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  1. #1
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    NuVinci N360: Amateur Review

    DISCLAIMER: I am not by any means an expert rider and I have not tried every piece of equipment out there or ridden every type of trail. The premise of this review is to provide observations of the real-world performance of the NuVinci N360 hub with as much detail as possible. It is not meant to be an endorsement or advertisement, just data for people to draw from, with a few of my personal opinions along with it. Yes, the hub is heavy. No, it's not for everyone. Just don't give me crap because I write way, way too much or have stupid opinions.


    BACKGROUND: I'm 6'3", 215 lbs and like to break things. My singletrack bike is a large Surly Karate Monkey with a Fisher Rig build kit and a Fox F29 80mm fork. It's been set up mostly as single speed, but also ridden with a 1x9 setup for a while. As a SS it weighed in at just under 30 lbs. I built up the N360 hub to a Stan's ZTR Flow rim with a way-fatter-than-2.35 Bontrager FR3 tire. The whole setup brought the complete bike weight up to 33.6 lbs. There really isn't a single part of this bike chosen for weight reduction or speed, more for comfort and durability.


    WHEEL BUILD: A friend at my LBS helped me string up the wheel. I'll spare the details except for one anecdote: every time my friend lifted it out of the truing stand he kept thinking it was stuck, only to realize that it's just way heavier than an average cassette hub. Listen to the NuVinci recommendations and lace 2x at most (for 36h), because the diameter of the flange is so large it will be even stronger than a 3x Alfine, in fact because you end up with shorter spokes it's a lot like a 26" wheel laced 3x-4x on a standard hub. Otherwise, it builds up really easily. I noticed that the wheel has a significant amount of extra drag on the truing stand compared to a basic freewheel hub, but it is not really noticeable on the bike and that resistance drops as the hub goes through it's "break-in."


    BIKE SET-UP: Installing on the bike is straight-forward. Make sure the yellow marking on the hub are lined up, put the shifter mechanism in full overdrive, and line up the slots. There are manufacturer recommendations for the length of cable that needs to be showing out the end of the housing when the ends are installed (this is a two-cable set-up) with simple instructions that will get you in the ball park...follow those directions. Once everything is routed and (likely zip-tied) in place, shift the hub to full overdrive and check for cable slack, then do the same for full underdrive. Cable slack WILL screw up the shifter (more on that below).


    TEST RIDE: After installation and cable tensioning, a quick trip around the parking lot is a good idea to make sure the shifter is working properly and you're getting the full range of motion. I had some slack in both cables at first, which will cause the grip shifter to click and make noise and not behave properly. After adjusting the stops at the end of the cables, then tightening up the barrel adjusters on the shifter, all the clicks went away and everything works flawlessly. I recommend checking for cable slack after the first several rides, especially if you get any noise from the shifter, that will likely solve any problems.


    FIRST RIDE: I took a loop that would involve about 10 miles of speed road riding, with about 2.5 miles of flowy singletrack in the middle at Lake Crabtree. Nothing crazy, just wanted to see how the gear range felt, and how it felt on the road and on the trail. Mine is set up with a 32T front ring and 18T cog, making for a total range equivalent to 32:36 up to 32:10. On downhills I could spin out the top gear, but never needed to go any faster than I was going, then on the trails I ride regularly there aren't any climbs that I need a lower gear for. This is all the range I need for what I ride, but you can figure out if that's enough range for you.


    RIDE IMPRESSIONS: I'll say this first: after letting about 10 other people tool around on my bike and play with it, the first two words without fail they use to describe it are "weird" and "smooth." It's very appropriate. First, shifting is as you would expect (except that twisting forward shifts to a lower gear), you twist and it shifts. There is no grinding, crunching, or clicking...you're pedaling cadence just changes, making for a surreal feel over even the other IGHs. There is zero noise, no jerking forces on your legs, no missed shifts, no out-of-gear or ghost shifting sensation...it just shifts, is always in gear and works. My friend commented, "it's weird riding with you and being able to hear you shift gears."

    The added resistance of the hub is barely noticeable, but it is there. The added weight is only majorly obvious when you pick the bike up (remember, that's from my perspective, I'm not a weight weenie). During the first couple rides, the only odd feeling I noticed was when the bike was in full underdrive (32:36) and I was mashing up hill, I could "feel" the fluid in the hub. It wasn't a grinding, more of a swishing feeling that has since faded, as I suspect it is some break-in related symptom (note: there is no malfunction or slippage in this condition, just and odd feeling at first). I did put markings on the tire and test for slippage by checking rotation ratio under no load by just rotating the cranks freely with the bike in a stand, then did the same with extreme torque, mashing scenario. RESULT: there is zero slippage in this hub. You may perceive something as slipping, but I assure you that is not the case. Inefficiency via drag, sure, but you will not make it slip.

    This specific feature is one of the reasons I wanted to be an early adopter. It really is never out of gear, no jerking or sharp forces during shifting, you just pedal along so no matter what when you step on the pedal, you know what to expect. Already my knees feel better riding on this than they did on the 1x9. Of course, this is personal preference, so I'll leave it at that.

    So far, this bike has ridden like a SS. No drivetrain or chain tensioning issues, I can just spray it down after a ride if I want, no maintenance. I wail on wheels, not because I'm so skilled, but because I'm big and lack finesse. The point is, you'll break something else before you ever break anything in this hub. The next test is to go outside the NuVinci recommended gearing range and put a 22T cog on the back and start piling on the torque on the steepest climbs I can find (they say it should be at least 1.8:1 chainwheel/cog ratio as a very generic guideline). From my testing so far I am fairly confident in saying the hub is plenty stout for any type of riding you would do.


    SHIFTER: I'm putting a whole separate section for the shifter because in many ways it's the most used and most critical part of this whole set up. If not set up properly as discussed earlier and cable slack is not eliminated from both cables, then you will have shifter issues. For argument's sake, let's say anyone that has this hub will know how to turn a barrel adjuster and it will be set up properly. What I was interested in was how it shifted in different riding conditions. The gear indicator with the little cartoon dude on the hill is pretty awesome if you're goofy like me (I almost never look at it while actually riding anyways).

    First, you can shift at a dead stop. This can be handy for obvious reasons and it's very light pressure to shift, however if you are completely stopped then it will only shift through about half of its range before you're met with a ton of resistance. NOTE: do not wrench on it to try to get it to shift the rest of the way through, you will just stretch the cables. If you just rotate the rear wheel at all (i.e.- start moving) then you can just as easily shift through the rest of the range. Not a performance issue, just something to be aware of. Where I find the shift-anytime feature most useful is when descending, knowing I'm about to hit a steep climb and I need to be a lower gear to maintain my momentum. I can be standing up, focusing on the descent, just twist the shifter a quarter turn, and when I start pedaling I'm already in that gear, period. Once I got used to doing this and how far to turn the shifter for an approximate gear change, it became super easy and comfortable (and it can bail you out of sloppy riding with immediate shift response).

    Normal riding and shifting is extremely easy. There really isn't a better word for it than "smooth." It just works, try one and you'll get it, instantly. Now, what people are more concerned about is shifting under load. The best way I can describe it is that there is a limit to how quickly you can shift under a really high load. If you're loading the pedals to the maximum you will be met with a ton of shifter resistance, so you don't want to be really cranking on the pedals and the shifter at the same time, but it will work. If you let off for even just the top/bottom of your pedal stroke for just a fraction of a second, the shifter will loosen up and change gears easily. I found that it's easy to shift while climbing, particularly if shifting to a lower gear, but you do have to use more force on the shifter to get it to obey you. That will likely be another personal preference thing, because for me I'd trade a little extra wrist force for continuous, uninterrupted power transfer/gear change, instead having the crank slip a 1/8 turn while shifting or the sudden change jerking on my legs (again, this is a personal preference).


    OVERALL OPINION: Yes, that says opinion, because this is how I feel about this hub:

    If you have a chance to ride one, DO IT.

    Chances are you won't love it. It's not meant for everyone, but it is totally cool. The majority of riders, particularly trail riders, aren't even going to be able to get past the additional 3-4 lbs of weight. Obviously, it's aimed at recreational riding, not performance/racing and as my riding buddy says, "you'd have to be nuts to think I'm adding weight to my race bike." Granted, but that's not the point of this hub from a mountain/trail bike perspective.

    I love this hub because it's: (A) easy to use (2) unbelievably predictable, (d) 100% reliable, and 4) I'm a big dude. I am the opposite of a weight weenie and am not a racer, so my bike is outfitted to be bullet-proof and fun, while allowing me to get a workout. Adding 2% to my total rider + bike weight? Not a problem to me. What I always hated was the way that derailers shift, the effect it has on your legs and pedal stroke, and the risk of damage to cages, chain slap, ghost shifting, adjustment and maintenance, etc. If you don't have a problem with derailers and prefer race-ready components, you likely will not be a huge fan of this hub. If you hate derailers, you'll probably fall in love with it instantly. Either way, it's completely fun and totally different from any other gear system out there.



    Hopefully the length of this post hasn't deterred people from bothering, I tend to ramble, I just figured that someone out there might actually appreciate knowing some of this stuff if they can't actually test one for themselves. If you're in the Raleigh, NC area I tend to ride at Lake Crabtree during lunch whenever I can, I'm always happy to talk about bikes and let you check it out. Pictures of my bike are attached below.

    -Tom
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails NuVinci N360: Amateur Review-img_3705.jpg  

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    NuVinci N360: Amateur Review-photo.jpg  


  2. #2
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    I can confirm the swishy feeling upon cranking in granny ratio when the hub is still young. Didn't affect my speed or anything, and it's diminished a bit since. Example: on something pretty steep, lowest ratio, seated, stomping on it will result in an expectedly awkward wheelie, not slippage.

    I'd honestly like to see what a racer could do with it. I swapped bikes with a pal of mine on some really twisty singletrack. I kept up with him, barely, while riding my own bike. When I took his bike, he took a few turns getting used to it, and then he was VERY hard to keep pace with out of the corners. If you transition the ratio evenly, you can keep a really steady cadence without letting up for indexed shifts.

    The only complaints I have so far:

    1) The weight makes for bunny hops that feel a little different. This was detectable on a Surly Pugsley that was 33 lbs as a single speed. I use the manual-rotate method of bunny hopping, like on a BMX bike. With the more rearward center of gravity, instead of feeling the bike rotate around the middle, it feels more like I'm sort of dragging the rear end up instead of flipping it up. Now, I don't really notice it. I can still do endos with it.

    2) That the shifter indicator can't be reversed. Personally, I didn't care for the shift direction, and decided to swap the cabling so that it's more like a SRAM grip shifter. This is a nitpick, because I also rarely look at the indicator while riding.

    3) Needs more shift range for road riding, or if you're a really fast rider. My fitness is increasing every month, and it's starting to get to where the hardest ratio isn't hard enough, and I find myself spinning a high cadence to get above 20 mph. Then again, I'm running a 32:20 ratio. I'm probably going to drop it to 32x16 or harder next spring.

    I think if it gained more range and lost another two pounds, it'd sell like hot cakes. I really like mine, though. Won't be going back.

  3. #3
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    Good points you make there. For me, the Karate Monkey's center of gravity is about 1/2" in front of the BB now, so it's kind of balanced out nicely with the rear weight addition. I haven't noticed any type of handling difference, but I'll switch back to my single-speed wheelset sometime soon and see if I notice anything going back.

    You're probably right about the range. It's the equivalent of a 10-36 cassette (which I guess would be a 1x11?) which I find to be way more than enough for trail riding, which is all this one hub will be used for right now, though I plan on getting another soon to build into a road/touring bike. Having it at 32/16 instead of 32/20 would certainly help you with road speed, but it depends on what you're using it for. Just riding around NC countryside roads testing out the hub I haven't needed anymore range on either end, but I'm also not going 30+ mph (so I could spin out the high gear, but that's normally just on downhills for me).

    I agree completely with your assessment though. If it basically became the Alfine 11, but a CVT, then it would certainly sell like some hot, hot cakes. But for the people that really want this or will fully appreciate the benefits, the weight and range won't be major detractors.

    Side note: I want your Pugsley. Nice build.
    "I applaud your stupid idea because it is genius." - Eric Sovern, Surly

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the user's view report, Tom. I can see one in my future.

    Drew: like the John Deere look of your build. The Pugdozer 'Cat' look is cool, too.

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the comprehensive review...
    Safe riding,

    Vik
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  6. #6
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    Tom

    Need some help, PM sent. Nice write up.

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    Reply sent, let me know if it helps.
    "I applaud your stupid idea because it is genius." - Eric Sovern, Surly

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    I just joined this forum, in spite of not being a mountain biker, so I could chime in. Largely because I thought I had only Nuvinci in Raleigh. Hey, Tom, I'll have to keep an eye out for you. The hub does attract some attention, and just this morning someone was questioning me about mine when I stopped for coffee. I don't have the N360, though. Mine is the previous model.

    When I read reviews before buying my hub, I read about "squishiness" in the lower end of the gears. I didn't think that description conveyed anything helpful... until I rode my bike. Yeah, in the lower end of the range it's squishy. Doesn't slip, just squish. I didn't realize that it went away as it got broken in. I thought I just got used to it.

    I made my wheel 3 times because I thought I could do a 3 cross on a 700 rim, and then because I didn't pay attention to the suggestion that all the spokes exit the same side of the flange on a side. Finally got it right and it's been solid.

    On gear range: You can run it with front gears. This requires a chain tensioner and takes a lot of single-speed simplicity out of the set up, but I used this in a bike with horizontal drops, so I needed a tensioner anyway. It was tricky getting a front derailler with enough reach given that the Nuvinci pushes the chain line out pretty far, but I got it working, and it worked fine. That said, after several months, I removed the front derailer. I just wasn't using it enough. Even the old model has enough of a gear range for my pokey self. If I was going for speed, it would be nice to have more range, but I rarely run out the top end, and when I do, it's time to coast and relax, which is what I do best.

    Great review, and I'm glad to find a fellow, local, Nuvinci rider.

  9. #9
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    I'm so tempted to pick on up for my cargo bike, but I want a lower gear. I've got an original Nuvinci on the bike now and I'm hurting on moderate hills while carrying a load. I purposely avoided a pricey Rohloff Speedhub on this bike because it's for around town and subject to being locked up, but I'm afraid the Rohloff is the only hub with a low enough low gear.

    If anyone has severely undergeared their Nuvinci, I'd love to hear from you.
    speedub.nate
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    Quote Originally Posted by Speedub.Nate
    .... I purposely avoided a pricey Rohloff Speedhub on this bike because it's for around town and subject to being locked up, but I'm afraid the Rohloff is the only hub with a low enough low gear.

    If anyone has severely undergeared their Nuvinci, I'd love to hear from you.
    I have the original (Non-ATC made) NuVinci on a tandem (posted in the Tandem forum), it's running the equivalent of 1.87:1 ratio on a daVinci (no relation) independent pedal system. We have done many standing climbs (some we've made), and it's holding up pretty well. Keep in mind, we are not what I would consider a "good" tandem team, but we'll try anything.

    This, and the folks that have been using this hub for powered applications, indicates to me that it's somewhat over designed. I can't advocate that you under-gear it, but I'm considering lowering the gear ratio on our tandem.

    I believe the main failure mode has been the steel balls developing flats - the transmission depends on friction, and the harder you load the drive, the higher the pressure is on the balls.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Speedub.Nate
    I'm so tempted to pick on up for my cargo bike, but I want a lower gear. I've got an original Nuvinci on the bike now and I'm hurting on moderate hills while carrying a load. I purposely avoided a pricey Rohloff Speedhub on this bike because it's for around town and subject to being locked up, but I'm afraid the Rohloff is the only hub with a low enough low gear.

    If anyone has severely undergeared their Nuvinci, I'd love to hear from you.
    What's the lowest gear inch you can "legally" setup for a Nuvinci on a 26" wheel [say with a 2.0" tire]?

    I've been under gearing my Alfine with a 22T cog x 32T ring for a couple years now with no harm done.
    Safe riding,

    Vik
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  12. #12
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    The original hub suggested 2:1. I believe the new hub I think drops that just a smidge, but their website will say for sure.
    speedub.nate
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    I could have sworn I replied to this yesterday, but I guess it didn't take...at any rate:

    As far as my experience goes, I've had a lot of time on it now and it's all been just beating the crap out of it, awful miles. I've got it geared 32/18, so it gets me the equivalent of a 32/10 down to a 32/36 gear....and I don't think I would gear it any lower. The NuVinci guideline is at least a 1.8 gear ratio, but that of course depends on your size, your crank arm lengths, and how hard you mash, it's just a general guideline to start with according to NuVinci. With my size, standing up and mashing on that thing in the lowest gear you can feel the hub being affected by the torque on it. The design is still such that it is impossible to break and it's much more efficient than the first-gen under normal riding, but I get the feeling that the harder you load it the less efficient it gets (in the lowest gear). It's not a huge difference, but it's noticeable.

    That being said, I don't think it's in danger of failure in under-geared scenarios and would love to see what a 32/22 gear would do to it or if it feels any more or less sluggish. For me, I love it anyways, worst case scenario is it's keeping me in better shape.
    "I applaud your stupid idea because it is genius." - Eric Sovern, Surly

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    Shifter on drop bars?

    Hey guys, great information. I want to take my first foray into IGH and I'm trying to decide between the Alfine 8 and the Nuvinci. I wanted to run a mountain dropbar type set-up, something like the Salsa Woodchipper or On-one midge.
    My question is there enough adjustability in the twist shifting mechanism to fit on a non-MTB sized bar which usually has a smaller diameter?

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by TBMD9er
    My question is there enough adjustability in the twist shifting mechanism to fit on a non-MTB sized bar which usually has a smaller diameter?
    No, the difference in bar size is substantial. Here's what I did:

    My Alfine 8 speed hub does dual duty on my El mariachi. In mountain guise I run flat bars with the shifter and Xtr calipers/levers. In road guise I run drop bars, drop V levers, bb7 calipers, and another alfine shifter that I've enlarged to fit.

    The enlarging takes quite a bit of filing/dremelling. You are removing ~1.5 mm from the clamp I.D. You'll get metal filings into the shifter bits if you don't wrap it up really good with tape or plastic. I wrapped mine up half-a$$ed and got filings inside it.

    I don't beleive you'd be able to make a gripshift work.

    Drew
    occasional cyclist

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    Alfine Brifters

    With a drop bar set-up there is the Versa VRS-8 brifter option as well. Have you tried these or just your modified one? Does anyone know of a drop bar in a MTB 25.4 mm diameter?

  17. #17
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    As far as getting a NuVinci to work on drop bars, I imagine another approach would be to replace the cable actuated shifting mechanism at the hub with a small electric motor, controlled by two buttons at the bars.

    (I didn't say it would be easy.)

  18. #18
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    I am not sure if this is a help or not.

    They are considerd road bars but in the commute section they were in a continuum with Mustache bars at one end these at the other and the On One and Gary? and I suppose Woodchipper in between. I have the widest version on a randonneur and think I will use them again as a drop on a trail bike.

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    What did you notice as far as the "efficiency"? I had the original, first NuVinci, and I didn't mind the weight so much, but it always felt like I was pedaling through thick pudding. A lot of effort, and no go. I wonder how this new one compares? Thanks for your review.
    - recognize

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    Short Answer: The N360 is way better than the N171, but it's still got some drag in lower ratios/high torque.

    Longwinded/Overdetailed Answer: I tend to agree that the weight of the hub is not all that detrimental to performance. Personally, I don't notice an extra 3 lbs climbing, but I'm neither small nor an olympic athlete. As for the "thick pudding" feel, this is still prevalent, but from my perspective it's only significant in the lowest gears when really grinding or putting heavy torque on the hub. No slip, you pedal and it moves forward, but it does drag more in the lowest ratios, the more torque you put on it.

    As a result, in riding with a group of my friends I can keep up no problem on a leisurely trail ride. However, if everyone is pushing it then I'll keep up with everyone through any part of the trail until we hit a hill, where they all very quickly drop me off the back. Basically, the hub is great for several things: epic-length rides where you want ultimate durability, riding for fun/leisure, commuting, and training. Three of the last four group rides I've been on with friends (only 4 or 5 of us each time) someone else has broken a derailer or had serious chain-throwing issues that have ruined their rides (and in some cases their entire bikes with the derailer getting sucked into the rear wheel)...that sucked for the ride, but made me feel better about my single-speed drivetrain simplicity.

    But enough of the anecdotes, if you want a bike to ride around that you can beat on without having extra parts to break or come out of adjustment, basically just something that works in all conditions no matter what that will also make you work a little bit harder in some sections, then the N360 is great for trail riding IMO. Not what you would want for racing (except maybe supreme endurance or something...maybe), or if your supreme goal is efficiency (but if that was the case you wouldn't consider a 5-lb hub), but its got its place.
    "I applaud your stupid idea because it is genius." - Eric Sovern, Surly

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    Great points, but most of those attributes are held by the Alfine as well. You give up Continuous variable for a lighter weight - and just as reliable and simple. With one less cable going to the rear hub as well.

    I think the NuVinci would be well-suited to a cargo bike, where weight is not a concern. If weight is ever a concern at all, like MTB up hills, I think the Alfine would be the better choice - unless you're dead-set on needing that continuously variable thing, which lost it's hype rather quickly for me. Maybe it was the drag I felt, but I was so excited about this new technology, but the excitement wore off very quickly when I had it.

    I went from the N171 "down" to a Nexus 7sp + roller brake, and it was a night and day difference, as far as speed, and ease of pedaling, and feeling that torque at the rear wheel.

    I'd still like to try the N360, but I don't have high expectations. Maybe one day they'll make the inside of it with hollow titanium spheres filled with helium or something. It's still new technology (even though DaVinci invented it a long time ago), and I'm sure it will keep getting better. They'll be Shimano XTR CVT's in eleven years.
    - recognize

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    Again, generally I agree. The Alfine 8 has been battle tested by many with fantastic results, it's serviceable by switching to oil bath for further decreased frictional drag, it's cheap and works well in all climates, and is two pounds lighter than the NuVinci. For all those reasons I will have one on my full-suspension bike build up that is meant for much more speed than my tank of a workout bike. It has enough range for my typical singletrack use (not as much as the N360, but I'm not looking at the 11 until it's been tested a bit).

    For you, no reason to go to the NuVinci. For me, the CVT characteristics are not a novelty and I still am extremely happy that I have that ability (I don't care so much about having infinite control over the specific gear ratio, more that no matter what I'm in gear at all times, that I'm not going to have to wait for a gearshift, that there's no "jerk" in the shift). For me, there is a significant difference between the Alfine and N360 shifting and I am willing to take on the other efficiency penalty for the benefit, at least for the applications I listed in my last post.

    Now, you did mention you haven't tried the N360, just the old N171, which is an entirely different hub and much improved in all aspects. Still doesn't get rid of all the issues you have with it, but you bring up another good point that this is just the second iteration of the hub. In a few years they will have shaved off another pound or two, increased the range, and improved the efficiency even further...maybe even fill it with titanium and helium. For what it is, I think it's pretty impressive, but what you say is right in general, and thus it's probably not going to win you over.
    "I applaud your stupid idea because it is genius." - Eric Sovern, Surly

  23. #23
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    Any experience with the N360 in winter (below freezing) riding? Thinking of using it on a commuter that doubles as an errand bike where the 1 x 9 is wide enough, but where a tweener ratio would be nice.

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    I don't have any experience commuting with it, but I've been riding here in the snow and on trails in the 20s F with no issues on rides up to 2.5 hours. The hub has drag to begin with but it doesn't increase in any noticeable way when it's cold out. No failures, slippages, or lack of movement or anything like that, it just keeps working the same as before. Not a scientific sample, but it's something. If you like it in the warm you shouldn't have any problems in reasonably cold weather (sub-zero F temperatures pending testing).
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails NuVinci N360: Amateur Review-photo.jpg  

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  25. #25
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    Thanks. Good to know it is consistent. Loaded with goceries, riding uphill, heading home into the wind, the on-power and continuous smooth shifting in my power band will more than offset the weight. Also considering that application can introduce it to my spouse as she dislikes the complexity of shifting cogs and she is not in condition nor is this the place for SS. I'll start saving for it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrianMc
    Any experience with the N360 in winter (below freezing) riding? Thinking of using it on a commuter that doubles as an errand bike where the 1 x 9 is wide enough, but where a tweener ratio would be nice.
    I have been riding mine this winter in temps from -9 to 30 pretty regularly and have not noticed on difference between when its warm or cold out.

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    No problems in the cold here either. I live in MN, it's gotten to -10F in the past month.

    My bottom bracket has been the source of drag in the cold temperatures. Can't exchange the lube for something less viscous either, it's a cartridge BB.

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    just incase you all are in a shopping mood...
    http://store.icyclesusa.com/hub-rear...ck-p42686.aspx

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    Great review, thanks for taking time to post. Im really exited about this idea, again probably for a commuting bike. I have a Rohloff on my trail bike and a lot of the plus points you list are relevant to that too. I think one of these certainly has its place in the market, need to find one to try.

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    Glad to do it, just hope it helps some. It's a perfect hub for a commuter bike or riding fire roads or doubletrack. Singletrack it works fine but with steep punchy hills it will kill you. Either way I take it out when riding with (A) people that are slower than me (2) when I'm by myself trying to get more of a workout in less mileage, and (d) when I really don't want my gears to break on a specific ride. It's fun and worth riding, but I'm pretty sure I'll be the only one ever racing with it (obviously just for fun).
    "I applaud your stupid idea because it is genius." - Eric Sovern, Surly

  31. #31
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    How is the long term durability of this hub with the 32-22 setup?
    Quote Originally Posted by a stoned guy with a beer in his hand eyeballing your sisters bike
    "i fit my bike to fit me;not for looks...nice did you buy that bike from jc whitney?" Stoner Island 1984

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    Well, it'll all depend on your size/strength/mashiness, but I've used a 28/18 ratio on it the last couple times out with no issues, just the same old feelings as above. It seems that if you go really low with the ratio it will eventually just feel like slop, but there's nothing to indicate that it won't keep working and moving regardless.

    However, this is only on a couple rides, mostly longer gravel grinder rides, not singletrack, so long term is a really long way out and I won't be able to give a true long-term review for a while. After a while I went back to SS for general trail riding and was rewarded with superhuman strength and climbing ability. It's central NC, so the climbs are all short and punchy, which means you can attack in a SS and make it up without blowing up, so it's my preferred mode of singletrack riding around here.

    The N360 will still be swapped in for the occasional gravel grinder ride and will be a permanent addition when I finally live close enough to my job to commute by bike (currently 39 miles each way...that's just not happening on a bike on a daily basis...).

    If everyone were listening to me to decide what to do with this hub and no one else, then I'd say the best uses for it are:
    1) Casual/leisure bikes for commuting
    2) Gravel grinder workout bike
    3) Epic backcountry bikepacking

    Basically, check out Drew Diller's Pug, because that thing is basically invincible when it comes to having a bike that will take you anywhere and not break down and require almost zero maintenance (he'd need a belt drive for that . That's a pretty perfect application for the hub and sadly the best mountain biking use as well. It works, every time, but it's just not what 98% of people would ever want on a singletrack machine.


    I don't know how I got off on those tangents (again (and again)), but to your question: low gearing doesn't immediately have any impact on the hub, but I will report back when I have more miles on it.
    "I applaud your stupid idea because it is genius." - Eric Sovern, Surly

  33. #33
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    Thank you.

    Im an large guy as well, 6'2" 275 lol mostly muscle but hey Im 43 so yes a gut as well.

    I was thinking about building an frame to mount it mid-frame. But was just wondering before I started that endeavor to wait and see if lower gearing then they suggest will damage the hub.
    If it doesnt then I wouldnt need to build the frame.

    I live in New Mexico and there are alot of epic hills that I climb. For the reward of fyling back down or down the other side. But there are some area also where I rarely even need to shift. Still pretty hilly just dont need to shift. I guess I go from SS mentality to granny gear mentality in a schizo sort of an way.

    I guess you could say I ride all mountain/downhill but then I do bikepack as well. Or like I usually say I ride on dirt, rock, gravel, and even pavement, but mostly dirt and rock. :P

    I dont have alot of money so I cant afford ruining a hub which to me is rather expensive.

    Again thanx for the detailed information.
    Quote Originally Posted by a stoned guy with a beer in his hand eyeballing your sisters bike
    "i fit my bike to fit me;not for looks...nice did you buy that bike from jc whitney?" Stoner Island 1984

  34. #34
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    Good review.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TBMD9er View Post
    Hey guys, great information. I want to take my first foray into IGH and I'm trying to decide between the Alfine 8 and the Nuvinci. I wanted to run a mountain dropbar type set-up, something like the Salsa Woodchipper or On-one midge.
    My question is there enough adjustability in the twist shifting mechanism to fit on a non-MTB sized bar which usually has a smaller diameter?
    If you go with the Alfine, get a J-Tek shifter. It is far better than the twist or the trigger, and is made for drop bars.

  36. #36
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    I am 6'5" 240 lb. 54 year old and am not into racing. Would the NuVinci N360 work well on a 22" single speed Kona Unit? I currently have 32:20 gearing and love the fact that my single speed does have any ghost shifting when I stand up and crank on the hills. I would also like a little more range than single speed allows. I primarily ride on dirt/gravel roads and bike paths and it would be nice to have gearing comparable to a 1X10, which the NuVinci 360 exceeds. I would probably need to swap out the hubs and rims and order pre-built wheel sets with the NuVinci N360.

    I normally ride my 2X10 Fargo on longer rides, but I don't like the ghost shifting. Would the NuVinci N360 offer me a better alternative and eliminate ghost shifting compared to other IGH options?
    Last edited by KanzaKrūzer; 09-06-2011 at 10:38 AM.
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    I ramble, so I'll try to keep it short and to the point since most of these points have been discussed in detail above:

    Yes, this hub will completely eliminate any shifting problems you've ever had. Compared to other IGHs, you will enjoy the same shift-at-a-standstill benefits, but there will never be a time where your gears slip or ghost shift, which can happen with any other hub system that's not adjusted properly. The N360 is always in gear and transitions are as smooth as can be, the simplest system possible. You mash, it goes, no slippage. You will immediately fall in love with that.

    However, being a bigger dude, you may notice the lower efficiency in the lowest gear range, mainly just cranking up steeper hills (much less noticeable on average gravel grinder trips, better for that than singletrack for sure). The fact that you are just out for some exercise and not racing is ideal for the N360.

    Overall, you sound like a pretty ideal candidate for the NuVinci, so I would vote for trying it if you're looking for a bulletproof, non-frustrating, zero-maintenance geared option. If you think the slight drag in low gears might be a deal breaker, then I'd try one first (which is probably the issue, since they're hard to find unless you're in Portland, OR).
    "I applaud your stupid idea because it is genius." - Eric Sovern, Surly

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by aTomOfAllTrades View Post
    I ramble, so I'll try to keep it short and to the point since most of these points have been discussed in detail above:

    Yes, this hub will completely eliminate any shifting problems you've ever had. Compared to other IGHs, you will enjoy the same shift-at-a-standstill benefits, but there will never be a time where your gears slip or ghost shift, which can happen with any other hub system that's not adjusted properly. The N360 is always in gear and transitions are as smooth as can be, the simplest system possible. You mash, it goes, no slippage. You will immediately fall in love with that.

    However, being a bigger dude, you may notice the lower efficiency in the lowest gear range, mainly just cranking up steeper hills (much less noticeable on average gravel grinder trips, better for that than singletrack for sure). The fact that you are just out for some exercise and not racing is ideal for the N360.

    Overall, you sound like a pretty ideal candidate for the NuVinci, so I would vote for trying it if you're looking for a bulletproof, non-frustrating, zero-maintenance geared option. If you think the slight drag in low gears might be a deal breaker, then I'd try one first (which is probably the issue, since they're hard to find unless you're in Portland, OR).
    Tom,

    Thanks for the clarification. I have read your review numerous time since you first posted last winter. I bought my single speed last January thinking the NuVinci would be my backup if the single speed did not work out. I love the simplicity of the single speed, but I would get more use out of the bike if it did not spin out so quickly. While I tried some single track, I prefer dirt and gravel roads. I don't need as much gear range as I have with my 2X10 Fargo, but the Nuvinci 360 sounds like the right fit for my needs and should adapt well with the Kona Unit.

    I have been surprised there are not been more users of the NuVinci 360. Of course I haven't seen much hype on the Alfine 11 either. I may buy a 36 hole NuVinci 360/P35 wheelset over the winter after I find a good online wheelbuilder. Building a wheelset is beyond my skill set. Your review has been very helpful. Thanks for taking the time to post your opinion!
    KanzaKrūzer
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    Glad I could help! My take on it is it solves all the problems that I have with conventional derailleurs (and even other IGHs), at the expense of weight and inefficiency. The inefficiency is enough to keep it off the singletrack for me, but it's about as perfect of a commuter gear system as I've ever ridden, so it will forever be a gravel grinding/commuter hub for me.

    If you're wondering why it hasn't caught on with more riders, it's because of two reasons: (A) far too heavy for people looking at upgrading their bikes (2) not being able to try one and experience the feel of them. With the Alfine 11 it seems like it's more (A) price premium (2) durability, since the 8 has proven to be very reliable, the 11 has had more mixed reviews and costs more, which steers people away. Even still, more of both of them are starting to show up on more bikes.

    The NuVinci though is just too different of a product, fits a niche that is really hard to break into, especially with sport enthusiasts. The two biggest market segments for them really are people that are completely new to biking and are scared by traditional gear systems on leisure bikes, and nuts like us that just want all these specific benefits of such a strange new technology.

    Either way, sounds like it's a great fit for you. If you like big squishy tires for cushion too then the P35s would be excellent, but probably would be considered overkill for gravel grinding (but we're weird, so do what makes you happy!). As for good online wheel builders, Mike Curiak is one of the long-standing experts in the field and is a solid choice for reasonable pricing ( Lace Mine 29 - Big Bicycle Wheels ). I've also heard good reviews of Larry at Mountain High Cyclery, who also has great pricing on his standard builds ( Mountain High Cyclery ).
    "I applaud your stupid idea because it is genius." - Eric Sovern, Surly

  40. #40
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    I never came to a conclusion last spring whether to buy the NuVinci 360 or Alfine 11. I decided to ride the single speed for a season to see how I liked it and if I needed to upgrade to an IGH. I had hoped during that time the market feedback would help identify a winner between the NuVinci and Alfine.

    Both IGHs have a similar range, eliminate ghost shifting and appear to be durable. The Alfine 11 is 2 lbs. lighter and may have better resale value. The NuVinci is $225 less expensive, has smoother shifting, and may be more durable. I am still undecided.
    KanzaKrūzer
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    That's a tough comparison, simply because they're so different. Both IGHs...that's about where the similarities end.

    The Alfine feels exactly like a standard derailleur in terms of shifting (yes, I know it feels different, but they have discrete gears that require shifting between them with pauses or gaps of some kind). The NuVinci is like nothing else. If you want to truly eliminate ghost shifting, forever, the N360 is it. The Alfine will be much better than a traditional setup, but will still require some adjustment from time to time to ensure proper gear alignment to account for cable stretch.

    The Alfine is significantly lighter, which makes a difference. However, it depends on what you're doing. If you're riding singletrack, it has a huge impact on effort required to loft the bike over things on the trail, really screwing up weight balance too, which takes a bit to get used to. However, if you're keeping both wheels on the ground, then it's just static weight really, which wont' be noticeable to you unless you're racing.

    Durability is another difficult one, because several people have had catastrophic failures with the Alfine 11, while the 8 has enjoyed much better success across the board in this category. For your purposes you probably won't be torquing out the hub mercilessly like on singletrack, but it's really a case-by-case basis. On the whole, reviews have called them durable and reliable. The N360 however, is 100% sealed for life. Aside from damage from punctures, ripping your shifter or cables off the bike in a collision, or the freewheel freezing up in crazy extremes somewhere, there really is nothing that can go wrong. Hell, even if you smash your shifter with a hammer halfway through a ride, you can still easily take the cables off by hand and change the gear by hand at the hub. So no matter what, you can still pedal, AND you can still change gear, albeit you probably need to stop to do so safely. If you want the ultimate in durability, the NuVinci wins, hands down. (like I said, the Alfine could be just as durable for you, but it has more potential for failure)

    So between the two, my gut feeling is you fall into the 2% of people that would love the N360 and you should go for it. But given the price for both, if you can find anyone at all with one to try, you should try both the N360 and either Alfine hub for comparison because they're both really awesome in profoundly different ways.
    "I applaud your stupid idea because it is genius." - Eric Sovern, Surly

  42. #42
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    While I keep both tires on the ground, I do like to stand up and crank up the steep hills. I can't do that with my 2X10 because of ghost shifting. Either way I think I will need to have a wheelset built up with the IGH on the rear. Since the standard Kona Unit wheelsets are the weakest link, I would probably replace the front as well.

    I like the thought of saving $225 and I don't mind the weight difference. Heck I plan to loose another 20 lbs. by increasing my biking so 2 lbs. on the bike is chump change. My Kona Unit is for rougher terrain than my Fargo. The Kona hardtail has a front suspension fork, thudbuster and 29" X 2.5" tires to soften the ride. Durability trumps speed, but at the same time I don't want a boat anchor slowing me down.

    I do have another question concerning the NuVinci 360. I read somewhere there are two cables. Can they run together on one set of standard cable hooks (see below)? Are there any other issues I should be aware of starting with a single speed?

    Last edited by KanzaKrūzer; 09-07-2011 at 11:44 AM. Reason: larger photo
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    You and I are in the same conundrum.
    I went so far as purchasing the Alfine 11, shifter, cog, parts kit and spokes, but put the brakes on the wheelbuild (just in time) when I started reading about trail failures on the 11.

    I want a hub that I can count on to ride in all conditions, all terrain, for years to come.

    The Rohloff is still on my "wish" list, but for the price difference I could get 3+ Nuvincis, and god knows how long it would take me to burn through 3 N360's.

    Anyway, I've made the decision to go with a N360. The alleged slugishness in low range is a minor concern, but a concern nonetheless.
    To me, it is worth the minor tradeoff of 2 pounds and some loss of efficiency in the lowest gear range to get something that actually has the manufacturer's green light for offroad use, and is designed to take the torque from motorized (stokemonkey) systems.

    If I was not going to be doing any technical terrain, I'd probably opt to stick with the Alfine.
    Another part of this (for me) is to evaluate the Nuvinci firsthand. I've owned two Alfine 8s and a Nexus (never had any trouble with those, but it was 99% on road commuting duty), and am curious about the Nuvinci.

    Quote Originally Posted by KanzaKrūzer View Post
    While I keep both tires on the ground, I do like to stand up and crank up the steep hills. I can't do that with my 2X10 because of ghost shifting. Either way I think I will need to have a wheelset built up with the IGH on the rear. Since the standard Kona Unit wheelsets are the weakest link, I would probably replace the front as well.

    I like the thought of saving $225 and I don't mind the weight difference. Heck I plan to loose another 20 lbs. by increasing my biking so 2 lbs. on the bike is chump change. My Kona Unit is for rougher terrain than my Fargo. It has front suspension fork, thudbuster and 29" X 2.5" tires to soften the ride. Durability trumps speed, but at the same time I don't want a boat anchor slowing me down.

    I do have another question concerning the NuVinci 360. I read somewhere there are two cables. Can they run together on one set of standard cable hooks (see below)? Are there any other issues I should be aware of starting with a single speed?


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    My take is the drag is not that bad for gravel grinding and isn't an issue, but in typical MTBr fashion, I'll point out that YMMV. The weight I really don't think you'll notice at all unless you're jumping the bike. Standing and mashing is zero problem.

    In fact, my dad now uses my Karate Monkey every week for a 20-mile ride on greenways, and gravel bridle roads through Umstead State Park. There are some reasonably steep hills and a combination of fine, smooth gravel and large, coarse gravel. He likes to stand and mash up certain hills and so far loves doing it with the NuVinci. His derailleur was crap on his 26" mountain bike he normally used, which frustrated him every other ride at a minimum, so he really appreciates there being no clunk during shifts, no popping out of gear when hammering, and no adjustment required pre-ride (or during the ride).

    As for the cable routing, yes there are two cables from the shifter, which they recommend you run in a full-length housing. You can run a split housing if you have cable stops instead of cable guides, but you'll need two of them, obviously. The other options are to use zip-ties or some of stick-on cable guides which work really well (they probably have them in white to blend in with the frame a bit more, but I've only seen pictures of black ones). I can't think of any other things you'd need to make it work for you, as it will have the no-turn washers to fit whatever dropout angle you need them to. Of course you'll have a grip-shifter, so you'll need appropriate grips (or to just cut yours down).
    "I applaud your stupid idea because it is genius." - Eric Sovern, Surly

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    I'm going to see if my local "transportation and utility" bike shop has any bikes with the N360 just to get a sense of what to expect.

    I'd say my use will be split between:
    - urban commute, grocery run, basic transportation 60%
    - Desert singletrack (Fruita/Grand Junction/Moab) 20%
    - gravel grinding / bikepacking / mixed w/ singletrack 20%

    I'm sure the Alfine could survive for a while in these conditions, but would anyone here be willing to wager real money on which hub would be more serviceable in 5 years?
    I'm not.
    That's why the Nuvinci gets the nod for my needs Of the two it seems to be simpler and more robust.

    Quote Originally Posted by aTomOfAllTrades View Post
    My take is the drag is not that bad for gravel grinding and isn't an issue, but in typical MTBr fashion, I'll point out that YMMV. The weight I really don't think you'll notice at all unless you're jumping the bike. Standing and mashing is zero problem.

    In fact, my dad now uses my Karate Monkey every week for a 20-mile ride on greenways, and gravel bridle roads through Umstead State Park. There are some reasonably steep hills and a combination of fine, smooth gravel and large, coarse gravel. He likes to stand and mash up certain hills and so far loves doing it with the NuVinci. His derailleur was crap on his 26" mountain bike he normally used, which frustrated him every other ride at a minimum, so he really appreciates there being no clunk during shifts, no popping out of gear when hammering, and no adjustment required pre-ride (or during the ride).

    As for the cable routing, yes there are two cables from the shifter, which they recommend you run in a full-length housing. You can run a split housing if you have cable stops instead of cable guides, but you'll need two of them, obviously. The other options are to use zip-ties or some of stick-on cable guides which work really well (they probably have them in white to blend in with the frame a bit more, but I've only seen pictures of black ones). I can't think of any other things you'd need to make it work for you, as it will have the no-turn washers to fit whatever dropout angle you need them to. Of course you'll have a grip-shifter, so you'll need appropriate grips (or to just cut yours down).

  46. #46
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    Okay, so I am getting a couple quotes for building up the wheelset. Do you know if my existing splined cog is compatible with the NuVinci 360 and if 20t is within spec?

    Homebrewed Components Stainless Standard Cog
    • # of teeth: 20t
    • style: 5 spoke
    • chain size: 3/32" (8/9/10 speed compatible)
    • Splined or Threaded?: Splined

    Also, are tubless tires more prone to problems? If I want a battle tank for a bike, should I just stick with my exisiting tube setup? I may want to switch between Racing Ralphs and Big Apples. If I opt for a tube setup now, can I switch at some later date. I just don't know much about tubless.
    Last edited by KanzaKrūzer; 09-09-2011 at 06:25 AM.
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    The N360 uses a snap-ring to hold the cog on a standard splined freehub body. I will tell you that a Surly cog fits just about perfectly so the snap-ring is very tight and the cog does not move. I tried a cheap cog on there at first that's just stamped steel and it was too thin and would require a spacer to keep it from sliding on the splines side-to-side. The HBC cog is definitely wide enough, however I don't know how wide the base is, so I can't say if it's actually too wide or not.

    The other concern is offset. The Surly cog is offset so you can flip it and change chainline by ~2.5mm. However, with mine flipped so the chain is closest to the hub, I got a little bit of a zing from the chain every now and then on the metal clip that attaches to the end of one of the shift cables using an 1/8" chain. Using the correct chain (any standard 8-speed 3/32") it would clear just fine. Depending on what kind of HBC cog you have and the offset, it may interfere either with the hub or the shifter. I'll try to get some pictures to better show what I'm talking about.


    As for the more general post-apocolyptic war bike technology question: IMO, yes, go tubeless. If you have a tire and rim that will work tubeless with Stan's, then it really is not that difficult to set up once (even if it is, it's once, then you're done). At that point, you have zero concern about pinch flats = huge, so you can run the pressures you want without worry or compromise. In addition, if you get a pinhole leak in a tube, it's either always going to be there or you take it out and patch it. Most holes can be plugged in a tubeless setup by rotating the tire and letting the sealant setup in the hole. So most of the time if you get a leak or something on the trail, you can fix it without even taking the wheel off.

    And what's the worst-case scenario: you do something to flat it that the sealant can't plug up, so you just pop a tube in it. What would happen if you popped a tube? You would take it out, then pop another tube in it.

    So IMO, there's no reason not to at least start with a tubeless setup and carry a spare tube (which I at least do regardless of tire setup) anyways.
    "I applaud your stupid idea because it is genius." - Eric Sovern, Surly

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    Quote Originally Posted by aTomOfAllTrades View Post
    The N360 uses a snap-ring to hold the cog on a standard splined freehub body. I will tell you that a Surly cog fits just about perfectly so the snap-ring is very tight and the cog does not move. I tried a cheap cog on there at first that's just stamped steel and it was too thin and would require a spacer to keep it from sliding on the splines side-to-side. The HBC cog is definitely wide enough, however I don't know how wide the base is, so I can't say if it's actually too wide or not.

    The other concern is offset. The Surly cog is offset so you can flip it and change chainline by ~2.5mm. However, with mine flipped so the chain is closest to the hub, I got a little bit of a zing from the chain every now and then on the metal clip that attaches to the end of one of the shift cables using an 1/8" chain. Using the correct chain (any standard 8-speed 3/32") it would clear just fine. Depending on what kind of HBC cog you have and the offset, it may interfere either with the hub or the shifter. I'll try to get some pictures to better show what I'm talking about.


    As for the more general post-apocolyptic war bike technology question: IMO, yes, go tubeless. If you have a tire and rim that will work tubeless with Stan's, then it really is not that difficult to set up once (even if it is, it's once, then you're done). At that point, you have zero concern about pinch flats = huge, so you can run the pressures you want without worry or compromise. In addition, if you get a pinhole leak in a tube, it's either always going to be there or you take it out and patch it. Most holes can be plugged in a tubeless setup by rotating the tire and letting the sealant setup in the hole. So most of the time if you get a leak or something on the trail, you can fix it without even taking the wheel off.

    And what's the worst-case scenario: you do something to flat it that the sealant can't plug up, so you just pop a tube in it. What would happen if you popped a tube? You would take it out, then pop another tube in it.

    So IMO, there's no reason not to at least start with a tubeless setup and carry a spare tube (which I at least do regardless of tire setup) anyways.
    Tom,

    The minimum 1.8:1 specs on the NuVinci web site suggest that there are only two options with a 32 chain ring, either 32:16 or 32:17. Does that mean I can't use my 18t or 20t cogs? What harm would a 32:20 setup cause or does it just make the lower ratios useless? Does it void the warranty? Do you switch out cogs for different locations? I thought having 16t, 18t, and 20t cogs to swap between would give me more options.

    Could I get close to one of my 2 chain rings on my Salsa Fargo 2X10 if I added the NuVinci 360 to my Kona Unit? Is there an easy way to calculate what rear sprockets would net a similar range?

    Kona Unit
    NuVinci N360
    180 cranks
    32 Chainring
    20t or 18t or 16t cog?

    Salsa Fargo
    2X10
    175 cranks
    28-42 Chainring
    12-36t cassette = cogs 12,13,15,17,19,22,25,28,32,36
    Last edited by KanzaKrūzer; 09-12-2011 at 02:27 PM.
    KanzaKrūzer
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    The N360 has a low ratio limit of 0.5 and high of 1.8, so if you have an 18 in the back that is essentially equivalent to a 9-32T cassette. A 22 would yield an 11-40T. That's a pretty easy way to look at it.

    The 1.8:1 limit on chainring:cog ratio is much like the Alfine, a general rule of thumb. Obviously if you have super long crank arms or 26" wheels or weigh 300 lbs, the amount of torque you can put on the hub changes significantly, so just because 1.8:1 is a "limit" doesn't mean it doesn't work if you go lower. I've run a 28:18 (or 1.56:1) for a while and had no issues, but you start to notice the extra drag in the lowest gear, as discussed to death already. IMO, the lower ratio will not damage the hub, it will just make it less efficient. I challenge anyone with a NuVinci hub to actually break the hub. Ever.

    For your gearing range, you won't quite be able to match the 2x10, but you can get most of it. You'll just need to figure out which gears you want to keep. For example, taking the crank length into account with the 16T cog you can a high gear equivalent to 42/12, but your lowest gear would be equivalent to ~28/29, so you'd be losing the 28/32 and 28/36 low gears. With the 18T cog you'd have coverage from ~28/32 to 42/13.5, so you'd really just be missing the one lowest and one highest gear. The 20T would give you exactly the same low gear at 28/36, but high would be 42/15, so you'd lose your two highest gears. So you just need to figure out which of those gears you use the least and pick your cog accordingly.

    Personally, since it is used for commuting and gravel grinding for me (higher speed), I prefer the higher end of the range because the hub feels a little better and it allows for higher speed, then if it really gets that steep I always have the option to stand and mash. Now mine has a 34/18 on it as a result. As mentioned before though I ran 32/18 for very long time and 28/18 for a while as well, so it will work, it's just not "recommended," for what it's worth.
    "I applaud your stupid idea because it is genius." - Eric Sovern, Surly

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by aTomOfAllTrades View Post
    The N360 has a low ratio limit of 0.5 and high of 1.8, so if you have an 18 in the back that is essentially equivalent to a 9-32T cassette. A 22 would yield an 11-40T. That's a pretty easy way to look at it.

    The 1.8:1 limit on chainring:cog ratio is much like the Alfine, a general rule of thumb. Obviously if you have super long crank arms or 26" wheels or weigh 300 lbs, the amount of torque you can put on the hub changes significantly, so just because 1.8:1 is a "limit" doesn't mean it doesn't work if you go lower. I've run a 28:18 (or 1.56:1) for a while and had no issues, but you start to notice the extra drag in the lowest gear, as discussed to death already. IMO, the lower ratio will not damage the hub, it will just make it less efficient. I challenge anyone with a NuVinci hub to actually break the hub. Ever.

    For your gearing range, you won't quite be able to match the 2x10, but you can get most of it. You'll just need to figure out which gears you want to keep. For example, taking the crank length into account with the 16T cog you can a high gear equivalent to 42/12, but your lowest gear would be equivalent to ~28/29, so you'd be losing the 28/32 and 28/36 low gears. With the 18T cog you'd have coverage from ~28/32 to 42/13.5, so you'd really just be missing the one lowest and one highest gear. The 20T would give you exactly the same low gear at 28/36, but high would be 42/15, so you'd lose your two highest gears. So you just need to figure out which of those gears you use the least and pick your cog accordingly.

    Personally, since it is used for commuting and gravel grinding for me (higher speed), I prefer the higher end of the range because the hub feels a little better and it allows for higher speed, then if it really gets that steep I always have the option to stand and mash. Now mine has a 34/18 on it as a result. As mentioned before though I ran 32/18 for very long time and 28/18 for a while as well, so it will work, it's just not "recommended," for what it's worth.
    Tom,

    Thanks for the explanation. It helped me better understand how to compare the NuVinci 360 to a traditional cassette. I am pretty close to ordering a wheelset with the NuVinci and may just start with one of my existing cogs. If it is pretty easy to swap out cogs, I may order a 16t so I can try out all three (16t, 18t, 20t) depending on different types of riding.
    KanzaKrūzer
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    Quote Originally Posted by KanzaKrūzer View Post
    Tom,

    Thanks for the explanation. It helped me better understand how to compare the NuVinci 360 to a traditional cassette. I am pretty close to ordering a wheelset with the NuVinci and may just start with one of my existing cogs. If it is pretty easy to swap out cogs, I may order a 16t so I can try out all three (16t, 18t, 20t) depending on different types of riding.
    I just sold my unopened Alfine 11 and have ordered a N360 - I'll report back here with my impressions. My comparison will focus on my (primarily on-road) experience with Alfine 8 (2), Nexus 8, and Sturmey 3 speed hubs, plus an array of conventional drive train configurations

    I couldn't spare the cash to personally experience the 11 for multi-use - the catalyst for the sale is my own concern that stems from people blowing out the lower gears, and my unwillingness to risk a $500 hub test it out for myself.

    I see this as a nice interim step so I can see for myself what the NuVinci is all about, and for about 300 bucks (with discount) I think it is a worthwhile thing to do. It may become my ultimate solution, or may merely be a functional gap-bridger for several years until another option replaces it (Rohloff? imroved Alfine? some new offering?).

    I'll be running a 32-17 initially on the Nuvince, with 29er x 2.3-2.4 and 180 mm cranks.

  52. #52
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    I ordered a wheelset with the NuVinci 360 for my Kona Unit and should take delivery in October. I plan to start out with a 16t cog and swap out to a 18t or 20t cog if needed. New wheelsets will also give me the opportunity to try out tubeless.

    I'll post feedback and photos.
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  53. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by KanzaKrūzer View Post
    I ordered a wheelset with the NuVinci 360 for my Kona Unit and should take delivery in October. I plan to start out with a 16t cog and swap out to a 18t or 20t cog if needed. New wheelsets will also give me the opportunity to try out tubeless.

    I'll post feedback and photos.
    I got my N360 this week, and will build the wheel next week (Salsa Gordo 29). I won't get any riding time on it, though, until November (fingers crossed), after my Singular Gryphon frame arrives............

    The wheel should be good -n- strong. The flanges are essentially symmetrical (.5mm difference) from the hub center line, so virtually 0 dish.

    The hub is heavy, to be sure, but it didn't "feel" remarkably heavier than the Alfine (even though it is). The shifter sure is a trip, with that litle inchworm. I showed it to my wife who immediately proclaimed "cuuuuute!!!!!"
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  54. #54
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    I asked NuVinci (Fallbrook Technologies) about using 32:18 or 32:20 and they replied with the following:

    "Going below the recommended 1 to 1.8 will void the warranty. The hub will function, but can put stresses on the system. "

    I will probably start out with 32:16 to stay within warranty and only consider a 18t or 20t cog if the 16t cog does work for my needs.

    The inch chart on their web site (Fallbrook Technologies) is for 26" wheels. Does running 29" wheels with 180m cranks change any of the variables or dynamics?
    KanzaKrūzer
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    Certainly. The torque on the hub drive mechanism is the key factor in stress on the system. Having a lower gear ratio means you're transferring more torque because you have more leverage. As such, if you have longer than standard cranks, you have even more leverage, which means more stress on the system. In that way, the limiting factor on gear ratio should also include crank length, or using gear-inches because it all has an effect on the load seen by the hub.

    However, for the average consumer that doesn't know much about bikes, crank length doesn't occur to them and these "average consumers" will be more likely to change cogs or chainrings than crank length, thus the 32:16 recommendation is a good enough rule of thumb for their terms.

    But even after all that, the rider is unpredictable...by that I mean, if you're a 130-lb XC racer type, or you're a 230-lb SS masher type, you're exerting very different loads on the drivetrain in order to accelerate you. Thus, the gear ratio should be higher for lead-soled clydes than for skinny kids to keep the actual load seen by the hub limited. Of course, no one can gauge their power output, so it's impossible to regulate that, so we're left with the imperfect-but-close-enough gear ratio limit.

    My stance is the lower you gear it, the less you will like it because of the drag and the way it will feel, but I'm personally not concerned about damage to the hub itself.

    Either way: start 32:16 and see how you like it. If it's not enough, then go lower and test it out.
    "I applaud your stupid idea because it is genius." - Eric Sovern, Surly

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    I think I agree with you, but would like to clarify my understanding given the following 3 cog choices.

    • 32:16 = 2.0 ratio; is a higher gear ratio and puts less torque/leverage on the system
    • 32:18 = 1.8 ratio; is a medium gear ratio and puts average torque/leverage on the system
    • 32:20 = 1.6 ratio; is a lower gear ratio and puts more torque/leverage on the system

    I am a 250-lb rider that likes to stand up while climbing the hills putting my full weight on the 180m cranks. Having a 1.6 ratio makes it easier for a SS rider climbing the hills compared to a 2.0 ratio, but having an easier ratio places more stress on the system.

    Is that correct, or do I have everything reversed? The reason I question this is it seems like a 2.0 ratio would place less leverage on the system compared to a 1.6 ratio because of the energy used by the rider is less.
    KanzaKrūzer
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    Everything about that summary is correct. The more leverage you have (longer crank arms, lower gear ratio) the more you have to move your legs to get the same amount of movement outback. Or you can think of it like this, the load of your legs pushing down on the 180mm arms with a 32T chainring causes X tension in the chain. If you run that chain over a 18T cog in the back, the lever arm is short (smaller cog) so the torque on the hub will be half of what it would be at 36T in the back (because the lever arm is twice as long).

    Therefore, torque on the hub can be easily limited by requiring a higher gear ratio, but it's only one part of the equation in figuring out how much load is actually placed on the hub's juicy insides.
    "I applaud your stupid idea because it is genius." - Eric Sovern, Surly

  58. #58
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    Got it, thanks!

    I should be safe with a 2.0 ratio from running 32:16. If there is more torque/leverage applied to the system because of 29 in wheels, 180 cranks and the full weight of a 250lb rider, it should still come within specs of their warranty. At the same time, I don't expect any failure like that reported with the Alfine 11.

    Should receive my wheelset next week and 16t cog the following week. Now I need to lose 6 lbs. of body weight to offset the added weight of the Nuvinci compared to running single speed.
    Last edited by KanzaKrūzer; 09-24-2011 at 01:58 PM.
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    I heard back from NuVinci. Their speed up rule applies to all wheel and crank sizes. The front ring needs to be 1.8 times the rear cog, otherwise the set up is in violation and may not qualify for warranty. I will be in warranty with a 2.0 ratio with a 32:16.

    I received the NuVinci wheelset this week. Now I just have to wait for a 16t cog to arrive from HBC.
    KanzaKrūzer
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    When I use Sheldon Brown's gear calculator with the following variables:
    • 180 cranks
    • 2.5X29 wheel size
    • 32t chainring
    • 16t rear cog
    • NuVinci 360

    It calculates an equivalent range of 32:32 through a 32:9. Let me know if that is not correct.
    Last edited by KanzaKrūzer; 10-17-2011 at 10:47 AM.
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    anyone in southern california have 1 of these hubs installed on a bike i could ride around the block, i am considering replacing my alfine 8 speed with it.

  62. #62
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    I had my local bike shop swap out the single speed wheelset for a NuVinci set that I bought from Universal. I have not had much ride time, but my initial reaction is good. Needed to use an 8 speed chain since the single speed chain was too wide and rubbed part of the cable housing. Ergon shifter grip is perfect with NuVinci. Total bike weighs in just under 34 lbs.







    Last edited by KanzaKrūzer; 10-18-2011 at 07:08 AM.
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    Ok, so I have taken the Kona Unit with NuVinci out on a couple rides and I am sold. The range is plenty wide and tons of fun. Changing the ratio can be in very small increments. I can stand and mash at any setting. This will be a great bike over the winter months. Love the tubless 30 lb. pressure as well.
    Last edited by KanzaKrūzer; 11-10-2011 at 07:30 AM.
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  64. #64
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    has any one tried this with a belt drive setup?
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    I received mine a couple of days ago. I was expecting the drag to be a little more than what it appears. I haven't ridden it on a climb yet. The range I am getting doesn't seem correct. For one revolution of input I am getting 5/8 on the low end and 2-1/4 on the high end for 2.25/.625 = .360%. I thought I should have gotten 0.50 and 1.80 respectively for 1.8/.5 = 360%, "NuVinci 360". I would rather have the lower ratio on the low end for climbing. I am going to see if I can adjust the shifter rotation on the hub to get a lower ratio.

    I intentionally connected the cables the other way around. I like the back twist motion to shift to a lower ratio. Sometimes on a climb I will be pulling on the bars and accidentally pull on the twist shifter. I prefer this to shift me to a lower ratio if I am not already there which I am most of the time on a steep climb.

    I only got this thing because it seems like an amazing device. How you can get this kind of traction between two pieces of smooth metal that is lubricated with a magical oil is pretty amazing. Torque oil, I had never heard of it.

    I would assume the weak point is the twisting force on the shaft of the steel balls and how they are restrained in the cage. There are eight of them so it might hold up pretty well.

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    I received this hub a weeks ago and have been using it on a Salsa Vaya w/ Hubbub adapter. I wish there was a real dropbar solution...

    Anyways, the shifter works great, and it's a blast to ride! I've had a grudge against derailleurs for years since I smashed my MTB on the right side in a crash and had to limp home in only one gear because I whomped the derailleur. Honestly, it's the weakest point on the whole bike! It needs some serious re-invention to make it less delicate. The gear range is more than enough here in the flatlands, and I would venture in a hilly area it would suffice too. For a mountainous region I would consider adding a double chainring up front for uphill/downhill shenanigans.

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    NuVinci on a Mountain Bike

    I just got mine recently also. I have it on a mountain bike. It is neat from an engineering point of view and fun to ride. The shifting is weird but easy and neat. The efficiency is the problem. I haven't figured out where the efficiency loss is. It must either be in the compression of the oil to make it turn into a solid or the relative twisting between the rings and balls when the oil is in the solid mode.

    I left my front rings on. So I am climbing with a22 x 18 ratio. 1.2 vs their recommend lowest of 1.8. So I will be a test case for how much torque it can take. So far it seems solid climbing a hill with this gear ratio and the hub cranked to the lowest ratio.

    I will use it only when I go for an easy ride. If I ride with a pack of ten riders I my be in the middle of the pack with deraillers, about 2/3 back with the Alfine 11, 3/4 back with the Rolhoff, and dead last with the Nuvinci 360. I have all three. There are climbs I have to stop and rest or hike with the Nuvinci that I make with my other bikes. The drag is just too much with the Nuvinci and the weight doesn't help on a climb.

  68. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by geweber View Post
    ... If I ride with a pack of ten riders I my be in the middle of the pack with deraillers, about 2/3 back with the Alfine 11, 3/4 back with the Rolhoff, and dead last with the Nuvinci 360. ....
    Very interesting comparison.

    I've had the 8 spd Nexus red-band, 8 spd Alfine 501 &, now, the Rohloff & I much prefer the Rohloff over the two Shimano hubs. Either on-road or on-trail. Just my preference.

    Was your comparison on-road or on-trail? I'm guessing on-trail but just want to be sure. And, if you don't mind, what was it about the Alfine that put it ahead of the Rohloff? Thanks in advance.

    .

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    I have the Alfine 11, which is quite a bit different than the Alfine 501 8 speed. The Alfine 11 shifts smoother and has less drag than the Rohloff. However, the Alfine 11 cannot take nearly as much torque and the new second one I have is giving a hard click on the average of once and hour. The Rohloff is much more durable. The Alfine 11 uses some helical gears and oil which makes it quite a bit different than the Alfine 8. From what I read the Alfine 8 is more durable than the Alfine 11.

  70. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by geweber View Post
    I have the Alfine 11, which is quite a bit different than the Alfine 501 8 speed. The Alfine 11 shifts smoother and has less drag than the Rohloff. However, the Alfine 11 cannot take nearly as much torque and the new second one I have is giving a hard click on the average of once and hour. The Rohloff is much more durable. The Alfine 11 uses some helical gears and oil which makes it quite a bit different than the Alfine 8. From what I read the Alfine 8 is more durable than the Alfine 11.
    Thanks for the reply & feedback.

    There's no question that both my previous Shimano hubs shifted more smoothly than any of my Rohloffs but ... I can live with the slight shift 'clunkiness' in exchange for greater durability, QR, non-fiddly cable system & greater range. The Rohloff hubs will probably outlive me.

    Really can't remember there being that much a difference in drag between the hubs though. I feel it's negligible. It's certainly not something I've noticed on any of the hubs in use. OTOH, there seems to be a noticeable difference in drag between Shimano's top of the line dynamo hub & the Schmidt SON. I didn't believe it until I switched to the SON. What's funny is, I didn't switch because of the drag in the Shimano dynamo hub but because I didn't like the centerlock conversions available & wanted a dynamo hub with a six bolt disc mount but didn't trust the SRAM so 'settled' for the SON even though the price was painful.

  71. #71
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    I can't believe some riders are gearing their hubs so low... I've run mine 38/20, 42/22, 42/20, 48/20 & 48/22. I'm feeling pretty good about the 42/20, but when I'm riding solo in the flatlands at full steam I max out the hub. I'm thinking of using 44/20 next. So many sprockets in the tool box now...

    The drag on the hub has decreased with use significantly. When I first got it, I could barely push 17 mph, and that was at a dead sprint, with 13 mph being the average. I'm about 600 miles deep now, and I keep up 17 in the straightaways and if I'm feeling really good that day I can keep up 19-20 for a couple miles.

    I asked NuVinci support about the most efficient ratio and they say to target your optimum gearing for the 1:1 ratio. I've geared mine a little lower than cruising speed so I don't get killed on the uphills. For those of you riding in more flat terrain I would highly recommend this hub. I don't think I could recommend this hub for mountainous terrain.

  72. #72
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    I have this on my trek marlin 29er with a lefty dlr2, 7" rear and a 8" front juicy 7 combo for braking, running Duro Easy Ride Tire - 700c x 60 (29" x 2.35), Wire Bead, Black w/Reflective Wall tires for street riding.


    I replaced my alfine 8 speed ( i only had the alfine on for 3 weeks and got this) with this and haven't missed it. I ended putting the alpine in my cannondale hooligan (which by the way is an AWESOME RIDE)


    I love it but does anyone else have the "problem" of the shifter making a slight grinding or friction sound when you first start to shift?

  73. #73
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    found the shifter grinding sound cable was "derailed" inside the shifter since it was new so re-routed and cleaned it up inside it seems fine now...

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    Well I found that not only was there grinding and binding but the hub was not hitting maximum overdrive, was afraid i was going to have to change the ring or cog. The shift cables in the shifter being derailed and my not noticing caused me to cut the cables to short and not give it full range. Re-did the cables and fixed the shifter and now it does a lot better...

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    my nuvinci rig

    here is my rig I run Juicy 7's for stopping and Duro easy ride2.385 width tires for street duty, with a lefty fork
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails NuVinci N360: Amateur Review-29-rh-1024-copy.jpg  


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    Singular Gryphon with Nuvinci

    I'll jump in the mix and add to the growing number of folks who are sharing their experiences with the N360.

    I just built a Gryphon with a N360, to be used as my daily commuter as well as offroad (quick removal of fenders/rack, tire swap).

    I've just started riding it on my commute (16 mi RT) and so far, I'm really liking it. I'll report back as I spend more time with it.
    It seems that I am keeping similar (perceived - I do not have a speedo) pace as with my old Alfine 8 and with my son's XT-equipped Motobecane (with slicks). The "feel" is very smooth, and to my legs it feels pretty efficient right out of the box - very solid, no mushiness.

    One thing I'm already finding is that when I start from a stop (at a light, for example), I can twist the shifter smoothly while out of the saddle to give me a really smooth acceleration to my cruising speed. Cool. I could not do that on either the XT or Alfine drive trains without some form of skipping/grinding.

    I posted pics and more about the build here, but here's a couple of teaser pics for this thread (in commuter guise):
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails NuVinci N360: Amateur Review-gryphon-side1.jpg  

    NuVinci N360: Amateur Review-gryphon-nuvinci-1.jpg  


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    canyoneagle - Welcome to the N360 family! I'm glad you like your hub so much. Over time, either mine has gotten 'more' efficient or I just got better with shifting because my average speeds match my old derailleur equipped bike. I can easily cruise around 18 mph now. Your Gryphon is gorgeous, I saw your thread in the commuter forum.

    Two questions: 1. what is on your water bottle boss on the seat tube? 2. What are you gearing your at right now? That's possibly the smallest chainring I've seen on this setup! My Vaya is quite similar to your frame, but I'm quite jealous of the eccentric hub. I have to use a tensioner

  78. #78
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    Quote Originally Posted by crazylemurboy View Post
    canyoneagle - Welcome to the N360 family! I'm glad you like your hub so much. Over time, either mine has gotten 'more' efficient or I just got better with shifting because my average speeds match my old derailleur equipped bike. I can easily cruise around 18 mph now. Your Gryphon is gorgeous, I saw your thread in the commuter forum.

    Two questions: 1. what is on your water bottle boss on the seat tube? 2. What are you gearing your at right now? That's possibly the smallest chainring I've seen on this setup! My Vaya is quite similar to your frame, but I'm quite jealous of the eccentric hub. I have to use a tensioner
    The seatpost box is my super secret turbo boost. shhhh!
    No, it is actually my lock. I use an Abus bar-link folding like, and like it quite a bit.

    The chain ring is a 32t, and my hub came with a 18T cog. This gives me a gear spread (with my 700x50's) of about 25-90 or so gear inches.

  79. #79
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    Ah, I didn't factor in the large wheel. That will definitely increase the gear ratio. I'm using a 48 x 22 T setup right now with a 700 x 38 tire. Lately I've considered going down just a smidge to 47 in the front. I kind of wish I could throw on the bigger rubber, I love the way the fat tires roll. I can't imagine getting over 42mm of rubber under my fenders. Love your setup, thanks for the tip of the lock. One last question: does the front fork have rack bosses?

  80. #80
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    Quote Originally Posted by crazylemurboy View Post
    One last question: does the front fork have rack bosses?
    Nope. In time, I plan to try my hand at brazing some bosses on there and re-painting the fork.

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    I just built up a wheel with the N360 for my Marin Hamilton 29er. Have not yet been able to ride it more than just around the block, but I am a heavy guy, and it has worked fine so far. After learning how it works, I wanted to see for myself about the slippage or lack thereof; I put the front brake on and stood on the forward pedal, and there is nothing in the way of slippage. Kind of weird thinking about totally smooth ball bearings against totally smooth rings not slipping, so the real magic here is the oil. My intent is to have a do everything bike, from road rides (30 miles), to commuting, to technical singletrack, to pulling my son around the sidewalks in his trailer (1 year old), and I think this bike nails it thanks to this hub. It has plenty of top end, and a low enough gear to make the steep hill at the end of my street easy (with a 32x18 set up). I am really looking forward to getting a decent ride in to be able to really use this in a variety of situations.

  82. #82
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    From that standpoint, it really is a unique hub that can't be matched. I agree, "slippage" is a non-issue, although I do feel mine was a little draggy, and the smoothness and quietness is unmatched. I think you'll be really happy with yours for your intended uses.
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  83. #83
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    To add to my original reply, I went on a 15 mile ride through rolling hills with 2 steep, longer climbs to really shakedown the hub system, and I can say that I am sold. It is a completely different way of riding, responding to drops in cadence rather than drops in speed or effort. Grinding a 18% grade in full underdrive, where some said you can feel the resistance, I didn't notice it at all. Maybe I need to find a steeper off road grind to truly test this, but if there is any major resistance I didn't notice it. The bike accelerates on a slight downhill grade, and I completed the 15 mile loop in the same amount of time it takes me on my road bike. I think the best thing is being able to pedal and slowly roll the shifter back to smoothly accelerate from a stop, and doing the same with rolling terrain.

    I am a heavy guy, over 250lbs, so the extra weight is a moot point for me. My only complaint is I would like more top end, but I think a swap for a 16t on the back will help out without losing too much granny gear. I am looking forward to trying some technical singletrack with this bike now!

  84. #84
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    Rousting this thread from its slumber because I am in the horns of a dilemma...please help.

    I have a Pugsley that is going to be used for the following activities:
    - Replace my commuter/kid hauler/human powered SUV
    - Ride on the sand on the annual beach vacations we take
    - Extend my mountain bike season with some snowy trail riding here in Eastern Pa.

    I have a standard 2x9 transmission on there now, and the beach riding tore it up something awful this summer. For this and many other reasons I want to give the IGH option a go.

    The plan: I have some 80mm rims on order to build up a puffy wheelset for the sand/snow. The hub is going to be an Alfine 8 or a NuVinci n360. The Rohloff is just too pricey, and would never make it past the CFO veto. The current wheelset is a standard Large Marge deal, but I have 26x3.0 street tires on there. Eventually I will gut one of them and put another IGH in that set as well.

    My priorities: durability and gear range...primarily for snow and sand. Seems like n360 would be the shoe-in, but in reading this thread it seems like the n360 likes to be in the upper gear ranges. On my Pugs I will probably be doing most of my off road riding in the 35-55 gear inch range.

    My assessment: Put the Alfine into the 80mm rim snow/sand wheel set first. Eventually put the n360 into the commuting wheel set when funds allow.

    Outstanding questions:
    - Which would you choose for snow covered single track with technical features here and there?
    - Which hub would tolerate riding in the 25 gear inch range better?
    - Why did Diller sell the n360 Pug?
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  85. #85
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    Quote Originally Posted by buddhak View Post
    - Why did Diller sell the n360 Pug?
    Yo I shouldn't have, I miss that thing.

    I sold the Pug to my best friend, privately. He couldn't keep it, because of objections from his SO and a small living space / not using the bike for what it's intended. So I sold it publicly. To a guy I knew would give it a good home.

    My wife also didn't want me having a frivolous amount of fat bikes. So I sold it after finding a buyer who I knew would give it a good home.

    Both the Alfine and the N360 have the same unsatisfactorily high gearing range when it comes to snow and sand crawling. Sucks, man.

    I had no functional problems with either hub in the cold or wet, though. Only thing with the Alfine: keep that shift cable clean.

    The only problem I had with undergearing the N360 was a squishy, inefficient feeling in the bottom portion of the gearing gradient. But, when you're plowing over or through 4" or more of snow, efficiency is kind of a "haha, efficiency" conversation. Big Fat Larry and 100mm rims are easily available these days, which I think will have a greater impact than fretting over which hub.
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  86. #86
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    buddhak, on the which-hub-of-the-two question... that's tough. If you can handle thinking about the way Alfine likes to be shifted (back off when shifting to an easier gear), go that route. On the other hand, snow can be pretty wacky and the completely thoughtless shifting of the N360 was cool. Also, easier to shift the N360 grip shifter inside a pogie.

    Tough call.
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  87. #87
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    I don't know if you can get the N360 to 25 gear inches and stay within the manufacture's specs. If you can, or if you get close, I think you will be at the lowest end of the range. I don't know that riding around in the lower gear range of a Nuvinci is a problem. The hub is just at maximum efficiency in the middle of the range. Efficiency is something that seems to give some people pause and bothers others not at all. If I hit a hill, and drop my bike into it's lowest gear, I sometimes wish I could go a little lower, but never think, "Wow, this is inefficient."

    That said, my bike is not a fatbike and not a mountain bike. But I dream of fatbikes at night, and they all have Nuvinci hubs, for what it's worth. With any IGH/single chainring combo, the lower you gear it, the lower the range. If you could gear the Alfine lower than the Nuvinci, you could get those 25 gear inches you want, but you'd also loose a lot more from the top end. If you were strictly mountain biking, maybe that would be fine, but if it's also your 'round town utility bike, you might occasionally want that high end. I use my whole range, and even though in commuting/round-town mode my bike is geared higher then the minimum (38-134 gear inches), I spend a decent amount of time in the top half of the range.

  88. #88
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    Thanks for the feedback, Drew.

    I can't fit the big meats on the Pugsley, so I went the 80mm route. That and the GFS rims cost $30/piece! This is a tough call, indeed. So, am I correct in interpreting from your post that although the n360 felt squishy in the low ranges, it didn't really bother you while you were in the heat of the moment? Because, if that is the case, I may grab the NuVinci first. The 100% sealed construction and infinite gear steps (and wider range!) sound perfect. The only thing holding me up was the low range behavior of the NuVinci.
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  89. #89
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    I'm sure Drew will chime in with his fatbike experience, but I will say that for my part the low end "squishiness" was weird, but not bad. Just different. And either it didn't last or I'm so used to it now that I don't notice.

  90. #90
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob_E View Post
    I don't know if you can get the N360 to 25 gear inches and stay within the manufacture's specs. If you can, or if you get close, I think you will be at the lowest end of the range. I don't know that riding around in the lower gear range of a Nuvinci is a problem. The hub is just at maximum efficiency in the middle of the range. Efficiency is something that seems to give some people pause and bothers others not at all. If I hit a hill, and drop my bike into it's lowest gear, I sometimes wish I could go a little lower, but never think, "Wow, this is inefficient."

    That said, my bike is not a fatbike and not a mountain bike. But I dream of fatbikes at night, and they all have Nuvinci hubs, for what it's worth. With any IGH/single chainring combo, the lower you gear it, the lower the range. If you could gear the Alfine lower than the Nuvinci, you could get those 25 gear inches you want, but you'd also loose a lot more from the top end. If you were strictly mountain biking, maybe that would be fine, but if it's also your 'round town utility bike, you might occasionally want that high end. I use my whole range, and even though in commuting/round-town mode my bike is geared higher then the minimum (38-134 gear inches), I spend a decent amount of time in the top half of the range.
    Thanks Rob E,

    More good feedback.

    On the Sheldon Brown gear calculator, assuming a fat wheel/tire hits the 29" diameter mark, the 1.8:1 ratio minimum for the n360 gets you in the 26-27 gear inch neighborhood. Upper range in the 88-90 gear inch range. Let's say I sacrificed warranty concerns and set up the gearing lower - say, to a 19-71 gear inch range. Would that improve the feel of the NuVinci in the approximate 25 gear inch range? I know torque would increase, but the position of the balls on their track would also change. Does that make a difference at all, or is it torque induced changes in the oil viscosity that affects the feel of the hub?
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  91. #91
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    I am only guessing and trying to remember from early days with my hub, but I want to say that the squishiness seemed more related to being at the bottom of the range rather than being tied to the torque. I could be 100% wrong on that. But if I'm right, then undergearing it would give you a more solid feel at 25 gear inches. But unless you felt that you wanted that 19, I would at least try the hub in manufacturer's specs before under gearing it.

    Again, the folks who have used the hub in mountain biking applications will have better input, but I would say make your decisions based on highest low gear you can enjoy, and put thoughts of squishiness out of your head. You will get used to it or it will go away.

  92. #92
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    I am using mine on a 29er mountain bike with 32x18 primary drive. This gives a range of 26 to 93 gear inches, which handles the off-road stuff beautifully. I see no real reason why a 30x19 wouldn't work, even though NuVinci suggests against it, because the amount of force I am applying to the hub when standing in low is significant (I am 280#). It just keeps working smoothly through all conditions. Another thing I noticed, I started my IGH journey with a 2 speed kickback hub from SA, and I kept breaking cogs. They were the lousy 3 tab ones for coaster brakes. Shimano has a 4 tab, because I looked at the Alfine, but they are still rounded off. High torque applications might be an issue, they sure were for me. The N360 has the 9 spline cassette cogs, which are bulletproof so far

  93. #93
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    Quote Originally Posted by buddhak View Post
    am I correct in interpreting from your post that although the n360 felt squishy in the low ranges, it didn't really bother you while you were in the heat of the moment?
    That's a fair statement. It bothered me on sustained, greater than 10% grades. Which, if attempted on warm snow, isn't going to happen anyway no matter what gearing you have going.

    I don't think gunk is a big deal for the Alfine either. I'd clean it after a season (this is my first with one), and there are instructions on how to do it. My own hub is second hand and several Alaskan seasons old. The previous owner cleaned it once a year and it works fine.

    One other thing I really like about the N360 is the ability to change the cable pull direction. Can't do that on the Alfine.

    Alfine still gets the prize for standing-still shifts, though. N360 can shift through part of the range while not pedaling, but not all of it. Possibly important after falling into a snow drift (which is hilarious going in and infuriating getting out).
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  94. #94
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    Another thought buddhak - if you're concerned about damaging the N360 from undergearing, and you're mostly on snow. Dude, when you push the pedals really hard, the tire slips. Even a Surly Nate, in the wrong kind of snow/slush. Hard to over torque anything when the tires are struggling for purchase, meaty as they may be.

    EDIT: I guess what I'm saying if you're really jonesing to get into the fat bikes for snow thing, expect some pushing. It varies with the snow present, just like with any snow sport. Some days it's great. Some days it is simply a grueling workout and people think you're nuts.
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  95. #95
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    Quote Originally Posted by buddhak View Post
    I can't fit the big meats on the Pugsley, so I went the 80mm route. That and the GFS rims cost $30/piece!
    Also, you can squeeze BFLs onto 80mm rims and still make the Pugs stays. You're good there.

    GFS rims have a garbage reputation, but you know... they do the job.
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  96. #96
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    Right on, Drew

    I have been out in the snow on my 29er on a few occasions. It was fun, but 1 mile felt like 10. I am anticipating much suffering with the Pugs. I know the GFS is a crude product, but at least it is priced accordingly! One day I may graduate to the Rolling Darryl or UMA.

    By the way, I am now much better informed, but no less confused about which hub to get.
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  97. #97
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    Quote Originally Posted by buddhak View Post
    By the way, I am now much better informed, but no less confused about which hub to get.
    LOL

    I try.

    To be fair I'm still in the same boat. I think about bike drivetrains more than anyone should. Same with software dude. Just because something IS doesn't mean it SHOULD.
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  98. #98
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    The Alfine is meant to be a commuter hub, not to say it can't be on a mountain bike. The N360 is more all around, and has come as OEM on an Ellsworth mountain bike. Get the hub that offers the features you want

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    Very good review, thanks a lot OP, this makes decision process easier.

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    Thread resurrection time!

    I am considering a N360 for a 29" mountain tandem, so weight is not an issue, but low end gearing is a potential issue.

    The Rohloff is expensive and it still requires shifting, also it is not an undergear champ unless I run outside mfd specs. I want the Nivinci for the things that a CVT can provide:

    1) improved transitions, esp in tight terrain where getting just the right gear can be hard when your managing 350# plus bike weight
    2) less abrupt starts, smoother low speed climbing turns, reduced overtorque
    3) more range than a standard 3 x 9.

    The plan is to build a Nuvinci 360 wheel and retain a 2x front drive, so doubling the range to ~700%.

    Right now we are running 44/33/22 x 11-34

    Am I going to suffer for a lack of undergearing?

    Am I crazy?

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