i-Motion 9 First Impressions

The past 10 days or so I’ve been riding a Civia Loring with a SRAM i-Motion 9 internal gear hub installed. This is my first time trying an i-Motion and I must say, it’s quite nice. The gear ratio graph shows even steps throughout most of the range, with 17% steps between the 2-3-4-5-6-7-8, and 14% steps between 1-2 and 8-9; you can really feel this on the road. The total range is 340% compared to the Shimano Alfine’s 305%. I’d say the i-Motion doesn’t shift quite as crisply as the Alfine, and it definitely doesn’t shift as cleanly under a full load, but it’s still a very smooth hub that’s worth serious consideration. My only real complaint—and this is totally a personal thing—is that I do not like twist shifters. Something about clackety twist shifters attached to a silky smooth hub just offends my sensibilities. ;-) We’ll talk about the i-Motion 9 in more detail in our upcoming Loring review.

9 Responses to “i-Motion 9 First Impressions”

  • Ant says:

    Nice to see more and more products in the IGH field, especially greater range than most and more affordable than something like a Rohloff. I’m with you on wanting to see something other than a grip shift style though. Even setting personal preferences aside, there are so many different bars out there and they’re fairly impractical on a number of them. I’d like to see the manufacturers at least offer a thumb or bar-end choice strictly to open up some more configurations.


  • Duncan Watson says:

    I agree on the desirability of thumb or bar-end shifters but I also love IGHs. My Rohloff has converted me to the IGH world. It is nice to see wider range IGHs that are less expensive than the Rohloff.

  • David Berry says:

    The i-Motion’s twist shift appears to have two practical advantages over the Rohloff:
    1) the gear you’re using is clearly displayed;
    2) there is no sudden and uncomfortable change in diameter between the twist shift and the remainder of the right handlebar grip.

  • Joe says:

    I’ve been hammering on the i-motion 9 for 6 months or so and I really like it. Minor cable tension adjustments are intuitively easy and tire changes are simple compared to the 8sp Nexus. The lack of a thumbshifter version is definitely a bummer.

  • dwainedibbly says:

    I’ve been using an i-motion 9 for ~6months, too. I really like it, particularly the evenly-spaced gears (compared to my wife’s Nexus-8 equipped bike). Agreed about the lack of shifter options. I don’t mind the twist shifter, but options would be nice, especially if you’re using one on a bike with drop bars.

    Haven’t had to change a tire, yet. (Did I just jinx myself?)

  • Roland Smith says:

    I really liked the old Sturmey-Archer trigger shifters. And those old 3-speed hubs were very sturdy.

    And speaking of Sturmey-Archer, it seems that the venerable brand is showing activity again. Their new catalog [PDF] even shows bar-end and thumb shifters for 3- and 5-speed hubs!

  • RI Swamp Yankee says:

    They don’t seem to support SRAM yet, but Jtek makes bar-end shifters for S-A and Shimano 8 speed IGHs.

  • Helton says:

    @ David Berry

    I completely agree. The grip shifter of Rohloff needs too long a twist, and its large diameter may be quite uncomfortable at times.
    Besides, mine got dirt inside and is a bit worn out, losing its original smoothness.
    At last, I have a Sram gripshifter for derailer (SRAM Rocket), and it’s not perfect, but its short required angle-per-shift makes it much better for quick speed changes, like the ones one see in XC trails or even street traffic.

  • Greg says:

    I actually prefer the twist shifts. I like being able to quickly crank down low when I’m stopping. But I do agree that it is nice that Shimano gives you the choice; they make both trigger and twist shifts for the Alfine.

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