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Old 03-03-10, 01:00 PM   #1
Kabir424
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Shimano Alfine 11 speed internal hub for touring?

http://road.cc/content/news/13981-sh...-car-park-test



Specs are listed as follows:

* Gear range: 409%
* Weight: approximately 1600 grams
* Oil lube gearbox
* Silver only (initially)
* Price: approximately $420
* Due out September 2010

With a price at about a third of the Rohloff this seems like it might be a financially viable option to tour with.
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Old 03-03-10, 01:16 PM   #2
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Why not? If people can tour on singles, this hub would be a huge step up. I don't have any experience with internal geared hubs but from what I've read, they are very reliable and the gearing is evenly spaced for efficient riding with a load. Shimano stuff is generally of a very high quality and while you can find comparable boutique parts for twice the price it doesn't take away from the fact that Shimano supplies probably the majority of the parts on any kind of bike being ridden today. I wouldn't hesitate to tour with this hub.
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Old 03-03-10, 04:41 PM   #3
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The gear range is a little narrow, but if you're not touring anywhere too hilly, or willing to give up some top end, then it could work. It would be nice to get some long term reviews to test reliability and such.
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Old 03-03-10, 04:55 PM   #4
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It's usually possible to use an internal hub with a chain tensioner and front derailleur, as well.
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Old 03-03-10, 05:38 PM   #5
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you do run into some maximum torque issues if you gear too low,
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Old 03-03-10, 06:40 PM   #6
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To me the ultimate tour bike would be an IGH rear hub and a Schlumpf drive on the front I tour on my Raleigh 3 speed all the time, yes I walk up a few hills and coast down the other side. An 11 speed affordable hub would be great. I have a bike that I am planning a build up on using the 11 speed when it becomes readily available.

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Old 03-03-10, 06:53 PM   #7
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I like the idea but always come back that it would b e better to have a system that could be fixed anywhere.

That is why I went to bar end shifters. I must admit that now I am looking for some to use and get rid of the drop bar.
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Old 03-03-10, 07:54 PM   #8
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Probably not rated for high enough torque for touring. Most internally geared hubs are not recommended for touring, or for hauling heavy loads, or for use by very heavy riders for that matter. I contacted SRAM when their imotion 9 speed hub was released, asking if it was suitable for touring. They told me that it was not. SRAM does make a 5 speed hub that is rated for high torques. I think it's called the Cargo, or something like that. But the gear range isn't anywhere near where you would want it for touring.

If you read the technical spec sheets for these hubs, you'll find that they aren't likely to be able to stand up to the forces that most fully loaded bicycle tours subject drive trains to.

Rohloff hubs are different. They are rated for higher torques. The Nuvinci CVT is rated for really high torques, like double what the Rohloff is. But the Nuvinci is a god-awfully heavy beast.

You could probably use this hub for light touring, but I wouldn't ever get into a situation where I was too far from a bike shop if I was using one.
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Old 03-03-10, 08:50 PM   #9
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With a price at about a third of the Rohloff this seems like it might be a financially viable option to tour with.
5X heavier than a rear derailleur, 7X more expensive, still needs a chain, and it's impossible to fix/repair/replace should anything happen to it. Think I'll pass...
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Old 03-03-10, 09:22 PM   #10
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5X heavier than a rear derailleur, 7X more expensive, still needs a chain, and it's impossible to fix/repair/replace should anything happen to it. Think I'll pass...
Climbing the last hill to my house today my chain jammed between the 2 small rings and again I was thinking 'boy an IGH would sure be nice right about now'
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Old 03-03-10, 09:57 PM   #11
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5X heavier than a rear derailleur, 7X more expensive, still needs a chain, and it's impossible to fix/repair/replace should anything happen to it. Think I'll pass...
That's like comparing a chevy volt to the battery bank on a prius; it would be substantially less disinforming to compare the IGH with everything that it replaces, at which point it is neither substantially heavier nor more expensive at the same Deore XT quality level.
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Old 03-03-10, 11:44 PM   #12
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That's like comparing a chevy volt to the battery bank on a prius; it would be substantially less disinforming to compare the IGH with everything that it replaces, at which point it is neither substantially heavier nor more expensive at the same Deore XT quality level.
You're right, the Alfine replaces a hub, derailleur, and cassette so we should look at the entire system... Deore M592 RD: $65 & 286g, XT M756 Hub: $44 & 302g, XT M770 11-34 Cassette: $70 & 297g. Adding it up: $179, 795g. Still doesn't seem that attractive...
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Old 03-04-10, 12:05 AM   #13
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I think IGH's make a ton of sense on folders or bikes with S&S couplers that are going to get packed and shipped a lot. Seems to me that you have less stuff to get knocked out of alignment (derailleurs, in particular).

Co-motion has been showing this Americano with Rohloff + disc brakes + belt drive:

http://www.co-motion.com/single_bikes/amerohloff.html

Would imagine some point they could do this with the Shimano Alfine.
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Old 03-04-10, 04:43 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by sstorkel View Post
You're right, the Alfine replaces a hub, derailleur, and cassette so we should look at the entire system... Deore M592 RD: $65 & 286g, XT M756 Hub: $44 & 302g, XT M770 11-34 Cassette: $70 & 297g. Adding it up: $179, 795g. Still doesn't seem that attractive...
Chains will require more frequent replacement on a derailleur system as well as cogs if you ride in the same ones. FWIW I have both types of bikes and once dialed in the IGH drive trains require much less maintenance than the derailleur ones. On a touring bike weight is not necessarily a bad thing. As far torque input as long as you stay with in the parameters laid out you shouldn't have any trouble.

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Old 03-04-10, 10:13 AM   #15
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It might be these new bifocals playing tricks on me but I haven't seen any spec sheet listing for 36 spoke wheels. Have I missed it?
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Old 03-04-10, 03:09 PM   #16
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My buddy and I rode the CDN GDR route last summer on Surly Pugsleys each running a Shimano Alfine 8 speed IGH. We carried camping gear, food and clothing for 5 days + water we topped up twice a day.

The hubs were flawless and the gear range was more than adequate for fully loaded dirt road touring. One day in particular was mostly uphill for 130kms with a mtn pass at the end. We each walked our bikes once or twice per day on the steepest climbs, but our walking pace was usually the same as the rider who stayed on his bike so no practical benefit to staying on the bike. Neither of us was in great shape or had done any mountain touring that year.

That same hub has been to Burning Man, Baja Mexico twice as well as lots of winter biking in Alberta. So far it has not missed a shift and continues to run flawlessly.

One big advantage for this setup is that in dirty, dusty, muddy, sandy conditions the hub just keeps on shifting perfectly and needs next to no maintenance.



Touring on a 11 speed Alfine won't be a problem. You'll get the most benefits from a IGH if you can skip the chain tensioner and run it in a frame that allows you to tension the chain another way [horizontal drop outs or eccentric BB]

As for reliability I'm doing everything I can to torture test my Alfine - so far it's been A+++.

BTW - if you want an expedition touring bike a lower cost look at the Surly Pugsley. Since the front wheel is also a rear drive wheel you can back up a cheaper IGH like an Alfine with a fixed gear or SS front wheel and not have to stress about an unlikely IGH failure. You can run a Pugsley with 29er MTB rims so you don't need to run 4" tires...XRs, Supremes would work great.

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Old 03-04-10, 06:13 PM   #17
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So far the shimano hubs seem to have proved out more durable than expected. The earlier 8 speeds were not supposed to be used offroad, but they proved out in time. I was more interested in the redline 8 speed when it came out. It was cheap enough to be a real Rohloff alternative. Not as good as Rohloff but would suit a lot of less demanding users at a far more reasonable price. At what the 11 speed costs, I am just as happy I picked up the Rohloff.
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Old 03-04-10, 06:53 PM   #18
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So far the shimano hubs seem to have proved out more durable than expected. The earlier 8 speeds were not supposed to be used offroad, but they proved out in time. I was more interested in the redline 8 speed when it came out. It was cheap enough to be a real Rohloff alternative. Not as good as Rohloff but would suit a lot of less demanding users at a far more reasonable price. At what the 11 speed costs, I am just as happy I picked up the Rohloff.
I'm a Rohloff owner myself and I like 'em plenty, but at nearly $1600 for a Rohloff the 11 Speed Alfine seems like a deal at $420. Especially if they prove to have a long service life with some annual maintenance.
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Old 03-04-10, 08:14 PM   #19
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I think IGH's make a ton of sense on folders or bikes with S&S couplers that are going to get packed and shipped a lot. Seems to me that you have less stuff to get knocked out of alignment (derailleurs, in particular).
+1 I think this Alfine 11 on a folder with a Gates Carbondrive belt could be the mutts nutts for touring. Less on the unsupported coast to coast touring, more on the multimode touring. Take a train, ride fifty miles, hitch a ride with some new friends, ride around a city for a few days, catch a plane...

It has also occurred to me that moar bikes designed for IGH should be made to be carbon drive compatible, even if you're just using a regular chain. I'd much rather split a rear triangle to remove a chain than split the chain, or futz with some master link. And I'd much rather get the chain clean off the bike if I'm packing it in a suitcase to travel somewhere.
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Old 03-04-10, 09:53 PM   #20
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Haha, Vik. That Pugsley you have is awesome. You could run over a dinosaur with that thing

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My buddy and I rode the CDN GDR route last summer on. We carried camping gear, food and clothing for 5 days + water we topped up twice a day.

The hubs were flawless and the gear range was more than adequate for fully loaded dirt road touring. One day in particular was mostly uphill for 130kms with a mtn pass at the end. We each walked our bikes once or twice per day on the steepest climbs, but our walking pace was usually the same as the rider who stayed on his bike so no practical benefit to staying on the bike. Neither of us was in great shape or had done any mountain touring that year.

That same hub has been to Burning Man, Baja Mexico twice as well as lots of winter biking in Alberta. So far it has not missed a shift and continues to run flawlessly.

One big advantage for this setup is that in dirty, dusty, muddy, sandy conditions the hub just keeps on shifting perfectly and needs next to no maintenance.

Touring on a 11 speed Alfine won't be a problem. You'll get the most benefits from a IGH if you can skip the chain tensioner and run it in a frame that allows you to tension the chain another way [horizontal drop outs or eccentric BB]

As for reliability I'm doing everything I can to torture test my Alfine - so far it's been A+++.

BTW - if you want an expedition touring bike a lower cost look at the Surly Pugsley. Since the front wheel is also a rear drive wheel you can back up a cheaper IGH like an Alfine with a fixed gear or SS front wheel and not have to stress about an unlikely IGH failure. You can run a Pugsley with 29er MTB rims so you don't need to run 4" tires...XRs, Supremes would work great.
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Old 03-04-10, 09:55 PM   #21
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I think the Nexus 8 was a much better improvement than the Nexus 7 which felt like oatmeal was inside the hub! I still would like to know the lowest gear you can use with the Red Band 8 because we know those Rohloff hubs have been tested beyond the recommended torque levels.
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Old 03-04-10, 10:07 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by sstorkel View Post
You're right, the Alfine replaces a hub, derailleur, and cassette so we should look at the entire system... Deore M592 RD: $65 & 286g, XT M756 Hub: $44 & 302g, XT M770 11-34 Cassette: $70 & 297g. Adding it up: $179, 795g. Still doesn't seem that attractive...
Interesting

All the marketing of these hubs and that includes Rohloff state how a derailluer drive weights just as much. I never really did the math but I'm glad someone did! It was not my imagination how heavy that Nexus 7 felt and how it added to the weight of the rear wheel.

I still want a Nexus 8 though.

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Old 03-04-10, 10:57 PM   #23
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All the marketing of these hubs and that includes Rohloff state how a derailluer drive weights just as much. I never really did the math but I'm glad someone did!
The above doesn't include the extra weight of the longer chain, the 2 extra front cogs, front derailleur, and the extra gear lever of a typical derailleur equipped bike - it's closer than what the above suggests.

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Old 03-05-10, 08:21 AM   #24
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Haha, Vik. That Pugsley you have is awesome. You could run over a dinosaur with that thing
Thanks...it's a lot of fun to ride and on a dirt road tour no slower than the other hardtail or FS mtn bikes people were riding.

Quote:
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I think the Nexus 8 was a much better improvement than the Nexus 7 which felt like oatmeal was inside the hub! I still would like to know the lowest gear you can use with the Red Band 8 because we know those Rohloff hubs have been tested beyond the recommended torque levels.
Ya I would love to know this as well! I used to think Shimano said the lowest permissible ratio for the Nexus8/Alfine8 between front ring and rear cog was 2:1, but I can't locate or verify what my source was for that. Someone else posted online that Shimano told them there was no limit on the input ratio for the 11 speed Alfine. I haven't independently confirmed that either.

I am running a 32T ring with a 21T cog on my Pugsley's Alfine 8 - fully loaded MTN touring on dirt roads and offroad, technical MTBIng, snow biking. I have not been gentle to it and so far it's been perfect.
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Old 03-05-10, 10:02 AM   #25
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The above doesn't include the extra weight of the longer chain, the 2 extra front cogs, front derailleur, and the extra gear lever of a typical derailleur equipped bike - it's closer than what the above suggests.
Unfortunately, you can't have your cake and eat it, too: if you want an Alfine-based system to have the same spread of gears as a derailleur based system, then it's going to need a front derailleur, chain rings, and shifters. Conversely, if you want the derailleur based system to be restricted the same span as the Alfine you can drop the FD or at least some of the chain rings.
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