Sunday, June 6, 2010

3 speeds all you need?

SS guys have little sayings like "one gear is all you need", etc.  And, that is true depending on what compromises you are willing to make.  There is still a place for a wide gear spread just like there is a place for full suspension.  But I find the SS approach to be fun, hard, and rewarding.

So the other day on a 4-ish hour SS ride with Ed the Tall, I once again found myself thinking about how much I love the simplicity but often find myself wanting juuuust a bit more gearing.  I am a reasonably strong rider for my age, etc, but long, long climbs on the SS will get me.  Then, as this day's miles added up, the trail had a couple of places in it that were a push zone for me as they were slightly out of reach fitness and knee health wise to ride them.  As well, we had a pretty fast pavement cruise to close the loop and then I would have loved to have a taller gear.

So once again I find myself thinking about the IGH...Internally Geared Hub...but not with the intent of duplicating my fully geared bikes range, but rather extending the range of the SS bike's one gear.  If I had 1:1 and then two more gears, one taller, and one lower, then might that not be the perfect set-up?  If I was about two gears lower in 'first' gear, then had the 34/21 I have now in 'second' gear, and added to that the equivalent of 2 cogs higher in 'third' gear; that could be the killer app.  A three speed IGH, 135mm spacing, disc ready, an aluminum shell,  hidden shift cable routing, standard splined cog, 32 hole drilling, and a decent axle set-up that uses the size bolt that would be in any multi-tool....add a good couple of shifter options like a Gripshift style and maybe a thumbshift style....well, now you have something.

That does not exist.  Yet.  This is pretty close: The SRAM i Motion 3 hub.

If the weight is trimmed and it is pretty efficient in the most used gear, that being the direct gear number 2 (1:1), then this type of IGH would be something I would build up for sure.  I would take a slight weight hit, but if it was more than a pound...likely not.  If it was a half pound increase and had more of the features of a modern MTB hub instead of a utility or commuter would be a hit.  If I can do it cheap enough, I still may play with one of these iM3s soon just to see.

But they can begin selling the i MTB 3 anytime as far as I am concerned.