Nexus Internal gears - Anyone used them?/ Plans for commuter bike

Discussion in 'Commuting and Road Safety' started by ejls2, Apr 19, 2006.

  1. ejls2

    ejls2 New Member

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    Hi all,

    I'm interested in building up a new commuting bike and have heard some good things about the Shimano Nexus Internal hubs.

    My commute is rather strange - It's about 95k one-way and I get the train back in the evenings (have a look at this thread if you want more info http://www.cyclingforums.com/t326583.html ).

    Currently I'm doing it 3 mornings a week on my Dawes Racing bike but in September I'm going to have to start going in earlier and would like to keep doing 3-4 mornings a week throughout the winter.

    I built up a cheep singlespeed bike from ebay parts earlier in the year in anticipation of this but I have since found out that the hills on my route are too steep for me to get up in any gear that would be comfortable for the rest of the route :( DOH!

    I'm now planning "The Ultimate Commuter Bike" though I know there is no such thing as different people have different needs. My basic needs are for something which as closely as possible mirrors the fit and feel of my racing bike but which I can use in the rain and only have to dry it off and spray on some lube afterwards.

    You can see why I went for a singlespeed road bike but now I'm looking for alternatives and these internal gears seem to fit the bill.

    What I'm wondering is what people's ideas of the gear range is like on them? What size chain ring are people using? Are they really as maintenance easy as people expect? Ideally I want something that I can get up medium hills with (sorr I don't know the gradients) but also can cruise at 23mph-ish on gentle sownhill slopes or with a tailwind.

    In case anyone is interested the plan for the rest of the bike is still in the early stages but I'm thinking of using a carbon track frame modified to accept disc brakes (gotta love custom manufacturers!)

    Thanks in advance for any help!

    Ed
     
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  2. flyingdutch

    flyingdutch New Member

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    make sure you get the higher spec one Inter8d i think?
    It has the red stripe around the central body. lighter, better sealed etc

    gearing is obviously up to you, and dependant on how strong you are and the nature of your commute
    cheers
    FD
     
  3. ejls2

    ejls2 New Member

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    Thanks! The 8 speed one is the one i'm interested in. It seems to be quite a bit lighter than the other one.

    Have you used them yourself? I'm just interested to hear if people have found that they've been up to their expectations.

    Cheers,

    Ed
     
  4. chuckchunder

    chuckchunder New Member

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    i put an eight speed with the roller brake on my daughter's school bike and she loves it. not doing anything like the kind of miles you intend to, she only rides about ten km a day. her's is a mountain bike so i left the triple crank on (42-32-24 i think) and this gives a huge range. i notice she doesn't move out of the 32.

    i run a rohloff on my commuter covering about 1000km a month and there are a couple of things that spring to mind from this experience. if you have the dosh i would'nt hesitate to recommend the rohloff, seriously nice bit of kit.

    the shimano shifting mech etc is all in-board of the chain-stay, which means it's really well protected in a fall or from knocks etc, but it is all plastic. it doesn't have that robust kind of feel like say an old sram dual drive or the old sturney archer three speeds. same goes for the shifter. i'm just not sure if they're up to the kind of work you intend.

    which makes me wonder if you've thought about using a three speed? if you even contemplated using single speed (strewth, my knees aren't up to that any more) then it might be the way to go. much simpler mechanically and definately proven durability.

    cheers
    chuck
     
  5. ejls2

    ejls2 New Member

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    Thanks Chuck, I'm glad that people who are using them are pleased with their performance!

    I'd seen that they looked a bit plastic-ey but if it's all in-board of the chain-stay then I don't mind too much. I must admit that whenever I see those rohloff hubs I do start staring, they are beautiful bits of engineering!

    As for the three-speed Sturmey Archer idea I have considered it. A few people have told me that they don't cope with sustained high speed ~20mph for long durations very well but I don't know how accurate this is. I've actually built up a single-speed bike which I love but it isn't sustainable for the journey I'm doing. Most of it is flat but there are three steep hills in the middle and there doesn't seem to be a gear which doesn't seem WAY too low on the flat bits which can get up the hills.

    I don't want to really push it as I have an old knee injury which I don't want to aggravate by either climbing in too high a gear or spinning like a lunatic!

    Thanks for all the ideas though, I'll have a play around and see if I can get a sturmey archer 3-speed to work.

    Cheers,
    Ed
     
  6. rek

    rek New Member

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    I built up my commuter with the older 7-speed Nexus system for a short while. I didn't really like it that much.. the rear wheel felt way too heavy (accelerated like a slug off the lights), and couldn't shift under load whatsoever .. which is something I've gotten used to being able to do with derailleur drivetrains (especially while in traffic -- when I want a gear, I want it). Also, at least with the Nexus-7 that I used, getting the rear wheel off is a TOTAL pain in the arse.

    In the end I looked at it, realised I was using an XTR rear mech as a chain tensioner (!) and thought eh, I still have to wash the chain.. may as well go back to a derailleur setup.

    I've since built a different commuter bike that I love, actually it's my favourite bike of all I've owned :D A cannondale cyclocross frame/fork with 25mm offront suspension (with lockout), drop handlebars (I much prefer these in traffic), 9-speed Tiagra groupset, canti brakes, Ultegra Hubs/DT butted spokes/Open Pro rims, 700x38c tyres @60psi with Mr Tuffys, full-length SKS mudguards, and a frame-mount Topeak rack with a quick-release bag that has expandable side panniers. Oh and a 10W halogen light, whose battery fits perfectly in the little bit of free space between the seatstay, seat tube and rear fender.

    The only thing that's stopping it from being my idea of the absolutely perfect commuting/all-weather machine is disc brakes. But if you're going custom-built frame, you can always get a bike built to cyclocross (or comfort road) geometry with the rack and disc mounts :)

    I know it's a common thing for peoples' commuter bikes to be 'beaters', but the way I see it, so long as you can keep it secure both at work and at home, it's worth not compromising the build. After all, it's the bike you'll end up riding most of the time. If you don't really like it, you won't want to use it much... especially if you have a long commute.
     
  7. ejls2

    ejls2 New Member

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    Cheers Peter!

    Actually I completely agree with you as regards making your commuter bike as good as poss especially as I spend 3 hours a day in the saddle. I'm actually looking at using a track frame (for the horizontal dropout) with mounts for discs and brake/gear bosses brazed on.

    I'm concerned about the weight of the hub but I can't go singlespeed (knees) and I want to cut down on maintenance as much as possible. I'm basically planning on using it like a single speed except for the hills in the middle of the ride where I'll just drop it into bottom gear.

    Does anyone know if the newer nexus gears are similarly a pain when trying to shift under load? Do they refuse to shift or do they go out of gear a la sturmey archer and leave your legs free wheeling?

    Cheers,

    Ed
     
  8. wooliferkins

    wooliferkins New Member

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    I commuted in Norfolk for a couple of years and found shimano's built in obselescance to much of a cane on the wallet, I went fixed, is a double sided hub too much of a faff to flip round for the hilly section?
     
  9. ejls2

    ejls2 New Member

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    I'm still thinking about going for a double sided hub. The annoying bit is that there are several hills just far enough apart to make it annoying :(

    Cheers for the advice though. What do you mean by built in obselescance? Was it that they failed often or that Shimano kept bringing out new versions? I must admit the cost of these things are a little scary!

    Thanks once again,

    Ed
     
  10. wooliferkins

    wooliferkins New Member

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    In a years commuting 10 to 20 miles a day I went through 2 blocks and chainsets. If you build stuff to last forever you get no money on resales. Make it just good enough to wear out after 8 months riding (or a race season for the roadies) and you'll get loads of resales.
     
  11. amaferanga

    amaferanga New Member

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    The Nexus 8 apparently has some super-duper mechanism that allows for shifting uder load, but having never used it I can't say how good it actually is. Shimano used a similar system on a 4-speed hub, but didn't use it in the Nexus 7.

    Have you considered an SRAM Spectro 7 hub? I got one earlier this year and have been using it for commuting and touring. Absolutely faultless so far and the shifting is excellent. There's no neutral to catch you out. You need to ease off very, very slightly when changing gear, but if you don't ease off enough then the gear won't change.

    The folks at cycling plus (and Chris Juden in particular) are very complimentary abut the SRAM hub, but much less so about Shimano hubs, which it seems need stripping down and regreasing a bit more often than should be the case for a "zero maintainence" hub gear. Since you plan to do a not inconsiderable mileage on the hub then the SRAM would appear to be the better option. Obviously the Rohloff would be better, but it comes at some cost. I think the SRAM hub costs about the same as the Nexus 8. If you could wait just a little while (until 2007) then SRAM are releasing a new 9-speed hub gear with a gear range of 340% (compared to ~300% for both the Nexus 8 and the SRAM S7).

    I find it strange how many people consider the Nexus hubs, but not the SRAM hubs given the excellent reputation of Sachs (the company absorbed by SRAM who've been making hub gears for a looooooong time) and the mediocre reputation of Shimano hubs. You'll find plenty of bad press on Shimano hubs, but very little on SRAM hubs.
     
  12. ejls2

    ejls2 New Member

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    Hi,

    I've considered and researched the SRAM, the Shimano, the Sturmey Archer and the Rohloff. This thread isn't supposed to be a definite "I am getting a Nexus hub" type thread but rather a "what do people think about the Nexus" thread.

    I've used the SRAM 7 (borrowed from a mate) and I liked it but fewer people who I know have used the Shimano hence the request for more information.

    The current favourite is the Sturmey Archer 8 speed. People seem to be quite taken with them and it also gives me the option of fitting front and rear discs rather than just front as had been the original plan. However, give it a few years and I'm sure I'll upgrade to a rohlof. I'm not sure any other hub gear will cope with what I intend to put it through for long :)

    Thanks for the advice, always good to know what more people think about any of these hubs,

    Ed
     
  13. chuckchunder

    chuckchunder New Member

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    just to try it i took my daughters bike (Nexus 8 equipped) for a ride to see if i could shift under load. it does in most gears most of the time, not under significant pedal pressure though (while standing on the pedals for eg). it doesn't feel "right" though, i'm not sure if this is because of my upbringing with sturmey archer "you have to stop pedaling boy" hubs or just being used to the feel of the rohloff. anyway, user manual says

    "Caution - be sure to shift the lever one gear at a time, and reduce the force being applied to the pedals during shifting. If you try to force operation of the shifting lever while the pedals are being turned strongly, your feet may come off the pedals and the bicycle may topple over, which could result in serious injury"

    none of us wants to topple over, now do we?
    cheers

    chuck
     
  14. Black Cat

    Black Cat New Member

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    I bought an almost new (covered only 20 miles) cheap nexus 7 speed equipped bike from ebay about 2 months ago with the intention of it being used to cover my winter commuting (22 miles round trip). I've used it virtually everyday since getting it, and really like it.

    Shifting is consistently good, and operates fine under reasonable load. The range of ratios is great for my route which does have some hills but nothing huge or too long. I don't find that the set-up feels any heavier than my other derailer equipped Claud Butler adapted MTB that I also use to commute, and which was a more expensive bike. The bike is also very quick and certainly faster than the Claud Butler but it does use larger diameter wheels and narrower tyres.
    I'm off on a 200 mile ride over three days starting this Sunday. The route will primarily follow the Northumberland coast from Newcastle to Edinburgh and I intend to use the Nexus equipped bike - I expect it to handle the trip well - I'll post my actual experience after the event.
     
  15. ZandaBailey

    ZandaBailey New Member

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    Hi,
    Grew up with the Sturmey Archer. Then moved to derailleurs. The difference was the continual regular maintenace that derailleurs need.

    In 2003 I bought a bike with a Shimano Nexus 3 speed hub in 700C wheels. No problems, rode about 10 miles a day for two years. A cycle mechanic opined that they are bullet proof. Cheap rotary shifter was the down side. Plastic cover fell off. Still works but looks rubbish. I too included a rear derailleur as a chain tensioner because chain dropped off at times. Without such a fail safe device, the horizontal position of the rear wheel in the rear dropouts is critical (as with single speed). The ideal set up would be either horizontal rear dropouts or an eccentric bottom bracket or both.

    I would agree that you should ease off the power when changing gear. But then I would recommend this for derailleurs too.

    A famous ‘problem’ with Sturmey Archer hub gears is that of ‘false neutrals’ (or ‘slipping’ in between chages. In fact this only happens with worn units. (Hence some do it and some don’t). They get worn by being improperly adjusted (engaging only the edge of the gear which then wears smooth).

    I have heard of the Nexus being marketed on the promise of no false neutrals however they can have them – this occurs in between gears if the gear is improperly adjusted.

    I find the SA easier to set up after removing and replacing the rear wheel than the Nexus.

    The sprockets can be changed on SA’s, there are loads of sprockets still around, many on Ebay, and hub parts are readily available. Note that Saint Johns Cycles now sell 700C wheels with three speed Sturmey Archer hubs. I read that Brixton Cycles in London are good at renovating SA hubs. No doubt there is plenty of expertise in Cambridge.



    A significant yet sometimes overlooked advantage of hub gears over derailleurs is that it allows a stronger wheel. The wheel is left-right symmetrical (no ‘dishing’). Less truing needed as a result.


    Zanda.
     
  16. gclark8

    gclark8 New Member

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  17. ejls2

    ejls2 New Member

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    Thanks for the replies all. I'm very glad that people generally seem to like these gears. I'll let you know how my new build progresses.

    Cheers,

    Ed
     
  18. Black Cat

    Black Cat New Member

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    Further to my contribution last week, I can now confirm that I duly completed the 220 miles over three days ride on my Nexus 7 speed as predicted without a hitch. The bike (and rider!) performing impeccably throughout. The rout involved a climb to 400m which the gears took in their stride too.

    The bike performed arguably better than my two travelling companions' machines which were derailer equipped machines.

    In summary this has re-inforced my initial positive thoughts on the bike/hub which had up until now performed in the main as an excellent commuter.
     
  19. aubinmg

    aubinmg New Member

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    Wow! I'd love to see a picture of that.
     
  20. garage sale GT

    garage sale GT New Member

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    Get on Amazon and check out Cadillac AV-8 or Cadillac AV-8.0i. It's a bike with a Sturmey Archer 8-speed drum brake hub and drum brake front hub. They're blowing them out for $250 which is probabaly what you'd pay for the hubs.

    I have about 150 miles commuting on mine and except for the fact that the seat was a piece of crap it seems to be doing fine. The hub is exceptionally smooth and while I am sure there is a slight difference in drag between it and my Deore-equipped Raleigh trail bike, I just don't feel it and I complete my 11.1 mile commute in the same time.

    It's a great bike, and you can leave the stupid backrest off. I don't know why they are selling them so cheap but the hubs alone are worth $250. I paid $300 for mine in August.
     
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