What do I need to research to switch to an internally geared hub?

Having looked at the above Q and A, I have a followup question. I have a Globe Work 2, that I'm considering converting to an IGH. Will I need to replace the rear wheel? I ask because Globe makes a Work 3 with an IGH and as far as I can tell, the bikes are otherwise identical. Does this indicate that the wheel will take an IGH without modification or am I just being hopeful?

I'm really just curious because I'm considering doing this myself, but I don't want to get in over my head, so I'm trying to figure out how much work this is going to be before I decide.

  • 2
    You need to replace the rear wheel because the hub will go into the rear wheel, and rebuilding your existing wheel (with new, different-length spokes) would be more expensive than a whole new wheel. Commented Jul 21, 2014 at 15:43
  • Gotcha. Starting to look like it might make more sense to buy the bike I want rather than attempt a conversion.
    – CJ F
    Commented Jul 22, 2014 at 14:44

1 Answer 1


The switch to an IGH is never as simple as it looks. There are a couple of things to consider:

  1. Wheel: Yes you will need to have a new wheel built replacing the hub with a IGH hub. You can reuse the rim (if spoke count matches) but will also require new spokes.

  2. Dropouts: The Globe Works 3 has a semi horizontal rear dropout while the Globe Works 2 has a vertical dropout and hanger. Derailleur bikes rely on the RD to tension the chain, IGH relies on placement of the rear hub in relation to the crank, this is where horizontal dropouts work well as you can slide the wheel to the right place. Without these you need a separate chain tensioning device.

  3. Chain Tensioner: Without horizontal dropouts you need to find a way to ensure chain tension. The most simplest and effective is an eccentric bottom bracket which allows the crank to be reposition slightly to achieve chain tension. Other devices hang in place of the derailleur but add moving and noisy parts.

  4. Crankset: IGH work with a single crankset and fixed chainline. You would need to modify your current crankset to a single ring (if possible), keep the multiple rings only using one or buy a new crankset.

  5. Shifters: IGH use different shifters to derailleurs so you will need to also purchase new shifters.

  • My bad, didn't read linked questions and answers. Everything is said there....
    – DWGKNZ
    Commented Jul 21, 2014 at 21:41

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