AASQ #108: Internal Gear Hub ebike compatibility, longevity, warranty, more!

Tips & Reviews

We know, there’s no such thing as a stupid question. But there are some questions you might not want to ask your local shop or riding buddies. AASQ is our weekly series where we get to the bottom of your questions – serious or otherwise. This time we discuss internal gear hubs! Hit the link at the bottom of the post to submit your own question.

On last week’s Ask A Stupid Question, we went deep on what makes a mountain bike tire good at flat cornering, leaning on the experts at Michelin, WTB, Maxxis, Schwalbe, Continental and Vittoria to discuss rounded versus squared-off tire profiles. This week, we’re keeping it short and sweet, and changing tack completely, answering your questions on internal gear hub tech.

Neil Flock, owner of Cycle Monkey, and a rider with 7 years of regular Rohloff use, 4.5 years on Pinion, 3 years on Effigear, and a few months on Kindernay, joins us to answer your questions on e-bike compatibility, warranty and longevity!

I’m building an apocalypse bike. Which internal gear hub will last a lifetime? If none, which lasts the longest?

Rohloff Speedhub 500/14 electronic shift bosch ebike
The Rohloff Speedhub 500/14 internal gear hub has an electronic shifting option for Bosch e-bikes

The Rohloff Speedhub 500/14 is well proven as nearly indestructible with over 20 years of production, over 300,000 units out in the wild, and some riders with over 1/4 million miles on their hubs – these hubs effectively have no lifespan.

Kindernay XIV MTB internal gear hub, 14 speed thru-axle mountain bike internally geared hub

The Kindernay XIV hub is a recent addition to the market and is also built to be a high quality/long lasting hub that will potentially compare to Rohloff’s service life but it hasn’t been on the market long enough to have a proven track record yet.

Can you use an internal gear hub with a mid-drive electric motor?

Cycle Monkey: Generally, yes. There are usually input torque limits that you should check with the manufacturer if building your own mid drive ebike, but high quality hubs from Rohloff, Enviolo, Shimano, and Kindernay will work with mid drive systems and are available on complete ebikes from various manufacturers.

bull sturmvogel evo commuter ebike shimano alfine 8 speed internal gear hub brose mid drive motor
The Bulls Sturmvogel EVO e-bike runs a Shimano Alfine 8 speed internal gear hub with a Brose 250w motor

Would warranty cover internal gear hubs for use on a hardtail racing the Mega Avalanche? If not, why not?

Hubs like the Rohloff SPEEDHUB 500/14 or the Kindernay XIV, which are designed for MTB use won’t have any issues with DH racing and would therefore retain their warranties.  Hubs intended for commuter use may or may not hold up. Check with the hub manufacturer to verify.

Budnitz-0-G_Zero-G_limited-edition-titanium-ti-gravel-road-bike_studio-complete Rohloff
The Budnitz Ø:G limited edition titanium gravel bike runs the 14 speed Rohloff Speedhub 500/14

But, most of the hubs besides Rohloff and Kindernay are not designed for MTB use and probably would not be warranted for this type of use.

Can you remove the coaster brake on an internal gear hub?

Cycle Monkey: High quality internal gear hubs do not use coaster brakes. You would have to check with manufacturers of low end hubs on this.

I would like to build my own wheel around an internal gear hub. The wheel is for a commuter bike that will only really be used on paved roads. What are the best rims and spokes to use for this?

Rose Backroad X Classified carbon gravel bike, Classified Powershift internal gear 1x 22-speed electronic drivetrain hub detail
Check out the Rose Backroad X Classified Carbon gravel Bike that runs a 1 x 22 speed internal gear hub here

Cycle Monkey: Generally, whatever rim and spokes you would use for your application if it were any other hub. With few exceptions, an internal gear hub will not dictate rim selection. We have built gear hubs into most of the rims available on the market with good results.

Next week, we’re joined by Full Speed Ahead, who are answering your questions on super compact gearing and ultra-short cranks for gravel. There is still time to submit questions! Send them in from here.

Got a question of your own? Click here to use the AASQ form to submit questions on any cycling-related topic of your choice, and we’ll get the experts to answer them for you!

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