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Mannydog 08-13-22 04:14 PM

Alfine 8 bearing adjustment
I have a first generation Alfine 8 (SG-S500, A type) that I got when Alfine was introduced in 2006(?), and finally started using a year or 2 ago.
I probably have less than 1000 miles on it and haven't ridden it in the rain to speak of.
The chain has a little slack.
This is a model that is bottom normal, i.e., upshifting is done with the thumb, working against the release spring.
I have 3 issues:
1) The cranks turn when I walk the bike
2) It's reluctant to downshift from 5th to 4th gear
3) I'm wondering if there should be side play at the rim as on Sturmey Archer 3 speed hubs of old

A bonus question is: I have some hand/arm issues, and pushing my thumb to upshift can be painful. Is there less force required by the thumb on later (top normal) models to upshift?


dsbrantjr 08-13-22 05:36 PM

You might consider using a twist shifter like this one:

Andrew R Stewart 08-13-22 05:45 PM

Cranks turning when walking the bike can be an indication of a "snug" rear hub bearing, or of a not yet broken in hub in general. IGHs do have more internal drag then even a coaster hub does... The usual step is to service the bike with attention to hub axle adjustment and chain tension (or in reality, lack of tension). Checking our other IGH bikes to discover their cog drag might be interesting to help establish a base line. Andy

GamblerGORD53 08-13-22 06:04 PM

I loosened the left cone on my Nexus 7i with roller brake. There should be half a mm play at the rim. Grease it while you at at it.
Mine then coasted way farther.

sweeks 08-14-22 03:15 PM

Bearings should be adjusted to have zero play. This gives the best load distribution among the bearing elements. See THIS (scroll down to image #19).
Also see THIS advice.

Andrew R Stewart 08-14-22 08:31 PM

Originally Posted by sweeks (Post 22610052)
Bearings should be adjusted to have zero play. This gives the best load distribution among the bearing elements. See THIS (scroll down to image #19).
Also see THIS advice.

I will take a small grain of salt with this advice. I was taught that with an IGH (and this was in the era of SA AW and Shimano 333 hubs being the usual) a very slightly loose bearing adjustment was wanted. With the various internal parts meshing, rotating and revolving about each other and the 3 bearing design that these hubs used the life span, shifting ease, coast down and cog drag were all better than with a slightly "loose" adjustment. I'll admit that more modern IGhs might be better made and more tolerant of a no slop bearing adjustment. Andy (who just last week did a Nexus 8spd axle adjustment that freed up the coast down and stopped the cog drag when casting and who has seen very few SA AW cones pitted).

GamblerGORD53 08-14-22 09:43 PM

Actually, ALL my bearings have been set with play. Been doing it 53 years. I won't be stopping either.
Just checked the rattle on my SA XL-RD5w. It goes 46 mph EASILY. Last week it did 40 on a curved hill and I slammed on the drum brakes.
ZERO indication it's not good. My SA RD3 is the same. Neither has a speck of pitting.
My CCM front hub will spin 3 minutes and rock back and forth another minute.

What HAS shown wear, are pedals that came too tight. There's even more need for them to be a bit loose.

sweeks 08-20-22 07:56 AM

AARON GOSS has this to say about bearing play (speaking of the Alfine-11):
"The hub is adjusted the same as any cup-and-cone hub. However, to do an accurate job, the right side of the axle needs to be clamped in a vise. Then just take out the play and lock down the locknut. Double check your adjustment at the rim for play. You want to just eliminate the play. While a little play is OK, too much will damage the races or cause other internal problems. A tiny amount of play is OK. However that recommendation is for old hubs. Modern high-quality hubs like Shimano should be adjusted with no play." (Bold is mine)

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