Last updated on 12 Sep 2018, 14:30
Unlike a ‘traditional’ bicycle where you can see the gears on the outside of the back wheel, the Shimano Nexus 8 Hub has all of the gears safely tucked away inside a sort of ‘drum’. Hub gears have amassed quite an enthusiastic following over the years, including our Ged, who’s been riding hub gear-equipped bikes for more than 10 years.
Ged’s 12 reasons to consider Nexus 8 hub gears on your next bike:
- The Nexus 8-speed transmission offers an excellent range of gears (equivalent to an 11-34 cassette) – wide enough for most riders on most roads in Britain.
- You change gear with a simple twist of the Shimano Revo gear shifter, pictured.
- You can change one gear at a time or shift from top to bottom (or vice versa) in one twist.
- Unlike a derailleur, you can shift gear when the bike is stationary – this is really useful if you have to stop at the lights halfway up a hill – no more setting off in too high a gear.
- Unlike old-school hub gears, you can shift Nexus gears while pedalling.
- Enclosing the gear mechanism inside the rear hub makes for a more weather-resistant transmission.
- The lack of derailleurs removes one of the more vulnerable parts of a bike (the rear mech and/or its hanger often take the hit if the bike is knocked over).
- The fact that the chain does not spend its life being derailled from cog to cog improves its life expectancy too.
- From personal experience, I’ve found that a Shimano Nexus 8 transmission outlasts an equivalent multi-cog derailleur system by a factor of at least two.
- The Nexus hub is a fine piece of Japanese engineering, developed by Shimano over the past 20 years.
- The Nexus hub alone retails at £150.
- With its single chainring and single rear cog a Shimano Nexus setup offers much of the simplicity and the minimalist aesthetic of a single-speed bike.
Nexus 8 Hub Gear Bikes
The Shimano Nexus 8 speed hub gears contribute to its compact design – no protruding derailleurs or cassette. Shop now >
The women’s version of the Endeavour 8 with more dress/skirt friendly step-through frame and shorter reach. Shop now >
What about Nexus 7?
Shimano Nexus 7 hub gears offer all the totally enclosed benefits of Nexus 8 with one caveat. With 244% difference between lowest and highest gear (equivalent to an 11-27 cassette) Nexus 7 doesn’t offer quite the range of the Nexus 8’s with its 307% range (equivalent to an 11-34 cassette).
Gates Belt Drive
Some Nexus 8-equipped bikes have a belt drive. Here, a carbon fibre-reinforced rubber belt replaces the traditional steel chain. A Gates Belt Drive lasts around twice as long as a steel chain, it’s much lighter, it won’t stretch and it will never rust so you will never need to lube it. The absence of oil means the belt doesn’t attract dirt the way that even the best maintained steel chain can.
The very handsome Marin Fairfax SC4 with belt drive Shimano hub gears and hydraulic disc brakes. Shop now >