I was at Campione Cycles yesterday and spotted this Sturmey-Archer 3spd fixed gear IGH built up in a Surly Cross Check frame. I had heard of this hub last year, but since I wasn’t riding fixed gear I didn’t pay much attention to it.
The hub is small and the shifter cable and shifter are low profile. The shifting action is smooth and it changes gears easily via a down tube mounted shifter. The whole setup is clean and doesn’t mess with the aesthetics of the fixed Cross Check. The only negative comment I can make [which was shared by other folks in the shop] was that there was a noticeable bit of slackness in the drivetrain when applying pressure to the pedals in the opposite direction. That felt really weird when you are used to the totally solid fixed gear feeling. It feels broken!
Typically I’m a fan of IGHs. I was offered one of these hubs recently to test and declined. Maybe I’m too “young” a fixed gear rider to get the point of adding this hub to my bike? Perhaps in a year or two I’ll be stoked to give it a try? For now it seems to be counter productive to throw an IGH, shifter and shift cable on my nice clean/simple/bombproof fixed gear.
Especially since I’ve now tackled the two worst climbs in the centre of Calgary on my fixed gear and been pleasantly surprised I not only got up them okay, but I was quite a bit faster than normal and no more tired at the top. If I was going to add an IGH to my Surly 1×1 I’d probably just throw a Alfine or Rohloff in the back and get 8-14 speeds. That seems to make more sense and justifies the additional complexity more than 2 additional gears.
If you are a fixed gear fanatic and “get” the 3 speed SA IGH please explain it to me. I’m not very knowledgeable/experienced with fixies and maybe I’m just overlooking something obvious.