Review of my Shimano Nexus 3-speed & coaster brake hub

I have had this new hub and wheels on my Speedwell now for about 3 months, I wrote about it here. I had a few cable problems which I wrote about here. At first it appeared that the problem was just one of adjustment, but it turns out that the shifter has broken.It looks fine, as you can see, but there is some play in the mechanism that was not there before it broke. When I initially had the problem with only being able to use two gears, I returned it to the bike shop where I had it installed and they made some adjustments to it. It was after that that the mechanism broke, and this was due to my basket, as I worked out later on myself. So the shifter has to be replaced. The bike shop is not taking responsibility, even though they returned the bike to me with the basket on it and they did not pick up this problem when I went to see them about it. I am a bit miffed about this but I feel I have to wear it. Now we are waiting for the shifter to arrive as they are in short supply at the moment, so for most of the 3 months I have had the new gears, only 2 of them have been working. I have not played with the adjustment mechanism at all as it seems quite finely tuned and I did not want to void any warranty I might have had. It was this mechanism that they adjusted on my first return to the bike shop….

Anyway, apart from this problem, meaning that there are only two working gears on the bike (second and third), it has all been fine. The gears change smoothly and the brakes work really well and even on hot days on a long downhill I have had no brake fade. The hub heats up (I stop to feel how hot it is) but no change in performance, though I am wary of this and if I were out for a really long hilly ride on a hot day I would be cautious.

One other thing I will change is the grips, as the stubby one on the right hand is too short for me. They told me at the bike shop that they match the shifter but I don’t like them and my hand is butted up against the end of the grip. There may be a problem with this however, due to the shape of the handlebars as the shifter may not fit on the curved part of the bars…Overall, I am very happy with the changes I have made, but I will not be able to use a basket on the bike and I will be very wary of anything that interferes with the cable in future.

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22 Responses to Review of my Shimano Nexus 3-speed & coaster brake hub

  1. petermc says:

    I am wondering if an older 3-speed Shimano thumb shifter has the same pull length and cable nipple as the nexus. If so, that would solve the grip problem – worth investigating, as you sometimes see old shifters for sale on ebay.

    • Vicki says:

      Good thinking Peter. It was my preferred type of shifter in the first place, this problem might mean it was destined to be. I’ll check ebay now.

    • jack says:

      I have used several old shifters on the nexus 3 speed hubs.
      Aswell shimano and sturmey archer shifters work well.
      The only problem is that the older hubs work the other way around.
      So when you use oldershifters,the 1st gear on the shifter is the 3th gear on the hub.
      And the 3th gear on the shifter is the first gear on the hub.
      If that’s no problem for you than go for it.

      • Vicki says:

        That’s interesting information Jack, thanks for posting. I have just got the hub working properly and am reluctant to do anything which might upset it for now, but if I do this I’ll post about it.

  2. anniebikes says:

    I hope you get the shifting problem figured out as I know you love your bike. It can be frustrating dealing with a shop that you love, because problems do arise and you feel let down that a professional couldn’t have figured out the problem or standby their work and replace the part free. I’ve been there. Don’t give up on that shop. What I try to remember is that everyone makes mistakes and that fixing a bicycle is way cheaper than any car repair. Keep smiling.

    • Vicki says:

      Thank you Annie for your heartening reply. I am taking it all in my stride and am happy with the bike shop overall as well as with the changes they have made with the bike, though that probably does not come across in the review I wrote. I also did not write that when I first saw the bike I was pretty shocked with the changes and felt that the bike had lost a lot of its retro appeal, but it certainly has become a much better and safer bike to ride and I am now very happy with the appearance of the new wheels as well.

  3. adventurepdx says:

    Yeah, that’s frustrating. I’ve had similar things happen before where I had Shop A do something but then something wasn’t right, so I go to Shop B and the problem was due to something Shop A did or neglected to do.

    The whole baskets and cable thing can be problematic as well. I think the problem is many baskets were designed in an era where bikes were primarily single-speed coaster brake affairs with no need for cables. (I’m thinking specifically of long-time basket-makers WALD in the US for this one.) Baskets were designed to sit close to handlebars. But I think that a design where the basket is out a bit more, where the cables/housing would sit between basket and handlebars, would be better. As it is, most cables have to be routed through the basket itself, and this is where these conflicts happen.

  4. Pingback: Shimano nexus 3-speed problems | Bicycles in Newcastle

  5. Pingback: Shimano Nexus 3-speed hub problems | Bicycles in Newcastle

  6. Pingback: Shimano Nexus 3-speed problems solved! | Bicycles in Newcastle

  7. MarkB says:

    Where did you source the hub from? And how much did it cost you to get the hub installed in your existing wheel?

    • Vicki says:

      Mark, I Bought the hub and wheel set and had them installed by the bike shop, it was all quite expensive.

      • MarkB says:

        Can you give me an idea? I can get the hub from harriscyclery.net for $85 plus shipping $50. I have no idea how much a shop would charge me labour to fit the hub to my existing wheel.

      • Vicki says:

        Mark, the shop bought the wheels fully built and installed them, the cost for that for me was around $400 for the two wheels, it is a while now since I had it done. If you want to go ahead with your purchase you would need to get a quote from a bike shop and from my experience that would take a bit of finding a shop willing to do it, but once you find the right shop it will be fine, but not all shops have the expertise to do such jobs.

  8. adventurepdx says:

    MarkB, I don’t know where you are based, but here in Portland, Oregon, USA, the average price I’ve found for building a wheel is $40-60 USD in labor fees. This doesn’t include parts. A decent rim, say a SunRims CR18 alloy rim is $40, spokes run about a dollar a spoke, and then you have the hub. So a wheel build with a three-speed coaster hub can add up to $200. You might be able to find a pre-built wheel cheaper, but a lot of times they are not as well built.

    • MarkB says:

      I am just a quick ride north of Newcastle, My cunning plan is to buy a electric bike conversion kit front wheel , and change the rear wheel to the Shimano 3 speed hub, with the electric power dont really need more gears than that! If I can get away with <$100 labour for the job I would be happy with that.

  9. Joel Johnson says:

    Bought a manhatten Trike w/3 speed Shimano for the wife. The cabling has been adjusted. Still very uneven peddling, gaps or delays in gear change. Is this normal or should we return the trike to the shop?

  10. Rob says:

    Come to the Netherlands; Shimano Nexus 3 hubs are as common as woden shoes and windmills. Realy avery local bikeshop can provider you with à complete rearwheel new or buy it used. I can get you one and send it to you cheap.

  11. Juana Chan says:

    Hi, do these hubs comes with wheels??

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