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Shimano Alfine 11 speed IGH -- Strike Two!!

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Shimano Alfine 11 speed IGH -- Strike Two!!

Old 03-18-11, 02:39 PM
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Don in Austin
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Shimano Alfine 11 speed IGH -- Strike Two!!

I built a really nice custom bike around this hub. After two weeks something came apart inside it and the shifter would no longer go into 9th, 10th or 11th gear. I paid a very good LBS to pull the wheel back apart so I could return the hub -- wheel building, frame fabrication and powdercoating are the only aspects of building a bike I do not do myself at this time. They sent a replacement hub which shifted weirdly from day one. A totally clueless and condescending d--head at Shimano tried to blame it on my inability to adjust the shifter properly. There is only one adjustment and its easy -- you line up two marks in 6th gear. But I was way ahead of that and tested it to either side of the marks -- no dice. 11th gear is actually something like 7th until or if something finally engages three blocks later -- etc. and etc. I finally got through to a much better rep at Shimano tech support who said there was obviously something wrong with the hub and it should work straight out of the box -- to which I agree. The bike is at the LBS and they have all the paperwork including the name of the better contact person at Shimano to, presumably, fix it under warranty.

We shall see how it plays out.

I am not exactly ready to take my custom bike on a long road trip any time soon which sucks.

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Old 03-18-11, 04:30 PM
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Not what I wanted to hear... I'll be getting mine in a month or so and finishing my build maybe a month after that.
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Old 03-18-11, 06:00 PM
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Originally Posted by 2wheelcommute View Post
Not what I wanted to hear... I'll be getting mine in a month or so and finishing my build maybe a month after that.
Yeah.....I built a whole bike around that hub. Without it, that bike would have little that my other bikes don't already have. I will be more than happy to keep you posted, and should I fail do to so, just shoot me a PM. The hub is really cool when its working except that the shifter leaves a little to be desired. Hopefully there will be other shifter options down the road.

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Old 03-20-11, 06:45 AM
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So is anybody else running one of these? Good or bad?

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Old 03-20-11, 02:56 PM
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Well, this is a bummer.I had high expectations of this hub, but yours is not the first horror story I've read.
Sure hope they get the wrinkles ironed out.
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Old 03-21-11, 09:43 AM
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Agreed - bummer to hear it.
I have had very high hopes for this hub as an alternative to Rohlhoff, based on my own (very good) experiences with the Nexus and Alfine hubs.
Keep us posted.
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Old 03-21-11, 10:13 AM
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This seems to be a similar situation to when Shimano released the Nexus 8 which has not been the most reliable hub either... a lot of that stems from Shimano not thinking that the hub needed an overhaul after breaking in and more regular service... the seals on the original Nexus hubs were also not as good as later models.

I have had to deal with quite a few Nexus failures with the 7 and 8 speed Nexus models.

If more problems manifest with the much anticipated 11 speed, Shimano should recall them and address any design issues and not use customers to do their beta testing for them... since many people want to use these for touring having a hub failure could leave you stranded for a good long while and ruin what was supposed to be a pleasant journey.
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Old 03-21-11, 11:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
This seems to be a similar situation to when Shimano released the Nexus 8 which has not been the most reliable hub either... a lot of that stems from Shimano not thinking that the hub needed an overhaul after breaking in and more regular service... the seals on the original Nexus hubs were also not as good as later models.

I have had to deal with quite a few Nexus failures with the 7 and 8 speed Nexus models.

If more problems manifest with the much anticipated 11 speed, Shimano should recall them and address any design issues and not use customers to do their beta testing for them... since many people want to use these for touring having a hub failure could leave you stranded for a good long while and ruin what was supposed to be a pleasant journey.
I don't know yet what I am going to do. If I don't get some good answers I may press Shimano to trade the hub for a conventional drivetrain. That would really suck, however, as I built the whole bike around the hub -- lightweight 32 tooth SS crank, my custom black spokes wouldn't fit, etc. etc. And, I would end up with a bike not that different from one I already have. Assuming the hub is replaced and seems good, the bike will be a commuter -- not for long road trips any time soon.

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Old 03-21-11, 11:43 AM
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I was looking at the 11 speed to fit to my folding touring bike and if I found it worthy and would look at fitting in to some our custom frames if there was a demand and for retro fits.

Shimano should send me an 11 speed to demo and test... I ride 400 - 500 km a week in the summer and would ride that thing as hard as anyone.

I have retro fitted several Shimano equipped bikes with new SA hubs after their original hubs failed... folks would rather have a bulletproof five speed with good range and easier serviceability rather than an 8 speed that was not reliable and much harder to service.
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Old 03-21-11, 11:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Don in Austin View Post
...A totally clueless and condescending d--head at Shimano tried to blame it on my inability to adjust the shifter properly.
Do you pedal while shifting or do you coast while shifting?
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Old 03-21-11, 01:57 PM
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Other than the used '03 one I had to get external seals upgraded from leaking nylon to normal neoprene.
my Rohloff experience has been positive..
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Old 03-21-11, 09:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Mr IGH View Post
Do you pedal while shifting or do you coast while shifting?
The first one would shift while pedaling and then it came apart after two weeks of occasional use. The second one wouldn't shift reliably even if you coasted or pedaled backwards.

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Old 03-22-11, 05:59 AM
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Pedaling under load while shifting an IGH will kill it in short order.
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Old 03-22-11, 03:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Mr IGH View Post
Pedaling under load while shifting an IGH will kill it in short order.
The second Alfine 11 was bad out of the box. I knew it was bad within the first few hundred feet.

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Old 03-22-11, 05:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Don in Austin View Post
The second Alfine 11 was bad out of the box. I knew it was bad within the first few hundred feet.
If the shifter isn't adjusted correctly you will have those symtoms. Are you suggesting your first hub didn't die from incorrect shifting?
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Old 03-23-11, 04:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Mr IGH View Post
If the shifter isn't adjusted correctly you will have those symtoms. Are you suggesting your first hub didn't die from incorrect shifting?
In both cases the hubs were adjusted exactly per Shimano's procedures. You line up two dots with it in 6th gear. When I installed the second hub and it failed to shift consistently, I tried adjusting it a little each side of the spec to no avail.

Nowhere in the instructions does Shimano warn you never to shift while pedaling. Or, if they do, could you give me a link? Shifting while pedaling is out about the ONLY thing that the first Shimano rep didn't try to blame my troubles on.

The entire bike with the second hub is a LBS where an extremely experienced senior tech agrees the hub -- without even 3 miles on it -- is bad . He is getting in touch with Shimano today to work out warranty arrangements.

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Old 03-23-11, 04:40 AM
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This is a total letdown for me, and I'm sorry to hear about it. I'm doubly sorry to hear that Shimano is using their customers for R&D testing.

this would have never happened with SunTour!!
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Old 03-23-11, 05:03 AM
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Every IGH needs to have the torque removed to shift. I know you're very angry but the fact remains that lots of people are riding these hubs with no failures. You can give up or look to people that ride these kind of hubs for tens of thousands of miles trouble free.
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Old 03-23-11, 08:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Mr IGH View Post
Every IGH needs to have the torque removed to shift. I know you're very angry but the fact remains that lots of people are riding these hubs with no failures. You can give up or look to people that ride these kind of hubs for tens of thousands of miles trouble free.
Who has put tens of thousands of miles on the Alfine 11? It has only been out a few months and is still quite rare. It is a very different design from the 8 speed.

The replacement one was checked by riding VERY gently in the parking lot next door to my shop and did not shift properly from the beginning.

And there have been other reports of problems with 11 gear.

We shall see.

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Old 03-23-11, 08:51 AM
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I'm a big believer in IGH for many applications and would like to see better acceptance for IGH in the USA market mix.

But, I think Shimano is shooting itself in the foot by trying to stuff too much into the can. IGH hubs make the most sense for applications where not too many gears are required, like city bikes, commuters, and beach type applications. These don't need many gear choices, and gain the most benefit from the simplicity, cleanliness and comparative bulletproof nature of IGH.

Those needing or wanting more gearing for mixed terrain riding are probably best off with derailleur systems.

Using IGH for those applications works against it's strengths. IGH also becomes less efficient under high load than derailleur systems, making it less suited for hard riding.

If I were Shimano, or SA Taiwan, I wouldn't keep trying to stuff more gears into the can, but would focus on simplicity, lower weight, and gear ranges more suited to the best target market.

I, for one, find the typical 3/4, 1, 4/3 gearing of AW hubs too wide for my city needs and would kill to have an IGH with maybe 5 speeds in 10% steps. I'm currently using vintage narrow range SA hubs, but these won't last forever.
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Old 03-23-11, 04:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Mr IGH View Post
I know you're very angry but the fact remains that lots of people are riding these hubs with no failures.
The subject line of the thread is "Alfine 11", which reached retail just four months ago. So far posters have reported problems with this hub on mtbr.com, hubstripping, this forum and on the yahoo IGH group.
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Old 03-23-11, 05:02 PM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
...I wouldn't keep trying to stuff more gears into the can...
For the record, in the last two years Sturmey-Archer has introduced new 2-speed models, a new 3-speed design, a fixed gear 3-speed model and a new 5-speed design.

I, for one, find the typical 3/4, 1, 4/3 gearing of AW hubs too wide for my city needs and would kill to have an IGH with maybe 5 speeds in 10% steps.
Would you rough someone up for a narrow-OLD six speed w/ 13% steps? [There's one inside the S-A XRF8(W).]
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Old 03-23-11, 05:29 PM
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Originally Posted by tcs View Post
For the record, in the last two years Sturmey-Archer has introduced new 2-speed models, a new 3-speed design, a fixed gear 3-speed model and a new 5-speed design.
All good news, and in line with my sentiments, though Re-introduced might be more appropriate. Following in the same vein, they should introduce narrow or medium ranges of either the 3 or 5-speed. Back when many of made our own mid-range 3-speeds using SA 5 speed hubs in the middle three gears.



Originally Posted by tcs View Post
Would you rough someone up for a narrow-OLD six speed w/ 13% steps? [There's one inside the S-A XRF8(W).]
I never rough anybody up, it leaves witnesses. As I said, I'm riding a number of vintage SA hubs, so I'm OK. Having reached the age where I no longer buy green bananas I expect my current stock to outlast me, so I'll pass. I just think that Shimano is missing opportunities targeting an audience least disposed to stay with IGH.
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Old 03-23-11, 05:36 PM
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Originally Posted by tcs View Post
The subject line of the thread is "Alfine 11", which reached retail just four months ago. So far posters have reported problems with this hub on mtbr.com, hubstripping, this forum and on the yahoo IGH group.
Thank you!

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Old 03-23-11, 05:47 PM
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This is all a bit depressing, Shimano seems to be shoving stuff out before it's ready. Ah well, I had already decided to go Rohloff anyway, as long as I get a new job before my savings disappear.
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