Is this hub not beautiful?
36-hole, 8 speed internal hub. Weighs about three pounds and inside, it's somewhat like an automatic car transmission. Isn't it? Well, this one isn't automatic. But it has tons of cool planetary gears inside. Probably. I just wanted to write "planetary gears".
I've been annoyed with my derailleur recently. I saw a bike with just one front chainring, and 8 in the back. That's a good way to go. The internal hub would rule if it had the same mechanical efficiency as a standard setup, but I'm pretty sure it doesn't. Also, the hub weighs more, but you do save with no derailleur and no cassette. It's probably almost a wash.
Unfortunately Shimano says these aren't robust enough for off-road racing, and I'll extend that to mean off-road riding. And the lower mech. efficiency makes them not so attractive. Still, I've been thinking about Nexus hubs for days, so now I want a bike with this setup.
Soon I will have a garage, and a house I actually live in (instead of a house 1000 miles away that I don't live in but still get to pay the mortgage on). Then perhaps if I figure out the bike trail system in Houston I can ride my 8 speed internal to my heart's content.