Advice please on specs of slightly obscure Hub gear hybrids

mickmcg
mickmcg Posts: 48
edited October 2008 in Commuting chat
Yes, yet more hand holding from a commuting newbie!

Hi all, I’m looking for some advice on a bike for my 5-6mile commute which is part road, part canal path. Have around £600 to spend although the missus would rather I spend less!

I've tried drops and they really aren't for me, just cant get comfy, so flats/MTB geometry. Very used to hydraulic disc brakes on my MTB so would like the confidence they give me on my commute too.

Tried a mates Subway 8 out recently - liked the hub gears but hated the roller brakes - not sure if it was his set up but it scared the life out of me! I also like the low maintenance of hub gears as the last thing I want to do when I get in is clean my bike

With that in mind I have found the following bikes that I couldn’t find much info for:

http://www.winstanleysbikes.co.uk/product/13466/Mongoose_Sabrosa_OCHO_Bike_2008

http://www.winstanleysbikes.co.uk/product/16449/Giant_Escape_Sub_Zero_Bike_2008

http://www.tredz.co.uk/.DIAMOND%20BACK-Quantum-XRK8-2008-Hybrid-Sports-Bike_14290.htm

does anyone have any experience/knowledge of these? or anyone any idea which would be the best choice spec wise? (before I go and try for myself of course)

or should I take more care of my bikes and stick with a derailleur geared bike? a very nice Boardman Hybrid Team caught my eye on the way in this morning which looks good spec wise ...

any input would be greatly appreciated, thanks
2011 Genesis Equilibrium 10 (black frame) | 2011 Tricross Sport | 2008 Carrera Fury

Comments

  • Have you looked at some of the Charge bikes? Charge Mixer and Charge Tap? They seem pretty smart.

    I did consider the Sabrosa (before I bought a road bike) - I was particularly taken by the coffee holder!" :lol: That would have sorted me out on the morning commute. It has the Alfine hub gear which seems to be a big improvement over the Nexus. And £549 seems a good price. (Confession time: I never actually rode a Sabrosa so can't really comment on it.)

    I thought hub gears sounded like a good bet for a commute - more than enough gear range and choice for most of us and very low maintenance. One downside (I understand) is that removing and replacing the rear wheel isn't straighforward for if (when :? ) you get a puncture.
    Never be tempted to race against a Barclays Cycle Hire bike. If you do, there are only two outcomes. Of these, by far the better is that you now have the scalp of a Boris Bike.
  • I have a bike with the Nexus hub gear. It's not hard to take the back wheel off if you learn how to do it.

    When I first got the bike and it was all shiny and clean, I read the manual to teach myself how to do it and practised disconnecting the hub (by the side of the road wouldn't have been a good place to learn). It's easy when you know how, at least it is on the Nexus. You do have to remember to carry a tiny allen key because there is a hole for you to put it in to slacken off the gear cable which helps a lot.
  • MichaelW
    MichaelW Posts: 2,164
    My Dahon cadenza 8 is Alfine with mech discs. It works pretty well for all-weather commuting and should reduce the amount of time spend mucking out rear mechs on cold winter nights. I fitted the Shimano dynohub lighting system which rocks. The last piece to fit is a Hebie chainglider.
    Most manufacturers really dont "get" the Alfine group and dont make bikes which use it to the full potential.
    Gears: You really dont want a chain tensioner on a new bike (its for conversions). Make sure you get sliding dropouts or EBB. The best EBB is probably twin-bolt external clamp.
    Basic horizontal or track ends may not play well with disc brake positioning.
    Brakes. Always conflict with rack and mudgaurds. Durr: move the ISO mount to the chainstay and the front mudgaurd eyelets to halfway up the forks (and add a cable guide there as well). Too many Alfine bikes cop out and use V brakes
    Eyelets: Always in the wrong position if you are lucky, many of these so-called city bikes lack any eyelets.
    If you want to use the rack mounts with disc brakes you have to fit the extra-wide Topeak rack which adds 2" to your width (more air resistance, less going for the gap).

    The ones fully equipped with eyelets also give you a very upright riding position, not to everyones taste.
    Bars are usually cross-country style flat which stress your wrists, a little rearward angle adds a lot of comfort.

    The thumb shifter is by common consent far superior to the twist grip.
    The best Alfine frame by a long shot is by Simpel (.ch) their stock bikes are good, their custom Daily Bread is something else but is on another website, that is difficult to find.
  • I have a ridgeback nemesis which seems to tick the boxes

    http://www.ridgeback.co.uk/index.php?bi ... _bike=TRUE

    I have had the bike for 5 months but only had the confidence at the weekend to disconnect the gear cable from the hub, I don't know what I was worrying about as it was very straight forward.

    Ps the bike is £500, I think this is a great deal as I paid more for mine in June and I think it was worth the money then
  • mickmcg
    mickmcg Posts: 48
    thanks for your input guys

    have had a look at the Charge's which look very nice but the Tap doesnt have discs and the Mixer with discs is out of my budget unfortunately

    the removing wheels issue is a slight concern - i'm not afraid of getting my hands dirty but my looking at Hub gears is due to me wanting to spend as little time as possible with tools in my hand (new baby + new house = no time for fun stuff) maybe some slime and changing to some very tough tyres are needed - if i can get the wheel off and back on again of course!

    markybhoy - the nemisis does look very nice, it only seems to be £499 on that link and not through any of their stockists which is strange. the spec is also different - Evans for example it's 600 but with Nexus gears and different brakes! how do you find the Alfine gears and what sort of riding do you do with it? do they add much weight?
    2011 Genesis Equilibrium 10 (black frame) | 2011 Tricross Sport | 2008 Carrera Fury
  • amircp
    amircp Posts: 132
    I have recently got a Bianchi Camaleonte with alfine gears, and done 300 miles so far on it commuting. You might be able to get the 08 model still in the sales. It is pretty quick, having quite a light frame coupled with 700 wheels and 25mm tyres. It's got v-brakes - which I kind of preferred for lightness and ease of maintenence. Also a lot cheaper than many alternatives with disk brakes (Charge Mixer, Cube Hooper...). Gears are working fine so far, though a couple are a bit noisy. Reckon I have saved quite a bit of cleaning time so far.
  • mickmcg
    mickmcg Posts: 48
    amircp wrote:
    I have recently got a Bianchi Camaleonte with alfine gears, and done 300 miles so far on it commuting.

    Gears are working fine so far, though a couple are a bit noisy. Reckon I have saved quite a bit of cleaning time so far.

    a friend did recommend the Bianchi but hydro brakes are a must, i'm so used to them after my last couple of MTBs that anything else just doesnt feel right!

    the Nexus i have ridden was quite noisy and at first a bit distracting - how noisy is your Alfine?
    2011 Genesis Equilibrium 10 (black frame) | 2011 Tricross Sport | 2008 Carrera Fury
  • amircp
    amircp Posts: 132
    Shifting is really nice, slick and quiet - much less pressure needed (at least than less than perfectly maintained derailleur with rapidfire), also shifts fine going up hill. I have some noise in a couple of gears that I hope will disappear as it wears in, but less than the rattle in my lamp! In other gears, pretty quiet. No discernable drag in any. Flies past most of the bikes on my route in.
  • Surf-Matt
    Surf-Matt Posts: 5,952
    Had a Spesh Globe with Nexus hub gears - hated it so much that we returned it and got a full refund.

    Almost hopeless range of gears, clunky and just not very nice.

    I'd avoid unless you really want one - the "low maintenance" thing doesn't seem to work either - at least with deraillieur gears, you have a chance of being able to tune/fix them!

    Most hybrids in your price range have mechanical disk (yuck!!) but these are all worth a look - I think all have hydro disk brakes...

    http://www.evanscycles.com/products/sco ... e-ec001304

    (this one has disks and a hub gear)

    http://www.evanscycles.com/products/rid ... e-ec001137

    http://www.evanscycles.com/products/sco ... e-ec016305

    http://www.evanscycles.com/products/sco ... e-ec016314

    http://www.evanscycles.com/products/kon ... e-ec017273
  • amircp
    amircp Posts: 132
    I don't think that the narrower gear range is a problem fo most commuting. I live near Edinburgh and the lowest gear is easily sufficient for any hill there whilst I can be pedalling at 30mph in top. You get get a lot of redundancy with a triple chain ring derailleur. Of course which you prefer is a matter of taste - I like the cleaner looks and the lower day-to-day maintenence (all that cleaning in the winter!) but wouldn't dream of having hub gears on my weekend bike.

    On the other, I am not sure that disk brakes are worth the expense and weight for commuting on tarmac - again a matter of taste!
  • giltkid
    giltkid Posts: 53
    Bikefix on Lambs Conduit St seem to specialise in weird hub geared bikes (Fahrrad and Koga etc)
  • mickmcg wrote:
    thanks for your input guys

    markybhoy - the nemisis does look very nice, it only seems to be £499 on that link and not through any of their stockists which is strange. the spec is also different - Evans for example it's 600 but with Nexus gears and different brakes! how do you find the Alfine gears and what sort of riding do you do with it? do they add much weight?

    Hi Mick, the 2007 model of the bike had different brakes(I think they are roller brakes).

    I paid £550 for my bike just before the price went up to £600, I take it the price has dropped now due to 2009 models(maybe this hasn't reached the dealers yet).

    I commute about 3 days out of 5 to work, 10 miles each way with lots of hills.

    I also take it on to canal paths for about a 60 mile round journey about once every 3 weeks

    The gears seem to be fine although sometimes you have to let up on the peddling or else they wont change straight away.

    The conti contact sports tyres that I got with the bike helped make the bike go very fast but unfortunately I got a visit from the p fairy so I changed to schwalbe marathon plus 26 x 1.75.

    This has slowed the bike down a little but I am more than happy to have the added p protection (I rode over a broken bottle on a path! guess what no p, great tyres)

    This is my first bike for about 20 years so can't compare it to any other bike, but I am happy with it.
  • Yes but Matt, you do live in Cornwall where there are serious hills. The Globe is a perfect commuter for somewhere flat like London. It's a city bike above all.

    That said I've modified mine - I wasn't using the two highest gears, and wanted to gain some lower gears for loaded touring (it's a very sturdy bike compared to my actual tourer, which is actually rather dainty and flexy, and only meant for light touring).

    Getting the cog off and putting a new bigger one on (£4) was not very difficult once I'd read Sheldon's instructions and I now have my lower gears.
  • biondino
    biondino Posts: 5,990
    Question - do all the people who buy commuting-specific bikes either a) have other bikes for hobby riding, whether on or off road or b) not actually ride their bikes for pleasure?
  • itboffin
    itboffin Posts: 20,061
    I use a Ridgeback Storm for most of my commuting duties and it's served me very well, I however have not reciprocated by cleaning it very often, in 18 months I've replaced the tyres for thinner faster conti as well as the chain & cassette due to rust, thanks First Great Western trains your outdoors bike racks are fab :x

    I'd recommend the Storm if you want low maint. cheap & fast all weather commuter that can take thick & thin tyres + mud guards.
    Rule #5 // Harden The Feck Up.
    Rule #9 // If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period.
    Rule #12 // The correct number of bikes to own is n+1.
    Rule #42 // A bike race shall never be preceded with a swim and/or followed by a run.
  • Quite a lot of people are 'utlity' cyclists, Biondino, meaning they use their bike to get to A to B but not for pleasure. I was like this while I was at uni; used my bike to pootle to uni and the shops but wasn't much arsed to do anything else (it was a heavy old SS which didn't help).

    Then when that was stolen, I got my Globe, discovered it was not good for longer/faster rides, and got my light tourer as well (secondhand).

    I have to admit I am usually to be found on the tourer for commuting, because I find it nippier in traffic and I can get out of the wind on Embankment if I need to! I have to admit I got kind of used to having a faster bike and now that one gets ridden more. I now mainly use the Globe when a heavy load needs to be carted as it is sturdier.

    But if I'd never wanted to go on longer/faster rides, it would still be my only bike.
  • Surf-Matt
    Surf-Matt Posts: 5,952
    Yes but Matt, you do live in Cornwall where there are serious hills. The Globe is a perfect commuter for somewhere flat like London. It's a city bike above all.

    That said I've modified mine - I wasn't using the two highest gears, and wanted to gain some lower gears for loaded touring (it's a very sturdy bike compared to my actual tourer, which is actually rather dainty and flexy, and only meant for light touring).

    Getting the cog off and putting a new bigger one on (£4) was not very difficult once I'd read Sheldon's instructions and I now have my lower gears.

    I guess it was okay for nipping to Tescos (had panniers and a rack for it) but otherwise the bike just made me angry. Brakes were useless too.

    I'd rather use an MTB with slicks.
  • amircp
    amircp Posts: 132
    I do have two other bikes for non-commuting use - a race bike and mtb. But I want to keep the race bike in reasonable nick. I used to commute on the mtb with slicks but my new bike with hub gears is a good 3mph faster.
  • Hi, to the OP

    Why the instant dislike of the roller hub brakes? I had a subway for 3yrs (recently had to sell it :cry: ) thought the brakes where fine - great in the wet. They might not have the power of discs or the slightly less bite of v-brakes but your just modify you riding accordingly. Once they bed in its just hop on and ride no fettling involved.
  • mickmcg
    mickmcg Posts: 48
    biondino wrote:
    Question - do all the people who buy commuting-specific bikes either a) have other bikes for hobby riding, whether on or off road or b) not actually ride their bikes for pleasure?

    a) I have a hardtail MTB that I use off road, thinking of getting a full suspension MTB as i'm riding more demanding trails

    b) everytime i get on a bike i have a smile on my face, just want to make sure i get the right tool for the job - which is a comfortable, reliable, well specced commuter. Not everyone wants or enjoys to ride a road bike, which i presume is what you're hinting at? I dont enjoy the riding position and never have and much prefer the more upright position a MTB or Hybrid gives
    2011 Genesis Equilibrium 10 (black frame) | 2011 Tricross Sport | 2008 Carrera Fury
  • mickmcg
    mickmcg Posts: 48
    Hi, to the OP

    Why the instant dislike of the roller hub brakes? I had a subway for 3yrs (recently had to sell it :cry: ) thought the brakes where fine - great in the wet. They might not have the power of discs or the slightly less bite of v-brakes but your just modify you riding accordingly. Once they bed in its just hop on and ride no fettling involved.

    hi, just felt like a major difference to my MTB which to be fair i'd literally just jumped off! really i suppose it's just knowing what you like and sticking with it as i've had discs for the last few years, i like the reassurance and power you get with them which although i probably dont need on the road you do get used to - same with SPDs i suppose, after a while you just get used to the difference they make - but you could easily do without!
    2011 Genesis Equilibrium 10 (black frame) | 2011 Tricross Sport | 2008 Carrera Fury
  • biondino
    biondino Posts: 5,990
    mickmcg wrote:
    biondino wrote:
    Question - do all the people who buy commuting-specific bikes either a) have other bikes for hobby riding, whether on or off road or b) not actually ride their bikes for pleasure?

    a) I have a hardtail MTB that I use off road, thinking of getting a full suspension MTB as i'm riding more demanding trails

    b) everytime i get on a bike i have a smile on my face, just want to make sure i get the right tool for the job - which is a comfortable, reliable, well specced commuter. Not everyone wants or enjoys to ride a road bike, which i presume is what you're hinting at? I dont enjoy the riding position and never have and much prefer the more upright position a MTB or Hybrid gives

    How the hell do you read what I'm "hinting" at? I say on or off road! I don't have an agenda and I'd rather you didn't put words into my mouth.
  • Jen J
    Jen J Posts: 1,054
    So Blondie, in answer to your question - a. I have other bikes - for on and off road. :D
    Commuting: Giant Bowery 08
    Winter Hack: Triandrun Vento 3
    Madone

    It's all about me...
  • linsen
    linsen Posts: 1,959
    And I bought a really nice road bike which I am now trashing by commuting on it :?

    Can't divorce work form pleasure all the time!
    Emerging from under a big black cloud. All help welcome
  • jeepie
    jeepie Posts: 497
    biondino raises a really interesting question!

    I am actually trying to find a bike that I can commute on for pleasure and use at the weekends.

    I spend > 50% of my riding time not riding my road bike - which I love - but commuting on my hack bike - which I am bored with....

    I have to do towpath type stuff so the roadie would not enjoy that!

    So I'm after a very low maintenance MTB type commuter which I can do off road stuff on at the weekend, or on a longer commute if I'm so inspired....

    I also am considering the Alfine hub but that seems to be a very controversial piece of kit!