Monday, December 5, 2011

Installing the NuVinci n360 Hub

After cold setting my Ross frame, it was time to install the ultra modern NuVinci hub on a 27 year old bike. Installation was actually very straightforward and fairly easy. After figuring out the alignment angle using the numbers on the shift assembly and lining up the axle flats to the angle, I slipped the shift assembly on, bolted in my wheel, and then built the rest of the bike. I would say that if you can change a wheel, you can install the NuVinci on your bike. Just be careful, and whatever you do, don't accidentally drop the wheel - I did and my shift assembly came apart - luckily, it's pretty simple to get back together. I wish I'd had the foresight to take pictures while it was open, but I was too worried about getting it back together to grab the camera.

I was going to take some photos of the install process, but I only have two hands - so I'm just going to post the video that Fallbrook has up instead. If you Googled this article looking for insights, I have none, except the "dont drop it" part. Watch the video, installation is easy.



NuVinci actually brought me a prebuilt wheel with the shift cables already installed so there isn't much to discuss there. I had planned to build the Ross up with red cabling, and will probably do so when I need to replace the cables in the NuVinci shift assembly - look for that article in a couple of years.

I will do an article on taking the wheel off soon, as I think that looks more confusing than it is - but I have to arrange a photographer.

The Bloggipede in the stand after completed install. 


As you can see, the setup looks very clean, with no cable and derailluer clutter at the rear wheel. The shift interface is actually behind the dropout when the NuVinci is installed, and as such it's a much more streamlined look than anything out there. Some other internally geared hubs have an outboard shift interface to clutter up the rear drop, and exposed cables as a result. This is almost fixie clean.

Oh so very clean. I still have to zip tie the cables down. 


I had planned for this installation article to be much longer with lots of techy photos, but the installation was a snap, literally. The hardest part was spreading the dropouts to 135 mm on my bike to make the hub fit; if you don't mess with old frames then installation on your modern bike should be a ten minute affair.

I have ridden the bike around a little bit, and the best way to explain my first impression of  the ride is "different". Adjusting the tension constantly is a big change in riding style. Instead of upshifting and downshifting,trying to find the right combo of gears, you just twist the shifter like you would a volume dial to find the sweet spot - and the sweet spot is always there. It's easy, but a little strange at first.

The little hill gets steeper as you lessen the tension. 

I let my neighbor (and sometime riding buddy) ride the bike and the only word he had was "slick" - both for the shifting and the setup. He was impressed, and threw around phrases like "ultimate commuter" a bunch. When he stopped talking about me, he mentioned that the hub was pretty sweet as well.

Tomorrow I will put up some "data" on the hub - I did a fairly unscientific spin test to compare friction between the NuVinci hub, a Shimano internally geared hub, a free hub with cassette, and a freewheel hub.

The NuVinci website is here, and a list of distributors is here.

The N360 Hub kit is $399.

5 comments:

  1. It is difficult to tell from the photos, but I presume it is a nutted hub? It looked like it in the video and such is typical for IGH configs.

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  2. Looking forward to the unscientific test!

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  3. Steve, it is indeed a nutted hub.

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  4. Nice write-up Justin. Just so you know, for 2012 there is an updated Hub Interface for the N360 that is not only much more difficult to disassemble, but it's also attached to the hub with a right-hand nut. This improvement means it's impossible for the MY2012 Hub Interface to come off unintentionally.

    These will be in production in January 2012 and you can watch for it on 2012 and 2013 bikes. Make a visit to Austin and we'll retrofit your hub in a month or so. :)

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  5. Chris, I think I will do that - I'll come ride Austin in the spring.

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