MAG SPOILER! Alfine vs Rohloff (Premier Content)

by Ben Haworth 15

Picture 1

Thorn Sterling
Price as built: £2199
Hub and shifter: Around £1000
From: Tel: 01278-441519
Rohloff hubs from:

Picture 2

Charge Duster Eight
Price as built: £1299
Hub and shifter alone: £235.00
Shimano Alfine hubs from:

They’re a world apart in terms of cost and intended (and real-world) use, but we thought that we should put the venerable Rohloff Speedhub up against newish kid on the hub-gear block, Shimano’s Alfine. Let the battle commence.

For our comparative test of these similar-but-different hub gear systems, we brought in bikes from two bike companies who have always championed hub gears: Thorn and Charge bikes. Thorn, from St John Street Cycles has

been a go-to brand for long distance tourists for years, so it made sense to get their Sterling, one of their mountain bike/rough stuff machines, in. Charge bikes, meanwhile, had one of the first Shimano Alfine hub gear systems in the UK and the simple setup and operation of hub gears suits Nick Larsen’s ‘bikes should be for riding, not fixing’ mentality…

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Comments (15)

  1. well if it’s only for the elite premier users why advertise it to the plebs like me?
    and no it’s not an interesting enough subject to make me want to be a premier user…..

  2. It might be for a lot of people though.

  3. Thats a great little articel guys… Will this be in a future mag?

  4. It’s in the mag that comes out later this week. We’re giving Premier peeps the ability to see it earlier, er.. because we can 🙂

  5. If so, will it be the full article?
    I can appreciate the premier memberships, but I was really annoyed by the Charge bikes interview in the magazine finishing with what amounted to “…and if you want the rest of the interview, pay some more and it’s on the website.”
    Premier content on the website is fine, but paying for the magazine should mean a full article in the magazine.

  6. sslowpace – I appreciate what you’re saying but not many people would want so many pages of the magazine devoted to an interview. You are getting as-complete-as-is-feasible articles in the magazine. There are loads of photos and words that get whittled down to make a magazine feature. Magazine purchasers aren’t getting anything less than they ever did. Premier users (and our Subscribers) pay their money so they get some extra stuff that otherwise would just get seen by er.. no-one. If you subscribe you get the mag much cheaper and you get access to the extra stuff.

  7. i’ve never really got this – so you pay less as a subscriber and get more? it really puts me off the magazine in general to think that my purchasing of the magazine over several years is being rewarded by… being given less.

  8. “so you pay less as a subscriber and get more?”

    Yes. Having a healthy subscriber base is a very good thing for a magazine to have. The magazine wouldn’t exist on the same scale without its large subscriber base.

  9. yeah, i see that. however, what troubles me, is that it appears as though off-the-shelf purchasers aren’t worth stressing over? we don’t contribute enough? not reliable enough as a source of income?

  10. You are worth stressing over. Subscribers are worth stressing over more.

  11. looks like I will have to go and stand in WH Smiths to read the result of this test,,

  12. Which is what you would have done regardless of any Premier extras presumably.

    Just to be as clear as it’s possible to be. If you bought the mag before we launched the Premier extras then you will continue to get just as much content as you always did. We have not trimmed the content down anymore than we already did through normal editing of features.

    The only difference is, as Ben has said, that Premier Users now get to see the stuff that was always there but never got seen ie. the un-edited features. The vast majority of features are way too long to fit in the mag and so they get edited to fit the space we have to work with in print.

    If you don’t want to pay the extra to become a Premier User and then be able to read the feature above then that’s entirely fine. The mag will be out at the end of the week and you can buy the printed mag then and read it.

    The Premier system simply means that if you want more than you previously got as a Singletrack reader then you now have that option.

    No one is getting any less. Just more.
    We are publishing more than we did before.
    I’m not sure if I can think of a plainer way to express that 🙂

    If you subscribe to the mag via the yellow button up there then you pay less for a standard subscription than you ever did before. Just £25 gets you the next 8 issues posted to you. PLUS you get to read stories like this one online.

    Before a subscription to the mag was £29.99 and you DIDN’T get to read extra stuff like this.

    So.. Less money…. but more content.

    We have reduced the cost of a subscription AND publishing more content. 🙂

  13. Alfine hubs used to seize up in the upper ratio of gears after about 2000 miles if you didn’t get them serviced. Do they still provide that facility to the bike riding public?

  14. Billy Boy, mine’s not seized and I’ve been running the same one for more than 2000 miles, without servicing. In fact the one I use, I have had since 2006… review here

  15. What a bunch of naysaying twonks. I guess the editorial team must get used to this, but it p*sses me off everytime i see an ignorant post about the mag or whatever (which is quite frequently…).
    All you haters suck my balls. 🙂

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