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Shimano Alfine 11 speed IGH -- Strike Two!!

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Shimano Alfine 11 speed IGH -- Strike Two!!

Old 06-19-12, 06:06 PM
  #126  
Don in Austin
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Originally Posted by DCB0 View Post
Please provide the link to Shimano Docs where this is stated.

ZOr a scan of the page in question if it is not found online.

THe Shimano tech docs on their website do not list a minimum chainring size - just suggest that a ratio of 1.9 be used and gives examples of gear combinations that will accomplish this using 34, 39, and 45 tooth chainrings.

I am not suggesting that using low ratios is good or will not kill the hubs, just that I have never seen Shimano admit this in writing.

BTW, I weigh 260 lbs and have a ratio of 2.0:1 on a Alfine 8 and never had a single problem. THe torque I put into the hub when standing on the pedals would be similar to a person 130 lbs using a 1:1 ratio or a 195 lb person using a 1.5:1 ratio.
My Alfine 8 seems to be robust, unlike the Alfine 11. My Alfine 8 has never slipped and can, indeed, "be shifted under any circumstance." That quote being what the Shimano rep told me unequivocally the Alfine 11 was designed to do and fails to do miserably.

Don in Austin

Last edited by Don in Austin; 06-19-12 at 09:14 PM. Reason: dumb typo
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Old 06-19-12, 06:38 PM
  #127  
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Originally Posted by Don in Austin View Post
Indeed, there is something wrong with the hub, and its not the only one by a long shot.

Don in Austin

I never doubted your assessment of the hub....
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Old 06-20-12, 07:50 AM
  #128  
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The wording in the instructions that come with the hub are more vague than I thought. My bad. Not like the older equipment. It.'s also hidden in the small print. It does say "recommended" and "about". Very vague.

https://techdocs.shimano.com/media/te...9830713437.pdf

Last year there were a few 2012 books on line. A couple were on Ebay for only a few bucks, maybe $5-$10, can't remember. I can't find one this morning. I'll do more searching tonight when I get home.
Even though I'm amazed that your shop does not have the 2012 service book, I guess one cannot blame the shop. They apparently asked Shimano the right questions. That should have triggered Shimano to send one. I also agree that Shimano should have brought up the gearing on the very first conversation with the shop. That's not the fault of the shop either. It's hard for me to imagine Shimano did not say anything about the gearing. ????

I guess I'm showing my age, decades ago there were a lot more IGH's around. I'm now realizing that was 40 years ago. Whew !

I'll go to the shop tomorrow night to see if I can borrow one, and find someone with a scanner.

edit: I've heard of problems with that 11 speed hub around here too.

Last edited by 2manybikes; 06-20-12 at 07:54 AM.
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Old 06-20-12, 05:57 PM
  #129  
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Wow! I spent the past hour reading this year old thread and I'm amazed the Nexus 11 has all these issues. To think there is another thread on using this hub for loaded touring! LOL!

I shouldn't laugh because the OP lost alot of money. You would think after one year, they would have fixed the problem but that does not appear to be the case. Maybe the whole design was wrong to begin with but why push product out the door? Maybe someone should create a web site on all the problems with this hub. There's no way you can sell a $500.00 dollar product that's defective for over a year and no Class Action. What is going on?
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Old 06-20-12, 06:18 PM
  #130  
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Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve View Post
What is going on?
What is going on is that you have one person who had some very bad luck with a product that others had good luck with. Why is anybody's guess.

Meanwhile you've done your part in helping keep this alive.
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Old 06-20-12, 09:32 PM
  #131  
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
What is going on is that you have one person who had some very bad luck with a product that others had good luck with. Why is anybody's guess.

Meanwhile you've done your part in helping keep this alive.
There's way more than one person who have had bad luck with this particular hub.

Don in Austin
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Old 06-20-12, 10:21 PM
  #132  
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Originally Posted by Don in Austin View Post
There's way more than one person who have had bad luck with this particular hub.

Don in Austin
Sorry Don, I didn't mean to imply that you were the only person having issues, just that it's become a debate basically between you and others who say the hubs are fine and you're not.

I don't have any first hand experience with Shimano 11s IGH, either as a rider or mechanic to comment about quality either way.

Personally, I thing Shimano and others are making a mistake pouring so much effort into packing a large number of gears into IGH hubs. These hubs truly excel in simple 3 and 5 speed versions where they meed the needs of cyclists for reliable gearing where the range that derailleurs offer isn't needed.
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Old 06-21-12, 08:02 AM
  #133  
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
Sorry Don, I didn't mean to imply that you were the only person having issues, just that it's become a debate basically between you and others who say the hubs are fine and you're not.

I don't have any first hand experience with Shimano 11s IGH, either as a rider or mechanic to comment about quality either way.

Personally, I thing Shimano and others are making a mistake pouring so much effort into packing a large number of gears into IGH hubs. These hubs truly excel in simple 3 and 5 speed versions where they meed the needs of cyclists for reliable gearing where the range that derailleurs offer isn't needed.
I agree. With the 8 speed, (nexus and Alfine) Shimano hit a home run, IMHO. INstead of cramming more gears in, they should have offered two or three more 8 speeds with narrower and wider ranges based on the proven design , like SA did with 3 speeds back in the day..
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Old 06-21-12, 01:20 PM
  #134  
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Originally Posted by DCB0 View Post
I agree. With the 8 speed, (nexus and Alfine) Shimano hit a home run, IMHO. INstead of cramming more gears in, they should have offered two or three more 8 speeds with narrower and wider ranges based on the proven design , like SA did with 3 speeds back in the day..
+1

It was my understanding the 8 speed did not go low enough thus the need for more gears. However, the Nexus 11 had the same bottom range as the 8 speed?

I much better idea would have been to Dual Drive the Nexus 8 with a seven speed cluster.
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Old 06-21-12, 03:02 PM
  #135  
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
Sorry Don, I didn't mean to imply that you were the only person having issues, just that it's become a debate basically between you and others who say the hubs are fine and you're not.

I don't have any first hand experience with Shimano 11s IGH, either as a rider or mechanic to comment about quality either way.

Personally, I thing Shimano and others are making a mistake pouring so much effort into packing a large number of gears into IGH hubs. These hubs truly excel in simple 3 and 5 speed versions where they meed the needs of cyclists for reliable gearing where the range that derailleurs offer isn't needed.
A friend of mine just bought a commuter bike with Alfine 11. He professes to really like it even though he has to be careful to back off when shifting because if he doesn't it will slip and pop even though a shift appears completed. I wonder how many people are putting up with this sort of behavior? I consider it unacceptable and its contrary to what I was told by a Shimano rep regards what I can expect from the hub. It is also NOT intrinsic to IGHs because my Alfine 8 never slips.

I run the Alfine 8 with a compact double so I have emergency hill-climbing range when needed.

My LBS has done more than one warranty of Alfine 11s even though I doubt there's more than a handful of them in Austin.

Don in Austin
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Old 06-11-13, 09:01 PM
  #136  
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Sorry to resurrect an old thread like this but I've encountered problems with the 11-speed as well.

But I can't tell if its the hub or the shifter. The problem is that you calibrate it in 6th gear; after a few miles and gears, the hub will misbehave. When I stop and check it out, the calibration is off. So I adjust the cable stop on my frame to reset it. A few miles later its off in the other direction and I have to reset again.

Now I am using this in a road application and my front chainwheel is 39T. What I did sort out finally was that if I tried to do more than one gear at a time, the hub would loose calibration. It was as if the shifter was getting lost. By only doing one gear at a time it ran fine, but of course a person often wants to shift more than that.

So I got a set of VRS-11s, which are supposed to be compatible. They lack the multi-shift ability; one gear at a time is all you get. Result: the shifter now gets lost all the time. I can only go a few blocks before I have to recalibrate.

When everything is working the hub is a dream. It needed some break-in before it got really free- now it coasts really well, and its silent. But the shifter thing is a drag, and I am really thinking that I need to gun the whole setup and got a Rolhoff. Its heavier, noisier and has more gears than I would need on a road machine but it works and it won't break (I have one on a MTB).

I've built machines around the Sram 7-speed (early versions of that were weak), the Nexus 8-speed (ran fine) and the Rolhoff (amazing). The bike that has the Alfine 11-speed is a TI frame and weighs about 20 pounds with the Brooks saddle. Its mission was to determine if the Alfine was ready for prime-time in a road/racing application. The answer seems to be no- as much as I love things about this hub when it skips or looses a gear, it gets pretty frustrating. I'm planning on the Dairyland Dare in August, which needs gears; but I don't feel all that great about the idea of breaking down, whether its in the middle of nowhere or not.
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Old 06-11-13, 09:23 PM
  #137  
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At first glance, this smells like a cable friction issue. If the hub's return spring cannot consistently pull out all the cable slack then the calibration position will never hold consistently. It could also be friction within the lever itself, which would yield the identical signs.

You can confirm, by shifting to 6th, manually pulling the cable back toward the hub and calibrating. That's the true position, so if later on the calibration is off as if the cable got tighter, give it another tug. If manually pulling the cable back maintains the calibration, field strip the cable, pump some light oil into the housing, and flush the lever with a light solvent/oil such as WD-40 and work it to free any gunk that might be making the lever sticky, then reassemble and with any luck you'll be fine.
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Old 06-11-13, 10:22 PM
  #138  
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
It could also be friction within the lever itself, which would yield the identical signs.
One way to learn to live with this is to turn the shifter past the gear you want and then back down...most people wouldn't think of this technique because you can't do it with a derailleur that needs to be shifted under load, but it's easy to do with an IGH (and even develop a good habit of constantly flicking the shifter into random gears whenever coasting in order to keep it "warm" and prevent it from sticking).

And speaking of people who are used to derailleurs, they seem to have a tendency to shift IGHs under load subconsciously even if they don't think they're doing it...this can get the hub kinda stuck so it sticks NEXT time they shift (even if they shift the right way next time). No matter what Shimano advertises, all IGHs shift best when the pedals are not moving and I find the most efficient way to do it is to develop the instinct to coordinate shifts with the dead part of the pedal stroke (which is, again, the opposite instinct that must be developed for effectively shifting a derailleur and it is subconscious instinct because most people aren't even aware of the dead part of their stroke if they aren't pros). All my bikes are IGH or singlespeed and whenever I ride bikes with derailleurs, guess what, they tend to skip gears unless they're top of the line equipment in perfect condition (sound familiar?)!

Last edited by chucky; 06-11-13 at 10:32 PM.
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Old 06-12-13, 12:03 PM
  #139  
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I've been riding IGHs a long time (hate derailers, no matter how you spell it) and don't shift it under load. When I ride bikes with derailers, I find they don't like being shifted under load either.

The VRS-11s are brand-new. No time for gunk buildup. However it does make sense that the return spring in the IGH is sprung. I've never had trouble with the gears sticking.

What I have not mentioned so far is that I have very little friction on the cable, as it is bare from the cable stop at the top of the downtube, all the way to the hub. So the hub does not need a lot of spring to pull the shift cable back.
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Old 06-12-13, 12:26 PM
  #140  
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Single cable shifting requires a spring to pull back the other way.. against any housing
and other friction along the way..

2 cable pull-pull does not.
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Old 06-12-13, 01:45 PM
  #141  
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Originally Posted by chucky View Post
One way to learn to live with this is to turn the shifter past the gear you want and then back down...most people wouldn't think of this technique because you can't do it with a derailleur that needs to be shifted under load, but it's easy to do with an IGH (and even develop a good habit of constantly flicking the shifter into random gears whenever coasting in order to keep it "warm" and prevent it from sticking).

And speaking of people who are used to derailleurs, they seem to have a tendency to shift IGHs under load subconsciously even if they don't think they're doing it...this can get the hub kinda stuck so it sticks NEXT time they shift (even if they shift the right way next time). No matter what Shimano advertises, all IGHs shift best when the pedals are not moving and I find the most efficient way to do it is to develop the instinct to coordinate shifts with the dead part of the pedal stroke (which is, again, the opposite instinct that must be developed for effectively shifting a derailleur and it is subconscious instinct because most people aren't even aware of the dead part of their stroke if they aren't pros). All my bikes are IGH or singlespeed and whenever I ride bikes with derailleurs, guess what, they tend to skip gears unless they're top of the line equipment in perfect condition (sound familiar?)!
Older riders who learned how to ride with friction systems knew how to soft pedal to smooth shifts, cogs and chainrings were not ramped as they are today and shifting a derailleur drive has never been easier than it is now.

Same applies with IGH hubs and it is akin to using a clutch in a car, you cannot shift smoothly when you are under high loads.

I run an Nexus Inter 7 that I know was used extensively before I purchased the bike and the friend and owner reported no problems at at all... but it does not shift under load and you need to use the "clutch" as it is not an automatic and is not perfectly synchronized.

I think that as bicycles have advanced many people have lost this shifting skill just as many people can no longer drive a stick in a car.

The feedback I have gotten from folks using the latter model Alfine 8 and 11 speed has been generally very good and have not heard of any serious issues but as it goes with mass production, you may have units that did not pass the QC standards.

If a hub is set up and runs smoothly for a time and then starts to misbehave this would lead me to think that there is a problem in the linkage and that something is sticking or perhaps slipping causing the hub to lose it's set up.

And what FB said...

At first glance, this smells like a cable friction issue. If the hub's return spring cannot consistently pull out all the cable slack then the calibration position will never hold consistently. It could also be friction within the lever itself, which would yield the identical signs.

You can confirm, by shifting to 6th, manually pulling the cable back toward the hub and calibrating. That's the true position, so if later on the calibration is off as if the cable got tighter, give it another tug. If manually pulling the cable back maintains the calibration, field strip the cable, pump some light oil into the housing, and flush the lever with a light solvent/oil such as WD-40 and work it to free any gunk that might be making the lever sticky, then reassemble and with any luck you'll be fine.
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Old 06-12-13, 02:57 PM
  #142  
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The lever is new and not sticky. The cable and its housing is very free.

This might be easy to solve with an external spring on the hub though. That will be the next exploration.
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Old 06-13-13, 10:25 AM
  #143  
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When I first posted to this thread, it was after reading the whole thing. I rode the bike about 20 miles last night, and with some of the prior comments in mind, realized that the hub does have some behaviors. Keep in mind I have been struggling with this thing for over two years- I think it is an earlier example.

If I calibrate it, it will be fine as long as I don't going into 9th gear or above. If I do that, it will loose calibration- in some cases it will not loose calibration but at any rate, its a good chance that 6th gear will be gone when I go back to lower gears. 5th acts like its gone, but if I wait, it will eventually slip into gear. Sometimes going from 9th to 10th it takes about block to shift. My shift technique is to back pedal slightly upon shifting. The installation guide says to not worry about popping sounds from the hub which is like the 8-speed, however IME if the hub makes any sound at all, you can expect it to miss an upcoming shift, or it might slip out of gear. The most likely gears it will slip out of are 5th and 6th.

I've built machines with IGHs for decades. I've used the SA AW and 4-speed hubs, the Shimano 5-speed and Nexus 8-speed, the Sachs and Sram 7-speed as well as this hub and the Rolhoff. By comparison the Alfine 11-speed is the least reliable (although the early Sachs 7-speeds did have a problem that was fixed by the time I got the Sram version of it); without it seeming to be actually broken you can't really count on it to shift properly- from a dead stop you don't know if you will get 1 block or 3 miles before you encounter a missing gear or the like.

Its not the shift! It it consistent with this behavior with the stock shifter and also the Versa VRS-11s. This is a road machine and its been exposed to very little in the way of dirt, is generally not ridden in the rain and is stored in my living room. Additionally, on account of its poor reliability, its got low miles (although I did break-in the hub- realistically it might have near 500 miles on it, no more). So there are no binding cables, no issues with either shifter. What seems to be happening is that the internals are somehow shifting position relative to the index mark. If you measure the cable, it stays the same- there is not problem with the shifter or cable.
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Old 06-13-13, 05:37 PM
  #144  
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Originally Posted by Salubrious View Post

What I have not mentioned so far is that I have very little friction on the cable, as it is bare from the cable stop at the top of the downtube, all the way to the hub. So the hub does not need a lot of spring to pull the shift cable back.
Full length housing is what's recommended for some IGHs. Have you tried it?
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Old 06-14-13, 07:24 AM
  #145  
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Got the hub replaced under warranty again at LBS just before Christmas. The top tech was on the phone with Shimano brainstorming. Still skips from time to time. Shimano's statement "designed to be shifted under any circumstance" is total BS. Friend of mine got some kind of a belt drive Surly (??) with an Alfine 11 IGH. It skips occasionally also despite all attempts of LBS to adjust cable, etc. My Alfine 11 project bike basically sits unused.

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Old 06-14-13, 08:01 AM
  #146  
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Sorry you are having these problems..

FWIW the 14 speed German Hub, now in 17th year of production,

seems to work well for many, myself included..
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Old 06-15-13, 03:56 PM
  #147  
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Sorry you are having these problems..

FWIW the 14 speed German Hub, now in 17th year of production,

seems to work well for many, myself included..
Me included too. I had to chuckle when a Shimano rep told me at a trade show a few years ago when I was discussing the then new to the market Alfine 11, and drawing comparisons to the Rohloff, that with Shimano's R&D, they could put Rohloff out of the IGH business any time they chose to.
I chuckled then, still chuckle when I think of that conversation.
That one man German R&D department seems to have pretty much gotten it right the first time around.
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Old 06-17-13, 11:05 AM
  #148  
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I've had the Rohloff for at least twice as long as the Alfine. Not a lick of trouble. They way things are looking right now, seems unlikely that Shimano will be able to repair my hub, so my next step is likely to replace it with the Rohloff.
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Old 12-06-13, 08:03 PM
  #149  
Solid_Spoke
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Sorry to resurrect.

I read every post here. Not sure if it is wise to sink $700 on a rear wheel build with this hub. Really want IGH for my Troll. I will have enough saved to have this wheel built by March. Wondering if it would be wiser to save a couple of extra months and get the,superior Rohloff. Anyone else having problems with the Alfine 11?
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Old 12-06-13, 08:08 PM
  #150  
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Bikes: too many bikes from 1967 10s (5x2)Frejus to a Sumitomo Ti/Chorus aluminum 10s (10x2), plus one non-susp mtn bike I use as my commuter

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Consider this a highly biased source, but IMO, the benefits of IGH like simplicity and easy care lend themselves to more basic designs like 3s and 5s. At some point, trying to put 2 quarts of machine into a one quart can starts working against you. So if you really need 8s or 11s, consider a derailleur system.
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