The Nexus of Cycling

As I wrote on June 25th, I originally had 5-speed Sturmley Archer gears on my bike, but they only lasted a few years, and when the second set became unreliable I needed another replacement.

By this time Sturmley Archer had gone out of business anyway, so the shop recommended a Shimano Nexus 7-speed hub gear. (For what it's worth, the word 'Nexus' means 'connection'.) So far this has worked reliably, except that the movement of the cable is very small for each change, so the setting is very touchy - and even so the highest gear sometimes drops out momentarily, and the change down from 5 to 4 doesn't always work (you have to go down to 3 and back up).

The controller is a rotary one, using a single cable (see the inset in the photo above): once you get used to it it's easy to use - except that in very hot weather when it's got covered in sweat it's sometimes impossible to change up because you can't get a grip on it - then you have to stop and wipe it. And spit on your hand.

The hub has an alignment indicator - you can see it in the photo: the two red lines have to be exactly opposite in 4th gear, then all the gears align correctly. 4th is roughly equivalent to middle gear on a three-speed, or 3rd on a five-speed: the top and bottom gears are just slightly higher and lower than the five speed's 5th and 1st. One big advantage is that, unlike a Sturmley-Archer, you can change while pedalling (though you do need to take the pressure off very slightly), and also while free-wheeling. (One of the reasons I don't like derailleurs is that you mustn't change while free-wheeling, and after 50 years cycling I'm not likely to get used to not doing that. I also don't like not being able to change the gear while stationary - if you get stopped at a traffic light while in a high gear you've got a problem.)

I don't cycle in the winter: last summer I cycled a total of 1120 miles (most of my rides are 20 to 25 miles) - I don't expect to match that this year (obviously it's very weather-dependant) - though I've reached 640 miles as of this morning - but although I am slowing down a bit I can cycle almost as well at 64 as I did at 40: and the seven gears help.

Posted: Fri - July 21, 2006 at 11:11 AM by Roger Wilmut          



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Published On: Mar 11, 2016 05:00 PM