All About Internal Geared Hub
Does an Internal Geared Hub (IHG) ring a bell to you? The IHG is a system that uses planetary gears that are housed within the rear hub as opposed to a derailleur.
Did you know that the IHG was invented before the derailleur? The first patent was issued in 1895! That being said, the technology for derailleur progressed much faster as the IHG topped out at 3 gears for decades.
Of course, that’s now changed. Over the last few decades, IHG technology has progressed vastly in terms of gear range and performance. They even have a couple of winning edge over derailleurs which we will cover in this article:
(Credit: Bike Radar)
1. Less Maintenance
The biggest selling point of IHG indeed – Replacing the oil or lubrication after 1000km from the start of use, then after about once every year. With all moving parts sealed, you never have to worry about debris damaging the hub or needing adjustment. For the average cyclist, a good internal gear hub could last a lifetime if properly maintained! Although, for proper maintenance of Shimano IHG, the use of Shimano IGH grease is highly recommended.
2. Longer Lasting Chains
With IHG, it never moves between gears – chain stays on the same gears throughout, running in a straight line as well. This puts significantly less strain on the chain as compared to derailleurs, making chains last much longer on an IHG. Imagine the amount of money and effort saved!
Did you know Shimano’s Alfine IHG comes in 11 speed and is Di2 equipped? Check it out!
3. Gear Shifting Perks
Ever stopped your bike in the high gears and found it hard to pedal while moving? With IHG, you can shift while you’re not pedaling! What’s even better, you can shift multiple gears at once too! So go ahead and shift multiple gears without worrying about a dropped chain.
4. Weather Proof
Rainy day, muddy terrain, or snowy roads? Fret not, ride away! As the hub is completely sealed, you don’t have to worry about cleaning your drivetrain as frequently anymore. That being said, the IHG is not completely waterproof, so do avoid riding in places where water might get inside!
Excited to switch to an IHG yet? I’m sure you are but continue to read further as we talk about the downsides of owning one:
For a quality IHG, an enormous amount of engineering and precision is required in making one. A good quality IHG might be more expensive than your regular derailleur.
2. Less Efficient
If you are chasing efficiency, IHG are slightly less efficient than derailleurs. This is because the power you produce from pedaling must pass through multiple gears, hence, losing energy (efficiency) each time it transfers from one gear to another.
With precision engineering, added gears and complexity – IHG tends to weigh more than derailleur setups. If you’re chasing speed and efficiency, you simply just can’t go as fast with an IHG as compared to derailleur setups. That must be why you never see IHG ever being featured on Tour de France!
4. Harder to Fix
Depending on the brand and type of IHG you use, removing the rear wheel might be tricky. This makes a rear flat tire harder to fix as one must consider readjusting the chain tension upon reinstallation of the wheel.
Whether its IHG or derailleurs, they both serves a purpose and will always have their place in cycling. If you’re looking to make a swap to IHG, why not check out Shimano’s latest 11-Speed Alfine? Equipped with improved internal structure for better gear engagement and smooth shifting performance. For more information, check with any one of our local dealers HERE.
Published by: Vivien Sim, 30 August 2022