Enviolo vs Shimano Hubs: Which is Better?

Enviolo vs Shimano Hubs

The biggest difference between Enviolo and Shimano is the shifting mechanism. Enviolo hubs use a continuously variable transmission (CVT), which means you can smoothly shift between any gear ratio without stopping pedaling. On the other hand, Shimano hubs use a traditional stepped gear system. This means you must stop pedaling to shift gears, and the gear changes are not as smooth as with a CVT hub.

In my experience, Enviolo hubs are more durable than Shimano hubs. I’ve been riding an Enviolo hub on my Radcity 5 for over a year, and it hasn’t skipped a beat. I’ve also heard of people having problems with Shimano hubs, such as the gears slipping or the hub making noise. Ultimately, the best CVT hub for you will depend on your individual needs and budget. If you’re looking for the smoothest and most efficient shifting, an Enviolo hub is the way to go. However, a Shimano Nexus hub is a great option if you’re on a tight budget.

If you’re unsure which hub is right for you, keep reading this article, as I’ll give you the difference between Enviolo and Shimano to help you make the best decision for your needs.

Enviolo vs. Shimano Comparison Table

FeatureEnvioloShimano
Price$200-500$200-400
Gear Range409%380%
Lowest permissible gear ratio1:181:16
Shifting MechanismContinuously variable transmission (CVT)Stepped gear
Long-term durabilityAround 80,000kmAround 80,000km
Noise LevelQuieterNoisier
Grease or oil changes are required.NoRegularly
Weight1.8kg1.0kg
Shifter typeRotary shifterTrigger Shifter
Electronic shifting is available.Yes (with eBike)Yes
Gear skippingLess likelyMore likely
Auto shiftingMore seamlessLess seamless
Input torque rating120Nm85Nm

Factors to Compare Enviolo and Shimano By

I will be comparing Enviolo and Shimano based on the following factors:

  • Weight Comparison
  • Shifting Mechanism
  • Gear Range
  • Price and Value for Money

Weight Comparison

Enviolo hubs are typically heavier than Shimano hubs. The Enviolo CT, internal gear hub, weighs 1.8kg, while the Shimano Alfine 11 hub weighs 1.0kg. This is because Enviolo hubs use a more complex gear system that allows for a wider gear range. Shimano hubs use a more straightforward gear system that is lighter but has a narrower gear range.

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The weight difference between Enviolo and Shimano hubs may not be a significant issue for some people, but it is something to consider if you are looking for a lightweight hub. If you are planning on using your bike for commuting or touring, you may want to choose a lighter hub to make it easier to pedal. However, the weight difference may not be a significant concern if you are looking for a hub with a wide gear range and high durability.

Shifting Mechanism

The main difference between the shifting mechanisms of Enviolo and Shimano internal gear hubs is that Enviolo uses a continuously variable transmission (CVT) hub, while Shimano uses a stepped or stepped transmission hub.

A CVT allows for smooth, seamless gear changes without any noticeable steps. This is because the gears in a CVT are not discrete but continuously variable. This makes CVTs a good choice for applications where smooth, efficient gear changes are essential, such as e-bikes and cargo bikes.

A stepped transmission, on the other hand, has discrete gears. This means that when you shift gears, there is a noticeable step between the gears. This can be jarring for some people, but it makes finding the right gear for your riding conditions easier. Stepped transmissions are a good choice for applications where precise gear selection is essential, such as road and mountain bikes.

Gear Range

The gear range of an internal gear hub is the difference between the highest and lowest gear ratios. A wider gear range gives you more options for finding the right gear for your riding conditions.

Enviolo hubs have a wider gear range than Shimano hubs. The Enviolo 380 has a gear range of 409%, while the Shimano Alfine 11 has a gear range of 380%. This means the Enviolo 380 can go from a meager gear ratio (for climbing hills) to a very high gear ratio (for riding fast on flat ground), with more steps in between. The Shimano Alfine 11, on the other hand, has a narrower gear range, so it could be better for climbing hills or riding fast on flat ground.

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In my experience, a wider gear range is especially important for e-bikes and cargo bikes. E-bikes and cargo bikes are often used for long rides and carrying heavy loads, making it challenging to find the right gear with a narrow gear range. A wider gear range makes it easier to find the right gear for any riding condition, regardless of whether you are riding an e-bike or a cargo bike.

Durability

Enviolo hubs are made with a more robust design than Shimano hubs. The gears in Enviolo hubs are made of hardened steel, while the gears in Shimano hubs are made of aluminum. This makes Enviolo hubs more resistant to wear and tear. Enviolo hubs also have a higher input torque rating than Shimano hubs, making them more suitable for use with electric bikes.

Shimano hubs are less expensive than Enviolo hubs. They are also lighter, making them a good option for touring and racing bikes. Shimano hubs are also more widely available than Enviolo hubs, making them easier to find and repair.

In my experience, Enviolo hubs have been more durable than Shimano hubs. I have had a Shimano Nexus hub fail on me after only a few thousand kilometers, while I have had an Enviolo hub go strong for over 100,000 kilometers. However, I have also heard of people having good experiences with Shimano hubs, so it depends on the individual hub and how it is maintained.

Price and Value for Money

Enviolo and Shimano, internal gear hubs, are high-quality products with different price points. Enviolo hubs are typically more expensive than Shimano hubs. Enviolo hubs use a CVT transmission, which is more complex and expensive to manufacture than a stepped transmission.

Enviolo hubs are worth the extra cost if you want a smooth, efficient hub with seamless gear changes. The CVT transmission in Enviolo hubs provides a wider gear range and more precise gear selection than a stepped transmission. Enviolo hubs are good for e-bikes, cargo bikes, and other applications where smooth, efficient gear changes are important.

However, if you are on a budget, Shimano hubs are a good option. Shimano hubs are still high-quality products that offer good value for money. The stepped transmission in Shimano hubs is smoother than the CVT transmission in Enviolo hubs, but it is still a good choice for applications where precise gear selection is important.

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Pros and Cons of Enviolo and Shimano

Pros and Cons of Enviolo

ProsCons
Wide gear rangeHeavier
Smooth, seamless gear changesMore expensive
Quiet operationNot as precise as stepped transmissions
Durable designNot as many gears as some other internal gear hubs
Low maintenanceIt can be difficult to shift gears when the hub is under load.

Pros and Cons of Shimano

ProsCons
DurableDifficult to find replacement parts.
Good value for moneyDifficult to service
Precise gear selectionNot as wide of a gear range as some other brands
Wide range of optionsNoisier
Easy to findNot as smooth as some other brands

Which Should You Buy?

Enviolo and Shimano are two of the most popular brands of internal gear hubs on the market. Both brands offer a wide range of hubs to choose from, with different features and price points.

Enviolo hubs are known for their wide gear range, smooth, seamless gear changes, and quiet operation. They are a good choice for cyclists looking for a hub with a wide range of gears for riding in various terrains. However, Enviolo hubs are typically more expensive than Shimano hubs and can be difficult to find replacement parts for.

Shimano hubs are known for their durability, precise gear selection, and wide availability. They are a good choice for cyclists who are looking for a hub that is easy to find and purchase and that will last for many years. However, Shimano hubs typically have a narrower gear range than Enviolo hubs and can be noisy when shifting gears.

I have used both Enviolo and Shimano hubs on different bikes, and I have found that I prefer Enviolo hubs for their wide gear range and smooth, seamless gear changes. I find that the wide gear range is especially helpful when riding in different terrains, such as hills and flats. I also appreciate the smooth, seamless gear changes, which make it easy to find the right gear for my riding conditions.

However, I have also found that Enviolo hubs can be more expensive than Shimano hubs and can be difficult to find replacement parts for. If you are looking for a more affordable hub with a narrower gear range, then a Shimano hub may be a better option for you.

How Efficient Is the Enviolo Hub?

The Enviolo hub, known for its innovative Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) technology, offers impressive efficiency and versatility. Its seamless shifting mechanism allows for smooth transitions between gears, eliminating traditional gear steps and providing a seamless riding experience.

The design minimizes friction and power loss, contributing to efficient power transfer and ensuring a responsive ride. Enviolo’s advanced technology adapts effortlessly to various terrains and riding styles, making it an efficient choice for both urban commuting and leisure cycling.

Conclusion

In this article, I compared and contrasted Enviolo and Shimano CVT hubs. We have seen that Enviolo hubs offer a wider gear range, a smoother shifting experience, and a higher price tag than Shimano hubs. Shimano hubs, on the other hand, are a more affordable option that is still durable and reliable.

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