Open Forum: Internally Geared Hubs

Sheldon Brown - Internal Geared Hub
Every time I flip through a new commuter magazine or bike catalog there are more bikes with internally geared hubs. This is a very exciting movement forward for commuter’esque bikes, but I must ask the question

Are Internally Geared Hubs Worth It?

5 years ago I built up my first Rohloff hub equipped bike for a customer. The bike was a fully custom 29er race bike. This bike would last for years, decades and possibly centuries of the right user maintained it. Playing with the Rohloff I was in love, but not in love with the weight. Riding the bike around was enjoyable and easy to maneuver, the gearing was intuitive and could be done while mashing up the hills. On the flip side there was the cost. Until there is a superior internally geared hub that answered all the worlds problems and lit up the road in front of me, I couldn’t pull the trigger on that much money.

What Happens When It Breaks?

It will happen, something inside of that pretty hub will break. Most shops can’t fix it, so you have to ship it off to someone that can. There are many times that even the most skilled mechanic can’t fix that “thing-o-bob” inside your hub. Are there some hubs easier to maintain than others, as well as fixable?

Which Hub Do You Recommend and Why?

Go ahead, rant on about your internally geared hub nirvana and why it is far superior from any derailleur systems out there. I want your input and guidance down the testing of internally geared systems.

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0 thoughts on “Open Forum: Internally Geared Hubs”

  1. Tom says:

    I’ve been riding a Dutch-style bike for about 6-months with the Shimano 3spd IGH w/ coaster brake. This model is particularly easy to adjust because of the exposed window near the rear axle; however, the shifter connection is prone to being knocked off compared to the more streamlined SA 3spd hub.

    The performance is OK but I’m still not used to the racheting sound in 3rd gear. Otherwise it’s pretty easy to live with for such an inexpensive hub. If it breaks I’ll upgrade to something with more speeds.

  2. matt says:

    for city commuting, they can’t be beat. before I had an IGH, I had the following experience 3-4x per day:

    1) need to stop quickly, either because a light changes, a car pulls out, there’s a pothole or other obstruction.

    2) slam on the brakes – but don’t simultaneously downshift and keep pedaling so that the derailleur will actually adjust the gears

    3) when I’m ready to get going again, limp off the line in whatever high gear I was in when I had to stop suddenly.

    with an IGH this is never a problem. just shift while stopped!

    I also just rode the Boston Marathon with an IGH and kept up with the pack pretty well. maybe it adds some weight but not enough to be a problem. I can imagine however that someone touring up and down big hills would want a wider ranger of gears than the current crop of 8-gear IGHs would want.

  3. jamesmallon says:

    Shimano 11 Alfine coming out in the fall should be a superior product: most of the range of a Rohloff, half of the price and weight, smoother clockwork.

  4. K6-III says:

    At this point, it looks like the new Shimano 11 speed is the runner-up to the Rohloff, and is in fact going to be better for most users, coming in at a lower weight, lower cost, and with better shifting smoothness, albeit at a slightly smaller gear range and a few less gears.

    On the lower end, particularly in North America, its interesting to see the pace at which Sturmey Archer is innovating under Sunrace’s ownership.

    Quality has noticeably improved on the 3 speed hubs, and the new 5 speed and 8 speed wide range hubs seem to have solved some of the finickiness experienced with the previous version.

    The main thing is that, uniquely for North America, pretty much a full compliment of spare parts are available for Sturmey Archer hubs through United Bicycle Supply, meaning that hubs with problems actually can be repaired.

    In contrast, Sram pretty much ignores North America when it comes to spare parts, and Shimano is scarcely better.

  5. N.I.K. says:

    A glib rundown. Please take no offense. I am being curt for the sake of clarity and conciseness.

    -If you’re smart, you get to shift whenever you need to, no problem.

    -If you’re stupid, you get to beat the crap out of your bike and not face bad news when your LBS tells you that your deraileur and/or deraileur hanger is a goner.

    -If you get a flat, you’re facing a considerably greater deal of trouble in an on-road fix. Be prepared to pack an extra tool or two.

    -If you need any rear wheel focused service at your LBS, it’s going to take a bit longer. Slightly longer flat fix? Minor inconvenience, grab a coffee. Your rim got taco’d and now you need a new wheel? Sorry, your Saturday is shot and you’ll be on the bus for half the week at least – they need to build a custom wheel around your expensive hub and it’s not happening until Thursday. A convenient change-out to a pre-built wheel is just not going to be an option.

    -If your IGH’s seals are still pristine, you don’t have to worry about a thing.

    -If your IGH’s seals have gone, crap is getting in there and there’s no good way to get it out that won’t ultimately compromise the IGH’s performance and longevity.

    In my mind, the last part is the kicker. IGH’s are a great idea. When they were reasonably serviceable, they were great in practice. With increased complexity, the “let’s keep it tucked away safely to keep things simple” has given rise to yet another instance of that most classic of problems, having a really complex solution to a problem all in the name of keeping things simple. If you have any doubt of how bad it is, consult the service manual for a contemporary Nexus hub. That will make it all clear.

    It’s too bad. I really, really like the idea.

  6. trevor says:

    I ride a Breezer with a Nexus 8 speed hub, and I’ve gone about 5000 miles without trouble. It’s not a fast bike, but I never have to think about it. It doesn’t put grease on my pants, the chain never falls off, and I can switch gears when stopped. This is the first bike I’ve ever used that takes less maintenance per mile than my car.

  7. Jansen says:

    I vote stumpy archer 3 speed hubs. I’ve just got myself a Brompton and I’ve made just about every single mistake any newbie can do on an internal hub. I’ve downshifted uphill while mashing the pedals, I’ve rode my bike with the gear change cable loose (I could hear the teeth mashing, ouch) and shifted while pedaling like a madman.
    All in all after much abuse, it’s still running just beautifully. I do oil it regularly and adjusted it once. That’s pretty much it.
    For any commuter bike where you just want your gears to work, I absolutely recommend SA hubs. It has certainly not let me down yet ^_^

    ps I no longer abuse my SA. Though I’m much impressed by how robust it is. Just a side note, if your hub breaks, you can buy the internals and replace it whole. Certainly cheaper and easier than replacing the hub and wheel (or re-spoking).

  8. gear says:

    I have a SA 8 speed on my “city” bike. I will be putting a Shimano 11 speed on my (suburban) “commuter/travel” bike next winter. Both bikes have folding frames and can be packed into a suitcase. The IG hubs are better able to take a beating inside a suitcase, I don’t have to worry about getting to my destination and finding a derauiler broken off when I open the case. I like the way the hubs work but wouldn’t consider one for my “road” specific bike due to weight.

  9. BikeBike says:

    At our shop, we have been noticing that many people are intrigued by IGHs and are buying the bikes that have them more often than not – to the tune of 10-1! People like the idea of less maintenance, quieter drivetrain, and grease-free convenience. Also, there are many people out there who are intimidated by “regular” bikes – bikes with 24+ gears and 2 shifters instead of one – perfect customers for IGHs.

    I dont think IGHs are for everyone so its important to ask lots of questions about terrain, rider fitness, type of riding expected, etc.

    Regarding servicability – we are curious to see what kinds of issues we will see in the future and cannot offer too many comments on endemic problems with various brands yet. We do have access to S/A small parts and we do have a local Shimano rep who is pretty knowledgable. I guess time will tell.

    I am a huge fan and am really happy to see these durable products making a comeback!

  10. Anonymous says:

    When I heard that Raleigh
    was going to reintroduce
    the clubman, I thought
    Hot Dang! Now they’ll
    update it with Shimano
    or S.A. 8+ speed.
    Boy was I disappointed.

    Why aren’t there more
    steel frame road bikes
    with ighs being introduced?
    Other than bikes direct
    offering two, the Synergy
    Direct drive and Harris’
    San Jose 8?

  11. Norm says:

    Wow. My first ride was on a baby seat on the back of my mom’s (1965?) Schwinn with a Sturmey-Archer 3 speed IGH. Interesting that this is coming back!

    One nice thing about IGHs compared to derailleur-cassette systems is there’s less exposed gear area to entangle or grease-stain your clothes, etc.

  12. Tinker says:

    My bicycle came with a 3 speed Shimano hub. Gearing is too low overall. But shifting is amazingly smooth. My only other experience is with a 3 speed Sturmey Archer hub. Still works fine after 40 years, but not as gloriously smooth as the Shimano. I’d like more range of gearing, 7-8-11 speeds but I suspect if I could get the chain case off so I could count the teeth on the rear I could replace the rear cog with a different one, at minor expense. Put me down as a big fan, okay?

  13. dynaryder says:

    I have several bikes with IGH’s. I would boil it down to these points:

    IGH: low regular maintenance,convenient shifting,simple operation,easy gearing changes(one cog versus rings and/or cassette).

    derailleurs: wider gear range,lighter,cheaper.

    If you’re going to do hills,carry loads,or require high performance,go derailleur. If you want simplicity,go IGH. For my daily commuter/gocery hauler,I run gears. But the Nexus 8 is perfect for my folder.

  14. Tim says:

    I have ~11,000km on a Shimano Nexus 7. It’s been mostly trouble free. I’ve had a little bit of trouble with the shifter, which caused me to miss a few gears for several months before I thought to rebuild and clean it.
    I love the no-motion gear changes, the bomb-proof no-external-parts design, the low maintenance, and the quick sure shifting.
    I don’t love removing the rear wheel.
    The weight is not such a big issue. I carry a backpack with laptop, lunch, and U-lock, so the bike is heavy already.
    I wish there were another gear at the bottom end. Starting on a hill, loaded, is tough.

  15. Brian says:

    In our wet winter climate, the thought of an IGH is getting more and more appealing. The configuration that is really appealing to me at the moment is the Shimano 11-speed, with a gates belt drive. Probably too heavy to challenge those who ride superlight road bikes, but will perform admirably as a commuter / freight bike, with foul weather capability.

    I am looking at small women’s frame mixte for my wife, and the quandary I face with it is do I go with an IGH for her (she is terrible at letting me know there are problems on her bike), or do I go with a conventional setup that will save the weight (and give her a bit more range for our hills). This particular bike is less likely to be ridden in inclement weather, so the weather factor is less of an issue.

  16. Paul in Minneapolis says:

    My beloved Eruo bike (trek l200) has the Shimano 8. It is used most in foul weather and winter. This winter I put 1300 miles on it with no problems.

    I agree that changing the rear tire is trouble, more so when the temps are below 0f and that is why I keep really good tires on it, then move the tires to my summer bikes to finish off.

    I like that it is easy to change the rear cassette, as I put a lower gear for winter conditions.

    The no-fuss gear shifting is great. Add a full chain case and maintenance becomes monthly, or so.

    As for the troubles and repair, I plane to build a spare rear wheel. Then if mine breaks it won’t be a problem if it takes a week to fix. (no car allows me to do this kind of thing)

    In short, even with all the draw backs, my IGH bike allows me to ride in conditions that otherwise I would have to take the bus” Or drive if I had a car.

    I can see that many people will benefit from the IGH bikes. It is also a shame that Trek no longer imports the L200, as I would recommend that bike to almost anyone.

    Shifting issues with the Shimano twist shifters” Mine would often miss-shift. I replaced the shifter with the Alfine and that fixed it.

    I’m thinking about putting the lower gear on and using the bike for rainy weather touring/camping trips.

    Can you tell I really like my IGH?

  17. Kevin Love says:

    My father rode a Schwinn with a 3-speed IGH for 42 problem-free years with zero maintenance.

    I ride with a 5-speed IGH on my Pashley Sovereign Roadster. It came with a problem, but is being fixed under warranty. I anticipated that it will last for the rest of my life with zero maintenance.

  18. jdc says:

    We’ve never seen any of the IGH-equipped bikes that we’ve sold come in for any adjustments. I see the owners riding them out there, so rest assured that they aren’t “trailer queens”. The ones that blow me away are the belt drives. I don’t expect to see those customers for service for a very long time. IGH bikes were a great idea before, and they’re shaping up to be a great idea now.

    Having said that, there’s nothing wrong with a simple commuter with a derailleur system as well….if you give a reasonable attempt at the occassional cleaning and lubing.

    I like it even simpler. I’m a fan of single speeds and fixies, sort of for the same reasoning as using an IGH. I’m getting away from the derailleur. Unlike an IGH, I like to get away from the clutter of shifters, cables and weight.

  19. Sean says:

    Shimano Alfine 8 speed on my Surly Big Dummy, with a two ring front derailleur setup. This gives me better gear range and all the benefits of IGH. Cargo bikes benefit from being able to shift at a standstill.

    The only extra tool I carry is a Surly Jethro Tool, to loosen the rear hub nuts if I get a flat that I cannot patch with the wheel on. But I’m running 26 x 2.5″ hookworms with slimed tubes on Large Marge rims. Only 1 rear flat to date and I was able to patch it with the wheel still on the bike.

  20. Kalkhoff says:

    If you have only used an external derailleur, internal hubs can seem pretty foreign. But if you have frequent starts and stops, they are the way to go. You don’t have to downshift when stopping and they are quick off the mark when the light turns green.

    Most Kalkhoff e-bikes carry either 8 or 9 speed Shimano Nexus or Alfine hubs in for the reasons above and because they are clean and virtually maintenance free. After the first few rides an easy adjustment fixes stretched cables. That’s about it for maintenance.

  21. john in pdx says:

    I have used Single speed, 3-speed IGH, and currently 24-speed. I liked the IGH best, but the one advantage of having many gears on my current bike, is that if I go off my normal route, and have a steep hill to climb, I can still bike there.

    But on my 3-speed, I never had to remember to shift down, and that was very nice. Also, the 3-speed IGH was a coaster brake. That bike stayed cleaner than any other bike.

    Come to think of it, my next bike will have an internal…

  22. ddk says:

    I’m running a Shimano Nexus 3-speed, and it works great for what I need: local, all-weather commuting, on a bike whose owner is…..inconsistent….about maintenance. External gears just don’t play that way, and larger IGHs get unwieldy on folding bikes like mine, so this was my only logical upgrade path from my original single-speed commuter. Single speed was great fun for exactly three seasons…it took about one week of powering up hills in sleet for that fad to fade.

    The Shimano has been bulletproof, which is why I bought it. But at least weekly as the thing rachets away I second-guess my decision not to buy a silent Sturmey……

  23. Bill says:

    I think as long as you approach IGH’s the right way they are great.

    They are not the choice if you want a light fast bike.

    They are the choice if you are a cyclist who…

    1. Wants fenders and a chain guard on the bike so that they can ride in the same clothes that they plan to wear when they get where they are going.

    2. Thinks that 10-12 mph on level ground is more than fast enough (Actually, quite a few bikes with IGHs can go faster, but…).

    3. Wants to minimize the risk of having to do maintenance on the way to work.

    4. Thinks Tweed Rides are more fun than group rides in spandex.

    5. (If you are a three speed enthusiast), doesn’t see anything wrong with occasionally walking a bike up a hill.

    The Rolhoff hub though expensive (more than most bikes), is, from what I understand, unbelievably robust. Rolhoff has said in the past, they are not even sure of the expected life of the hub because so few have failed.

    That being said, if simple reliability is your top concern, and the hills are not too bad, the three speed hubs are probably the best in terms of reliability and are easier to maintain than the 7 and 8 speed hubs.

    One other thought that wasn’t mentioned here is the fact that IGH built wheels don’t need to be dished. That should give you a more robust wheel less prone to broken spokes.

  24. Dewber says:

    My two cents: derailleur systems are easy to work on and have parts available everywhere. I love IGH’s but if I go back to one for commuting (currently riding a fixed commuter) I will have to have a derailleur bike as a back up.

  25. Internal Gear says:

    20 years of fixing bikes for wages. And, yes, my Cannondale SR 600 was fun to ride. So were a succession of recumbents. But for 18 years my daily, and often high-mileage, commuter bikes have been IGH. Sturmey 3-spds, Sachs 5-speeds, Shimano 7 and (much better) 8 speeds, and SRAM’s iMotion 9.

    I’m glad to hear that only stupid people forget to gear down – I’ll pass that on to a couple idiots in the TdF peloton – perhaps N.I.K. will take the matter up with those guys when they crash, or are otherwise inconvenienced in traffic.

    Good points:
    Get on and go. Cheap – 4,000 km on one sprocket and two cheap chains. Parts availability? Given Shimano’s history of parts back-up in North America I wouldn’t worry about it – either the parts are not available (and Shimano doesn’t care) or there are hundreds that are available but that no distributor is going to stock for 4, 8, or 15 years…

    Bad points?
    Given the opportunity to do grievous bodily harm to the entire design committee that designed the 5-speed/two-cable Sachs shifter… oh, and that would only get me warmed up for the person that approved the Nexus/Alfine hub connection. They have never had to remove a wheel in the rain. Or in the cold. Or in the dark. Or at -5 degrees in the dark, cables iced up. And the goofy ‘alignment window?’ Yes kids, it’s plastic, in a place that is going to get covered in grit, grime, sludge, water, oil, and every other kind of mung you can imagine. One wipe of your finger and it becomes virtually useless.

    Then again, did I mention that one of three ‘Red Band’ Nexus hubs has over 10,000 km on it, with no service whatsoever? And your jockey pulleys? Your chain, derailleurs, cogs, cables, freehub, replaceable der. hanger (one of at least 100 variations), springs, screws, and miscellaneous bits?

    Now I’ll go back to waiting for my 11-speed, even if I have to buy an entire bicycle to get one.

  26. N.I.K. says:

    @Internal Gear:

    Gosh you’re smug. I can only hope you face all manner of failures and difficulties on accord of being a Total Prick.

    If you want a good wank, I advise you to forsake bikes-proper and fetishize old Rivendell catalogs. Otherwise, ride or GTFO.


    Vox von Ratio

  27. DDK says:

    N.I.K. — not cool. Really not cool. His post is interesting and informative. Yours is a trollish flame.

  28. N.I.K. says:

    Halfway there, DDK. Internal Gear’s post was interesting except for the part where he/she chose to attack me and put words in my mouth. Nowhere did I say “stupid people forget to gear down”. What I said is written in plain language above, and here it is paraphrased again: “smart people” shift to make life easier, saving wear on their bodies and their bikes, and internally geared hubs present the opportunity to shift in any situation. It’s highly convenient to be able to do so after a panic stop. And yet there’s Internal Gear setting up a strawman for…who knows what reason? Dislike of my statements about why I think IGH’s can be more trouble than they’re worth? Character assassination? Who knows?

    If Internal Gear wants to take issue with my suggestion that people who beat the crap out of their bikes are foolish, that’s fine. Let’s have that debate. Any other points, too. But putting words in my mouth? That’s cheap. And I do wish failure to people who pull that sort of garbage.

  29. DDK says:

    I agree…he missed the point entirely.

    And frankly — I agree with your assessment of IGH complexity defeating the point, which is one reason why I run a simple 3-speed instead of a fancy/heavy/delicate 9-speed. I’m just saying that a good civil response that would give you the high road would be something like “Dude…I’m teasing everyday commuters like myself, and explaining that this is why we like the concept of sturdy hubs that can be shifted after stopping. Not sure what that has to do with the peloton.”

  30. trevor says:

    The serviceability arguments here sound similar to people talking about how old cars were better because they didn’t have computers in them. Today’s cars aren’t user serviceable and the large majority of car buyers don’t care.

    I don’t do any maintenance of any kind on my bikes. If something seems wrong, I take it to the shop and they tell me how much it’s going to cost. Someday when my IGH breaks, they’ll probably tell me they can’t fix it and I’ll just buy another hub. $200 for a new hub is ridiculously cheap, even compared to the extra money I’d pay in insurance and registration if I commuted in a car.

  31. N.I.K. says:

    Well Trevor, I work as a mechanic, so of course I’m concerned with serviceability. 🙂 Sometimes a lack of serviceability is a non-issue – cartridge bottom brackets are a good example of this, because a decent one only runs $30-$40 and they’re readily available. Most people don’t balk at that and the associated labor charges. But $200 is a pretty substantial chunk of change, and that’s just for the hub – the customer’s still going to need a wheel built up around it (and possibly have a new cable installed). I’ve seen it from both ends: “That’s a lot of money but I love my IGH so I’ll bite the bullet” and “What? That’s nearly a third of what I paid for the whole bike! I got this so I wouldn’t have these problems!” Sure, it’s still way cheaper than a car, but proportionately, it’s actually quite pricey.

    I’ll concede that it usually takes a while for an IGH to go south, but then I’ve also seen a lot of extremes. The problem with people -especially sales people selling bikes on commission- talking about how hassle-free IGHs (or anything else!) are is that it convinces some folks that there’s really no fuss at all. You might not work on your bikes yourself but taking your bike to the shop for maintenance counts as maintenance. I’ll wager that you also don’t leave your bikes locked up outside through four months of snow and that “this feels funny” is your reason to hit the shop, rather than “this doesn’t work at all”.

  32. N.I.K. says:

    Out-of-the-blue aside: anyone have much experience with SRAM’s IGHs? They’re not really there in the North American market, but I’d be curious to know what they’re like. SRAM’s shifters for deraileur applications have a lot less parts than the competition and are actually rebuildable in a practical way. I’m just wondering if their IGHs are similarly well-designed.

  33. Keith J. says:

    I am just shy of 55 years old. I just completed a Metric Century for the American Diabetes Association’s Tour de Cure on my regular commuting bike, a 1999 Peugeot Cote D’Azur Comfort bike with a Shimano Nexus 7-speed IGH. With fully loaded panniers the bike probably weighed in at 40-plus pounds, and the route was very much uphill and down (including one 14% grade near the end that I thought was going to be the death of me). Just wanted to put in my 2 cents’ worth – I wasn’t the fastest of teh 350-or-so riders that day, but I completed the entire 100 km in just under 6 hours (with rest stops), and experienced absolutely no mechanical problems – level-terrain cruising speed about 18 mph. I just wanted to give a “thumbs-up” in general regarding the IGH, at least the one I ride with…

  34. The Cycler says:

    I have some experience with the Nexus 8 and must say all my future bikes are going to have IGHs.

    I’m a casual rider and sometimes do long distances for the hell of it, but efficiency is certainly not my goal, I want to enjoy my journey as much as possible and IGHs make it so much more enjoyable.

    I ride an old 10 speed right now and use about 4 of 5 of them. I never understood the whole 24 gear craziness, why so many and some ratios are so close they’re basically the same gear.

    I feel like there are no real advocates for the IGHs here, most of the people wandering these bike blogs are huge bicycle nuts: spandex, $2000 bike, washed after every use… IGHs are perfect for the commoners.

  35. N.I.K. says:

    I feel like there are no real advocates for the IGHs here, most of the people wandering these bike blogs are huge bicycle nuts: spandex, $2000 bike, washed after every use” IGHs are perfect for the commoners.

    And that’s based on what, exactly? No $2000 bike here. Steel beater for the commute with old Shimano 600 stuff on it. 😛 Way to make assumptions and embrace stereotypes. More and more I’m convinced that the knee-jerk anti-roadie disease is based more on the want *for* separatism/division than it is reality at large. “Oooh, I’m *utilitarian*. I’m not like *THEM*.” Give me a friggin’ break.

    I think DDK got it right: 3-speed IGHs are insanely practical. Anything more complex in an IGH is a long-term can of worms I welcome you to replace in 5-7 years time if you don’t mind spending the money. I myself would be sold if only there were a more affordable/more serviceable option. So far, haven’t seen it. Would love to see it, though – would make for a great winter rig.

  36. DDK says:

    N.I.K. — when you go into business building a winter-proof 3-speed coaster commuter with a full chain case in an oil bath, I will be first in line to make you rich. 🙂

  37. Tiano says:

    Ok. So I’m sold on the idea of an IGH for my city bike/commuter. And I’m sold on the price/reliability of the Sturmy Archers.

    However, I’m wondering how much use a 3 speed really could be. I don’t want to go fast, but I do want to get up hills. I have also heard that the 5 speeds can be, well, temperamental?

    Anyone with suggestions as to what I should go with?

    If it helps, I live in inner Melbourne, Australia. There are some hills, but the French alps this aint.


  38. raininja says:

    there are no known cases of Rohloff failure.

  39. Alistair says:

    Could’t resist commenting. I have converted to IHG. I am a 200 km a week commuter through London. I get my hub serviced twice a year (before and after the winter). Its done about 20,000 km. hug gears and puntcture resistant tyres have made my journey so much reliable, even in an urban environment.

    Downside, is the weight issue but I may not be the fastest but Im there or there about.

    ps Its a shimano 8 speed.

  40. WalterMcDalter says:

    Anyone out there who lives in San Francisco and can objectively comment on the practicality of an 8-speed hub for city riding? I’m pretty much a newbie rider (just about a year) and just lost my first bike, a Novara Corsa, in a bike crash. For my new bike I’m debating between a Jamis Coda Comp and Charge Tap or other internal hub bike. Thinking of steel frame.


  41. Hunter says:

    I have been riding a Sram S7 every day on my commuter for many years now. I also rode a Shimano Nexus 8 for about a year. I like the Sram S7 a lot more because: Its easier to change the tire. The Shimano seems less efficient in some gears. The Shimano doesn’t like carrying extra weight in panniers. The Shimano has tiny plastic parts that break easily(the Sram also has plastic parts on the shifting mechanism but none of them have broken). They are both a royal pain to initially set up, but I havent had to do anything to the Sram ever since I set it up several years ago. They are both heavy but I cant notice any difference in my IGH commuter and my touring bike with derailer and cassette. Both the IGH and the traditional touring bike seem extraordinarily heavy. I like my IGH for city biking. One day I will get a bike that was made in the last 20 years and that is light enough for me to care about whether my hub is heavy or not. Until then I will pray that my S7 keeps working flawlessly for years to come because I’m sure no one in the US can fix it and they probably stopped making parts for it long ago.

  42. Robin says:

    I have had a SRAM Dualdrive internal hub system on my Bike Friday for nearly 1 years and cover over 5000kms per year. Apart from having to change the chai and sprockets, the hub itself is still original and never needed service.mSo as far as I am concerned it is the most reliable and trouble free drive train I have ever used. I also run several other conventional bikes and one with a Sturmey Archer 3 speed hub, which is also proving to be trouble free.
    I can throughly recommend internal hub gears to anyone looking for low a maintainence and durable system. They actually work out cheaper in the long term also as both the chain and sprockets last much longer than on derailliers. Although not common in the U.S. or Australia, these drives are on the majority of bicycles sold in Europe as has been the case since the 1950’s.

  43. GordonD says:

    After suffering 38 years of my life with poor derailleur crap and finally wising up on a bike forum site …. In 2012 I got a, now oiled, SA 5w and in 2014 a Rohloff14. I use both on a custom heavyweight. Now with 10,000 and 8,000 miles. They both outperform and outlast dRs in many ways. An annual lube job and chain-cog service is about all is needed. My avg on century+ day rides went UP.
    The 48-18T SA 5w is especially efficient with my direct drive at 14 to 20 mph. Only 2 shifts from zero to 30 mph. Far easier to maintain momentum thru dips. It has my alltime best .3 mile downhill speed at 45.8 mph. I can actually feel mere inches of slope. 1st is a bit dainty but all else is very solid feeling. Saying they are only good for short slow city rides is just daffy.
    NOT using a Rohloff on a heavy tour bike is just insanely laughable for me. The 14 Gears are perfectly spaced. No ker-chunks ever.
    Yah, with either, I wont pass any guys on CF bikes … girls I will. ha Never ending Double shifts are completely goofy. You can shift while slamming on the brakes… Suuure LOL

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