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Form vs Function: 2 Shimano Alfine bikes

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Form vs Function: 2 Shimano Alfine bikes

Old 09-25-11, 11:24 PM
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mikepwagner
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Form vs Function: 2 Shimano Alfine bikes

I expect to replace my current ride - a 1988 GT Tequesta - with a new bike over the winter. I am looking for an "anything" bike - I use my bike for errands, relatively short fitness rides, and hopefully a century now and then.

My analysis of my needs (low maintenance, always read to jump on it and go - without regard for weather or having to change clothes) and lack of needs (don't care too much about weight or speed) have lead me to believe that a good match for me would be a Gate belt drive bike with Shimano 11 and disc breaks.

The combination of a Gates belt drive and a Shimano 11 is really about low/no maintenance and not having to deal with a dirty chain. I have been riding for a couple of months, and manage to have grease and or transfer grease on many of my clothes. The disc brakes are about all weather braking performance.

All of that has me saving my pennies for a 2012 Civia Belt Bryan Alfine. It's a little over my budget, but looks like it would need no upgrades in the foreseeable future. The only thing I see in the future is a move to hydraulics when someone develops a setup for drop bars or I decide that I can live with straight bars.

So this bike looks to me like a perfect fit functionally:

http://beltbik.es/civia-cycles/2012/bryant-belt-alfine

But then I did a search for an IGH bike in a lugged steel frame. I came across the Bella Ciao Ingegnere Due. Even though it has a chain and rim brakes I think its just drop dead gorgeous. (Note I am speaking of the Shimano 8 version of this bike - not the single speed.) I would expect to upgrade the Shimano 8 to a Shimano 11 as soon as my wallet recovered from the original purchase.

http://www.bellaciao.de/en/?page_id=962

So which do I follow - my mind and functionality (the Civia), my heart and beauty (the Bella Ciao)?

I can't afford both - $2000 is probably pushing the upper range of my budget. The only other consideration is that the Civia is available through an LBS, the Ciao Bella is not.
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Old 09-26-11, 03:55 AM
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I'd go with the Civia because of the LBS connection to service. Be prepared to have a very heavy bike, I have a Shimano 11 in a Ti frame and it's kind of heavy if the frame was steel it would be up there in weight and if you plan on having a rack, and water bottles; oh boy. Adding a rack and fenders will be a test of your mechanical abilities as neither wants to play nice with discs.

My bike is a commuter and is fine for slower rides. I do like discs for wet weather riding (which we have had a lot of this year), so I am currently looking for a light weight road bike with disc brakes and the ability to add fenders right now the Volagi is the only choice but now that disc brakes are allowed on cross bikes, there should be a slew of disc (kind of) road bikes coming to market.
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Old 09-26-11, 07:40 AM
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Originally Posted by gear View Post
I'd go with the Civia because of the LBS connection to service. Be prepared to have a very heavy bike,
Thanks for your input. The connection to the LBS is important, and this guy knows IGH. There were several IG bikes in his shop, including one he was servicing that was a $10K custom built off road tourer with a Rohloff. That was one of the three Rohloffs sitting around the shop.

I do have a question about weight. While I am not overly concerned with weight, I wonder how much of the weight differentia is due strictly to the drive train selection and how much is due to other choices. In other words, what is the weight difference between a Gates belt drive system and a derailleur based drive train, when all components are considered? That would have to include the front and read cog, the belt and the Shimano 11 hub on the IGH bike. and the front and rear derailleurs, the chain, the front chain and rear cogs on the derailleur equipped bike.

Is the difference between those two drive chain choices measured in ounces or pounds?

As I said in the original post, I am am not overly concerned about weight - my main use for the bike is errands and fitness riding. I think that a heavier bike is probably my friend when it comes to fitness; after all, I seek out hills to get a better workout. Going fast is not much of an issue - I think either bike will be lighter than my 1988 Tequesta.

But it would be interesting to know the weight difference between the two drive train choices in an apples-to-apples comparison.
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Old 09-26-11, 07:59 AM
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Personally I think the Civia is much the better-looking bike.
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Old 09-26-11, 08:44 AM
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Go for the Bella Ciao. We have to make too many decisions based upon practicality. You are going to ride it. Anything you ride should appeal to your sense of aesthetics.
It is not an investment.
The fork has a beautiful curve. The rest of the Bella Ciao is also gorgeous. The other bike has pipes for a fork.
Ride beauty.
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Old 09-26-11, 10:11 AM
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Originally Posted by CHAS View Post
The fork has a beautiful curve. The rest of the Bella Ciao is also gorgeous. The other bike has pipes for a fork.
Ride beauty.
Yeah, it was the curve of the fork and the lugged frame that caught my eye.

I am not quite sure how to evaluate the LBS factor. I assume that bike frames themselves are pretty low maintenance, and that since the Shimano 8 is pretty standard (at least for a guy that works on IGH bikes a lot), so the only questionable maintenance items would be the brakes and the crank set. The crank set looks to be standard issue item, and the brakes look more or less standard.

I guess that I should ask the LBS if there is any way that he could order one of the Bella Ciao's - that might make a difference.

Mike
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Old 09-26-11, 12:20 PM
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Get some White Lightning chain cleaner/lube and save yourself a LOT of money! Chain stays clean and crud-free.
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Old 09-26-11, 12:32 PM
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Just the drive train weight difference will be a little under a pound I bet.

I think once the bike is fully loaded you'll be moving about 36 pounds around.
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Old 09-26-11, 01:52 PM
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Think I have the same concerns as gear. That is going to be a bit weighty on any distance rides. I am looking for a "Beater" bike for next year and looking for something that will be more or less maintenance free. Looking on E-Bay for a cheap bike that I can afford to lose when it goes "Walkies" and hopefully found one. I know it is not what you are looking for but I reckon this one will be lighter than the ones you are contemplating. Currently about $50 and a couple of days to run but I reckon I could afford $100 for this one.



But this would be for local use only- not For longer rides. Providing I can get this cheap enough- I will be able to get another bike for the longer rides.
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Old 09-26-11, 07:38 PM
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Originally Posted by gear View Post
Just the drive train weight difference will be a little under a pound I bet.

I think once the bike is fully loaded you'll be moving about 36 pounds around.
This review of the 2011 Civia Bryant Alfine says that as test (looks like just a rear rack), it weighed 30.5 lbs:

http://www.ecovelo.info/2010/01/03/s...-civia-bryant/

The claimed weight of the single speed version of the Ingegnere is somewhere around 10-11kg (it's a little hard to nail down). People are quoting the manufacturer, not weighing it themselves, from what I can tell.

The weight of the Civia sounds right in line with about any steel framed commuter bike I am likely to buy.

If the total drive train difference is only a pound, that doesn't seem like a very big difference to me. I weigh right under 150 llbs and the bike weighs 30-35 lbs. That means that an extra pound of weight is about a half percent difference (1/180).

Mike
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Old 09-26-11, 08:27 PM
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I have a 2011 Trek SOHO Deluxe purchased new for $1190 including TX state sales tax. It only has an 8 speed IGH. It is about 32 lb. It has a carbon fork and the frame is aluminum. I use it for commuting and don't mind it being a "Fred" bike. I ride it with slacks and never have a problem with the drive train. It has fenders and a solid rack as well as a front disc brake. I like the drop bars on the Civia, but don't know that I would spend over $2000 to get a steel frame and the 11 speed Afline. I did want a steel commuter with an IGH, but price was the deal breaker.

My recreational bicycle is a Specialized Roubaix, which would not be a good choice for a commute. The SOHO in my opinion is not a suitable bike for extended recreational rides. It is fun cruising around the neighborhood or taking a quick jaunt to the grocery store.
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Old 09-26-11, 08:36 PM
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Here's one I suggest you check out before you pull the trigger.
http://www.brodiebikes.com/2011/bikes/once.php
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Old 09-26-11, 09:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Dan Burkhart View Post
Here's one I suggest you check out before you pull the trigger.
http://www.brodiebikes.com/2011/bikes/once.php
Yeah, I have looked at the Once, and it has a lot to recommend it. Three drawbacks: aluminum frame; chain drive; no local LBS. But it does have hydraulic brakes - a big plus.

I don't know how I would be able to assess the difference between a steel ride and an aluminum ride without riding the bike.
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Old 09-26-11, 09:06 PM
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Originally Posted by mikepwagner View Post
Yeah, I have looked at the Once, and it has a lot to recommend it. Three drawbacks: aluminum frame; chain drive; no local LBS. But it does have hydraulic brakes - a big plus.

I don't know how I would be able to assess the difference between a steel ride and an aluminum ride without riding the bike.
The Once has another big plus you may not have noticed. The rear brake caliper is mounted in such a way that it does not inerfere with rack and fender mounting.
Disclaimer: I used to be a Brodie dealer. The Once was not yet conceived (nor the Alfine 11) but I sold a ton of the Ocho model.
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Old 09-26-11, 10:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Dan Burkhart View Post
The Once has another big plus you may not have noticed. The rear brake caliper is mounted in such a way that it does not inerfere with rack and fender mounting.
Disclaimer: I used to be a Brodie dealer. The Once was not yet conceived (nor the Alfine 11) but I sold a ton of the Ocho model.
I think the Bryant is the same way - the disk brake is in the vee between the chain stay and the seat stay, if I have my terminology correct.
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Old 09-27-11, 03:49 AM
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Originally Posted by mikepwagner View Post
This review of the 2011 Civia Bryant Alfine says that as test (looks like just a rear rack), it weighed 30.5 lbs:

http://www.ecovelo.info/2010/01/03/s...-civia-bryant/

If the total drive train difference is only a pound, that doesn't seem like a very big difference to me. I weigh right under 150 llbs and the bike weighs 30-35 lbs. That means that an extra pound of weight is about a half percent difference (1/180).

Mike
Mike,
The difference is that the weight on the Shimano hub is rotational weight, it matters more than static weight. I am not trying to throw water on your idea, I just think the extra weight your talking about makes your choice in a bike go from the experience of driving a sports car to one of driving an SUV. And thats fine if you know that to begin with, so that is why I am emphasizing the weight difference.

The avoidance of maintenance you are looking for is a bit of an illusion. IG bikes still need maintenance, the hub will need an occasional oil change, Bottom Bracket needs service as does your front hub, wheels need truing, cables will stretch or break, you need to pump up the tires and of course you'll get flats.

If you want a bike that does what you described and don't mind a good hard workout, how about a single speed bike? You get all that plus the bike will have a better "ride" to it.
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Old 09-27-11, 06:12 AM
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Originally Posted by gear View Post

If you want a bike that does what you described and don't mind a good hard workout, how about a single speed bike? You get all that plus the bike will have a better "ride" to it.
At 58 in a hilly area, I don't quite see a single speed as a good match for my knees. :-) I do love the simplicity, but U suspect that it would have a pretty limited range. The simplicity is appealing.

BTW, I think that your SUV vs sports car analogy may be quire apt. In terms of pure function, I need a multi-purpose bike, and I am willing (I think) to give up some performance for that versatility.
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Old 09-27-11, 06:27 AM
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The efficiency debate between derailleur and gearhub bikes has been waged back and forth since gearhubs first appeared in the opening decade of the 20th century.
The reality is the difference is miniscule. The real issue for performance riders is ratio gap, maintaining a narrow cadence fluctuation.
I've got 7 gearhub equipped bikes. When I climb aboard a derailleur equipped bike, I certainly don't notice any great efficiency improvement.
Yes, they do require periodic maintenance, but unless you are commuting in all weather, they can safely be ignored for a long time. Years even.
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Old 09-27-11, 07:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Dan Burkhart View Post
The efficiency debate between derailleur and gearhub bikes has been waged back and forth since gearhubs first appeared in the opening decade of the 20th century.
The reality is the difference is miniscule. The real issue for performance riders is ratio gap, maintaining a narrow cadence fluctuation.
I've got 7 gearhub equipped bikes. When I climb aboard a derailleur equipped bike, I certainly don't notice any great efficiency improvement.
Yes, they do require periodic maintenance, but unless you are commuting in all weather, they can safely be ignored for a long time. Years even.
That's pretty much my take - at least from reading and study. Seems like the engine is a lot more critical than the drive train.
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Old 09-27-11, 11:05 AM
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Originally Posted by mikepwagner View Post
I expect to replace my current ride - a 1988 GT Tequesta - with a new bike over the winter. I am looking for an "anything" bike - I use my bike for errands, relatively short fitness rides, and hopefully a century now and then.
I think you should have stopped here, a bicycle that is perfect for a short errand type ride, probably isn't very good for a century ride, and vice-versa. Bicycles are like tools, different ride types, really need different tools. The bikes your looking at are probably fine for the shorter ride, but not for the century. Yes you could do a century on them, but it's probably going to be hard and painful.
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Old 09-27-11, 02:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Wogster View Post
I think you should have stopped here, a bicycle that is perfect for a short errand type ride, probably isn't very good for a century ride, and vice-versa. Bicycles are like tools, different ride types, really need different tools. The bikes your looking at are probably fine for the shorter ride, but not for the century. Yes you could do a century on them, but it's probably going to be hard and painful.

I suspect that a bike thats great for errands is not going to be great for centuries (someone else made an analogy between SUVs and sports cars).

I just weighed my current bike. As I ride it, it weighs 37 lbs empty. I have ridden 50 miles on it (31 miles in w/o stopping, and 3 X 6 mile trips) in a day. That day, and for most of my 30 mile rides, I have some stuff in the basket.

I have been riding for a couple of months, and don't expect to try a century until next spring. I expect to be able to complete the century - but I don't really care how fast.

Maybe I will find out that I am wrong when I try it, but my sense is that I don't need the "ideal" tool for the job.
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Old 09-29-11, 04:06 AM
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Originally Posted by mikepwagner View Post
Thanks for your input. The connection to the LBS is important, and this guy knows IGH. There were several IG bikes in his shop, including one he was servicing that was a $10K custom built off road tourer with a Rohloff. That was one of the three Rohloffs sitting around the shop.
Where in the Raleigh area is this shop? I live an hour or so SW of Raleigh and would love to find IGH support for my Shimano hubs. I currently service everything I own, but have to mail order most of my parts. FWIW my most used bikes are IGH chain drive. I do own a few "regular" bikes but for day to day riding the IGH is my choice.

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Old 09-29-11, 06:08 AM
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Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
Where in the Raleigh area is this shop? I live an hour or so SW of Raleigh and would love to find IGH support for my Shimano hubs. I currently service everything I own, but have to mail order most of my parts. FWIW my most used bikes are IGH chain drive. I do own a few "regular" bikes but for day to day riding the IGH is my choice.

Aaron
Frank's Cyclery

It's on Glenwood/70 close to Umstead.

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Old 09-29-11, 01:56 PM
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Originally Posted by mikepwagner View Post
Frank's Cyclery

It's on Glenwood/70 close to Umstead.

Mike
First I have heard of it! Have to check it out. I do all my own builds and wrenching for the most part, but don't mind helping support an LBS with parts purchase and some odd jobs.

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Old 09-29-11, 02:22 PM
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Originally Posted by mikepwagner View Post
I suspect that a bike thats great for errands is not going to be great for centuries (someone else made an analogy between SUVs and sports cars).

I just weighed my current bike. As I ride it, it weighs 37 lbs empty. I have ridden 50 miles on it (31 miles in w/o stopping, and 3 X 6 mile trips) in a day. That day, and for most of my 30 mile rides, I have some stuff in the basket.

I have been riding for a couple of months, and don't expect to try a century until next spring. I expect to be able to complete the century - but I don't really care how fast.

Maybe I will find out that I am wrong when I try it, but my sense is that I don't need the "ideal" tool for the job.
Your right, you don't need the ideal tool for the job, it just makes it easier. Now here is another thing, you have two jobs to fill, the short haul errand bike and something to do longer distances like a century. For the short haul, you already have the ideal tool, your current bike. Because it's old enough to collect a pension, weighs a ton, and probably looks like s**t, pick up a $5 lock, give it a $50 tune up, and leave it be. For that kind of riding you don't really want a $2300 bicycle, because while your doing errands, it's likely to grow legs and walk away, unless you have 20lbs of locks on it. If someone walks of with your GT, then you don't have lots of money into it, and you can just go find another old hard tail for $100 to replace it. If your really concerned about greasy trouser legs, then get a couple of those Velcro ankle straps. I actually just take one and wrap it around the seat post on each bike, it lives there except when I find I need it, and when I am done the ride, I just wrap it back around. the end sticks out, so that I just wrap it around tight, then attach it to itself. The ones I have are retro-reflective, so there is a lit up seatpost in poor light conditions.

That means you can put your entire budget into a distance bike, and for $2300 you can buy a very nice distance bike
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