- The Best Internal Gear Hubs
- Rohloff Speedhub Comprehensive Buying Guide For Internal Gears Hubs For Bikes
- Benefits of Using a Bike With an Internal Gear Hub
- Final Verdict
Internal gear hubs are quickly gaining popularity with bikers. They offer ease of use, quick shifting and are great to use in inclement weather. This makes them ideal for touring, mountain biking, and commuting.
If you’re in the market for a new hub but aren’t sure where to start looking, we’re here to help! Below we’ve listed our top five picks for the best internal gear hub bikes. Once you’ve checked out our picks, don’t forget to read through our comprehensive guide for picking the best internal gear hub for your bike.
The Best Internal Gear Hubs
Today, we’ll cover some of the best internal gear hubs. Whether you ride a mountain bike, cruiser, or road racer, these components are fantastic upgrades to your traditional derailleur system.
Let’s get onto the list of best internal gear hub bikes.
Shimano Nexus SG-3C41 Universal Hub Kit: Best Overall
The Shimano Nexus SG-3C41 has everything you need. It’s affordable, well built, and efficient. This 3-speed hub works great for daily commutes, exercise, or bike touring.
One of the biggest benefits of using an internal hub is its ability to stay clean and free of debris. The Nexus is well-built and won’t let any dirt or grime inside the component. This feature means you can safely ride in snow or mud without worrying about your drivetrain. It will keep your component and chain clean and safe during the ride.
While the hub only offers 3-speeds, you get a modest gear ratio of 186%. This should be more than enough for most daily commuters, and it will make your ride easier every day.
Inexpensive, lightweight, and efficient, the Shimano Nexus is our pick for the best overall internal gear hub for bikes.
- Weighs less than 2.5 lbs
- The coaster brake has excellent stopping power
- The casing is waterproof and dustproof
- Not ideal for road racing
- Not best for mountain biking
Shimano Nexus SG-c300 7-Speed Hub: Best For Commuting
This hub from Shimano is ideal if you commute or ride over uneven terrain. The 7-speeds offer versatility and let you easily ascend steep inclines.
Sometimes one speed is not enough to get around town. This hub offers 7-speeds and a 244% gear ratio. These aspects mean you’ll need less leg power to pedal uphill or in rough weather conditions. If you’ve ever biked into the wind, you’ll appreciate the added gears1
Shimano designed this hub to work with e-bikeS. Upgrading this gear hub to your e-bike will improve its performance and range.
- The hub gives a smooth and quiet ride
- Great for e-bike use.
- Updated and modern design on the aluminum hub shell
- Shifter, brake, and cables are not included with this component
Sturmey Archer S2c Hub Kit: Best for Ease of Use
Perfect for city riding, bike commuters love this hub from Sturmey. It features a 2-speed drivetrain that works great for cities and towns with minimal inclines.
Installation of the Sturmey Archer is incredibly easy. There are no cables for shifters to install. Instead, you shift gears through a unique kick-shift technique. This also makes shifting fun while riding the bike.
The component offers 32 or 36 spoke holes and is compatible with 13 to 24 teeth sprockets.
While the hub only offers two gears, you get an overall gear ratio of 138%. This is more than enough for daily commuting or fun rides around town!
- Simple to use and maintain
- The coaster brake has great stopping power
- Kickshifitng the bike is fun
- The hub only has two gears
- It’s hard to dial in the perfect speed
- Adds up to 3.3 lbs of weight to your bike.
Shimano Alfine 2700 8-Speed Gear Hub: Best for Racers
If you want more speed with less power, this gear hub is for you! The Shimano Alfine 2700 is an 8-speed internal gear hub built for advanced riders. It’s one of the smoothest gear hubs we’ve tested, and it lets you shift with ease.
If you’re in a hurry to get to work or love long rides through the countryside, you’ll find the Shimano Alfine meets your needs.
Featuring a 408% gear ratio, you need less power to conquer the roads. The drivetrain is also surprisingly efficient compared to many other internal gear hubs.
The stylish matte black coating is a huge aesthetic upgrade.
- Quiet and seamless shifting
- The 408% gear ratio lets you conquer steep inclines with ease
- Also available in an 11-speed configuration
- More expensive than most other components on this list
Rohloff Speedhub: Best For Mountainbiking
Don’t worry, we didn’t forget the mountain bikers! We found the Rohloff Speedhub to be one of the best internal gear hubs for mountain bikes. This system is top of the line and is a great upgrade for most bikes. Unfortunately, it comes with a hefty price tag.
The Speedhub is a 14-speed internal gear hub that offers a variety of options. You can tailor this component with different:
- Gear mechanisms
- Axle plates
- Exterior shells
- Braking systems
This hub is incredibly efficient. You’ll get a 526% gear ratio range out of the 14-speeds. This means you can perfectly dial in the gear for the terrain you’re riding.
Unfortunately, all these options and engineering come at a price. The Rohloff Speedhub is a premium product with a premium price tag. If this price sticker doesn’t turn you off, this hub is one of the best options on the market for serious mountain bikers.
- Works great on full-suspension and hard-tail mountain bikes
- 14-speeds should be enough for most mountain bikers
- You can pick matching components for your riding style
- More expensive than most other options on this list
- Heavier than a traditional mountain bike derailleur system
Rohloff Speedhub Comprehensive Buying Guide For Internal Gears Hubs For Bikes
There are plenty of pros and some cons to using an internal gear hub. Below we’ve highlighted a few things you should look for while researching an internal gear hub for your bike.
Some Assembly Is Required
Unfortunately, installing an internal gear hub is not straightforward. If you’re an inexperienced bike mechanic, you might want to take your bike to a local expert for installation.
The process involves removing the old derailleur and replacing the center console of the rear wheel. Once removed, you need to rebuild the rear of your bike to install the component.
You’ll also want to ensure the component matches your bike size perfectly before purchasing.
Your bike has a certain number of spokes on each wheel. Unless you plan on replacing your tires and wheels as well, you’ll need to match the spoke count of your tires to the internal gear hub.
Most modern bikes offer 32h to 36h spoke count. All these sizes work great and offer excellent stability for most bike riding styles. While some bikes have 28 or fewer spokes, these don’t offer the strength needed for an internal gear hub.
Many Internal Gear Hubs Feature Coaster Brakes
More braking ability is always a positive. Coaster brakes offer an alternative to a handbrake. Depending on the model, coaster brakes also offer much better-stopping power than disc or brake pads.
Adding a coaster brake also means you can get rid of the brake cables adding to the visual aesthetic of your bike.
While there are inexpensive options, most internal gear hubs are more expensive than their derailleur counterparts. Still, you can find entry-level and mid-range hubs for under $200.
Other Components You’ll Need to Replace the Rear Hub
While replacing your rear hub, you might need to replace other components.
Make sure to check if your hub includes:
- An axle
- Brake lever
Sometimes, you’ll need new wheels as well. If you’re unsure what pieces you’ll need, consult your local bike shop for more information and guidance.
How many gears do you need? If you spend most of your trip on flat terrain, you can choose a lower gear ratio.
If you’re used to riding steep terrain or need the ability for fast starts and stops, you should look into a gear hub with a higher ratio. A higher gear ratio means you use less energy to move the bike.
Most internal gear hubs have 3, 8, or 11 speeds while some derailleurs have more than 27 speeds. This means it will be harder to dial at the perfect speed while riding. If you min/max while riding, you might have a hard time finding the perfect gear during steep inclines or ascents.
This also makes the bike less efficient compared to a derailleur. While on short rides, you won’t notice the inefficiency, but you might notice it on longer rides.
Luckily, maintaining an internal gear hub bike is easy! There is little chance for dirt and moisture to damage the gear since the component is sealed.
Just like any bike, you need to regularly grease or oil the chain. Some hubs also require regular oil changes. Please consult your hub’s manual for basic maintenance instructions.
Benefits of Using a Bike With an Internal Gear Hub
If you’re used to using a traditional derailleur, you may be asking yourself why you should upgrade to an internal gear hub? Here is a list of some of the best benefits of using internal shifting on your bicycle.
Shifting is much easier and more fluid while using an internal gear hub. You can quickly switch between low and high gears without risking missing a gear or your chain falling off.
Have you ever needed to shift from 1st gear to 10th quickly? It’s almost impossible to do this on a traditional bike but you’ll have no problem quickly jumping gears while using an internal gear hub bike.
You also don’t need to be moving to shift gears. This feature means you can shift to a lower gear while resting before attempting to ascend a steep hill. It also means you can lower your gears for faster acceleration after a traffic signal.
Traditional derailleurs need constant attention and maintenance to run smoothly. One wrong gear shift can cause your chain to fall off or your gears to not shift smoothly.
You also need to regularly lubricate and readjust a derailleur to ensure it shifts correctly.
You won’t have problems like this while using an internal gear hub.
Protection From Bad Weather and Mud
If you commute in snow or rain, an internal gear hub helps you avoid plenty of headaches. It also lets you ride through deep mud without risk of damage to your derailleur or chain.
The hub won’t let dirt or water in since it’s encased. This means the gearing won’t clog with snow or mud while riding.
Fewer Chain Issues
You’ll notice fewer issues with your bike’s chain after installing an internal hub. Most hubs have a tension belt. This keeps the chain tight and reduces dropouts or chain falls.
If you’ve ever had your chain fall off on the way to work, you will appreciate this feature. You’ll rarely have to reinstall your bike’s chain after a tough ride with an internal gear hub bike.
As you can see, the best internal gear hub bikes offer plenty of advantages over traditional derailleurs. They are longer-lasting, easier to maintain, and work well in bad weather conditions. They also need less maintenance and are easier to shift.
For the average biker, the Shimano Nexus internal hub line is our pick for the best overall internal hub. This hub offers plenty of functionality for a great price.
Whether you’re an expert downhill mountain biker or a local bike commuter, the benefits of an internal gear hub outweigh the cons of these components.
While internal gear hubs may be more expensive than a derailleur, you’ll enjoy countless hours of maintenance-free biking after the installation.