I thought I'd post here as this forum comes high on google searches for Rohloff and Alfine and you guys seem to know your stuff.
About six weeks ago I decided I wanted a Rohloff when I discovered it while leaving through my Haynes bike manual while working on the Deore transmission of my 18kg Decathlon hybrid. I always seem to be cleaning or otherwise fiddling with the damn thing and it's annoying. So I started reading the Internet about Rohloff and IGHs in general. This snowballed and I started reading the Internet about bikes, frame material, custom frames, etc etc etc. It all got rather out of hand and, frankly, I'm almost suffering from too much information now - I'm almost as uncertain now as when I started, both of my own requirements and how my requirements might be met.
Anyway. I'll try to stick to gears for now. Eventually I started to suspect that, if I want to switch to drop bars, I'd be better off with the Alfine 11 in order to benefit from STI shifters. I had never ridden a drop bar bike before (I may start another thread on that subject) but I suspected having to move my hand into a completely different position to change gears on a GB Rohloff twist shifter would annoy me. So I test rode a road bike last week.
My suspicion was partly confirmed - the STI shifters were great. What surprised me, though, was how amazing the ~2010 Ultegra transmission was. It had been perfectly set up and calibrated and it changed so beautifully and smoothly. And where my 9-speed Deore transmission sometimes requires half or a full turn of the pedals to engage fully, the Ultegra felt fully engaged after just a fraction of a turn. This got me wondering whether I really do want an IGH as I have read that both Rohloff and Alfine lack this precision feel.
I know that "derailleurs vs IGH" has been done to death on this forum and elsewhere but a lot of the discussions are from when the Alfine 11 was quite a bit newer than it is now. Also I'd like to compare with current mid range / high end kit and be a bit more specific. Would anyone be able to answer the following for me?
1. Would the GB Rohloff twist shifter on drop bars be as annoying as I imagine on drop bars due to the requirement to constantly change hand position?
2. How do Alfine and Rohloff compare with a perfectly set up *high end* (105 and above) derraileur system that's had a bit of use and is a little dirty? I have read reports of Alfine taking half a turn of the pedals to change if you don't stop pedalling. It's exactly this that I'm trying to avoid - sometimes I go through an entire pedal spin on my Deore kit before it engages and I hate that. I'm a demanding rider, I like to accelerate hard in the city, and I like kit that responds quickly, reliably and lasts.
3. Once a good derailleur transmission is set up properly and the cables have stopped their initial stretching, how long should it stay perfectly calibrated? At 6-10 miles cycling/day, sometimes in rain, would a weekly or bi-weekly hosedown/degrease spray/hosedown/oil be enough to keep it in that condition? I don't have time for a regular full workshop clean.
4. I understand derailleur chains tend to last 3,000 miles, give or take a lot depending on myriad factors, and that a cassette should last for 3 chains if the chains are changed soon enough. When people say "last" do they mean "really needs replacing" or "was working perfectly until now and changes are just starting to get sloppy/skipping"? (It's the latter I'm concerned with.)
Basically I'm trying to determine whether I'd be happier with a higher end derailleur setup or an IGH, and whether the reduced regular maintenance of an IGH would be too much of a performance sacrifice. (I'm not interested in racing, I just enjoy cycling and getting from A-B quickly.)
Thanks for bearing with me through this essay of a first post!