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Talk to me about belt drives and 8 speed hubs

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Talk to me about belt drives and 8 speed hubs

Old 08-27-19, 12:39 AM
  #1  
cirian75
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Talk to me about belt drives and 8 speed hubs

After much pondering I'm coming to the conclusion that a belt drive 8 speed Shimano Nexus hybrid would be a great Manchester roads commuter

faster and lighter than a MTB and far more comfy than a road bike

and very low maintenance

I liked the idea of a MTB, ride it like you stole, jump off kerbs and bounce around, but I think I'd get tired of the extra weight and fork maintenance

Low maintenance is very appealing

Does anyone have any experience of this type of bike ?

The bike being looked at is the Cube Hyde Pro 2019, belt drive and 8 speed hub

Last edited by cirian75; 08-27-19 at 12:44 AM.
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Old 08-27-19, 02:08 AM
  #2  
dabac
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Originally Posted by cirian75 View Post
After much pondering I'm coming to the conclusion that a belt drive 8 speed Shimano Nexus hybrid would be a great Manchester roads commuter
That may well be the case.

Originally Posted by cirian75 View Post
faster and lighter than a MTB
That is pretty much entirely dependent on type and price range of MTB. An XC (Cross-Country) MTB with low-tread tires can be pretty decent on roads.
And if you're ready to throw a bit of money on it, finding one that's lighter than an average hybrid is no big deal.

Originally Posted by cirian75 View Post
.and very low maintenance
IGHs and belt drives does have that advantage. Although the gap between belt vs chain in a good chaincase may not be that big. Look for drum or roller brakes if you really want to keep maintenance down. Depending on your own ability and the shops around you, belt drive bikes can be a pain to deal with when they finally do need an overhaul, or if you want to tweak the gearing a little. Chain drives can be serviced and customized "everywhere".

And remember that low maintenance still isn't no maintenance. No bike is immune to the consequences of extended periods of neglect.

Originally Posted by cirian75 View Post
.. far more comfy than a road bike..
There'd be a HUGE amount of personal opinion in that statement.
I might prefer a hybrid ahead of a drop bar bike if I was forced to ride in the drops all the time. Or perhaps if there's a lot of road buzz that can be cancelled out by the wider tires and lower pressures of the hybrid. Apart from that, I don't see any huge comfort gain from hybrids vs road bikes. Bike set-up is more important than bike type IMO.

Originally Posted by cirian75 View Post
I liked the idea of a MTB, ride it like you stole, jump off kerbs ... b
All bikes I've ever ridden have held up to dropping off kerbs. Only issue I've had was when I tried to run 1" tires on a bike with panniers. Snakebite flats were a risk even at moderate loads. Unless your "jumping off kerbs" is a much more energetic thing than my "drop off kerbs", or you're a lot heavier, or run a loaded bike - particularly with narrow tires, you should be OK on pretty much any bike.

Originally Posted by cirian75 View Post
..and bounce around..
No idea what that means to you. But I've seen bikes described as "urban assault bikes". One of those might be a better choice if you're looking for a plaything, piece of sports equipment instead of a vehicle. And while quite robust, IGHs aren't an obvious choice is you're really into jumping.

Originally Posted by cirian75 View Post
... I think I'd get tired of the .. fork maintenance
The amount of fork maintenance required is closely related to fork type and how well you want it to work. Elastomer forks don't take much. Oil/spring can be quite rugged too. With low enough expectations, maintenance doesn't have to be much. Keep it lubed so it doesn't seize from rust and you should be good for years.
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Old 08-27-19, 04:46 AM
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I have almost 3,000 miles on my Gates belt drive with 8 speed Shimano Alfine IGH......it's been fantastic. Zero maintenance, no grease, and being able to shift when you are stopped is perfect for in the city. Only issue is removing the rear wheel can be a pain, make sure you have good tires so you'tr not getting flats. I highly recommend the IGH........
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Old 08-27-19, 05:41 AM
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Originally Posted by cirian75 View Post
After much pondering I'm coming to the conclusion that a belt drive 8 speed Shimano Nexus hybrid would be a great Manchester roads commuter

faster and lighter than a MTB and far more comfy than a road bike

and very low maintenance

I liked the idea of a MTB, ride it like you stole, jump off kerbs and bounce around, but I think I'd get tired of the extra weight and fork maintenance

Low maintenance is very appealing

Does anyone have any experience of this type of bike ?

The bike being looked at is the Cube Hyde Pro 2019, belt drive and 8 speed hub

I've had/have IGHs over the years, including a Nexus with chain; have sold and worked on numerous Nexus and Alfine bikes.

IGH with belt have a few unique benefits:

1/ no oily chain
2/ no chain noise
3/ no chain maintenance
4/ shift at stops/without pedaling

But there are a few drawbacks which may or may not affect you:

1/ cost and weight
2/ tools needed for rear wheel nut removal and frame opening
3/ shifter ergonomics (pull cable for high gear)
4/ tick tick tick instead of whirring chain
5/ hub service is not fun or fast


Jumping off curbs and joy riding is more about the rider than the bike but an IGH is not very tolerant of impacts and rough pedaling even. Typically, IGHs are meant to be ridden sitting and spinning; standing and shifting under loads will lead to premature wear.

Combined with hydraulic disks and a rigid fork, this bike will have a low down time and high availability. The typical client was an urban commuter who didn't want to ruin their trousers.

For a long ride bike, I personally would aim for Alfine 11 or a Rohloff, with a steel or carbon fork. The jumps in the gearing are a bit too wide for me @8 and Al forks can be rigid so ride before you buy. Also, see if the reverse shifting works for you.

Last edited by DorkDisk; 08-27-19 at 07:15 AM.
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Old 08-27-19, 06:26 AM
  #5  
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Originally Posted by cirian75 View Post
After much pondering I'm coming to the conclusion that a belt drive 8 speed Shimano Nexus hybrid would be a great Manchester roads commuter
... Does anyone have any experience of this type of bike ?
Yes. A friend and I have been riding a Priority Eight commuter bike for several years now. The combination of Gates belt drive and an IGH like the Shimano Nexus is about as low maintenance as it gets. Just grab the bike and go. The belt and drive train stay clean, and even during winters we never do more than to maybe knock the freshly fallen snow off the belt before jumping on and riding. I can't remember the last time I've had to clean any of my belt drive bikes. Never a bent hanger either.

The tradeoff is that you do give up a few percentage points of efficiency to the internally geared hub. I'm completely at peace with that for general commuting around town.

The only weather related problem my friend and I have had is that he somehow once got water into his shifter housing that froze and jammed his shifting. We replaced the housing once we realized what had happened.

Changing out a flat tire is worth practicing at home a time or two before doing it for real on the side of the road. It's not difficult once you've done it and gotten familiar with how.
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