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

iRider

Pedelecer
May 2, 2019
55
10
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?
 

anotherkiwi

Esteemed Pedelecer
Jan 26, 2015
7,845
5,783
The European Union
I wanted to like a nexus inter 8 but it doesn't have enough gear range for where I live. A Rohloff does but that is a completely different budget. With the nexus you can either gear it for climbing hills or gear it for running on the flat but it doesn't do both at the same time...

For those who prefer a rear hub motor there is the pinion gear box. I find the idea of a cargo trike with a pinion 18 speed and a BPM rear hub rather attractive.
 
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soundwave

Esteemed Pedelecer
May 23, 2015
11,626
4,781


32232
 

John F

Esteemed Pedelecer
Sep 3, 2013
424
51
I used to have a Claud Butler with a Shimano 4 speed hub gear. I loved it - the smooth change, easy changing at lights etc.
Had the bike for about 3 years and the gears started playing up, the gears suddenly occasionaly didn't mesh while I was riding - potentially dangerous when you are pedalling hard. Found a manual somewhere, just a matter of adjustment I thought, but no still couldn't fix it.

Decided to take it to the local so called fully qualified Shimano Centre. "Fix it I said" Nobody wanted to know, they only dealt with derailleurs. Tried 3 bike shops which all said the same. One guy even showed me the workshop manual for the gears, which he couldn't be bothered to read. and told to me to just buy a new gear setup for over £100. The bike only cost me £220. His point was that Shimano keep bringing out so many models he could not keep up and so didn't bother.

From memory, I think my particular model was known to have issues and was discontinued after a short while. Lost my faith in Shimano after that.
 

Gringo

Esteemed Pedelecer
Jun 18, 2013
1,302
810
Northampton
I’d rather have hubs on all my bikes but I recently parted with my only hub geared wheel in favour of a 9 speed cassette. purely for convenience mind,
I now have two 9 speed bikes and 3 pairs of wheels and tyres that fit either and can be swapped in the blink of an eye (discs and cassettes fitted on all 3)
 

culy30

Pedelecer
Feb 4, 2016
46
13
Hereford
True enough and I was already well aware. But in practice utility riders don't worry about such minutiae, they usually just ride at the speed and effort levels they are comfortable with. They don't care if it's a mile or two per hour slower and cycling in The Netherlands where hub gears are very popular illustrates this very well.

I'm old enough to remember when it was the same in Britain and when my boss in the trade snorted in derision at the first deralleur we saw in the shop, saying, "Ridiculous, who would ever need more than three gears". :D
.
I am older than I care to admit. I recall my father extolling the virtues of 3 Speed Sturmey Archer when I built a bike with 10 derailleur gears (2x 5) when I was perhaps 15 in the late 60's. When I went to 20 in early naughties (2 x10) he nearly fell off his chair. I'm still on 2x10 btw, I've not worn them out yet (on three bikes) Another sign of age. Do I need 2x12? It might just fill that gap now I need wider gears, but I cant justify the cost.
 
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anotherkiwi

Esteemed Pedelecer
Jan 26, 2015
7,845
5,783
The European Union
32234

All the gears you will ever need!
 

soundwave

Esteemed Pedelecer
May 23, 2015
11,626
4,781
i got 10-50t and 2 front sprockets :p
 

soundwave

Esteemed Pedelecer
May 23, 2015
11,626
4,781
18t is for uphill and 20t is for the flat and down hill you can notice a difference with the 2.5 multiplier
 

flecc

Member
Oct 25, 2006
49,052
26,774
From memory, I think my particular model was known to have issues and was discontinued after a short while. Lost my faith in Shimano after that.
That's correct. Although that four gear hub was their most efficient, it was their most unreliable. A string of its failures on the low powered Giant Lafree Comfort model caused Shimano to discontinue it.

It also had slightly less gear range (198%) than their three speed (200%), making it less necessary in marketing terms.
.
 

flecc

Member
Oct 25, 2006
49,052
26,774
What about the old Sturmey Archer then. Do they still exist? Didn't they last for ever?!
Yes, but the company name and assets were bought by the Sunrace company in Taiwan where they are now made.

They are now known as Sunrace Sturmey-Archer inc. and the gears have been re-designed.
.
 

BazP

Esteemed Pedelecer
Oct 8, 2017
338
170
71
Sheffield
Genuine research here says that the biggest factors affecting the drive train efficiency are sprocket size and the amount of tension in the chain. Higher tension gives greater efficiency, so that implies that a derailleur would be more efficient due to the higher chain tension provided by the spring in the derailleur unless you have a sprung tensioner on your hub gears. The video is interesting. It shows virtually no energy being wasted on the derailleur compared with the drive sprocket.
I'm struggling a bit with the above paragraph as I would have thought that anything putting back tension on the chain will be a force working against the gear trying to drive it forwards.
I also don't thing that there is anything wrong with hub gears but for a country as hilly as the UK a larger number and spread of gears would be preferable and apart from the expensive Rolhof this leaves the derailleur. Having gone from a single speed in 1952 and through the Sturmy Archer 3x speeds to today's offerings, the worse set up I've had was the 8 speed EX1 with 11 to 52 cogs. Much too large jumps in the ratios and quickly changed to the 11 speed Shimano.
 

Weldinpatt

Finding my (electric) wheels
Sep 23, 2018
13
0
62
My X-rd3 and X-rd5(w) both change gear on the steepest Snowdonia , has to offer . I change up hill I take weight off chain indeed the X-rd3 has a gear change sensor that stops the motor while the shift takes place. I change stationary and down hill too easy easy peasey what ever. If you find any other scenario there’s something wrong either with technique or mal-adjusted somethings . It couldn’t be more simple. Unlike derailleur systems where it takes meters and meters of road to complete a change. Especially when it comes to a monster hill climbing granny. It’s the opposite of what’s easy and requires forward thinking that in return requires experience.5
 

vfr400

Esteemed Pedelecer
Jun 12, 2011
9,822
3,922
Basildon
My X-rd3 and X-rd5(w) both change gear on the steepest Snowdonia , has to offer . I change up hill I take weight off chain indeed the X-rd3 has a gear change sensor that stops the motor while the shift takes place. I change stationary and down hill too easy easy peasey what ever. If you find any other scenario there’s something wrong either with technique or mal-adjusted somethings . It couldn’t be more simple. Unlike derailleur systems where it takes meters and meters of road to complete a change. Especially when it comes to a monster hill climbing granny. It’s the opposite of what’s easy and requires forward thinking that in return requires experience.5
Hmmmm! IMHO, you're missing a couple of things and what you're saying isn't quite right. If your type of gears were so X-fantastic, they'd be using them in the Tour de France, but they don't. I'm going to say that they're too clumsy, too heavy, too unreliable and make wheel removal more complicated.

I don't know where you get the idea that derailleur gears "takes meters and meters to complete a change" from. You need to compare like for like regarding cost, not compare a rather expensive hub with cheap stamped gears on a £100 catalogue bike that never got set up between leaving the factory and its regular journeys to the station, whose gears probably cost less than a fiver. Properly adjusted decent derailleur gears will not only shift quicker than hub gears, but even during mid shift, they're still allowing transmission of power. In other words, whether shifting up or down, drive is continuous because the chain is always engaged with enough teeth to provide drive. This gives a massive advantage in any sort of racing, and leisure riders get that advantage when hill-climbing. On really steep hills, like 25% plus,, you can't afford to pause between shifting because the bike will stop, then you're stuck - horses for courses.

In summary, hub-gears are great for the girls that want to have a liesurly ride down to the supermarket without getting their dresses caught in the gears or chain.
 

BazP

Esteemed Pedelecer
Oct 8, 2017
338
170
71
Sheffield
Hmmmm! IMHO, you're missing a couple of things and what you're saying isn't quite right. If your type of gears were so X-fantastic, they'd be using them in the Tour de France, but they don't. I'm going to say that they're too clumsy, too heavy, too unreliable and make wheel removal more complicated.

I don't know where you get the idea that derailleur gears "takes meters and meters to complete a change" from. You need to compare like for like regarding cost, not compare a rather expensive hub with cheap stamped gears on a £100 catalogue bike that never got set up between leaving the factory and its regular journeys to the station, whose gears probably cost less than a fiver. Properly adjusted decent derailleur gears will not only shift quicker than hub gears, but even during mid shift, they're still allowing transmission of power. In other words, whether shifting up or down, drive is continuous because the chain is always engaged with enough teeth to provide drive. This gives a massive advantage in any sort of racing, and leisure riders get that advantage when hill-climbing. On really steep hills, like 25% plus,, you can't afford to pause between shifting because the bike will stop, then you're stuck - horses for courses.

In summary, hub-gears are great for the girls that want to have a liesurly ride down to the supermarket without getting their dresses caught in the gears or chain.
My X-rd3 and X-rd5(w) both change gear on the steepest Snowdonia , has to offer . I change up hill I take weight off chain indeed the X-rd3 has a gear change sensor that stops the motor while the shift takes place. I change stationary and down hill too easy easy peasey what ever. If you find any other scenario there’s something wrong either with technique or mal-adjusted somethings . It couldn’t be more simple. Unlike derailleur systems where it takes meters and meters of road to complete a change. Especially when it comes to a monster hill climbing granny. It’s the opposite of what’s easy and requires forward thinking that in return requires experience.5
To change one sprocket on my Shimano XT takes between 1and 2 seconds. Almost too quick to time.
 

Benjahmin

Esteemed Pedelecer
Nov 10, 2014
1,920
1,314
67
West Wales
I think it comes down to expense and complexity.
If something goes wrong with my deraileur, I fix it in the shed with readily available parts. having set mine up I haven't had to touch it in about 3k miles. This despite stories of cable stretch, bent hangers etc.
I admire the engineering of hubs but, really, they are far beyond KISS.
 

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