and has been. The 451 wheel will probably be quicker as they are skinnier. 405 uses 175X20 the 451x 1 1/8 as an example. There are more choices for tires with the 406. You will need a shifter and cable unless you go with a 2 speed.
Here is a list of igh from universal cycles. you still need to have the wheel built.

Economista25 09-27-12 09:20 PM

I would like to use Big Apple tires. As far as gears, I thought 3 gears would be fine for me.

tds101 09-27-12 09:50 PM

If your using the bike on flats I'd say three speeds are fine. If you have any hills you'll need more gears in that igh. 7+,...

I just gave away my igh 3 speed because it wasn't good for me with the hills I sometimes encounter here in Queens, NY.

Economista25 09-27-12 10:11 PM

Thanks for the advice TDS. I guess it will have to be 8 gears.

GlowBoy 09-27-12 10:34 PM

1. What kind of (brand and model) IGH will I need to upgrade the Xootr Swift? Depends on your needs. You've said 3 speeds will do the job for you; Shimano, SRAM and Sturmey-Archer all make good 3-speed hubs, but personally I'd lean towards Sturmey. Do you want an internal brake (and if so, kickback or lever-activated?) or will you be sticking with the Swift's standard V-brake? These companies variously make coaster-brake, drum-brake (and also disc-brake) and no-internal-brake versions of their hubs in some cases. Also, you'll need a hub designed to fit in dropouts spaced 130mm (standard road) or 135mm (standard mountain) spacing -- either will work. Be careful, because many of the 3-speed hubs out there are designed for the narrower (110-120mm, I think) dropouts of kids' and cruiser bikes. I don't know offhand which hubs are offered with which axle widths and brake options, so you'll have to visit the 3 companies' websites and do some research.

2. What parts needs to be replaced? You'll need the 3-speed hub, along with the rear cog of your choice depending on how tall/short you want it geared, and a new wheel built around it. You'll either need a new chain or to shorten the existing chain (most likely a new one since most IGH cogs are to thick to work with 8-speed chains). You will remove the rear derailer, and its cabling and your current shifter. You'll need a new shifter (which probably will NOT come with the hub), cabling (which MIGHT come with the hub) and in some cases a "clickbox" (which, if needed, WILL come with the hub) at the point where the cabling meets the hub. It's possible you'll also need chaintugs (commonly called tensioners in the BMX world though I think that's a misappropriation of the term) because with a Big Apple you won't be able to slide the wheel all the way forward in the dropouts, and in my experience the torque loads on IGHs' axles cause them to wander in horizontal dropouts.

3. Will this upgrade make the bike lighter? Faster? Lighter, no. It will almost certainly be at least a little heavier. Your new hub will be 500-700 grams heavier than the standard freehub, which is more than the 500-ish net grams you'll lose by getting rid of the rear derailer and cassette. Include an internal brake (generally heavier than the stock V-brake) and you'll gain a bit more weight. Go beyond 3 speeds to 5, 7, 8 or 9 speeds and you'll gain another pound or two.

Will it make you faster? Not in most cases. Generally, internal hubs are less efficient than derailer drivetrains, though derailers can be extremely inefficient in certain gear combinations. However, there are several caveats to the generalization about internal gears being less efficient. It usually applies to hubs that are internally filled with grease as opposed to oil; my understanding is that some hubs can have the standard grease replaced with oil and they will be more efficient (but more prone to water damage), and maybe some cannot. A few hubs, such as my SRAM DualDrive, come with a standard oil bath, and I can attest that mine is quite efficient.

Where an internally geared hub can beat the PANTS off a derailer drivetrain for efficiency is when the going gets tough. When it's winter, and you're riding in lots of salt and grime, and maybe not taking the time to lube the chain every day, a derailer drivetrain incurs an enormous efficiency penalty when you have to snake a dry, crusty, squeaky chain around those serpentine derailer pulleys. With an internally geared hub, however (or a singlespeed), the chain takes a relatively straight path around the gears, and efficiency is only marginally impaired by a nasty, dirty chain.

4. What would you consider be an average cost for this upgrade (parts and labor)? Figure $200-250ish for the hub professionally built into a wheel (labor included), maybe 20-40 for a shifter, 10-20 for a different-than-standard cog, possibly 10-20 for cabling if it isn't included with the hub, possibly 10-20 for chaintugs. With bike shop labor for everything besides the wheelbuild, I'd guess you're looking at a $400 ballpark. Just a guess though.

GlowBoy 09-27-12 10:39 PM

Oh, just saw your "it will have to be 8 gears" post. That will drive up the cost and weight quite a lot. I'm no expert on 7- and 8-speed hubs, but I think I've heard not-good things about SRAM's 7-speed hubs, mixed-to-good reviews of Sturmey's 8-speed (which I think might be the one that's geared differently than the others, and possibly better suited to a small-wheeled bike), and very good reviews of Shimano's 8-speed Nexus Red Band and Alfine units. Hopefully others with more knowledge than me can chime in here.

kraftwerk 10-09-12 03:21 PM

Wondering what the lightest multi-geared hub is? The weights might be interesting to compare. You save weight with a shorter chain, (but not if it is a heavy thick chain) You still need shifter and cable but you loose free hub and derailer and maybe lose the front derailer as well. Glow boy seems to have lots of good info.
If money is no object look at Rholoff.. kind of the Rolls Royce of internal geared hubs!

tds101 04-17-14 07:50 AM

Revival of a dead thread: did anything ever come of the attempted conversion? I bought a Schwinn 411 IG5 w/a Sturmey Archer 5 speed hub. I'm busy upgrading crappie parts ATM, as I've changed seat, handlebars, stem, tires, and I'm going to work on the (HORRIBLE) brakes next. I own a Lombardo Power2000 MiniVelo, but it's a 24 speed and it's not quite my cup of tea (I'd trade a bike or 2 for a Xootr Swift in a heartbeat - I own 4 bikes so far).

So, anyways, any long overdue updates??? :)

tds101 04-20-14 06:55 PM

There's a nice blue xootr swift for sale on Craigslist in NYC. $525,...great price & great condition. I'm passing, since I'm not free to go pick it up if I decided to buy it.

tds101 06-05-14 07:13 AM

I have a Xootr Swift SS on the way, and the bike shop felt it wouldn't be worth it to modify my Lombardo Power2000 MiniVelo considering my needs. I'll play with the single gearing a little, then they'll put the NuVinci hub on it. More expensive initially, but better in the long run. Then I'll swap out parts, slowly, on the Lombardo myself. It even needs a new bottom bracket.

tds101 07-05-14 11:10 PM

My XS is rocking a NuVinci N360 hub, and it's SMOKIN!!! I'll do a full test commute on Monday to see how it goes, but my brief rides with it have been excellent. For the price I've paid I think I've wasted money & time trying too many bikes. I own 5 now - time to thin the herd a bit. The 3 bikes that will definitely stay are the Xootr Swift, LP2000, and the Nevis (until I swap the wheelset to the 29'er frame). The Schwinn and Puma Nevis (the frame - UHG!!!) will need to go.

fietsbob 07-06-14 08:57 AM

1..Hub: Rohloff? Mercedes BMW quality . with a whole 9x3 MTB range of ratios 526%.. inside the hub.

shifting is 2 cables & grip shift so no indexing to go out if sync...

NuVinci 360 is another 2 cable hub .. 360%.. ,, stepless

2.. the rear wheel , and the chainring to have the ratio range right for you.
[in a 406 , 20" wheel I run a 53t w a 16t cog on the R'off [the direct gear is 11/14.

NuVinci 1:1 is the center . its + and - on either side ( a 3 speed is like that too +.33,& -.25)

advantages: you dont have to look at any windows to see what gear you want next,
you can go by feel .. and shift at a dead stop.

' fast ' is still up to you and the effort you put out on the pedals .

There have been builders making pencil shaped streamlined recumbents using the Rohloff hubs

And a picture seen, they used 3 people and 3 R'off hubs in 3 wheels
[ out of several more to steer and bear the weight] ,
to move a portable stage with a grand piano on it, through the streets of Berlin..

tds101 07-06-14 12:54 PM

Rohloff may be the gold standard, but I'm not interested in spending that kind of $$$ when I can get more than adequate performance for my XS used on my commute. I get enough speed for what I need to accomplish, as well as easy repairs if I get a flat. I'm only miffed that I'm forced to use a twist shifter - I guess having no specific "gearing" makes it acceptable. I'm enjoying the end result.

I did swap out the wheelset on my P2000 with the ones that came on the XS. 7 speed rear cassette installed, and the P2000 rides like a dream. Seems the wheelset that came with the P2000 was actually low quality. The Xootr Swift wheels are fantastic!

I've experienced a double #WIN here!

I do have a question though. Is there a compatible front fork with a shocks that I can put on the XS? I'm going to do a search and see what I can find.

invisiblehand 07-07-14 06:59 AM


Originally Posted by tds101 (Post 16913049)
I do have a question though. Is there a compatible front fork with a shocks that I can put on the XS? I'm going to do a search and see what I can find.

NuVinci 360 is supposedly very robust. Glad to see that it's working out for you.

Related to your question, should we assume that you've already tried fat tires and it didn't work out for you?

tds101 07-07-14 12:37 PM


Originally Posted by invisiblehand (Post 16915251)
NuVinci 360 is supposedly very robust. Glad to see that it's working out for you.

Related to your question, should we assume that you've already tried fat tires and it didn't work out for you?

I'm using fatties (Big Apples) but I'd like a nice front shock for when I ride through the construction areas, and the sections with cobblestone. A bit rough on the wrists & nether regions.

As for the Nuvinci, I'm adjusting. It's definitely taking some getting used to. I'm comfortable with my Nexus 8 speed, and this is similar. Just need some time to test it on some hills (Vanderbilt Motor Parkway) when I get some free time. All in all I'm quite pleased.

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