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  1. #1
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    Internal Geared Hub for Very Cold Temperatures

    My mountain bike is getting to the point where it needs a lot of work to get it back in shape for next winter. Seeing as its quite old with a low end 7 speed derailleur and ineffective noisy cantilever brakes, I'm looking to build something new. I'd like to have disc brakes and a gear hub to better handle snow and slop.

    Does anyone had experience with an 8 speed hub (Alfine 8 or SA X-RK8) in -25C (-13F) or colder temperatures? Or would I be better off with the much more expensive Alfine 11 that uses an oil bath instead of grease?

    I park indoors during the winter, would the big temperature swings be more detrimental to a hub than traditional gears?

  2. #2
    cyclopath vik's Avatar
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    I've had my Alfine 8 out in -30 deg C + windchill for couple hours at a time with no ill effects. The Alfine 8 has a track record for success in challenging applications like MTBing.



    The Alfine 11 I have runs on an oil bath so it's easier to service and may have a longer service life. It doesn't have the same kind of track record in MTBs because it's too new. I am using mine in coastal BC so I don't have extremely cold weather to test it in.



    Any large shelled hub will draw in cold air as it cools potentially bringing in moisture. So a large number of heating/cooling may require some additional maintenance. You can service both hubs, but the Alfine 11's oil bath simplifies things quite a bit.
    safe riding - Vik
    VikApproved

  3. #3
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    I'm not too familiar with all the components for building a bike, but my LBS should be able to help me pick reliable mid-range parts.

    The Surly Troll frame looks like it will be a good base for an IGH + disc commuter. I'm leaning toward mechanical disc brakes like Avid BB7, since I might also do some touring on it and want to be able to fix a problem on the road.

    If the IGH equivalent of a freehub is also on the interior of the hub, the oil bath on the Alfine 11 should also eliminate the possibility of frozen pawls.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by gecho View Post
    I'm not too familiar with all the components for building a bike, but my LBS should be able to help me pick reliable mid-range parts.

    The Surly Troll frame looks like it will be a good base for an IGH + disc commuter. I'm leaning toward mechanical disc brakes like Avid BB7, since I might also do some touring on it and want to be able to fix a problem on the road.

    If the IGH equivalent of a freehub is also on the interior of the hub, the oil bath on the Alfine 11 should also eliminate the possibility of frozen pawls.
    thats also what I will be doing, except with a Alfine 8.. I am just waiting for the new Troll frames with all the extra mount holes on the fork(like the Ogre) and extra frame mounts on the downtube...the Troll is the perfect do anything, add anything bike

    I also use BB7's on my other bikes.....once they are set up right they are fantastic disk brakes and easy to maintain, almost bulletproof

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    My Alfine 8 stuck in one gear below -10C with the original grease, Since I started oil dip maintenance, it spins much more freely and doesnt freeze up.

  6. #6
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    I got the ball rolling with my LBS to put together a Troll with an Alfine 11. They are going to start checking on the availability of the frame and hub and get back to me later this week.

    I did some gear ratio crunching to compare the Alfine 8 and 11 with the gearing on my 21 speed mountain bike and 27 speed touring bike. The Alfine 8 has percentage increases between gears similar to the 11-28T cassette on my mountain bike. The Alfine 11 has a bit better overall spacing than the 11-32T cassette on my touring bike. I like to maintain a pretty narrow cadence band while riding, and have found my mountain bike gear spacing to be frustrating sometimes.

    I must have spent a couple of hours putting together a spreadsheet to be able to compare gear options. Every method of measuring bicycle gearing was greek to me, so I needed to calculate the gear inches and spacing for both bikes I own to use as reference point in evaluating the IGHs. I didn't have a forumula for IGH gearing so I used the calculator on the Harris Cyclery site and lots of pasting. It turns out and Alfine 11 with a 39T crank and 23T cog (on a 26" wheel with approx 2" tires) has a low end just above the lowest gear on my mountain bike, and an upper end only two gears lower than my touring bike. Its actually quite close to the middle ring on my touring bike, but with one addition additional gear at both ends.

  7. #7
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    And the ball immediately developed a flat LBS supplier said no Troll frames available until mid-June.

  8. #8
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Co Motion can buildup a Bike with an eccentric BB, so the disc mount,
    won't have to be moved with retensioning the chain..
    You could fly to Eugene and pick it up.. maybe as a Used Bike
    when you get back to the Border, riding, the Duty will be less.

    being Made there , in Eugene, you don't have to wait for another container ship
    from Taipei to get the frames to the QBP warehouse .

    And you can change fittings before it's painted..

    Here in Oregon lots of shoppers buy bikes and save enough to
    pay for the Petrol it costs to get here, in taxes not paid..
    Last edited by fietsbob; 09-30-12 at 01:52 PM.

  9. #9
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    My LBS has been extremely good to me, so I can wait. Living in Canada, a "Made in the USA" sticker doesn't really do anything for me

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by gecho View Post
    And the ball immediately developed a flat LBS supplier said no Troll frames available until mid-June.
    and the Troll's with the new mountings on the fork and downtube won't be ready until September or longer...bummer

  11. #11
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    I ride my Alfine 8 down in to the mid -30s sometimes and I do find it feels a little slower in the cold than in the warm. It has been 100% reliable, though. I expect switching to oil-dip lubrication would reduce the cold weather drab a bit, but I have not tried it. IGH still kicks ass over derailleurs for winter riding, though.

  12. #12
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    My frame has been sitting at the LBS for about a month now. Some of the other parts may have been ordered, I need to go check up on the progress tomorrow.

    I'm now leaning towards the Alfine 8 over the 11. Some people have mentioned failures and leaks with the 11. Its difficult to tell if this is coming from a vocal minority or a sign of real problems. My intended crank to cog ratio was below the Shimano recommended 1.9 for the Alfine 11, so at the very least I'd have to change my 39/23 selection to 39/20. The Alfine 8 gets used in some pretty rough applications and seems to have proven itself.

  13. #13
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Rohloff the other oil bath IGH .. I got one 3rd hand , whole bike was pretty cheap,
    because I suppose no one else contacted US service in Berkeley Cal, then mailed the hub
    down to have those seals replaced [the nylon seals were upgraded to neoprene
    and then pretty much like seals on output bearing shafts on most gearboxes..]

    A Sturmey, AW3 speed would be enough for the prairies terrain ?

    The essence of simplicity .. 3/4, 1, 4/3...



    a "Made in the USA" sticker doesn't really do anything for me
    Sam Whittingham is hand building bikes in BC , 'naked' .

    a quick rider, but I don't know what the waiting list is like..
    Last edited by fietsbob; 08-21-12 at 08:11 PM.

  14. #14
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    Still lacking most of the important parts, for some reason Shimano Canada finds it very difficult to get their hands on Shimano products. Since much of my mountain bike drive train was replaced this year I'm just going to keep that bike.

    And get a Necromancer Pug IGH will have to wait for another day.

  15. #15
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    I've been on the nexus 7 speeds from shimano for the last 2 years up to -35C plus windchill for 5 hours. I'm worry free since I only have to inflate the tires and change the chain from time to time.
    I park indoor as well.
    But I had to deal with the common problem with internal gears of jumping chain when the chain start to get loose. I solved the problem by making my own jump stop chain. Those internal hubs are winter proof to me. No hassle.
    The colder it is the more you will see me outside riding it.
    Last edited by erig007; 09-28-12 at 03:39 PM.

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