NuVinci N380 vs Shimano 11 speed IGH

I recently purchased a 2015 TT Traveler trike which came equipped with a SRAM G8 Internally Geared Hub (IGH). I have some limited experience with the Shimano Nexus 8 IGH and the Sturmey-Archer 8 speed IGH, but know little about the SRAM IGH. While researching the topic on the web I visited the late Sheldon Browns excellent website. There I learned that the SRAM G8 8-speed internal-gear hub was introduced in 2013, (and the G9 in 2014). Production was discontinued in 2015 (for both). I'm not sure why, but my guess is that there were issues. I further learned that the SRAM G8's total gear range is narrower than that of 8-speed IGH's from Shimano and/or Sturmey-Archer, 259%.

The good news is that within that range the G8 uses an even series of small steps. The G8 is, then, best suited to urban cycling without steep climbs and to cyclists who are picky about cadence. The bad news is that I already believe the the wider gear range of the Nexus 8, at 307% (somewhat evenly spaced) gear range, was not wide enough for my taste. I have the Nexus 8 on my Rover, and I long for a lower low, and a higher high.

Initially, I thought I would go the inexpensive route and put a double or triple front chain-ring on the Traveler. I still might, but without being able to find parts or replacement for the hub itself sometime in the future, I thought maybe I would put on a hub which should be more robust, have a wider gear range, and still be in production. I have discovered that the NuVinci N380, and the Shimano 11 speed IGH, both sell new for ~$350. The 11 speed covers 409% gear range, and N380, as it's name suggests, covers 380%. There will certainly be additional expense: shifter, new rim (and probably new tire - any problem putting a Big Apple in the rear while using Marathons in the front? Should it still improve the "suspension" of the trike?) spokes, etc.

The question is, which IGH makes the most sense, if the goals are to be ready for "most" bike/trike trails, including hills. The plan would be to keep the SRAM hub on its wheel as a temporary spare wheel/hub should either trike ever need to be serviced. I don't expect many, if any, readers have experience with either, let alone both hubs, so I'm interested in opinions based on what you know/believe, and more importantly, why. If you do have experience, thats even better. I'm anticipating roughly a $600 expenditure. 

All opinions and comments welcomed! Thanks in advance. 


  • Amazon is selling nuvinci 360's for $200. 2 versions, depending on wheel spoke count.
  • Have you looked at the sram dual drive? 3 speed igh with an 8, 9, or 10 speed cassette. Interesting concept, only one derailleur, single shifter with a twist and a thumb lever.
  • edited January 2017
    If you have an old mountain bike laying around canablize it for the crank, derailleurs, shifter and cable. Give 3 rings up front a try. Realistically if the hub is not broken you could get lots of new gearing for the goose egg. Your traveler has a derailleur mount on the rear dropout already so that old mountain bike would have everything you need to upgrade nicely. And in the future if you change the rear hub, it could be any kind. Igh, dual, or straight up cassette. The nice thing about the traveler as a base is it comes with derailleur mounts front and rear, so no monkeying around like us rover owners.
    The only way to have a nice clean chainline is with an igc and igh otherwise you need derailleur up front and a derailleur/tensioner in the rear.
    Dual drives have been around since the 80's, if that was the way you went the chainline would be cleaner than 3 up front and anything in the rear as you only need 1 derailleur. But that is neither here nor there as you have to make the decision.
    The Patterson however would be absolutely the easiest way the get a lower low and higher high. Just swap the crank and adjust the chain length.
  • Here''s a good article on IGHs on Particularly interesting is the strength of the SA 3 speed as it would apply to e-assist conversions particularly with something like the Bafang BBHD.

  • edited January 2017

    I really appreciate all the good ideas put forth. Thank you.
    While I'm still pondering it all, here are some initial thoughts on some
    of the suggestions. Note, I will breaking up these thoughts into multiple posts
    here (since its too long to fit in one response).

    My research has me believing that the Sram i8 hub had high failure
    rates which was the primary reason for its discontinuation after just two years
    in production. No replacement has been released. I've also been convinced that
    the N360 hub was replaced because it may not be robust enough for longevity
    when used under heavy stress (hill climbing, heavy cargo/tandem trikes, most
    ebikes/trikes - almost verbatim from Fallbrook rep), unless used very
    carefully. So, for now, only the N380 is under consideration as a CVT. If there
    was no chance of putting a motor on the Traveler I'd have no problem
    considering an N360.

    The Sram Dual Drive 3 speed IGH would certainly be
    robust, but then I have to also use the derailleur. I have loved not having a derailleur since getting my
    Rover with Nexus i8 so very much, and in so many ways. I'm hooked on
    IGHs. And this solution, while tried & true, defeats many advantages of an
    IGH. Additionally, I have no used bikes or bike parts laying around, so I have
    nothing to cannibalize.

  • Elrique, you have given so much to think about and you make
    several excellent points. 1) I've heard the same. Humans are however, amazingly
    adaptable creatures. Further, the concept of a CVT appeals to me enough, that
    coupled with a good dose of determination, I should be able to adapt to an
    N380. But cation is well founded. 2) I was trying to ask for feedback on
    installing only one Big Apple (as a rear tire). How would you suppose 2
    Marathons up front and the Big Apple in the rear might ride? I'm hoping for a
    suspension-like effect in the rear. 3) I want to disagree with you, but I
    can't. I do want to be prepared when the hub gives out, but I can prepare by
    having a plan. Thanks. 

    "Sometimes we think we need the newest latest,
    and greatest.  When really the old, tried and true will do the job just
    fine." Guilty as charged. After a heart to heart with my lbs owner, he
    helped me realize that no increase in gearing range is going to change the
    amount of work involved in making it up those pesky hills. He told me I needed
    two things if I wanted to get up those hills better and wanted to go further
    and faster... lose more weight, and get my legs and heart better fit. Of,
    course he was tactful, but he was also right. I weighed ~250# in mid-June, down
    from 270# a year earlier. Today I am down to 220#. I can hardly believe it.
    Everything under 250# I attribute to desire and trike ridding. 

    Even though I agree with my lbs owner, I still
    want what I want, and I want more than the 259% gear range of the Sram i8. I'll
    keep losing the weight, and I'll improve my biological motor (heart &
    legs), but I can still improve my gear inches. Additionally, I pretty much
    agree with everything else you have written here Elrique. We don't have the same physical challenges,
    so, while I really like the way you have your trike setup (thanks for the
    photos in another thread), I don't have your skills nor hills, and I don't have
    much of a workshop. There is no way I could add a Schlumpf, or Patterson,
    and a motor. I start my BBSHD upgrade on the Rover tomorrow at the lbs.
    Were installing my Bafang in the traditional bottom bracket or crank location.
    Anyone know where I can get a battery mount designed for square tubing? 

  • As a side note, I do have concerns about compounding of
    inefficiencies when adding an IGH, and an internally geared bottom
    bracket/crank (IGC) to a trike. Has anyone seen percentage details for the
    efficiencies of IGHs or IGCs? I know that Fallbrook has not released any
    information concerning the efficiency of their hubs. I have heard estimates
    between a 10-20% loss of efficiency for IGHs. I've seen nothing concerning

    I would hate to think that any of us could be losing 20% of
    physical efforts.

    I should mention that when I told the folks at Luna Cycle I was
    adding a motor to my Rover so my wife could keep up with me, they laughed, said
    I'd be calling him within the year to purchase a second motor, because now I'll
    never be able to catch her! 

    Given the very real possibilities of the paragraph immediately
    above, If ultimately I will end up with a crank/bottom bracket motor on the
    both trikes, then purchasing and installing a IGC would be wasted money once
    the motor was installed in its location. I have pretty much decided to at least
    drive the Sram IGH on the Traveler through spring, if not far beyond. I should
    give it a fair shot and gain real world experience with it before deciding if I
    should scrap it or not.

  • So, it looks like I will probably add a triple crainring, probably
    a chain tensioner of some sort, and just shift with the chain tubes to start
    with. If that solves the problem, then I can add a front derailleur if I want.
    If not, I can remove the small investment in chainrings, and try out another

    The article Squirrelpie links to is excellent. If I had purchased
    an older 3-speed Rover, just adding a motor would have been a good solution. It
    doesn't make a lot of sense to me to purchase a three speed IGH if and when I have
    a perfectly good IGH of another flavor. Still, I will be keeping my eye out for
    good deals on new/used IGHs. 

  • TrikeBirder,
    My advice is to follow what your bike shop guy said regarding fitness and do the modification adding the triple crank. My thought is many of you guys get into this activity and seem to want to change stuff way to soon thinking hardware alone will make things better, faster, more comfortable. 
  • edited January 2017
    There's a guy on youtube, channel "Ja Yao", who was doing a 5 year around the world trike ride. Expensive HPVelo with all the trimmings and a hefty trailer.

    He got about 1000 miles before he was hit by a truck. He lived, but recovery took months.

    After recovery, to continue the expedition he got a new HPVelo with different options, better trailer ("aidoo" suspended trailer), better sun/rain cover, etc . . . .and then his girl got pregnant and his business hit the skids.

    All I can say is - if this guy can do china's mountains without electric assist, AND carrying such a huge load, then there is something to the argument that it's physical fitness that really determines the ability to climb hills (@Enrique64 you are excused from this argument <running away like a coward before @Enrique64 kills me> :D ).

    I'd be damned if I'd consider that kind of expedition without a big-assed pusher motor in that trailer and a HUGE sun cover with high efficiency solar panels.
  • I agree that the "engine" is what matters most, but there's nothing wrong with even an able-bodied person changing the gearing around a bit. Especially if it's to add lower gearing to reduce wear and tear on knees.

    @Elrique64 See, *I* can spell! ;) Actually to be fair, I usually copy/paste the person's name from elsewhere on the page. Anyway I'm feeling a bit stupid here, but was bone really an issues for EverQuest censors? There are quite a few non-fictional names that have it in the word.

    For those interested, the Ja Yoe guy (Matthew Galat) can be found at:

    Ja Yoe is a Chinese phrase that literally means "to add fuel", and is used to encourage someone to keep going and not give up. He's an american from Detroit living in Ningbo, China. Aside from triking stuff, he's also climbed Everest, is an avid saltwater fish/reef tank enthusiast, and makes videos about living in China.  
    - PaulNM
  •  My gearing  8 x 3 works fine for most of the time but getting up those hills or down the gravek roads is a slow tedious process so the e assist is going to happen. Would have already, but just too darn cold just now. Even with the fairing and good clothes 20- 30 kph is too fast and keeping the battery warm enough would be a challenge. Not to mention the icy bits on the road....But it will happen, I promise.
  • Heck I'm still working on getting the 3 up front in my Rover. Now going with an E-type derailleur and letting the lbs install it. FOG is right! I need that 22T ring for anything steeper than 1°.

    Check out SATriker on YouTube. Beautiful trike videos of Adelaide area of Australia.
  • edited January 2017
    Yup. According to the lbs there'll be no issues. That's why I'm making them be the ones to put it on and make it work.

    It's got a nice wide cage - really shouldn't be an issue
  • @jamesr I think at jensonusa you can pick your cranks and length raw, then individually pick rings to bolt onto it. So maybe there you can make your mythical 140mm 20T crank?
  • edited January 2017
    I know for a fact that Jenson has the crank converters with the good reputation (Ride 2). Saw them as I was surfing their crank collection. Most of the cranks offered 165mm as the lowest, but with the converter, you can get closer to your 140mm desired length.

    The converters are here.

    Here's a base Crankarm set to build on, but I don't think it uses standard BB.

    This one comes with a BB.

    Then of course the chain rings are here. Probably best to stick with the same maker as the crank.

    None of this is going to be especially cheap :-(

    P.S. Are those Patterson's the newer type with the better internal spring? Or the old ones that broke springs a lot - and send me a private email with your price!
  • If they are under a year old, they should have the new springs.

    I've ridden already with the 22 ring - and I love it. To use your expression, it's a "tree climbing" ring. Now assuming the e-type derailleur works it's magic, I'll have a nice fat range of GI to work with.

    Essentially I think I'm getting what the Patterson would give, plus a couple extra gears at both ends.

    Word to the wise: e-type derailleurs are pretty specific to the crankset they'll be used on, especially as to the largest tooth (because that determines the length of the attachment bar required, I'd guess).

    My bentrider id is jrobiso2 - I'm certainly interested in a used Patterson.
  • Yeah, I think we all regret that divorce
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