If you're anything like me then your first experience of a hub-geared bike was a Raleigh Grifter, and after the middle gear had slipped and you'd bashed your knee on the stem for the 68th time you swore you'd never get another one. Skip to the now, though, and they're suddenly back in vogue, mainly because they're a cracking low-maintenance gearing option for an everyday bike. It's no surprise that just over the channel in the low countries, where they take everyday cycling seriously, they never went away.
Another thing that's never really gone away, but has taken a back seat for a while, is lugged steel frames. It's a great way to make a frame, and the finished product is invariably a classy looking bike. Like hub gears, they're going through a bit of a revival. So you could say that the lugged, hub-geared Traitor Luggernaut 3spd is right on trend... and an equally on trend thrifty £749.95.
Traitor's Luggernaut frame is made from lugged Columbus Thron tubing and it's mated with a sturdy lugged fork. You can have it as a singlespeed but it's also available in this build, with a Sturmey Archer S-RF3 hub gear, controlled by a bar-end shifter. The hub has a classic 177% range (25% below and 33% above direct drive middle gear) and with the supplied 42/16 transmission (check out the lovely Sturmey Archer crankset) that equates to 53", 70" and 94" gears. That should be fine for the flat but around here it ain't flat, so we'll probably swap out that 42T ring for something a bit smaller.
The bike is designed to run tyres up to 34mm (it comes with 29mm Halo Twin Rails) and there's braze ons for rack and 'guards (although you'll have to double up on the single dropout thread at the rear). Traitor finishing kit completes the build, including some absolutely cavernous drops, and stopping is taken care of by Tektro levers pulling the same company's R538 long drop callipers.
The overall look is minimalist and classy, helped by the low-impact decals, and our 59cm bike weighs in at 10.8kg (23.9lb) which isn't too shabby at all for a very solidly built machine. We're looking forward to giving the Luggernaut a blast around the lanes (and paths) of Bath, stay tuned for a full review soon.
Dave is a founding father of road.cc, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.