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  1. #1
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    Is Singlespeed the Gateway Drug to IGH use?

    I am curious about how IGH users came to experiment with this rare gearing system for off road use. Did you try Singlespeed first, then decide that the smplicity was nice, but a few gears would be more versatile, or did you go from a derailleur geared system directly to Internally Geared Hubs?

  2. #2
    Master of None
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    I rode singlespeed for a while and I really enjoyed the robustness and simplicity. Then I blew out my knee, tore the ACL, MCL, & meniscus and I couldn't handle singlespeed anymore.

    I rode my geared bike but I longed for the singlespeed simplicity. When the Alfine 501 became available it tipped the scales and I've been riding it for almost a year now.

  3. #3
    Rohloff
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    I tried SSing and didn't like it much. I understand the idea of the simplicity but I like to sit and spin up hills and I don't like to coast the flats and downhills.

    I think it was more the frustration of fiddling with a 3x9 derailleur system that brought me to a Rohloff. The idea of one shifter with 14 evenly spaced gears sounded perfect. I read one post that described IGHs as being like SSing, except you always have the perfect gear at hand. I kind of agree. It really does make gearing almost a non-issue while riding and lets you just pedal and enjoy the ride.

  4. #4
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    I started off with a Fisher Rig SS, naively longing for the days as a kid that all of our bikes were SS. Rode local trails for a year, but got tired of pumping like hell on straight runs with a 32/18 setup. If I only had one gear higher and lower...

    Did a lot of research on 1x9 conversions. Was put off by (1) no cable stops on frame; (2) fragility of derailleur hangers; and (3) voodoo required with bashguards, chain tensioners, etc. to keep chain from jumping off. I was surprised to find IGHs still being made, found that Shimano made an 8-speed IGH, and well, the rest was history -- I'm addicted.

  5. #5
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    I was planning to get a Rohloff, but I wanted a dérailleurless/tensionerless setup. So I looked for an SS frame (since Rohloff specific frames were extremely rare). Ended up buying a new scratch & dented Brodie Unibomber compete, but never got around to putting the Rohloff on it.

    However, I was riding SS back when I delivered newspapers as a kid.

  6. #6
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    I have never been a singlespeed purist. I take a pragmatic approach. Some trails require a full range of gears, some trails allow you to run a single gear, some trails allow you ride with a limited gear range. I think the limited range option is where internally geared hubs are appropriate. You get the simplicity and reliability of a singlespeed setup, but enough gears to keep you from being over or under geared.

    I like the idea that you can ride up to the trail and back without spinning out. It is easy enough to find a singlespeed gear for many trails, but not for the ride to the trails. Internally geared hubs give you the extra gear range to make that possible.

    I wonder how many singlespeeders will eventually consider an IGH option for some applications? It is an easy transition for singlespeeders, since most of them already have the platform required; a frame with an EBB, sliding dropouts, or chain tensioner.

  7. #7
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    I've got a Rohloff equipped bike and a singlespeed, both of which get about the same amount of use as each other. Can't quite remember which I built up first, although I built them both up at around the same time, both from derailleur geared systems (although the SS is now on a dedicated SS frame).
    This is no place for logic and facts; this is the internet.

  8. #8
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    I am looking at putting together a cross bike with an IGH wheel that I can swap between the cross bike and the Monocog. So SS mtb and cross with IGH for commuting then IGh monocog for bikepacking and SS crosser for fall season. At least that is my big plan...

  9. #9
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    I thought they were neat. Many people go to SS for the simplicity to start with then their skills develop they expand on to other systems. An IGH is the closest to what they know. I started with an SS, then I got a fixed gear, then another fixed gear, then a geared bike, then a geared Pugsley, then finally an IGH. I like my IGH (Alfine) but I probably won't experiment with anything more than 3 spd now.

  10. #10
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    My path was almost exactly as you described. I have been riding SS for 3 or 4 years now, but only in the summer. In the winter when the trail conditions are crappy (and so is MY condition) I like to have some gearing options. I certainly do not need 27 gears, so I started tinkering. The first winter I mounted 3 cogs to my Nashbar SS wheel (that was all I could fit) and it worked pretty well. The next summer I got a nice new set of wheels with Hope SS hubs, so that winter I was able to mount 6 cogs, and it worked even better. But both times, I longed for the simplicity of not having a rear derailleur. I started reading more about the Alfine, and knew I had to try one, which is exactly what I did last winter, and it worked out great. I even use the same size cog, so I can swap wheels very quickly. I LOVE not having to worry about banging my der. on rocks and stuff, and it just works for me.

    I think IGHs will be the future of MTBing. I'm sure Shimano and SRAM are working hard in the back room to come up with an IGH rated for mountain biking, and maybe with a few more gears than the Alfine. And if they're not, they are a bunch of dumba$$es!

    Mark

  11. #11
    dru
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    I don't do the singlespeed thing but love how it looks. So I built up my El Mar. It looks like a SS but isn't. It gets a good reaction at the trail head.

    Drew
    occasional cyclist

  12. #12
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    I started mt. biking on derailers. I bent derailers. I mucked up derailers with mud and trail debris. I replaced derailers. Seems I was always fiddling with derailer adjustments.

    I had enough of the grief so I saved some coin and went with the Rohloff. The prices they get for "top-o-the-line" derailers is fairly laughable and it really doesn't take too many of those to cover the cost of an IGH, making the decision even easier. While I think derailers have a place in biking, that place is not on mt. bikes that are actually used in the mountains. ...Better left to the urban scene where abuse is not such an issue, IMO.

    My friends all ride derailers and give me a hard time about the weight and cost of IGH, and the Rohloff specifically. That's fine. I don't mind waiting for them on the trail while they try to bend their hanger back straight so they can finish the ride. Nor do I mind riding by myself because they're waiting for a replacement derailer to arrive and the LBS to get some free time for install.

    I'm more than 2 years in now. I ride frequently and all I've done to date is change the oil twice and the chain once. On my mt. bike, I'll never go back!

  13. #13
    A Surly Maverick
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    Sand is what put me on the path to IGH.

    I ride a Surly Pugsley on the beach and IN the sea (I know it`s daft but it IS FUN ).

    My drive train did not like it........
    A Fatback'd Lefty for who life IS a Beach

  14. #14
    Music & Bikes
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    Had to change all the drive train on my bike , shifters , both derailleurs, plates , cogs ... so I puted a little more and went for a Rohloff. After 3 years I changed the shifting cables (in the first week) and the oil twice.........

    I have 6 bikes , only one has derailleur (road bike)
    "There is a big difference between kneeling down and bending over" -FZ

  15. #15
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    I had a FS 29er with a traditional drivetrain. It was my dream bike and I road it like stink. In last years Cascade Cream Puff I took a crash and ripped my rear deraileur. I had to limp 4 miles out of the woods on a FS bike that was made into a SS in order to not have to walk out. Well, I ended up hike-a-biking out most of the way....not to mention I was going against the grain of the race. That experienced sucked, then both my road and MTB were stolen of of the back on my girlfriends 4runner.....the same day.

    Thankfully I have home owners insurance and I was able to recover the worth of both bicycles stolen.

    So with the experience I had at the Cream Puff and my fresh availiblity of a pile of cash that I have to spend on bikes, per the insurance company. I did my research and decided on a Rohloff and haven't looked back.

    I just finished my first CCP on this new set up. The race conditions put my bike and all its parts to the test. The IGH was flawless. I won't go back to traditional drive train on a MTB again. I am sold!

  16. #16
    PeT
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    I actually took the opposite path -- from IGH (Rohloff) to single speed. I built my "dream bike" long enough ago that the cost of a Rohloff was basically the same as a new XTR drive train, so chose to go the IGH route because of the cleanliness of the setup. At the end of one riding season I pulled the Rohloff and went with a single speed setup and LOVED it. The key for me was to go into SS being fit. So for the next couple of years I'd start the riding season with the Rohloff and then convert to SS for the heart of the riding season. Now I'm a two bike guy, one dedicated Rohloff and one dedicated SS.
    "The plural of anecdote is not data." -- Attributed to various people in a variety of forms, but always worth remembering...

  17. #17
    Grinder
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    Quote Originally Posted by presslab
    I rode singlespeed for a while and I really enjoyed the robustness and simplicity. Then I blew out my knee, tore the ACL, MCL, & meniscus and I couldn't handle singlespeed anymore.

    I rode my geared bike but I longed for the singlespeed simplicity. When the Alfine 501 became available it tipped the scales and I've been riding it for almost a year now.

    blew out your knee... that says it all.....im sure the SS crowd will argue and call me names. but, when i was a kid i rode BMX. then got a early mtb. gears are there for a reason. maybe SS works good on certain trails. but damn. to ride in just one gear means. either you dont know how to shift(i.e.when and when not to) or your you love pain. but really a lot of SS riders are weight weenies. so IG probably not the direction they would normally go.
    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

  18. #18
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    Well, he didn't say that he blew out his knee while SSing... But, no I was not very good at shifting and I love not having to think about it. I also love that I don't have the option to go into that gear that is actually too low to power up a lot of stuff that I used to granny gear. And, yes i am looking hard at the Alfine for bikepacking

  19. #19
    Master of None
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    Yeah I should say I blew out my knee on a dirt bike (motorcycle), washed out on a turn, hit a tree, and my leg jammed between the ground and the bars. POP. My knee twisted all around - it was pretty gross/cool. Basically I tore all the ligimants on the inside of the knee and "pinch flatted" my meniscus on the outside.

    I still have a little pain because of the torn meniscus, they removed about 30% of it. Strangely enough I think standing up on the climbs is less painful; maybe because the knee is mostly straight... So I often do that with the Alfine. Overall though the SS was too hard on my knee, and the Alfine is great.

    SS is great for some trails. Here in N. CA we have a lot of SS friendly trails. Other places, not so much.

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