Shimano alfine advice

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  • Shimano alfine advice
  • Mackem
    Member

    The Alfine 8 is reliable, I had no problems in 2 years with zero maintenance. I’ve read the 11 speed is less reliable.

    The range probably a bit greater than 1×9

    You need a way to tension the chain, like a single-speed.

    I started using it as I was sick of mangling chains/mechs/frames in crappy weather. It solved that problem.

    But, the rear wheel is very heavy and it made my bike feel a bit lifeless. I’m now on 1×10 with a clutch mech and thick/thin chainring. The 1×10 has approximately the same range (I feel). There’s no front mech to foul up, the chain stays on and it’s noticeably lighter and the bike feels livelier.

    richpips
    Member

    Having owned an 8 speed and tried the 11 irrespective of the weight factor, I wouldn’t bother.

    I can’t be bothered looking up the range, but you can now get 40-11 cassettes which surely on a single ring will give all the range needed.

    pgh1892
    Member

    Ok cheers, the word lifeless duly raised alarm bells and it seems a common point, the range of gears I have now is fine, 80% of the reason I am asking is I just like the idea and the other 20% is for reduced maintenance reasons, it may not be a great idea for my ‘fun’ bike then

    pgh1892
    Member

    Im tempted to replace my saint stuff to shimano alfine on my 456, can anyone offer some advice on the following;

    I have 9 gears currently, would the alfine8 offer a larger range than I currently have albeit larger gaps?

    Is there a massive difference between 8 and 11?

    Are they as reliable/low maintenance as advertised?

    Most importantly, does anyone using alfine rate it?

    Do I just need the shifter, hub, sprocket, disk and fitting kit?

    Seems a great idea, low maintenance, less to adjust, less to bash off, quieter, not affected by bad weather, no chainguide but my concern is you don’t see lots of alfine so there must be a reason why, I.e it’s not very good

    slimjim78
    Member

    I’ve dabbled several times with alfine for off road use, I keep going back to 1×9.

    Im afraid the Achilles (other than rubbish shifter unit) is its sheer weight. It’s sends the bias too far toward the rear.

    For touring/bigger mileage however its a different story. Super low maintenance, clean lines, quiet & clean.

    I use an alfined Pompetamine for bridle path/tow path / pavement longer rides and love its practicality. If/when they somehow manage to shave 500g off these internal hubs ill be going proper off roading on one again.

    All that said, i very nearly pulled the trigger on a Cotic Simple last week which I intended to Alfine up.. For winter trail riding i still think they have a place

    walleater
    Member

    I had an 8sp Alfine on my Chromag for a while and can only echo the above points. It was a novelty for a while and was reliable, but it made a heavy bike heavier and the rear wheel was a boat anchor. The bike felt much livelier when I went back to normal gears.
    Any hub gear isn’t as efficient as a derailleur set-up, which another reason why hub geared bikes can feel a bit lifeless.

    I wouldn’t use an Alfine 11 if I was given one. I’ve had to send way too many back under warranty….

    shermer75
    Member

    I’ve got a derailleur on my mountain bike and an alfine 8 on my commuter, happy with both. There’s a long list of pros and cons for both but the clincher for me is the alfine just feels a little ‘spongy’. As mentioned above, dérailleur set-ups just feel livelier.

    ndthornton
    Member

    I’m currently building up an Alfine full-susser and cant wait to try it out (cue huge disappointment).

    Its a been a fun project and the bike looks ace – dont listen to all these people who have actually tried it – listen to me! It sounds like a great idea!

    Premier Icon JohnClimber
    Subscriber

    I’ve an 11 speed and use it off road, I wouldn’t buy that same again.

    1 x 10 would be better

    greenmug
    Member

    I’ve taken my Alfine 11 off. I don’t my the rear weight bias. It is the cable mechanics that was my problem. Any mud into the system means issues with gears. After research, I’ve been told Shimano don’t recommend it for off road use. On the road it would be a convenient system.

    On another bike I have a Rohloff. It is amazing and bomb proof. Still the weight bias but in the heart if the muddy winter I’ll be smiling.

    trail_rat
    Member

    as above – alfine on a road bike here – minimal maintainance.

    rohloff only gets fitted to the MTB for an all day ride in the big hills (and its wet) rest of the time ill preferentially singlespeed it as its much nicer bike to ride – skippy and lively as oppose to dull and dead.

    pgh1892
    Member

    I must admit I normally buy first then ask questions later, on paper they look like the evoloution of gears and they’re not unbelievablely expensive but then you don’t see them a great deal, obviously for the reasons above, think I’ll shelve the idea for now, after a couple of Christmas on calls im going to get a bike in January, there’s nothing I need so it will just be a bit of an impulsive buy, tempted by a genesis fortitude alfine, not sure how I’ll fit in using it but what else is there to spend money on

    Haha that’s the spirit ndthornton, obviously they are better where it counts and that’s the appearance stakes

    ndthornton
    Member

    It is the cable mechanics that was my problem

    Surely this applies to derailleurs too. When the grot gets in the shifting turns to plop – Just clean the cables every now and then.

    My mate runs one on his Inbred 29er and really rates it. Good if you like to fit and forget.

    boblo
    Member

    I have one in a Genesis Day One. Bought it as a bridleway cruiser… As above, it feels a bit lifeless compared to a similar steel derailleur bike and IME, the cable adjustment is more of a faff than a der bike.

    Apart from the novelty, I’m not sure I’d bother again.

    Saccades
    Member

    I’ve taken my Alfine 11 off. I don’t my the rear weight bias. It is the cable mechanics that was my problem. Any mud into the system means issues with gears. After research, I’ve been told Shimano don’t recommend it for off road use. On the road it would be a convenient system.

    What? Sounds like you had problems with the seals on the oil bathed 11 speed, how do you get shite in the full length outers? And if you do, then that’s the same as getting shite in any systems full length outers.
    I’ve two 8 speed versions, one on a Pompino and one on a EBB456 (4 and 5 years old respectively). The 456 has been ignored (washed 3x and one of them was after 24/12 to go into a car) and finally the cup and cones have died, the hub is going to be replaced because of that as it’s still shifting perfectly with all the original drivechain, cables, shifters etc. I’m going to keep the internals as spares just in case as you can’t get a replacement shell.
    Yes there is some weight at the back, yes you tend to stay in a gear longer due to the wider spacings and yes they are not quite as efficient as a derailurer. But you can shift when not pedaling, ace for those tricky bits where you misjudged the trail, you have six hundred million percent more clearance to the BB and can pick stupid narrow lines next to rocks without a bother. The gears work all the time, it doesn’t matter if you are on shite SSMM style grass mud swamps, bog tops or the neighbours daffodils. The weight at the back makes the bike pretty neutral fore/aft and the only time I notice it is when lifting the bike over a gate or sommat. There was a thread on here measuring the weight difference between a typical drivechain and a the Alfine and it wasn’t anywhere near a weight increase or shift as people thought.
    If you ride regularly anywhere with hills and on rough terrain the Alfine comes into its own.

    Edit – how is the cable more of a faff than derailurers? Put system to gear four, match up yellow marks with tensioner, job done get out and ride.

    boblo
    Member

    I’m using the Versa drop levers. They seem to be quite finicky and my yellow dots don’t line up fully when shifting is best….

    trail_rat
    Member

    “There was a thread on here measuring the weight difference between a typical drivechain and a the Alfine and it wasn’t anywhere near a weight increase or shift as people thought.”

    there is very little in it to an XT drive train – how ever its all concentrated in just the wrong place – means you get more trail feedback through your saddle , have to run higher tire pressures.

    you wont notice the balance too much on a 456 anyway thanks to its heavy nature (also a 456 owner) but on my ti ragley you notice it – balance point being half way down the rear chainstay…..

    “If you ride regularly anywhere with hills and on rough fire track terrain the Alfine comes into its own”

    on the rough stuff a balanced skippy bike is much better – unless you just plough through stuff.

    Saccades
    Member

    Boblo – fair enough, have you tried using the bottom set of yellow marks instead of the easy to see top ones? Should be the same but dials it in tighter I’ve found. I’d thought about versa shifters for the pompino but as run bingo bars for hydro brakes the normal shifter just about fits in.

    Trailrat – balance point half way down the rear chainstay, ah come on, unless the front of your bike is tied to the goodyear blimp.

    Your rough and my rough are different obviously ;), I meant more on the boggy/muddy side, we still have plenty of rocks but they hide in the bulrushes. If you were on fireroad a derailurer would be better.

    In answer to the OP, going from a 9 speed to an 8 speed alfine gives you roughly 2 or 3 and the granny at the bottom and up to about top and middle ring at the high end.

    I rate it highly for winter-ish use where wanting to get out on a regular basis with a minimum of effort. I’d say 90-95% as good as a regular bike on everything until it gets really muddy then it wins hands down with the added bonus of being able to throw it in the shed until you next want to ride it. I guess those slight limitations mentioned are liveable for me and don’t impact on getting out and having fun, whereas it really gets on other peoples nerves.

    drofluf
    Member

    In terms of equivalence an Alfine is quoted as having a range of around 300% so equivalent to an 11:33 cassette on a 1×9/10

    trail_rat
    Member

    well my bike is 23lbs with a rohloff…… but i do exagerate a little but its miles from the centre of the bike.

    spooky_b329
    Member

    I was swapping between ss and an Alfine 8 on my hardtail, took the plunge a few months ago and left the hardtail as ss and moved the 8 to my Yeti 575.

    No regrets so far, and the nutted hub has stiffened up the flexy rear end :). Happy enough to have just ordered a narrow wide chainring for the front so I can lose the front mech acting as a chain guide.

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