Switching from traditional rear derailleur gears to hub gears on your e-bike can be a game-changer. In this article, we’ll dive into five top internal gear hubs for electric bikes, highlighting their advantages and potential drawbacks.
Comparing Hub Gears and Derailleurs on Electric Bikes
Hub gears offer numerous benefits over derailleur systems on electric bikes:
- Low Maintenance: Hub gears, enclosed in a sealed unit, require minimal upkeep, similar to a car’s gearbox. Servicing intervals can span thousands of miles, making them a practical choice for the home mechanic or bike shops.
- Durability: Unlike derailleurs that are prone to damage from falls or rough terrains, hub gears are well-protected and robust.
- Quiet Operation: Hub gears operate much more silently than derailleur gears. Pair them with a Gates belt drive for near-silent biking.
- Belt Drive Compatibility: Although fitting a belt drive requires frame modifications, the outcome is a smooth and efficient ride.
- Stationary Gear Changing: Change gears while stationary, a handy feature for city rides.
- Longevity: Internal hub gears, especially models like Rohloff, are engineered for durability, often lasting tens of thousands of miles.
Disadvantages of Hub Gears on E-Bikes
Despite their advantages, hub gears have a few downsides:
- Weight: They are slightly heavier than derailleur setups, but this is often a negligible concern for electric bikes.
- Complex Repairs: In the rare event of hub gear malfunction, repairs are not as straightforward as with derailleur gears.
- Tricky Wheel Removal: Removing a wheel with a geared hub can be more complex, especially during puncture repairs.
Fitting Hub Gears on Your E-Bike
Hub gears are suitable for e-bikes with front or mid-drive motors. They require a chain-tensioning system, often including a tensioner resembling a small derailleur, to maintain proper chain tension.
Top 5 Internal Hub Gears for E-Bikes
- Rohloff Speedhub 🥇 (Lifetime Warranty): Renowned for reliability, the Rohloff Speedhub 500/14 offers intuitive gear changing, whether stationary or pedaling, and is ideal for adventure cyclists.
- Shimano Alfine 11 Di2: This hub offers 409% gear range, SHIMANO DI2 electronic shifting, and is perfect for E-BIKEs, particularly those powered by Shimano Steps.
- Sturmey Archer X-RK8: A legendary brand since 1902, Sturmey Archer’s 8-speed hub is perfect for varied terrains, combining a wide gear ratio with aesthetic appeal.
- Enviolo CVT: Known for its seamless gear changing, Enviolo hubs are designed for e-bikes, offering a smooth and intuitive cycling experience, even with auto transmission.
- Shimano Nexus 8 💰 (Best Budget Option!): Ideal for e-bikes, the Nexus 8 provides reliable and efficient performance, even under high chain tension.
Whether you choose the premium Rohloff Speedhub, the technologically advanced Enviolo, or the budget-friendly Shimano Nexus, upgrading to an internal gear hub can significantly enhance your e-bike experience. For further details or advice, feel free to leave a comment below.