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Old 09-12-16, 09:32 PM   #1
TwinOaks
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Commuting on an IGH.

Hi Forums.
I'm looking to get some reviews of the alfine internal gear hubs. My drive train is getting worn down and I'm looking at replacing it soon. My rear rim is also getting close to a replacement, so before I go ahead and do both of these I thought it would be a good opportunity for me to look in to getting the Alfine 8 or 11 speed on a new rim for commuting to work. Currently, I have a 34/50 crank and a 10-34 9 speed cassette. The low end is fine, and I don't really get to the top 3 or 4 gears, if I'm going that fast down hill I'll coast. I also don't get out of the saddle to power up some of the more intense inclines. Alternatively, I would build up a 1x9 drive train, pretty much the same as I have now but with a 36 tooth crank.
I was also thinking of putting the Alfine 8 on my MTB. This bike is something I use more for some light commuting, occasional trail riding, and family/fun rides.
Let me know if you have any experience with these and if these hubs have worked out for you.

Thanks.
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Old 09-13-16, 08:16 AM   #2
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My thoughts on this:

It's equipment that works, but it's not the panacea that it's sometimes billed as. Here's my experience with the Alfine 8:

You will immediately notice the extra weight, and the drag. It is noticeably heavy and draggy, with a great deal of weight concentrated in one very dense location, but some might consider that the price to pay for extra reliability and weather-proof performance.

However, it was not reliable at all for me right away. 5th gear would slip, the pedals spinning more-or-less freely without driving the bike, all while the hub made horrid grinding noises. Then it would re-engage, only to slip again. 5th gear is the one where the roller-clutch transitions between over and under-drive, and that gear skipped like crazy, particularly under effort. I should point out that my maximum effort is the effort generated by a 135lb cyclist who is, at best, Cat 5 pack-fodder just hanging on. I don't abuse equipment with weight and/or power. Within the course of just over a year, I paid two different shops $100 each to look at this, and after they assured me it was fixed...it wasn't.

Warranty, you say? All of those shops were Shimano warranty centers, and they wouldn't warranty it. Claimed the setup was bad, or I had the wrong kind of cable ferrule, or it just needed overhauled and serviced...and they were both glad to charge me.

Eventually I sorted it on my own. I have started to scoff whenever the stock answer on BF is "take it to your LBS". Two shops, and more money in maintenance than I spent on the car last year, with very few miles on that hub to show for it. I have yet to find an LBS that can fix my bikes better than I can, and after a lot of reading, I got this as close as it's going to get.

The skipping is mostly gone, and I've been riding it around now mostly trouble free for six months. I've found that the system is EXQUISITELY sensitive to cable tension/position, and swings in temperature will alter things to the point where I need to readjust, because 5th gear will grind again. But it mostly doesn't skip anymore. The yellow alignment lines are also off, so I added a little mark of my own to help line up the sight adjustment window. I don't think I'll ever fully trust this hub though...even though it's working, I still cringe in anticipation every time it goes to 5th.

Other things that are a PITA:

Many disc-brake compatible racks utilize the rear axle for mounting. With Alfine, my rack no longer worked. Still shopping for a good replacement. If your frame has two sets of eyelets, then no problem, but mine is getting pretty crowded around that disc caliper with my one set.

Speaking of the axle, you will now need to carry a 15mm crescent wrench with you in your saddle bag. And a multi-tool with some small pliers, because it's easier than finger for the cable. These tools can count as part of the weight total of the system, because you are not going to change a flat without them. Speaking of flats...

God help you if you ever have to change one in cold, sloppy conditions. First, flip the bike over into the muck; there is no way you'll extricate this hub with the bike upright. What do you think this is...a derailer and cassette? Ha! Next, use the pliers to remove the cable from the cassette joint. That's a real B to do with fingers in the cold wet, and not much more fun with the pliers. Then, 15mm wrench for axle nuts, and pull the beast out of your frame. Change flat. Now re-insert, carefully re-setting the counter-rotation washers, a task for which it helps to have the bike upright with the frame's weight on the axle. Now get down on hands and knees in the muck, and use one hand to hold the spring-loaded cassette-joint back, while either pliers or fingers re-insert the cable nut. Get all housing seated, and make sure the cable threaded the little guides and obstacles on the cassette joint properly. Back to your ride. Grind, grind, grind...what the #*@%!!! Bike back over to check. Oh, a little bit of grit got in the cable guide on the cassette joint, affecting the geometry of the wrap, causing my gears to grind again. Get the pliers back out, remove, clean the channel, replace again. Now, fingers raw, temper flaring, back to your ride, while you dream of how much more pleasant this kind of work is by comparison on a derailer system.

Do you like quiet drive-trains? I do, so no Chris King hubs for me, I suppose. Your Alfine, functioning properly, will make an unpleasant clack-clack-clack-clack-clack whilst coasting in gears 5-8, on the over-drive end of the roller clutch. Enjoy.

When this thing dies, I will not replace it with another. It will be replaced with a derailer system, as I would rather buy a new cassette, chain, and chainring every spring. But, it is a drivetrain that can work, and you can ride places on it. So there's that. I just don't think it represents an improvement over a cassette and derailer setup.

Shimano will also tell you that there is a whole host of activities it is not meant to handle, including: really cold riding, mountain biking, ice or snow, pulling a trailer, standing while pedaling, high rider power outputs, pulling a kid trailer, etc. According to Shimano legal-ese, the Alfine is designed for soft-pedaling casually on park pathways.

Do a Google search for Alfine hub skipping, and Alfine hub skipping in 5th gear. MTBR is rife with threads on this subject.
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Old 09-13-16, 08:38 AM   #3
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I have exactly the opposite experience with my nexus 8 red band (same internals as the alfine but without the disc brake mounting.)

Yes, the internal hub is a bit heavier, no I do not notice it when I'm riding. It's rotating weight that's concentrated at the center of rotation. I only really notice it when I lift the bike.

My nexus only ever "slipped" once, and that was because I did not have the shifter adjusted properly, so it was effectively between two gears. The adjustment for these hubs is EXTRAORDINARILY easy. You turn the barrel adjuster until two yellow lines line up (in 4th gear.) It's so easy that when the hub DID slip (that one time), I simply shifted to 4th gear, looked back at my hub and adjusted the cable tension on the fly while I was riding. I haven't adjusted it since. (It's easy because it's visual. Normal derailleur adjustment requires trial and error for most people. You have to turn the adjuster while pedaling and wait for it to shift, then turn it a half turn (or so) more to make sure the chain is centered... etc. With the IGH you turn it until the lines line up and the shifting is perfect, every time.)

As for the cable being hard to remove and insert. That's really not true. There is a hole in the shifting mechanism that allows you to put in a small 2mm allen which takes the pressure off of the cable, making it easy to remove and install. I can do it by hand in a few seconds. Super easy.

However, I will agree that removing the wheel is a pain. I would not want to fix a flat in the winter. In fact I don't think I COULD fix a flat in the winter. What I would more likely do is just pull the tube out, patch the hole, then put it back in without removing the wheel. However, in my 2 years of ownership of this hub, I've never gotten a flat (on this bike), so it hasn't been a problem. However, when I do take the wheel off on the stand I can get it off in a few minutes (compared to a few 10s of seconds with a derailleur.) If I did actually have to fix a flat in the winter, I'd walk the bike to the nearest shop/store or friends house and do it there.

I've never seen a serious disc brake compatible rack use the axle as a mounting point. Or rather I've never seen a modern bike that doesn't have braze ons for a rack behind the axle unless it's an ultra high performance CF bike that's not meant to carry things.

My nexus IS silent. The only noise is induced by my not perfect chainline and my use of a SS (not very flexible) chain. My nexus does NOT make a "clack clack clack" sound when riding. The only other noise on the bike is caused by my knobby tires on asphalt. I often sneak up on people.

I've ridden this hub anywhere from -40 to 90F and it's performed fine. It does get a BIT sluggish at the super cold temperatures, and by that I mean I give it a few seconds to finish the shift before I put on the power again, but at that temperature my cassette would be a frozen iceball anyway so I think I'm coming out on top here.

I would recommend an internal hub for commuters. Not for serious road biking, not for serious mountain biking. Commuters, yes, recreational riders who ride through their park? Yes. Riding on a MUP? Yes. I don't remember the last time I did drivetrain maintenance on this bike.

If you google a problem about anything, you'll always find there are LOTS of people online who complain. But just remember, the ones who like their product and have no problems with it aren't usually going to go online and say so, so you get a disproportionately large amount of people complaining about everything on the internet.

There are PLENTY of us on this site who have thousands of miles on our IGHs and have no problems with them whatsoever.

Another thing to keep in mind is this. When I bought my hub I had read that the alfine 11s had problems. I forget exactly what the problem was, but once I read that I decided to go for the 8s instead. In all honesty I only use 4 of those gears (3-6) If I've spun out in 6th I can coast (probably about 25 MPH) and I've only ever used 2 when I was doing something I shouldn't have been doing on my bike (climbing the local ridiculously steep trail.)

Last edited by corrado33; 09-13-16 at 08:52 AM.
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Old 09-13-16, 09:53 AM   #4
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You should also ask about the Sturmey Archer hubs. They don't have as big market share, but they are worth consideration.
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Old 09-13-16, 10:04 AM   #5
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Yeah, you can find any problem on Google, but I point out MTBR specifically because the site is trafficked by "bike people", many of them knowledgeable, many reporting the exact same problem and diagnosis.

Even though I'm rolling this hub right now, I will never have full faith in it, and I mostly just wish I could get my money back, and the time I took in the build.

Oh, and racks? My OMM Shera is a pretty serious rack, axle/QR mounted. Blackburn EX, Axiom streamliner disc, just to name a couple. It's a nice workaround when you have seatstay mounted calipers and only one set of eyelets.
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Old 09-13-16, 10:07 AM   #6
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I can attest to the 5th gear skipping phenomenon. I built up a bike around a Alfine 8 and initially, 5th was my default gear for flat land riding, but it skipped frequently enough to be annoying. No amount of adjusting fixed it, nor did an oil bath. I "solved" it (and the problem of the too-wide gap between 5th and 6th gears) by changing my rear sprocket so that 6th was my default gear.

As for weight and draggy-ness, I don't actually think there's any drag when pedalling; definitely some when coasting. It's heavy, but I put it on a heavy bike.

Eventually, I ditched the hub and put a 3X8 transmission on the bike. It's still a heavy bike, but much less annoying.
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Old 09-13-16, 10:43 AM   #7
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I have the 8sp Alfine as well. It has been around 1.5 years.

Around a month after getting it, my gears started slipping. Part of the break-in. I didn't know about the cable adjusting thing, but it was a 5 minute fix.

Things were great. The next problem I had was my trigger shifter screen died. I could shift fine, but the numbers didn't change. I got a new thumb shifter (I wanted something sleeker) from microshift. After a week or two I needed another cable adjustment. All good now.

I have found the Alfine hub to be quiet and reliable. Shifting is a little different than a derailleur, you want to ease up a bit before shifting, but you'll adjust fast.

My rear ended is a bit heavier but this isn't a real issue. If you want the lightest bike ever, don't get an IGH.

If you don't need the gear range, you can probably downgrade to a 3speed. These are less complicated.

I use almost all of my gears. It is a bit hilly where I live and lots of gradual climbs. Sustained flats I use gear 6-7. In stop and go traffic, 3-4. Hills get 1-2.

I love having an igh. Love shifting at the light.
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Old 09-13-16, 10:44 AM   #8
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I've always liked IGHs but mostly in the abstract. They promise so much, but they are so far from perfect, as these testimonies show. 3-speed hubs are reliable and easy to work with. Removing and replacing the wheel is easy, at least for me. But the gears are much too far apart for my taste, so it ends up being a 1- or 2-speed hub for me. Even 5-speed hubs have this problem for me. 8-speed and higher hubs are complex and finicky and are very hard to work on. They don't have the low maintenance advantages that 5-speed and 3-speed hubs have.

Derailleurs are light and cheap by comparison, and it's easy to customize gearing.
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Old 09-13-16, 11:38 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Banzai View Post
Yeah, you can find any problem on Google, but I point out MTBR specifically because the site is trafficked by "bike people", many of them knowledgeable, many reporting the exact same problem and diagnosis.

Even though I'm rolling this hub right now, I will never have full faith in it, and I mostly just wish I could get my money back, and the time I took in the build.

Oh, and racks? My OMM Shera is a pretty serious rack, axle/QR mounted. Blackburn EX, Axiom streamliner disc, just to name a couple. It's a nice workaround when you have seatstay mounted calipers and only one set of eyelets.
Maybe there IS a difference between the alfine and nexus?

I'll say that I went into Nexus ownership knowing exactly how I needed to treat the IGH and how to adjust it. I knew to ease up on the pedals when shifting (or even stop pedaling). I knew how to adjust the shifting and immediately adjusted it when it slipped. I will say that the adjustment is a bit finicky, and you should really make sure the lines line up perfectly, and not simply overlap halfway, but it's so easy to do that it's never been a problem for me. The time mine slipped the lines were only halfway lined up.

I'm not trying to call you out, but was there a period when you rode it and you wondered why it was slipping only to realize it was mis-adjusted? Perhaps the hubs are very easily damaged by maladjustment?

As for racks: It's really interesting. I've also shopped for disc brake compatible racks and have rarely seen QR mounted ones. (All of my current bikes have rack mounts.) It seems our experiences are on opposite ends of the spectrum. Funny how that happens sometimes!
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Old 09-13-16, 11:54 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
I've always liked IGHs but mostly in the abstract. They promise so much, but they are so far from perfect, as these testimonies show.
That is probably the very best way to phrase it. I, too, really like the IDEA of it, which is why I worked so hard to make it all work out. I still really like it in the abstract.
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Old 09-13-16, 11:58 AM   #11
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I've commuted on a Nexus 8sp (plain, no red band) for 23000kms without any problems so far. Weight distribution feels odd at first, but not a problem for commuting. Maintenance is almost non existent - I drilled and tapped the hub for an oiler port at around 5000kms, that was the first and last time I disassembled it. Now I use ATF and change it about once a year. 42/20 gear is OK for flat terrain, in fact I rarely use the 8th gear, and the 1st and 2nd ones only with a loaded trailer. In nearly 4 years of use I only replaced 3 brake pad sets, a cable, a tire (at 14000kms and due to a glass shard), 3 chains and a cog.
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Old 09-13-16, 12:42 PM   #12
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I've been dealing in the Alfine hubs for as long as they have been on the market. I was operating a bike shop when they first came out, and one of the bike brands I handled, Brodie, was one of the first OEMs to offer a Alfine equipped bike.
I sold out of those bikes each year, and did about an equal number of after market retrofits.
Even with the early, 500 series hubs, there were very few issues, and when they did crop up, it was always shift cable related. Either too many tight bends, or the cable not routed correctly around the cassette joint capstan, or just a matter of the adjustment being off.
I'm not discounting the fact that some have had issues other than those, but I've seen very little of that over the rather large number of these hubs I've sold and serviced.
Until this year, I never had one of these hubs in a bike of my own, but I recently built up a commuter with an Alfine 501 model.
I will post more about this bike soon.
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Old 09-13-16, 08:30 PM   #13
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I have commuted on my ebike through hot and very cold single digit (F) temps. When snow builds up on the cable it can sometimes not shift as well but over all my Allfine 11 has been trouble free. If it ever tends to skip I check and if needed align the marks, proble fixed.

I may be an exception but I have 2 Allfine 11 hubs, one on the ebike and one on my trike and both have been very reliable and trouble free for the most part. I do realize others seem to have many problems with them but that has not been my experience. I would buy another one in a heart beat!
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Old 09-13-16, 10:27 PM   #14
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About 95% of bikes in Europe are IGH with the Alfine/Nexus 8 having become quite popular. I think similar for Asia. Knowing the Dutch and Scandinavians (and Germans) they'd not continue using them if they were overly problematic. The 3's and 5's are pretty much bullet-proof and the 8's are close behind. We have 8's, 5's (S-A & Nexus) and N360's and no problems.

If you are competing in the tour and trying to win up Ventoux then the weight and drag are an issue. I assume that's not the case here.

I've never known anyone (and I spend a lot of time in The Netherlands and nearby) to have to or try to change a tire or tube on the road. If you get a flat on the road you pull the tube out, patch it, stuff it back, pump it up, and off you go. About 5 minutes.

Tips: Cables need to be able to move freely. Cables stretch and so require adjustment of the hub. Ease up on pedaling when shifting.
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Old 09-13-16, 11:02 PM   #15
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I have an Alfine 8 on my winter bike.

To me there's 2 good uses for an IGH - winter road riding, and bike that are left outdoors 24/7 (like city bikes are). I have not had the numerous issues that above posters had. Mine had slipping issues but then like someone said I got the cable adjusted (same thing you have to do with a derailler) and it's worked great since then. After like 5 years the shifter got gummed up, and I had to pay a local shop $30 or something to clean it out. Was kind of odd. But the hub itself has continued to work well.

I wouldn't really recommend it for summer riding though. The maintenance benefits are a bit overblown for summer riding imo, it's only worth it in the winter because of how much salt and sand is thrown up, and not icing up the cassette so you can't shift, neither of which doesn't happen in the summer. It's heavier. It's a little slower. I wouldn't say it's horribly slower, but I'd say I can just barely tell the difference. Bigger annoyance is having bigger gaps between the gears (at least on the 8). And a few gears are more noticeablyless efficient, though I don't use those gears very often so it doesn't matter that much. It's a real pain to change a flat on to...perhaps with practice it would be the same amount of effort, but I'm to lazy to do that.

I don't think IGH's are supposed to be put on mountain bikes that are actually ridden offroad. There's quite some debate on it.

I would stick with a regular traditional derailler for spring/summer/fall, imo. Both SRAM and Shimano have a more reasonably priced 1x11 derailler setup nowadays to which looked interesting. If I was going to do something niche and interesting on a summer bike, I'd skip the IGH and go with the NuVinci CVT bike hub with infite gear ratios. I mean it's even heavier, but it's rather interesting. Though I can't see myself doing niche stuff like that nowadays, I'd go with 1x11 myself.
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Old 09-14-16, 04:00 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by CrankyOne View Post
About 95% of bikes in Europe are IGH with the Alfine/Nexus 8 having become quite popular. I think similar for Asia. Knowing the Dutch and Scandinavians (and Germans) they'd not continue using them if they were overly problematic. The 3's and 5's are pretty much bullet-proof and the 8's are close behind. We have 8's, 5's (S-A & Nexus) and N360's and no problems.

If you are competing in the tour and trying to win up Ventoux then the weight and drag are an issue. I assume that's not the case here.

Drag, in the sense of mechanical resistance, is always an issue. Contrary to weight that only gets important on steep hills. Often it's an unnoticed issue because it's hard to establish without direct comparison, you're on a new bike and it feels good, it's hard to notice that it should ride about 5% lighter. But now the Shimano 7 is getting less popular because it had extra drag in the wrong gears, the most used ones 3, 4 and 5. The Shimano 8 doesn't have that problem.

Quote:
I've never known anyone (and I spend a lot of time in The Netherlands and nearby) to have to or try to change a tire or tube on the road. If you get a flat on the road you pull the tube out, patch it, stuff it back, pump it up, and off you go. About 5 minutes.
To me it's seems nonsense to combine a IHG with an open chain, a fully enclosed chaincase makes much more sense. These are better left alone, especially the cloth/canvas ones. If you patch the rear tube leave the wheel in and don't unscrew anything, if you need to change the tyre use a fork spreader and get a gap of 1 cm between stay and axle and pull the tyre through. Of course you can get the rear wheel out but it's a very fiddly job to get it back in exactly right.

I don't know about the 95%, I think you are forgetting all the single speeds with kickback brakes and the French and Italian love for derailleurs which hold up very well in sunny weather use in warm climates.

Quote:
Originally Posted by noglider View Post
I've always liked IGHs but mostly in the abstract. They promise so much, but they are so far from perfect, as these testimonies show. 3-speed hubs are reliable and easy to work with. Removing and replacing the wheel is easy, at least for me. But the gears are much too far apart for my taste, so it ends up being a 1- or 2-speed hub for me. Even 5-speed hubs have this problem for me. 8-speed and higher hubs are complex and finicky and are very hard to work on. They don't have the low maintenance advantages that 5-speed and 3-speed hubs have.

Derailleurs are light and cheap by comparison, and it's easy to customize gearing.
And for use in sports the IGH has the disadvantage that you can't shift with power applied. In a commuting state of mind that's not an issue, you just take half a pedal stroke to shift. I've only owned 3-speeds and not ridden much with 5,7 or 8's, but for me the 1 and 2 of the SA are just there to get to 3rd in a relaxed way, and for special circumstances like a steep hill. But maybe that's just me, I like low revs, high torque, no upper body movement.

These 8-speeds are very complicated, but are they high maintenance? I thought they just needed a drop of oil every year and don't have to be taken apart.
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Old 09-14-16, 08:21 AM   #17
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For urban commuting I love the IGH (currently 8 speed Alfine, would like to try the 11). Today I almost got doored, managed to check it down quickly (discs) and avoid the collision, clicked down three gears and I was back in business. I love the ability to react to rapidly changing road conditions/hazards and shifting later as needed.


As other posters have pointed out, shifter adjustment is more finicky and changing tires is more of a pain, but in the grand maintenance scheme these are trivial considerations to me, given how maintenance-free this hub has been for me.
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Old 09-14-16, 08:25 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Stadjer View Post
These 8-speeds are very complicated, but are they high maintenance? I thought they just needed a drop of oil every year and don't have to be taken apart.
Shimano recommends getting the hub serviced after (I believe) 1000 miles. I may be wrong. The service isn't hard, per se. It's basically removing the dust covers, removing a snap ring, then pulling the entire hub out of the shell. (Nothing is spring loaded to go flying across your shop fortunately.) Clean that off and soak it in some ATF (or shimano's lube if you feel like being spendy) and then put it back together. (Oh and grease the bearings with grease... yes two separate lubes for one hub.)

Hard? Not for someone who knows how to work on bikes. No harder than servicing bearings.

I DO really like the idea of tapping an oil port into the hub though... I may have to do that next spring when I service it again.
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Old 09-14-16, 08:35 AM   #19
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i have an alfine 8 on my winter bike. it's functioned just fine for me over the last 5 winters.

my only complaints: it's HEAVY. it's draggy, particularly at colder temps (which is less than ideal for a winter bike). and removing the rear wheel is a bit more complicated (but it's not really that hard if you practice at home a few times to familiarize yourself).

in retrospect, the afline 8 was overkill for my needs, i really don't have much use for 8 speeds for commuting in this unrelentingly flat city. if i had to do it all over again, i'd probably go with one of those bombproof SA 3 speed hubs that everyone speaks so highly of.

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Old 09-14-16, 08:36 AM   #20
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@Stadjer, I didn't say high maintenance. That's different from finicky and very hard to work on. I don't know how representative the stories of tricky cable adjustment and re-installation are, and I haven't used an 8-speed hub. Maybe most people don't have these troubles.

Being able to shift while stopped or coasting is a big plus when commuting, and it's worth giving up the ability to shift while applying a lot of power. This is one thing I love about IGHs. And some people may not know, you can shift while applying a small amount of power.
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Old 09-14-16, 10:27 AM   #21
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I used Sturmey Archer 8 speed hubs on a few different folding bikes for several years, I think 8 years. Really liked them. I retired the last one when the bike frame broke; if it weren't for that, I'd still be using it.

I have used two Shimano Nexus 8 speed hubs; the first one eventually became problematic... I'm not sure how many thousands of miles that was, but it was well over ten years of use, first on a touring bike, later on my commuter. When it started to misbehave, I replaced it with an old Sturmey Archer three speed (AW) the main advantage of which is that I know how to work on it myself. The second Nexus 8 one is on my current folding bike, and I've only had it for a little over a year.

I like both the Sturmey Archer and the Shimano 8 speed hubs. I tend to prefer the former, but when choosing between the two, I'd emphasize that the hub has to suit the bike. The Sturmey Archer is better suited to a bike with small wheels (but of course you can use it on a bike with normal wheels, if you have a small chain ring).

Bear in mind that IGH's in general require horizontal dropouts (there are ways around that, such as chain tensioners, but I think they're not worth the effort), and most IGH shifters are made for 22.2 mm handlebars. Mounting any IGH shifter on a bike with drop bars (23.8 mm) is a challenge; sometimes an insurmountable challenge.
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Old 09-14-16, 10:39 AM   #22
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I currently commute with BMC Alpenchallenge AC02 with the Alfine 8 speed, roughly 10 miles a day round trip. For over a year now, my IGH has been nothing short of stellar for these reasons:
  • Fast gear change ability, I mean really fast. The Rapid Fire Shimano is very..well...rapid.
  • No grease to worry about staining my work clothes
  • Easiest bike I've ever owned to maintain, which is practically none.
  • Fast enough to get around town, but also great for longer 30 mile casual bike rides. Anything longer than 30 miles I get my carbon fiber road bike out.

I haven't had any gear problems, as noted by others, no skips, slips or weird dragging. I also haven't had any flats in over 3,000 miles of riding (I know crazy!) on the IGH, so I can't attest to changing tires on the road with an IGH. I have had to replace the tires due to normal wear, that was a slight PITA, but nothing so hard that I couldn't do it myself. Overall, I'm very happy with choosing an IGH bike.
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Old 09-14-16, 11:55 AM   #23
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I DO really like the idea of tapping an oil port into the hub though... I may have to do that next spring when I service it again.
It worked OK for me, but the hole must be drilled precisely where it needs to be, and you should expect a bit of oil leaking - the hub was designed to use grease. No problem, just clean it with a rag every 2 weeks or so.
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Old 09-14-16, 12:04 PM   #24
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I simply remove the shift Pull Chain from my 3 speed S-A and Drip some oil in occasionally..

the right end of the axle is hollow , after all .
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Old 09-14-16, 12:10 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by corrado33 View Post
Shimano recommends getting the hub serviced after (I believe) 1000 miles. I may be wrong. The service isn't hard, per se. It's basically removing the dust covers, removing a snap ring, then pulling the entire hub out of the shell. (Nothing is spring loaded to go flying across your shop fortunately.) Clean that off and soak it in some ATF (or shimano's lube if you feel like being spendy) and then put it back together. (Oh and grease the bearings with grease... yes two separate lubes for one hub.)

Hard? Not for someone who knows how to work on bikes. No harder than servicing bearings.

I DO really like the idea of tapping an oil port into the hub though... I may have to do that next spring when I service it again.
I thought at least most of them would have that. And to be honest, I guess this 1000 miles is for the perfectionists, in the sense that it will probably take 30.000 miles without any maintenance before it starts to malfunction because it's closed and there will be still oil in it. I'm limited by my perspective here, I can't remember ever having owned a new bike or in another way ever expecting or maintaining perfection. Now I've a 40 year old one with an SA 3 with oil port, but to be honest I didn't bother changing the oil yet, as it sounds and feels nice and I wouldn't surprise me if the previous owner never bothered either.

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@Stadjer, I didn't say high maintenance. That's different from finicky and very hard to work on. I don't know how representative the stories of tricky cable adjustment and re-installation are, and I haven't used an 8-speed hub. Maybe most people don't have these troubles.

Being able to shift while stopped or coasting is a big plus when commuting, and it's worth giving up the ability to shift while applying a lot of power. This is one thing I love about IGHs. And some people may not know, you can shift while applying a small amount of power.
I don't know if that's wise though. Even the good old SA3 is a bit too complicated for me to remember how it works, I did understand it once, but remembering requires a bit more. But I've heard about very tiny parts suffering from shifting under power, maybe you should check that in the mechanics forum or the English 3-speed topic in C&V, there are a lot of people there who know their SA3's better than me. I prefer trying to get the timing spot on. An oil port makes maintenance a lot less tricky of course, because you can just leave it as it is. That's what I prefer, not because I don't want to get my hands dirty, but because it's a lot of fiddly work and not very rewarding, because the chain case gets a bit less tight everytime you have to take it apart to get to the wheel.

My bike was designed to oil the gears trought the oil port and the chain by unbottening the case, then one link in the chain is visible, and you oil it and turn, and then you button it up. Very easy but the drawback is that when you have to take the wheel out, it won't all get back together again as tight as it was. You have to adjust the tensioners, it's very difficult to judge whether the wheel alignes with the frame perfectly, then you have to readjust the amount of play on the bearings because it tends to change with unscrewing the axle, and this is really important and fiddly because there just one right amount of play, a tiny bit off and you have too much drag or too much wear. The cable adjustment on a SA3 is relatively easy but still something that takes a few attemps and corrections. So basically it's really easy to maintain but hard to repair and take the wheel out. It thought all IGH would have kept the easy to maintain part.

When I had a derailleur on my commuter and forgot to shift down before a traffic light, I just pulled the lever, lifted the rear wheel and turned the pedal and it was in first. A lot less comfortable of course, but I do understand that sports cyclists intuitively don't like interrupting the power. Someone mentioned with derailleurs it's easier to adjust the gear ratios to your personal preference, that's true of course. But you can also adjust your muscles to the gears, just by riding it regularly.

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Originally Posted by Steely Dan View Post
in retrospect, the afline 8 was overkill for my needs, i really don't have much use for 8 speeds for commuting in this unrelentingly flat city. if i had to do it all over again, i'd probably go with one of those bombproof SA 3 speed hubs that everyone speaks so highly of.
You really need to climb a steep hill and go down to 3rd become too light, if the wind is so strong it does that, it's probably wise to stay inside anyway.
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