Dumb question from a novice...- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Dumb question from a novice...

    I was wondering why internal geared hubs aren't the norm? I must go through 2-3 derailleurs, a chain, and a cassette every season. Why don't internal geared hubs hit the mountain bike world like 29er's did?

    Also, my novice thinking has me wondering why an internal hub combined with a Hammer Schmidt crank would give a ton of gear combinations?

    Just wondering.

    -Dave

  2. #2
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    That is an interesting question and I do not know the answer and I think it is worth asking. Maybe someone here will be able to shed some thoughts.

    Another question that I would think worth asking is 'Why in the world are you going through "2-3 derailleurs, a chain, and a cassette every season"?' That seems extreme to me. But then maybe you are an extreme rider.
    Half our life is spent trying to find something to do with the time we have rushed through life trying to save

  3. #3
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    add 2-3 derailleur hangers to that list too! I ride pretty hard and a lot of trails I ride have numerous rock gardens. I ride 4-5 days a week so I wear out a chain at least each year. I usually replace the cassette when I replace the chain.

    I just think it would be fantastic to be done with derailleurs, hangers, cassettes and even chains! But I still need the gears.

  4. #4
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    "why internal geared hubs aren't the norm?"

    IMHO mostly because of
    - Price (Rohloff) or lack of gears (Alfine)
    - Weight

    Added downsides for some maybe
    - Slight extra drag
    - Not as easy to fix replace
    - Wheel removal not as quick (for racers)

  5. #5
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    yes there are a lot of shortcomings for racing but if you want to have fun and want reliable you can't go past them IMO. Short comings vary from IGH to IGH but event he rohloff which sovles a lot of them, still has issues of weight, cost, engagement, efficiency, gear change under load. Other issues from other IGH's include gear steps, gear range, low enough gears. And, no, in most cases you can't gear an IGH too low at the chainring for risk of breakage, so care needs to be taken when adding crank gears.

  6. #6
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    I think you are wrong. It's price, price and price. Right now for MTB we got Rohloff which is prohibitively expensive and Alfine 11 which is expensive. All other IGH lack proper range, and do not really count. I decided to risk a lot and spent 500USD for Alfine 11 set plus 200USD more for chain tensioner, rim and spokes. For this price you can get a complete, decent mountain bike. This is the reason why bike companies - except few German manufacturers, because Rohloff is somewhat popular in DE - do not offer IGH mountain bikes: market niche at this price point is just too small. Lower the price point and we will see them.

  7. #7
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    The real reason is because everyone sees the racers using derailleurs, so they figure that must be the ducks nuts. And they are if you race or just want to look like your heroes.

    Everyone else would be far better off with a hub gear. An Alfine 8 has a decent range, similar to a 1x9 setup, and will outlast many sets of derailleurs, and cassettes.

    The Rohloff is the gold standard.
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  8. #8
    1*14*29*2.1 & 1*1*29*2.4
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    Quote Originally Posted by rekrutacja
    I think you are wrong. It's price, price and price. Right now for MTB we got Rohloff which is prohibitively expensive and Alfine 11 which is expensive. All other IGH lack proper range, and do not really count. I decided to risk a lot and spent 500USD for Alfine 11 set plus 200USD more for chain tensioner, rim and spokes. For this price you can get a complete, decent mountain bike. This is the reason why bike companies - except few German manufacturers, because Rohloff is somewhat popular in DE - do not offer IGH mountain bikes: market niche at this price point is just too small. Lower the price point and we will see them.
    True. If they were cheap as chips everyone would have them. Not for racing though I'd wager. I wouldn't consider the alfine 11 to have a good enough gear range myself, which leaves only the rohloff at over 2000AUD here.

  9. #9
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    I would disagree about the price - the alfine hubs are very affordable, and the 8 speed one can be picked up here in Australia for as little as $180 AUD. Alfine 8 equipped bikes have been sold for several years now below $1000 USD.

    I think there are many myths floating about that geared hubs are heavy and have few gears. Both of these are incorrect, however the low production of mtbs with IGHs means that neither of these myths are likely to be corrected for some time.

    I agree that the absence of pros using the hubs gives the impression that they are a poor cousin to the derailleur.

    Personally, I see the uptake of IGHs on mtbs as being at the same point that the use of 29 inch wheels were at in the early 2000s - a small dedicated group that is exploring the use of the technology. As more mtb riders adopt IGHs and the tecnology improves, then there will be a breaking point where the technology goes mainstream. It took 29 inch wheels at least 15 years to go mainstream!

    I think there is a positive future for IGH on mtbs - the trend of this technology seems to be pointing to stronger lighter hubs with a wide gear range, which are all features that will make the hubs attractive for mtb use.

  10. #10
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    the money aspect doesn't concern me as much as the reliability factor. I would have no problem dropping some serious coin on an IGH if it meant I would be (nearly) free of all of the derailleur, hanger, and chain issues that accompany regular mtb's.

    Got some thinking to do I guess...

  11. #11
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    Well, i would love to read more first-hand experiences from Alfine 11 users out there. For Rohloff there is enough reading material to develop your own opinion, but with Alfine 11 we are still pretty much in the wild. What bothers me most is reliability and low gearing issue. I just bought Alfine 11 myself and will be putting my new bike together next week probably. I will go 32/20 gearing initially, but already know that this is little bit too high for me, and would love to reach 32/21 or 32/22 if it is safe for the hub. So if you anyone out there has an Alfine 11 and still didn't wrote a review, please help us all and write one :-)

  12. #12
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    Internal gearing does hit the mountain bike world, only in a different form, namely put inside the crankset and called Hammerschmidt. Unlike all but one internal gear hub, it is officially allowed (and designed for) mountain biking, can shift under load without hiccup and most of the time the direct drive ratio is in action, producing no undesired efficiency losses.

    As for the mountain bike ready internal gear hub for the mass market, I don't see the cycling industry being interested in making it. Dérailleurs are great cause they are extremely simple yet can be priced highly after intensive marketing, branding and brainwashing about carbon this and race ready that. They, together with chains and cassettes, fully exposed to sand, mud and water, wear quickly and put customers back in the market in foreseeable time. This phenomenon makes giant corporations like Shimano or SRAM happy, providing them steady cash inflows.

    A MTB-ready internal gear hub, even the one for the mass market, would have to be expensive, so it'd also be sealed properly and in oil bath. Sold to people who know their way around a bike (high prices ensure that), this thing would last 15 years easily. Changing a bike would not mean dumping the hub previously used as it'd fit in the new frame thanks to standardization. How can giant manufacturers make money from such products then?

    Look at the Rohloff. After selling you the Speedhub, they won't see you back:
    - over 10 years, if you're a cycling maniac
    - over 20 years, if you cycle a lot
    - over, no idea, maybe rest of your life, if you cycle occasionally

    That's why they made a non standard disc brake mount, non standard sprocket, dedicated oil, sprocket removal tool etc. and sell it for at least 5 times what these items are worth. They simply need any cash influx from their customers, who, after initial purchase, disappear from view. Such business model is acceptable for a small family business (what Rohloff actually is) but would starve a large corporation.

    And once you sell a ~400-500% ratio gain internal gear hub with enough ratio steps, all requirements of a human being on a bicycle are fulfilled. There won't be any significant room for improvement like there is in telecommunication gadgetry, automotive or software or whatever else to attract customers who already purchased the products just offering them something much better.

    So why Hammerschmidt exists? Cause it is an acceptable compromise. It's very simple to make yet pretty expensive, yielding high profit margins while ditching low profit front dérailleur. All the stuff to wear off is still there.

    Initial response to internal gearing virtues is very promising:
    http://www.mtbr.com/cat/drivetrain/c...36_115crx.aspx
    but, should I bet, there won't be any new product in the next couple of years truly competing with the Rohloff. Alfine 8 having no range, 11 being clearly limited and devoid of direct drive, their roller clutches, unrivaled around town, appearing "too soft" over rough ground together with occasional faux engagement (gear shifted, hub seems to be engaged, receives strong power stroke,CLUNKS and then engages properly) convince me that these hubs were never designed with MTB in mind.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pinchphlat
    I would disagree about the price - the alfine hubs are very affordable, and the 8 speed one can be picked up here in Australia for as little as $180 AUD.
    Whre can you find 8 speed alfines for $180 in Australia?

    Thanks

    Tim

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wombat
    Whre can you find 8 speed alfines for $180 in Australia?

    Thanks

    Tim
    Here: http://cgi.ebay.de/SHIMANO-ALFINE-8-...item43a6b84685

    Well, it's not exactly Australia, but try dropping this guy a mail, giving some hints about overseas shipment and procedures, he's truly kind and helpful. Best service I've ever experienced. Maybe he will send it to the Land Down Under.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikeisbetter
    Well, it's not exactly Australia, but try dropping this guy a mail, giving some hints about overseas shipment and procedures, he's truly kind and helpful. Best service I've ever experienced. Maybe he will send it to the Land Down Under.
    Thanks. That's not bad if he ships to Australia at a reasonable price. The on-one deal for the complete Alfine bundle for about A$280 shipped is probably a better overall deal:
    http://www.on-one.co.uk/i/q/ZXHUSHAL...eed-hub-bundle

    Tim

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