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  1. #1
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    Shimano launches a challenger to the Rohloff

    I haven't seen this posted on here already but I think it's interesting for tourers. This hub could well be good enough for touring. Even if it's not, it certainly has to get Rohloff or other companies about bringing out a more affordably priced internal hub gear.

    11-speed Alfine Hub Gear from Shimano
    We blog about bike touring, with reviews, tips and cycle touring podcasts at Travelling Two

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    GATC
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    400% gear range puts it right between the 8 spd shimano (300%) and 14 spd rohloff (500%). 25-100 gear-inches, say. Nice.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Wogster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by avatarworf View Post
    I haven't seen this posted on here already but I think it's interesting for tourers. This hub could well be good enough for touring. Even if it's not, it certainly has to get Rohloff or other companies about bringing out a more affordably priced internal hub gear.

    11-speed Alfine Hub Gear from Shimano
    Unless there are problems with it, quality wise, I think this will be a big seller in the touring and commuting sectors, where dérailleur gearing never quite fit as too maintenance fussy. I can also see it as a decent seller amongst mountain bikes where rear dérailleurs have a nasty habit of getting knocked off. I expect that SRAM will probably have a similar offering in a year or so....



    . With a smaller chainring it might sell nicely in the MTB world where RD's get knocked

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    Sounds great. It will probably be a different market. Rohloff sorta has the lock on the buy it once and run it for ever market. The Shimano stuff will probably be more for people who want the gear hub system, without the need for a bullet proof system. Potentially different ends of the market. One for extreme adventurersand wannabees, the other for people who find deraileurs confusing.

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    Senior Member Iowegian's Avatar
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    It could be that Shimano is planning to sell this hub as a mainstream product. Rohloff seems to be like Porsche where the price is kept high to keep it exclusive. I'm sure there are lots of overhead costs with a low volume product but if Shimano gets their hub spec'd on a lot of bikes they should have very healthy margins with a MSRP of $400+.

    I was wondering what the next new fashion turn would be now that 11 speed is becoming old hat. Not much room to move on the 'more gears' front so perhaps now they will focus on internal gear hubs. If so, don't expect the belt drive version to come out for a few more years.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wogsterca View Post
    Unless there are problems with it, quality wise, I think this will be a big seller in the touring and commuting sectors, where dérailleur gearing never quite fit as too maintenance fussy. I can also see it as a decent seller amongst mountain bikes where rear dérailleurs have a nasty habit of getting knocked off. I expect that SRAM will probably have a similar offering in a year or so....
    The 8-speed Alfline disc-brake capable hubs have been around for years already... and don't seem to be making a real dent anywhere. Granted, the new 11-speed unit has a 409% difference in ratios rather than the older unit's 307% difference, which might help... but I doubt it. Unless Shimano puts some marketing muscle behind the new hub, which they've failed to do with existing Alfine and Nexus hubs, I don't think it's going anywhere. The price is just too high and the perceived utility too low. Derailleurs are cheap, reliable, and easy to maintain while Alfine is largely an unknown...

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    Quote Originally Posted by sstorkel View Post
    ... Alfine is largely an unknown...
    Maybe in the USA. Over here in Europe this will be a big seller, I can guarantee you... all the alfine/commuting/touring stuff gets marketed here and not there. It pissed me off that i couldnt get a shimano 3n80 dynohub very easily in the US, so i had a buddy send me one from england...

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    Quote Originally Posted by sstorkel View Post
    The 8-speed Alfline disc-brake capable hubs have been around for years already... and don't seem to be making a real dent anywhere. ..
    There is no dent because most people ride department store bikes with cheap derealluers. However, Shimano 8 and 7 speed hubs corner the market and 99% of all hub bikes (Above 3 speed) are using the Nexus.

    I'm going to wait for 2 or 3 years for Shimano to work out the bugs because I remember the issues with the 7 speed and they were not fixed until the 8 speed red band appeared.

    I don't see this hub having any effect on the price of the Rohloff due to the fact the Europeans protect their industries with high import duties. Therefore, the Rohloff will aways have a market in Europe even if people stop buying it in the U.S. I do not consider import duties a bad thing because it's important to protect jobs.

    Is anyone still waiting for BMW to lower their prices should cheap Chinese autos enter our markets?

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    Also, my rohloffwas 950 shipped direct from germany about two years ago. Just something to consider, given the proven reliability of the product....

    starbike.com

  10. #10
    Banned. Bekologist's Avatar
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    this hub will definitely be a bigger push in europe than the us. have you guys seen the Di2 style electronic shifting alfine group available in Europe?

    I'll give one a try only due to the price since i will be able to get it at. I've always been okay with derailleur systems even for rough touring, but after seeing pictures of BF member Jiblis' Rohloff equipped bike mired in some heinous mud in South America, have been pining for an internal gear for a rough and tough ORV touring platform.

    finally getting close to what's needed for touring from shimano in internally geared systems. is 11 speeds enough nuance in gearing when humping loads all day would be one question IMO but maybe thats a non issue.
    Last edited by Bekologist; 02-04-10 at 11:48 AM.

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    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wogsterca View Post
    where dérailleur gearing never quite fit as too maintenance fussy.
    I consider that a bit of a stretch. Dérailleur gearing is lighter, cheaper, sufficiently reliable, and field reparable.

    I am not knocking internal gearing for those who prefer it, but I certainly don't see dérailleur gearing as inadequate or internal gearing as a panacea. So my preference is still for dérailleur gearing.

  12. #12
    Bike addict, dreamer AdamDZ's Avatar
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    IMHO, the IGHs are too expensive to become mainstream. They're not bulletproof enough to justify ~$300 price. I had a Shimano Nexus that died in less than 2 years. I went back to regular RD and I'm not looking back at another IGH again.

    Adam

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    "If so, don't expect the belt drive version to come out for a few more years. "

    Carbon drive has the belt version of the 8 speeds out already. Don't know how long we will wait for the 11 spped. They have handed the Rohloff version off to Rohloff, which could be a problem both in cost, and because some of the prefered gearings aren't Rohloff approved.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Wogster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
    I consider that a bit of a stretch. Dérailleur gearing is lighter, cheaper, sufficiently reliable, and field reparable.

    I am not knocking internal gearing for those who prefer it, but I certainly don't see dérailleur gearing as inadequate or internal gearing as a panacea. So my preference is still for dérailleur gearing.
    I think part of the issue is that people have gotten used to dérailleur gearing, because it has been the only real option for the last 30 years. Now that internal hubs have enough speeds and range, it becomes more interesting. Internal hubs are or can be pretty much sealed to the weather, so while it can't be field repairable it shouldn't be affected by dirt and water like dérailleur gearing can. You don't have pieces hanging down where they can be damaged by objects on the ground. Chains can be wider and heavier duty, meaning that you don't end up spending half your time, on tour dealing with chain maintenance.

    Other interesting options, are sealed chain cases, where chain maintenance could be done, once or twice a year, although there are also other options like shaft drives, hydraulic drives, belt drives, none of which are possible with dérailleur gearing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
    I consider that a bit of a stretch. Dérailleur gearing is lighter, cheaper, sufficiently reliable, and field reparable.

    I am not knocking internal gearing for those who prefer it, but I certainly don't see dérailleur gearing as inadequate or internal gearing as a panacea. So my preference is still for dérailleur gearing.
    Agreed.

    I would like to know what is the bottom gear for this new Shimano Nexus 11 speed hub? That's the real question because most tourist would like a low of 24' inch and maybe 20' for loaded touring. The Rohloff will get that low but it is NOT recommended and will void the warranty.

  16. #16
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    'The Rohloff will get that low but it is NOT recommended and will void the warranty. '

    It doesn't seem to be a problem though more in their head than on the road, or a problem for their idea of what it was for which doesn't include touring, or they would have more spokes. Silly that the spokes pull through but they don't handle that but they are all worried about the ratio. So since they are obviously smart people it mucst just be the MTB versus touring uses, or something.

    But when it comes to the belt drive they will need to offer new parts, and maybe there will be a problem getting low gears I need there. Probably not, but I am waiting to hear from my supplier.

  17. #17
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    I think the new range will be great. Gear range was one of the two reasons I gave up on my Nexus 8, the other being the mystery involved with doing maintenence. Anybody with a derailler system can either fix it alone, blindly replace whatever parts of hte system are giving grief, or easilly find a shop to figure it out and repair. No need to hound the forums and chat groups or spend hours on internet searches for clues as to how to maintain, troubleshoot, and/or repair. I doubt I`ll ride another IG (I won`t say never), but I`m glad they`re becomming more common and picking away at the downsides.

  18. #18
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wogsterca View Post
    Other interesting options, are sealed chain cases, where chain maintenance could be done, once or twice a year, although there are also other options like shaft drives, hydraulic drives, belt drives, none of which are possible with dérailleur gearing.
    Agreed, but again not entirely a panacea. These options all have advantages, but also associated costs either in weight, initial cost, or efficiency.

    I think that these internal geared hubs are interesting, but I am in no big rush to move to them. They will have their place, but I don't see them as superior overall, they do offer a different set of compromises that will suit some folks better and not others not as well.

  19. #19
    Senior Member gregw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peterpan1 View Post
    "If so, don't expect the belt drive version to come out for a few more years. "

    Carbon drive has the belt version of the 8 speeds out already. Don't know how long we will wait for the 11 spped. They have handed the Rohloff version off to Rohloff, which could be a problem both in cost, and because some of the prefered gearings aren't Rohloff approved.
    Here is the Trek Soho, belt drive 8 speed Alfine, should be a direct application for the 11 speed.
    http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes/urban/soho/soho/

  20. #20
    Je pose, donc je suis.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve View Post
    There is no dent because most people ride department store bikes with cheap derealluers. However, Shimano 8 and 7 speed hubs corner the market and 99% of all hub bikes (Above 3 speed) are using the Nexus.
    Yes. Shimano has a huge European market for the Nexus and Alfine. It shouldn't be too hard for them to capture a large part of the touring market as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve View Post
    I don't see this hub having any effect on the price of the Rohloff due to the fact the Europeans protect their industries with high import duties. Therefore, the Rohloff will aways have a market in Europe even if people stop buying it in the U.S. I do not consider import duties a bad thing because it's important to protect jobs.
    Are the import duties on bike parts that high? I was under the impression it was only a few percent.

  21. #21
    BeaverTerror Yan's Avatar
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    Any word on an indexed barend or integrated shifter? If so I could be in for one of these for my next build.
    Yan

    2013 True North custom touring; 2010 Novara Randonee; 2009 Unicycle.com Club 24"; 1989 Miele Tivoli; 1979 Colnago Sport

  22. #22
    Senior Member Wogster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
    Agreed, but again not entirely a panacea. These options all have advantages, but also associated costs either in weight, initial cost, or efficiency.

    I think that these internal geared hubs are interesting, but I am in no big rush to move to them. They will have their place, but I don't see them as superior overall, they do offer a different set of compromises that will suit some folks better and not others not as well.
    You do realise that the efficiency numbers oft quoted for dérailleur gearing is with a clean system and a straight chain line, however that efficiency drops quickly once you get a little distance on it, so it gets dirty and there is usually less then 3 gears that have a perfectly straight chain line. I don't thing that weight is as big a deal as a lot of people make of it, take your typical dérailleur gearing system, you need to include the weight of additional chain rings and the rear cluster as well as the dérailleurs themselves, no one item is really heavy, but they do add up. What's the difference maybe 500g, while that would be a lot for a racer, for a touring bike it's not such a big deal.

    One reason why they are expensive, is that production quantities are fairly low, so R&D must be recovered through the small quantity that they manufacture, and often the production process for low quantities is more expensive. If Shimano could sell 50,000,000 a year then they could sell them for the same price as a decent quality dérailleur. I think they will fit some forms of riding better then others.

    In Europe where there are far more commuters, existing internal gear hubs are quite popular, because it just works, you pull out the bike, pump up the tires and go, many of those bikes the fully enclosed chain gets oiled once a year, when the bike goes to the shop for it's annual service. I can see this kind of "black box" drive being handy for touring, where you don't really want to be doing a lot of fiddling with maintenance in camp. Now replace the chain with a CF impregnated rubber belt and it becomes possible to do the Anchorage to Reo tour without touching the drive system at all.

    Is it a panacea, no, it's not for everyone, it's not for all types of bikes either, but it can have some advantages. If it's popular then
    Sturmey-Archer will likely bring out it's own 11 speed model sometime in the next couple of years, and SRAM may also get into the market, with their own model.

    One thing I think is needed though is a drop bar compatible shifter, twist grip is fine for mountain bikes and commuters, not so good for touring, a brifter like shifter or trigger type shifter would be really helpful, something that Shimano could be trusted to develop.

  23. #23
    Commuter & cyclotourist brianogilvie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wogsterca View Post
    You do realise that the efficiency numbers oft quoted for dérailleur gearing is with a clean system and a straight chain line, however that efficiency drops quickly once you get a little distance on it, so it gets dirty and there is usually less then 3 gears that have a perfectly straight chain line...
    Frank Berto's research indicates that chain line angle has little impact on efficiency (see the latest edition of The Dancing Chain for details).

    My commuting bike has an Alfine 8-speed IGH, and a fully enclosed chain. I love it, but the gear range is just slightly too small for touring. Rohloff is too expensive and heavy for me now, but I might well consider the 11-speed IGH for my next touring bike--especially for a packable folder, where derailleurs can sometimes suffer from baggage handlers.

  24. #24
    Banned. Bekologist's Avatar
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    an IGH for my Surly travellers check would really simplify packing the dang thing into the box.... dang.

    it's a must have, now, for one of my bikes.

  25. #25
    Senior Member jputnam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve View Post
    I don't see this hub having any effect on the price of the Rohloff due to the fact the Europeans protect their industries with high import duties.
    The Nexus 8-speed red band hub sells in Europe for less than it does in the U.S. -- got my last one for about $145 + $15 shipping. (Price without VAT, but VAT applies to domestic and imported alike.) Alfine 8-speed hubs are around $240.
    Last edited by jputnam; 02-06-10 at 11:45 PM.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/jputnam/collections/72157604835074312/

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