Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Salt Lake City
Bikes: 3, all internal gear hubs, 700x37, 26" cruiser, 29er trail bike
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Advice from an Alfine Veteran
I am a big fan of the Shimano nexus8/alfine hubs. I've been using them in various bicycles for the toughest applications for three years (two years off road).
I hammer the pedals hard and weigh 150-180 lbs (pack depending). The alfine is not officially approved for off road use and I cannot vouche for heavier off roaders on this hub.
IGH off road advice:
1 use sheldon brown's IGH gear calculator, figure gearing for a bike you are familiar riding, and then find which gear combination serves you best with your IGH. If you do your homework, you may be very satisfied with the gear range of this hub. My setup spins up steeps, but tops out around 15MPH, which I think is quite fast for pedaling on single track.
2 don't buy the shimano nexus grip shifter, spring for the nexus/alfine trigger shifter
3 though difficult with horizontal dropouts and a drive side chain tug, find a way to use BOTH non-turn washers. I stripped my axle and lost a day of riding by only using one non-turn washer
4 maintain a properly adjusted cable (line up the two yellow marks in 4th gear) and you'll never do maintainence on this hub.
5 carry some improvised tool to make cable removal/install easier. I carry a spoke which fits into the alfine shift linkage and easily relieves cable tension for removing the anchor nut. Flat tires do happen-be prepared.
6 smile big when you downshift instantly and clean a technical section your derailleur friends couldn't find the gear for, draft friends on boring road descents, and smile bigger when you are kicking back while your friends are cleaning their drive trains.
P.S. I'm excited Shimano is bringing back oil bath lubrication with their 11 spd IGH. My hubs wear out, and it is easier and more wasteful to replace than overhaul them. The 11spd hub is more expensive, but you get what you pay for (exept Rohloff=more work-e and less pedal-e) oil will make it easy to maintain and promote a longer lasting hub.