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Need some input on Alfine 11 speed + belt drive commuting bike

Old 02-10-16, 04:17 AM
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Need some input on Alfine 11 speed + belt drive commuting bike

Hello fellow bike enthusiasts! I've been reading this forum quite a lot, but I've only registered just now because I have some specific questions that I haven't really seen answered.

I've decided to build my own commuting bicycle. I've had some experience with bicycle DIY in the past, so I'm not completely unaware of what possible pitfalls I might encounter in the process. However, the thing with pitfalls is they are everywhere. So, I'd like to inform myself as much as possible before I actually start ordering everything.

Here's what I'm thinking of getting:

- titanium frame from Nua, there's not a lot of information about it online but it meets all of my requirements (accomodates IGH, disc brakes, internal cable routing, and belt drive; and it looks amazing ); also, titanium means it should be stiff enough to handle the belt drive

- Shimano Alfine internal gear hub (11 speed): I had thought about getting a Rohloff, but for my purposes it doesn't seem worth the extra cost

- gates belt drive: preferably the CDC sprockets, been reading some bad things about the CDX; on top of that, the CDC sprockets should be cheaper (or so I've heard)

So, in short, the focus point of this bike is that I'd like an IGH, belt driven, on a titanium frame. Main reasons: reliability, ease of use, low maintenance.

One of the issues with the Alfine is, apparently, that there a risk for damage/breaking when used with a belt drive. How bad is this problem? Is it true that a high gear ratio will lessen this risk? How does that work exactly? I've also been reading some complaints about oil leaking from the hub: is this a widespread problem or not (it's known that unsatisfied customers are more likely to voice their opinion than satisfied customers)?

I'm happy to list the other parts I had in mind, but getting this right first is key I welcome all of your input!
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Old 02-10-16, 06:10 AM
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As I recall, the CDC lacks the centre line. The problem with this was seen on the original Trek SOHO, the belt kept working its way off. I have a CDX (with the centre track) and do not know of the problems people claim to have with it. Mine is used daily, parked outside during the day, and has over 2500 miles on it. I have had to adjust the tension once.

You seem set on going without the center track; however, I would not recommend it.

Btw, the belt is on a Novara Gotham, Steel bike, with a NuVinci N360 hub.
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Old 02-10-16, 07:06 AM
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Thanks for your reply! The reason I went for the CDC is that, based on tests from several different sources (for example, Dutch bike manufacturer Santos) the CDX parts wear out 2-4 times faster than the CDC parts. They speculate that one of the reasons Gates started with CDX was that the original CDC lasted too long; in other words, they were so durable that they didn't sell enough. This is the reason that Santos, to this day, has not adopted CDX yet: they don't want to sell an inferior product. But if it's true, like you say, that the belt comes off more easily on the CDC sprockets, than I would certainly have to rethink this; a belt coming off seems to be more of a problem than it staying on but having to replace it now and then
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Old 02-10-16, 07:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Borgodoc
The reason I went for the CDC is that, based on tests from several different sources (for example, Dutch bike manufacturer Santos) the CDX parts wear out 2-4 times faster than the CDC parts.
I have a spare belt; but I have never considered putting it on. It sits on a shelf in my basement 'just in case.' The only person I heard of that was having trouble with belts was a person who was putting belt dressing (whatever that is) on his.

As far as selling more belts, I doubt that is the case simply because it is so hard to find a replacement belt. The fact that it is hard to find replacements is the reason I ordered a spare. At 2500+ miles my belt looks fine and, other than one adjustment, it is fairly maintenance free. I am pretty sold on belt drive at this point.
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Old 02-10-16, 08:24 AM
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Not just the belts, the sprockets as well. I went and found the article in which they compare the CDC and the CDX line. It's in Dutch, so I'll translate and summarize the test results:

Durability

CDC: 2-4 as durable as a decent chain
CDX: about as durable as a decent chain, so wears out 2-4 times faster than CDC

Efficiency

CDC: runs as light as a decent chain; when the frame is stiff enough and the belt properly aligned, it will not touch the edges of the sprocket
CDX: runs less smooth because it runs over a middle ridge, between the teeth of the sprocket; the weaker the frame and less precise the alignement, the less efficiency

Maintenance

CDC: requires no lubrication; periodically blow clean with water; requires sporadic tensioning
CDX: requires no lubrication; periodically blow clean with water; requires regular tensioning, about as often as a chain

Aligning

CDC: interesting for high-end specialists; bike manufacturer has to stick to strict requirements (stiff and perfectly straight frame); consumer can check the alignment of the belt during riding and is able to correct it without special tools; when badly aligned, the belt can run off
CDX: interesting for mid-class mass producing; bike manufacterer can be a little less precise; consumer is unable to check and correct alignment without special tools; when badly aligned, the belt will be thrown by the middle ridge and break

Self cleaning

CDC: the sprockets push aside dirt and snow through the mudports to one side; like a chain, little stones and twigs that get in between, could break the belt
CDX: because of the middle ridge, dirt and snow gets pushed aside to both sides; like a chain, little stones and twigs that get in between, could break the belt; on top of that, the slit in the middle of the belt could get filled with grit and break because of the upwards pressure of the middle ridge on the sprocket

So you see why I'm confused
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Old 09-13-17, 07:07 PM
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[MENTION=430857]Borgodoc[/MENTION], just wondering if you got the bike from Nua. I'm very close to ordering one with an Alfine 8 hub.
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Old 01-22-18, 03:03 PM
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I ended up getting the Nua with an Alfine 8, and here's some pics from Roberto:





Looks gorgeous imo. I'll post more after I've received and ridden it.

Last edited by emptym; 01-22-18 at 04:39 PM.
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Old 01-22-18, 03:38 PM
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can you post the link in Dutch (It should be close enough to German that I can read it.)

Also, it this a Stiftung Warentest article Dutch-style?
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Old 01-22-18, 03:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Borgodoc
bike manufacturer has to stick to strict requirements (stiff and perfectly straight frame);
I posted something like this on the previous Afine thread and some shall-we-say-idiots were saying that frame flex doesn't matter and that an old MTB frame was "good enough."

I grew tired of the argument and didn't post the German specs, but if I was you, I would ensure that you have a IGH-specific frame. As slight frame deformations when riding will cause serious issues with an IGH. That's why Rohloff-approved frames exist.

I wouldn't fit one to a bike that didn't come with one initially. But, I live by the sunny seaside and really couldn't care less.
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Old 01-22-18, 03:50 PM
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I've got the Breezer Beltway commuter with the Alfine 11..... so far I have no complaints. Shifts well, stays clean, and once I changed out the rims for tubeless to eliminate flats... seems pretty indestructible.
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Old 01-22-18, 03:52 PM
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Here's the document for people that think that I make random stuff about frame flex up:

https://www.gatescarbondrive.com/~/me...ions.pdf?la=en
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Old 01-23-18, 07:32 AM
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Seeing as I posted on this thread a couple of years ago, I still haven't replaced the belt, or done any drive-line maintenance.
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Old 01-24-18, 01:18 PM
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Originally Posted by acidfast7
I posted something like this on the previous Afine thread and some shall-we-say-idiots were saying that frame flex doesn't matter and that an old MTB frame was "good enough."

I grew tired of the argument and didn't post the German specs, but if I was you, I would ensure that you have a IGH-specific frame. As slight frame deformations when riding will cause serious issues with an IGH. That's why Rohloff-approved frames exist.

I wouldn't fit one to a bike that didn't come with one initially. But, I live by the sunny seaside and really couldn't care less.
My old steel hybrid frame from Taiwan is still "good enough" for my Alfine 8 after 5 years and 33000kms.
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Old 01-24-18, 01:52 PM
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Originally Posted by acidfast7
I posted something like this on the previous Afine thread and some shall-we-say-idiots were saying that frame flex doesn't matter and that an old MTB frame was "good enough."

I grew tired of the argument and didn't post the German specs, but if I was you, I would ensure that you have a IGH-specific frame. As slight frame deformations when riding will cause serious issues with an IGH. That's why Rohloff-approved frames exist.

I wouldn't fit one to a bike that didn't come with one initially. But, I live by the sunny seaside and really couldn't care less.
You may as well name names. This was BS then, and it's BS now.

Last edited by Dan Burkhart; 01-24-18 at 06:16 PM.
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Old 01-25-18, 03:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Dan Burkhart
You may as well name names. This was BS then, and it's BS now.
I'm not having a debate. Specs exist for a reason. Especially rigorously tested German specs. If you've half-assed it to work in your given environment, then great. But, I will not recommend it as it will be more maintenance and hassle in the long run.

The OP of the other thread was having difficulty, obviously because the frame did not meet/exceed the manufacturers specs and you yahoos stated that "it works fine for me."

As a scientist, I train all of my students to disregard anyone that says "it works fine for me." I also train them to ask the person if they persist in stating that fact, "define 'works for me'" and then slowly force them to admit every single slight failure and hassle or "extra maintenance" until the opponent yields.

That's exactly what is happening here. It "works fine for me" ... sure because you spent forever adjusting it. In addition, the OP couldn't get it to work well because of frame flex around the chainstays.

One extra piece of maintenance already eliminates it from the "works fine" category.

Enough said, don't need to revisit this as we'll have different definitions of working.
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Old 01-25-18, 06:11 AM
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Originally Posted by some anonymous poster identified only as acidfast7
I'm not having a debate. Specs exist for a reason. Especially rigorously tested German specs. If you've half-assed it to work in your given environment, then great. But, I will not recommend it as it will be more maintenance and hassle in the long run.

The OP of the other thread was having difficulty, obviously because the frame did not meet/exceed the manufacturers specs and you yahoos stated that "it works fine for me."

As a scientist, I train all of my students to disregard anyone that says "it works fine for me." I also train them to ask the person if they persist in stating that fact, "define 'works for me'" and then slowly force them to admit every single slight failure and hassle or "extra maintenance" until the opponent yields.

That's exactly what is happening here. It "works fine for me" ... sure because you spent forever adjusting it. In addition, the OP couldn't get it to work well because of frame flex around the chainstays.

One extra piece of maintenance already eliminates it from the "works fine" category.

Enough said, don't need to revisit this as we'll have different definitions of working.
You stick with your definition of science, I'll stick with mine. Empirical evidence is what works for me. Having done dozens of aftermarket IGH conversions, many of which have seen continuous service for over a decade, I'm satisfied that those conversions were not half assed.
You on the other hand drew a conclusion about the reasons behind someone's hub failure with no supporting evidence.
I know the case you're talking about. I also have a very intimate knowledge of the internal workings of that model hub. I would very much have liked to lay my hands on the hub in question to do a failure analysis, but it wasn't to be.
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Old 01-25-18, 06:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Dan Burkhart
You stick with your definition of science, I'll stick with mine. Empirical evidence is what works for me. Having done dozens of aftermarket IGH conversions, many of which have seen continuous service for over a decade, I'm satisfied that those conversions were not half assed.
You on the other hand drew a conclusion about the reasons behind someone's hub failure with no supporting evidence.
I know the case you're talking about. I also have a very intimate knowledge of the internal workings of that model hub. I would very much have liked to lay my hands on the hub in question to do a failure analysis, but it wasn't to be.
Cool. Have a nice afternoon.
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Old 01-25-18, 11:54 AM
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Originally Posted by acidfast7
I'm not having a debate. Specs exist for a reason. Especially rigorously tested German specs. If you've half-assed it to work in your given environment, then great. But, I will not recommend it as it will be more maintenance and hassle in the long run.

The OP of the other thread was having difficulty, obviously because the frame did not meet/exceed the manufacturers specs and you yahoos stated that "it works fine for me."

As a scientist, I train all of my students to disregard anyone that says "it works fine for me." I also train them to ask the person if they persist in stating that fact, "define 'works for me'" and then slowly force them to admit every single slight failure and hassle or "extra maintenance" until the opponent yields.

That's exactly what is happening here. It "works fine for me" ... sure because you spent forever adjusting it. In addition, the OP couldn't get it to work well because of frame flex around the chainstays.

One extra piece of maintenance already eliminates it from the "works fine" category.

Enough said, don't need to revisit this as we'll have different definitions of working.
Built up the bike, rode it for 6000kms, took apart the IGH internals (as recommended by Shimano), drilled & tapped an oil port, used ATF changed every 5000kms, never had any problems, no adjustments, no play, no skipping, no nothing. 33500kms so far. Had to replace the rim due to being hit by a car, but that's another problem. Don't care if it doesn't suit your definition of "science", it works for me.
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Old 01-25-18, 12:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Reynolds
Built up the bike, rode it for 6000kms, took apart the IGH internals (as recommended by Shimano), drilled & tapped an oil port, used ATF changed every 5000kms, never had any problems, no adjustments, no play, no skipping, no nothing. 33500kms so far. Had to replace the rim due to being hit by a car, but that's another problem. Don't care if it doesn't suit your definition of "science", it works for me.
Cool. Have a nice afternoon.
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Old 01-25-18, 12:31 PM
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[MENTION=200073]acidfast7[/MENTION], you don't know whom you're dealing with. A man doesn't call himself a scientist, and you call him a yahoo. You don't have to know that he has been in the bike business for years and does all sorts of custom setups, and they work. Are you really sure you know better than he does in what works? How many bikes have you built for other people? If it's fewer than he has, do you think he might have something to offer to the discussion?

If you're inclined to call people names, are you really enjoying yourself here? I would have thought scientists pride themselves in mature behavior. Clearly, I was wrong. My fault. I do know that scientists are well trained to say they were wrong when they've been wrong, so here's a cue.
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Old 01-25-18, 01:15 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider
[MENTION=200073]acidfast7[/MENTION], you don't know whom you're dealing with. A man doesn't call himself a scientist, and you call him a yahoo. You don't have to know that he has been in the bike business for years and does all sorts of custom setups, and they work. Are you really sure you know better than he does in what works? How many bikes have you built for other people? If it's fewer than he has, do you think he might have something to offer to the discussion?

If you're inclined to call people names, are you really enjoying yourself here? I would have thought scientists pride themselves in mature behavior. Clearly, I was wrong. My fault. I do know that scientists are well trained to say they were wrong when they've been wrong, so here's a cue.
I'm not having a discussion about this, especially, because the frames employed by the above users may actually meet the German specifications (but the testing hasn't been done and we'll never know.)

It's also important to realise that I didn't call anyone in this thread an idiot.

Finally, I train my students to ignore anyone that states "always" and "never", especially when it's co-joined with "work." That "always works" or that "never works." Even "always/never works for me," is poor form. There needs to be a qualifying statement ... it "always works when DIN specifications are met/exceeded, for example" would be acceptable, which is most likely the case here.

I train them to politely excuse themselves as those people are not rational/reasonable.

I'm waiting another 48 minutes to hear that the XFL is returning in 2020 and then grabbing some sleep.
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Old 01-25-18, 01:22 PM
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[MENTION=200073]acidfast7[/MENTION], you called a man with years of experience building things that have not come back with defects a yahoo.
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Old 01-26-18, 04:31 AM
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Originally Posted by noglider
[MENTION=200073]acidfast7[/MENTION], you called a man with years of experience building things that have not come back with defects a yahoo.
Quickly, specs exist for a reason.

It's great when someone can build something without failure but I can't reproduce it without specs. Sure, I can talk to that one person and get advice or commision their service. Which might be OK for that person if they're a small business, but it's bad for the community as a whole. I'm a world leader in a particular subdiscipline (probably similar in scale to the people above) and that's skill/technique is now en vogue. By not publishing the specifications on the platform that I've designed, no one can use it and I have to deal with everyone wanting to use it. I literally get hundreds of emails per week about it. The only logical answer was to patent it, then publish it in detail so that others can use it. Otherwise, I was spending all of my time handling people wanting to use it. The more people that use it, the better as the subfield grows and I'm one of the founders. Now, if someone else does so random stuff that are outside of the specs, that's fine. But, it's just a random person saying "mine never fail" and "it always works for me."

That's exactly what has happened here, especially when specs for lateral flex on the nicer systems already exist.

I'd file that under tinkering or an outside-the-lines-Yahoo. It wasn't meant as an insult, kind of like a cute "nice job" and pat on the head. An interesting tangental divergence perhaps.

But, in the end, the specs exist for a reason, and if someone ignores them for some random reason, then OK, but without detailed publication of their specs, I can't take it seriously.
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Old 01-26-18, 05:24 AM
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Here's an example of a company subjecting their frame for testing:

https://connorcycles.com/2014/08/13/...ame-stiffness/

So, "it worked for me" is kinda lame without the data.
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Old 01-26-18, 06:37 AM
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Meh.

I'll stick with conventional drive trains.

More cost effective, easier to repair and replace.

Flat tires in ice cold conditions must be a real treat to deal with as well.

If IGH technology was bombproof and most importantly idiotproof I might reconsider.
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