Would a single sprocket + 8 speed chain + single chain wheel used in combination with a IGH last longer than a 10 speed cassette + 10 speed chain + 3x chain wheels?

Image I have 2 bicycles.

Bike 1 has a IGH Rohloff Speedhub 14 with

  1. 16T sprocket,
  2. 40T chainwheel and
  3. 8 speed chain
  4. using chain tensioner (the spring loaded one, not a tugnut). The chain tensioner is compulsory :)

Bike 2 has a

  1. 10 speed cassette (11T-36T),
  2. 3xchain wheels (40T,30T,22T) and
  3. 10 speed chain.

Both drive trains are used in the same conditions and maintained and cleaned at the same time and in the same manner.


  1. Which drive train will last longer?

  2. What influence does the chain tensioner in the IGH setup have?

In the IGH setup, the same sprocket and chainwheel are used for every ride.

In the 10 speed setup there are more cogs to choose from. The wear is spread out.

I think the 10 speed setup will last longer because there are more cogs.

  • 1
    What's the intended use? Riding conditions are going to matter, as both an IGH drive system and a derailleur drive system will eventually wear out. Under clean conditions, I'd venture to say the derailleur bike would be better. Under rough conditions, the IGH bike has the advantage of protecting its components better. The difference when you have to fix/replace/repair is you can incrementally replace the less-expensive parts of a derailleur system as they need it, but repairing/replacing an IGH will be more comprehensive and expensive. Aug 24, 2018 at 16:18
  • 1
    There's also the quality+cost of the IGH/Derailleur. A Rohloff speedhub lasts ages, but its also over 1000 USD; You could get 25+ Shimano 105 derailleurs for that price, and I've got a 105 derailleur that's nearly 30 years old..
    – Batman
    Aug 26, 2018 at 12:17

2 Answers 2


A chain used in a single sprocket configuration should outlive a chain used in a derailleur system because it always runs straight between aligned chainring and sprocket.

A 1/8" single sprocket chain will last longer than a 3/32" derailleur chain because it has larger bearing surfaces between pins and bushings.

A cassette is likely to last longer than a single sprocket because wear is spread over multiple sprockets. Same applies for multiple chainrings on a crankset.

  • 3
    And if a cassette wears out you can easily replace it. An IGH requires an expensive rebuilt if anything internal wears out, and replacing just the cog is likely more complicated than replacing a cassette. Aug 24, 2018 at 16:11
  • At the same time we have a question about single speed freewheel wearing out in 3000 km. In my experience decent quality cassettes last longer but I'm not sure if 11 speed is a durability failure.
    – ojs
    Aug 25, 2018 at 5:33
  • Did you mean 1/8" chain not 1/4" ?
    – Criggie
    Aug 25, 2018 at 6:31

To me the advantage of IGH+single sprocket, is that you can put a full chaincase on. Chain/sprocket life will then be enormous.

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