Internal Gear Hub Review

 

Which is the best internally geared hub?

The following hubs participate in the comparison.

  • Sturmey Archer
    • 3 Speed
    • 5 Speed
    • 8 Speed

Before we start to discuss the gears itself let´s have a lock on some exeptions which reduces the amount internal gear hubs for your individual pourpose:

  • Hubs which are approved from manufacturer for tandem, load carrying, heavy duty pourpose are the SRAM P5 Cargo, Fichtel & Sachs Torpedo DUOMATIC and the Rohloff Speedhub.
  • Hubs which a disc brake option are Shimano Nexus INTER-3, Shimano ALFINE, Sturmey Archer 8 Speed (model: XRK8), Rohloff Speedhub and SRAM i-MOTION 9 .
  • Hubs without any bowden cable and external shifters are Fichtel & Sachs Torpedo DUOMATIC and Fichtel & Sachs Torpedo AUTOMATIC.

Now let´s start choosing!

When it comes to the point to choose the right hub the most imortant thing is the overall gear ratio.

The overall gear ratio is a percentage value. The value desribes the diference between the lowest and highest gear according to expansion of the wheel or cycling distance. A overall gear ratio of 306% e.g. tells you, that you will cycle in the highest gear a 3,06 times longer distance than in the lowest.

Why is overall gear ratio so important?

Because it decides if you cycle or push your bicycle! When cycling a hill you´ll need to reduce your gear ratio untill your not Marco Pantani. This is done by shifting into a lower gear. By doing that you´ll choose a smaller gear ratio and your cadenze will increase! When you can´t shift to a smaller gear ratio cycling uphill gets hard, your cadenze decreases and finally you´ll decide to walk and push your bike.

Is the number of gears important?

The number of gears will give you no concrete answer on the question: Can I cycle up a hill or against the wind! Sure, there is a correlation between the numbers of gears and the overall gear ratio but here I want to discuss with you how many gears make sense for your individual pourpose. When you come to this sentence you have already climbed out of the bicycle marketing swamp of 27 or 30 gears!

Let´s step beside the marketing shouting! More gears are better? Sit back and concentrate…. devine the right gear ratio for your pourpose and choose the right hub. This procedure will lead you to a bicycle and drivetrain which fits perfect and describes your IDEAL. The other way is to go to a bicycle shop and by a standard bicycle with 27 or 30 gears. This describes the MAXIMUM and stands for equality and to do this you don´t have to read further!

Here is the overall gear ratio for all on the market available intern geared hubs:


In the diagram you see the “name of the manufacturer” / “name of the hub”.

To come to a better comparison and detailed review result it makes sense to separate the hubs into groups.

  • Hub Group A : Hubs with a overall gear ratio up to 200%
  • Hub Group B: Hubs with a overall gear ratio between 200% and 300%
  • Hub Group C: Hubs with a overall gear ratio above 300%

The capabilities of the hub groups can be described as following:

Hub Group A : Hubs with a overall gear ratio up to 200%

  • Simple build up (one planetary gear)
  • They are good buy (up to 100,- Euro)
  • Easy to maintain also for hobbyist
  • They are rugged
  • They are technically mature
  • Best choice for plaine city cycling
  • Best choice for plaine commuting
  • Good choice for easy touring

Hub Group B: Hubs with a overall gear ratio between 200% and 300%

  • Difficult build up (min. 2 planetary gears)
  • Mid range price (up to 150,- Euro)
  • Difficult to maintain
  • They are rugged
  • They are technically mature
  • Best choice for plaine city cycling with smaller gear steps
  • Best choice for plaine city cycling with luggage
  • Best choice for plaine city cycling with trailers
  • Best choice for hilly commuting

Hub Group C: Hubs with a overall gear ratio above 300%

  • Very difficult build up (More than 3 planetary gears)
  • High price range (up to 900,- Euro)
  • Must be maintined by a professional
  • They are rugged when used under recommended installation (e.g. incoming turning moment)
  • They are technically under development
  • Best choice for hilly city cycling with smaller gear steps
  • Best choice for hilly city cycling with luggage
  • Best choice for hilly city cycling with trailers
  • Best choice for mountainous commuting
  • Best choice for sportive cycling (off raod and on road)

Now you should be able to choose the gear hub group which fits your personal cycling pourose best! Please scroll down for the hub group you choose.

Group A:


Hub Group A : Hubs with a overall gear ratio up to 200%

  • Simple build up (one planetary gear)
  • They are good buy (up to 100,- Euro)
  • Easy to maintain also for hobbyist
  • They are rugged
  • They are technically mature
  • Best choice for plaine city cycling
  • Best choice for plaine commuting
  • Good choice for easy touring


In the diagram you see the “name of the manufacturer” / “name of the hub”.

Here is the ranking inside the group A according overall gear ratio:

1. SRAM / i-Motion 3
1. SRAM / T3
1. Shimano / Nexus INTER-3
4. Sturmey Archer / 3 Speed
5. Fichtel & Sachs / Torpedo DUOMATIC & AUTOMATIC

Let´s go forward and choose your IDEAL internally geared hub of group A.

Therefore we´ll have a lock on the second important characteristic for internal geared hubs. The size of steps between the gears.

In details there are two step charactersitics:

1. The size of the step between two gears.
2. The size of the steps compared to each other.

The size of the steps between the gears defines the chance to find a perfect gear inside your choosen overall gear ratio. Smaller steps are better then larger steps. With smaller steps you can finer react on your cycling environment e.g. wind, a inclination, a trailer…

This will increase your cycling fun!

To increase your fun even more the size of the steps should be the same. Think about a old stair in a castle or old house. The steps are worn out. This means the step size changes from step tp step. This makes it very hard and confusing to step up. It´s a very inefficient walk. The same will happen with a bicycle. When the steps beween the gears change cycling gets frustrating. You´ll never find the IDEAL gear.

Conclusion: The hub should have small steps beteen the gear and the step size should be the same.

So lets have a look what the the internal hub manufactures have to offer.


In the diagram you see the “name of the manufacturer” / “name of the hub”.

The Sturmey Archer 3 Speed hub has the smallest step size with 33% and 33,3,%. Also the size is nearly the same. The SRAM i-MOTION 3 and the SRAM T3 have the same characteristics. Both steps are bigger with 36,2% but the size is the same. The Shimano Nexus INTER-3 steps with a 36,4% and 36%. These are the biggest steps with the biggest difference.

The Fichtel & Sachs Torpedo DUOMATIC & AUTOMATIC hub offers one 36% step with the two gears.

Conclusion:

The overall differences according:

1. The size of the step between two gears.
2. The size of the steps compared to each other.

is not huge in Group A. When you are free to choose beside other criteria a hub in this group I recommend the following ranking:

1. Sturmey Archer / 3 Speed
2. Fichtel & Sachs / Torpedo DUOMATIC & AUTOMATIC
3. SRAM / i-Motion 3
3. SRAM / T3
5. Shimano / Nexus INTER-3
The overall standing in group A:

1. SRAM / i-Motion 3
1. SRAM / T3
3. Sturmey Archer / 3 Speed
4. Fichtel & Sachs / Torpedo DUOMATIC & AUTOMATIC
4. Shimano / Nexus INTER-3

Group B:

Hub Group B: Hubs with a overall gear ratio between 200% and 300%

  • Difficult build up (min. 2 planetary gears)
  • Mid range price (up to 150,- Euro)
  • Difficult to maintain
  • They are rugged
  • They are technically mature
  • Best choice for plaine city cycling with smaller gear steps
  • Best choice for plaine city cycling with luggage
  • Best choice for plaine city cycling with trailers
  • Best choice for hilly commuting


In the diagram you see the “name of the manufacturer” / “name of the hub”.

Here is the ranking inside the group B according overall gear ratio:

1. SRAM / P5
2. Shimano / Nexus INTER-7
3. SRAM / P5 Cargo
4. Sturmey Archer / 5 Speed

Let´s go forward and choose your IDEAL internally geared hub of group A.

Therefore we´ll have a lock on the second important characteristic for internal geared hubs. The size of steps between the gears.

In details there are two step charactersitics:

1. The size of the step between two gears.
2. The size of the steps compared to each other.
The size of the steps between the gears defines the chance to find a perfect gear inside your choosen overall gear ratio. Smaller steps are better then larger steps. With smaller steps you can finer react on your cycling environment e.g. wind, a inclination, a trailer…

This will increase your cycling fun!

To increase your fun even more the size of the steps should be the same. Think about a old stair in a castle or old house. The steps are worn out. This means the step size changes from step tp step. This makes it very hard and confusing to step up. It´s a very inefficient walk. The same will happen with a bicycle. When the steps beween the gears change cycling gets frustrating. You´ll never find the IDEAL gear.

Conclusion: The hub should have small steps beteen the gear and the step size should be the same.

In the diagram you see the “name of the manufacturer” / “name of the hub”.

The Shimano Nexus INTER-7 hub has the smallest step size between 13,8% and 17,3,%. Also the size is nearly the same. A absolutly fantastic gear step chart. This is the way a internal gear hub has to be designed.

The SRAM P5 Cargo owns steps between 16,6% and 28,6%. There is a huge spread between these steps. This is the result because of the focus on heavy duty pourpose. This hub is designed for rough cycling and not for convenient pedaling.

The total opposit is the SRAM P5. Here was convient pedaling the aim and the result are 23,4% and 28,1%. The gear steps are closer together than the Cargo hub but on a higher level.

Finally the Sturmey Archer 5 Speed with the smallest step of 17,9% and the biggest of 27%. This is very balanced designed.

Conclusion:

The overall differences according:

1. The size of the step between two gears.
2. The size of the steps compared to each other.

is very huge in Group B. When you are free to choose beside other criteria a hub in this group I recommend the following ranking:

1. Shimano / Nexus INTER-7
2. Sturmey Archer / 5 Speed
3. SRAM / P5
4. SRAM / P5 Cargo

The overall standing in group B:

1. Shimano / Nexus INTER-7
2. SRAM / P5
3. Sturmey Archer / 5 Speed
4. SRAM / P5 Cargo
Group C:

Hub Group C: Hubs with a overall gear ratio above 300%

  • Very difficult build up (More than 3 planetary gears)
  • High price range (up to 900,- Euro)
  • Must be maintined by a professional
  • They are rugged when used under recommended installation (e.g. incoming turning moment)
  • They are technically under development
  • Best choice for hilly city cycling with smaller gear steps
  • Best choice for hilly city cycling with luggage
  • Best choice for hilly city cycling with trailers
  • Best choice for mountainous commuting
  • Best choice for sportive cycling (off raod and on road)


In the diagram you see the “name of the manufacturer” / “name of the hub”.
As you can see on the first sight it´s not easy for the hubs to compete against the Rohloff Speedhub. The reason to put the Speedhub into group C is to give you a impresion on this impressive overall gear ratio. What the developers created here is from another planet!

But neverless here is the ranking inside the group B according overall gear ratio:

1. Rohloff / Speedhub
2. SRAM / i-MOTION 9
2. Shimano / ALFINE & Nexus INTER-8
2. Sturmey Archer / 8 Speed
5. SRAM / S7

Let´s go forward and choose your IDEAL internally geared hub of group C.

Therefore we´ll have a lock on the second important characteristic for internal geared hubs. The size of steps between the gears.

In details there are two step charactersitics:

1. The size of the step between two gears.
2. The size of the steps compared to each other.

The size of the steps between the gears defines the chance to find a perfect gear inside your choosen overall gear ratio. Smaller steps are better then larger steps. With smaller steps you can finer react on your cycling environment e.g. wind, a inclination, a trailer…

This will increase your cycling fun!

To increase your fun even more the size of the steps should be the same. Think about a old stair in a castle or old house. The steps are worn out. This means the step size changes from step tp step. This makes it very hard and confusing to step up. It´s a very inefficient walk. The same will happen with a bicycle. When the steps beween the gears change cycling gets frustrating. You´ll never find the IDEAL gear.

Conclusion: The hub should have small steps beteen the gear and the step size should be the same.

So lets have a look what the the internal hub manufactures have to offer.

In the diagram you see the “name of the manufacturer” / “name of the hub”.

Very confusing on first sight!

Once again the winner in group C is Rohloff. The hub has the smallest steps and they have nearly all the same size. We haven´t seen these small steps (13,8%) by any other hub yet. It´s definitely the best designed gear hub on the market.

But SRAM strikes back with the i-MOTION 9. Gear steps between 14,5% and 17,3% shows that the guys from Schweinfurt / Germany knows what counts: Small gear steps harmonical arranged together.

Shimano tells us they improved the Nexus INTER-7 hub to the Nexus INTER-8 / ALFINE. Sorry! That´s not the case according gear steps. Have look on the chart. The chart jumps down from 22,2% to 13,8% and once again up and down. This is no well balanced hub. If you want to buy a internal gear hub from Shimano take the well balanced Nexus INTER-7.

The SRAM S7 chart looks like a mountain. Starting at 17,9% at the bottom and climbs up 23,6% on the top.

Let´s go from the mountains to the valleys. Sturmey Archer must had a bad day when they designed the 8 Speed. It starts with a incredible jump from 28% down to 13,3%. That´s more than 15%! Than it stays in the flat 13% area and jumps finally to 28,2%.
Conclusion:

The overall differences according:

1. The size of the step between two gears.
2. The size of the steps compared to each other.

is very huge in group C. When you are free to choose beside other criteria a hub in this group I recommend the following ranking:

1. Rohloff / Speedhub
2. SRAM / i-MOTION 9
3. Shimano / Nexus INTER-8 / ALFINE
3. SRAM / S7
5. Sturmey Archer / 8 Speed

The overall standing in group C:

1. Rohloff / Speedhub
2. SRAM / i-MOTION 9
3. Shimano / ALFINE & Nexus INTER-8
4. Sturmey Archer / 8 Speed
4. SRAM / S7

So far right now! This took some time. But also form me the results were very interesting.

  • I underestimated the Shimano Nexus INTER-7 up to now.
  • It´s unbelivable what the Rohloff engineers have done. They worked wonders!
  • Between the two big players SRAM and Shimano this result shows, that the SRAM i-MOTION 9 is the better hub compared to the ALFINE 8 Speed.
  • Finally the Sturmey Archer 3 Speed which took the lead in group A.

Gruß Marco


  1. Jens

    My Name is Jens and i’m very imprest.. I’ll take one of these Rohloff!

  2. Keith

    I have ridden a SRAM seven speed hub [with a coaster brake] for over ten thousand miles commuting to and from work [about eight miles each way]. I found the ratios no problem for mild to medium grades in weather 100 degrees to 0 degrees and mild to moderate winds. The only real drawback I find with the SRAM, is part of the shift mechanism hangs outside the frame, off the rear axle. I think this vulnerability gives the Shimano [with all the mechanism between the stays] a small advantage.

  3. Keith,

    I agree the Sram S7 is a great reliable hub. According Sram´s gear mechanism it´s interesting to see that they listen to you. The new i-MOTION 3 & 9 hub comes with a new mechanism. The mechanism moved from outside the chainstay to the inside. In my opinion they are even better than the Shimano mechanism. Because they use now the same principle than Rohloff to connect & disconnect the bowden cable. The result is an easy & fast wheel mounting!

    Gruß Marco

  4. mick

    I love the site and your enthusiasm about hub gears – but I’m a bit confused by the 3 speed rankings….

    Why is the Shimano rated bottom??

    It has almost identical range and steps to the SRAM hubs (less than 1% difference will not be apparent to the rider).
    It has an ISO disc mount option – no other 3 speed in Europe has this.

    It is also well published that the SA hubs (UK made – see Tony Hadland & Jobst Brandt websites) can dangerously jump into neutral from top gear even if the cable is properly adjusted. The Shimano design cannot do this (I don’t know about SRAM design).

    I’m not a fan of Shimano world domination, but surely all of this puts the their hub in first place? :-)

  5. Hi mick,

    thanks for your feedback. I agree on all notes! I mentioned in the review that:
    “The overall differences according:

    1. The size of the step between two gears.
    2. The size of the steps compared to each other.

    is not huge in Group A. ”

    I also considered here only these two characteristics. In a next step I´ll add other characteristics to the comparison. So´ll get in the next few month a broader view on all the hubs.

    Do you have any kind of information about the Nexus INTER-3 hub showing the disc mount option?
    The only information I have is the Specialized Globe bike:

    http://hubstripping.wordpress.com/2007/09/30/new-shimano-3-speed-hub-with-disc-brake/

    Gruß Marco

  6. TCS

    Mick,

    The old Sturmey AW did have a neutral between the 2nd and 3rd ratios. The Sturmey AW-NIG does not. The AW-NIG began production in 1984 and is the basis of all their three speed hubs (SRF3, etc.) that have been produced since 1999.

    You can compare the exploded diagrams at

    old AW3:

    http://www.hadland.me.uk/sa/saaw.pdf

    new SRF3:

    http://www.sturmey-archer.com/pdfs/S…2005-05-25.pdf

    and see for yourself that the internal mechanism is different.

    I’m sorry that Jobst Brandt was hurt on a ride in 1960 using an AW hub, but to still be claiming in 2007 that SunRace Sturmey-Archer hubs have a dangerous neutral is in error and one must wonder about the motivation of such a claim.

    TCS

    • Roger

      I have a Terratrike Path 8 with the Sturmy Archer 8 speed and it occasionally will shift into a neutral gear somewhere between 4 and 6 (usually). Some times when shifting up or down it feels as if it has shifted the opposite way. At first I thought I was just shifting the wrong way but now that I’m used to ridding the trike I know it is the hub. It also requires you to back peddle before it will shift down. A big momentum killer when starting up a steep hill. It is also hard to get in the first gear when I need it. I really need a lower end gear but I can fix that but not sure I want to stay with the Sturmey. I’m thinking of switching to a new N360 Nuvinci and maybe combine with a Schlumpf 2 speed up front. If the Sturmey worked better I would just add the Schlumpf and be happy.

      • Roger

        Follow up: Over the winter I upgraded to the N360 and a Schlumpf. I am totally happy with the upgrade. I can now ride up the hills (14 gear inches) and have way more top end than I will ever use. I love being able to fine tune the gear ratio to fit the circumstance. now sure how it would work with a 2 wheeler but works great with three. I now have a Sturmy Archer 8 speed in a 20 inch wheel for sale.

      • Deva

        I have a terra trike rover 8 and I have had nothing but trouble with my shifter. It has broken twice and it slips. I am feeling like terra trike needs to redesign their products with different components.

      • Bob

        Sounds like your hub is out of adjustment . Have you checked the adjustment using the barrel adjuster that is explained in the owners manual for the hub? Also, almost every internal hub cannot be shifted under power, you have to stop p[pedaling before shifting. If you don’t, you will damage the hub pretty quickly. See Item 4 “Gear Adjustment”. http://www.sturmey-archer.com/userfiles/manuals/Instructions-for-S80W_20081027R1-1.pdf

  7. babs bukunola

    Am wanting to buy a hob but am useless at the science side.
    Thanks very much your info has reassured me I should get a Rohloff.
    Babs

  8. I found a very interesting text from Bernd Rohloff & Peter Greb about efficiency of internally geared hubs. The argumentation leads to the same result as the Internal hub gear review:
    http://hubstripping.wordpress.com/internal-gear-hub-review/

    Small (15%) and constant gear steps over the appropiate overall gear ratio!

    6. Reason for efficiency
    measurements – The reason for efficiency
    measurements is to find out which
    one of the different bicycle transmissions
    converts the most of the bicyclist’s power
    into forward motion. To propel the rider
    forward in the most efficient manner, it is
    important that the rider be able to choose
    an appropriate gear for the given load or
    riding situation, a gear that is suitable to
    the rider’s fitness level.
    The development of power in the
    muscles is subject to a grade of efficiency.
    This efficiency is the ratio of metabolic
    capacity and the delivered mechanical
    power, i.e. the power at the crank. The
    efficiency depends on the muscle power
    combined with the speed of movement, if
    both variables reach their optimum, the
    muscle efficiency can increase by 25%.
    [See also article by Too and Landwer in
    this issue. Ed.]
    The differences in muscle efficiency
    between positive and negative fatigue
    ratios (bodily stress/developed power) can
    easily vary by 10%. This is of much larger
    value than the variation of mechanical
    efficiencies of various bicycle transmissions
    systems.
    Table 7: Comparison of muscle and
    mechanical efficiency of the bicyclerider
    system.
    Rider A Rider B
    Muscle Efficiency (%) 24 22
    Transmission Efficiency (%) 93 97
    Overall Efficiency (%) 22 21
    Rider A is using a perfect gear ratio for the
    situation and his muscle efficiency is 24%.
    His bicycle transmission is moving in a
    gear with relatively poor mechanical
    efficiency of 93%. Rider B is using an
    unfavorable gear with a high efficiency
    of 97%., however, because of the unfavorable
    speed, his muscles work at
    22% efficiency. The overall efficiency
    shows taking into consideration muscle
    and transmission losses that rider A is
    riding more efficiently even though his
    transmission efficiency is lower than
    rider B’s.
    In order to use the rider as a “bicycle
    engine” most effectively, the ratio increments
    between the gears are as important
    as a good mechanical efficiency. The
    most efficient energy conversion is very
    limited using transmissions with only a
    few gears. A larger selection of gears
    with smaller increments make a favorable
    energy conversion possible in a wider
    range of riding situations, but only if the
    correct gear is used. Sport medical research
    shows that the increments between
    gears must be smaller than 15% to benefit
    the rider’s efficiency.
    Under this point of view it does not
    make sense to compare transmissions
    with only a few gears, large gaps, and
    small overall range, with
    transmissions with many
    gears, small increments,
    and a large range of
    gears. A comparison of
    different transmission
    systems should always
    take the application.

    Gruß Marco

    • Dear Marco, just to make me sure before buying a multi-speed rear hub for my daughter. She is riding 7-speed Nexus Inter-7 coaster brake 24″ bicycle now. She needs upgrade to 28″ bicycle. My wife is riding 7-speed Sachs freewheel hub. Shimano`s shifting is smoother and more comfortable comparing to Sachs`s one. So Shimano is my choose. According to number of speeds I understood that Inter-7 is better than Inter-8 for rider. Did I understood it right? Thank you for your confirmation. You are doing great thing to help multi-speed hub users! :-)

      • Hi Robert,

        thanks for your positive feedback. I would recommend the 7 speed Shimano hub because of the following reasons:
        - Better price / value ratio than the 8 speed Shimano
        - Better balanced gear steps between the gears.

        The amount of gears and therefore the overall gear ratio can be important when you ride on a hilly terrain or with luggage.
        Gruß,
        Marco

    • Fuzzbean

      The notion of small gear steps increasing muscle efficiency to the point of outweighing mechanical efficiency seems the same as what NuVinci claims for their hub. On the other hand, does strict adherence to maximum efficiency necessarily mean it is the best hub? Perhaps the simplicity and reliability of a 3-speed hub make that a more user-friendly or at least a more “dollar-efficient” choice for lots of people. Or, perhaps the varying effort exerted over a wider range of technically “inefficient” pedalling speeds with a 3-speed hub might give the rider a greater variety of exercise and actually be more healthful to him than always grinding along monotonously at that single pedalling speed and single level of effort which science says is most efficient. What is your goal, after all? To compete against the top 1% of cyclists in the world? Or to lose weight and improve your health? Or to ride 10 minutes each way to the grocery store?

  9. Renzo

    Hello Marco,

    Very interesting article, thanks! I was considering an 8 speed Nexus, but will look for a 7 speed after reading your article. Would be nice if you can add reliability information.

    One comment on the 8 speed Sturmey Archer: to me it almost looks like the engineers designed ‘valley’ gear step profile on purpose: an ‘escape’ gear for steep hills (you also see this on derailleur cassettes), a downhill gear for serious descents and all other gear steps very uniform and small (almost similar to the best designed gear hub on the market: Rohloff).

    Cheers,
    Renzo.

    • thebiophysicist

      Hi Renzo,
      I came to to same conclusion that the Sturmey Archer 8 speed is very cleverly designed to have small even gear steps with a big step at each end to give a gear for steep climbs descents.
      However my son has a S.A. XRK8 and it is prone to slipping and sometimes seems to go into a ultra high or ultra low range. Not sure if my son has damaged it through riding it when not properly in gear. Definitely not bomb proof like the old S.A. 3-speed. Taking it for a service soon with a PDF printout to see if they can fix it.

  10. Hi Renzo,

    I´am also interested on reliability informations. Actual I observe or ride bicycles with a DUOMATIC, SRAM i-MOTION3, Speedhub and sooon a Alfine hub. I´ll past asap informations about daily life experiance.

    There is the possibility to ride your experience with certain hubs in the comment fields unter the posts.

    Hello eyerybody, let´s share here our hub experience!

    Your argument according the 8-speed S-A hub is great. I ride also a derailleur cassette which has a big step between the 30-34 teeth sprocket. It´s my life belt and I use it quite often.

    I don´t know if this was the idea of the S-A engineers or a result of the mechanical construction.

    Gruß Marco

  11. Patrick

    Hi,
    I have been riding 7 speed hubs for the past 10 years a SACHS 7 speed with drum brake which was stolen and now a Shimano 7 speed (before that i had a Raleigh with a Sturmey 3 speed with 90 mm drum brakes for many year and I still think fondly of that bike)
    My bikes have drop bars. (I use thumb shifter)
    I think the overall range of the Sachs was a bonus. and the friction in the Shimano hub is noticeably higher than the friction in the Sachs. Shimano shifting is smoother and quiter, but it does not matter to me.
    Overall, the Sachs is much better and agreable that the Shimano.

    Patrick.

  12. James

    I disagree completely on your interpretation of the Sturmey-Archer 8 speed gear spread. While not perfect, it’s one of the best.

    You have 5 closely spaced gears for most conditions, plus an extreme ‘granny’ gear for when you run out of puff or have a crazy hill to deal with, plus an extreme ‘I want to go as fast as I can down this hill’ gear. Looks great. Personally, I’d gear it so that 5th is my ‘good progress cruising on the flat’ gear (around 70+ gear inches).

    As for its downsides, I’ve heard not such good things about reliability for this hub, and the fact that 1st gear is direct drive means a very small chainwheel if you have full size wheels. It seems a godsend for small wheeled (folder) bikes.

  13. Dominic

    Hi,

    Regarding hub USING experience (I’ve little MECHANICAL experience):

    I’m using Shimano Inter-7 hubs for 7 1/2 years now and I’m a bit annoyed regarding its reliability.

    First, after about 2 1/2 years (i.e. ~ 6000 – 10000 miles) I decided to disassemble the hub for the first time since I sensed some small disturbances. I was quite frustrated, when I discovered only some month after passing the warranty, that the rim of the small ball bearing at the driver unit on the right hand side was broken (probably some weeks or months before). Since the ball retainer was also broken, I assume that some balls and retainer pieces wedged themselves causing the rim to break. Without any experiences in hub repair, I left it at a bike garage, where they changed the hole internal assembly for ~ 180 Euros.

    Now, after additional 5 years and another 10000 miles or so (shorter distance to work) the same ball retainer broke again as well as a piece of the brake shoe of the coaster brake (without effect on breaking, besides some groaning). This time I opened the hub myself before greater damage happened, due to another problem: at freezing temperatures the gear shifting got stuck, lubricating the cassette joint unit didn’t help and inside the hub I could not find any water and enough grease (?).

    Is it necessary to open and maintain a hub like the Inter-7 every year, resp. every 5000 miles or is it simply not designed for more than 10000 miles?

    Regarding usage: Though I ride about 300 days per year, I hardly ever ride off-road and I’m using it only for transportation, not for extreme sport activities.

    Gruß Dominic

  14. Stefan

    Hi,

    I am very impressed with this site, lots of useful information!

    What I would like to know which of these hubs would fit a bike with a 120mm rear spacing. I would need at least 5 speed, 225% range is enough. Preferably, though, I would have liked a nexus 7.

    Is there anyway to modify it to fit. Anything below 122mm is acceptable.

    Also, Sachs is now taken over by Sram right? As I have seen a number of them on ebay, especially from Germany.

    Stefan

  15. phil

    Useful info, thanks.

  16. Gellin

    After a great deal of cogitation and concern about the reliability ratings of the market-available internally geared (IG) hubs, I’ve decided to try the Sturmey-Archer/SunRace S80 (8-speed) hubs in combination with Schlumpf Innovations’ “Mountain-Drive” IG 2-speed bottom-bracket crankset (Ref: http://www.mountain-drive.com) for use on my Sun-EZ Tadpole recumbent trike.

    While involving just under half the monetary investment of the Speedhub, I’m able to get an overall {lowest gear:highest gear) ratio of 7.625:1, VS the Speedhub’s 5.258:1. In addition, should there ever BE a malfunction, it’s far less likely both transmissions would be affected at the same time, leaving me with some variance of availble gear ratios, though more limited; NOT implying that most malfunctions within the Speedhub, nor any IG drive hub for that matter, would likely put the hub completely out of commission.

    With regard to the comments I’ve read (though few) so far pertaining to the directly driven (1:1) 1st-gear on the Sturmey-Archer 8-speed, some retailers offer the optional sprockets for that hub, up to 25-teeth which, when combined with OEM chainring(s), will bring the overall input-to-output gear ratios fairly close to those produced with the original cassette.

    Incidently, Schlumpf (mentioned above), and perhaps other fabricators I’m unaware of, may still be producing and selling 5-bolt BCD-74mm and BCD-110mm Spiders designed for using almost any industry standard (front) chainring on many currently available IG drive hubs. This permits the use of even larger tooth-counts on the drive axle, thereby proportionally lowering the required pedalling torque from the rider for any given situation.

    A secondary, and perhaps significant benefit to larger “chain-wheels”, is the similar reduction in dynamic loads imposed on the drive chain, bottom-bracket bearings, drive axle bearings, pedals, and so on.

    Just something mainly for those of us who tend to keep their ‘rides’ for the long term. Who knows, with the curent global consumption of 9 barrels of oil to 1 barrel found (ref: http://www.oil-price.net), the values of our human-powered vehicles may be worth several times their original cost in the not too distant future!

    After I’ve ridden my newly configured Tadpole this Summer, I’ll try to post a performance review of sorts, for those who might be interested.

    Happy trails!

  17. Jonathan Wellingham

    Why is there so little information on the Shimano Nexus 3 speed hub? I am not very impressed with it. It was fitted to a Giant Lafree electric bicyle, and caused problems from new. It was reluctant to change down, and any adjustment to the cable affected changing up, so the cbale adjustment was critical. Also it would suddenly make a loud cracking noise after changing gear and then applying pedal pressure. The whole unit was changed uner warranty, but the new one wasn’t much better. Now, after 4 years and about 4000 miles, it jammmed so 3rd gear was unavailable. Dismantling showed no obvious damage, and after reassembling it all works, but I don’t really have confidence in it. Because the 3 speed hub is not sold in the UK the Shimano rep had no experience of it and was unable to help.

  18. Adrian

    Hi

    I’d like to fit a 3-speed hub to my bike which currently just has an 8 speed rear derailleur. Is this possible, and what would you recommend?

    The bike is used around town at the moment, but I often ride a lot further and having a wider gear range would be ideal as there are a lot of hills and long flats.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Cheers

    Adrian

  19. Imre Oliver Kozak

    Hi,

    I have been using a Sram 7 for city commuting for 6+ years now. After 2 years, I changed the the rear chain wheels to shift the original gear ratios.
    Sometimes I find difficult to match the gear to my pedaling rythm, but I can live with it.
    Reliability for the hub itself is excellent, zero malfunction, works perfect both winter and summer (-5 to +30 Celsius).
    The ‘outside’ gearbox broke after a small accident. I managed to quick-fix it, but now I had to order a new clickbox-grip-shift assembly to replace.
    Changing tires is not easy, but I can live with.

    I have been using a Nexus SG-8R-25 for 3+ years. After 1 year, the hub started to have problems to switch back to lower gears. I found no shop in Hungary to repair it. So I used it without repair.
    Now I found a shop, which took it apart, and said that the grease stuck inside, so they washed it and replaced the grease. Unfortunately, it didn’t solve the switch-back problem completely. I was very annoyed by this, so I ordered from ebay a brand new Nexus SG 8R-35 to replace it, and hope it will perform better. So reliability side, I am not content.
    Ratio wise, the Nexus 8 was very good, I could easily fit the gear selection to my pedaling rythm. Altough, even in city commuting, I missed an even faster ’9th gear’ to be able to go faster, but I can live with this.
    I also appreciated that I could switch gears also when pedaling (unlike the Sram7, where I have to freeze pedaling when changing gears).
    Chaning tires is a hassle with the Nexus 8, I find it quite difficult to fit the assembly back to its correct place.

    All in all, I’m still waiting for a hub that has both advantages, the reliability of the Sram S7 and the ratios + shifting while pedaling of the Shimano Nexus 8.

    Regards,
    Oliver

  20. DS

    I have commuted for significant periods on Sachs Duomatic, Shimano Inter-7, and Red-Band Nexus 8. The Duomatic is lots of fun, but I prefer single speed or fixed gear. If you REALLY need two speeds, then it is great. It has very low friction. You have done a great job with your analysis, but I will say that in real world use, the 8-speed shimano is far superior to the 7. It is more reliable, is lighter weight, has more speeds, has less friction, and makes less noise. It is an example where the next generation of a technology represents real progress, not just cost savings. So my vote is for the Shimano 8 based on my experience. (I still need to try the SRAM-9 and Rohloff).

  21. NoideKites

    Great Site! Thanks a lot for the info!

    I am in Seattle where there are a lot of bikes, but I still can not find information on internal hubs… they are not very popular in the US. Your website is fantastic :)

    For the past year I have been thinking about setting up a road bike with an internal hub and a double chain ring up front because there are so many hills and I would love to take the bike on long rides. Everyone thinks I’m crazy, but I know it can be done (especially after reading a press release for a carbon fiber SRAM i9, from your site).

    Would you have any info on this? Maybe pictures? Have you personally tried this set up on your bike? I have never seen an internal hub on a road bike, only “cruisers.”

    Thank you :)

  22. NoideKites,

    why not!!! A road bike with a internal geared hub. I already gambled with this idea too. In generall there is no mechanical limitation. A issue could be the efficiency and the gear transmission ratio (All internal gear hubs have a gear reduction limitation! Be aware!!!).

    Maybe somebody has already made some experience?

    The carbon Sram i-motion 9 was a study. This means it´s not available on the market. But the weight difference between carbon and aluminium is not that big. Why not use a standard version.

    Gruß,

    Marco

    Gruß,

    Marco

  23. NoideKites

    I’ll have to look into the gearing more :) Thanks for the reply!

  24. Patrick

    Question – I have a Bianchi Milano with a Nexus-8 and I’m having a hard time finding a child trailer compatible with it. Any suggestions?

  25. Kevin

    I ride a Nexus 8 SG-8R25 (premium version). When it’s working properly, it’s just abuot the best thing ever. When it’s not, it’s a nightmare. I ride year-round in Boston, which can be a brutal environment in the winter. Snow, salt, and road grime are tough to deal with. I’m glad I don’t have to deal with a derailer system, but I rely quite heavily on my bike as it is my main transportation. I have actually destroyed two of these hubs within 7,000 miles. Every 1,500 miles or so, the gears start to slip. Ususlly, just getting the hub lubricated takes care of the issue, but after a while, the whole thing just seems to disintigrate into an unusable state. All I have ever read about is how these hubs are “bulletproof” and only require the occasional lubrication. The “occasional” maintenance period is never defined any better than that. My experience has been quite different. Perhaps I’m doing something wrong. Perhaps I’m simply some sort of freakish monster who mashes these things to their deaths. Regardless, it has all made me seriously consider the Rohloff. My only concerns there are the cost and the fact that Rohloff makes the same claims as Shimano. Will I spend even more money on a hub that will give me the same problems?

    • Stef

      I have the Rohloff , the Shimano Nexus and Alfine. In terms of usability and pedaling efficiency in real terms ( not facts and numbers) there isn’t a huge difference, they both generally work well. In terms of quality, reliability, ‘bulletproofness’ the Rohloff is in another world. It is simply higher grade engineering and that is why it is not made down to a price.So if you want the ultimate in reliability the Rohloff is the one to go for and you have to pay the price. It is a bit expensive just to use on a city bike but makes sense for touring and expeditions.The Nexus/Alfine series does great in most practical applications for everyday riding.
      In extreme cold, snow salt and grime ALL mechanical and electronic devices ( including the Rohloff) will suffer just like the human body, because the oil and grease will be affected. If you want absolute reliability you need single speed and use your legs to change gear or put another cog on the back and switch the chain manually to give you 2 speed.
      The Rohloff will certainly be more reliable than the Shimano product and it definitely IS worth it if you can afford it but it will not be “bulletproof”. Nothing is. It’s as good as you can get.

  26. Fernando

    Kevin,
    I have a Speedhub on my MTB I have used it for over 8000 miles and the only thing I have done to it is change the oil and flipped the sprocket when it started to wear. I didn’t baby the hub, I ride in the Rocky Mts and no ride has less than 1000 ft of elevation change, lots of grit, snow and spring mud. It is the most reliable gear system I have ever used. It does take 1000 miles to completely smooth out and yes it is expensive. I thought it was expensive when it cost 800 dollars U.S. but it is worth it. The reviews at the mtbr site are very accurate.
    I keep a couple of nexus-7 bikes running at work and they are not even comparable in any category. Besides the cost, the only downside is I had to buy one for wife too. Fortunately she loves it.

  27. Anonymous

    I’ve heard of two problems with Rohloffs. One doesn’t strand you, the other does. Neither are actually a fault of the internal gear mechanism.

    1. Oil leaks, especially from early hubs. Can be fixed, but on a long tour, carry some of the right oil. Not good for your carpet if you keep the bike in the house!

    2. Cracked hub flanges. Much more serious, and totally unfixable without ordering and fitting a new shell or hub. This has happened twice (two different hubs) to a pair of heavyish tandem riders I know of. This is a demanding duty for any hub, but they have lost confidence in the product.

  28. Darrell

    I have a cross bike with a nexus-8 redline. When it was new it worked great and i liked being able to shift when stopped. The gear range was wide enough to ride up some very steep hills here in the rocky mountains, yet still have a tall enough gear for the flats. One day i was riding and the chain somehow caught on the plastic dust cap and ripped it out and bent it. I was running wide chain at the time. I could not find this a spare dustcap anywhere. I bent it mostly in to shape but then some water got inside and rusted the bearing race. My warning is: don’t use wide chain on the nexus, use regular narrow chain.

    • Sam

      Yeah, they run great, but they don’t have any spare part selection in the us. Do you still have the hub? I could use the innards. Drop me a line mechis_iii at yahoo.com

  29. Tom

    I have an old Sturmey Archer kit designed to ad an extra gear sprocket (included) to a standard Sturmey Archer 3-speed hub, ostensibly to add a derailleur to the rear end, giving one 6 speeds.

    This kit has been in my shop for about twenty-five years and has always fascinated me, but adding it to a hub, dishing the wheel, making sure the stay span is wide enough, choosing a derailleur etc. have always kept me from building it up onto a bike.

    Has anyone ever seen one of these things implemented? Is it worth the trouble or was it a Sturmey Archer fad that never caught on because it didn’t work well?

    • Bob

      Had a Cyclo made cluster cog in the early 60s,
      3 splines, just snapped on in place of the single cog, didn’t need frame spreading , as I recall ..

      just one piece of steel machined , It even ran with a 1/8″ chain.

      SJS in UK, had a substitute driver that went in place of the similar part on UK sturmeys , accepted shimano cassette cogs .. maybe even the BMX splined cogs.. [not handled one of those]

      newer BWR sturmey hub for Bromptons has a spline interface
      for 2 cogs a 13 and a 15, it half steps what I guess is a 36% hub, rather than a 33% like AW3′s..
      still fits in the 115mm wide dropout spacing on those folding bikes .

      those hubs can be purchased as spare parts to lace into a bigger rim, but come as a 28 spoke .. which is plenty with a 16″ wheel.

      I’m running an AW3 a 15t cog, and a Schlumpf Mountain drive with a 54t chainring , on my Brommy, and its a good combination.

      17 to 70 inch-ish range, 6 speed.

      though the 3rd to 4th change is a double shift that requires kicking the button on the crank and flipping the lever on the trigger shifter.
      BWR 3×2 adds another lever on the handle bar left side .

      Ought to be really easy for some one used to playing a drum set..

  30. i’d like to know more about them, they give twice more gear range to the hubs.

  31. sorry i didn’t mention before, i meant the schlumpt crank hubs.

  32. bob carter

    I agree with the respondent who said that on a practical bike the sturmey 8spd was very practical, with a range of closely spaced cruising gears and high top & low bottom. SRAM have gone the other way with the i-motion 9 & this seems daft to me! A review like this is incomplete without “user feedback” from real road use – it’s just a comparison of specs, slanted with an individual’s predjudices. I noticed a “Mr Rohloff said it so it must be gospel” comment… as if!! – he’s doing his damndest to sell rohloff speedhubs!
    I have done the experiment & fitted my road bike with a shimano nexus-8. I was concerned that the gear steps would be too big but in practise that is never an issue on the road. What IS an issue is that its efficiency is poor, meaning I’m on average 6% slower (than same bike with deraillieur). In most other respects the conversoin is superb, no adjustment, no missed gears, clean robust & completely predictable. 100% reliable so far (note I’m a big heavy “masher”) The other thing I dislike is having to have the gear control on the handlebar stem (it won’t go on drop handlebars) I suspect it would be possible to use an indexed brake lever type gear control & that would be so much better, but I can’t afford to do the experiment.
    I’ve fitted an alfine to an electric racecar (greenpower) & early indications are thet it is significantly less inefficient than the nexus-8. If this is true, my bike will be getting one of them pretty soon….

  33. David

    I commute on the same Nexus 8 that Kevin does, I too live in Boston, and I too have a failed hub–in my case a rusted outer bearing assembly that, since the race is part of the hub shell, can’t be replaced. The hub was maintained professionally once a year.

    The tech said that there was a flaw in the design of the unit involving the seal of the plastic cap that allowed water to enter the hub. I cannot confirm this, but it does strike me that an internal hub should be able to deal with rain and urban puddles. I may go back to external gearing, since I need transportation I can depend on.

  34. Steve P

    “Let´s go from the mountains to the valleys. Sturmey Archer must had a bad day when they designed the 8 Speed.”

    The gear steps on the SA 8-speed hub are deliberately so (a quick literature review would reveal this for you), and an excellent idea – a crawler gear and an overdrive with the rest of the gears in the normal riding range much close ratio.

    Some other things to consider: some of the hubs are very heavy (the i-motion 9 is particularly notable) and there are hidden advantages in others that may suit different riding styles: for instance the SA 8 Speed has direct drive on 1st gear – so if you’re planning on a lot of hills, this may suit you best. However, for most people, the Shimano nexus-8 hub has direct drive on 5th gear, which if you choose your sprockets carefully should mean that you get no power loss from gearing in normal riding on the flat.

    Also it would be interesting to list claimed efficiencies – the SA 5-speed has a terrible reputation for power loss in 1st gear.

    Great article, thanks!

  35. bob carter

    Shimano update:
    The nexus-8 hub on my bike is now noticeably free-er than when new.
    I tried oil in a nexus-8 on a greenpower electric racecar. The nexus with oil in was relatively new (done 2000 miles) and the result was poorer performance from the oil filled hub. Also the black silicon automotive gearbox sealant that I used to try and seal the dust cap basically did not work – oil went everywhere!!! So – inconclusive really, it looks to me as though any efficiency improvement which may exist due to oil lubrication is small compared to the efficiency improvement due to being properly run in!

  36. bob carter

    Ah – some text got lost – the oil filled hub had done 95 miles and the grease filled hub 2000 miles.

  37. Konnektor

    I must say you underestimated the Nexus 8/Alfine. I own a Red Band Nexus (SG-8R35), which is almost identical with the Alfine inside. These new Red Bands/Alfines are DEAD silent in any gear incl. freewheeling, and virtually get rid of an annoying “bug” of all older Shimanos: crunchy pedalling in lower gears. I’ve ridden a Rohloff Speedhub and an I-Motion 9 and must say that these new Shimanos are more fun to ride even than those, thanks to their new features mentioned above. Plus, these are the only gearhubs with Rapidfire shifters, which many prefer to gripshifts. So if I had to buy a new hubgear now, I’d go for an SG-8R3X Redband or an Alfine.

    Regards, Konnektor, Hungary

  38. David H

    I’ve found this site to be very useful – but one thing is missing from the review – reliability.

    Based on the information here, I purchased a Sturmey Archer 8 speed hub. The ratios are really just what I was looking for – and the first few miles of the ride were euphoric.

    HOWEVER…

    The hub quickly deteriorated. VERY QUICKLY. Within 20 miles, the hub worked itself out of alignment and wouldn’t hold any gear but first, which is direct drive. Any significant torque would snap the gear out of drive – not only producing a sickening noise, but damaging the hub and making it unusable.

    Despite being a great looking hub and the least expensive disc break option – DO NOT BUY THE STURMEY ARCHER HUB!!! Even with frequent and meticulous adjustment, it refuses to stay in gear.

    To my knowledge, all the other hubs can be shifted under load – this one cannot. The pedals must be still or the hub will be damaged.

    Sturmey Archer = not worth it.

    • Scott G

      I’m quite surprised by your experience, to be honest. My SA X-RK8 hub has been quite well behaved. When first installed, I had a dozen shifts or so that were quite bad, as the shift cable was still stretching into place or something (it kept loosing alignment), but since then it’s been flawless.

      Did you ever have any success finding the cause of the problem? Or get any help from Sturmey Archer?

      Also, was this with the older 305% ratio hub, or the newer 325% ratio hub? I think they redesigned the hub two or three years ago.

      Finally, from my experience, you can shift while pedaling, just not while applying torque. In other words, you have to have the internals of the hub “coasting” when you shift. The end result is that I look like a fool when I try to ride a regular bike, as I stop pedaling whenever I try to shift!

  39. Rob

    I read somewhere that Sram is experimenting with the iMotion 9 hooked up to a 2 chain ring front gear changer. An intriguing idea that theoretically creates an 18 speed internal hub.

    As a technological novice I have to wonder:
    1. If this is workable, why not 3
    chainrings?
    2. Would there be any duplication of
    gears in such a setup?
    3. Has Rohloff ever approached the
    question?
    4. Does it really matter on the road?

    I would welcome your thoughts. Thanks for your stimulating articles.

  40. bob carter

    Update: nexus 8 running in oil.
    I fixed the oil leakage by bolting an aluminium plate to the spoke flange to squeeze the dust cap into place – this method would also work on a bike, but you would have to drill the extra bolt holes in the flange. I used 9 off M3 bolts.
    This hub was fitted to another car & seems to have transformed its perfomance, compared to the old greased nexus 7 that it used to run with.
    The oil filler hole is tapped M5 into near the middle of the outer case; sealed with an M5 screw & rubber washer. The screw must not be too long or it will foul the innards! For oil I’m using automatic transmission fluid (ATF) – so far so good! I’ll try to upload a photo in due course.

    Here is the photo!

  41. pieter

    I personally like the Sachs (sram) 7 speed units best, my wife has one with drumbrake and I have one with (rare) coaster brake. Both on common Dutch utility bikes, mine was fitted by myself as an extra. Smooth run, little maintainance, but one disadvantage: vulnerable clickbox.

    Pieter from Holland.

  42. Steve Weeks, DDS

    @Bob Carter 9/22/08
    I have used ATF on a Nexus-8 (SG-8R20) which now has over 100 miles on it. I did not clean or de-grease the hub, since it looked clean (maybe a mistake), but dipped the gear cluster in the ATF and let it drain for a couple minutes. I used Nexus grease on the ball bearings.

    As to the problem of the ATF leaking out, possibly, I note that the amount of oil retained by the planetary gears is not much, and in a bicycling application the oil is either kept circulating by the motion of the gears while riding or pooled in the non-drive side of the hub as the bike leans on the kickstand. So far, I have seen no leakage. The hub runs well. I’m currently servicing a Red-Stripe SG-8R25, and I plan to (*gulp*) disassemble it and degrease it before reassembly.

    It is so easy to open the hub and dip the gears that I don’t anticipate the need to drill a hole. Nice modification, though, Bob. Do you have images of the car somewhere? I’m not familiar with this use of a hub.
    Steve

  43. bob carter

    It’s a british school’s national competition Steve
    http://www.greenpower.co.uk
    I help Sandbach High School ( team name C.A.U.C.). The gearbox above is now in “Brian” (named after the snail in magic roundabout). Our new car “Zebedee” (because it’s a bit bouncy..), picture in the latest north west heat gallery, has an alfine in which I will convert to oil when it’s run in.
    The national final is a week sunday – we have a reasonable chance of winning one class & should manage top 10 (out of ~80) with both cars in the main final.
    The bike hubs are ideal for these little racers, but do tend to spin faster than they would in a bike so there is significant centrifugal pressure for the oil to escape!

  44. bob carter

    Incidentally a shimano nexus 7 loses gears 6 & 7 (i.e. it stays in 5) if you spin it over 1000 rpm. So now you know!

  45. Steve Weeks

    Bob, I took apart a Nexus 7-speed a couple years ago, and dismantled the “axle unit” by (sort of) mistake. I have been unable to reassemble it so all 7 speeds work… I think there’s a spring that needs an exact number of winds or something. I’ve had no luck soliciting advice from Shimano or any place else. Any suggestions where to go? It’s no emergency; the bike the hub came off has a replacement wheel on it now. It’s just a matter of pride. :-)
    Thanks!
    Steve

  46. bob carter

    Sorry Steve – not got a clue – I’ve never been inside a nexus7. I only took apart the 8 enough to squirt petrol at its innards to wash the old grease & sludge away.

  47. Steve Weeks

    Well, I didn’t actually take the hub completely apart, just took the main cluster of planetary gears off. I found that “paint thinner” does a pretty good job of removing the lithium-type grease the hub was lubricated with. I had to use a small brush to knock some chunks off, but then spinning the gears while immersed in thinner got virtually all of it off. There were quite a few metal particles in the solvent. I will use ATF to re-lubricate the hub, though I won’t *fill* it… just enough to form a pool at the bottom. I have posted a number of images on the forum at http://www.dahon.com. If you would like to see them directly, e-mail me at “sweeks@uic.edu” and I will send them on.

  48. Update – Sturmey Archer vs Shimano

    Urban Assault bike project:
    KHS Solo-One SE frame – single speed, true-temper steel
    29′er RhynoLites w/ Schwalbe Big Apple tires
    BB5 disc brakes
    Geared Hub*

    After the S/A disaster, I ordered the Shimano Alfine. While the iMotion seems like a slightly better hub in some ways, the difference in price is far more than slight. For the price of the Alfine, shifter, cables, spokes, and installation into a wheel, I still couldn’t buy just the iMotion hub.

    So far, I am impressed with the Alfine. It isn’t geared nearly as high as the S/A natively, but changing sprocket and chain-ring sizes can facsimile this. With a 33t chain-ring and a 16t sprocket, going up hills is quite easy, and top speed is fast. Climbing is much easier than the S/A, and while the top speed is less, it’s still very adequate. I’ll soon be moving to a 39t / 18t setup, which I’ll let you guys know about when it arrives.

    The Alfine hasn’t skipped a gear yet – while the S/A skipped in every single gear, and wouldn’t even hold 6. The chain has worked it’s way off once, but I’m not using the chian-guards. I’ve ordered some of those, and I imagine this will take care of the problem.

    Coasting, the S/A would push the pedals forward at seemingly random intervals and speeds. The Alfine nudges the pedals in a regular pattern, and with minimal force – not enough to rotate the crank against it’s own weight.

    Shifting is quick and soft on the Alfine. The S/A requires that the pedals be still, and even then it takes its time changing gears – if at all. I haven’t tried shifting the Alfine under significant load, but I hear that works fine. It shifts well both pedaling and still – and only delays an instant when shifting under slight load. I use the Nexus revo shifter, and moving from 8-1 at a stoplight or from 3-8 on a decent is momentary.

    One final word about Sturmey Archer – not only is their hub a good looking piece of garbage, the company won’t return the bike shop’s phone calls about the product. Shiesty.

    The center-lock brake rotor is working great with my bb5′s. The piano black matches my wheels and spokes. This hub is just freaking cool. Highly recommended. I’m not too keen on the Alfine levers or drum brakes, but the cranks are pretty awesome. Speaking of witch, whatever hub you use, I’d recommend the Shimano cranks above SRAM (TruVativ). The reason being that my current TruVativ chain-ring (not bio-pace, of course) is significantly eccentric as to require slack in the chain to prevent over-tension during pedaling. This leaves the chain susceptible to jumping off if the pedals are in the lower-tension position. The SRAM crank itself is great – but that chain-ring is just bad.

  49. Rich Wood

    One item I would suggest adding to the information here on the hubs discussed. This is the manufacturer specified minimum acceptable input sprocket ratios. Rohloff, SRAM and NuVinci have these clearly stated as did technical literature from Sturmey-Archer prior to the Sunrace buyout.

    SRAM lists minimum input ratios from 1.73 to 2.0 depending on model. NuVinci specifies 2.0 as did Sturmey Archer in the past. Rohloff lists 2.35 or 2.5 depending on rider weight or use on a tandem.

    As the input ratio has a direct effect on the torque loads the hub mechanism is subjected to, and thus it’s durability, you would think that ALL makers would have hard numbers published.

    The far eastern manufacturers, Sunrace Sturmey-Archer and Shimano, are much more vague on what is an acceptable minimum input ratio. No actual hard numbers are listed in their literature.

    I contacted technical support here in the U.S. for both. Shimano stated that with the stock input sprocket chain rings down to 33 teeth are ok. The recommended range listed was 33 to 38 teeth. This allows an input ratio of as low as 1.5 presuming the Shimano 22 tooth input sprocket is installed. If geared this way then high gear is very low even on the 8 speed unit, in the neighborhood of a development of 5 meters. Too low to be practical in my opinion.

    Sunrace Sturmey Archer tech support recommends an input chain ring of 30 to 33 teeth for both the 8 speed and 5 speed hubs “with the stock input sprocket”. I have not been able to determine what that is for the 5 speed. For the 8 speed it is either the 25 tooth or 27 tooth sprockets, the only two offered for this hub. With the low gear on the 8 speed being direct drive this makes sense for their 8 speed but still must subject the internals to very high torque loads.

    The 5 speed is still basically the same as the old pre Sunrace design so far as I know. Pre Sunrace literature requires a minimum input ratio of 2.0 for this unit. I would suspect that use of the 30 to 33 tooth chainring would lower the input ratio, and increase the torque loads the mechanism is subjected to, substantially. Is anyone aware of redesigns or strengthening to this hubs internals which would allow this change in recommended input ratio?

    Are Shimano and Sunrace ignoring the more performance oriented users of their hubs and using specifications aimed at those who buy cruiser type bikes? Are their recommendations ignoring more performance oriented riders who can put a much greater strain on a gear hub, risking damaging it?

  50. A new Yahoo group supporting geared hub bikes and all other non-derailleur bicycle drivetrains.

  51. Hi everybody. I’m searching for a Shimano Nexus Inter-7 thumb shifter. If anybody has one to sell please send me an email to nexus@sportfund.com

  52. I run a Shimano Nexus 7 on on of my winter bikes. I live in Ottawa, Canada, where it can get pretty darn cold, and the hub has been quite reliable.

    I acquired it secondhand, and having not opened one before I took it to my local shop where the owner has actually worked on these. He said the bearings on one side were shot, but it was otherwise fine.

    When converting the bike to this hub I installed as little cable housing as possible (using a Sturmey cable housing stop and the little guide wheel), and have had no shifting issues, even at -30C. And I was fortunate to find a thumbshifter, as using a gripshift with thick winter mitts is not fun. I have it geared for winter trailer towing, so on flat roads with no towing I cruise in 6th or 7th, tough with a load 1st certainly does see use.

    http://drumbent.com/winterbike.html

    But I do dislike the way the shift cable connects to the hub. Probably fine for the other three seasons, but in winter with bare hands it’s a real pain (literally) fiddling with the bits to get the wheel reinstalled.

    A friend of mine runs a older Sachs 7-speed, and while one must take care not to lose the internal shift rod after disconnecting the clickbox, I’d happily use that instead. Just make sure you have a crash guard over the clickbox and no worry of damage.

    Unfortunately, those older Sachs hubs seem to always have a coaster brake, which I don’t care for in winter as that’s one more bolt to fiddle with for wheel removal. On the Nexus I was thankful that one can remove the roller brake, as that too was another bolt to undo in the cold. (Yes, that brake is very consistent, but not very strong, and I haven’t missed it.)

    I have 6 bikes (out of 12) with internal gear hubs – two old SA 3-speeds, two SunRace/SA 3-speeds, a Sachs 3×7 (for my cargo trike) and the Nexus. I just got an old SA AG Dynothree hub (3-speed and generator combined), and now need to build it into a bike.

    Internal gears rock! :)

  53. r1Gel

    It’s been over a year since the Nexus Inter-3 was first introduced to market in the Specialized Globe Centrum (called the San Francisco for 2009). Any word whether this hub will be available aftermarket? I am very much interested in a 3-speed IGhub with a disc mount.

    Why wasn’t the SRAM i-Motion 3 included in that list of IGHs that have disc mounts? The SRAM website lists it as having a disc brake option…

  54. neil allen

    Help please, SRAM P5 Hub Brake where should the L/H cone sit on the axle to line up the intrnal gears. I would guess it is level with the flats but does anyone know for sure?
    Thanks

  55. Gert

    Hi There,

    Being a designer for more than 25yrs and cycling maniac (12000km/yr) I have tested quite some internal geared hubs;
    2 times SA 5 speed: rubbish; completely cracked within 6000 km.
    1 SRAM 3 spd; long lasting (+/- 25000 km) but too narrow total ratio
    2 times shimno nexus 7: after 5000km very noisy; sinter bronze(?) gears rapidly wearing low efficiency; the other one was still reasonable after 8000 km (did well on my son’s bike)
    1 time SA7: broken within the first 5km; shit design
    1 SRAM 7 spd; did run 7 yrs without problems
    1 rohloff 14 spd on a tandem bike; well tested on northern island NZ; fully packed & no feet on the ground; probably the best hub available.
    Conclusion: the germans are the real hub masters; therefore I would like to test an sram 9spd on a MTB

    have fun!

  56. Terrific site:) i will come back again soon:D

  57. Internal hubs make the most sense in urban riding where quick shifting for acceleration; reliability; efficiency and reasonable cost are more important than having very even, small ratios. On those grounds, I’d rate the SRAM hubs generally highest, though replacement of the pullchain with the “clickbox” in recent years has reduced reliability. I’ve had good experience with old Sturmey-Archer 3-speeds too (conceding this issue with the neutral position between middle and high gear — keep the cable adjusted!), and with some versions of the Sturmey-Archer 5-speed. Classic Sturmey-Archer hubs were designed for light weight, unlike most newer hubs. The steel hub shell of one SRAM Spectro S7 I have is monstrously, unnecessarily heavy and the aluminum hub shell of another is still unnecessarily heavy!

    Also, note that the ratios given on this page are slightly inaccurate. They appear to have been derived from rounded (percentage) numbers. The actual ratios are fractions which may not round exactly to percentages. For example, both ratios for the Sturmey-Archer 3-speed, with its 20-tooth axle gear and 60-tooth ring gear are exactly 4/3. The formula for gearing up is

    1 + A/D

    where A is the number of teeth on the sun gear and D, the number on the ring gear. The formula for gearing down is the inverse,

    D/(D + A).

    For SRAM 3-speeds, with a 15-tooth sun gear and 47-tooth ring gear, the ratios are 47/64 and 64/47. (You may calculate the percentages yourself. They don’t come out exact.)

    The formulas are somewhat more complicated for hubs with compound gearing, but all produce exact results as fractions.

    Also, it is useful to examine the internal structure of hubs to get an idea of why they are more or less efficient and/or durable. Hubs with more sets of gears on the way from the sprocket to the hub shell are generally less efficient, as are hubs lubricated with grease rather than oil.

  58. I’m riding a Dahon Vitesse with Shimano 7. Love this machine. I’ve been riding bike for 45+ years now and this machine impresses me with ride quality.

    20″ wheels and 1st gear I could ride up the Matterhorn!

    Fast acceleration – and as your chart shows – nice intervals on shifts. My guess is my top speed is somewhere around 20mph peddling.

    Will have to do the math to figure out cadence x rim x gearing of 244% in top – to see actual speed (have not bothered with bike computer).

    So far so good – done about 200miles on the bike – city riding – and one country trip of 10 miles on steep hilly roads.

  59. Anonymous

    I think the even gear spacing comments by Marco is too academic. Hub designers put in large steps for first and last gear on purpose. If you are going up hill and need a low gear, you would need a really low gear. If you are going down hill and want more speed, you would want a big jump in gear ratio. This is especially true for few gear hubs and cargo hubs. If the bike is loaded, like propane tank delivery bikers, you would want a really low gear.

    • Richard

      Thank you Marco for an absolutely wondeful site. It provided me with all the information I needed to make an informed decision. (For my own purposes, it turns at that six relatively closely spaced gears plus a “bail-out” gear on either end is perfect, so I went with the SA 8 speed.)

  60. daniel

    thank you! i’m so glad i found this site.

  61. bob carter

    Wheel building tip…

    I’ve been using shimano nexus and alfine in a road bike for a couple of years. The hubs are great but I keep snapping spokes. I think I’ve finally nailed this now however! My tips for building your own wheels…
    1) the spoke holes on the rim might be handed (i.e. zigzag round the rim) So there is a preferred hub flange side for each hole. Yes I got that wrong (even chance I suppose)
    2) lace the wheel 1 cross. I laced 3 cross and this puts a big angle on the nipple end of the spoke because of the diameter of the hub flange. Just where there’s a stress raiser at the end of the thread. All my spoke breakages were at the end of the thread. Furthermore, you can get a better deal on spokes for mountain bikes than for road bikes & at 1 cross the spokes are a lot shorter (262 instead of 284mm).
    On smaller wheels it is even more important to reduce the number of crosses. Or if you use one of the massive nuvinci hubs!

  62. meacham

    Thanks for a great site!
    Ran on a Nexus-7 hub for a couple of winters. Opened it up and was pleased to see that even with running in rain, snow and brine, it still looked pretty good. Downside: shifts from one gear to next not always smooth with gaps where hub runs in lower gear before progressing to higher gear (similar feeling to “neutral” on S/A hub). When starting in higher gear, first 1/4 crank revolution is in lower gear before hub steps up to proper gear. External gear shift ring hard to reseat cable clamp when replacing rear wheel. If shift cable creeps out of adjustment, hub does not shift well until re-centered on mark.
    Have now upgraded to Rohloff hub (~8K miles and one winter). Shifting VERY positive, no gaps between gears. Shifting easier than Nexus hub. Maintenance practically 0 (oil change). Range of gearing is incredible. Running with 16t on hub and 44t on crank and only occaisonally run out of high gear and practically never need lower gear (one memorable exception was a dirt road with 22% grade). Hub runs very smoothly and has never caused a problem. Also the external gear box that I use with disc brakes is extremely easy to disconnect and reconnect when removing the rear wheel. Downside? Expensive. Shifting still not as smooth as a top end derailler system.

  63. meacham

    Thanks for a great site!
    Ran on a Nexus-7 hub for a couple of winters. Opened it up and was pleased to see that even with running in rain, snow and brine, it still looked pretty good. Downside: shifts from one gear to next not always smooth with gaps where hub runs in lower gear before progressing to higher gear (similar feeling to “neutral” on S/A hub). When starting in higher gear, first 1/4 crank revolution is in lower gear before hub steps up to proper gear. External gear shift ring hard to reseat cable clamp when replacing rear wheel. If shift cable creeps out of adjustment, hub does not shift well until re-centered on mark.
    Have now upgraded to Rohloff hub (~8K miles and one winter). Shifting VERY positive, no gaps between gears. Shifting easier than Nexus hub. Shifter never need to be adjusted as indexing is inside the hub. Maintenance practically 0 (oil change). Range of gearing is incredible. Running with 16t on hub and 44t on crank and only occaisonally run out of high gear and practically never need lower gear (one memorable exception was a dirt road with 22% grade). Hub runs very smoothly and has never caused a problem. Also the external gear box that I use with disc brakes is extremely easy to disconnect and reconnect when removing the rear wheel. Oh, I also love that gears run in a linear fashion 1-14, forget about little chainring-big chainring and bad gear combinations! Downside? Expensive. Shifting still not as smooth as a top end derailler system.

  64. Geoff

    After decades of derailleur use I got a Carrera Subway with a Nexus 8 and at first found it wonderful, especially being able to change gear while stationary. But, after 18 months: disaster, the inner unit somehow separated from the outer shell and the whole thing ground to a halt. Only a few parts of the innards were broken but the local cycle shop found that spares are not available and that the whole unit would need replacing at total cost of parts and labour not far short of the cost of another bike! I am reverting to using a derailleur, albeit reluctantly.

  65. Chris

    G’day,

    I dismantled my Sachs Pentasport last week to investigate a faint bearing grumble.
    This hub has been in constant use since 1995 and has covered a documented 30000 kms [in reality probably closer to 35000].
    Mostly all-weather commuting with some on/off road touring. I am 6’ 2” and weigh 100kgs.

    It has never been dismantled or lubricated in that time, still had the factory grease in it [I am ashamed to say].

    After a soak in the ultrasonic bath the problem became apparent.
    The planetary gear teeth crests had worn to a knife edge and were starting to break down, the chips ending up in the RHS large bearing race.
    The teeth still had good engagement so polished all the bearing tracks and fitted new balls all round, re-lubed it and put it back together.

    Rode it today….. so far OK. Will monitor it over the next few weeks.

    This hub has no O-rings or seals yet it was free from dust and water.
    It has no Sprag clutches yet is almost silent.
    Requires no special tools to dismantle or assemble.
    It has never jumped or slipped under load.
    Has no vulnerable “clickbox”.
    Gear ratios are spot on.
    Was inexpensive to purchase.

    So how far have the modern IGHs come??
    It seems to me not very far at all.

    Chris.

  66. Marco;

    This page needs updating now. Shimano just today, 2 February, has announced their new SG-S700 geared hub. Eleven speeds, 409% range and oil bath lubrication. Steps are mostly 13% with two of 17%. Estimated price of 300 Euros. The original announcement is on a German language web site. Google for it using the model number I have listed.

    Already being discussed on Bike Forums and on the Yahoo Geared Hub Bikes group linked to via my name above.

  67. Glasses Malone on his G7 Beach Cruiser Cycle

    “I “pimped” out the G7 Cruiser the same way I would “pimp” out my ride. From the custom rims matching the paint job, to the custom colors, all the way to the 2 toned seats, this bicycle was made for people who want to ride as fly as they drive. Not to mention its sleek geometry makes it ride as comfortable as a Cadillac. Even with a friend on the handlebars, it still handles well. That’s why the G7 Cruiser is endorsed by Real Riders everywhere. OG’s to professional cyclist.”

    He is from Watts,Ca

    His Bike is Called the “G7″ Cruiser which can be purchased @ http://www.g7cruisers.com

    The Title of his album is called “Beach Cruiser” which will be released through Cash Money/Universal Records this Summer.

    He has been on songs with the likes of Lil Wayne, Akon, T Payne and others.

    His official site is http://www.whoisGMalone.com

  68. SenNoide

    Hi Marco,
    I’ve been seriously looking at the second generation Sturmey Archer 8 speed (with drum brake) and curious on what you have heard about it. They seem to be a little cheaper and really sold on the whole drum brake thing.
    The plan is to go drum brake front and rear on a Surly Cross Check frame with flat bars…

    I can’t really seem to find too many ride reports and I have pulled their technical manual, but also can’t find the smallest chainring that can be used….

    Thanks :)

  69. Tom

    I just want to say thanks so much for this article, and all the comments. I am just about to upgrade from a conked out (but relatively new) Sturmey Archer 5 Speed to a new SRAM S7, which I have heard is more reliable than the 7 Speed Shimano Nexus. Although the science is way over my head, its excellent to be able to read about everyone’s experiences with different hubs.

  70. Randal Colman

    Interesting range of comments. I have been using a Shimano 7-sp hub (SG-7R40) for 13 years, 40,000 km. Although it is as smooth and quiet as ever I cannot recommend it because of the unavailability of spare parts. The bearings are not well sealed and the right-hand bearing cone has failed for the second time.

    It seems that most of the hubs on the market now come with twist-grip shifters. For those of us who prefer thumb shifters it would be interesting to hear from anyone who has used shifters of brands or types other than the recommended one.

  71. Lonnie Renda

    I have an Alfine Hub that I bought nine months ago. Yes, I have ridden it through some water totally submerged. But, at the end of last season, it started acting funny. Things can to a head early this riding season. The bike shop told me I totally rusted out the hub. I did have over 3100 miles (5100k) on it, but I was told it only need maintenance every other year. Turns out that seems to not be true.

    I guess I need to learn to take this baby apart and grease it up. Anyone have a suggestion on oil to bathe these things in? I saw some for a certain motor oil somewhere on this site. Anyone tried it?

  72. Chrisi

    Thanks for the interesting comments!

    The Shimano Nexus INTER-7 seems to be good, but it doesn’t have a direct drive.
    Which hub (INTER-7, INTER-8, P5, S7, i-Motion 9) is best suited to slightly hilly commuting?

  73. Philbert

    Owning a AW3 in the early 60′s, and a R’off recently,
    then Having put a Schlumpf mountain drive crankest on my AW3 hub fitted Brompton , got 6 speed in a row with a down shift from lower end of high range , to the upper end of the lower range ,
    then 2 more ratios below that …

    wondered if Bernard Rohloff upped Florian Schlumpf’s idea of using the hub gears twice , with a big range shift in between ..

    Bernard’s design the 3 x 3peed set to be used twice ,
    seeing Florian’s using the gears in other peoples hubs in a dual range setup .

    who came first? [other than Misters Sturmey and Archer that is..]

    • PJ

      Who came first? The Manchester Hub was patented in 1896 and came onto the UK market in 1898, five years before Mr. Sturmey and Mr. Archer’s first hub.

      • Philbert

        Ok now back to the late comers to the game ?
        the Swiss Herr Schlumpf and ,German Herr Rohloff.

        Wonder about the internal torque loading,
        previously talked about,
        since My AW3 [15t cog]
        has input equivalent of a 21.6 tooth chain ring
        when the Schlumpf Mountain Drive with a 54T chainring is kicked into low range.

  74. victor

    just like to leave a comment on shimano nexus 7 . have cycled with it 42.000 kilometre ,about 25000 miles, absolutly no problems, except for the cable, changed at 30000 km. and a few times adjusting the gear setting.although usually i ride on a daily basis 35 to 40 km i also have done a few trips from barcelona to bilbao. to tacke the mountains i have instaled a triple chainring which gives me a total of 11 different gears,so it really is the usual 7 gears with 2 lower and 2 higher.

    • hi Victor,what tensioner do you use?
      i’m planning to build a rigid MTB with shimano nexus 8 (18t) for daily use and thinking of fitting it up with a double/triple chainring so i can ride it on an XC tracks too….
      will it be OK to use it on a light XC tracks?

      thx before (and sorry for the broken english ;) )

  75. i555007

    anyone know if the shift rod and shaft comes with the Sram S7 or if it comes with the click box? PS sorry if this is the wrong section but I find this site really confusing to navigate

    • PJ

      The shift rod comes with the hub.

      SRAM also offers an S7 spares kit with the shift rod, sleeve and red plastic thing.

      PJ

  76. martin

    Hi excellent review. But I have also read that a hub might look good on paper but suffer from too much internal friction. I have heard that this can be a real problem in some hubs especially as you move further from the 1:1 slot.

    Is this something you could add to the review? Tho I am not sure how you would measure it.

    Martin

    • Randal

      The best work I know of concerning bicycle transmission efficiency was by Chester Kyle and Frank Berto, as reported in Berto’s book The Dancing Chain. I think there was also something more recent in Bicycle Quarterly, but only on derailleur systems. Typically a hub gear is about 3% less efficient than a derailleur setup, which is indeed a problem if you are racing. But for the rest of us it is hard to detect, resulting in less than 1 minute per hour difference in average speed.

      Rohloff claim that the ease of shifting without thinking with fully sequential gears can compensate to some extent for the theoretical shortcomings such as larger steps between gears. There is definitely something in this, as I often notice when riding with people using derailleur gears that they change gears much less often than I do, despite having closer-spaced gears. They are inhibited either by the effort of determining what combination of front and back sprockets they want or by fear of throwing a chain.

      There is an analogy with the choice of transmission in cars. To get round a racetrack in the shortest time you would generally choose a manual transmission, but many people have good reasons for choosing automatics, which are often quicker in everyday driving.

      Randal

      • Randal, great thoughts. For city riding the hub wins for most riders particularly because you can change when stopped and also change rapidly from top to bottom in gears especially with twist grip changer.

        A skilled rider with dérailleur will anticipate need for gear changes and pre-select a gear ratio for upcoming terrain, but obviously in city riding you have to cope with the unpredictable. I notice in city riding less skilled riders do indeed ride as if they are on a fixie!

        A hub gear with a 20″ wheel setup also accelerates impressively which again is a very handy asset in city traffic to avoid hazards.

      • Timmi

        I suspect that the efficiency loss is much greater than what the marketing spin-doctors want us to know.
        In a car, a transmission is only about 60-75% efficient.
        If on a bicycle we are anywhere near such losses, the inefficiency is enormous.
        I’d love to see some independent tests performed, to get accurate real-world (and not on paper) figures, and be able to perform a comparison between the new generation and older generation ones.
        The larger physical size your gears are (NOT the ratio – 10:15 is the same as 16:24 for example), the less losses, because the tension point is farther from the pivot point (bearings), but the downside is added weight. It would be good to see the internals – that would allow us to at least guesstimate (although this would not take into account precision of manufacturing).

      • Kyle and Berto’s research paper is available online, in No. 52 of the journal Human Power,

        http://ihpva.org/HParchive/PDF/hp52-2001.pdf

        Also see articles on efficiency of chain drive in no. 51 and 52, accessible through the index at

        http://ihpva.org/hparchive.htm

        As the article showes, efficiency of internal hubs is generally 90% or higher.

  77. Timmi

    I am a former racer, team mechanic, and team trainer. Today I ride vintage racing bicycles that I restore as singlespeeds / fixed-gears and build carbon fiber recumbents.

    Let me offer an alternate viewpoint on gears in general (although this is written more with the 3-speed in mind, it applies to any number of gears):

    I partially disagree with you, regarding the steps. Depending on the rider’s strength, the type of terrain where they live, there may actually be an advantage to having a lower percentage one way and a higher the other way. For example, a rider in good shape who really can spin, may prefer to have a smaller step on the high gear… or a larger step because they may use it only in exceptions, where they have a strong wind in their back or going down a long hill. Or they may prefer a larger percentage on the smaller gear, for hills, or a smaller one, if they are a strong rider and hate having to spin to go up one.

    So you see, identical gear spacing is not always desirable.

    One last thing… lets get science involved… wind resistance increases to the square of speed… hence, on the larger gear, the gear increase “feels” much much greater than the same difference between middle and low gear. Hence, for sustained high speed, a lower difference between neutral and high might be more desirable (which is opposite of some of the hubs being offered – maybe they had fast downhills in mind and easy uphills when they designed the gearing in at least one of these models).

    • Timmi

      I was really out to lunch on that one, as are all the reviewers…
      The thing is, in a 3 speed hub, there is only one internal gear, that you inverse, to offer one increase or one decrease in the ratio.
      When you calculate the difference, start with the number 75… add a third (25 or 33%) you get 100. Add the same number, 25, and it amounts to only 25% increase. So as you can see, the same 25% difference from neutral (1:1), can be made to appear as 33% more than 1st gear and 25% more than second. But in actuality, we need to use the second gear as our starting point. From second, you get +25% or -25% in the case of one model, maybe other percentages in other models, but regardless, in a 3-speed hub, you’re just inverting the same ratio internally, so it is not possible to actually have a different gear percentage on the high and low gear.

      • PJ

        Timmi,

        Inverting is the way that MOST three speeds (AW-NIG, SG-3C41, T3 & iM3) work, but not all.

        Sturmey-Archer’s S3X is “all down” (ratios 0.625, .075, 1.00). MBI’s RGF391 three speed hub is “all up” (ratios 1.00, 1.41, 1.91).

        PJ

  78. KAZU

    I am very interested in MBI’s RGF391 three speed hub.
    Can I get in Germany market ? or European market ?

  79. Anonymous

    G’day,

    Can anyone comment on their experiences with the SRAM Spectro P5 five speed hub?

    Ta,
    Chris

    • Randal Colman

      Regarding Chris’s inquiry about the SRAM P5, I have been using one for the last few months. It is too early to comment on reliability, of course, but I can make some initial comparisons with the Nexus 7-speed that I used for the previous 13 years.

      The P5 is slightly annoying in that it won’t change down until you stop pedalling, and the ticking in most gears is noticeable, though not objectionable. It is also marginally less convenient to use on my bike than the Nexus because I use drop handlebars and the SRAM shifter is only available as a twist grip.

      On the other hand, I get the impression that the SRAM hub is more efficient. I have no way of proving this.

      The P5 has a fractionally greater range than the old Nexus 7-speed (less than the current one, I believe). I nearly bought the S7 for the sake of a wider range but I’m glad I didn’t, since I haven’t yet felt the need for a lower first gear in four months of riding. The bigger steps of a five-speed gearbox are to my mind an advantage. Unlike many contributors to these forums, I am not fussy about closely-spaced gears.

      A couple of minor disappointments with the P5: the chrome plating of the shell was a bit patchy, and the weight was 1.42 kg, slightly above the 1.33 kg claimed in the specs.

      A friend of mine recently bought an S7 (on special in America) for less than I paid for the P5. He has yet to fit it to his bike. But if I’m right in thinking you’re in Australia, Chris, this might be a good time to take advantage of the recent fall in the US dollar and snap up a bargain from Kalamazoo, Michigan or some such place.

      Cheers,
      Randal

      • Anonymous

        Thanks for that Randal,

        Yes indeed, I was going to take advantage of the Oz/US dollar.
        The question is how many do I get?
        I have had a good run out of the Pentasport I referred to above [28 Jan 10].
        Was able to get replacement planetary gears for it and then did an 800km tour around Tasmania in May.
        As you mentioned, although five speed, the ratios are sensibly spaced.
        The next gear picks up where the previous runs out…nice… and Tas isn’t known for its flat country.

        Have an Alfine in another bike which I was hanging my hopes on but the Pentasport runs rings around it and I don’t have to modify it to fit 126mm dropouts.

        What do you think of the “click box” arrangement?

        Regards,
        Chris.

  80. Randal

    The SRAM clickbox seems to work quite well, though it looks a bit ungainly, perhaps. I nearly always have panniers on the bike so you don’t really notice it. I haven’t had a flat tyre since I fitted the hub but I would imagine that wheel changing will be slightly easier than it was with the Shimano Nexus I used previously.

    It’s good to hear that you were able to get parts for your Sachs hub, Chris. This is an important factor in choosing a brand. My car is 27 years old and I have not yet had any trouble getting parts for it. There is no reason we can’t be using bicycles for a similar length of time, but unfortunately the manufacturers are becoming too much attuned to American notions of yearly product cycles.

    Randal

    • Anonymous

      I was able to acquire the whole carrier with planetary gears for the Pentasport.
      No guarantees that it was the right one, but for $50 worth the risk. Digital images indicated it was close.
      Only problem was the new carrier was for a coaster brake version and the LH end of the carrier had a reduced diameter with a double helix milled into it.
      My non-brake version was solid with a circlip to retain the pawl ring.
      I turned up a collar with a couple of grub screws and mounted it over the helical spigot to keep the pawl ring in place and it has been there ever since.

      Now in possession of two Spectro hubs and four shifter/clickboxes [future proofing].
      Was also fortunate to pick up a brand new original Pentasport at a swap meet recently as well.
      It has a double shift-lever arrangement which I am not familiar with.
      Prefer the dual cable thumb shifter but hard to come by these days.

      There is no good reason why products can’t last, Randal.
      My last vehicle was 32 years old when I retired it and I am still running my motorbike after 30 years.
      The first problem is “the system” requires/encourages/forces us to be consumers and the whole thing breaks down if we don’t consume.
      This was evident with the desperate stimulus packages that flourished during the GFC.
      Unfortunately this also happens to be in direct conflict with attempts to look after our planet home.

      The second, more serious problem, is our ‘sheep’ mentality……………

      Chris.

      • Pieter

        Chris
        I recently had the axle of my Sachs Super 7 break after approximately 14 years of hard work. I found an internet supplier in Holland who provided the spares, they are at http://www.fietspunt.nl. The site is in Dutch(English under development). On the site, >Onderdeelen (Parts)>Aandrijving & bediening(transmission and service)>Naven(hubs) and chose SRAM under the MERK heading (make). This opens a list of parts (7 pages) available for all SRAM (formerly Sachs) hubs. Where you see abbreviations 3/5/7V this means 3/5/7 speed, “Trommelrem” is a drum brake, “Terugtraprem” is coasterbrake. Enough of Dutch lessons. They seem to supply globally but shipping costs can be expensive. I should add that I have been a (satisfied) customer and am not connected with this company.
        Pieter

      • Anonymous

        Thanks Pieter for the very good link.

        I now have 70km on the new Spectro 5 speed which was incorporated into a pair of 27” Alex AP18 rims.
        Noisy at first with noticeable internal drag, but has freed up considerably and is quieter now as things settle down and the grease gets distributed through the workings.
        A couple of shots of oil through the axle end-hole has quietened it down even further…..almost as quiet as the Pentasport.

        The twist grip shifter has loosened up too and is tolerable.

        I still don’t like the click-box sitting out where it is, but it does make wheel removal very easy and the double bell-crank? is a clever arrangement.
        The plastic construction may be a blessing in disguise…allowing for the thing to be torn away in the event of a prang rather than damaging the axle.
        Sort of sacrificial.

        There was advice in the original Pentasport instructions about leaving it parked in fourth gear to ease the internal springs.
        This advice doesn’t seem to appear with any other hub that I’ve seen but makes good sense. Consequently my Alfine gets parked in first gear as does the Spectro.

        Chris.

  81. Scott G

    Just wanted to give a report on my Sturmey Archer 8-speed:

    I have two of these hubs, and the second one I purchased had some trouble after about 3 months of daily use. I talked to them (their email support is pretty busy, so I called), and they were quite helpful.

    They were able to send me new internals for my hub, as well as the wrench needed to do the swap. This is exactly what I wanted, as I didn’t want to have to rebuild my wheel, ship the whole wheel to them, or find a bike shop. They seemed curious to see what had happened, and it sounded like they may have had a bad batch of hubs.

    After about half an hour of work, their wrench and my old hub internals were on the way back to them, and my hub was as good as new. Total cost to me: $0.

    In short: maybe my hub shouldn’t have ever broken, but S/A was quite responsive when it did. If it happens to you – call them up!

  82. Richard

    Does anyone on here have any idea’s of which internal hub I should use on a motorized bike? Or does anyone want to sell a used one they are not useing , I was looking for the N360 Nuvinci, and anyones insites about this hub. Any and all help will be greatly appreciated. Richard

  83. Please add the gear ratio of Alfine 11 to the chart.

  84. euphras

    Nice site, interesting review, but why are at least the Sachs three speed hubs Modell 55, 515, 415 not included? Something essential is missing here…

  85. We found this Stormy Archer 3 speed hub (with coaster breaks) adult tricycle in a basket. I have already had the hub rebuilt. All we really need is the gear selecting cable and leaver…
    …My question to you is, “How much human payload can this tricycle carry. . .Can it carry say a person 450 lbs???

  86. Tomas

    And Samagaga ? Where they are ?

  87. Robert

    I have a specialised langster fixed gear bike 120mm rear axle spacing.

    I would like to change this to an internal geared up.

    I was looking at the Sturmey Archer 8 speed

    X-RF8(W)

    http://www.sturmey-archer.com/products/hubs/cid/5/id/6

    Would this hub work for my bike or are there any other options that you would consider.

    I would like to do some touring around the UK on this bike.

    I can maintain my own bikes no problem, but I am a bit clueless when it comes to internal gears.

    What items will I need to get if the sturmey archer option will work. eg cables, shifters. Do I need a grip shifter or can I use a bar end shifter that I have seen advertised below

    http://jtekengineering.com/jtek_bar-end_shifter.htm

    If you could help me out with these questions I would be most grateful.

    Thanks

    Robert

    • Randal

      Robert, the short answer to your query is that you cannot mix shifters and hubs at will. The type of shifter available is a significant factor in your choice of hub.

      That said, I have used a friction twist-grip (with white dots marked at appropriate intervals) for a three-speed Shimano without problems, but I don’t think it’s an option for an eight-speed.

      What you can consider, though, is a number of hubs with axle widths up to 135mm or so. When bending the frame be sure to bend it the right amount (so you don’t have to spring the chainstays apart to get the axle in). For a high-strength lightweight frame this is tricky because it is so springy, but let’s face it, fixed-gears are such useless devices you have nothing to lose. You then need to insert a dummy axle and bend the dropouts to make them parallel; otherwise you may spring the new axle into a slight curve and cause fatigue and/or stiff shifting.

  88. Hello Chris,
    I wouldn’t agree with your judgement that Strumey Archer had a bad day when developping the 8 gear hub. For me it makes sense to have the last and first gear (that you probably wouldn’t use that often) with a larger jump because better to have a gear that can cope with the steepness of the hill than having no suitable gear at all

  89. Fuzzbean

    For the 3 speed hubs, it seems hardly worth noting that the Nexus step difference of .4% is bigger than the Sturmey .3% or the SRAM’s matched steps… is any human going to notice or be affected in the slightest by such a tiny difference in step size?

    In the 5-speeds, the step charts for the SRAM P5 Cargo and the Sturmey Archer look darn near identical to me, yet you say the SRAM has a “huge spread” while the Sturmey Archer is “very balanced.” I really get the impression that you are reading the statistics through colored glasses to fit your own prejudices for or against these hubs.

    And I have to agree with what others already said about the Sturmey-Archer 8 speed. The hub itself may be junk for all I know, but having a extra big step at each end seems like an advantage to me. At least for recreational purposes. A super low gear to let you fight your way up a hill that maybe for practical purposes you should just get off and push the bike up, and a super high gear for when you want to see how fast you can go down steep hills on the open highway. You still got 6 evenly-spaced gears for normal riding in the middle.

    I remember a bike I had with a Nexus 3-speed hub… Top gear was perfect for level ground, but a bit of slope or headwind and I found I could not maintain that gear for long and was forced to go to the middle gear. Which did make me feel a bit silly for pedalling so fast for the mild conditions. So I’d agree that a 36% jump may be a bit too large. But I think 20% or even 25% would be very bearable, and a worthwhile tradeoff for greater mechanical simplicity if it would mean 8 or 10 gears covering a 500% range instead of requiring 14 gears for the same level of overall versatility.

    • Bob

      I agree with you. I own a Terratrike Rover trike, and I find that the big step down to first gear, is almost like having a granny gear. I am 70 years old and can climb a 10% grade with my trike. 8th gear allows me to pedal up to almost 25 mph without spinning out. On flat terrain I ride mostly in 6 and 7.

  90. Fuzzbean

    I’m really interested in the standard SRAM P5 hub. I dearly loved the Nexus 3-speed I mentioned before, despite the shift jumps being large. The simplicity of it was really appealing, and for the place I lived then the gear range was perfect. Doing a little math, the SRAM P5 gives just about exactly the same total range as the Nexus would if it had been a 4 speed with one additional 36% jump. That would be a huge help for the hilly place I live now… and the 5th gear in there dividing everything up finer would largely solve the step size problem I felt. I think my pea-sized brain could keep track of 5 speeds OK… it really seems like the best compromise between step size, overall gear range, and simplicity to me. Aside from simplicity of operation, one would think having fewer gears would mean each gear set and each pawl etc. could be built larger and more robust within a given size of hub and assuming a given level of manufacturing quality.

  91. Bob

    Why no mention of the new Sturmey Archer 8 speed, ( XRF8 ) which is a different design than the previous model that had some reliability issues. I have about 5,000 miles on one on my Trike, and it is the best shifting device I have had, and I have been cycling for over 50 years.

  92. Roger

    I bought a trike with the XRF8 and thougt it was a piece of junk and swapped it out for a Nuvinci N360, which I love. The Sturmey was hard to shift and when shifting from 7 to 8 it felt like it shifted the wrong way, it was not geared low enough for me and was hard to shift down into the lower gears. You had to back peddle to get it to shift. I was just not happy with it.

  93. I’ve gone ahead and bookmarked http://hubstripping.wordpress.com/internal-gear-hub-review at Digg.com so my friends can see it too. I simply used The Internal Gear Hub Review Hubstripping.com as the entry title in my Digg.com bookmark, as I figured if it is good enough for you to title your blog post that, then you probably would like to see it bookmarked the same way.

  94. Which was type of inspiring! Totally unanticipated. Now I’m sure what I am heading to complete tomorrow :)

  95. Anonymous

    just broke a rib and damaged a knee when out trying an relatively unknown sturmey three speed.was up on the pedals in top when gearbox slipped, throwing me onto the bars and down… hit road instantly…otherwise, they are great hubs..have changed to another wheel pending stripdown and investigation…

  96. Roger

    I upgraded to a Nuvinci N360 plus a Schlumpf 27/67.5 and I love it. My low range is about 14 gear inches and the high to high for me to use. No shifting just adjust as needed to find the sweet spot. I wish I had made the upgrade when I purchased. Would have cost me less and I would have been happier. I agree that Terra Trike needs to take a close look at their components. Next time maybe a Catrike.

  97. Roger

    Yes, I checked the adjustment and it appeared to be correct. I think the Sturmy is just a crappy hub. I love the Nuvinci and it shifts best while pedaling. Even if it worked correctly the Sturmy was not geared low enough for me.

  98. polo88hu

    Does anyone have a i-MOTION 9 with back pedal brake? I need some paper of it (the bill and warranty). I would be very thankful. polo88hu@gmail.com

  99. GREAT COMPARISON INFO, THANKS!
    You did not include any NuVinci CVT hubs with over 300% gear ratio in infinitely user controlled ratios down to 1% but that’s OK.

    I could use some help choosing a tougher internal shifter hub because what I do to bikes has literally destroyed half of the 6 NuVinci N170′s hubs I have used.

    All of the comparisons here are based on human power, which is about 1/4HP (horse power of a real athlete).
    I build 26″ motorized bicycles with 2-3.5HP motors on them that drive the pedal crankshaft and thus uses the bikes gears.

    Now please, before you in the Spandex crowd Poo-Pa those those of us that simply need to bike commute without having to pedal ALL the time, hear me out and leave the culture of biking out of it please. Thanks ;-}

    As we all know gears change everything, and I am one of the few motorized bike builders that does this the right way all the way to the back wheel.

    For me, it has come down to bicycle drive wheels designed for human power to be able to handle much MUCH more power.

    5 gears should be fine considering the motors RPM power range, is the Sram P5 Cargo the toughest out there?

    Thanks for the help and if you want to see some examples and even a couple of videos of how much fun these are you can visit my web site.
    NOTE: I only sell locally in Phoenix, AZ.
    http://KCsBikes

    • I know it has been a couple of days but I was hoping someone might have seen this and had an idea for me.

      • Bruce

        The NuVinci will be the toughest internal hub available.. typical IGH hubs 3/5/7/8/9/11/14 are not designed to be shifted under power.. shift cable adjustments need to be spot on.. run 2hp into a hub that is partially engaged with sloppy cable adjustment, and you destroy the hub.. Whizzer’s used a belt.. check out MoPed gearing.. perhaps centrifugal/cone belt drive.. that’s the setup I had on my Vespino 49cc Moped, and it worked for years..

      • Thanks guys.
        I run a NuVinci on my personal ride and pumping 3.5+ HP through it and it has been perfect for 1,000 miles so far.
        This last one I built didn’t even get 1,000 yards so I need something tougher.
        .
        Backing off the power when shifting is nothing, I even do it with the NuVinci.
        Speaking of NuVinci I have talked with their tech support many times about motor power on them and they say the main problem with them is the pulses from a gas engine and that when attempting to use a gas motor their should be a ‘cush drive’ installed to dampen the pulses.
        I have a design for that try so we’ll see.

        I also was in contact with Sunrace Sturmey-Archer about their hubs and received this reply.

        “We currently do not offer any hubs I would recommend using on your application. We are developing a new high torque 5 speed hub but that is slated for production mid 2012.
        If you are interested in this hub please keep in contact.”

        That sounds promising.
        If you are interested a pic of my personal ride is here:
        http://kcvale.com/
        I used a 2009 Giant Suede bicycle.
        She’ll go from a ‘feet on the ground’ dead stop to 30MPH in 5 seconds and run 45MPH all day long.
        With a click of the clutch lever lock I can pedal it with the motor off just dandy too, handy if I run out of gas ;-}

    • Jason

      have you tried using smaller wheels? Lower torque at the hub delivering the same power at higher wheel speed might help

      • Using something like a 24″ back wheel on a 26″ bike would not only look pretty funny, it would render a rim brake useless which is not something to be trifled with on a motorized bicycle.

        It could work with a rear disc or drum brake however and I see the logic, considering these little 2-3.5HP motors run out power long before they reach full RPM in the highest gears I don’t think there would be any loss in top either.

        Thanks for the tip, I will look into trying that when a potential bike for that presents itself.

  100. Roger

    I have a NuVinci N360 on my TerraTrike Path and love it. I only use human power but I know that Utah Trikes has use the Nuvinci on motorized trikes. I bet they could give you some hints or solutions.

  101. Andy Sykora

    Can any one tell me how I can find the gear ratios of the Shimano SG-7C18 Inter-7 Hub ?

  102. Bill Cline

    Getting ready to order a Hase Kettwiesel Custom. I willuse it for heavy touring and comuting and your info on the rohloff has convinced me to outfit it with one.

  103. Jason

    Great comparative review, thanks for all that work :)

    It would be interesting to see how the new alfine 11 speed fares in group 3

  104. Thank you a bunch for sharing this with all people you actually understand what you are talking about! Bookmarked. Please additionally seek advice from my site =). We will have a link trade contract among us

  105. Spanner48

    I’m sorry if I don’t share the enthusiasm of the other respondents. This is one of the worst ‘comparison’ sites I’ve ever come across:

    • No mention of reliability/quality/longevity
    • No mention of efficiency
    • No mention of ease of servicing
    • No mention of weight

    Everything follows a set of the entirely personal preferences of the author. They’re his, and his alone. Not shared by many/most cyclists. Example:

    • If the range of gearing is the key criterion for 3-speed hubs – as he says – why do Sturmey Archer AWs sell second hand for £1, whereas the close-ratio AS, KS and K models sell for £100s?

    It would be better just to list the specifications and the gearings, and leave cyclists to make up their own minds, rather than try to impose his prejeudices

    • Fuzzbean

      Spanner48, I agree this review leaves a great deal to be desired, but your question about hub values does not make much of a point, in my opinion. Those KS and K hubs, etc. are expensive now because they are OLD and RARE, right? And maybe they are rare now because they were less desirable generally when they were originally produced, and sold less.

      At any rate, the author of this review happens to be advocating close ratios over wide ratios, not the other way around.

  106. Can someone perhaps write a review on Joytech 3-speed hubs which are found on new cruiser and city bikes? I am looking at buying it for my project but cannot decide if the low price = low quality or just as good as low-end Shimano 3-speed mama-chari hub gears….

  107. Great article! Your English is very good overall, but if you’d like I can edit this to make it perfect. I only offer because I think this is a very useful article that every bike mechanic, professional or amateur, should read!

  108. Cesar

    I would like to start a list of bicycle makers who are using 3-speed hubs. I find 3 speeds to be the ideal city bicycle. I’ve owned 3 of them & loved all my now stolen bikes, all Shimano btw.

    I saw a Focus Urban 8 for the first time this weekend, & found out there is a 3 speed version, which I will go check out this afternoon. Super sweet looking bike, look it up.

  109. rob manzanares

    does anyone know someone that is selling an SRAM i-motion 9 with a coaster brake? please reply to: asonenow at gmail dot com

  110. Anonymous

    Thinking more about internally geared hubs, does having the same percentage of increase for each step really make sense? Is that really optimal?

    Consider a hub with 25% increases for each step… At the low end, if you were going 10 mph when you “spun out” for your particular pedalling style, a 25% increase would only take you up to 12.5 mph. That could be useful if you are in a bicycle race and trying to climb a given hill at the best rate possible for your physical condition, but who in such a race is going to be using an IGH? For real-life use, say climbing a short hill on the way to shopping, you would do just fine staying in the 10 MPH gear, maybe losing 10 seconds on the hill but having a simpler cheaper more durable hub with fewer gears in it. If you are just going through the gears accellerating from a stop on flat ground, the 12.5 mph gear would just be in the way, not worth engaging because you’d immediately need to shift up higher yet anyway.

    On the other hand, consider if you were going 32 mph up near the top end, a 25% increase on that would take you all the way up to 40 mph. I’m not sure how fast bicycles typically go, but I’ve got to believe 32 mph is very close to the upper limit of what a human can do unless going down a steep hill… jumping clear up to 40 mph in one bound seems unreasonably much at a point where fine tuning would be more appropriate than huge leaps.

    I’d agree that a graph of gear jumps should form a straight line, but what I’m saying is that the line should be inclined rather than level. The jumps should be bigger at the low-gear end, and taper down to smaller jumps at the high-gear end.

  111. Spanner48

    For the answer, look at derailleur blocks [whether freewheel or freehub]. Some – mostly the 1970-1980s ones – have constant ratio progression. So they look ‘hollow’ in profile, with the lower gears spreading much more than the higher ones. Modern blocks tend to be more constant arithmetic progression, so they look ‘straight’ in profile. And racing blocks ‘straight-through’ or ‘corncob’ are convex in profile. Personally, I prefer the old constant ratio ones. But it’s a matter of taste. Back in the days, riders would mix and match sprockets to get the gear progression that suited them. Now, everyone seems to take whatever Shimano and SRAM serve up. That’s progress . . . .

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  113. Armando Solano

    Hi!, I’m looking to build a city bike, my daily commute it’s about 21 mi (11 mi) uphill. I really want to use a IGH but I don’t want to increase so much the bike’s weight. Options that I’ve been checking are this, SA S2, S-RF3, or SRAM i-MOTION 3 freewheel. what would you recommend me, also I have been doubting about something with more gears, like Shimano NEXUS 8 do you think this last one its too heavy? Thanks

    • Steve Weeks

      A little extra weight shouldn’t hurt unless you have serious hills. I’ve done 100 miles on my folding bike with the Nexus 8… not that I’d do it every day, but the weight isn’t the limiting factor.
      I have an old Motobecane 10-speed that I’m contemplating converting into a “city” bike. I would use a Nexus 8 most likely.
      Steve

  114. Emile

    Can anyone tell me what options are there for 120mm OLD spacing internal geared hub with 5 or more gears? What brands and model numbers?

    • Randal Colman

      The SRAM P5 has an OLD of 122 mm. You could get away with springing the frame out by 2mm, but I would recommend bending the chainstays and checking the axle alignment with a dummy axle to avoid putting any bending load into it when the wheel is installed.

      It is also possible to reduce a Shimano Nexus 7-speed from the original 130 mm to 122 mm. I have done this by removing the roller brake from my original hub and using a few parts scavenged from one with a coaster brake. There are different thicknesses of axle bearing locknuts available so you can shave some width from the drive side as well as the left-hand side. The wheel must still be dished, but not by much compared to wheels for most derailleur bikes.

      In the case of the SRAM P5 the wheel remains undished if you are using a caliper brake; there is a tiny offset if you use a coaster brake. For a lever-operated drum brake you need a 126-mm OLD, according to SRAM.

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  118. Hank Banquer

    Roger
    It is now 2013 how do you feel about the Schlumpf and NuVinci? What Schlump did you use and what was the Schlumpf chain ring tooth and NuVinci cog tooth?
    Think of doing the same.

    Hank

  119. Roger McEwen

    I still love the combination. I did change the rear sprocket to a 22 tooth to increase the low end. I may have went too far and may go back off to a 20. The original was an 18 tooth. The Schlumpf is the high speed with a 27 tooth sprocket.

  120. Ted

    Can you comment on Shimano Alfine 11 internal hub? How is it compared to SRAm I-Motion 9?

  121. Chris

    G’day,

    Can anyone comment on experiences with the Sturmey S2 non-braked 2-speed hub please?
    I notice the S2C braked version seems to be plagued with problems, but they appear to be associated more with the brake.
    I’m in the process of building one into a wheel, if I’m making a rod for my own back, I’ll find something else.

    Ta,
    Chris.

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  123. Fuzzbean

    The author’s conclusions often seem prejudiced to me, yet the graphs comparing gear ranges and gear steps are very interesting and useful. Even if no scientific data about efficiency could be included, it would still be very nice to have this article updated to include current hubs such as the NuVinci N360, the Sram G8, the Shimano 11 speed, the Sturmey/Archer 256% range 5 speed, etc.

  124. Thanks to share it with detail..

  125. Steve Weeks

    This is probably SPAM.

  126. eliotk

    Thanks again for this flag Steve.

  127. Steve Weeks

    My pleasure, Eliot.
    But there seems to be a mess-load of it now.
    Cheers,
    Steve

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