Gears Various transmission types tested and compared + optimal gears determined
Gear step size, average speed with systems with limited gears vs. many gears
- Cadence and gears. I show here exactly why a certain range and gear step size is one of: bad, useful, good enough, and optimal...
2023-1-29 - 2022-2-7:
A new section in which I look in more detail than what I wrote down in the comparison section below (Experience: Gears: How much do gears (number and gear step size) influence your speed, and what is optimal?
), at the step size between gears in relation to the cadence that you find comfortable to pedal with, for how big the step size may be for comfortable cycling. This was partially inspired by a response from Kindernay about the step size in gears with their 7 speed hub, in their reply to my question about the availability of the 14 speed hub, as then I had to decide on whether the 1.27x gear step size was good enough to order instead of the unavailable Kindernay 14. So I thought about these issues in mid 2022 then while making cycling trips in Poland in 2022 in August I write most of it down using the information of cadence measurements that I did on those trips for what I consider to be a comfortable pedalling frequency.
I would be interested in the comfortable pedalling range of readers to be able to more specifically nail down what the maximal step range of especially a geared hub should be.
- Gears: How much do gears (number and gear step size) influence your speed, and what is optimal?
Here I compare a fixed gear with 3x7 speed derailleur system, 3 speed Sturmey Archer internal gear hub, 3x10 speed derailleur system with close ratios on a road bike, Nexus/Alfine 7 and 8 speed internal gear hubs, to see what difference such gears make in average speed and whether the gaps in gears are too big and I consider how many gears are needed/useful.
Reviews of internally geared hubs
- 2023-3-24: Brief comparison the Pinion C1.12, P1.18, and Rohloff speedhub with Gebla Rohbox with modified SRAM shifters.
I visited a bike shop and made testrides with 3 bikes which means I could now compare all these systems to my bike with Rohloff hub with twist shifter.
- Experiences with the Nuvinci N171 and Nuvinci/Enviolo N360
These are continuously changeable hubs, the latter is lighter, changes gears more easily and has a bigger range of 3.60x instead of 3.50x for the N171. Nuvinci was renamed to Enviolo in 2017.
- Rohloff speedhub
In June 2022 I bought a bike with Rohloff hub with belt drive with rotational shifter. It is the worst shifter I have ever used because of the force required to shift. I considered all options, such as installing a Gebla Rohbox + push shifters but I think I will replace the hub with either a Kindernay hub once/if that becomes available again, or a Enviolo Trekking hub.
- The Alfine 11 internally geared hub with mechanical shifting
I first tried it in 2022 in a velomobile, but it was briefly a 10 km ride or so. I then used a bike from a friend in Poland for about 500 km on long tours + a rode a lot of short sections of ca. 5-10km in Wroclaw, which gave a good view of the good and bad points of this hub.
Some related topics
I wanted to try out a Rohloff and Alfine 11 for a long time and I finally did that in 2022 and 2023 so that takes care of those systems, but here is a listing of other possibly interesting systems:
- To come, likely summer 2023: Pinion: Will be very expensive, needs a complete new bike. This is in my view the future however, not geared hubs. I wanted to see this loooong ago. I mentioned to Jack Brandsen (NuVinci) in 2008 that this is something that NuVinci should do... I also asked Pinion about their prototypes long ago, when it wasn't released yet, as I was thinking of building a frame for it, but other things got in the way. So it would be cool to finally test one. However, I don't like rotating shifters!!!!
- To come?: Kindernay 14: As of early 2023: Not available already since almost a year. Not sure what will happen with these, so currently not an option.
- Upgrading a bike with the belt system from Veer cycle. Cost is EUR 350 which is comparable to a Gates CDX belt + cog + belt ring. Once I can buy a Kindernay hub I will replace the Rohloff hub in my titanium touring bike, then install the Rohloff hub in my other touring bike using using such a belt (as it has no splittable frame).
- Alfine 11 Di2: Very expensive (for what you get, i.e. an 11 speed system with limited range and not as robust as a Rohloff hub nor Pinion C1.12), every simple thing that is needed costs a lot: The display/charger (which shows Shimano's moronic engineering again in being very close to the handlebar and wasting space there that you might be able to use otherwise for a bike computer, bell, etc.), the gear switcher with 2 buttons is just outrageously expensive, the drive motor to switch gears, are all additional to the hub. Total price of the system is about double that of the hub itself (ca. 700 euro). The display looks nice but will it work in daylight? And how long will the battery last?
2016-2-4: I want to do a review on a long tour this Summer of one or more of the following: Shimano Alfine 11 gear (range 4.09x, with standard or electronic shifting (Di2)), Rohloff 14 gear (range 5.25x) (I only had limited experience with it so far), Pinion 18 gear (range ca. 6.00x) with belt drive.
2019-7-6: Lots of things got in the way of buying something new, and in the end I decided that there are too many issues with the Alfine 11, i.e it is mechanically not robust enough and the electronic variant has too many issues with cables, updating software and far too high prices for every little cable, switch etc. I got interested in the Kindernay 14 gear hub which contrary to the Rohloff hub comes with push shifters instead of a godawful rotary shifter...
Since 2019-7-16 other work got in the way and when I was finally ready to buy a Kindernay hub in 2022 it was unavailable.
2021-8-26: I will finally get round to testing something new soon, it will be a Rohloff and/or Kindernay hub.
2022-7-1: I bought a 2nd hand bike with Rohloff hub (finally) a week ago, and I dislike the shifter more than I imagined from having tried one briefly long ago. I will place this in new rohloff section linked to above. The Kindernay hub is going to be the next one I will try out, finally. Should be much better with push shifters and hydraulic shifting (which I suggested to Jack Brandsen also in 2008 to use on the Nuvinci...)
Last modified: 2023-2-16