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Durable IGH for touring (not Rohloff)

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Durable IGH for touring (not Rohloff)

Old 06-02-15, 10:56 AM
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Durable IGH for touring (not Rohloff)

I've done some searches and read some threads, but I thought I'd open up the topic again and see.

I mostly commute, but I like to load up my bike for some trips on occasion. Up to now, I've been using a Nuvinci hub. I love the shifting. I have no problem with the range. I haven't gone over any mountains, but for the moderate hills I travel through, it does fine. I have gotten off and walked up a few hills when fully loaded, but I feel like has more to do with being old and fat than it does with having too high of a low gear.

Problem is that I think I just wrecked my third hub. I think it's time to try something else. The only hubs with comparable range are the Rohloff and the Alfine 11. Rohloff has priced me out of that one. The Alfine 11 I could almost afford if I squint funny at the price and drink cheap beer for a couple of months. But I don't know how reliable it is, especially considering that I've trashed multiple Nuvinci hubs, which are supposedly fairly robust.

So what hub can I really abuse, and still get a decent gear range out of? If the Alfine 11 fits the bill, I'd consider it. If an 8 speed is more reliable, that would work too, and be easier on my wallet. With my first Nuvinci, I ran it with a compact double up front. I didn't shift it regularly (in fact I ended up removing the derailler). I just left it on the big ring around town, and pushed down to the small ring when I was loaded up for a trip. That worked fine, and I figure I can do the same with whatever my next hub is, unless I go with the 11 speed, which seems like it has enough range without using the double up front.

So an IGH that can handle an old, fat guy mashing on and can go low enough to climb some hills with a load. Any takers?
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Old 06-02-15, 11:51 AM
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If you already munched 3 Nuvincis then I'd go with a Alfine 8 and be sure to unload it before shifting. I'm running one on a mountain bike with 26x23 gearing, never shift it under load and it's holding up just fine. I like the Alfine 11 but if you can munch a Nuvinci I can't imagine it'll survive your style of riding.
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Old 06-02-15, 12:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Mr IGH View Post
If you already munched 3 Nuvincis then I'd go with a Alfine 8 and be sure to unload it before shifting. I'm running one on a mountain bike with 26x23 gearing, never shift it under load and it's holding up just fine. I like the Alfine 11 but if you can munch a Nuvinci I can't imagine it'll survive your style of riding.
That is my concern, and the Alfine 8 seems to be where my research is leading me. Thanks for your input. No shifting under load, that's where the Nuvinci has me spoiled. But then, as far as I know, it's the only gearing system, hub gear or otherwise, that is tolerant of shifting under load, so that's an adjustment I'd have to make.
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Old 06-02-15, 12:16 PM
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Is the Alfine 8 considered more durable than the Nexus 8?

A cursory glance shows me only 32 spoke versions of the Alfine, but 36 (my preference) for the Nexus.

edit: I guess I just needed to look harder. I'm seeing some 36 spoke Alfines out there. They just weren't showing up at my first couple of stops.

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Old 06-02-15, 12:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Rob_E View Post
Is the Alfine 8 considered more durable than the Nexus 8?....
The newer Nexus 8R36 has the same basic guts as the Alfine 501. No difference in durability. The earlier Nexus 8R25 and lower numbered version were not as robust as the newer 8R35 and 8R36 versions.
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Old 06-02-15, 12:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Rob_E View Post

So an IGH that can handle an old, fat guy mashing on and can go low enough to climb some hills with a load. Any takers?
I've a Rohloff on my Krampus. Had a Nexus 8 on my Bakfiets... worlds of difference.

FWIW, a fit friend of mine has killed 1 Alfine 8 and 1 Alfine 11 commuting and bikepacking.
He's a big guy. 250+ 6'+.
He carries minimal kit when he bikepacks and no kit when he commutes.

Not sure on what the Nuvinci cost... but I did the math on what I've spend on traditional drivetrain parts on my road / rando / light touring rig, and while the upfront cost is alot, the lifetime cost of the Rohloff is on par or cheaper than conventional stuff (talking about nice 9spd and Campy / SRAM 10 spd). I wish I'd gotten a Rohloff when I built that bike... right now I'd be on the plus sides of drivetrain costs. I think I would have paid for the Rohloff in 5-6 years.
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Old 06-02-15, 01:18 PM
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Could always go with an Alfine 8 and Schlumpf Speed Drive or Mountain Drive for more range
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Old 06-02-15, 01:23 PM
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Originally Posted by bmike View Post
I've a Rohloff on my Krampus. Had a Nexus 8 on my Bakfiets... worlds of difference.

...

Not sure on what the Nuvinci cost... but I did the math on what I've spend on traditional drivetrain parts on my road / rando / light touring rig, and while the upfront cost is alot, the lifetime cost of the Rohloff is on par or cheaper than conventional stuff (talking about nice 9spd and Campy / SRAM 10 spd). I wish I'd gotten a Rohloff when I built that bike... right now I'd be on the plus sides of drivetrain costs. I think I would have paid for the Rohloff in 5-6 years.
Worth keeping in mind, but later, when I have more to spend. I understand spending more now to spend less later, but understanding the math doesn't make an extra grand appear in my account.

At any rate, I feel like my Trucker is nearing retirement, and I'm not sure what's next. A couple hundred to keep it going while I figure that out? Sure, it's still cheaper than a car. But if I invest in a Rohloff, I'm also going to spring for a frame that's made to play nice with the Rohloff. I'm definitely not going bike shopping right now, so any dreams of the Rohloff will be put on hold. Also it's my commuter. Any upgrade that more than doubles the value of my bike makes me more nervous about leaving it outside all day.

I do find it encouraging that you had a Nexus 8 on a Bakfiet.
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Old 06-02-15, 01:31 PM
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Originally Posted by VT_Speed_TR View Post
Could always go with an Alfine 8 and Schlumpf Speed Drive or Mountain Drive for more range
True. I love internal gearing, and I've looked at the Schlumpf drives, but it's also too pricey. In the spectrum of gear hubs, it sits between the Alfine 11 and the Rohloff, but it only has 2 gears. For the price, I'm happy with my compact double for now. I would think more seriously about it (and might in the future) if I had a bike with horizontal dropouts. All that shifting with no derailler or tensioner is appealing. But right now I have to have a chain tensioner, so I might as well stick with my current set-up.
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Old 06-02-15, 01:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Rob_E View Post
Worth keeping in mind, but later, when I have more to spend. I understand spending more now to spend less later, but understanding the math doesn't make an extra grand appear in my account.

At any rate, I feel like my Trucker is nearing retirement, and I'm not sure what's next. A couple hundred to keep it going while I figure that out? Sure, it's still cheaper than a car. But if I invest in a Rohloff, I'm also going to spring for a frame that's made to play nice with the Rohloff. I'm definitely not going bike shopping right now, so any dreams of the Rohloff will be put on hold. Also it's my commuter. Any upgrade that more than doubles the value of my bike makes me more nervous about leaving it outside all day.

I do find it encouraging that you had a Nexus 8 on a Bakfiet.
love that bike... miss it dearly. we have a yuba now, which is probably better with the growing up kids.
i abused that nexus. no doubt about it. but it was all commuting miles with the babes on board.
yeah, the bike weighed 100 pounds and the pilot weighed 180 and the kids and crap added another 50... so we were hauling.
but it wasn't ever hammered on. for sure.
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Old 06-02-15, 01:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Rob_E View Post
Worth keeping in mind, but later, when I have more to spend. I understand spending more now to spend less later, but understanding the math doesn't make an extra grand appear in my account.

At any rate, I feel like my Trucker is nearing retirement, and I'm not sure what's next. A couple hundred to keep it going while I figure that out? Sure, it's still cheaper than a car. But if I invest in a Rohloff, I'm also going to spring for a frame that's made to play nice with the Rohloff. I'm definitely not going bike shopping right now, so any dreams of the Rohloff will be put on hold. Also it's my commuter. Any upgrade that more than doubles the value of my bike makes me more nervous about leaving it outside all day.

I do find it encouraging that you had a Nexus 8 on a Bakfiet.
single speed it or dinglespeed it. even cheaper and an internal... then save the $$ for the next bike / hub / etc.
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Old 06-02-15, 01:53 PM
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Personally IDK,

2 Swedes rode thru here 3rd week of November 2 years ago, on step thru commuter 29er bikes each with a Shimano IGH,
I think the 8 speed .

They had started in Anchorage AK.

and planned to use the southern Tier route to Get to Florida.. and to return to Sweden from there..

I have a Brompton with a 3 speed and a Mountain drive crank.

Author Dervla Murphy said .. she was wanting reliability, so for her trip from Ireland to india ,

she had her Trusty 3 speed, single speed simplified.

a good read, http://www.dervlamurphy.com/fulltilt.html

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Old 06-02-15, 01:58 PM
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Originally Posted by bmike View Post
single speed it or dinglespeed it. even cheaper and an internal... then save the $$ for the next bike / hub / etc.
This actually crossed my mind, sort of. I'm still addicted to gear hubs, so I thought this might be my opportunity to try out the SRAM automatic 2 speed.

But it's not really practical. I'm not talking about waiting a couple of paycheck's to have enough for the next bike. It'll be a while. Probably a new calendar year. Between now and then there will be bike camping trips and there's even a mini tour up for consideration. Not to mention I just have a tendency to use my bike to haul stuff around my home town. All of that makes me reluctant to go single or double speed (four speed with my compact double). A Rohloff may or may not happen in my future, but even if it does, I'm going to want some gears between now and then.
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Old 06-02-15, 04:13 PM
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I put an Alfine 11 on my 39-year-old sports touring frame 600 miles ago. Love it. I read every review I could find. It seems that the people who break theirs are the people who do not very precisely align the two yellow dots on the shift mechanism. It's a very simple process. Line them up, then watch after each couple of rides and adjust the barrel adjuster if you have had a little cable stretch. I changed the oil (takes 15 minutes) after the first 100 miles (WAY early since I prefer to overkill on preventive maintenance) and again at 500 miles. I ride about 2,000 to 2,800 miles/year on varied terrain, in the city where I live, with panniers to get heavy grocery loads and for running errands, on gravel bike paths, and on tour. I did a 130-mile quickie tour a couple weekends ago. My touring load, including panniers, is only about 12 to 14 pounds since I am an ultralight camper (think cuben fiber tarp, titanium stakes and other titanium bits and multi-use everything). I will be doing a 350 mile tour next week on gravel the whole way. I love the precisely straight, efficient chain line and no issues with low rear derailleur clearance when accidentally going over sticks and small branches I geared mine well lower then the recommended lowest gear. I weight 155 pounds and am not a masher, so I do not think I am over-torqueing it. So far so good. I found my Alfine 11 on ebay from Israel at a significantly lower cost, including shipping, than anywhere else in the world. European shops have pretty good deals now too, with the strong Dollar/Euro exchange. Shop carefully, buy internationally to save a buck (no import tariff on bike parts -- go figure) and go for it.
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Old 06-02-15, 04:19 PM
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Remember, if you are using drop bars, you will have precious few shifting options aside from cobbling together a bar-end JTEK or twist shifter, or mounting an accessory bar and using a thumb shifter form Shimano made for the Alfine 11, but on an accessory bar that make shifting awkward. I scored one of the last pairs of Versa 11 integrated shifters for drop bars from a shop in the UK (I live in USA). Versa no longer makes them. They are remanufactured MicroShift integrated shifters and they perform magnificently and flawlessly. I think they were about $200, though. Worth it to me compared to a cobbled-together solution. You can go with the Alfine11 Di2 electronic shifters but they are stupid expensive and seem to be a complicated solution to a problem that doesn't exist. They add weight, and you have a battery to keep charged. Not my idea of an improvement.
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Old 06-02-15, 05:58 PM
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Why Not Just Haunt eBay and try to win a Used Rohloff Hub?

I got one for $600, in 08.

Last edited by fietsbob; 06-02-15 at 06:40 PM.
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Old 06-02-15, 06:09 PM
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if the OP's self description of "old, fat guy" is accurate ( not my words!), then a SS is probably not an option. i'd recommend a 7-8 speed IGH and simply use a 30-something tooth chainring. anything above 75 gear inches is a waste. IME, even a well conditioned cyclist, when touring with a load, can't do justice to 75GI on a neutral flat for an average touring day's travel.

the only IGH i've had personal experience with is the Nexus 7, not exactly new technology, i know. i had no trouble with it, is all i can say.

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Old 06-02-15, 06:31 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Why Not Just Haunt eBay and try to win a Used Rohloff Hub?
Because I have to go to work tomorrow, and every other day between now and when I win my magical, affordable Rohloff. I'm not anti-Rohloff. I'm just pro getting my bike back on the road for less than $500 before my next trip starts. Once I have a functioning touring/commuter bike, I can shop for deals on a speedhub, but even then I have qualms about buying something that expensive used. I might prefer to buy new to have the warranty in place.

For the immediate future, I'll be commuting on my Dahon Boardwalk, which is my backup, backup bike. I need to get back to a serviceable commuter/touring bike. Then I can start amassing parts for the next project.
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Old 06-02-15, 06:34 PM
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external drive ratio minimum requirements limit how low you can gear, But in a 20" wheel that external minimum is lower.

(fwiw, my R'off) same range on the road, 26" 38:16 & 20" 53:16 [Bike Friday Pocket Llama]
so the DaHon with the 8 speed IGH will be lower geared more easily..

Durable for 1 trip or season, the standards dont have to be so long term

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Old 06-02-15, 06:37 PM
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Originally Posted by hueyhoolihan View Post
if the OP's self description of "old, fat guy" is accurate ( not my words!), then a SS is probably not an option.
Yeah, I've done single speed before. I guess I'll be doing for the next week or so at least. I don't really mind with the right gearing, until I try and carry a load or do some climbing. That's why I figured the touring section was the place to ask. People can and do commute on just about anything, but touring tends to be focused on carrying stuff, being reliable, and having reasonable gearing.
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Old 06-02-15, 06:52 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
external drive ratio minimum requirements limit how low you can gear, But in a 20" wheel that external minimum is lower.

(fwiw, my R'off) same range on the road, 26" 38:16 & 20" 53:16 [Bike Friday Pocket Llama]


Durable for 1 trip or season, the standards dont have to be so long term
I know what you're saying, I just don't know why. I have a Nuvinci in a 20" wheel and a 700. They use the same chainring/sprocket combination, but the 20" is effectively geared much lower. Too low, in fact, but I haven't gotten around to fixing that. The bike I'm looking for a new hub for is the 700 wheeled one. Given that I'm not having the best of luck with my Nuvinci hubs, I will probably build up a spare wheel for the 20" bike, too, but that may have different requirements.
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Old 06-02-15, 06:57 PM
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then the little wheel gets a bigger chainring , BiFri a 53, my brompton a 54.
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Old 06-02-15, 07:18 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
then the little wheel gets a bigger chainring , BiFri a 53, my brompton a 54.
Thanks. I know how it works. I just put my Twenty together using parts on hand, and haven't picked up a bigger chainring yet. My primary concern right now is coming up with a new hub for my Long Haul Trucker.
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Old 06-02-15, 07:29 PM
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Have a BF NWT with Nexus hub, traveled a few thousand KM during the past five years. It is setup primarily as a commuter with the JTek shifter. Bike/rider/stuff load weight is around 120 kg. Echo another's comments about gearing, a ratio that tops out about 80 GI is quite adequate for utility riding. No problems with the hub, ride it year around and in some pretty grimy conditions - lot more durable than a dérailleur set up.
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Old 06-02-15, 08:41 PM
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Originally Posted by martianone View Post
Have a BF NWT with Nexus hub, traveled a few thousand KM during the past five years. It is setup primarily as a commuter with the JTek shifter. Bike/rider/stuff load weight is around 120 kg. Echo another's comments about gearing, a ratio that tops out about 80 GI is quite adequate for utility riding. No problems with the hub, ride it year around and in some pretty grimy conditions - lot more durable than a dérailleur set up.
That's encouraging. When I started this thread, I figured I would probably end up on a Shimano 8 speed or a SRAM 9 speed. If there was overwhelming support for the Alfine 11, I would be tempted, in spite of the cost, but the consensus seems to be that the Shimano 8 speed is the toughest or at least equally as tough as the 11. So I'll probably go that route. Even if it fails, I will cry less than if I killed an Alfine 11. I have used some 3 speed hubs on other bikes, and in all cases, I prefer hub gears to the derailer set up, so hopefully I can get a functional hub gear bike set up that lasts more than 2 years.
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