This is a shameless attempt to save the the most advanced civilization in
history from imminent self destruction by eliminating carbon emission,
dependence on foreign sources of fuel,obesity, hypertension and diabetes.
Cycling accomplishes all those things at once and helps us develop a better
understanding of ourselves, each other and our relationship to the cosmos.

Oh, horse puckey!
I like to ride bikes, have been doing it all my life.
The rest of that crap is just a fringe benefit,
and the blogosphere gives me a chance to share my interior
monologue with virtual rather than imaginary friends.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Nuvinci wheels are done!!

      Last year I had a wonderful time running around on a Raliegh Mixte bike I had picked up from Craigslist.  I had spent last winter rebuilding it with few neat accessories and came up with  this:

A groovy little mixte to use around town.  I used the wheels from my Jamis commuter which included the Nexus 8 IGH hub.  This made a great city bike; fast, light, responsive and great to look at.

But it was a bit too small, a problem I was willing to overlook at the time.  This year I ran across that great American oxymoron (extra money) and decided to upgrade.  I bought a new Soma mixte frame, in my size, and ordered wheels and drivetrain specifically for it.  There will be more on the build; in about a month I will be posting the whole story of my fascination with the mixte and the new build.
      What excites me today is my first, hands on look at the Nuvinci hub and wheels for the bike.

I ordered them about a week ago from AE Bike here in Kalamazoo.  They showed up in good time and I can now highly recommend for your needs.   The real nature of this rambling post is to tell you how I came to order a NuVinci hub.  For those not familiar with them, the NuVinci hub is an Internal Planetary system which provides a nearly infinite number of ratios within the highest and lowest gear ranges.  The kicker is that it's done without gears.  It's pretty tough to get your head around this, but there is a series of metal spheres in the hub, a drive plate connected to the rear cog, chain, chainwheel and consequently pedals, turns the steel balls; an output plate connected to hub housing and the rim turns in response.  Different ratios are reached by adjusting the relative contact points on the spheres.
The best information and explanation for this drivetrain is here

    Anyway I see the IGH as the best drivetrain for a city bike and after weighing all the options the NuVinci seems to be the best option out there.  There was a problem with the initial model...the damn thing weighed over 8 pounds.  The newer model weighs in at 2450 grams, compared to 1600 for a normal deraillieur drivetrain, 1660 for the Shimano Nexus system  and 1800 grams for the Rohloff system.   It's still heavy. but in the ball park for a city bike.
    The rubber meets the road on the pricing of these products.  The most popular is the Shimano Nexus with it's newest 11 speed system priced at $650, the Rohloff 14 speed system is priced over $1400 compared to the NuVinci which with virtually unlimited variations of ratios is less than $300.
  I'm looking forward to building up the new bike in the next few weeks and being able to give you  a real serious review of the performance of this new gadget.

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