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Old 02-18-09, 04:54 PM   #1
tatfiend 
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Shimano IGH Support, or Lack Thereof

I just got off the phone with Shimano technical support asking whether they had a service manual available for the SG-S500 or 501 Alfine gear hubs. I was told that everything available is in the PDF downloads from their web site. I had already checked there and the only items available are the hub installation sheet and a parts list with exploded diagram of the hub.

How can Shimano offer a parts list of theoretically available parts and then not have a service manual available that covers how to install such parts? The whole thing seems to me to be very poor support on their part for their products.

They used to offer a service manual for the SG-8R20 Nexus hub as it is posted on the Harris Cyclery web site and I just printed it out, all 34 pages or so. Thank you Harris Cyclery.

IMO both Rohloff and SRAM offer MUCH better technical documentation for their gear hubs, including disassembly/reassembly and service instructions.

BTW per downloaded parts lists there have been three versions of the Alfine hub. The first has the SG-S500 model number on the hub not underlined. The second has the model number underlined and the third is the new SG-S501 hub.

End of rant! ;-)
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Old 02-19-09, 08:38 AM   #2
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Many years ago an American motorycle journalist was interviewing a Japanese engineer from Honda about a then new moped model. The starter was a spring wound up by several strokes on a foot lever, followed by the operator pressing a button to release the spring and spin the engine.

The American journalist asked what seemed obvious to him: why the motorbike didn't just have a kick starter. The Japanese engineer replied what seemed obvious to him: that they didn't want the operator to have to interact directly with the machine! You know, duh, of course.

It's a difference in national psyches and societal paradigms. Shimano hubs are not designed to be particularly serviceable and they don't provide tech manuals because they cannot conceive that the user would want to go into the inner works of the hub. Rolhoff's and SRAM's (Sachs) German hubs ARE designed to be easily serviced and they provide full manuals because they expect the user (or perhaps eventually the original purchaser's grandchild) will service the hub.

Just a theory.

tcs

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Old 02-19-09, 12:02 PM   #3
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Many years ago an American motorycle journalist was interviewing a Japanese engineer from Honda about a then new moped model. The starter was a spring wound up by several strokes on a foot lever, followed by the operator pressing a button to release the spring and spin the engine.

The American journalist asked what seemed obvious to him: why the motorbike didn't just have a kick starter. The Japanese engineer replied what seemed obvious to him: that they didn't want the operator to have to interact directly with the machine! You know, duh, of course.

It's a difference in national psyches and societal paradigms. Shimano hubs are not designed to be particularly serviceable and they don't provide tech manuals because they cannot conceive that the user would want to go into the inner works of the hub. Rolhoff's and SRAM's (Sachs) German hubs ARE designed to be easily serviced and they provide full manuals because they expect the user (or perhaps eventually the original purchaser's grandchild) will service the hub.

Just a theory.

tcs
Inconsistent then as they offer an oiling kit that is designed to be used on a hub that has been removed from the outer shell as well as three special tools for hub disassembly/reassembly. All are listed on the SG-S501 parts list.
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Old 02-19-09, 12:36 PM   #4
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Ah, and you have instructions, manuals and additonal information about the product in English? No? But you've found instructions, manuals and additional information in German, haven't you?

Shimano's EU office has stepped up and filled in information for markets where it is demanded. Pity the N.A. office hasn't done the same rather than just coasting along on what the Japanese factory provides, since it is beyond the home office's comprehension that they have not fulfilled all users' needs.

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Old 02-19-09, 06:55 PM   #5
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Ah, and you have instructions, manuals and additonal information about the product in English? No? But you've found instructions, manuals and additional information in German, haven't you?

Shimano's EU office has stepped up and filled in information for markets where it is demanded. Pity the N.A. office hasn't done the same rather than just coasting along on what the Japanese factory provides, since it is beyond the home office's comprehension that they have not fulfilled all users' needs.

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Not for the Alfine hub. Hubstripping's German data is old Nexus too. Per Hubstripping they are similar but both the Nexus and Alfine have gone through multiple design changes since the Nexus SG-8R20. The Shimano Europe site's English language material for the Alfine is the same as the American site so far as I can see, and I do not read German.

Why would Shimano have done an English language service manual for the SG-8R20 and never have apparently updated it for the later hubs?
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Old 02-19-09, 07:24 PM   #6
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"Why would Shimano have done an English language service manual for the SG-8R20 and never have apparently updated it for the later hubs?[/quote]"

Purely mechanical reasons: It didn't fly off the presses and sell out.

Regards social paradigms and the difference between German and Japanese hubs: Germans live among houses that are over 1,000 years old. The Japanese are used to living in houses made of paper.
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Old 02-19-09, 09:44 PM   #7
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...and Americans are used to living in the street because their houses get foreclosed.

Nice racist stereotypes, guys.

Anyway, I'd be very surprised if Shimano didn't have a service manual available for the SG-S500. In my experience, they try to restrict distribution of them to shop mechanics only, so it sometimes takes talking to the right people.
Japanese language versions are likely abundant in Japan. You'll have to ask the guys at Shimano American Corp. why it's so hard to get an English one over here.

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Old 02-20-09, 02:41 AM   #8
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It seems like the various manufacturers have taken different paths:

Shimano has the best availability of hubs.
Sram has the best hub documentation.
Sturmey Archer has the best parts availability for service and overhaul.
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Old 02-20-09, 08:20 AM   #9
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Shimano has the best availability of hubs.
Aren't there less than a double handful of outfits that Shimano allows to sell their stuff over the internet? And anybody know where one could purchase a freewheel version of their 3-speed? All I see for sale is the coaster version.

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Old 02-20-09, 08:29 AM   #10
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Nice racist stereotypes, guys.
If nothing else, adopting the belief that all societies everywhere are just alike would save one the expense of foreign travel.

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Old 02-20-09, 11:19 AM   #11
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Aren't there less than a double handful of outfits that Shimano allows to sell their stuff over the internet? And anybody know where one could purchase a freewheel version of their 3-speed? All I see for sale is the coaster version.

tcs
What I meant by that is that Shimano is almost the default OEM choice for internal gear hubs. Otherwise, through QBP Shimano availability is still usually excellent.
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