This month I rode a bicycle equipped with the new hub from SRAM Automatix, designed for city bikes. Along with the alternatives offered by Shimano (through Nexus or Alfin), Rohloff or Sturmey-Archer, Sram wishes to bring to the attention of potential buyers a 2 speed internal gear hub, automatic shifting and relatively decent weight. Sounds good!
Nostalgia hit me as soon as I pedaled a bicycle equipped with the Sram Automatix. The old Fichtel & Sachs Torpedo Duomatic hub that I had installed on a 1970 bicycle reminded me that there are efficient hubs, with only 2- speed internal gear. Whereas competitors offer even up to 11 or 14 integrated ratios, the Sram Automatix offers only two, but enough for short trips around town.
Moreover, Automatix is designed for the laziest of you, because shifts of the two ratios (1-1 and 1 to 1.37) are made automatically depending on cadence. I was speaking of the Fichtel & Sachs hub because it offered a similar number of ratios, noting that they could be only shifted by acting backward the pedal.
However, as modern times must be characterized by progress in technology, those from Sram took the idea further, managing to create a hub that shifts gears when pedaling faster or when you start pedaling slower. Obviously, as your pace increases, next 1:1.37 ratio requires greater pedaling force.
Shifts occur rapidly, but there is a small lag when you move from one ratio to another. Therefore it’s not advisable to shift when standing up while cycling because there is a risk of your foot slipping off the pedal.
A coaster type brake is also integrated, so when you operate the rear drive gear, the bicycle will surely stop. The sprocket installed on the hub can have 15,16,17,18, 19, 20 or 21 teeth. The maximum speed you can achieve with the smallest sprocket is 18 km / h, depending on the manufacturer. But, do believe me, Automatix Sram can do more than that. Of course, one should also take into account the number of teeth on the crank arm’s chainring.
However, the rear wheel is bolt on, and does not have a quick release, which makes it quite uncomfortable to fix flat tire.
Weighing 980 grams, it doesn’t rank among the lightest hubs, but it certainly is one of the most easy to use. I recommend it for city bikers who won’t make things complicate by using shifting levers mounted on the handlebars or a 10 – speed gear box.
Weight: 980 grams