It’s often the desire to avoid fickle and maintenance heavy dérailleurs that moves us to the single speed path. For those with the fitness and the inclination single speeding is a rewarding method for getting from A to B. For those that don’t hub geared bikes are the next best thing. Free from chains that fall off, rattle and require constant maintenance, yet with enough gears to get you out of trouble, hub geared bikes are the answer for the masses.
This Yahoo group offers hub geared groupies to group or the newbies to delve. Try Yahoo Group for Geared Hubs.
I’ve ridden the Shimano Alfine 8 speed and while not as smooth as a single-speed it’s certainly the best and most maintenance free way of getting gears onto a bike for the those uninitiated in bikes. A friend of mine who so tortures dérailleur gears that he should never be trusted with one again, he rides his Alfine equipped Mongoose every day rain hail or shine. The gears are idiot proof, abuse proof and almost maintenance resistant.
The main problem with hub gears is convincing people that more is less. 3 speeds is enough for most people. 8 speeds is tonnes. 27 speeds is ridiculous unless you’re racing. 1 speed is…perfect…