SETUP: Full Suspension VPP frame with 140mm travel up front and 125mm at the rear. Running mainly Hope stuff and the bike now weighs 32ibs. (Please note my two sets of full time mounted lights and battery packs account for another ten pounds). Alfine hub running a 38T crank with an 18T sprocket. I am using the Nexus 8sp Revo Shifter. I run Maxxis Advantage 2.40 upfront and 2.25 at rear and I use 203mm Hope M4 rotors back and front.
HISTORY: Spent the last 12 months running single speed of 38T x 16t on the same frame.
MY REVIEW: Fitted the Alfine myself and it is laced to a Halo Excite D 32h rim on DT Swiss D/B 14g spokes. The good thing about fitting it yourself is know how it’s gonna come off if you get a puncture in the dark.
I did the first 250 miles with hub set at one speed approx gear 4. This was fine it gave me a chance to get use to the weight of the bike. Incidentally, swapping out a 3 ring set and decent rear set-up has given me a weight penalty of about 0.8kg.
I have now done a total of 1500miles and all I can say is wow. My legs are now very strong from single speed riding and the bike is flying. For me to be able to ride beyond 16mph (because I would spin out) is great, I am able to really ramp it up on the flats and hit a sustainable 43mph on my fav downhill section (sat nav speed reading).
I ride mainly 65% off road and 35% on road. I ride mainly trails, single track and do some very light Freeride stuff (read that as nothing over 3-4ft drops). The bike is set-up as a fix and forget set-up so everything is a small compromise (but one that I like).
My off road stuff is sometimes nasty; sand, water, mud, shingles, small rocks and wet grass stuff, plus I have been deliberately running the bike through an axle high stream of dirty water (approx 400m) per day. I have not washed the bike or anything in this time and have just let the muck bake on.
I have now stripped the bike down, cleaned it, lubed it back up and carry on riding for another 250miles. What can I say? I had the Alfine professional stripped down (I am lucky and live above a decent bike shop) and I watched. The insides were spot less. Between the outer bits and pieces were spotless. No water ingression, no leaks, no nothing.
The ride itself is amazing. For me the gearing is spot on. 1st gear is more than enough for me to stay seated and deal with the toughest things in my area (in the past it was an out of seat effort or off the bike completely). As predicted, 3,4,5,6 are the gears I use the most but gears 7 and 8 are great to have for the downhills. On the flat gear 6 is more than enough of a challenge for me.
The gear changing is great using the Revo Shifter (which looks as cheap as it cost). Up-shifting is just a flick but you do have to ease of the pressure to get that change (this takes a while for your brain to kick in). The down-shifting is more solid and needs a controlled twist (almost like turning up the volume) but requires no reduction in pedal force. The changes produce a solid click for each gear and the ride (bar tyre noise) is all but silent. There are some small noises from the hub but this is more to do with back pedalling.
All in all I am a happy chappy. Defo a better choice than buying the Rolhoff (which was my first choice) – it is lighter, cheaper and I really can not see why it is not endorsed for MTB, after all it is not made of plastic and the 1500 miles that I have covered in the last 4 weeks has been intense for any bike.
It does take a while to get use to the heavier back end, but once adjusted it actually feels better when going down steep hills (where I can now reach speeds in excess of 50mph) the control is better but jumping is harder (I weigh 190ibs to start with) but I can whole heartily recommend this product to anyone out there who is having doubts.
I must also say a big thanks to all on the forum who have answered my never ending questions about the hub before I took the plunge and brought one myself and I would also say double check your gearing – I say this as most people seem to run a 32T by 20t set-up or thereabouts and to me with my 38T by 18t set-up, I feel that just seems like everyone else has a narrow useable range where most of that gearing seems very (hill climbing and lazy laid back like). Also like the spread of my gear ratios, each feels like a logical progression in either direction except for gear 5 to 6 where it feels a little too widely spaced, but I can live with that.
Happy riding everyone..