alfine “review”

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  • alfine “review”
  • forge197

    My Alfine is awesome on fireroads, bridleways and roads, off road I really don’t get on with it or enjoy it, I have a Alfine PA and a Geared PA the handling difference between the two is staggering the Alfine hub numbing the rear end and makes the bike lifeless. The Geared PA a real joy to ride.


    the alfine has gone to be replaced with a smattering of XTR, SLX, XT and middleburn chainrings.

    Fast riding again, I was kidding myself that this is was as light as a normal setup and the phrase “it only feels heavy because all the weight is in one place” was used on many an occasion. The gear spread for climbing was “ideal” and as i wasnt spinning out on long descents i didnt think it was holding me back. The truth is that this is a load of old b*(*cks.

    One blast down the gypsey glen peebles ridge descent flat out in the big ring confirmed this to be cobblers. Cleared a climb up that i never cleared using the alfine and spinning along on fireroad at least a couple of gears smaller than before.

    No questions about its mud loving tendancies or lack of maintenance requirements (i didnt do any). If they ever make the patented bottom bracket mounted alfine titanium dialled bikes alpine frame (a lot of wine at trail addiction last year!) then maybe but as it stands its just too much weight in one place.

    the geared hub is languishing in a garage awaiting sale and the love/hate previously used will be built up as a SS. but i might keep it…just in case 😳

    welcome your opinions.

    Premier Icon molgrips

    HWhat did you think the problem was Haribo? Just a question of weight distribution?


    Haribo, if you are seriously looking to offload your Alfine, drop me an email, as I’m looking for one for use on a cargo bike (Xtracycle conversion of my Love/Hate). adammonline AT gmail DOT com


    AdamM – YGM


    good honest “review”. doesn’t bode well for the rohloff either then?

    Premier Icon epicyclo

    I’ve got a Rohloff and prefer to ride SS 🙂 ’nuff said

    Good for touring, totally reliable, quality bit of kit, etc but I don’t like the weight on the back wheel either.


    Interesting review – the first criticism I’ve read of the Alfine on here – IMO it’s been suffering from the same over-hype that the Rohloff always has….

    Your comments echo a lot of what I said about the drawbacks of the Rohloff in another thread recently:

    Swello – Member

    Really Pleased with mine after almost a year of ownership. I think they tend to suffer from some over the top evangelists – but mine has worked well and the whole “maintenance free” thing is definitely true.


    Changing Gear when stopped is great – surprisingly useful
    As I said, the “maintenance free” thing is true – fit and forget
    They are quieter than I was led to believe – mine hasn’t done 1000’s of miles – but it already runs pretty much silent apart from gear 7. No real feeling of drag.
    I was unsure about the twist-shifter – but I actually find that I change gear more often and ride more efficiently as a result, especially as the gear changes feel more direct than my XTR setup on my other bike.
    I love the simplicity of sequential gears – no overlap and (in my case) no clumsy changes on the front rings to get the gear you need..

    Not so good

    They are heavy – I think the hype that they weigh no more than an XT setup or whatever is, well, crap. The weight is also concentrated in a single spot and in my otherwise lightweight H/T (below), it was very noticeable and took a while to get used to.
    They are expensive – I also think that the argument that they pay for themselves due to the cost of replacing rear mechs, etc is bollocks. Buy one if you want one and have the money, not as a way to save money.
    My bike is Rohloff specific and requires no other bits and pieces – If I was having to get into Chain Tensioners and torque arms, etc – I’d feel as if it was negating some of the “no faff” and “less to go wrong/hit off a rock” benefits.

    Overall, I’m really pleased with it, it does exactly as I’d hoped and would definately use them in the future, but I still feel they are a bit over-hyped.

    I think Hub gears, regardless of make/model aren’t (yet) the answer to every problem, as some people want us to believe….


    Horses for courses. I use my Alfine for very light trail use, “touring” and commuting around town for which it is fine, better than the rohloff I had before for the same purpose. I would not however use it for XC or singletrack rides.


    Premier Icon ash

    Interesting stuff.

    I love the Alfine on my Alpine, great on singletrack, been giving it a right beating recently.

    In action in the Maritime Alps in this vid: clicky

    Must admit that I also didn’t like an Alfine quite as much on my Love/Hate. I reckon though that with a bigger bike like an Alpine that has a heavy front end (e.g. bigger forks), the Alfine at the rear doesn’t unbalance things as much.

    Premier Icon billyboy

    They need 40 mins servicing every 1500 miles otherwise they start siezing up in the higher ratio of gears. Most LBS won’t have the kit to do it for you.

    They don’t tell you these things on the packet. You have to learn them by getting the problem and then phoning Madison warranty who then loose the part for you……………so don’t get one. Not just for Christmas etc.

    Premier Icon ash

    Bet it’s cheaper / lower hassle than a conventional drive train, overall.


    I’m really enjoying mine – I have to stay in gear longer when climbing rather then the incremental changes on a 3×9 set up. I haven’t noticed the weight or the bike feeling dead (but totally new bike and set up and running UST’s for the first time, so I can’t comment directly). It is a 456 with 6″ forks so maybe there is something in the bigger bike theory.

    Overall it’s a bit harder to cycle with, both up and down hill – but the benefits for me outweigh the negatives. Raced on it this weekend on a slop filled mudhole of a track and got my best position in a race.

    I’ve been out on it 10-12x and still have done nothing to it, not even brushed the excess mud off and it’s still as sweet as when I first got on it.

    Premier Icon ash

    good to hear another good experience 🙂

    Premier Icon chimpymcchimp

    Sorry for the hijack…but Ash, those trails look fantastic, where abouts in the Alpes-Maritime are they?

    Premier Icon ash

    Jonathan, various places between Gap & Monaco… (Alpes de Haute Provence as well as Alpes-Maritimes in fact)


    Premier Icon chimpymcchimp

    That’s sweet as, thanks. My sister lives in Cannes so I’m always on the look out for recommended riding spots vaguely in the area!


    I’m happy with mine – other than the bolts coming undone whilst going down Windy Point.

    Bike feels better balanced now the Talas have been replaced with some 426 coil Pikes.

    MTFU I say.


    yep… mine’s running sweet. Not quite the spread of gears i’d like, but quiet, reliable (so far after only a few rides) and don’t notice weight distribution etc:

    Also, i’m not a gentle rider, and dont hold back on rough terrain (as Ash can attest to, from Trail Addiction 07, Hi Ash!) and ANY piece of kit that lasts more than a few months with me is a strong bit.


    Premier Icon a11y

    Hmm, very interesting. I love my Alfine but also love my geared bikes.

    I love my Alfine off-road – used for everything including trail centre blasts, regular local MTB rides, all-day epics, and a 2-day overnighter bothy trip last year. Performed faultlessly with zero mainteneance since fitting over 12 months ago.

    My only gripe is the weight: not so much where the weight is, but more how much it actually weighs. I’ve recently changed my Love/Hate frame for a GF Rig 29er which has helped, but with a regular build (Reba 29ers, XT discs, Thomson post, regular Bonty bits) it’s about 28.5lbs all-in. I expected lighter TBH, but it’s worth it.

    Also, interesting to see it on an Alpine. I’ve always been worried about subjecting the hub to too much “abuse”, e.g. jumping or big drops. For that reason I’ve stuck it on the 29er and got the geared hardtail for more of the silly stuff at trail centres.


    Premier Icon ash

    Also, interesting to see it on an Alpine. I’ve always been worried about subjecting the hub to too much “abuse”

    yeah we’ll have to see what happens

    planning to run it on the Alpine in the Alps all year, so will report back in Autumn…

    Premier Icon nuttysquirrel

    I’ve got one and adore it. Since my geared bikes are going through cassettes, chainrings etc. etc. all the time, it’s now my main bike. It’s set up with 32/20 so you have to spin like an idiot on fast flat/downhill sections, I see no other problems. Gearchanges are superior to an XT geared system and no maintenance so far. If it fails in a few months (which it’s showing no signs of) then I wouldn’t mind so much as it’s saved me a fortune on cassettes etc. over the winter. I’m in Scotland so it’s up and downhills and I don’t compromise my riding because it’s there in any way.

    Premier Icon ash

    does anyone know what the 1500 (or whatever it is) mile service consists of having to do?


    I love my Rohloff equipped Airnimal – perfect for the commute, especially so for a folding bike.

    Maintenance-wise I’m guessing it’s exactly the same as the Alfine – about 10 minutes and £10 odd on cleaning and refreshing the oil every 1000 miles or so (drain, rinse, refill with oil – easy as anything). The only other ‘servicing’ it’s needed in 2000+ miles has been a new chain. Can’t comment on hub gears off-road but what I use mine for it’s pretty much perfect…

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