7 Months With A Shimano Alfine Hub

Postby Tama on Wed 25/Feb/09 3:02pm

A few people have asked me about how I’m finding the Shimano Alfine hub I’ve been running on my commuter for the past 7 months. I’ve been doing around 70 kilometres a week on it commuting with the occasional offroad sift or cross-town mission, so I’m guessing it’s racked up about 2,000 kilometres so far.

The Alfine is an internal geared hub with a disc mount, it features 8 gears with the highest gear being around 3 times longer than the lowest gear. All the shifting/ moving parts are inside the hub body so no derailleurs are needed. I fitted the hub to a GT Peace 9er with a 38 tooth cog on the front and an 18 tooth(from memory) cog on the back running 700c cyclocross/ touring tyres. According to Sheldon Brown this gives a gear of 92.6” for the top gear and 30.2” for the bottom gear. This compares to cog selections of 44/12 to 32/28 on a 26” mountain bike.

I had three reasons for installing the hub;

1.) I live up a relatively steep hill but most of my commute is on the flat, so singlespeed/fixed was too painful and the normal cluster/derailleur setup was chewing through expensive drivetrain bits.
2.) I’m planning to get a Zerode trail bike, which will be running Alfine hubs and I wanted to get an idea of how they run.
3.) I was curious about internal gear hubs but couldn’t afford a 14 speed Rohloff.

The shifting happens courtesy of an Alfine trigger shifter which feels similar to an Alivio Rapidfire shifter in use and finish. However that’s where the comparison between the Alfine and standard derailleur setups ends.

It is possible to shift under load (say grinding up a steep hill out of the saddle) and when stationary. To put this into context I can pull up at a red light in my highest gear, click down 4 gears, and pedal away smoothly when the light goes green. No missed shifts, no crunching sounds, no disturbing feelings that I’m going to nad myself - it’s pretty damn sweet. Sometimes there is a pause in gear shifting if I’m completely stomping the pedals but the majority of the time the gear change happens smoothly without any fuss.

Pedalling resistance does feel slightly more than a well maintained derailleur system but it’s only really noticeable in a couple of the gears where a perceptible “grinding” occurs. Engagement feels less direct than a singlespeed but slightly more direct than a derailleur system giving the bike a nice snappy “off the line” acceleration.

The lack of required maintenance is particularly pleasing and I expect to get quite a few years out of the chain before biffing it without having to stress about a new cluster/ front chainrings. The gear range is perfect for 99.9% of the riding I do - there’s definitely a trade off with the top gear being not quite long enough but the lowest gear barely scraping in when clearing wet/ slippery climbs.

All up I’m really happy with the Alfine and look forward to many more years of no-fuss internal geared hub goodness. I’d definitely recommend an internal geared hub for commuting applications and have full confidence that the Alfine on the Zerode will do it’s duty. It’s also pretty cool that mainstream bike companies are releasing stock commuter bikes with internal geared hubs like the GT Transeo LTD :thumbsup:
alfine_hub.jpg
Tama
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Re: 7 Months With A Shimano Alfine Hub

Postby Trail on Wed 25/Feb/09 3:14pm

Alfine + Hammerschmidt = enough gear range??
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Re: 7 Months With A Shimano Alfine Hub

Postby 98percentCAULIFLOUR on Wed 25/Feb/09 3:30pm

Trail wrote:Alfine + Hammerschmidt = enough gear range??


The ultimate no fuss FR/AM bike!!
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Re: 7 Months With A Shimano Alfine Hub

Postby Spokes on Wed 25/Feb/09 3:56pm

98percentCAULIFLOUR wrote:
Trail wrote:Alfine + Hammerschmidt = enough gear range??


The ultimate no fuss FR/AM bike!!


Just a bit of a spendy one.
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Re: 7 Months With A Shimano Alfine Hub

Postby JUANGEAR on Wed 25/Feb/09 4:00pm

What is the retail on an Alfine Hub? I want durability.
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Re: 7 Months With A Shimano Alfine Hub

Postby western-rider on Wed 25/Feb/09 7:44pm

Hi I have read heaps of online articles about these hubs and its a 50/50 vote so far as too how easy it is to fix a flat tyre with one of these hubs, do you have hassles with removing the wheel and gear cable? I read that it can be a nightmare to reattach the gear cable. I am keen to go down the road of the internal hub but can't decide as to which brand, :hmmm: I have been thinking about the sram i-motion 9, I sent the NZ agent a email asking for some help, and got no reply. :angry:
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Re: 7 Months With A Shimano Alfine Hub

Postby pushbikerider on Wed 25/Feb/09 8:44pm

Trail wrote:Alfine + Hammerschmidt = enough gear range??


or just buy a Rohloff, similar $$, once you buy the Hammerschmitt and the Alfine
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Re: 7 Months With A Shimano Alfine Hub

Postby inzane on Wed 25/Feb/09 8:50pm

True... and if Juangear is looking for reliability then the Rohloff's are pretty proven for reliability as well.
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Re: 7 Months With A Shimano Alfine Hub

Postby pushbikerider on Wed 25/Feb/09 8:58pm

western-rider wrote:Hi I have read heaps of online articles about these hubs and its a 50/50 vote so far as too how easy it is to fix a flat tyre with one of these hubs, do you have hassles with removing the wheel and gear cable? I read that it can be a nightmare to reattach the gear cable. I am keen to go down the road of the internal hub but can't decide as to which brand, :hmmm: I have been thinking about the sram i-motion 9, I sent the NZ agent a email asking for some help, and got no reply. :angry:


Have you thought about maybe getting a retailer to do some research for you, then you might just even get some NZ support if you bought one locally

you know very simple idea, Customer>Retailer>Wholsealer>manufacturer ;)
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Re: 7 Months With A Shimano Alfine Hub

Postby Spokes on Wed 25/Feb/09 9:07pm

pushbikerider wrote:
Trail wrote:Alfine + Hammerschmidt = enough gear range??


or just buy a Rohloff, similar $$, once you buy the Hammerschmitt and the Alfine


I would have thought the alfine would be much easier to set up etc.
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Re: 7 Months With A Shimano Alfine Hub

Postby Spokes on Wed 25/Feb/09 9:11pm

western-rider wrote:Hi I have read heaps of online articles about these hubs and its a 50/50 vote so far as too how easy it is to fix a flat tyre with one of these hubs, do you have hassles with removing the wheel and gear cable? I read that it can be a nightmare to reattach the gear cable. I am keen to go down the road of the internal hub but can't decide as to which brand, :hmmm: I have been thinking about the sram i-motion 9, I sent the NZ agent a email asking for some help, and got no reply. :angry:


I dont think sram gear internal hubs are brought in by the agent. In sram vs shimano, shimano seem to be stronger.

But if you must go sram contact Reiker cycles in Timaru, they bring them in for the Postie bikes. But 5 speed only though they would probably be happy to get you one.
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Re: 7 Months With A Shimano Alfine Hub

Postby shmoodiver on Wed 25/Feb/09 9:17pm

alfine hub is a doddle to get in and out. pull all your cable in with your shifter, hold the shift mechanism on the hub still and release the cable from the shifter... bit of a pull and the cable is free. putting it back is even easier, spin the shift mechanism around and insert cable... piece of piss. put a decent set of tires on your commuter and punctures can be a thing of the past.

oh yeah and a 15mm nut on each side
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Re: 7 Months With A Shimano Alfine Hub

Postby Mr_Bob on Thu 26/Feb/09 8:07am

JUANGEAR wrote:What is the retail on an Alfine Hub? I want durability.


Hub and shifter are around $450-$500 Retail from memory

Add some labour for a wheel build, and that's it.
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Re: 7 Months With A Shimano Alfine Hub

Postby Tama on Thu 26/Feb/09 8:28am

western-rider wrote:Hi I have read heaps of online articles about these hubs and its a 50/50 vote so far as too how easy it is to fix a flat tyre with one of these hubs, do you have hassles with removing the wheel and gear cable? I read that it can be a nightmare to reattach the gear cable. I am keen to go down the road of the internal hub but can't decide as to which brand, :hmmm: I have been thinking about the sram i-motion 9, I sent the NZ agent a email asking for some help, and got no reply. :angry:

No problems with rear wheel removal - I just have a 15mm ring spanner in my bag. Obviously not as quick as a quick release but I've never found it a hassle - the shifter cable is easy to unhook from the hub.


Mr_Bob wrote:
JUANGEAR wrote:What is the retail on an Alfine Hub? I want durability.


Hub and shifter are around $450-$500 Retail from memory

Add some labour for a wheel build, and that's it.

Yeah - that should be about right. Though I get the feeling that New Zealand distributors carry pretty limited stock of internal hubs.
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Re: 7 Months With A Shimano Alfine Hub

Postby michael on Thu 26/Feb/09 8:42am

Is it just a comuter hub, or could it cope with some hucks too?
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