What behavior can easily damage an internally geared hub (Shimano Nexus or Alfine for example)?

  • can one jump off high (say 50cm) curbs?
  • can it be damaged by shifting gears under too much torque?
  • does water get in if it gets briefly submerged?
  • are there any dos and donts, any habits one has to change after using derailleurs?

Edit/followup question: are hubs with fewer gears more durable in general?

  • People do go mountain biking with Rohloff hubs, though there is a huge difference in prince and quality between those and your bottom of the line SRAM/Shimano/Sturmy-Archer/etc. hub.
    – Batman
    Jun 20, 2017 at 2:39

1 Answer 1


Usually jumping curbs isn't a problem, as long as you're cognizant of not landing incredibly hard. I would think that rough landings would damage the rim before the hub.

Most internal hubs wouldn't shift under torque at all. Some have a system where they won't even try to shift if the mechanism is moving, others have a "sprung" system where it waits for a pause in pedaling and makes the shift then.

Brief submersion shouldn't be a problem. Prolonged would most likely cause big problems. I don't know if shifting while submerged would exacerbate this...

The biggest factor I've seen in damage to an internal hub is using one that's slightly mis-tuned for a long time. I'll have someone come in saying that it stopped shifting into third about a year ago, and now it won't shift into second... By the time they bring it in to the shop, now it's a much bigger problem than it would have been a year ago.

  • I have seen in the nexus SG-8R36 documentation (NOTE: section) that you can shift gears while pedaling. I guess I will just go and test an actual bike.
    – Ivan
    Jun 19, 2017 at 20:56
  • Lack of oil, or failure to do the oil changes as required would also contribute to accelerated failure.
    – Criggie
    Jun 20, 2017 at 0:00
  • 2
    With regard to wheel damage, the fact that an internal-gear hub is likely larger diameter than its derailleur counterpart means that the spokes are shorter and likely approach the rim at a sharper angle. This results in more stress on the spokes and an increased probability of spoke breakage. Jun 20, 2017 at 2:28
  • 1
    @Criggie OK, even with derailleurs its not advised AFAIK so I pause anyway. I was just trying to figure out if it is more dangerous for hubs. Also some people told me that wheelies are bad. Is it true?
    – Ivan
    Jun 20, 2017 at 11:14
  • 1
    @Criggie yeah, 1.6 kilos for 8 speed ones sound heavy, but weight of all those components in the front is also gone.
    – Ivan
    Jun 21, 2017 at 3:01

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