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internal geared hub for off road touring

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internal geared hub for off road touring

Old 11-17-08, 03:12 PM
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Mzungu
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internal geared hub for off road touring

Most of my touring is on rough tracks, sometimes no track, and sometimes I end up bashing through brush and grass. In the past few years I have had buddies rip off the rear deraileurs , break hangers, bend hangers. For me it seems the weak link.

So now that they have up to eight speed internal geared hubs am thinking of changing. Any one with this experience? I don't need too many gears, my 3 X 8 is overkill.
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Old 11-17-08, 03:50 PM
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Go to the geared hub calculator on Sheldon's site and run some numbers. Basically you can run a range like you would with two front rings. That's fine for me on a touring bike where it takes some steep hills or a stiff tailwind to get me into the biggest rings. On top of that you need to consider that Shimano used to say that their 8 speed wasn't for offroading. Guys have fit them for that purpose and you can read about that on the MTB sites. Your use with loads would also be pretty tough.

Anyway, try riding your bike with only those gears that the 8 speed would provide, and figure out the durability issues. In the end, I opted for Rohloff.
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Old 11-17-08, 04:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Mzungu View Post
Most of my touring is on rough tracks, sometimes no track, and sometimes I end up bashing through brush and grass. In the past few years I have had buddies rip off the rear deraileurs , break hangers, bend hangers. For me it seems the weak link.

So now that they have up to eight speed internal geared hubs am thinking of changing. Any one with this experience? I don't need too many gears, my 3 X 8 is overkill.
I used a Rohloff [14 speed IGH] on a dirt road tour this summer. It worked quite well especially when things got muddy or a I did some bush whacking to find a campsite. The Rohloff is definitely up to the task as it provides the same gear range as a MTB drivetrain and has been abused all over the world on and off road. The downside is the cost [although the long life span 100,000kms+ makes the $/km cost quite reasonable]. You can get them on EBay at a discount and they last so long that unless they've been totally abused getting a hub with 5,000kms on it is no problem.

I know a fellow who abuses a Shimano Alfine hub off paved road touring with his Big Dummy and hasn't had any problems. If top end speed isn't an issue [probably not off road touring] you can get a pretty decent range with a single chain ring up front. You could also use 2 chain rings up front for a wider range spread.

The one problem with what you are talking about is that the optimal IGH offroad/expedition setup uses an eccentric BB or horizontal dropouts to eliminate the chain tensioner you'll need on any bike with vertical dropouts. The tensioner is more robust than a rear derailleur, but can still be damaged.

If you want to use 2 chain rings up front a chain tensioner will be req'd.
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Old 11-17-08, 05:29 PM
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Vik, have you ever built out a bike with a gear hub? What did you use for the cranks? I've got to get something with 38 teeth capability and 175 crank arms, available in Canada would be prefered.
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Old 11-17-08, 05:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Peterpan1 View Post
Vik, have you ever built out a bike with a gear hub? What did you use for the cranks? I've got to get something with 38 teeth capability and 175 crank arms, available in Canada would be prefered.
Yes I built my Big Dummy and I have a touring bike project in the works that uses an IGH.

For the Big Dummy I used a Race Face LP Turbine crankset I took off a MTB I was stripping and used a 38T Blackspire DH ring - all made in Canada eh!....

For the new build I got a Shimano Deore/Acera square taper crank [cheap at Nashbar, but you should be able to order it in from a LBS in Canada], a Shimano square taper BB and a Thorn 38T steel ring.

BTW - Shimano seems to be phasing out square taper in the developed world so if you are into it I'd squirrel away a cheap crankset and a couple BBs.

If price isn't a huge factor Surly makes cranks & rings you can essentially customize to your need and they are available for order through any LBS.
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Old 11-17-08, 06:18 PM
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race face evolve cranks are soooo cheap on mail order, it's almost criminal. They're available in 175mm, and they have the familiar 104mm 4bolt circle, which you can easily find in a 38t size. (will come stock as a 22/32/44 or a 32t single or 22/32/bash--usually about $125, with the bb.) And, with phil and chris king making compatible external BB's, whenever the RF bb gives out, you can do it up in style if you have the cheese for such low-profile bling.

to the op, I've never toured on an internally-geared hub, but i ride a lot of trails and i frankly wouldn't trust anything short of a rohloff for heavy use. a lot of people are big believers in the alfine, and many are psyched about SRAM's i-motion9, but these are built primarily for townie-use (despite being disc-compatible) and I wouldn't take them on the trail, let alone on tour. The rohloff has a wonderful reputation, but here in the states, they run $1100+. For that kind of cash, I could buy 2 dozen shimano lx rear deraillers, and waste 2 a month. Of course, I've got a load of miles on a lx low-normal that's seen a lot of abuse on trails, commutes, and the road, still kickin' strong.

I'd say that rear deraillers are far from perfect, but semi-careful avaoidance of massive trail obstacles and a bit of maintenance prevents catastrophic failure most of the time.

hth,
-rob
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Old 11-17-08, 06:32 PM
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Thanks Vik, and S. Nashbar is ok with me, bought lots of their stuff over the years. I'll check out the RF also. I already have quite a few square BBs I got from Nashbar back when they sold their own ones. Sugino Messenger looks nice: https://www.bikepartsplace.com/discou...-set-messenger

Anyway, back to regularly scheduled programing.
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