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Not ideal for XC?

girishji said:
Internal hubs are ideal for commuting and cruising, but I am not convinced they are the ideal solution for XC, for reasons involving efficiency and increased rotational inertia. ...In summary, the internal hubs have some advanages, but they are inferior to derailleurs for XC use.
Hmmm... Interesting. My response is going to come across as really defensive, and, well, it is...

Inferior is a strong word, and "XC" is a broad category with many definitions. 700g weight penalty, 1% less efficient in certain low gears, and learning a new shifting technique are compromises I (and others) are willing to accept in trade for a sealed, maintenance-free drivetrain, a strong, symmetrically-built rear wheel, "any-gear-now" instantaneous shifting and certain suspension tuning attributes.

I've attached an image at the bottom showing Speedhub efficiency versus an XT derailleur setup. It is purported to be published by German <i>BIKE</i> magazine. It shows efficiency ranges of 96 to 99% compared to 97 to 98% for an XT drivetrain. Speedhub efficiency isn't linear like a derailleur, and hits it's low in gears 3 & 5 (low gear range) when all gears are activated. It hits the 99% high mark in gear #11, the direct drive 1:1 ratio, essentially a singlespeed with 2.4:1 gearing.

Rotating mass that close to the wheel axle is inconsequential. It is not at all similar to increasing tire weight.

Effects of the heavier suspended wheel weight I am still uncertain of, on paper. However:
(1) In reality, rear suspension performance does not "feel" compromised as compared to a derailleur bike.
(2) Single ring single cog setup of Speedhub allows user to "tune" their setup to their bike. Triple ring derailleur based suspended bikes will always be a compromise in certain gears. That alone is a <u>real</u> advantage of the Speedhub, whereas the suspended weight issue is minor to insignificant, if that.

With so many gears turning in the low range -- particularly gears 3 & 5 -- there is a noticable "feedback" that is transmitted back to the rider through the drivetrain. Some describe it as "a grind". Based on rider feedback, the efficiency numbers and the ability (read: inability) of a rider to "sense" a 1% decrease in efficiency, the sensed loss of efficiency many chalk up to "the grind" -- a response to the tactile feedback of the hub. Granted, some riders simply don't want this, since so much of the riding experience exists in the riders' perception.

I'd caution you to avoid pre-conceptions based on your Jericho test ride. Owning three hubs now, I can say that "the grind" varies in degree from hub to hub, and it diminishes with mileage. My first hub, on my NRS, shocked me how noisey it was in the low gears. My second, on my Van Dessel, was smooth and quiet from the start. I blamed the NRS noise on the use of a chain tensioner, but now with that same hub mounted to my 5" travel Hollowpoint -- utilizing the same tensioner setup -- it's come to be pretty quiet. My wife's was a refurbished Speedhub and came pre-broken in.

The 7 to 8 gearing hiccup is a problem if you're trying to force a shift under load and don't expect it. The technique to properly shift a Speedhub under load is different from that of a derailleur drivetrain and takes a few rides to master. An experienced Speedhub rider who becomes caught in the 7/8 trap realizes it immediately and can quickly burp the pedals at the top of the stroke to complete the shift. Nonetheless, this hiccup is probably the second or third most often criticized defect of the Speedhub and I'm told they just recently have done something internally to address it. I haven't tried one of the "improved" hubs (and I'm told it is <u>not</u> a necessarily quick retrofit for existing hubs), and in any case, it's probably more important for a Speedhub newbie to make this comparision, since they're the riders who most often notice it and complain about it.

A quick word on the Nexus. Like you, I own a 7 speed Nexus on a Van Dessel. It does not compare to the Speedhub. The 8 speed version is interesting, but it still remains unsealed, it weighs nearly 1800g (about the same as a Speedhub), and has some pretty big, uneven gear steps ranging from 22% to a whopping 29% (compared to the even 13.5% steps of the Speedhub).

Also, I wouldn't call the annual Speedhub oil rinse and change maintenance -- more "preventative maintenance". The hub operates in a sealed oil bath, and truly is maintenance free. Nexus hubs, on the other hand, require attention, should be repacked on a regular basis, and face it -- they break. I'm <i>not</i> saying they're not reliable, but they aren't maintenance free, nor are they bulletproof like a Speedhub.

What it all boils down to *for me* is that internally geared hubs are absolutely superior, and over the past three or four years have completed an important transition in my garage: All five bikes under the roof (my hardtail, my and my wife's dualies, my and my wife's street bikes) are <u>derailleur free</u> with a mix of Rohloff, Sram and Shimano internal hubs. I feel like I've "seen the future" and will be happy to never own a derailleur again.

I won't suggest they're for everyone, and I'll be the first to admit their defficiencies, but at least now you know where my vested interest in their defense comes from.

<font size="+1">Speedhub Efficiency Plot</font>
<u>Top Plot (Efficiency)</u> Red = Speedhub; Blue = XT drivetrain (Yellow = 22T / Green = 34T / Blue = 44T)
<u>Bottom Plot (Gear Ratio)</u> Red = Speedhub; Blue = XT
<img src="https://gallery.consumerreview.com/webcrossing/images/speedhubxt.jpg"><p>
<font size="+1">Van Dessel Buzz Bomb w/ Speedhub</font>
<img src="https://gallery.consumerreview.com/webcrossing/images/buzzdrive.jpg"><p>
<font size="+1">Iron Horse Hollowpoint w/ Speedhub
<img src="https://gallery.consumerreview.com/webcrossing/images/hpsh(13).jpg"><p>
<font size="+1">Marin Mount Vision w/ Speedhub
<img src="https://gallery.consumerreview.com/webcrossing/images/mvsh(8).jpg"><p>
<font size="+1">Van Dessel Straight Up x7 w/ Nexus 7 speed coaster brake
<img src="https://gallery.consumerreview.com/webcrossing/images/sux7(4).jpg"><p>
<font size="+1">Specialized Rock Hopper w/ Sram Spectro 7 speed drum brake
<img src="https://gallery.consumerreview.com/webcrossing/images/rhs7(6).jpg"><p>
 

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Belfrey said:
Believe that's ball-burnished aluminum. I'm not a huge Cdale fan, but I gotta admit they've long been into the commuter bike thing... anyone remember the C1000, came stock with the wooden fenders? Cool bike.

Cool to see ANY major manufacturer trying out the Rohloff for something besides DH.
Yeah, didn't work out so well for Van Dessel, and wasn't IBEX another manufacturer who tried but didn't succede?

I don't know how big the Cheetah brand is in Europe, but Speedhubs are an option for one of their XC bikes (King Artus?). Rohloff list other brands on their German website, but Nicolai is the only that I readily recognize.
 

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Couple of things. The efficiency comparison from the german magazine was not what I had in mind. I saw an english article (authored by university types) where they show the devices they used to measure the efficiency, in addition assumptions and approximations made in the comparison. The article was quite long and the results show (if my memory serves me right) a wider (than one in your pictures) gap between efficiency of internal hubs (they used sachs, shimano, rohloff etc) and a generic derailleur system. Somebody scanned the pages from the magazine and put em up as jpegs (the reason why I am having trouble trying to google it). Anyway, the efficiency difference was more like 5% on average. But I am not going to dispute the authenticity of your source (I hope the german BIKE magazine is not like some of the phony bike rags we have here in US), but my own experience (with shimano of course) tells me that there is noticeable difference in efficieny. But then again, I notice the smallest things. Also, efficiency is not everything. I agree that for some people, and under some circumstances (like if extra cash is not an object) a rohloff may be a better solution.
 

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I'm late coming into this discussion, but just wanted to mention...

YES, the Rohloff is heavy.

YES, the Rohloff isn't as efficient for certain things.

But, the technology is clearly superior in every way to a derailleur. What needs to happen is a company such as Shimano needs to push some R&D money into an internal hub and they could easily design one that is as light as a conventional drivetrain, and could probably help the efficiency of the hub as well. You can't expect a tiny operation like Rohloff to be able to significantly better their design without doubling or tripling the price.

Derailleurs suck. This is the way of the future.

As an aside, for DH applications the speedhub is a terrific solution. Going tubeless and using butted spokes can save more weight than the speedhub adds. Going from an Intense 1600g tire to a Michelin 1200g tire is nearly a pound of weight difference and most DH'ers don't even think twice about that. The prohibitive cost is the only thing that's keeping the Speedhub down.. You can buy a lot of derailleurs for a grand.
 

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binary visions said:
I'm late coming into this discussion, but just wanted to mention...

YES, the Rohloff is heavy.

YES, the Rohloff isn't as efficient for certain things.

But, the technology is clearly superior in every way to a derailleur. What needs to happen is a company such as Shimano needs to push some R&D money into an internal hub and they could easily design one that is as light as a conventional drivetrain, and could probably help the efficiency of the hub as well. You can't expect a tiny operation like Rohloff to be able to significantly better their design without doubling or tripling the price.

Derailleurs suck. This is the way of the future.
late here too. but..

i agree that this is the future too.
the cost of the rohloff could be cut and the eficiancy raised if they were to dop the full rnge of gears. make it a 7speed. less weight, simple, narrow the mech for frame mount.

my opinions.

alex morgan
 

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I always thought this was a really cool implementation of a speedhub, for DH/FR, it looks pretty heavy though.



They even make a tandem version of the FR model, I wonder if anyone has ever bought one? I would love to see a two people on a tandem ride a 10 foot huck, lol :D
 

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Speaking of DH/FR applications...

While at Whistler last summer on my Speedhub-equipped Uzzi SLX, I ran into another rider on the trails who had built up his BigHit with a Speedhub. I asked him how he liked it, and he was very positive about the durability and performance for DH use.
I only wish it were easier to build up a modern DH frame with the Speedhub's conventional axle design. Many of the newer leading frames are exceeding 135mm spacing with wider hubs & thru-axles. One would have to get creative with wheelbuilding and machining a special adapter to make a Speedhub fit some frames:(
Guess I'll stick to FR use until that happens!

-Adam


Acme54321 said:
I always thought this was a really cool implementation of a speedhub, for DH/FR, it looks pretty heavy though.



They even make a tandem version of the FR model, I wonder if anyone has ever bought one? I would love to see a two people on a tandem ride a 10 foot huck, lol :D
 

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Lemme just say first off, this is neat technology.

I have a lot of reservations about switching to a gear driven system. It seems the chain drive system we have right now deserves a little more respect than it's being given in this thread. It's HIGHLY efficient. It's light. It's simple enough that you can mangle the holy hell out of it and for the most part still get yourself out of the woods with nothing more than a few allen wrenches and a chain tool. It's also cheap. Maintenance of a chain drive really isn't such a big deal. Getting 27 speeds out of an internally geared hub seems quite impractical.

I'm wondering if those who ride the rohloff do a lot of hard XC biking? It seems to me this would quickly wear out the small gears inside such a hub due to the eventual influx of mud, as well as the high torque and rapid shifting. I'm not trying to crap on anyone's parade here though, I'm mainly just pointing out how much appreciation i have for the current drivetrain standard.
 

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endurowanker said:
Getting 27 speeds out of an internally geared hub seems quite impractical.

.


ok... never mind that. i just read the site. it's got an equivalent number of gears. :eek:


still.... a grand, and you can't fix it on the trail :(
 

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endurowanker said:
ok... never mind that. i just read the site. it's got an equivalent number of gears. :eek:


still.... a grand, and you can't fix it on the trail :(
Question is..

Has one ever broken down to the point it wouldn't work on the trail.
 

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Not only is it neat technology, it's the most durable mtn. bike drivetrain that exists today. Hard XC riding?:) Yeah, you could say that...

As a heavy rider (210-215 lbs is my average body weight, plus gear) with long legs & cranks (180mm), I was having drivetrain reliability issues on my heavy trail bike. Riding year round in New England is probably as heavy duty use as a bike drivetrain can get-mud, snow, ice, water, road salt don't make it easy on anything that's exposed and under an enormous load. Warped cassettes and a fistfull of worn chains used to clutter my bike workspace..Well, since I got off the Shimano wagon & switched to a Speedhub 2 seasons ago the drivetrain maintenance on my heavy duty trailbike/freeride bike (an Uzzi SLX) has been reduced to virtually nill In 2 seasons I've had to replace a cable set and a chain tensioner spring. On my XC race bike during the same interval (Shimano/SRAM 3x9 drivetrain) I've had to replace several chains, cassettes, chainrings, shifter cables, and a rear derailleur.

Speedhubs are sealed against the elements and run in an internally-lubricated oil bath.
Heavier? Sure, but last year's maiden voyage in Moab proved it to be a sound investment. On our first mid-March ride on vacation, we embarked on what would turn out to be a 35 mile epic ride, through several hours of heavy, wet snow, suck-your-boots-off mud, and finally with several screaming downhill fireroads and high speed stream crossings. During the ride my bike shifted perfectly the whole time. Several friends with conventional drivetrains had to stop, scrape the mud from their chainrings & cassettes, and after the ride more than one had to do a drivetrain overhaul to get original shifting behavior again. I just hosed off the Speedhub & chain & hit the hot tub:)

Conventional drivetrains are fine for many riders-lightweight, very careful shifting, favorable weather/riding conditions, regular cleaning, and luck can contribute to great performance and long drivetrain life. I'd rather ride more & be lucky less:) There's a Speedhub#2 in my garage that's going on my XC bike this spring...

-Adam

endurowanker said:
Lemme just say first off, this is neat technology.

I have a lot of reservations about switching to a gear driven system. It seems the chain drive system we have right now deserves a little more respect than it's being given in this thread. It's HIGHLY efficient. It's light. It's simple enough that you can mangle the holy hell out of it and for the most part still get yourself out of the woods with nothing more than a few allen wrenches and a chain tool. It's also cheap. Maintenance of a chain drive really isn't such a big deal. Getting 27 speeds out of an internally geared hub seems quite impractical.

I'm wondering if those who ride the rohloff do a lot of hard XC biking? It seems to me this would quickly wear out the small gears inside such a hub due to the eventual influx of mud, as well as the high torque and rapid shifting. I'm not trying to crap on anyone's parade here though, I'm mainly just pointing out how much appreciation i have for the current drivetrain standard.
 

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I really dig the G-boxx standard. It decreases the unsprung weight, although increasing overall wieght. I think this is the future of biking for sure. that evil 2013 is hot!! Down with the derailleur!! Next on the list is the CVT (constant variable tranny)! No shifting needed, that could reduce some weight (no shifters/cables/etc), depending on how much the tranny would eventually weigh.
In twenty years we will be saying to the next generation - back in our day we had to ride around with this clunky thing hanging off the rear axle and the chain slapping all over...
 

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efficiency

Efficiency on the bench is one thing. Efficiency on the track is another - a brandnew derailleur is probably more efficient, but put a few hundred miles of wear, or dirt into the equation, and the hubgear leaves it for dead. I have both the Rohloff and the 8 speed Shimano Inter 8, and they are both good.

I would sooner trust the Rohloff in really dirty conditions.
 

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A funny thing happens..

I have seen a strange thing in life, when someone tends to have invested much in something they tend to defend it beyond reason. Gee if I have purchased 3 speed hubs I think I wouldn't want to believe anything was wrong with them. I'd have a tendency to want to feel I have chosen the best for my bike and look with a blind eye towards any accusations that there are big flaws. The same can be said for much in life.

I too have purchased a Rohloff and will soon be spending more jack to get the thing in a good frame a 29'er no less. (29er possibly another facade)

Something's shouldn't be over looked about Rohloff,
1- The success and notoriety of the company, why aren't they doing better if this product is so great?
2- The weight, well yeah this is a problem why isn't this being addressed? What has been done to improve it?
3- The price, it's a terrible price this is one bit of equipment I have to worry about when I am not watching over it.
4- Efficiency I was thinking I was getting something more efficient.
5- Why aren't these things winning races?

I know there are reasons and excuses to combat the previous questions, some obvious.

The underlying fact is Rohloff needs to improve and change and grow in a much bigger way or someone who is willing to change grow and take a few risks will. If this list above didn't exist we would all be complaining about the giant company Rohloff and how difficult it is to pay for their $375 ti hub.

Looking forward to actually riding my Rohloff. And just feel fustrated because it could be so much more.
 

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As to the question of why Rohloff isn't more successful, well I think it's price related.

If the hub was only $450, I'd be willing to bet they sell a lot more units.
 

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re: price

frankenbike said:
As to the question of why Rohloff isn't more successful, well I think it's price related.
Price is definitely an issue. I would have bought one much sooner if it was cheaper. As it is you have to make a leap of faith because to set it up properly you need a whole new wheel, a single chainring, and preferably custom dropouts.

If I hadn't discovered the advantages of hubgears elsewhere, I doubt if I would ever have taken the risk.

Also it is mentioned in another post "...and for the most part still get yourself out of the woods with nothing more than a few allen wrenches and a chain too..."

A lot of cyclists use the Rohloff for expedition style cycling. It's not simply a matter of getting out of the woods. It is possible to be a few hundred miles away from the nearest road or town in places like Australia. I wouldn't trust a derailleur for that sort of work.
 
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