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17 Mar 2010

About 'grease for oil' and gravel.

The grease used in (some?) Nexus hubs has a downside, it causes drag. You can feel the resistance when freewheeling, especially when it's cold. And when you accelerate, it all feels very, ehm, hub-ish. The best way to solve this is to mount a dérailleur system, but as you probably know, I like the practical aspects of internal hub gearing on a bike like my Pioneer. Luckily there is a relative easy way to make the el-cheapo Nexus 8 feel less hub-ish.

You take out the real wheel, remove the parts (couple of nuts and covers) on the left side of the axle and pull the entire 'gearbox' out of the hub. Then you remove all excessive grease and soak the gearbox in special Shimano oil. Let it drip for a minute or so and re-assemble the hub. The result is, as you re-assemble it properly, a smoother and more efficient hub. Do I have data to go with that? No, I haven't. It does feel better and spins longer.

This morning I took my big red Nazca out for a spin through Assen again. I tried out a new piece of cycle path alongside the 'Havenkanaal' (harbour canal). Nice corners, pretty little bridge and a pair of annoying gates. Difficult to pass without dismounting and almost impossible to do if your pulling a trailer or otherwise ride on more than 2 wheels.

But the sun was shining and spring was in the air. It was getting warmer and I felt light hey fever coming up. In other words, the weather was great today. I also tried one of those 'Pioneer only paths' as I tend to call them. It's alongside the same canal, isn't a cyclepath and gets narrower in Southern direction. The path gives a interesting view at an industrial area. The last part is so narrow that I had to walk 10 metres or so. Otherwise I could have fallen 3 metres down towards the canal. The mud was a little slippery here and there. Best way to ride was slow and steady with the big hub in first gear. I made a photo halfway the path. The old truck, the piles of gravel, the colours, worth a picture moment. (click it for full size)

More Nazca Pioneer of road entertainment in this video.
More Pioneer photos in this gallery.
Another blog post featuring Lobbes.
The photo on the above was taken here.


  1. I don't know if you know this website :
    It's a very informative site about internal geared hubs.
    By the way: at the end of this year, Shimano will release a 11-speed Alfine hub which will be using oil instead of grease, can't hardly wait !