After browsing in the hub gallery you’ve probably discovered that geared hubs can be pretty much distinguished physically. The underlying sub-menus will give you a look inside the interior of a hub. Though design became more and more sophisticated over their years, they all contain at least one so called ‘planetary gear’. As the heart of a hub it enables the rider to move at different speeds for a constant pedalling rate. Find out how it works in the sub-menu Planetary gears.

Besides having at least one simple planetary gear, hubs contain of course lots of other components, which can be very variable in different hubs. Some of these elementary components are described in the Hub elements sub-menu.

Sram i-motion 9
Sachs automatic
Sachs double torpedo

Complex hubs contain multiple planetary gear trains resulting in an abundance of combination possibilities to provide more than three speeds. This was already extensively utilized by the hub pioneers in the first half of the 20th century. Nowadays it is state of the art provide at least five speeds. Read more about it in the sub-menu Gear configuration.

Sturmey-Archer FM
Sachs Elan
Sturmey-Archer 8-speed

There wouldn’t be any benefit for the planetary gears at all if its single gear elements were not skilfully joined together by clutches. It’s getting really interesting here and this will be a feast for the eyes for friends of fine mechanics. How these clutches work is shown in the sub-menus Gear changing 1 and Gear changing 2.

Shimano Nexus 8
Sachs Elan sun gears
Sturmey-Archer S7C

It is fascinating to compare the well-known global manufacturers. The originality of Fichtel & Sachs or Sturmey-Archer is identifiable in all of their products. There were a lot of highlights and some hubs are highly sought-after among the collectors. Some manufacturers were compared with one another and their imagination should be appreciated – and aesthetics – in the sub-menu Manufacturers.