Any experience with lower end internally geared hubs?

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Oct 30 2013 at 5:17pm #

We can mostly drop the IGH has too narrow a range argument I believe. At least, the three ratios in the Sturmey Archer case were slightly more spread top to bottom than the range I most regularly use (if I’m willing to sacrifice my cat-6 the train going to the waterfront / slight downhill gear and accelerate at the end of my rides to carry the steepest portion of my driveway (or just pull down on the handlebars really hard for a few pedal strokes)).

As for the other stuff… I’m in fence sitting mode. I’m curious on all angles, and I really do like the idea of an an IGH. I am willing to consider jumping at something, IGH or otherwise if it feels compelling and is CHEAP. But that’s a high standard for me, so I’ll probably delay until my bike is a poor single speed, hopefully in a gear that works. And then I’ll make a rushed and ill considered decision. Just knowing me.


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Oct 30 2013 at 5:44pm #

jonawebb wrote:Because he was the kind of guy who loved taking things apart and putting them back together

if you look at explanations to pictures then you can find out that a lot of them about problems in IGH and inadequate lubrication for a certain areas.

Shimano Nexus SG-8R20 8-Speed Internally Geared Hub with Roller Brake

This hub was ridden less than one year in Seattle. Neither the shop nor Shimano used enough grease and oil for NW weather.
If you bring us your bike we can preemptivly weatherize your hub and avoid expensive repairs.
Unfourtunately, the only way to fix this hub is replacement. The hub shell bearing races were badly pitted. The hub functioned, but with a very loud rumbling noise.

So, the question still stands — are IGHs low maintenance?

I would say — it requires much rare maintenance but when it requires…

Change your oil every 3000 miles. (the first oil change is at 500 miles)



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Nov 16 2013 at 5:46pm #

Craigslist bike

Mind you that it probably has steel rims which may be less than ideal in the wet. I would also talk the price down a bit.


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Nov 18 2013 at 7:38pm #

Another few CL bike


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Nov 18 2013 at 8:14pm #

Here’s a stupid question. I generally stay away from anything calling itself vintage out of reliability concerns failing bits and difficulty servicing/replacing said bits.

Is this a concern that should apply to bicycles? Understanding that with anything there’s a range, but just generally speaking, is it justified? Because then even if the hub is reliable, the whole exercise is questionable unless of course I find a cheap modern bike with an IGH, but that’s seeming less likely.

Of course, at the right price point all sorts of questionable things just become fun experiments… if the 60$ model had more appeal, for instance.


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Nov 18 2013 at 9:20pm #

^ I’m not at all knowledgable about older bikes. But I think the correct answer is to ask a different question: can you still find replacement parts & at a reasonable price? I know both Kranick’s and Bicycle Heaven carry a lot of old parts, and a quick look at ebay also shows a lot of SA parts at not too expensive prices. So unless you are trying to make your ride an exact restoration, I don’t think the age of the bike should make all that much difference.

Jacob McCrea

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Nov 18 2013 at 9:59pm #

I would say that it all depends on how the bike, or any other piece of equipment, was used, kept and maintained. I have no experience with “vintage” bikes, nor do I wish to. That said, bicycles in general are pretty amenable to upgrading, e.g., adding a more modern drivetrain, modern handlebars, etc., with a few basic parts. There are some exceptions, like my old Cannondale with a 125mm rear hub, which make upgrading a particular part challenging or uneconomical, but as Marko noted you can solve those problems if you care to.

I think the following comments, while straying from the question, might be helpful to you as well. Here are some of the common denominators I have found over the last 25 years in keeping a wide range of machines, from $40 bicycles to $4,000 racing motorcycles to a $40,000 turbo diesel truck, operating properly.
1) Any piece of equipment is going to require some base-line level of periodic maintenance – period.
2) The cheapest way to operate any piece of equipment over the long term is to figure out what basic maintenance is required and DO IT!
3) The corollary to #2 is that regardless of the equipment I have never found neglect to be a cost-effective long term strategy.
4) You often have to “spend money to save money” when it comes to maintenance, e.g., replacing a chain before it wears out the rest of the drivetrain, changing a car’s transmission fluid rather than buying a new transmission, etc.
5) One of the best things you can do for any piece of equipment is to keep it dry and out of damp environments. About the last thing I would do to any of my bikes is to wash them and put them away wet.
6) Don’t let a piece of equipment, particularly complex equipment (cars, trucks, etc.) sit for extended periods of time.
7) Good marine-grade waterproof grease from a motorcycle or boat trailer store is good to use on a bike, or anything else, that is exposed to a lot of water and moisture.
8) Typically nothing will be cheaper to own and operate than something you already own – provided that you do the maintenance.


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Nov 19 2013 at 1:17pm #

byogman wrote:Here’s a stupid question. I generally stay away from anything calling itself vintage out of reliability concerns failing bits and difficulty servicing/replacing said bits.

There are minor problems, but plenty of after market parts (especially through origin8 and orange-velo).

Avoid French bikes: they use one of two weird bottom bracket threads and spare parts are hard to find (but there are still plenty of viable alternatives, just nothing cheap). They use a different headset, fork, stem, handlebar dimension… you’ve got to replace everything if you replace one.

Keep in mind that there are less handlebar options for the traditional 26mm size handlebar/stem combo. Older bikes use a 1″ fork steerer and you are stuck with a quill setup. The parts are available (origin8, velo-orange, nitto) but you have less options to swap with parts that someone might just have laying around from another (more modern) bike.

Hub spacing can be an issue. Older bikes often have 120mm or 126mm spacing and will not take a modern 130mm hub. If the frame is made of steel, you can “cold set” the frame and change the spacing to take a newer wheel.

Brake swaps can be a pain and require long reach brakes or an adapter if the bike was originally made for 27″ wheels as opposed to the current standard 700c.

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