Why do you prefer a derailleur vs IGH (Internally Geared Hub)?

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
The OP question was why "we" (I) preferred the derailleur to the IGH. My answer is: relatively cheap, readily available, easy to maintain and repair. To each their own but the best proof the IGH, especially as advanced as the Rohloff, is rather an exotic solution is the fact the majority of bikes use the external drive-train, don't they.

I agree city bikes in many countries only use simple IGH but their riders do not set high expectations.
 

Ravi Kempaiah

Well-Known Member
Region
Canada
City
Halifax
The title of this sub-forum should be "Ask Court Anything and let members have a rampage debating it" ...;)

To really utilize all the benefits of a mid-drive motor, either one of the following need to be engineered
  1. Mid-drive motor + gearbox as one single unit (similar Continental 48V system)
    Or
  2. Heavy duty IGH systems
Majority of the riders don't put more than 3500 miles a year (roughly 9-10 miles a day) and hence derailleur systems work just fine but once you start riding 6000 + miles per year, cassette+derailleur systems on a mid-drive becomes a source of constant maintenance.

How many miles per year do you ride @Stefan Mikes ? What is your interval for changing the chains and cassette ?
When I had my Stromer, I changed chains at about 7000 miles but that number was cut in half with Bosch speed systems and then add cassette + chain ring + monthly cleaning of chain, cassette and derailleur.
Except Bosch, none of the motor manufacturers have designed shift sensing within the drive systems and this lack of shift sensing exacerbates the wear and tear on the cassette.

But, heavy duty IGH's paired with a mid-drive motor don't have a long history of development and in the next 5 years, we may see significant development. High mileage riders can benefit significantly from well designed IGH systems.
 

steve mercier

Well-Known Member
The title of this sub-forum should be "Ask Court Anything and let members have a rampage debating it" ...;)

To really utilize all the benefits of a mid-drive motor, either one of the following need to be engineered
  1. Mid-drive motor + gearbox as one single unit (similar Continental 48V system)
    Or
  2. Heavy duty IGH systems
Majority of the riders don't put more than 3500 miles a year (roughly 9-10 miles a day) and hence derailleur systems work just fine but once you start riding 6000 + miles per year, cassette+derailleur systems on a mid-drive becomes a source of constant maintenance.

How many miles per year do you ride @Stefan Mikes ? What is your interval for changing the chains and cassette ?
When I had my Stromer, I changed chains at about 7000 miles but that number was cut in half with Bosch speed systems and then add cassette + chain ring + monthly cleaning of chain, cassette and derailleur.
Except Bosch, none of the motor manufacturers have designed shift sensing within the drive systems and this lack of shift sensing exacerbates the wear and tear on the cassette.

But, heavy duty IGH's paired with a mid-drive motor don't have a long history of development and in the next 5 years, we may see significant development. High mileage riders can benefit significantly from well designed IGH systems.
Court should change his name to Buddy Holly because when you "Ask Court anything " all you get is the Crickets (-:
 
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AlexZ

New Member
Wow, I had no idea how much discussion this topic would bring.

I am well aware that:
Nuvinci N380 ≈ 83% efficient.
Rohloff ≈ 94%
Classic derailer ≈ 95%.
I'm also well aware of the price differences between these systems. Basically, what I'm trying to say is that I'm well aware of all their benefits and shortcomings, everything is a trade off.

The majority of people I know don't know how to do any kind of maintenance to their car, besides taking it to a mechanic once a year for an oil change and tune-up. I don't think it's smart for these people (which is a LOT of people) to switch to an electric bicycle with a derailer. They're going to end up constantly being stuck without a means of transportation. Their chain, derailer, and cogs will constantly break, because they're never going to oil their chain themselves, or know how to fix their derailer if it bends. People don't want to have to do mainanance (or take their bicycle into a shop) every 100 or so miles. Yeah, every bike shop knows how to fix/replace derailers, but it happens a lot more often from the statistics I've seen. Imagine having to lube your car's engine every 100 or so miles to keep it working properly. That would be ridiculous, yet it's perfectly acceptable to ask someone to do this on an E-bike?

People will bring their E-bike into a shop for an oil change of their motor or IGH once or twice a year, but having to do this once every 1-2 months is too much to ask of most people. Which is why I feel that if you want to get as many people as possible to switch from using a car to an electronic bike (which I would hope is most people's goal on these forums), you need that bike to be as reliable and maintenance-free as possible... Whichever way that is. Evan at the cost of efficiency.
 

Mr. Coffee

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
A Demented Corner of the North Cascades
Ok, I'll bite.

Unless there is something seriously wrong with your bike, or if you are riding in seriously awful conditions (dusty roads, roads contaminated with salt, &c) you don't need to do maintenance on your bike every 100 miles. Even then you probably just need to hose off the bike and oil the chain.

My observation is that given how, where, and how often most e-bikers use their rides, they can quite easily get away with a basic shop visit once or twice a year.

If you look at the Dutch omafiets or a Japanese mamarachi, those bikes are designed to require basically no maintenance (enclosed chains, 3-speed internally geared hubs, coaster brakes) and will last forever even if you malignantly neglect them. They are heavy and slow and the many people who have tried to market them in the United States have all failed. However, they are nearly perfect as a low-cost bike you can use for short trips in the city.

A lot of things popular on e-bikes in the States, such as 1x11 or greater drivetrains and hydraulic disk brakes, actually require more maintenance (and maintenance that an untrained amateur is unlikely to be able to figure out from youtube) than simpler mechanical brakes and 1x5 or 1x7 drivetrains.

My own view of bicycles as car replacements is that the sweet spot is using them for short trips of less than about eight miles round trip That can work advantageously because the average trip by car in the States is around six miles (again, round trip). I think e-bikes move that curve out a bit, to perhaps a round trip of around fifteen miles. Yes, there are many people who commute in e-bikes at much greater distances, but I am trying to identify here where the sweet spot is.
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
Ok, I'll bite.

Unless there is something seriously wrong with your bike, or if you are riding in seriously awful conditions (dusty roads, roads contaminated with salt, &c) you don't need to do maintenance on your bike every 100 miles. Even then you probably just need to hose off the bike and oil the chain.

My observation is that given how, where, and how often most e-bikers use their rides, they can quite easily get away with a basic shop visit once or twice a year.

If you look at the Dutch omafiets or a Japanese mamarachi, those bikes are designed to require basically no maintenance (enclosed chains, 3-speed internally geared hubs, coaster brakes) and will last forever even if you malignantly neglect them. They are heavy and slow and the many people who have tried to market them in the United States have all failed. However, they are nearly perfect as a low-cost bike you can use for short trips in the city.

A lot of things popular on e-bikes in the States, such as 1x11 or greater drivetrains and hydraulic disk brakes, actually require more maintenance (and maintenance that an untrained amateur is unlikely to be able to figure out from youtube) than simpler mechanical brakes and 1x5 or 1x7 drivetrains.

My own view of bicycles as car replacements is that the sweet spot is using them for short trips of less than about eight miles round trip That can work advantageously because the average trip by car in the States is around six miles (again, round trip). I think e-bikes move that curve out a bit, to perhaps a round trip of around fifteen miles. Yes, there are many people who commute in e-bikes at much greater distances, but I am trying to identify here where the sweet spot is.
Very interesting view. I've noticed many e-bikes (especially the mid-drives) are borrowing solutions from the MTB technology, hence the hydraulic brakes and 1x drive-trains.
 

Alaskan

Well-Known Member
Ok, I'll bite.

Unless there is something seriously wrong with your bike, or if you are riding in seriously awful conditions (dusty roads, roads contaminated with salt, &c) you don't need to do maintenance on your bike every 100 miles. Even then you probably just need to hose off the bike and oil the chain.

My observation is that given how, where, and how often most e-bikers use their rides, they can quite easily get away with a basic shop visit once or twice a year.

A lot of things popular on e-bikes in the States, such as 1x11 or greater drivetrains and hydraulic disk brakes, actually require more maintenance (and maintenance that an untrained amateur is unlikely to be able to figure out from youtube) than simpler mechanical brakes and 1x5 or 1x7 drivetrains.

I plead guilt as charged. My bikes with derailleurs have 11 & 12 speed gearing respectively. I ride an average of 150 miles per week. With the lighter, thinner chains and 10 & 11 tooth highest gear sprockets, I am cleaning and lubricating my drive train about every 10 days. I still do not get much more than 1,000 miles on a chain and 2,500 miles on a cassette before I get to a state of wear where shifting precision will shortly start to deteriorate if they are not replaced.

The only things I prefer about the derailleur drive train set up is the marginally quicker shifting performance, when everything is properly adjusted and lubricated and the fact that I can do all the work on it myself with needed parts easy to get. With an IGH, the greasy mess, the work and the parts are not part of the equation (unless something is seriously wrong).
 

steve mercier

Well-Known Member
I plead guilt as charged. My bikes with derailleurs have 11 & 12 speed gearing respectively. I ride an average of 150 miles per week. With the lighter, thinner chains and 10 & 11 tooth highest gear sprockets, I am cleaning and lubricating my drive train about every 10 days. I still do not get much more than 1,000 miles on a chain and 2,500 miles on a cassette before I get to a state of wear where shifting precision will shortly start to deteriorate if they are not replaced.

The only things I prefer about the derailleur drive train set up is the marginally quicker shifting performance, when everything is properly adjusted and lubricated and the fact that I can do all the work on it myself with needed parts easy to get. With an IGH, the greasy mess, the work and the parts are not part of the equation (unless something is seriously wrong).
Try a Sram xx1 chain on your 11 speed. I am confident that you will get much more than 1000 miles before it stretches. I have over 5000 km on this one and the park tool still does not fall into the gap!
 
Wow, I had no idea how much discussion this topic would bring.

I am well aware that:
Nuvinci N380 ≈ 83% efficient.
Rohloff ≈ 94%
Classic derailer ≈ 95%.
I'm also well aware of the price differences between these systems. Basically, what I'm trying to say is that I'm well aware of all their benefits and shortcomings, everything is a trade off.

The majority of people I know don't know how to do any kind of maintenance to their car, besides taking it to a mechanic once a year for an oil change and tune-up. I don't think it's smart for these people (which is a LOT of people) to switch to an electric bicycle with a derailer. They're going to end up constantly being stuck without a means of transportation. Their chain, derailer, and cogs will constantly break, because they're never going to oil their chain themselves, or know how to fix their derailer if it bends. People don't want to have to do mainanance (or take their bicycle into a shop) every 100 or so miles. Yeah, every bike shop knows how to fix/replace derailers, but it happens a lot more often from the statistics I've seen. Imagine having to lube your car's engine every 100 or so miles to keep it working properly. That would be ridiculous, yet it's perfectly acceptable to ask someone to do this on an E-bike?

People will bring their E-bike into a shop for an oil change of their motor or IGH once or twice a year, but having to do this once every 1-2 months is too much to ask of most people. Which is why I feel that if you want to get as many people as possible to switch from using a car to an electronic bike (which I would hope is most people's goal on these forums), you need that bike to be as reliable and maintenance-free as possible... Whichever way that is. Evan at the cost of efficiency.
i’m with you 100%...for my own reasons: age 65, wanting to return to biking mostly recreationally and easily get up gentle hills, not wanting to learn bike mechanics—IGH looked like a frickin’ miracle to me.
Court’s reviews revealed a couple options and I found more searching the correct terms. dee-lighted.
 

elect

Active Member
IGHs and Gates Carbon Belt Drive break too; there are reports on such occurrences from trusted members of these Forums. That kind of drive-train is expensive and requires qualified personnel to maintain and repair it.

The derailleur system is far more inexpensive, any mechanic or the user can maintain and repair it, the parts are readily available.

A cost discussion without taking in account travelled distances is pretty much useless.

IGH and Gates have been proved to be actually cheaper under the right conditions.

One should not only compare how much money repairing an IGH vs a derailleur costs, but also (I'd say especially) how much often one can have to do that.

This might be relevant
 
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PDoz

Well-Known Member
Some of us hate the igh because we've spent 2 years procrastinating about buying one in the futile hope that a manufacturer will release a mid geared ebike. Every time we look at our wifes igh bike, it's parked next to a pile of worn out cassettes / chain wear tools and assorted wrecked mtb parts.

We secretly dream of an electric cvt mid driven bike with hydraulic drive to both wheels....and pray that the eccentric engineer who works next to the stealth factory wins the lotto and takes over the emtb world....what could pissibly go wrong?

Sooo.....when the hub in my giant implodes....how do I sneak the igh from my wifes bike onto mine?
 

pmcdonald

Well-Known Member
Fun fact: my previous analog bike, a very moderately priced Apollo Alpine, went 20 years without a scrap of maintenance or single part replaced, no chain, no nothing. It was used daily for about a third of those years on an 8km commute, sat out in all weather, and to this day rides just fine. Bikes can be more resilient than we give them credit.

Having said that, I'd love a Rohloff on my ebike. Alas, equipped models don't seem to leave much change from $10k here in Australia (correct me if I'm wrong there). For comparison my very comfortably specced current bike was $4k. That's a lot of spare chains and cassettes..
 

Nova Haibike

Well-Known Member
I have never owned an IGH bike. Well, I did have a couple of old Raleigh 3-speeds a long time ago, but I never rode them; I bought them merely because they were in fantastic condition. LOL.

One thing I can say is that the difference between derailleurs and IGH systems is rather like the difference between a turntable that plays vinyl records and digital playback. With a derailleur system, you can tinker around with it to make it work better, or at least differently. You can swap out shifters, derailleurs. Working on it can be "fun." So it is like a turntable, were you can use different preamps, tonearms, cartridges, etc, and tweak it to your liking. But an IGH hub is more like digital; kind of plug and play. There is not nearly the amount of customization you can do with an IGH. You don't "play" with an IGH; it just is.
 

AlexZ

New Member
I have never owned an IGH bike. Well, I did have a couple of old Raleigh 3-speeds a long time ago, but I never rode them; I bought them merely because they were in fantastic condition. LOL.

One thing I can say is that the difference between derailleurs and IGH systems is rather like the difference between a turntable that plays vinyl records and digital playback. With a derailleur system, you can tinker around with it to make it work better, or at least differently. You can swap out shifters, derailleurs. Working on it can be "fun." So it is like a turntable, were you can use different preamps, tonearms, cartridges, etc, and tweak it to your liking. But an IGH hub is more like digital; kind of plug and play. There is not nearly the amount of customization you can do with an IGH. You don't "play" with an IGH; it just is.
I really like your analogy. I guess I'm more of a plug and play kinda guy when it comes to transport. Don't wanna have to be tweaking with my bike.
 

lewishill

New Member
@Alaskan Is it difficult to take off gates carbon belt. I read some have issues if they need to take it off. And why will you need to take it off. I guess it happens once in a lifetime .
 

Alaskan

Well-Known Member
I have no problem removing the rear wheel and replacing the carbon belt on a Riese & Muller Homage. I guess if you have a bike where you need to take the chain stay apart, that adds a level of difficulty. With the Riese & Muller they put a high idler pully just behind and near the top of the motor that the bottom of the belt rides up and over, eliminating any need to break the chain stay.

It is handy to be able to remove the wheel quickly to fix flat tires, change tires, tune up the wheel's spoke tension, adjust fenders, etc. With the Homage I loosen the spindle, holding on to the top of the tire so it stays in place. The I let the hub drop down slightly, just below the droppouts. At that point it can go forward about an inch (2mm) or so which is enough slack to pull the belt off the rear drive ring. If the belt is on a Rohloff hub with the E14 don't forget to unplug the electric cable to the E14 mech on the left side of the bike. It is a two prong, rubber coated, two part male and female plug that is snug but will separate. It is important to remember to plug it back in as your last step in reinstalling the back wheel, otherwise you will get an error message and the shifter won't work.

P1033125cu.jpg
 

byunbee

Well-Known Member
I know 2 people with analog pedal bikes with a Gates belt and internal geared hub that have had issues. These are commuter bicycles that are looked after. One had the drive gear come loose on the hub (had to wait forever for parts) and the other person had the belt slowly slide off the pulleys. Both of them went back to good old reliable derailleurs. Now I've had several analog bikes with Nexus hubs and they've been bullet proof. Both chain drive. But like mentioned above, pretty much anyone can work on derailleurs.
That was the original design. Now they have the center teeth that keeps the belt always centered and in place.
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