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Internally geared hub or not?

Old 10-21-19, 07:09 PM
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Internally geared hub or not?

Iím selling a bike I thought would make a great commuting bike because it has had numerous problems. However, it does have a gates carbon belt drive and NuVinci internally geared hub. I found the belt drive worked well, but the hub did not have enough gearing for fast downhill speeds. Plus, I found the twist shifting style wasnít what I prefer.

Now Iím in the market for a completely new commuting bike. Iíd like to buy my ďdreamĒ bike, and Iím looking for opinions. Would people prefer an internally geared hub simply because of snow and ice, or are regular gears good enough? What would you do for a dream commuting bike? I really like the belt drive because there is virtually no maintenance, but I could use opinions here too.
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Old 10-22-19, 06:12 AM
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I've set up a couple of the NuVinci hubs, and I really like them for the cool feel of the infinitely variable gear ratios within the range of the hub. But like you said, it's not as wide of a range as something like a Rolhoff.
For what you're describing, I'd definitely look at the Rolhoff speed hub with a Gates belt. Great for icy conditions, super wide ratio of gears, and has the ability to shift at a stop light for when you get caught in the wrong gear coming to a halt. Change the oil once a year or so and you're good to go.
The Shimano hubs are another good option, and you have the choice of going electronic shifting if that's something you're into. That would probably eliminate any chance of ice affecting your shifting since there's not even a moving cable to freeze up.
The other option would be a frame with a Pinion internal transmission. But this will be the most expensive option since you'll need a frame designed from the ground up to run the gearbox.

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Old 10-22-19, 07:01 AM
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If I was buying a commuter now. I would buy this
https://www.prioritybicycles.com/pro...12100300013644
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Old 10-22-19, 11:01 AM
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I commuted in Montreal for the last years with a Shimano Alfine 8. The only problems I had were due to the cable, with slush and dirt freezing on the little exposed part which pulls on the hub the cable was sometimes not snapping back, so not shifting to lower gears. The hub itself is great.
Right now building a new bike with an Alfine 11 Di2 (electric shifting, so at least not the cable problem). I wanted to go Alfine 8 Di2, but found on SJS Cycles a crazy good deal on the 11 speed version (same price or slightly less then you would get the 8 speed with reduction from Germany). The 11 runs with oil, so easier to service, the 8 I brought once per year to a LBS for regreasing.
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Old 10-22-19, 03:49 PM
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For me definitely internal. This allows the entire drive train to be enclosed so you can wear any kind of pants or shoes without grease or rip worry and there is about zero maintenance for the first 20-30 years (people should oil the chain once every year or two but few people, if any, do that).

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Old 10-22-19, 03:53 PM
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My dream bike isn't living in the slush, nor is it commuting to a job

Given my heart problems I couldn't really use my dream bike, so I guess it's irrelevant. But it would (right now at least) be a premium full suspension mountain bike, which needs a derailleur due to the small change in chain length as the suspension moves.
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Old 10-22-19, 04:13 PM
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Originally Posted by hefeweizen View Post
If I was buying a commuter now. I would buy this
https://www.prioritybicycles.com/pro...12100300013644
That Priority 600 with pinion gearhub turned up in another thread around here recently, I'd call that a 'dream commuter bike'
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Old 10-22-19, 04:18 PM
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For me, anything other than an internally-geared bike with at least a partially-enclosed chain is unthinkable. How well do belt drives work? Do they shred your pants? My bike has a 7 speed Nexus, but my dream bike would have a Rolhoff to make it easier to climb steep hills. I'd also like something other than twist grip shifting.
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Old 10-22-19, 06:48 PM
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I'm curious about not liking twist shifting. We've a somewhat large collection of Dutch IGH bikes so that we have them available for guests and have both twist and trigger shift. My daily rider is a Workcycles Opa w/ a Nuvinci twist shift and I love it. Over any year I end up riding a variety of bikes and have no real preference between twist and trigger - both seem totally fine. What do people not like about them?
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Old 10-22-19, 07:52 PM
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I've wondered about adapting the Nuvinci to some kind of a vintage lever shifter, although I think it had a 2-wire interface that could be problematic.

There are a few 2 and 3 speed internal gear cranksets and bottom brackets which would effectively multiply your rear gearing.
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Old 10-22-19, 07:53 PM
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Originally Posted by CrankyOne View Post
What do people not like about them?
The pull feels mushy and the release feels like something is breaking
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Old 10-22-19, 08:08 PM
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Originally Posted by hefeweizen View Post
If I was buying a commuter now. I would buy this
https://www.prioritybicycles.com/pro...12100300013644
Spitze! That is a one neat bike, though I get a bit nervous about trying to push that 30+ lb weight (before gear) up the hills on my commute. The greater the speed gap between me and the rest of traffic while climbing those hills, the more nervous I get. I understand there is a great range with "no overlap," but that also tells me that each gear may be quite a jump. That sort of sucks when you're carrying weight and trying to stay in a decent cadence. That's something that drove me away from the 1x setups for commuting, though even now I'm mostly riding my old Ciocc with a non-compact double and 6-speed cassette. Climbing is more like mad mashing rather than spinning. I can't deny that this is a very cool bike, though.

Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
My dream bike isn't living in the slush, nor is it commuting to a job

Given my heart problems I couldn't really use my dream bike, so I guess it's irrelevant. But it would (right now at least) be a premium full suspension mountain bike, which needs a derailleur due to the small change in chain length as the suspension moves.
Apparently this can be considered a little taboo here, but I think this is really a good case for an e-bike. Having ridden one for the first time, I'm now a bit conflicted. My commuter can be a more upright cruiser with big tires, and I can still climb the hills on the way to work at close to 20 mph? It's tempting, but the price alone causes me to relent. Also I kinda like the alertness and endorphine high when I get into work.
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Old 10-22-19, 10:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Falkon View Post
Apparently this can be considered a little taboo here, but I think this is really a good case for an e-bike.
Safe topic in the commuter forum.

E-MTB's are also producing a lot of parts appropriate for the smaller market of MTB tandems so I'm happy for that too.
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Old 10-23-19, 07:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
The pull feels mushy and the release feels like something is breaking
On a quiet night, the release "snap" on my twist grip Nexus 8 will wake the dead.

Nothing like riding a stealthy IGH, then downshift as you come to a stop. Everyone and everything is now aware of your presence.
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Old 10-23-19, 08:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
Safe topic in the commuter forum.

E-MTB's are also producing a lot of parts appropriate for the smaller market of MTB tandems so I'm happy for that too.
Ahh, very nice. I've now seen retrofit kits for mid-drive e-bikes. I'm even more tempted now to get something like an old dutch style or English road bike and do a conversion. I'll wait until I've at least got the bike I ordered built up unless I happen to have a lucky day at a thrift store.
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Old 10-23-19, 09:28 AM
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Originally Posted by CrankyOne View Post
I'm curious about not liking twist shifting. We've a somewhat large collection of Dutch IGH bikes so that we have them available for guests and have both twist and trigger shift. My daily rider is a Workcycles Opa w/ a Nuvinci twist shift and I love it. Over any year I end up riding a variety of bikes and have no real preference between twist and trigger - both seem totally fine. What do people not like about them?
What I don't like is that they're usually either too hard to twist in the cable-pulling direction (especially with sweaty hands, and/or little kids with weak grip strength), and/or too easy to bump and accidentally shift in the cable-releasing direction.

I've seen that there are high-end grip-shifters (like for Sram Eagle XX1), maybe those are engineered better. But rather than paying a premium for a good grip shifter, the cheapest possible triggers work great (and only get better from there)
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Old 10-23-19, 12:48 PM
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Originally Posted by CrankyOne View Post
I'm curious about not liking twist shifting.
Trigger shifts do not require the rider to grip the handlebars with the shifting hand.
It is much easier to use a trigger shift if/when the rider is holding something in his hand such as a beverage, snack, phone or package.
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Old 10-23-19, 12:58 PM
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I loved the grip shifters on my Denali, reliable crisp shifting, every time. Those are low quality of course and eventually broke but they worked great until then. That wouldn't be my concern with an internal gear hub.
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Old 10-23-19, 03:46 PM
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I'm comfortable enough with bike mechanics that I can deal with the maintenance of derailleurs even though it's certainly true that IGHs are lower maintenance. Most IGHs have too-narrow ranges or too much space between the gears or both. The ones that don't are also expensive and difficult to repair. IGHs are also very heavy, which matters to me (though not everyone). So I don't see myself with an IGH bike. I put a 3-speed fixed gear hub on my fixed gear street bike, but the gears were so far apart that I only ever used two gears. It was a toy that wasn't enough of an enhancement, so I sold the hub and went to regular old single-speed fixed. But I don't ride that bike often.

I do ride the Citi Bike bikes with NuVinci hubs. I agree that twist-shift is annoying, but I do like that hub very much. I love microadjusting the ratio, and I do it often. I wonder what it's like to maintain that hub. I've heard conflicting reports. But it's immensely heavy and expensive.

If you're going to have an IGH, don't be afraid of a regular chain. 1/8" chains last a good long time. The downside is that they are dirty. The upside is that you can change your gearing by changing the cog or chainring, and that moves all of your ratios up or down. Regular chains also save money.
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Old 10-23-19, 09:39 PM
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Originally Posted by CrankyOne View Post
I'm curious about not liking twist shifting. We've a somewhat large collection of Dutch IGH bikes so that we have them available for guests and have both twist and trigger shift. My daily rider is a Workcycles Opa w/ a Nuvinci twist shift and I love it. Over any year I end up riding a variety of bikes and have no real preference between twist and trigger - both seem totally fine. What do people not like about them?
My hands slip on them when it is raining or hot. On hot days (over 95 degrees) they get greasy. I have to keep a paper towel in my pocket so that I can shift from a lower to a higher gear.
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Old 10-26-19, 08:32 AM
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I donít know the ratios on a Nuvinci, but the OP is worried about spinning out on a downhill.

Thatís my last concern with my IGH bike. My first concern is will it get me and the groceries or the trailer up the hill in the crappy conditions? Iíll coast it down the hill. IGHís are not fast anyway...heavy and draggy.

I size the chainring and sprocket for the uphill and for good cruise on the flat. That pretty much maxes out the Alfine8.

The 11, however, did add the extra 3 speeds at the top of the range, not the bottom, which I thought was a weird choice. But you will get more downhill push out of it.
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Old 10-26-19, 05:31 PM
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Originally Posted by FiftySix View Post
On a quiet night, the release "snap" on my twist grip Nexus 8 will wake the dead.

Nothing like riding a stealthy IGH, then downshift as you come to a stop. Everyone and everything is now aware of your presence.
Indeed, the sonic aspect of IGH with trigger shifters is very satisfying. With the very quiet belt drive, the sound of the trigger shifter while downshifting is even more distinctive, lets other riders know that they have company behind. As others have stated, the trigger shifter is better than the twist shifter.
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Old 10-27-19, 09:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
The pull feels mushy and the release feels like something is breaking
I've found that unless the twist-grip detents are strong enough to give a really crisp feel, it's hard to find the gears in the winter while wearing thick gloves. That's the main reason I prefer the trigger-shift style of gear changer.
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Old 10-28-19, 02:12 AM
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I had a N360 and will never use a CVT again. It had a feeling like pedaling in a thick syrup. It months later developed a leak and got fluid everywhere and a few months after that developed a pinging sound. I replaced it before it could fail.

For me, I am very happy with a Sturmy Archer 5 speed with built in drum brakes. I even use the drum brake / dynamo front hub. For general commuting at a leisurely pace it's great (I almost never pedal going downhill, I just enjoy the break). I typically average around 15 km/h. I'd honestly stick with a standard chain and just get a chain case. You can go years with no maintenance that way. Contrary to most claims, it does not cause problems unless you remove the wheel often.

Now ideally, I would go with a Shimano nexus 8 premium and the larger drum brake. Problem is such a setup is hard to come by in the states, but super common throughout Europe. I'd still stick with the SA front brake / generator hub though. Nothing beats that for a commuter bike!

For a ready built bike you can't go wrong with a workcycles. Their city bikes start at just over 800 Euros and built to last. WorkCycles Secret Service Mens Bike
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Old 11-11-19, 08:27 PM
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I've found the nuvinci hubs really dissatisfactory, they're either loathed or loved. If you love it, that plus a belt drive is really what you're looking for.
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