Revolutionary Bicycle inventions come around full circle.


The first 3 speed internal Hub gear was patented in 1902, and riddened daily by the masses for years, some 50’s-60’s hub gear equiped bikes  are still being picked from sheds and hedgerows now, polished and ridden again.  so why is it that the internal hub gear ever went out of fashion? why don’t I see modern internal hub gears being sold in every high street cycle store?  well i don’t know why bike dealers with busy workshops don’t sell you equipment that is much easier to use and needs much less maintenance than the sports based equipment they currently sell. I guess it’s a question they will have to answer for themselves. All I can do is promote the pro’s and cons of internal hub gears and let you make up your own mind, personally i want to look at the bigger picture and want to see many more bicycles on the road/cycle track, more good bikes being used daily means more pressure on those in charge to provide facilities for bikes, thats why Really Useful Bikes (R.U.B)  make available quiet, comfortable, simple, low mantenance hub geared bikes, here in our space near Yate Bristol.

Here i rarely fit or touch derailer gears. There are a few reasons for this.

1)      Derailers  require looking after…(good for mechanics and bike shops, not for you)

2)      You cannot change gear on a derailer when you’re stopped… (always handy to be able to,  especially if carrying kids or ‘cargo’)

4)      Derailer can get knocked easily and go out of tune. (the shed factor)

5)      With Internal hub gears you can cover the drive chain to stop trouser chew and oil marks. (a big plus point for everyday use, (want to wear chic flip flops and bootcut/flares…why the hell not! why should your bike dictate your fashion…)

6)      Derailers are noisy and clunky (especially when not looked after).

7)      Do you really need ‘21’ speeds anyway? ( there’s not actually ‘21’ gears in reality, some are duplicated).

This is why i decided to specialise, stock and build bikes only (with the odd exception) fitted with gears that are built into the rear hub (hence Internal Hub Gears). i want people to ride bikes more, so i need to sell bikes that need less tinkering with, easier to use and are more reliable. R.U.B love our customers but want to see them in the shop with a happy face buying something nice rather than handing over money to have their bicycle made rideable again.

These days internal hub gears and hub brakes have moved on since the 1902 3 speed sturmey Archer of our forefathers/mothers (and my childhood) days. Modern hub gears can give you as much gear range as derailer gear setups but are much easier to live with. They cost a little more of course but you recoup that money back over the years that you own the bike. (And if you buy right, that bike should last you a lifetime).

So what are your hub gear options..?

Basically there are five manufacturers .. Shimano, Sturmey Archer, Rohloff and Nuvinci are the main players here in the UK. (+ SRAM)

Shimano (Japanese) and Sturmey Archer (now Tiawanese) you may have heard about, Rohloff are German and make 14 gears in an expensive but lovely hub gear and then Nuvinci (Fallbrook technologies, American) that make a hub box, with no gears…I know its odd…but they use a ball bearing system to create a infinitely variable gearing system, no steps, no 1,2 ,3  just smooth changes in speed/cadence of your legs. It’s lovely, like a baby oil massage. The difference from derailer gearing is so very marked it’s quite a different thing altogether. (a rub over with peanut butter chunky?!!). (no thanks..and don’t call me chunky!! R.I.P leslie nielsen)

We have examples of nearly all the hub gears here in bikes that you can ride to feel the difference for yourself. We also have a Nuvinci hub built into an xtracycle (we love it in cargo bikes for its smooth feel and its ability to take high torque).

Here some links and information that might help explain things a little more and encourage you to take the short trip out of Bristol, to the country to Really Useful Bikes to try them.

For town and city riding (and a little offroad too), there’s nothing like them for convenience, comfort and piece of mind.

Nuvinci http://www.fallbrooktech.com/08_bicycle_home.asp

Shimano http://bike.shimano.com/publish/content/global_cycle/en/us/index/products/0/nexus.html

Sturmey Archer http://www.sturmey-archer.com/

Rohloff http://www.rohloff.de/en/

Some videos to explain further….

If you don’t believe me, come try them for yourself.

Rob M:07801 150727 T:01454 319960 Email: rob@reallyusefulbikes.co.uk Website: http://www.reallyusefulbikes.co.uk

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