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Internal Hub Gears

rmhodvrmhodv Posts: 83
edited October 2009 in Commuting chat
I recently got a new bike (Trek 7.3FX) on the C2W scheme, and was thinking of modifying my old bike. I was going to ditch the old SRAM SX4 gears and fit an internal hub gear system. Has anyone any experience of this? Recommendations etc.
It's a Carrera Subway 1.

Posts

  • IrvinetIrvinet Posts: 117
    rmhodv wrote:
    I recently got a new bike (Trek 7.3FX) on the C2W scheme, and was thinking of modifying my old bike. I was going to ditch the old SRAM SX4 gears and fit an internal hub gear system. Has anyone any experience of this? Recommendations etc.
    It's a Carrera Subway 1.

    Never did get round to building it but I did a fair bit of research at one time to put together a hub geared tourer.

    Main hubs are the Shimano Alfine, SRAM i-motion or the Rohloff. Rohloff is the rolls royce with price to match but you should have a good read up as there are pluses and minuses with all of them.

    One thing to consider with a frame that is not designed for a hub gear is that you have to work out a way to tension your chain. Pretty much the same issue as if you want to go Single Speed or fixed. It does not look like your bike has horizontal dropouts so you are going to have to get creative. If you don't care about a perfectly clean chainline you can just fit a chain tensioner. Your other options are an eccentric bottom bracket or a "magic gear" setup...

    My hairdresser rode to Russia and back on a Thorn with a Rohloff hub and he loved the thing. Don't think he had to touch it for the whole trip. Just chaged the oil when he got back home 9 months later.
    Roberts Audax - Raleigh Fixie - Thorn Tandem
  • Thanks Irvinet. I must admit it didn't even cross my mind about the dropouts. Will have to do some more research.
    If I was to build one, it would mainly be used for winter use, as hub gears are sealed, and very reliable. My commute is resonably long (1hr), but more importanly on unlit country roads.
  • markp2markp2 Posts: 162
    I have been humming and haaring about the same thing. I want a reliable, low maintenance system for all weather commuting on country lanes (hub gear good) but also need enough gears to cope with climbing 20% hills, flat work and 35mph downhills (hub gear bad - except Rohloff which I can't afford).
    What is the answer?
    Maybe a combination of hub gears and triple derailleur chainset?
    Genesis Croix de Fer - my new commuting mount
    Saracen Hytrail - the workhorse - now pensioned off
    Kinetic-One FK1 roadie - the fast one - hairy legs though!
    Cannondale Jekyll Lefty MTB - the muddy one which keeps tipping me into gorse bushes!
  • C2W has just bought me a Cannondale Street Ultra with the Alfine hub and its very nice - silent and 9/10 shifts are spot on, the 1/10 catches sometimes with a clunk or doesn't quite make it in 1st time when changing up, usually if I'm putting full power down, back off for half a pedal rev and bingo.
    It's got an eccentric BB but Ive not put many miles on it yet, so its too soon to tell how the chain is going to pan out - no gripes yet.

    my commute is 30-60 mins depending on which way the mood takes me but is up and down the edge of the pennines with some nasty steep bits.

    The gap between the gears is quite noticeable, compare to my derailleur bikes, and I'm still settling on the right gear to be in along my routes. Theres no cruising along gear when its a bit steeper and you have to work them to keep momentum at times, but I'm finding a rhythm and getting more in tune with it.

    I reckon at 20% downhill you're going to be pedalling like a lunatic or coasting as the gears won't do mega fast - I'm not a speed merchant anymore (bad neck put paid to drop bars and thrashing along) and it suits me fine for a moderately quick commute but I can run out of gears before 20% downhill.

    I think it's going to be interesting to see what sort of bikes the Alfine goes into, it's going to be extremely good for a cruising bike or on a rolling terrain but may lack a gear or two and wont have the top end speed if you're into going fast or up and down steep hills on it.
  • i got the rohloff over the alfine based on its reputation from cycle touring. two friends followed suit and we're all super happy with it. new ones are 25% lighter i think which helps but i don't really notice the weight being an issue unless you hop curbs a lot.

    when new to the whole thing, i did have a issue hitting a mid gear when changing up while still under load but there;s a knack and its lovely to use day to day, changing down at lights or 6 gears down at once coming into a tight slow turn from a downhill etc. oil change every 2k miles on mine (although doesn't need doing until about 4k miles i think.

    surly and rohloff do chain tensioners and there will be others. simple to use. Rohloff will last your whole life, fully sealed and weatherproof and whats really lovely about it is you ride totally silent. no gears or chain rattle. makes the experience kinda cool, i am sure alfine is similar but i gave the germans my money.

    have you thought about a sturmey archer? 3 speed. rohloff has 14 with no overlaps unlike a three ring up front which is less slick if you switch front rings often, but you might only need 3 gears depending on your riding environment.

    after using a rohloff you'd definately look at Dura Ace Di for road bikes. The auto-trimming feature makes the ride so ultra silent from the chain not running sideways so much.

    good luck with your project man.
    Cannondale BadBoy Rohloff
    Cannondale SuperSix / 11sp Chorus
    Ridley Excalibur / 10sp Centaur
    Steel Marin Bear Valley SE
    Twitter @roadbikedave
  • rmhodvrmhodv Posts: 83
    Irvinet wrote:
    Your other options are an eccentric bottom bracket or a "magic gear" setup..
    .
    I quite like the principle of the magic gear setup because of the clean chainline.. I have had a quick look, and SJS cycles sell half links Is this it?

    I guess it's just a case of getting the chain length worked out and away you go?
    have you thought about a sturmey archer?
    I had already looked at a 3 speed Sturmey Archer. I think 3 gears would be fine for my commute.

    Does anyone know of a website, where something similar has already been done?

    Thanks for all of your help and comments so far :)
  • IrvinetIrvinet Posts: 117
    rmhodv wrote:
    Irvinet wrote:
    Your other options are an eccentric bottom bracket or a "magic gear" setup..
    .
    I quite like the principle of the magic gear setup because of the clean chainline.. I have had a quick look, and SJS cycles sell half links Is this it?

    I guess it's just a case of getting the chain length worked out and away you go?

    Ahh.... if you are lucky. Problem is that even with a half link you can end up with a bit of slack in the chain with a certain cog/chainwheel combo. On a fixie you have quite a bit of flexibilty in that you can get the same gear inches with quite a few combinations and you can also be flexible with exactly what gear ratio you are prepared to accept. You might have the same flexibility with a hub gear but it will depend on what cogs are availble for the system.

    Of couse, then you will get it set up sweet with a new chain and 6months later it will be a bit slack... depends how much this bothers you. A bit more important on a fixie as throwing the chain can be a Bad Thing.
    Roberts Audax - Raleigh Fixie - Thorn Tandem
  • i biult up an alfine hubbed commuter bout this time last year rodeall thru the winter down to -10 no probs have 700 c wheels with disc brakes dont have sliding dropouts but you can make things work with a little fiddleing[/url]
  • ride_wheneverride_whenever Posts: 13,279
    for a large range there is a sram hub which is internal and has a freehub..

    The alfines are good, but not even in the same sport as a rohloff, which are just so much fun to use.
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