Also known as IGH, internal gear hubs are becoming the new trend in cycling throughout the past years. They provide better lifetime durability and just work better for commuters and anyone in the bike touring realm. Moreover, they require less maintenance than a typical derailleur bike would need over time.
The downside is that most bikes don't come with gear hubs. And if you aren't well versed with bikes, you might find it next to impossible to select an internally geared hub that suits your bike. We've reviewed the best internal gear hub and found the top 5 IGH products worth considering.
But before we go into the list of the top gear hubs, here are some pros that make internal gear hubs well worth switching to over derailleurs.
Why Upgrade to an Internal Gear Hub?
- As mentioned earlier, they require less maintenance.
- This setup is often considered more reliable than derailleurs.
- They offer better protection and durability to resist any weather conditions you ride in.
- IGHs feature more advanced bike technology and will be the future of cycling.
- They allow you to cycle through gears faster than a derailleur.
- You can change gears even when you aren't pedaling.
- A bike with an internal gear hub will have chains that last far longer than a derailleur bike would.
Best Internal Gear Hub Reviews:
- Rohloff Disc-Speedhub
- SHIMANO SG-3D55
- Sturmey Archer 3x9
- SHIMANO SG-3C41
- SHIMANO Alfine 11-Speed
If your planning to go bike touring and need a reliable internal gear hub, Rohloff will be a perfect choice. Rohloff has been around for a few years now and has gained outstanding popularity among bike tourers for this model. Moreover, it features the highest gear ratio of all the internally geared hubs we've tested with a gear ratio of 526%.
With the Rohloff Disc-Speedhub, you get a 10x135mm axle that features a 14-speed system. With that many gears plus the added benefit of it being an IGH so you can change gears even when stopped, you'll undoubtedly love the Rohloff. The only downside is the high price you'll need to pay upfront for this internally geared hub. However, if you can afford it, you won't regret spending on this one as you'll get reliability and performance for years on end.
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Next up on our top recommended IGH is the Shimano SG-3D55. This internal gear hub can be used on almost any kind of bike, but as it's a 3 speed, it'll be most suitable for eBikes, or even a road bike. With a 186% gear range and impressive durability, this IGH is an excellent deal overall.
However, keep in mind that it doesn't come with a shifter or disc rotor. Thankfully, they've included a 19 tooth cog and a non-turn washer, so that makes up for the minor shortfall. And the incredibly affordable price that it's currently selling for makes it all the more worth checking out.
Sturmey Archer 3x9
The Sturmey archer strikes a very good balance between price and performance among all the internal gear hubs that we've reviewed. It has very extreme gear ratios, which is a good thing for tackling any terrain. Moreover, thanks to its 8-speed hub, you'll have no issues going anywhere on this bike comfortably.
You can install it on your electric bike or any other type of bike for that matter as long as you make sure the dropouts' width matches your bike's axel width. With this internal gear hub, you get all the cables necessary for installation in addition to the shifters. The shifter's inclusion makes it well worth the price as some more expensive models doesn't include shifters.
- It has a 325% gear ratio.
- 70mm Drum brake Hub
- 8 Speeds
The Shimano SG-3C41 is another excellent internal gear hub that we just had to recommend since it's from the Shimano brand. We've never had any complaints using products from Shimano, and this IGH isn't an exception. With the Shimano SG-3C41, you can expect reliability and performance that is well suited for commuters.
Moreover, it is one of the most manageable gear hubs to install, making it very good for even beginners. So while it doesn't come fully assembled like some of the other hubs, it has good instructions to set it up. The only slight downside is that the gear shifter is not included with this hub.
Thankfully, like any good internal gear hub, the Shimano SG-3C41 will require very little maintenance over its lifespan and will take you through any riding condition. And we think that makes up for its only downside of not including a shifter. So, if you want an easy to ride cruiser to take you around town, this might be the best option for you.
- It features a 186% gear range.
- It comes with a push rod, 3/4" chainstay clamp, and a non-turn washer.
- 168mm axle length
SHIMANO Alfine 11-Speed
The Shimano Alfine is one of the more popular internal gear hubs around right now that we really love and recommend checking out. The only downside is that it cost a little more than some of the other. However, it makes it up when you consider its performance.
With the Shimano Alfine, you get two size choices that will fit a 32H or 36H bike. Moreover, each of the two size options also offers differences in gears with the 32H offering 8 Speeds while the 36H offers 11-speeds. With that many gears, you'll find this internal gear hub more than suitable for any e-bike or non-e-bike.
We were really impressed with the shifting performance that is offered by this IGH. And with a high gear range of up to 409%, there's nowhere you won't be able to go smoothly with this IGH installed on your bike.
We've never regretted installing an internal gear hub on one of our bikes as it has outdone many derailleurs over the years. Moreover, the times where we had to do anything to maintain it can be counted on a single hand. As such, we highly recommend swapping out or upgrading to one of the best internally geared hubs we've listed above.
FAQ About Internal Geared Hubs
Now that we've come to the end of the internal gear hub reviews, we often get asked some other questions that we'd like to share the answers to below:
What Is The Best Internal Gear Hub?
The single best internal gear hub right now is the Rohloff Disc-Speedhub. It features a 14-speed setup and has the highest gear ratio of all the known IGH at 526%. Moreover, this internal gear hub has the best reliability that you will find. The best alternative to the Rohloff is the Shimano Alfine internal gear hubs.
What Are The Main Differences Between Internal Gear Hubs Vs Derailleurs?
The internally geared hubs at present offer at most 14 gears while derailleur setups offer up to 27 gears. Moreover, it is more expensive to install internal gear hubs on a bike than to upgrade derailleurs. They also weigh a bit more. However, the pros outweigh the cons as they last longer and require less maintenance. The pros make it well worth the price to upgrade.
Are Internal Gear Hubs Any Good?
Internal gear hubs are an excellent alternative to a standard derailleur setup and offer more reliability than derailleurs. They tend to last longer and require far less maintenance. Moreover, internally geared hubs allow you to shift gears even while stationary, so they are very good to ride in city traffic.
What Is The Best Internal Gear Hub?
The best internal gear hub is subjective and will depend on your specific needs and preferences. Some popular options include the Rohloff Disc-Speedhub, SHIMANO SG-3D55, and Sturmey Archer 3x9. It is important to consider factors such as the number of gears, compatibility with your bike, and price when choosing an internal gear hub.
Are Internally Geared Hubs Better Than Derailleur Gears?
Internally geared hubs are generally considered to be more reliable and require less maintenance than derailleur gears. They also offer the ability to shift gears while stationary, better protection from the elements, and a wider gear ratio. However, they can be more expensive upfront and may not be as lightweight as derailleur systems.
Is The Shimano Internal Gear Hub A Good Choice?
The Shimano internal gear hub is a popular choice among cycling enthusiasts due to its reliability and performance. The SHIMANO SG-3D55 and SHIMANO Alfine 11-Speed are both highly rated options.
What Is The Lightest Internal Gear Hub?
The lightest internal gear hub will depend on the specific model and number of gears. The SHIMANO SG-3D55 is a relatively lightweight option with a 3-speed system, while the SHIMANO Alfine 11-Speed is a more premium choice with a higher weight.
Are Shimano Hub Gears Any Good?
Shimano is a well-known and reputable brand in the cycling industry, and its hub gears are generally considered to be of high quality. The SHIMANO SG-3D55 and SHIMANO Alfine 11-Speed are both popular choices among cycling enthusiasts.
Can I Use A Rear Hub For A Coaster Brake?
Yes, a rear hub can be used for a coaster brake. Coaster brakes are typically found on bikes with a single-speed drivetrain and are activated by pedaling backwards.
What Are The Best Internal Gear Hubs For Electric Bikes?
Some popular internal gear hubs for electric bikes include the SHIMANO Alfine 11-Speed and the Rohloff Disc-Speedhub. These options offer a wide gear ratio and are compatible with electronic shifting systems.
Can I Purchase An Internal Gear Hub At A Bike Shop?
Yes, you can purchase an internal gear hub at a bike shop. Many bike shops carry a range of internal gear hubs from different brands, such as Rohloff, Shimano, and Sturmey Archer. It is a good idea to research and compare different options before making a purchase, and a bike shop employee can often provide additional information and advice.
Is An Internal Gear Hub Suitable For City Riding?
Internal gear hubs can be a good choice for city riding due to their durability and low maintenance requirements. They offer the ability to shift gears while stationary, which can be convenient in stop-and-go traffic. Some popular internal gear hubs for city riding include the SHIMANO SG-3D55 and the Sturmey Archer 3x9.
Can An Internal Gear Hub Be Used With A Belt Drive?
Yes, an internal gear hub can be used with a belt drive. A belt drive is a type of bike drivetrain that uses a toothed belt made of carbon fiber, steel, or aramid fibers to transmit power from the pedals to the rear wheel. Belt drives are generally considered to be low maintenance and silent, making them a good choice for internal gear hubs.
Is It Possible To Ride A Bike With An Internal Gear Hub As A Fixed Gear?
Yes, riding a bike with an internal gear hub as a fixed gear is possible. A fixed gear bike, also known as a "fixie or single speed" is a type of bike that does not have a freewheel mechanism and requires the rider to constantly pedal in order to move. To ride a bike with an internal gear hub as a fixed gear, you would need to remove the freewheel from the hub and install a fixed cog.
Are Internal Gear Hubs Suitable For Electric Bikes?
Internal gear hubs can be a good choice for electric bikes due to their wide gear ratio and compatibility with electronic shifting systems. Some popular internal gear hubs for electric bikes include the SHIMANO Alfine 11-Speed and the Rohloff Disc-Speedhub.
What Is A Hub System In An Internal Gear Hub?
A hub system in an internal gear hub refers to the mechanism that allows the gears to be changed within the hub itself. In an internal gear hub, the gears and shifting mechanism are housed within the hub of the rear wheel, rather than in a derailleur system where the gears are located on the frame. The hub system in an internal gear hub can be activated using a shift lever or electronic shifting system.
Can Internal Gear Hubs Be Used With Coaster Brakes?
Yes, internal gear hubs can be used with coaster brakes. Coaster brakes are typically found on bikes with a single-speed drivetrain and are activated by pedaling backwards. They can be used in combination with an internal gear hub by installing the coaster brake in the rear hub of the bike.
Do Most Internal Gear Hubs Offer A Wide Gear Ratio?
Many internal gear hubs offer a wide gear ratio, which refers to the range of gears available. A wide gear ratio allows you to easily shift between gears to tackle a variety of terrain and gradients. Some popular internal gear hubs with a wide gear ratio include the Rohloff Disc-Speedhub and the SHIMANO Alfine 11-Speed.
How Many Gears Do Most Internal Gear Hubs Have?
The number of gears in an internal gear hub can vary, with options ranging from 3 to 14 gears. The number of gears you need will depend on your specific cycling needs and preferences and the terrain you will be riding on. When choosing an internal gear hub, it is important to consider the gear ratio and the range of gears.
Can Internal Gear Hubs Be Used On All Types Of Bikes?
Internal gear hubs can be used on a variety of bike types, including road bikes, touring bikes, electric bikes, and more. However, ensuring that the internal gear hub is compatible with your bike's frame and dropout width and that you have the necessary tools and skills to install it properly is important. If you are not comfortable doing it yourself, it may be necessary to visit a bike shop or mechanic for installation.
Last Updated on October 14, 2023 by Daniel White