Why has the Nexus 8 speed hub gear not caught on?

iRider

Pedelecer
May 2, 2019
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Wigan
Hi Guys,

As I look around for a good all-round hybrid eBike I came across the Raleigh Motus Grand Tour with a Nexus 8 speed hub gear. Looking further I haven't seen any other eBikes with Hub Gears, instead they tend to be 9 speed Shimano Deore gears or similar.

Why did the Nexus 8 speed hub gear not catch on?
 

iRider

Pedelecer
May 2, 2019
55
10
Wigan
may be not for the customers but for the vendors, who regularly take off the pedals to reduce headline weight, when most e-bikes weigh around 20kg, 1kg lighter is worth maybe £200?
We will have to agree to disagree on that :) I bet the vast majority of the none competition / eventing buyers couldn't tell you the weight of their bikes without looking it up after they purchase the bike :)
 
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Woosh

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People often mention the ability to change gears while stationary with hub gears, but it has the disadvantage that you can't change gear under load like you can with derailleur gears. That's really important for a crank-drive bike because the load on the chain can be three times as much. People with good mechanical understanding and sympathy can work round this problem, but not everybody is like that, which then becomes a serious problem for the manufacturers, who have to pay to replace the mashed gearboxes under warranty.
you don't have to eliminate the load entirely, only reduce the load.
Also, some e-bikes are fitted with gear shift sensor to get round shifting under load. Buyers only have to choose suitable models.
 

Artstu

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Aug 2, 2009
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You can't pause pedalling when you're going up a steep hill, which is when the load is highest,
You can on a Bosch and Shimano steps, no doubt that also goes for a Yamaha and Brose, no idea on the current China crank drive motors though?
 
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flecc

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Oct 25, 2006
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That was a low power one. Nobody's saying it can't be done, but a bike with a fair amount of torque, like a Bosch, just doesn't work well . That's why hardly anybody makes a bike like that.
This isn't true, there are Bosch powered bikes with hub gears, Bosch even specifying the units differently for those bikes. They are just not sold much here due to our derailleur biased market. The mainland European cycling countries see things very differently due to their far wider cycling experience. That's why hub gears are far more common there due to their considerable advantages for those who cycle so much.

You don't have to stop pedalling completely on the Shimano hub gears as Arstu and James63 have said, just a momentary easing with barely any loss of momentum is sufficient to change gear. My SRAM P5 was slower though and a slight stop was necessary, but that didn't give me any problems on hills.

Believe me, this factor is greatly exaggerated by many here, mainly due to modern rider's lack of experience of using them.

A good indicator is the way I owned both derailleur and hub gear bikes at the same time, using both for towing heavy loads on hills. At no time did I ever use the derailleur gear bike for that out of preference for the gears, both types of gears being no problem and well up to the job.
.
 
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Andy-Mat

Esteemed Pedelecer
Oct 26, 2018
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Hi Guys,

As I look around for a good all-round hybrid eBike I came across the Raleigh Motus Grand Tour with a Nexus 8 speed hub gear. Looking further I haven't seen any other eBikes with Hub Gears, instead they tend to be 9 speed Shimano Deore gears or similar.

Why did the Nexus 8 speed hub gear not catch on?
Guessing only, that would imply a front wheel motor, which I personally don't like, or the complication of one of those Bosch units with the cranks, which I also don't like....
regards
Andy
 

flecc

Member
Oct 25, 2006
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This dates back all the way to the way the British largely stopped cycling in the 1960s, taking to motorised transport after most cycling prior to that, either single speed or with hub gears.

Cycling here returned to popularity with the mountain bike from it's invention circa 1980, and since that was sporting in nature, the preferred sporting gears system of derailleurs was used.

And that's how it's stayed ever since in the UK. Not so in many mainland European countries though, where cycling never stopped in the way it did here and hub gears are still popular.
.
 
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iRider

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May 2, 2019
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Guessing only, that would imply a front wheel motor, which I personally don't like, or the complication of one of those Bosch units with the cranks, which I also don't like....
regards
Andy
No its a 'standard' Bosch crank mounted motor on the Raleigh Motus Grand Tour and you can get it with a standard derailleur gears at the back wheel. Its a £100 option to have the Nexus 8 speed hub instead of the rear derailleur gears.
 

Woosh

Trade Member
May 19, 2012
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Why did the Nexus 8 speed hub gear not catch on?
beside adding about £70-£100 to the price of the bike, the Nexus-8 hub gear weighs 1.7kgs against about 500g for 8-speed freehub + derailleur. Also, the derailleur has less loss and higher load.
 

iRider

Pedelecer
May 2, 2019
55
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Wigan
beside adding about £70-£100 to the price of the bike, the Nexus-8 hub gear weighs 1.7kgs against about 500g for 8-speed freehub + derailleur. Also, the derailleur has less loss and higher load.
I doubt a couple of pounds in weight difference would account for it in the bulk of the bike leisure markets. For competition and 'real' athletes every gram counts but those guys are not going to be seen dead on the average hybrid :)

Similar argument for losses and loads really?

I was just curious, it seems the ease of operation, virtual lack of skill in maintenance required and the added option of a belt rather than a chain would make it a winner in my eyes. I would certainly choose a hub over a derailleur if they were a common option.
 
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flecc

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it seems the ease of operation, virtual lack of skill in maintenance required and the added option of a belt rather than a chain would make it a winner in my eyes. I would certainly choose a hub over a derailleur if they were a common option.
I agree, for utility riding hub gears have much to commend them, not least the ability to change gears at a standstill and not have to carry out gear changes when approaching possible stop points. The very low maintenance needs and the wider, much longer lasting chain and sprockets being additional benefits when chain is used.

Hub gears also permit proper chain cases too.
.
 

Woosh

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May 19, 2012
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I doubt a couple of pounds in weight difference would account for it in the bulk of the bike leisure markets. For competition and 'real' athletes every gram counts but those guys are not going to be seen dead on the average hybrid :)

Similar argument for losses and loads really?

I was just curious, it seems the ease of operation, virtual lack of skill in maintenance required and the added option of a belt rather than a chain would make it a winner in my eyes. I would certainly choose a hub over a derailleur if they were a common option.
may be not for the customers but for the vendors, who regularly take off the pedals to reduce headline weight, when most e-bikes weigh around 20kg, 1kg lighter is worth maybe £200?
 

flecc

Member
Oct 25, 2006
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may be not for the customers but for the vendors, who regularly take off the pedals to reduce headline weight, when most e-bikes weigh around 20kg, 1kg lighter is worth maybe £200?
It doesn't seem to worry the Dutch, they routinely ride hub gear bikes with full chaincases, their transmissions lasting many years without attention on those quite heavy bikes and e-bikes.
.
 

vfr400

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Jun 12, 2011
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People often mention the ability to change gears while stationary with hub gears, but it has the disadvantage that you can't change gear under load like you can with derailleur gears. That's really important for a crank-drive bike because the load on the chain can be three times as much. People with good mechanical understanding and sympathy can work round this problem, but not everybody is like that, which then becomes a serious problem for the manufacturers, who have to pay to replace the mashed gearboxes under warranty.
 

flecc

Member
Oct 25, 2006
49,052
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People often mention the ability to change gears while stationary with hub gears, but it has the disadvantage that you can't change gear under load like you can with derailleur gears. That's really important for a crank-drive bike because the load on the chain can be three times as much. People with good mechanical understanding and sympathy can work round this problem, but not everybody is like that, which then becomes a serious problem for the manufacturers, who have to pay to replace the mashed gearboxes under warranty.
I haven't seen this being a problem for inexperienced or utility riders, they quickly realise they need to momentarily pause pedalling when changing, which cuts the power of course.

It's the occasional derailleur experienced riders who can be brutal when riding a hub gear, but they are the least likely to buy them so it's not a big problem.

It's horses for courses, both have their advantages and disadvantages and hub gears are unfairly criticised in this cycling-sport biased country.
.
 
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flecc

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Oct 25, 2006
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You can't pause pedalling when you're going up a steep hill, which is when the load is highest, and you can spout your theories as much as you like about how you can select bottom gear before you start the hill, but we all know that that just isn't practical, and even if it were, it's just not convenient.
Not theories, I owned a crank drive bike with an SRAM P5 hub gear for years in my hilly North Downs area.

But of course with my very long experience of hub gears as well as derailleurs, I know how to ride them. I'm guessing you're much younger and one of the post 1980 derailleur generation who can't cope with them.

You are the one theorising from little experience.
.
 
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vfr400

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Not theories, I owned a crank drive bike with an SRAM P5 hub gear for years in my hilly North Downs area.

But of course with my very long experience of hub gears as well as derailleurs, I know how to ride them. I'm guessing you're much younger and one of the post 1980 derailleur generation who can't cope with them.

You are the one theorising from little experience.
.
That was a low power one. Nobody's saying it can't be done, but a bike with a fair amount of torque, like a Bosch, just doesn't work well . That's why hardly anybody makes a bike like that.

I know a guy that can play guitar brilliantly with only two fingers on his fretting hand. That doesn't mean that anybody with only two fingers will be a good guitarist.
 
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vfr400

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Jun 12, 2011
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You can on a Bosch and Shimano steps, no doubt that also goes for a Yamaha and Brose, no idea on the current China crank drive motors though?
I think you've misunderstood. When you're go up a steep hill and you stop pedalling to change gear, you stop. You don't have to do that on a Bosch, shimano, Brose or Yamaha with derailleur gears.
 

James63

Pedelecer
Sep 4, 2018
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I have a hybrid bike with a Bosch Performance line motor and Shimano Alfine 8 hub gears. I ride up steep hills in Bristol on most days. I find it very simple , virtually an unconscious act, to momentarily ease off on the pedals and change gear when going up hills. I dare say that mountain biking is a different kettle of fish.
 

peter.c

Esteemed Pedelecer
Apr 24, 2018
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Once you adjust your style of hill climbing to hub gears it is not a problem, and it helps if you have ever ridden a motorcycle you would never change gear on full throttle and hub gears style is the same reduce power change gear re-apply power . or select a lower gear and power onwards trials bike style if off road

Some people have ridden and abused alfine 8 gears it is low maintenance not none at all but the 2 yellow dots must line up in 4th gear if not the selector is miss aligned, and after a few hundred miles of the unit will fail .This occurs when the selector cable is stretched it mostly happens when a twist grip changer is used or the bike is new and poorly set up.
The gates belt is not worth the extra cost as the spare belt / rear cog are very expensive up I leave mine in 4th gear at the end of each ride and check the dots before the next outing
I also think it is an age thing my first hub geared bike was 45+ years ago a s/ archer 5 speed with drum brakes in 28 inch wheels and off road tyres an early attempt at a self built what we now call a mountain bike
 
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