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  1. #1
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    NuVinci 360 for touring?

    I built up a ss Troll with the idea that the right IGH wheel would be an easy swap to go from single track to touring rig.

    I know the Alfine 8 has proven itself, but I just don't know about a range that small.

    Alfine 11 was exciting prospect till people told me to go poking around here and bikeforums for stories of failed units.

    I read the (excellent!) offroad review of the NuVinci, but I was wondering if anyone has applied one to loaded touring yet? I don't really care about weight, since an extra lb or two won't get noticed fully loaded.

    And the other issue I've heard about is drag, but honestly sounds like I'd deal w that even with Rohloff. Plus peole have mentioned it smoothing out after putting in some miles on it.

    So, a good touring option?

  2. #2
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    I'm leaving in next Saturday for a weeklong self-contained tour with my N360 hub. I've used it for 4 months of daily commuting (RT 20-32 miles, depending on route) and it's been superb! This hub is truly hassle free. I was constantly fussing with cable tension and gunk issues with a rear derailleur. Now, I lube the chain weekly and air the tires up daily - that's it! No other maintenance to speak of. The beauty of sealed bearings This hub is damn near bulletproof.

    I have changed the gearing for fast club rides, loaded touring and light loads for getting to work. It fulfills all those needs. The hub is mounted on DT Swiss double butted spokes and Velocity Chukker rims, covered by Vittoria Randdoneur Hyper 700x40 tires. One word: smooth. Addressing the drag issue: it is present only in the extreme ends of the gearing. So if you are pushing a heavy load uphill, you probably don't want to be in the bottom of you gear range all the time. Since you go fast I never notice drag in the highest gear, although I'm sure it's there. Having multiple braking options is nice too. I use mine in disc brake mode.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by crazylemurboy View Post
    I'm leaving in next Saturday for a weeklong self-contained tour with my N360 hub.
    Thanks. This is definitely pushing me in the direction of N360 instead of Alfine.

    Do you have an aprox. idea of how heavy your load will be? I know self supported means different things to different people My comfort and lack of $ultralight$ means I tend to be in the 35-40lb range for complete gear. I will be pulling a trailer on the next tour as well.

    Also, could you check back in after your trip? Love to hear the details in general (keeps me sane to hear other people's trips until I can get on the road), but also about how the hub does. And what kind of terrain are you expecting? In the US?

    And when you change gearing for diff purposes are you doing that with the chainring or cog? Thx

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by bike for days View Post
    Thanks. This is definitely pushing me in the direction of N360 instead of Alfine.

    Do you have an aprox. idea of how heavy your load will be? I know self supported means different things to different people My comfort and lack of $ultralight$ means I tend to be in the 35-40lb range for complete gear. I will be pulling a trailer on the next tour as well.
    I am also a comfort guy. We are using full size self-inflating pads on our tour, which are 30" wide! Having a little trouble mounting that up right now, heh. I haven't weighed in our current load, but I'm going to guess roughly 40-50 lbs / person.

    Quote Originally Posted by bike for days View Post
    Also, could you check back in after your trip? Love to hear the details in general (keeps me sane to hear other people's trips until I can get on the road), but also about how the hub does. And what kind of terrain are you expecting? In the US?
    Sure! I will write up a post about my trip when I get back. I do not electronically blog while on the trip, takes too much time out of the day fussing with electronics. Maybe this will change but for now I will post when I get back I will be riding from Miami, FL to Key West, FL. 260 miles round trip, leisure is the goal.

    Quote Originally Posted by bike for days View Post
    And when you change gearing for diff purposes are you doing that with the chainring or cog? Thx
    When I play with the gearing I usually exchange the chainring. I have 3 rear sprockets (18, 20, 22) and 3 front chainrings (38, 42, 48) Playing with these gears allows a wide range of gear options. A few of them are 'magic gear' combinations as I have vertical dropouts and must use a tensioner when this gear is not achieved. Changing the rear cog or sprocket requires much more work than changing the front gear. I also like to leave the 22T cog on because I always want the most amount of teeth engaging the chain at once as I can manage.

  5. #5
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    I had an N360 in the past, and an Alfine currently, both mountain bikes. I could feel the extra weight of the NuVinci in the rear, but it wasn't terrible, and won't even be a "thing" in terms of touring.

    I would go with NuVinci for (1) shift quality and (2) less fiddling (the Alfine is picky about cable tension).

    Thinking of selling my Alfine, actually, and going back to NuVinci.
    Latitude: 44.93 N

  6. #6
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    I have the previous model of the Nuvinci hub. I've been commuting on it for 3 years now. Last year I did a little loaded touring (4 or 5 days at the longest stretch), and this year I'm planning a week long self-supported ride.
    I love the hub and have no qualms about touring with it (although I'd love to upgrade to the N360), but I'll throw out some observations/caveats:

    • Depending on wheel size/gearing, you may not get the low gear you want. If you stay within the manufacturer's specs, you'll end up geared a little higher then your average dedicated tourer. For me, the awesome shifting makes it worthwhile, and I don't think I pushed that bike up a single hill while touring, but the hills around me are not that extreme, either. Some people gear their bike lower than recommended, but I tend to mash up the hills and am carrying a decent amount of weight even when I'm carrying nothing, if you know what I mean (Clydesdale). I decided better safe then sorry, and good thing, too...
    • In spite of staying within specs, I broke the hub. Not when touring, thank goodness, and not even using my touring gear range. I was using a 17 tooth cog and 50 tooth chainring when it failed, nowhere near the lower limit. But, the way it failed was that I lost the lowest end of my gear range. Shift down too far and it freewheeled. Shift up a little and it caught. I have no idea how long I could have ridden that way. When I got home, I put the bike aside until I replaced it, but I take some comfort in the idea that even when the hub "broke," I could still ride it. Also the warranty is top notch. I explained my problem, and they sent a new hub out. The N360 hub is supposed to be more robust, but honestly I haven't heard anything bad about the durability of the older model. I suspect I just got a dud.
    • Heavy? How much does this matter when loaded touring? probably not much. I try to make my bike a little front-heavy anyway. I works out fine. The weight doesn't bother me when commuting, and it practically disappears when looked at in terms of 30 lbs of gear. And, of course, the N360 is a little lighter.
    • I have no issues with the gear range for loaded touring. I set up my bike with a compact double up front, but eventually found that I didn't shift enough to make it worth maintaining the shifter. The front derailer came off, but I still have two chainrings: 34/48. When the bike is loaded, I manually move the chain to 34, otherwise it stays on 48.
    • I have had to fiddle with the rear wheel end of things a fair amount. Seems like every time I remove the rear wheel, it takes me several tries to get everything sufficiently torqued or to get the rear shifter housing locked in place. Then I finally get it right, and I never touch it again as long as the wheel stays on. The N360 has dealt with this issue as well and looks far easier to deal with.


    All-in-all, I can't say that the hub is without issues, just that the issues are different than the issues of other systems. And I find the function of the hub more than makes up for the quirks, and many of the quirks are more related to my particular set up and by the fact that I'm using the previous hub model.

  7. #7
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    I'm riding from Seattle to San Diego this summer on my Surly Troll (which like yours is currently built up as a single speed). My bike tour will be self contained, so I'll be fully loaded too. My wife is coming along, and she'll be fully loaded as well. We're taking it one step further though.....bringing our 4 kids and the dog. We'll have 2 bicycle trains...bike...trailercycle...trailer!

    I went to order an Alfine 11 today, but decided to call Shimano first. Shimano told me not to use the Alfine for my tour. They said it'd blow! Sounds like they were right!

    I went to buy a Rohloff next, but a friend on Facebook (who actually worked for Nuvinci when the 360 was being engineered) told me I'd blow the Rohloff. He said they tested the Rohloff against the 360, and they got the Rohloff to fail in the lower gear ranges.

    I too am thinking of a 360, but I'm scared it won't have the low end gear ratios I'm going to need. I don't want to be walking my bike up hills this summer.

    The 360 is so tempting just for the price alone.

    I'm trying to determine the equivalent ratios of the 360. It looks like the lowest you can go on the 360 is equivalent to a 1x10 mountain bike drivetrain using a 32/36 as the easiest gear. Am I right in my calculations?

    The Rohloff gives you the equivalent of 22/32.

    Decisions, decisions.............

  8. #8
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    I think you have it right, mickbwolf, at least on the Nuvinci side of things.

    36 in the back, 32 in the front would, I believe, closely replicate Nuvinci's low gear.

    If you're tempted, I'd try and replicate that gear combination and try to replicate your potential load and see if you think it works for you. For me, it's not as low of a low gear as I would like, all other things being equal, but it's low enough that I hardly ever get off and push. But then, even though I don't travel light, I'm just packing for me, rather than carrying a whole family on my bike.

    I would do some more research on Rohloff if I were you. Nuvinci may have claimed to break one, but they certainly have an interest in promoting their own hub. Also I don't see Nuvinci claiming that they can safely be geared anywhere nearly as low as the Rohloff. For my purposes, the Rohloff seems like extreme overkill. Three times the price for some low gears I would not often use, a high range I've been doing fine without, and without that smooth CVT shifting. But for your purposes, it sounds like the success, or at least enjoyment, of your trip may hinge on those low gears, so seek out some Rohloff tourers to see what kind of damage they think the hub can take.

    Also keep in mind that a number of people have successfully geared their hubs lower than Nuvinci's recommendation. It invalidates the warranty and you will already be asking this hub to deal with a lot of weight and a broken hub could be a show-stopper for your trip. But it's been done. When I was researching the hub, some of the info I was reading seemed to be saying that under-gearing/over-torquing was unlikely to damage the hub so much as it was to decrease efficiency. That's still a risk I wouldn't take, but then I've been able to cope with the low gear that I have. And, of course, I did successfully break my hub, but it was well within the manufacturer's specs at the time and had never been geared outside of those specs, so whatever happened to it, I wouldn't chalk it up to over-torquing.

    Whatever you decide, good luck. It sounds like an adventure.

  9. #9
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    Well, I just got back from my trip. And all I can say is: what a blast! I had a great time. The girlfriend and I went riding through the Florida Keys on our bikes. She was using a mostly stock '73 Schwinn Varsity and I rode my N360 equipped Salsa Vaya. Here are my thoughts:

    Reliability: No issues whatsoever. As has already been proven, this hub can take the abuse. I was loaded with about 50-60 lbs of gear over the week, and N360 did not fail. No slipping, slapping, or clicking of deraillers to let me know I can't shift gear :P Shifting under load was never an issue. It's nice not fiddling with cable tension.

    Range: This is where the N360 takes a ding. The extreme ends of the gear range, as already noted, are more inefficient than direct drive. At first I had my bike set up for a gain ratio of 1.9 - 6.8. On the way down, with the immense tailwind, this was no issue. This gives me a cruising speed of about 14 mph in direct drive, a bit high for touring. I average 13.2 so it worked out nicely. On the way back, the tailwind became a roaring headwind and this is where I suffered. I was living in bottom gear. Luckily I anticipated this and brought a smaller chainring, giving me a gain ratio of 1.7 - 6.2, with a cruising speed of 12.6 mph. This may not seem like a large jump, but it really helped with the climbs and battling the winds for 2 days. Both gears were 'magic gears' so I did not bring a tensioner. I removed 2 links from my chain and bolted on the new ring. Total time to change it out was about 15 min. Not bad.

    Drag: pssh. This didn't matter at all. We rode with a couple other tourists when they were on the road with us, and even with my Nuvinci, a Shimano dynamo hub, and way more gear than everyone else, I spanked em. It was very easy to keep up, and for large portions of the ride I was the leader. Nobody complained about my speed. With the amount of drag the wind and gear created, the thought of my hub holding me back never crossed my mind.

    Conclusion: This tour was only 300 miles, but considering how well this hub performed I would not hesitate to tour on it again. The ease of shifting under load made climbing that much easier. There was no anticipating a shift, I only shifted when the road dictated that I needed to. You may want to consider bringing extra gears for your first tour, but next time I think I will just stick with the lower gear outright, and leave the large ring at home. This is bike touring after all, and we all know how much we love our low gears. I'll try and write up a report of the actual journey itself after we settle back in.

  10. #10
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    Just checking this in between classes, so I'll make a proper response later but thanks so much for the write up. This hub is covered so little that any info helps!

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