Aside from their comparable debut dates, the only other similarity internal gears and external (gears), or derailleurs, have in common is their mutual function of shifting gears. Both were engineered around the time of the 20th century, with a 2-speed hub being patented by William Reilly of England in 1896 and the derailleur developed only nine years later by Paul De Vivie of France in 1905. During the 20th century internal gear hubs trailed behind external gear cassettes and derailleurs, offering only a small variety of gears per hub consequently limiting the variety of ride speeds and styles available to the rider; where internal gear hubs held 2 to 3, externals held numbers approaching ten. Today, regardless of what type of model or make, if your bike shifts gears then it's using either system to do so. Although both systems of shifting gears have their advantages, internal gear hubs are becoming all the more preferred, competing with the prevailing derailleur system on several fronts.
Shifting: Perhaps the most significant difference of internal gear hubs is its ability to shift stationary. On the traditional derailleur the rider must be pedalling in order for the mechanism to shift into a higher or lower gear. Internal gear hubs offer the ease of being able to change gears whilst being stationary proving to beneficial in scenarios such as finishing off a ride in a speed that’s straining to start the next ride with. With a derailleur, the rider would have to pedal through it and eventually get to the desired lower gear, increasing the possibility of early fatigue or cramps. With an internal gear hub, the rider can casually adjust his or her bike without rotating any pedals in order to start their ride off comfortably.
Lifespan and Maintenance: Derailleurs trail in comparison to internal gear hubs when it comes to maintenance, handling and lifespan due to the particular reason of it being external, and therefore exposed to all the glory that roads, trails and treks grant. Riding routinely with a derailleur takes a substantial amount of commitment and responsibility that internal gear hubs don't really require. Derailleurs require regular attention, consisting of thorough cleanings, technical adjustments and occasional chain replacing. Internal gear hubs on the contrary, although requiring some maintenance as all bikes do, require a significantly lesser amount. Having only one rear cog, internal gear hubs don't have to pass series of cogs resulting in the flexing, bending and occasional jamming of the standard derailleur. Forces such as those recently mentioned typically results in shorter life spans due to the chains strain and eventual loosening, a problem less occurrent to those with the benefit of having the straight chain line that internal gear hubs feature.
Reliability: Due to the inherent nature of being contained, in this case by a hub, bikes with internal gear hubs are less prone to having their gear damaged or worse, system knocked out of alignment. The majority of moving mechanisms such as the varying gears are concealed within the shell of the hub, shielding some of the most fragile yet vital parts of the bike. Bikes fitted with internal gear hubs also come with the option of adding additional protection to the drivetrain through the use of a chainguard, an option derailleurs do not offer due to the shifting chain lines. Even with the additional chainguard, internal gear hubs feature a lower complexity that's all around more appealing to the eye and mind; there is no bulky chain tension adjuster, nor is there a long, lanky chain being seemingly suspended. The removal of all these features results in a removal of risk and therefore, comfort of mind that one's bike and its minimal parts will be easily maintained and properly functioning. Although derailleur systems are often times more economical, the long lasting durability of an internal hub will pay for itself in the long run.
With these factors in mind, and the additional fact that internal gear hubs now feature a wider variety of cog sizes and numbers there’s no questioning why its presence has been increasing at a climbing pace.
Loco Cycles has expanded its product line from only carrying single speed styles to now offering 7-speed option (derailleur) for the Beach Cruiser line and 5-speed option (internal gear hub) for the FG Cruisers® line.
Sometimes the world seems so dangerous. We worry about accidents, cancer, and criminals potentially lurking around the corner. Actually, there's a much quieter, much closer concern that many of us overlook.
Inactivity is currently the world's fourth leading cause of death. It's a problem often confused and conflated with laziness and personal choice, but in reality the issue is geographic, systemic, and woven into the structure of modern living. (EuroNews)
That statement may sound shocking, but the numbers back it up.
Biking is an enjoyable hobby for people of all ages. Whether you're tooling around the neighborhood or participating in road races, cycling is a great way to get fresh air and exercise.
Unfortunately, cycling can be dangerous. And it is important for us to bring awareness to the dangers of cycling to help all riders become highly alert of their surroundings when riding on the road. In 2020, nearly 700 cyclists were killed in crashes involving vehicles. Of those, a quarter were hit-and-runs, which means the driver fled the scene before police arrived.
Ever dream of thru-biking across the interior of the United States? Thanks to a decades-long project spearheaded by the Rails-To-Trails Conservancy, that trip is one step closer to fruition.
When completed, the Great American Rail-Trail will stretch from Washington D.C. to Washington state, encompassing nearly 3,700 miles along the way. The idea has been in the works for 50 years and more progress is being made every day.
About 80 miles of the trail are considered complete, but the Great American Rail-Trail already connects with existing bike trails. It's built on old railroad lines, hence the name. The path is made from paved asphalt, crushed stone and other materials.