Help me decide with cheap(ish) IGH for winter commuter/touring- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Help me decide with cheap(ish) IGH for winter commuter/touring

    Going on a cx bike I have set up for commuting and gravel. Gets ridden approximately 180 miles a week through the winter in MN with a good portion of that being on gravel. This bike will also be the bike I take bike camping or touring.

    On a budget here- specifically looking at the 7 speed nexus hub, the sturmey xrf8 and the sram imotion (all of which I have access to lightly used and relatively cheap specimens of).

    Ideally, I need a range of gear inches from just below 30 up to at least 70, but would take advantage of 95 or 100.



    The sram is the most expensive and seems to be the biggest ??? in terms of reliability etc.. It would also require me to buy a new cog for it from harriscyclery (a 21t) in order to work properly with my bike and give me the gear range I want. One big advantage I see of the sram is that it is the disc version- thus i could install my tomicog and always have a back-up plan so far as switching to fixed. it's also supposed to be the easiest to change a flat with.


    shimano nexus 7 doesn't have a super wide range, but otherwise gets decent reviews and is the cheapest.

    sturmey archer may not be quite as reliable as the shimano???? it would also require me to run a 26t chainring up front with a 25t cog in the rear, which seems a little weird.

    input? thoughts?

  2. #2
    Frt Range, CO
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    If you're limited to those three, I'd consider the SRAM nine speed. I have one, it's ~OK. Mine needed to be lubed with ATF to keep it shifting below 20*F. Seems to be keeping water out pretty well (other have reported the same experience).

    Otherwise, I'd go for the Nexus 7 speed. Old versions are not so well sealed, you might need to keep an eye on it and re-lube it mid-winter.

    SA 8 speed has a bad reputation, the new version (the (W) ) is supposed to be good, lots of old ones on the market cheap since SA replaced many of the older ones in a silent recall. I'd skip it for sure.

    Another good option is the SRAM S7, not sure if it fits into your budget.

  3. #3
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    You're commuting shy of 1000 miles/month and the bike will also be used for loaded touring?

    "None of the above". Industry leading Shimano Nexus SG-8R36 hubs just aren't that expensive, and you can get a choice of shifters. Drawbacks include the uneven ratio steps and the use of dual stage compounding to create some of the ratios.

    The SRAM S7 is less $$ and a respected hub worldwide. Only twist shifters are available, and SRAM N.A. actively ignores their IGH product line.

    A Sturmey SRF5(W) [or large flange XRF5(W)] will give you the gear range you require for less cost than a Nexus 8 or SRAM S7 and you can get a lot of different kinds of shifters for them, to.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by john_dalhart
    You're commuting shy of 1000 miles/month and the bike will also be used for loaded touring?

    "None of the above". Industry leading Shimano Nexus SG-8R36 hubs just aren't that expensive, and you can get a choice of shifters. Drawbacks include the uneven ratio steps and the use of dual stage compounding to create some of the ratios.

    The SRAM S7 is less $$ and a respected hub worldwide. Only twist shifters are available, and SRAM N.A. actively ignores their IGH product line.

    A Sturmey SRF5(W) [or large flange XRF5(W)] will give you the gear range you require for less cost than a Nexus 8 or SRAM S7 and you can get a lot of different kinds of shifters for them, to.

    I suppose you may be right- but I've got so much $ into my mountain bike and cx bike that I'd love to keep the cost down as much as possible here. I can see that in the end that may be a false idea too.

  5. #5
    Frt Range, CO
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    Lots of people commuting on the SRAM nine speed, you'll be OK...The Shimano 8 speeds suck on the road, the 5-6 step is stupid large...everyone likes to spend OP's money

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by pursuiter
    The Shimano 8 speeds suck on the road, the 5-6 step is stupid large...
    Actually, it a smaller step that the 3to4 and 4to5 step in the SRAM S7 you recommended in post #2.

    No judgement call, just math.

  7. #7
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    I picked up the Shimano Nexus 7 from my friend here in town- can't go real wrong with a brand new hub and wheel build for $125 or so.



    Read a lot of reviews online and got the blessing of a couple of people with a ton of experience before pulling the trigger. Apparently this is a good hub for the $.



    Only real issue I see (may really be a non-issue) is the narrow range. I'm running 38x21 (which is a magic gear on my bike) and that results in a gear range that should work well for winter and commuting, but if I ever do plan a camping trip I might swap to a 34 up front. It might be convenient to run the 34 all the time too as that would result in a chain length that is the same as the 38x17 I like to ride SS, which would mean I could really quickly just swap to my ss/fixed wheel if I wanted to.



    I can update on how it works out for me if anyone cares.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2silent
    I picked up the Shimano Nexus 7 from my friend here in town- can't go real wrong with a brand new hub and wheel build for $125 or so.
    Very bad idea. You saved spare change and got a hub that, when compared to the Nexus 8 Premium:
    - is much draggier due to lack of planet gear needle bearings, will rob at least 5% of your power along the way
    - has worse sealing (actually it was the Nexus 8 since when Shimano started to seal their hubs properly)
    - shifts poorer
    - is louder
    - worst of them all, offers no neutral gear (1:1) at which the hub introduces almost no drag loss; when choosing the chainring/sprocket pair properly, you could sit in this most efficient gear most of the time and have all of the benefits of the IGH with almost no drawbacks for, say, 80% of your miles.

    Snapping the deal, I got the Nexus SG-8R36 with the shifter and all the small parts and fittings for $130.

    Saving cents on the key drivetrain component when doing number of miles this insane is pointless.

    Long ratio jump between the 5th and 6th gear is a virtual issue, existing on the spec but no longer in the real world. As are all these "uneven ratios" complaints about Shimano hubs. If they hadn't been put on the spec sheet, people would have barely noticed. And since the 5th gear on Alfine/Nexus 8 is neutral with its higher efficiency being noticeable, the rider usually shifts up at higher cadence then normal, jumping to the 6th gear cadence that is still acceptably high.

    Removing rear wheels built on Shimano IGH hubs suck, but then, the solution is called Schwalbe Marathon Plus tire. It never flats, is very fast due to low rolling resistance and seems not to wear at all. The best tire in the world.

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