- Comparing hubbed gears…
So I’m thinking of getting the significant parts to build up a geared bike for when my knees finally tell me enough is enough of the fixed and SS shinanagans. So canal paths, man made trails, forrest tracks, etc. Thinking Karate Monkey or Ogre but what hub gear? Nexus, Alfine or Rohloff? Have you tried them all? Can the Rohloff really be worth all that, which is simplest to fit / maintain?Posted 3 years ago
Alfine is a 300% gear range ( same as 1×9) for the 8sp. It just works. Gaps between gears are uneven some folk find it draggy but now I have run mine in and serviced it I don’t find it noticeably so. It is a bit heavy
Nexus is basically an alfine without a disc mount
Alfine 11 I haven’t used – seems like they are less reliable but 400% gear range (2×9)
Rohloff is virtually indestructible even in tandem use. It just works. ( 500% gear range 3×9) Again swome folk find them draggy but now mine is had 3 oil changes and a good few thousand miles on it its loosening up nicely. Similar weight to a 3×9 setup s well
ON all IHG shifting when pedalling especially down shifts are slower and more clunky compared with dérailleurs but you can shift multiple gearts at once and when stationary which makes up for it
Another advantage is drivetrains last much longer and are cheaper to replace
Rohloff is easiset to maintain – its just an oilchange. alfine 8 requires the cluster stripping out and dunking in an oil bath. all are easy to fitPosted 3 years ago
Shimano Alfine 8 on a Surly Troll here. If getting again I’d prob get an Ogre.
I find it hard to justify the cost of a Rohloff, someone on here mentioned getting one second hand but I haven’t seen one for sale, plus I’m not a fan of gripshifts.
The Alfine 8 has been great, especially for high mileage commuter/life bike type stuff. There are various advantages and disadvantages when compared to a derailleur set up, but I’ve yet to see another hub gear that has made me regret buying it- including the Alfine 11Posted 3 years ago
Also seems to have fantastic longevity- so far it has outlasted two rims, one chainset (Middleburn, crank arm snapped), two pairs of pedals and countless tyres, chains, sprockets and chainrings. I reckon has been going for around 15,000-20,000 miles, which is good because that is supposed to be one of the main selling points 😉Posted 3 years ago
I’ve got an Alfine 8spd that I use as a spare for my Krampus when I get bored/tired of SSing, or go somewhere with more hills.
I bought it second hand as a wheel set for about £100 (including shifter, some spares, and 2 or 3 cogs), and rebuilt it onto a wider 29″ rim.
It’s been faultless for the 2 years I’ve had it. I fact, I think that buying it 2nd hand meant that it had been nicely run in for me!
I just swap cogs between an 18t and a 22t if I need to set the gearing a bit higher or lower.
I have considered a Rohloff, especially since my mate Joe has one, and he swears by it. But the expense puts me off, and my Alfine just keeps on rolling away with no complaints.
*edit* Oh, and it’s been axle deep in gritty mud, washed with a hose, and sometimes left dirty for weeks. Again, no reliability issues at all. The Alfine 8s do just seem to work.Posted 3 years ago
Alfine 8 as mentioned. I’ve had one on a commuter hybrid fur the last 7 years. Stripped it once and degreased it with diesel and caliper cleaner, regreased and dunked in atf oil and its been perfect since.
It doesn’t ride as lightly as a normal geared setup but it’s been bombproof for me. I’m still on the same chain that it started with !Posted 3 years ago
Thank you, something to think about. I’ve never had gears, could someone with an OK grasp of building up SS bikes get to grips with fitting the gear gubbins………….Posted 3 years ago
alfine is really simple. Remove rear wheel, fit now one. fit gear shifter to bars, run cablePosted 3 years ago
I would say so. There are bolts which you select to hold the unit at the correct angle in the axle slot on the frame which you need to get right.
There is loads of info on the web about them. No harder than a full set of gears that’s for sure.Posted 3 years ago
I’ve never fitted a full set of gears……:)Posted 3 years ago
I used an alfine 8 on a tour of the PCH Canada – Mexico, fully loaded touring, didn’t miss a beat, still rides lovely 🙂Posted 3 years ago
flashes – Member
Thank you, something to think about. I’ve never had gears
Something you might not like about the Alfine hub is the “soft” engagement, which is especially noticable if you’re coming from something like a Hope Trials hub, or Chris King. Well, I think it’s the worst thing about the Alfine (that and the weight) but I’m told I tend to “ratchet” more than lots of people do, so I suppose I notice it.
The other thing that takes a bit of getting used, to with any type of gears, is that you no longer have that instinctive knowledge of exactly where a pedal stroke will take you to – maybe other folk never thing about it though.Posted 3 years ago
I’m seriously envious of you having never ridden geared bikes – I’d just keep on riding singlespeeds, if I was you. It must feel as natural as breathing……..
As a singlespeeder I think you’ll find the Alfine 8 has more than enough range. I have a hardtail SS and full sus Alfine and they both suit me down to the ground.
I know Andy R mentions the ‘soft engagement’ and I think I know what he means, but both SS and Alfine have a very similar ‘ride’; that being a quiet and simple drivetrain with minimal fuss, fettling and fragility.Posted 3 years ago
Have tried 3 speed (Sturmey and Sram) on and off road. Really like the ratio gaps off road (basically gives hill ratio, normal ss ratio and road ratio), but find them annoyingly big on road so went back to ss for commute. 135mm Sturmey chainline not great. Sealing pretty poor but they somehow seem to last. Depending on the shift cable type, you might also need a cable stop in a non-standard place.
Had a Nexus 5 speed on a bike I bought on impulse in Denmark. Ratios ok, felt a little draggy and didn’t like the rattly rollercam brake. Fitted it to my sister-in-law’s commuter in place of derailleur (4 years ago) and she absolutely loves it – would never go back. Total neglect and just needs occasional cable adjustment (easy, same as Alfine – line up coloured dots).
Have an Alfine 8 speed, not currently using it but will sometime build into a 29er wheel (currently 26). Not found the degrease and soak in ATF made much difference. Not a big fan of the “soft” feel but it isn’t a deal breaker. Almost totally silent which can be good (cheeky trails) and bad (spooks walkers). You can mix around the different colour coded anti-turn axle washers to direct the gear cable route to best suit your bike. Have ridden Swiss Alps and Fred Whitton route on Alfine so definitely not fragile or overly draggy.Posted 3 years ago
I’ve used alfine 8’s since they first became available (2008?). Sold my first bike after probably 5000 miles and bought a genesis day one.
The alfine 8 on that eventually went at around 25000 miles – when you put the power down from stationary it would slip. Had it professionally serviced twice.
Bought a new replacement off eBay and swapped the internals into my existing wheel that I built 9 months ago – good as new.
I suspect a big part of my old hub failing was riding it in sub zero temperatures – I was caught out a few times and the gear cable froze, leading to some bad shifts that probably damaged the hub.
For commuting in crappy weather they are ideal.Posted 3 years ago
Why do 8’s seem to get better reviews than the 11’s?Posted 3 years ago
flashes – they seem to be stronger and shift better from what I have heardPosted 3 years ago
So if an 8sp Alfine is like a 1×9 setup what’s a sturmey archer 3sp setup like, I’d like the big gear to be fairly big as I live in the flatlands of Cambridgeshire.Posted 3 years ago
Can the Rohloff really be worth all that,
Well mine is 11 years old in June. It has spent two years commuting on road and nine off road all year round. It has had the following including those it came with:
10 oil changes
3 rear sprockets, still running on number 3
3 chains, still running on number 3
The shifter cables were still working after nearly 9 years, they were only changed as I sent it back to Rohloff to have it upgraded to a disk brake hub. At that time the hub shell bearings were replaced free of charge as they’d developed a very small amount of play.
I’m don’t know if I’ve saved any money over 11 years but I’ve saved days of my life. The bike just goes away muddy and wet and the only maintenance other than an annual oil change is old gearbox oil on the chain when it needs it. I never do more than wipe a rag over the chain either and only then when I want to oil it.Posted 3 years ago
tails – IIRC 200% gear range in a 3 sp SA hub so something like a 1×9 road cassette? but obviously with much bigger gear jumpsPosted 3 years ago
nuvinci hubs are excellent, Not the lightest of hubs but being stepless they are superb.Posted 3 years ago
Can the Rohloff really be worth all that,
New, possibly not – they’re over £1k, right? I bought mine secondhand as a whole wheel for half that and had it for 3 years. It worked fine, never had a problem; when I decided to switch back to derailleurs, I sold it for pretty much what I bought it for. At that price I figured it was worth it, given the bulletproof reliabilityPosted 3 years ago
not quite that much nicko – I think avdave above is probably in credit now. I know I am getting close with mine. 1 chain and no sprockets or cassettes in 4 years ish – compared to a complete drivetrain a year or so so saving around £100 a year in drivetrain costsPosted 3 years ago
Why do 8’s seem to get better reviews than the 11’s?
I’ve seen a lot of people on the interwebs complaining about how temperamental the 11 is which put me off. Needs to be set up *just right*, that sort of thingPosted 3 years ago
nicko74, out of interest, why did you swap back??Posted 3 years ago
“tails – IIRC 200% gear range in a 3 sp SA hub so something like a 1×9 road cassette? but obviously with much bigger gear jumps”
ThanksPosted 3 years ago
shermer75 – Member
Also seems to have fantastic longevity- so far it has outlasted two rims, one chainset (Middleburn, crank arm snapped), two pairs of pedals and countless tyres, chains, sprockets and chainrings. I reckon has been going for around 15,000-20,000 miles, which is good because that is supposed to be one of the main selling points
A few years back, to celebrate their anniversary Rohloff asked if anyone had a hub that had done 100,000km. They were swamped with offers. I’m waiting to see a derailleur manufacturer do that… 🙂
I’m in the process of lacing my Rohloff into a wheel for my gravel bike right now. I’ve had it 12 years but only got 500 miles on it – couldn’t stand the coffee grinding feeling in low gears. However I hung on to it for when I got old and frail. That time seems to have arrived so the singlespeed is going on light duties, ie road.
flashes – Member
Why do 8’s seem to get better reviews than the 11’s?
They showed an exploded view when it was released. I predicted trouble – it looks a bit lightweight on one of the gear trains.. 🙂
But it is Shimano, so I’d expect they would have sorted it by now. Anyone know the latest?
From a singlespeed perspective the Sturmey-Archer 3 speed is great.
Gear the middle gear (direct) just like your single speed and then top is usefully higher, and low makes a difference on a long grind.
It’s also light enough that your singlespeed doesn’t feel compromised for weight.
Basically your normal gear plus one for uphill and headwinds, and one for tailwinds and downhill.Posted 3 years ago
Alfine 8 – Great
Rohloff – Great
Alfine 11 – Temperamental, oh and the Versa road shifter, don’t.Posted 3 years ago
Mate of mine has an alfine 11 with the versa shifter, I’ve ridden it, the hub is great, the shifter less so.Posted 3 years ago
It felt fragile when new and can only get worse over time.
If i was getting an 11, id go for the jtek shifter on drop bars, and the shimano one on flat bars.
My experience (of 1 hub) is that it needs setting up exactly, but does work well.
My mate uses his for loaded touring, or to pull a trailer with his son in it.
Would i buy one? Yeah
If like me you prefer twist shifters the nexus twist shifter works with the alfine 8. Much better than the lever shifter IMO and it makes it easier to drop a whole load of gears at oncePosted 3 years ago
I’ll soon be selling an Alfine 11 Di2 hub if it’s of any interest. Silver 32h. Bare hub only. Only changing because I’ve bought an otherwise identical black hub so it matches my front.
I 🙄 at myself regularly…Posted 3 years ago
Saving this for interest 🙂Posted 3 years ago
I have run both 11 speed SG700 & the 8 speed S700 for MTB’ing. The 11 is much more susceptible to cable adjustment & gives the occasional slips & graunches when a small bit of dirt gets between the cable & actuator drum. My 11 is now dead after the disc mount cracked off the main hub, the internals still seem OK though but the hub bodies are not available. The 8 speed S700 has been faultless & seems bombproof with no issues, yes it’s a little more draggy than a derailleur set-up but practically zero maintenance, just ride it, put it in the shed & forget ’til next time. The S7000 shifter is the “normal” way around too, unlike the SG500/1 which is reverse normal. I’d recommend the 8 but steer clear of the 11 for MTB’ing. 8’s have more metal around the disc mount too so hopefully will hang together.Posted 3 years ago
Our experience –
Alfine 11 pissed oil everywhere even after going back to Shimano twice (one of which was a replacement).
Alfine 8 feels draggy to me
Rohloff is definitely the best of them. They last forever and Rohloff support and spares are available if you need them. You’ll only ever buy one Rohloff.Posted 3 years ago
I have Alfine 8 & Versa shifters on my commuter and would replace it with the same if it ever dies.
IIRC the Alfine 8 uses straight cut gears but the 11 Has helical cut gears. Thus gives you smoother running but at the expense of increased wear and drag.Posted 3 years ago
Evesie – Member
…My 11 is now dead after the disc mount cracked off the main hub, the internals still seem OK though but the hub bodies are not available…
What are you doing with it? I wouldn’t mind dissecting one.Posted 3 years ago
My 11 is now dead after the disc mount cracked off the main hub, the internals still seem OK though but the hub bodies are not available.
What are you doing with it? I wouldn’t mind dissecting one.
When you say “dissecting” does that involve fitting it to a rim-braked wheel? 😉Posted 3 years ago
I thought I would look out another dead hub to put my guts into or possibly sell internals to someone who has a dead hub. When the disc mount cracks off it takes the LHS wheel bearing bore with it so no good for rim brake either.Posted 3 years ago
When the disc mount cracks off it takes the LHS wheel bearing bore with it
Ouch!Posted 3 years ago
I take it all back. My Shimano Alfine hub has just died!Posted 3 years ago
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