Alfine or more traditional gears for commuter?

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  • Alfine or more traditional gears for commuter?
  • Premier Icon muggomagic
    Subscriber

    I’ve decided it’s time to treat myself to a new bike to do the commute, and I’m set on a Cannondale Badboy, but cannot make up my mind whether the Alfine or the geared version would be better suited.
    It’s a particularly flat ride of around 5 miles, but sometimes on a nice morning I extend to around 12 miles and go over the hills.
    Was also toying with the idea of converting it to a 29er and taking it off road every now and again, is it just a case of swapping over tyres, or are these not up to being ridden off road?

    Alfine

    Geared

    MrCrushrider
    Member

    the alfine looks sleeker, and as for off road – should be ok for some light stuff i should think?

    Premier Icon ourmaninthenorth
    Subscriber

    12 miles (even with some uphill): go fixed. You’ll get fitter and stronger.

    i think the 700c bad boy is pretty much a 26″ frame/fork with 700c wheels and 28mm tyres, so theres not enough room to fit some fat tyres on it.

    Premier Icon muggomagic
    Subscriber

    cross tyres should be ok then? I don’t want a fixed bike. I want one of the 2 above. I’m not concerned with fitter and stronger. I used to have a Langster to ride to work. On the road I found a singlespeed is too limited, and I suffer from bad back if I’m stretched out on a road bike. I want to get to and from work as quickly and comfortably as possible.

    STATO
    Member

    im pretty sure cross tyres wont fit either. original bad-boy bikes had the option to just run 26″ wheels if you wanted to switch to off-road mode, so you could get another set of wheels and switch if its nice out.

    Premier Icon Del
    Subscriber

    alfine. i’m about to fit one to my inbred. quite aside from anything else why have a mech to knock off and get covered in 5hite if you don’t have to?
    sounds like the perfect application in your case.

    Premier Icon epicyclo
    Subscriber

    Alfine – beautiful piece of kit.

    Plus, when you see the light, it’s easier to convert to single speed 🙂

    Premier Icon geoffj
    Subscriber

    The alfine is the way to go, but for a grand, I’d prefer a bespoke build, based on something like a slot dropout inbred 29er which would be much more versatile.

    Premier Icon ourmaninthenorth
    Subscriber

    In which case, Alfine.

    Will save a pile on cleaning/replacing the drivetrain – you’ll only need to stick a powerlink in the chain and whip it off to be dunked in something unpleasant for a clean.

    Perfect.

    🙂

    Premier Icon muggomagic
    Subscriber

    Thanks for your comments.

    Might ask Brant how much for a slot 29er with Alfine, before a part with my dosh.

    andym
    Member

    alfine. i’m about to fit one to my inbred. quite aside from anything else why have a mech to knock off and get covered in 5hite if you don’t have to?
    sounds like the perfect application in your case.

    Eh? It’s for a relatively flat 5-mile commute – how’s he going to knock his rear mech off?

    I can understand people fitting Alfines for riding DH or through thick much but they pretty much zero benefit for commuting.

    If anything goes wrong with a normal rear mech you can fix it yourself or get a bike shop to do it. good luck finding a mechanic who can fix a hub gear.

    STATO
    Member

    ha-ha.

    People have been using hub gears on commuters for YEARS and YEARS, they will last way longer than a mech and cassette for commuting use and are very unlikely to break.

    acjim
    Member

    benfits for a commute (my experience)

    *sprockets last much longer as chainline is straight

    *little to no maintanance

    *internal hub gears don’t get fazed by gunk = less bike cleaning

    *shift gears when stopped = nice when at red lights

    *less chain to get caught in your trouser legs

    *good spread of ratios

    *doesn’t look so attractive to thieves (although those cannondales are pretty swish)

    negatives

    *heavy

    *if it does go wrong it’s unlikely you will be able to fix it yourself

    *makes a bit of a whirring/clicking sound

    *can’t shift gears under power

    *a bit of drag compared to a derailleur system

    tbh I’ve used an internal hub gear (sturmey archer 5 speed) for about 3 years and the only thing I’ve had to do is change the front chain ring once. Never even cleaned it!

    Premier Icon muggomagic
    Subscriber

    Never even cleaned it!

    Now that does sound good!

    Premier Icon paul4stones
    Subscriber

    The alfine is not that heavy, it is silent, shifts like c1980s derailleur ie it’s ok under a bit of power but you have to back off a bit and there’s no noticeable drag.

    acjim
    Member

    sounds top – I noticed that they have a lovely trigger shift for it, super light action. mmm. :lickslips:

    Premier Icon epicyclo
    Subscriber

    muggomagic –
    …Might ask Brant how much for a slot 29er with Alfine, before a part with my dosh.

    If you’re going to Brant, then get one of his Pompinos with a 120 rear end and fit a Sturmey-Archer 3 speed hub.

    All the gears you need, light, reliable, and you won’t even know it’s there. It’s a brilliant bike.

    Mine gets hammered offroad too. With 40mm Marathon Racers it can handle almost anything.

    If you don’t like the Pompino there’s a ready market for them secondhand so changing your mind won’t cost much.

    Premier Icon Sandwich
    Subscriber

    I’m using an Alfine hubbed Mongoose for just this purpose. Works ok and the gear spread is just about right for commuting duties. If used in very hilly conditions I wouldn’t recommend them as the highest ratio spins out at 28-ish mph on 28 inch wheels. Not a problem on the flat though. You may find you don’t use the bottom three ratios in this instance!

    andym
    Member

    People have been using hub gears on commuters for YEARS and YEARS, they will last way longer than a mech and cassette for commuting use and are very unlikely to break.

    Complete crap. You’ve obviously never owned a Shimano Nexus. Yes people have been using the (SRAM/Sachs?) 3/5-speed gears for years and they are pretty bombproof, but the Nexuses were poor. We’ll have to see if the Alfines are better.

    And there are millions and millions of derailleurs working without problem – hub gears are a solution looking for a problem.

    Premier Icon epicyclo
    Subscriber

    andym –
    Complete crap. You’ve obviously never owned a Shimano Nexus. Yes people have been using the (SRAM/Sachs?) 3/5-speed gears for years and they are pretty bombproof, but the Nexuses were poor. We’ll have to see if the Alfines are better.

    And there are millions and millions of derailleurs working without problem – hub gears are a solution looking for a problem.

    There were a number of Alfines used in the StrathPuffer 24 hour a few weeks ago. As far as I know none had any problems. There were a few derailleur bikes converted to single speed during the event though 😀

    You’ll replace several derailleur drivetrains before you’d wear out a hub gear.

    As I see it, derailleurs are consumable gear changing mechanisms – fine for the bike you race, but for the bike you use, a hub gear is much longer lasting.

    Premier Icon geoffj
    Subscriber

    How many Alfine failures have been reported on here?
    Now let me see? Oh I know a bit fat zero!
    And there’s quite a few of us with them.

    andym
    Member

    As far as I know none had any problems. There were a few derailleur bikes converted to single speed during the event though

    He wants a bike for a five-mile commute not Strathpuffer.

    As I see it, derailleurs are consumable gear changing mechanisms – fine for the bike you race, but for the bike you use, a hub gear is much longer lasting.

    My experience was very different. and for commuting duties a decent mech will last for ever.

    How many Alfine failures have been reported on here?
    Now let me see? Oh I know a bit fat zero!
    And there’s quite a few of us with them

    .

    I hope it stays that way – because as I can tell you from bitter experience if a shimano hub gear ever goes don’t expect to find a mechanic who can fix it.

    Sorry I know there are a number of people who’ve bought into the hub gear hype but for a commuter bike it’s an expensive solution looking for a problem.

    andym
    Member

    As far as I know none had any problems. There were a few derailleur bikes converted to single speed during the event though

    He wants a bike for a five-mile commute not Strathpuffer.

    As I see it, derailleurs are consumable gear changing mechanisms – fine for the bike you race, but for the bike you use, a hub gear is much longer lasting.

    My experience was very different. And for commuting duties a decent mech will last for ever.

    How many Alfine failures have been reported on here?
    Now let me see? Oh I know a bit fat zero!
    And there’s quite a few of us with them

    .

    I hope it stays that way – because as I can tell you from bitter experience if a Shimano hub gear ever goes don’t expect to find a mechanic who can fix it.

    Sorry I know there are a number of people who’ve bought into the hub gear hype but for a commuter bike it’s an expensive solution looking for a problem. A derailleur will do the job for a lot less money and if it goes wrong you can fix it easily.

    avdave2
    Member

    You already know the answer it’s in those two pictures. If your going for a bad boy then looks obviously matter to you and one of them looks a whole lot better than the other.

    Premier Icon muggomagic
    Subscriber

    I am drawn to the alfine because of the looks, but in the main I thought a hub gear might be better suited to the daily ride. As the ride is generally quite flat i tend to wear out the big ring and middle sprocket fairly quickly.

    The other thing is how readily available are spares for Alfines? Do they use a sprocket that is easy to get hold of? If, sorry when I get a puncture, how easy is it to get the wheel out?

    acjim
    Member

    My wife has this bike with a Nexus hub, the sprocket looks pretty standard – like a normal SS sprocket – and the wheel is simple to remove.

    andym, are you referring to hub gear use offroad? If so I think failures might be more likely as the hub gears are not made for that application. With respect to your comment of a solution looking for a problem, are millions of Continental European bike commuters in the wrong?

    TandemJeremy
    Member

    Alfine expensive solution? Over a few years any extra cost in buying it will be easily recovered from decreased maintenance cost.

    Premier Icon muggomagic
    Subscriber

    Evans seem to have this one in stock for a 500 quid more. Is it worth the extra dosh. Alfine is £1200, Rohloff £1699

    Premier Icon epicyclo
    Subscriber

    Sprockets are readily available and cheap.

    The Alfine is designed for offroad. The Nexus is road oriented. If the hub fails, you replace the whole internal assembly, and it’s not grossly expensive. It will take serious abuse or longterm use to get to that point which can be measured in multiples of the derailleur drivetrains you would have consumed.

    Hub gear hype – that’s a joke. It’s a logical resurgence. Hub gears have been around longer than derailleurs, and only went into the background when commuters shifted to cars, leaving just the racers or those wanting a bike that looked like a racer.

    No-one makes lightweight hub gears for racing, so derailleurs are the way to go for that use, and components are easy to replace so long as you don’t mind paying for them.

    acjim
    Member

    I’d go for the Rohloff if I wanted to do loads of miles and needed more gear range. Nasty shifter though!

    finnegan
    Member

    I fitted an Alfine hub to my wife’s daily ride InBred a year and a bit ago, and have an 8 speed Shimano derailleur on my Summer Season (because it has vertical dropouts), and I’m envious of her bike…

    Mr_Krabbs
    Member

    if you’re going to use it off road, you’ll have to use 26in wheels. With that in mind the standard mech might be the better option, as a 2nd set of wheels will be cheaper.

    avdave2
    Member

    I’ve got the Rohloff and love it. I even like the shifter now, though that takes a while to get used to. However if this is only going to do a short commute on flat roads then the Alfine makes more sense. If you find you like hub gears then that £500 difference can go towards a proper off road hub geared bike. Hub gears are great for commuting, my commute is off road and all I have to do is wipe the chain over and lube it when it needs it. Other than that in 2 1/2 years I’ve done two oil changes and all the moving parts are original. I’m not sure what the maintenance schedule is like on the Alfine or how easy it is to do at home but I’m sure there are plenty of people on here looking after them with no problems.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    Well I’ve often planned out the perfect commuter – the main ideal being complete freedom from maintenance. With discs and hub gears you’re pretty much there. It’d be better still if you could get one of those old-skool chain covers that kids bikes have to keep even water off the chain. Or of course, the perfect solution would be belt drive.

    Having said that, my Dew has Alivio drivetrain and Tektro V brakes, and I’ve oiled the chain about 5 times and cleaned the cables like once. So even with cheapo derailleurs, it’s not exactly a chore.

    dom74
    Member

    I’ve just bought a Bad Boy 8 Ultra, with the alfine hub. When setting off at the lights in 5th gear and above i get a lag or spongy feeling on the pedals before the back cog engages with the gearing to set off. Is this normal? also when pedaling backwards in 5th and above I get a lot of noise, but next to nothing in 4th and below. Anyone have any experience of this?

Viewing 36 posts - 1 through 36 (of 36 total)

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