Home Gear product Internal planetary gear hub 3X3 Nine NO maintenance 9sp

Internal planetary gear hub 3X3 Nine NO maintenance 9sp

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All fans of internally geared hubs know the simple promise of reduced maintenance compared to a conventional derailleur drivetrain, but the 3X3 Nine hub promises literally NO internal maintenance. No gear adjustment, not even an oil change. This suction cup is designed to work for life, without problems and even under exceptionally high e-bike loads!

3X3 Nine internally geared hub requires NO maintenance

3X3 Nine NO Maintenance Internal Geared Hub, Full Suspension eMTB Mountain Bike

There’s a new derailleur killer in town.

On the outside, it looks a lot like Rohloff’s decades-old German-made reference internal gear hub (although it opens up on the drive side for service instead.)

Inside, things get a little different.

Technical details – What’s new? What is different?

3X3 Nine NO maintenance internal gear hub, planetary internals c.  H+B Hightech

vs. H+B Hightech

The 3X3 Nine hub is stuffed with planetary gears that give it a wider gear ratio of 554%—even wider than SRAM Eagle—but on far fewer gears.

With just 9 gears, that’s almost a 25% jump with every shift, more than double the gear steps you could get with a tightly spaced road or gravel gearbox or cassette. For a frame of reference, an original Pinion P.18 has 11.5% pitches, Campagnolo Ekar typically has 7-17% pitches.

And the 3X3 Nine hub is actually around 10-15% heavier than a Rohloff, at a total of 2000g.

Internally geared hub 3X3 Nine NO maintenance, QR configuration

But what you get in return is the promise of a set of maintenance-free internals that are lubricated by longer-lasting grease and don’t require regular oil changes.

3X3 even claims that it is possible to “change gears at any time, even when stationary or under load”. This load is interesting because without a clutch mechanism…planetary gear hubs usually require at least some reduction in load to allow a shift. But the extremely high allowable torque inputs of the 3X3 Nine hub could allow for more shifting under continuous load.

3X3 Nine NO maintenance internally geared hub, MTB setup

You get a maximum allowable input torque of 250Nm, which also makes it well suited for e-bike and even e-cargo bike applications. This is much more than the 130 Nm max of a Rohloff or even the 160 Nm max of the last Kindernay VII.

3X3 Nine NO maintenance internally geared hub, customizable fitment

3X3’s Nine hub can be configured for mechanical or electronic shifting, with various bolt-on torque transfer endplates to suit many OEM or aftermarket installations. 3X3 says the Nine hub is compatible with QR or thru axles, disc brakes 160mm and larger with rotors made for them by Magura, and with chain drive or belt drive sprockets made by Gates .

Nicolai Argon GX Gates belt drive bike, 3x3 Nine hub detail

They even work with each OEM bike company to develop clean custom dropout solutions for each type of application.

3X3 Nine NO maintenance internal gear hub, twist grip twist shifter

The mechanical setup includes an R9.S twist-grip shifter, which also appears to split so it can also be installed on top of a drop bar.

Internally geared hub 3X3 Nine NO maintenance, mechanical hub change

At the hub, it uses a conventional 2-cable R.SB shifting setup for proven simplicity and easy installation.

3X3 Nine NO maintenance internal gear hub, wireless mountain bike electronic shifter

The electronic setup uses a wireless E.TR 2-button remote release shifter that can be paired with modular ATV cockpits.

Internally geared hub 3X3 Nine NO maintenance, electronic hub change

The E9.XP electronic shifter itself is controlled wirelessly, but wired to an internal battery in the frame, and can also be connected to an e-bike’s power supply and will show your current speed via the display of the drive system.

In fact, the Nine electronic systems also include an automatic shift function that downshifts when standing for an easier and smoother restart from a complete stop.

Key statistics

Internally geared hub 3X3 Nine NO maintenance

  • 9 speeds
  • 554% gear ratio
  • 23.76% speed step
  • 250Nm max. entry torque
  • hub weight 2kg
  • chain or belt drive
  • Brake disc compatibility 160/180/203/220 mm
  • 32 or 36 hole J-spoke lacing
  • 135QR/142×12/148x12mm axle compatibility
  • mechanical shift or electronic shift control
  • 100% made in Germany, with automated production

Availability of 3X3 nine-speed hubs

Nicolai Argon GX Slide gets 3X3 Nine MY23, drop bar shifter

Ultimately, 3X3 isn’t really a start-up, but a new brand of bike training from a company that specializes in metalworking. H+B Hightechwho one way or another have been in industrial metal fabrication since 1901. And all 3X3 components are manufactured and assembled at their factory in Adelmannsfelden, Germany.

We’ve been told that OEM bikes are the first place consumers will get their hands on a new Nine hub gear system. Only after that will they likely be available for aftermarket conversions. The first production manufacturer to use the new geared hub is Nicolai, on this bike we saw in our Gates Carbon belt drive roundup.

Nicolai Argon GX Gates Belt Bike

Nicolai Argon GX Slide gets 3X3 Nine for MY23

For the 2023 model year, Nicolai will release its alloy cross/gravel/touring bike as the Argon GX Slide built around a 3X3 Nine hub and mechanical rotary shifter (GripShift style) that can be installed on the top of a drop bar.

Internal gear hub 3X3 Nine NO maintenance, Nicolai G1 EBBOXX eMTB

no production yet Nicolai G1 EBOXX eMTB with 3X3 Nine electronic configuration

3X3 said the Bosch-powered Nicolai G1 EBOXX e-enduro e-bike we saw fitted with their Nine hub is something they would like to see in the near future, but likely not for at least another model year.

3X3 bike