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Scubaquarius 07-19-20 09:59 AM

Gearing: Derailleur Vs. Internal Hub Gearing
I am getting closer to making my recumbent trike purchase. One of my concerns is that derailleur gearing appears that it would require
considerable maintenance and adjustment, whereas internal hub gearing would be less of a maintenance and adjustment issue. So
I am trying to decide if it's worth it to pay the additional monies for an internal hub gearing.

Would really appreciate your thoughts and input on this issue....thanks,

VegasTriker 07-19-20 10:24 AM

I've owned trikes with both. My 2001 Greenspeed GTO is equipped with the Schlumpf Mountain Drive and a 65 tooth chainring in the front. The rear was originally a SACHS S-7 3 speed internal hub and 8 speed rear derailleur. That combination gave it an extraordinary wide gear range for touring. I put a lot of miles on it over 9 years and had just a few problems with the 3 speed hub and with the Schlumpf Mountain Drive. I was able to repair the SMD myself when an internal gear in it broke but had to import the part from Florian Schlumpf in Europe. The SACHS 3-speed hub lasted about 20K miles and then I had to replace it with a newer SRAM Dual-Drive. No bike shop in my area would even consider working on either one. My first trike and my current trike both have standard gearing with a front and rear derailleur. I can buy the parts for the drive online or in any decent sized local bike shop and if I were unable to work on it myself I could find a local bike show that would. It's the prime reason why when I retired the Greenspeed GTO I chose a bike with a standard drive.

I don't find maintaining standard gearing a problem but maybe that is just me.

Scubaquarius 07-19-20 10:41 AM

Thanks so much for the information and personal experience. Very Helpful!


Bobcat22 07-27-20 11:36 AM

Originally Posted by Scubaquarius (Post 21595503)
Thanks so much for the information and personal experience. Very Helpful!


May I add, the internal geared hubs are not as efficient as externally geared systems. However I am not sure in the "real world" if that less efficiency makes that much of a difference. Having access to parts and service is a concern.

Scubaquarius 07-27-20 02:11 PM

Yes indeed, parts and service are of paramount importance.

Harhir 07-31-20 02:17 PM

The really good internal hubs such as the Rohloff speed hub are expensive but bullet proof. People who have it, love it. With a 14 speed internal hub you really have 14 speeds. With a front and rear derailleur such as an 3x7 or 3x9 you don't really have 21 or 27 gears because there is a lot over overlap.
A friend of mine just bought a new bike with the new Pinion gear system and loves it. I don't know if there are any trike manufacturer out there already offering that gear system. It basically requires a different bottom bracket since the gearing sits inside the bottom bracket and not in the whee hub.
But derailleurs are a lot cheaper. Yes they do require a bit more maintenance but this is easy. And if you are not constantly riding in the dirt the maintenance is low.
I am personally a fan of internal hubs. I have the Sachs 3x7 on a few bikes. It is basically a 3 speed internal hub and a 7 speed derailleur. The 3 speed internal hub is used instead of a front derailleur. What I like about internal hub over a front derailleur:
- You can shift while stopped. A derailleur requires a moving chain to shift. An internal hub does not. In city traffic with lots of stop and go this is an advantage.
- They shift more precise and faster. Some front derailleurs are just horrible.
I had one internal geared hub break after 24 years of usage. It was part of the clutch that broke. And yes as mentioned by Vegastriker above, not many bike stores are wanting to work on internal hubs. I had the same problem and taught myself to fix it. Not rocket science if you can get the parts for these old hubs. So if a bike store is telling me that internal geared hubs are too complicated to work on, they are either lazy or incompetent.

BlazingPedals 07-31-20 06:31 PM

I had a SRAM 3x7 rear hub on my V-Rex for years, and it worked fine. Along with a triple in front, it gave me 63 gears, but more importantly it gave me a gear range of 17 to 144 inches. My only complaints were that I had three shifters on my handlebars and I couldn't have a quick-release for the rear wheel - I had to carry a 15mm wrench with me everywhere. I finally went back to a standard setup and am much happier that way. On a side note, the internal gears by themselves typically produce less range and have a slightly lower efficiency than a standard derailleur system.

Scubaquarius 08-01-20 07:09 AM

Thank you for the information and another point of view,

VegasTriker 08-01-20 07:48 AM

Yes, the SACHS 3X7 hub had a sterling reputation especially from people who put a lot of miles on it because it was very rugged. When SRAM bought out SACHS, they redesigned the hub to become the SRAM Dual-Drive which while good was not nearly as long-lived as the SACHS S7. SRAM ceased making the Dual-Drive hub in 2015 and no longer has anything like it. I would have kept the original S7 hub on my Greenspeed GTO but for the fact that SRAM really sucks when it comes to getting spare parts for their products. About the only way to get one these days is to find a used wheel with the DD installed. Utah Trikes calls the Sturmey Archer hub a "dual-drive" but it is not nearly as robust as the original which was actually trade marked by SRAM.

rydabent 08-01-20 11:41 AM

I have a Sram 3 x 8 and a Sram 3 x 9. They are virtually bullet proof. They seldom need adjustment. Once a year I remove the tension pulley and the jockey wheel to clean and grease them.

fietsbob 08-01-20 03:23 PM

rather than long shift cables consider the Electronic Di2 shifted Alfine 11 ?

Or the Rohloff ...Though the cables are long the shifting is inside the hub,... not separated between lever clicks on the bars and action at the back ..

Schlumpf speed drive also shifts internally ... 34t acts like a 54t in it's overdrive ,
( R'off is fine with bigger go fast gears its the low climbing gears that are hard on it .
Hint: to get a lower gear build around a 20" rear wheel..


downtube42 08-01-20 03:54 PM

Internal you can shift while stopped. That IMO is the most significant functional difference. For a trike or even a bent, if you find yourself stopped on a hill in the wrong gear, being able to shift down is more than nice.

Harhir 08-03-20 09:40 AM

Originally Posted by downtube42 (Post 21618910)
Internal you can shift while stopped. That IMO is the most significant functional difference. For a trike or even a bent, if you find yourself stopped on a hill in the wrong gear, being able to shift down is more than nice.

I second that.

tallbikeman 08-30-20 08:35 AM

I've always loved internal geared hubs and have extensively used Sturmey Archer and Shimano products. The issue becomes ease of maintenance and reliability. I ended up with a Shimano Alfine 11speed hub that I really couldn't maintain. I couldn't find anyone locally that would do maintenance on it. I could send it to Seattle but why not just put on a derailleur setup, let it get dirty. Clean, adjust and let it get dirty again. So simple, cheap and reliable. All I have left is a newer Sturmey Archer 3 speed with drum brake. Excellent hub. Three speeds are easy to take apart and adjust/lubricate. The bicycles I changed over to derailleur setups were all faster than the internal geared version of itself. I find I always beat myself to death with my great ideas. I finally give up and move on to the next great idea. Good luck with internal geared hubs.

Bobcat22 08-30-20 06:55 PM

What is the Next Best Idea?
tallbikeman, you say, "I finally give up and move on to the next great idea." What would that be?

tallbikeman 09-01-20 10:12 PM

Bobcat22 my entire life is littered with the remains of my so many great ideas. As I age I find that I'm more fearful of my next great idea than the blind enthusiasm I used to exhibit when creating the next great idea.

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