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Sram i-Motion 3 Speed Coaster Review



 
 
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  #1  
Old November 25th 09, 10:35 PM posted to rec.bicycles.tech
pdxrandonneur
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Posts: 36
Default Sram i-Motion 3 Speed Coaster Review

Gear hub fans have never had it so good. With the formidable
maturity and reasonable prices of the Shimano 8 speeds, the
renaissance going on over at Sturmey-Archer and radical new (or very
old) designs like the Nuvinci, it is easy to overlook SRAMís new three
speed. For three speed lovers, that would be a major mistake. This is
one of the best, if not THE best, ever made. I have ridden many three
speeds over the years, and loved them all (except for that 333 hub),
but I have never had as much fun as I am having on the SRAM.

Two caveats:

#1-This is the common complaint about gearhubs, but the grip**** is
God Awful. The mechanism is so rough that I though it was broken when
I first installed it. After some lubrication and riding in it has
improved somewhat, but it still feels like you are breaking something
when you shift. The barrel adjuster set up is even more annoying than
the ones on nexus shifters. The grip part has come off in my hand
twice already (it is mounted on drop bars). I donít expect the shifter
to last two years. I confess that I loathe grip**** in every form, but
SRAM has made much nicer ones than this. The hub deserves better. The
only good things that can be said about it are that it works and is
very simple to set up (credit for this belongs with the hub itself).
As impressed as I am with IM3, there is *NO WAY* I would pay $400 for
an IM9 and have to deal with a shifter this poor on a nine speed, and
I wonder if the complaints about that hub being loud and grindy arenít
caused by the crap cheap shifter failing to pull cable correctly. A
trigger shifter has been sighted in a photo of a cannondale prototype,
but there is no evidence of that shifter being available aftermarket.
The good news is that the cable pull is about 6mm, less than a
Sturmey, so with due care and some fiddling it should be possible to
adapt one of Sturmeyís new bar end shifters. All that said, it is a
three speed and just about any shifter will do just fine on such.

#2-Imotion distribution runs from bad to terrible in the states, even
more so for small parts. I almost had to cancel my wheel build when
the shop couldnít find a shifter. After calling seven bike shops here
in _bicycle_crazy_ Portland, Oregon I managed to find one that had a
distributor with a shifter in stock. Shops that could not get the
shifter included two that specialize in gear hub bikes and three that
stock the Imotion equipped Swobos. SRAMís ďjust in timeĒ distribution
system means that when parts are out of stock it can be just a really
loooong time before they come in again. This problem is worse with the
IM9 as it needs its own special cogs. All that said, SRAM has actually
brought their product to market (Iím looking at you Sturmey-Archer)
and they didnít try to charge me extra for a bunch of small parts that
should come with the hub to begin with.

If the Alfine is the Death Star of gearhubs, this is the Millennium
Falcon. She may not look like much, but she's got it where it counts.
(I guess this makes the S3X the X-wing: you better be a Jedi knight to
be an early adopter, and you will probably have to use the force to
actually buy one.) Under the discrete steel shell is a three speed
mechanism perfected and purged of every bug and flaw, fully matured,
tough as a panzer and solid as a single cog. Shifting is perfect, and
after a week of trying to foul the hub I managed to induce a single
pawl skip during a shift under heavy load, and was unable to induce it
again. No waiting for the hub to engage, no pedaling through a grindy
zone, no neutral, just an instant shift. The shift cable linkage is a
huge improvement over the click box, cassette joint, and bell crank,
with better protection than an axle chain. A cable comes out of the
hub and connects to your shift cable, making tire changes no more
difficult than on any other bolt on hub. As the hub does not use A/R
washers, you can position the shift arm in any direction you like
(anyone know why this hub doesnít need them?). The unity gear feels
like a single cog and I find the efficiency hit in 1st & 3rd to be
unnoticeable. SRAMís T3 was the most efficient hub of its generation,
and as this hub seems to be an all around improvement it is a safe bet
that this is the most efficient gear hub available. Due to the problem
of small cog inefficiency, the top gear in this hub may actually be
more efficient than the top gear on a modern derailleur set up. With a
Sugino chain ring and Izumi chain I had no problem setting up a fixie-
tight chain line, with no drag or binding. The coaster brake has more
power than the roller brake it replaced, without the dreaded fade
effect. It creaked once or twice the first day and has been silent
since. It has enough play to be ridden over trails, dropped off of
curbs and even down stairs with engaging unintentionally, and enough
power to throw my 1.5 inch Schwalbe marathon into a skid under all
conditions.
While Sturmey-Archer is the hands down winner for style and variety,
and the Shimano hubs are far more available, this is the hub to buy
for hard use, be it sprinting of off-roading, and I really recommend
this hub to fixie riders. Let the hipsters find out the hard way if
the S3X has teething issues. The mechanism is perfect and the coaster
will make your brakeless track bike street legal and at least slightly
less kamikaze to ride in traffic.

-Rando
Ads
  #2  
Old November 26th 09, 02:12 AM posted to rec.bicycles.tech
pH
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Posts: 49
Default Sram i-Motion 3 Speed Coaster Review

On Nov 25, 2:35 pm, pdxrandonneur wrote:
Gear hub fans have never had it so good. With the formidable
maturity and reasonable prices of the Shimano 8 speeds, the
renaissance going on over at Sturmey-Archer and radical new (or very
old) designs like the Nuvinci, it is easy to overlook SRAMís new three
speed. For three speed lovers, that would be a major mistake. This is
one of the best, if not THE best, ever made. I have ridden many three
speeds over the years, and loved them all (except for that 333 hub),
but I have never had as much fun as I am having on the SRAM.

snip

As an internal-gear fan (although I should not be, at my weight), I
appreciate your review.

I am intrigued by your comments that Sturmey-Archer is working on new
offerings and hope there will be reviews on their equipment as well.

Pureheart
Sachs Elan 12 speed (R.I.P.)
SA Sprinter 7sp
Sachs DuoDrive
  #3  
Old November 26th 09, 03:22 PM posted to rec.bicycles.tech
landotter
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Posts: 6,312
Default Sram i-Motion 3 Speed Coaster Review

On Nov 25, 4:35*pm, pdxrandonneur wrote:
* Gear hub fans have never had it so good. With the formidable
maturity and reasonable prices of the Shimano 8 speeds, the
renaissance going on over at Sturmey-Archer and radical new (or very
old) designs like the Nuvinci, it is easy to overlook SRAMís new three
speed. For three speed lovers, that would be a major mistake. This is
one of the best, if not THE best, ever made. I have ridden many three
speeds over the years, and loved them all (except for that 333 hub),
but I have never had as much fun as I am having on the SRAM.

Two caveats:

#1-This is the common complaint about gearhubs, but the grip**** is
God Awful. [snipped]


That's the clincher for me. There's only two shifters for infernal
hubs that I've ever liked, and that's a regular ole S/A trigger and
the first generation Nexus 7 speed. The Shimano grip**** are bearable,
and the S/A and Sram stuff is nasty.

That said, the Sram hubs are durable--you just don't see any
stateside. In Sweden you see a lot of the 5 speed Spectro version.
Seems they also got all of the four speed Nexus hubs over there as
well.

  #4  
Old November 26th 09, 03:58 PM posted to rec.bicycles.tech
Tim McNamara
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Posts: 6,299
Default Sram i-Motion 3 Speed Coaster Review

In article
,
landotter wrote:

That said, the Sram hubs are durable--you just don't see any
stateside.


My LBS in Minnesota usually stocks the Sram T3 (formerly Sachs Torpedo
3) and the 5 speed version because he gets enough calls for them, and
has gotten other IGH stuff from them too. And he stocks Shimano IGHs
but I don't think he stocks the Rolhoff. He also carries a number of
bikes that come with IGHs, such as Breezers.

I have thought for many years that the ideal bike for the majority of
people is the classic British 3 speed,although it needs closer gear
spacing or a 5 speed. Simple to use, durable, comfortable, far less
horrible looking than the "comfort" bikes one sees today (and probably
lighter, too).
  #5  
Old November 26th 09, 04:17 PM posted to rec.bicycles.tech
landotter
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Posts: 6,312
Default Sram i-Motion 3 Speed Coaster Review

On Nov 26, 9:58*am, Tim McNamara wrote:
In article
,

*landotter wrote:
That said, the Sram hubs are durable--you just don't see any
stateside.


My LBS in Minnesota usually stocks the Sram T3 (formerly Sachs Torpedo
3) and the 5 speed version because he gets enough calls for them, and
has gotten other IGH stuff from them too. *And he stocks Shimano IGHs
but I don't think he stocks the Rolhoff. *He also carries a number of
bikes that come with IGHs, such as Breezers.

I have thought for many years that the ideal bike for the majority of
people is the classic British 3 speed,although it needs closer gear
spacing or a 5 speed. *Simple to use, durable, comfortable, far less
horrible looking than the "comfort" bikes one sees today (and probably
lighter, too).


Those comfort bikes that are easy to make fun of are usually closer to
the geometry of what Dutch and Japanese ride in the city every day.
The problem is, more often than not, that they're not dialed in. At
the LBS, for example, the plain Electra Townies look goofy to me, but
the decked out version looks the business:

http://mybiketinley.com/product/10-e...4d-51843-1.htm

Take your average more upright hybrid, add $100 worth of curvy bars,
an SKS chainguard, fenders, and a rack--you got yourself the
Dusseldorf edition.

Conversely--if you took your average beater Japanese "mamachari" and
took off the practical bits--it would likely look like upper end
Xmart.

I do like hub gears--but TBH, a 1x system with only a right shifter is
just as stupidly simple--and dead easy to service.
  #6  
Old November 26th 09, 06:56 PM posted to rec.bicycles.tech
Andrew Price
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Posts: 828
Default Sram i-Motion 3 Speed Coaster Review

On Thu, 26 Nov 2009 08:17:48 -0800 (PST), landotter
wrote:

[---]

I do like hub gears--but TBH, a 1x system with only a right shifter is
just as stupidly simple--and dead easy to service.


Agreed - but by no means as maintenance-free as hub gears.
  #7  
Old November 26th 09, 07:48 PM posted to rec.bicycles.tech
landotter
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Posts: 6,312
Default Sram i-Motion 3 Speed Coaster Review

On Nov 26, 12:56*pm, Andrew Price wrote:
On Thu, 26 Nov 2009 08:17:48 -0800 (PST), landotter

wrote:

[---]

I do like hub gears--but TBH, a 1x system with only a right shifter is
just as stupidly simple--and dead easy to service.


Agreed - but by no means as maintenance-free as hub gears.


Probably less of a PITA than the hub gears, IME. You might need to
floss the cogs every few months--but on the odd chance you get a rear
flat with a gear hub, it's a wash. ;-)
  #8  
Old November 26th 09, 07:58 PM posted to rec.bicycles.tech
Andrew Price
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Posts: 828
Default Sram i-Motion 3 Speed Coaster Review

On Thu, 26 Nov 2009 11:48:52 -0800 (PST), landotter
wrote:

Agreed - but by no means as maintenance-free as hub gears.


Probably less of a PITA than the hub gears, IME. You might need to
floss the cogs every few months--but on the odd chance you get a rear
flat with a gear hub, it's a wash. ;-)


You have a valid point there. Fixing a flat on a wheel with hug gears
is a royal pain. They are best suited to riding on roads and with
tough tyres!
  #9  
Old November 27th 09, 09:48 PM posted to rec.bicycles.tech
pdxrandonneur
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Posts: 36
Default Sram i-Motion 3 Speed Coaster Review

On Nov 25, 6:12*pm, pH wrote:
snip
As an internal-gear fan (although I should not be, at my weight), I
appreciate your review.

I am intrigued by your comments that Sturmey-Archer is working on new
offerings and hope there will be reviews on their equipment as well.


They have actually updated the web site, have a blog and a facebook
page and the new catalog is mouth watering:

http://www.sturmey-archer.com/userfi..._Catalogue.pdf

The new shifters for the 3 & 5 speed hubs look extremely nice and will
be available in thumb, downtube and bar end versions. Last word from
Sturmey is that they will be available when the S3X hubs get to
market, supposedly in a few months. Every gear hub fan should make a
point of buying one in order to demonstrate that there is in fact a
market for nice gear hub shifters. We have been bitching about this
for long enough that we need to put our money where our mouth is now
that someone listened.

-Rando
  #10  
Old November 27th 09, 09:55 PM posted to rec.bicycles.tech
pdxrandonneur
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Posts: 36
Default Sram i-Motion 3 Speed Coaster Review

On Nov 26, 7:22*am, landotter wrote:
On Nov 25, 4:35*pm, pdxrandonneur wrote:

* Gear hub fans have never had it so good. With the formidable
maturity and reasonable prices of the Shimano 8 speeds, the
renaissance going on over at Sturmey-Archer and radical new (or very
old) designs like the Nuvinci, it is easy to overlook SRAMís new three
speed. For three speed lovers, that would be a major mistake. This is
one of the best, if not THE best, ever made. I have ridden many three
speeds over the years, and loved them all (except for that 333 hub),
but I have never had as much fun as I am having on the SRAM.


Two caveats:


#1-This is the common complaint about gearhubs, but the grip**** is
God Awful. [snipped]


That's the clincher for me. There's only two shifters for infernal
hubs that I've ever liked, and that's a regular ole S/A trigger and
the first generation Nexus 7 speed. The Shimano grip**** are bearable,
and the S/A and Sram stuff is nasty.

snip

What we really need is a universal bar end/thumb shifter for all
single cable-pull gear hubs, with a removable indexing disc that could
be swapped out for different hubs. There are enough users of gear hubs
to make this a succesful product, and most of us would be willing to
fork over *a lot* of money for a really nice shifter if we knew we
could keep it on the bike after future hub upgrades.

-Rando

 




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