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  1. #1
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    Shimano Alfine 8 Speed Internal Hub

    It appears Shimano will only be releasing the new Alfine 8 speed internal hub in Europe this year. Does anyone know of any online shops in Europe that will ship to the US? I would very much like to try the internal geared hub thing without taking the Rohloff plunge. Thanks for your help.
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    Last edited by gitzit; 12-01-2006 at 01:54 PM.

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    Really? The Alfine stuff isn't going to be available in the US in 2007? I'm waiting for the trigger shifter for my nexus 8 hub.

  3. #3
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    Sweet. Is it designed to handle the torque loads of MTBing? That's been my only concern with the Nexus. Well, that and the lack of disc compatibility. 32h?
    Professional Amateur. Disagree? Submit your grievances here.

  4. #4
    i don't give a shift
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    Aussi très chic en noir!

    blogging @29in.CH

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by collideous
    Aussi très chic en noir!

    The chain tensioner looks good.
    Yeah I gotta question. You got any excuses tonight Roy ? -Antonio Tarver

    There is room for it all, just ride what you like to on what you like to...that's freeriding. -rbn14



  6. #6
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    That's a good looking groupo. (<i>Ewww... I said "gruppo"</i>)

    I've ordered from outdoorGB in Germany and ChainReactionCycles in the UK.

    Funny... SRAM is releasing their equally interesting i-motion 9-speed hub, and I understand that that, too, will only be available in Europe. ( http://www.sram-imotion.com ).

    But just an FYI -- despite my misgivings about using anything <i>other than</i> a Rohloff Speedhub for serious off-road duty, I spied this Shimano Nexus-equipped beauty atop the Kennedy Climb at last Thursday's annual Los Gatos Turkey Ride... and that climb can definitely be described as a grind!

    <img src="http://www.booboodog.net/images/lgtdr06/lgtdr06-07.jpg">
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  7. #7
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    We had a groupo of this set at work, the hub is disk compatiable also!! I will try and get some pics on mon or tue..

  8. #8
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    If anyone has a European contact for ordering Alfine parts, let me know. Shipping is a killer, so putting together a group order might be smart.

  9. #9
    2:1
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    disc-compatible, grind-compatible...

    ... but off-road compatible? I'm guessing not... I'd love to hear otherwise, but I didn't think the Nexus hubs were burly enough for offroading, and I don't think the Alfine is much more than a red-band Inter-8 with a disc mount. I know that people on MTBR have put Inter-8s on their townie grocery-getters, but can anyone speak to Nexus-based Trans-Rockies assaults, wheelie-drops, etc?

  10. #10
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    I believe that there are a few mtbr members doing long-term offroad testing on the Nexus hub.

    I havn't had any updates for a while though, so I don't know how they are going.


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  11. #11
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    I'd say not too...A couple winters ago I laced a Nexus 7 to a rhynoLight, and threw it on a Stumpjumper.
    It was taken into the woods for roughly 3 months, which it barely survived. Drops, yes...Some big XC mileage - Yes...(although it sucked with all the weight)...some aweful sounding noises coming from said hub...YES
    Previously, the hub spent it's life as a commuter bike app, which is where it should have stayed.
    1st. The thing weighs a ton.
    2nd It's a PITA to change a flat (even though I ran DH tires, and didn't have this issue)
    3rd, and most important to note, the hub put out an all out protest in steep climbs...basically, it would make aweful "pinging" sounds, and even skip a little. And yes, it was adjusted correctly...just from this experience alone, I'd be willing to bet the Alphine is designed to be similar, and cant take the beating...said hub has permanent damage, since I've changed the oil, and made basic bearing adjustments...it still works, but there's those crunchy sounds coming from it that I think are permanent. I did follow rec. lowest gear ratio also...so it didn't get mis applied (if that makes any sense)....sorry for the rambling....

  12. #12
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    I'm in germany

    Quote Originally Posted by El Caballo
    If anyone has a European contact for ordering Alfine parts, let me know. Shipping is a killer, so putting together a group order might be smart.

    And ya'll can start sending me checks if you want......

    Seriously though, I've been talking to my lbs about this very thing. He has high hopes for the alfine and SRAM I9 as off-road capable hubs. The only downside is that neither of the new offerings have improved in the manner they are serviced. Rohloff has everyone beat there.

    The I9 is specced on bikes that cost about 500 euros, so it can't be too expensive. I'll probably be trying one out next year.

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    The Red Stripe version is supposedly more up to the task of offroad riding than previous versions. Here's a link to a discussion in the drivetrain forum:

    Shimano Nexus 8 "Red Band" gearhub: review thread

    There are a couple people who sound like they really hammered on them and they seem to be holding up fine. I put mine on my karate monkey for a few rides and it worked fine and I wasn't being nice to it. That was only about 3 rides though. Now it's now back on my commuter which I also use for trails occassionally, but I wouldn't make claims on it's durability based on that. It is heavy, and shifting between 4 and 5 seems to be tricky sometimes. I'm hoping that will be fixed with the trigger shifter, if I can ever get my hands on one.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by arkadi
    The I9 is specced on bikes that cost about 500 euros, so it can't be too expensive. I'll probably be trying one out next year.
    What is the availability like on those I9s? I want that or a NuVinci for my street bike (to replace a Nexus), and the NuVinci looks both expensive and unavailable.
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  15. #15
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    THe I9 will be available

    Quote Originally Posted by Speedub.Nate
    What is the availability like on those I9s? I want that or a NuVinci for my street bike (to replace a Nexus), and the NuVinci looks both expensive and unavailable.

    next spring. Disk brake options too. And trigger shifters. My LBS guys saw both the Nexus redline and the I9 at eurobike, and said they where pretty indistinguishable in performance.

    I really like the concept of the nuvinci, but it's been floating around for a couple of years as a concept, without really appearing anywhere in actual use.

  16. #16
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    any word on this alfine group buy?

    i've been searching various european ebays, and haven't really had any luck.

    nor have i seen them forsale online anywhere.

    i really want the rapidfire for my current inter8, and the alfine and shifter for my dual sus.

  17. #17
    JJT
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    If available from Shimano Europe already I may be able to help you guys out.

    Please let me know what part numbers you want and I will check availability.

    Email might be more convenient: JJ at singlespeed dot nl

    JJ
    Singlespeed Central - European SS and 29" webshop

  18. #18
    JJT
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    They are available, only in Silver for now.
    I will get one and get back here with price info.

    JJ
    Singlespeed Central - European SS and 29" webshop

  19. #19
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    SL-S500 Rapidfire Plus Shifter for Inter-8
    http://cycle.shimano-eu.com/catalog/...=1167941678549

    This is the shifter for both Alfine and Nexus 8 hubs.

  20. #20
    JJT
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    Yesterday was my irst off road trip with the new Shimano Alfine hub, mounted to my Niner Sir9, which provides the perfect platform for the hub, as the EBB solves the chain tension problem.

    On the Niner you are able to run only the inner cable from the cable stop at the headtube till the hub, so no unnecessary friction.

    For the record, this is no racing hub, IMHO. The engagement is not on par with a cassette/freewheel wheel, after coasting it takes some time fo the hub to engage, which is no problem, as long as you have no problems with that.

    We did a 50 km trip on fairly flat terrain, so shifting was mainly between 4, 5 and 6 and some lower and higher shifts on the small climbs and some descends.

    As there was quite some singletrack I shifted between 4, 5 and 6 frequently. During the trip I had to readjust the cable some times, as it was the first ride after mounting it on the bike and the cable had to set a little.

    Shifting is quick, but you have to get used to taking of power of the pedals, as this hub is not made to shift under power, but that is the case with most hubs out there.

    Great thing is you can shift while coasting, which is great after bad anticipating a sharp turn; shifting in the corner and have the right,lower gear to handle a climb, hole, etc.

    Problem with the Nexus hub has sometimes be the interface between hub abd cog, and as this is not changed for the Alfine time will show how it holds up.

    The good and the bad:

    + Clean looks and function
    + great shifter cable routing
    + Centerlock Disc mount (personal)
    + Great shifter, although the feel is a little 'indirect'
    + easy setup
    - weight compared to rear der/cassete setup (?)
    - harder to service in the field (more tools needed when cables looses up)

    It is hard to say anything on durability, time will tell.

    For me it is a keeper for now. Will try to make some more miles on it so I will see how it holds up.

    Some pics:








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  21. #21
    JJT
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    Update on availability:

    It seems the set I got was the only set available at Shimano Europe at that time.
    The estimated arrival time for a new shipment Alfine is March 25.

    JJ
    Singlespeed Central - European SS and 29" webshop

  22. #22
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    Got at weight on that hub setup?

    And, how the heck do I get one of those cranks?

  23. #23
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    Mongoose Sabrosa

    Anyone seen this commuter from Mongoose? The US version is pretty sweet looking in matte black, but the UK version has the Alfine gruppo on it. They always get the cool stuff in Europe first! Unfortunately, the UK Sabrosa is kinda ugly IMHO. I'd love to get my hands on the matte black frame with the black Alfine stuff on it tho!

  24. #24
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    Any information regarding availability ?
    Does someone have an address of a lbs or online shop that stocks the Alfine hub and shifters. Here in Sydney, one shop has a home-brand hybrid bike with the non-disc version for US$800. Do I have to buy the complete bike just to get the hub ?

  25. #25
    JJT
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    I got an update from Shimano Europe today.

    The hub will arrive end of this month (Expected Arrival Date is 25-5-2007).
    The shifter is available now. the 18t Cog is also available.

    As for the prices (estimations):

    Hub in silver: 220 Euro
    Shifter: 33 Euro
    Cog: 7 Euro

    JJ
    Singlespeed Central - European SS and 29" webshop

  26. #26
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    sorry if already published but I could not find the gear ratios (only found the Nexus ones on Shimano site!!!).
    JJT, You seem to have a Boone 32 ring, what ratios did this give with the 18T cog?

  27. #27
    JJT
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    The gear ratio is the same as the Nexus hubs:

    Total:307%
    1:0.527
    2:0.644
    3:0.748
    4:0.851
    5:1.000
    6:1.223
    7:1.419
    8:1.615

    On my Niner I have 36:18 with the Afline.

    The first hubs are getting here as we speak..

    JJ
    Singlespeed Central - European SS and 29" webshop

  28. #28
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    What is the difference between the Alfine and Nexus 8 "Red Band" rear hub? Thanks.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by dyg2001
    What is the difference between the Alfine and Nexus 8 "Red Band" rear hub? Thanks.
    The Alfine has an integrated Centerlock disc and mount, and a funky little chainguide thing for the rear sprocket. I believe the internals are identical.

    Effectively the difference is that you can't run a disc on a Red Band without an expensive adapter from cesur.de.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by El Caballo
    The Alfine has an integrated Centerlock disc and mount, and a funky little chainguide thing for the rear sprocket. I believe the internals are identical.

    Effectively the difference is that you can't run a disc on a Red Band without an expensive adapter from cesur.de.
    Thanks for the info.

    I assume you can still use the hub with rim brakes--just don't mount the rotor, correct?

    When will these parts be available in the USA? Do any European shops have them in stock? I am having a custom mixte city bike built for my wife and would like to use the Alfine trigger shifter with a Nexus "Red Band" or Alfine rear hub.

    Thanks,

    David

  31. #31
    JJT
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    Quote Originally Posted by dyg2001
    Do any European shops have them in stock?
    They should have from now on.

    JJ
    Last edited by JJT; 05-13-2007 at 12:13 PM.
    Singlespeed Central - European SS and 29" webshop

  32. #32
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    Thats why no one's heard of Alfine! I live up in the states (Massachusetts to be exact.) And was down in West Newton at Harris Cyclery in early May this year. They have a bike with the full Alfine group including the hub and Hydraulic brakes. It looks great and is a good deal too. I can't remember the name of the bike but it was a high end lugged steel frame with excellent craftsmanship. $2200 and a doubt it has sold yet! http://www.harriscyclery.com
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  33. #33
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    I've got some mileage in on a Soma Juice built up as a commuter with an early prototype Alfine gruppo. The hub that I got had at least one performance issue out of the box that has not appeared on subsequent prototypes or production models, but even ignoring that, I can say that the engagement issue alone excludes the Nexus/Alfine family from consideration for those interested in technical off-road riding.

    I've got a couple of photos of the bike up at http://homepage.mac.com/drt/NAFlyers/PhotoAlbum117.html and will be adding updated photos, including a second Juice that was built with a Rohloff Speedhub, SON front hub, fenders, kickstand and light.

    My personal and demo bikes have everything from 1990 Deore DX rear hubs to a 108 points-of-engagement Hadley, and I'll soon have a 120 p.o.e. Industry Nine SS hub to add to the mix, but just to make it clear I spend plenty of quality riding time on 24 and 36 poe hubs. I recognize and appreciate quicker engagement, but am not bound to it. That having been established, the clutches on the Alfine (and I am assuming also with the Nexus) engage with more delay than a standard 24 poe Shimano hub. Setting up pedal kicks for wheelie drops, front wheel lifts and other such riding is further disturbed because the engagement is not only slower, it is less consistant in feel - sometimes engaging immediately with full power and at other times ramping into full engagement. That aspect may be due to the prototype status of the hub that I have most time on, but it matches the experience of others, so I doubt it.

    With respect to the rest of the groupset, the cranks are pretty but heavy, and the bearings seem to be similar to other external Shimano units when it comes to quality and reliability. I will be replacing them with Phil Wood bearings in the weeks to come. The brakes are not as powerful as previous generation XT or XTR models, despite their long levers. Probably appropriate for their intended market, but I'll be mixing and matching on any future production bikes rather than going with the full groupset.

    Shimano now offers a complete wheelset with straight-pull spokes alongside the hubsets with standard J-bend spokes. The rims are fairly narrow and the package is optimized for city-bike use. Once again, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend them for their intended use, but anybody who claims that Alfine is truly desireable for off-road use is either: A) only talking about gravel road touring, B) has no experience on them, or C) just doesn't know what they are talking about.

  34. #34
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    Daner: thanks for the detailed report. The engagement issue is certainly a disappointment. I had higher hopes, especially since I've been quite pleased with the engagement of my SRAM DualDrive Disc hub.
    "People like GloyBoy are deaf. They are partisan, intellectually lazy & usually very angry." -Jaybo

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daner
    anybody who claims that Alfine is truly desireable for off-road use is either: A) only talking about gravel road touring, B) has no experience on them, or C) just doesn't know what they are talking about.
    I guess I haven't ridden enough expensive hubs to puncture my protective shell of blissful ignorance.

  36. #36
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    I have the nexus red band hub. I believe the internals of the red band nexus and the alfine hub are the same. At least that's what i've read.
    Durability wise, i think they can hold up to quite a bit of off-road abuse. But performance wise, they do leave something to be desired. And not so much with the slower engagement. The issue i had was with shifting. It just wasn't precise or fast enough. Coming up fast on a hill and downshifting for the climb usually meant a few pedal revolutions for the the gear to actually drop. That was annoying because I would already be into the climb and then CLUNK! it would shift down. I blame the lousy twist shifter that comes with the nexus hub. I've read that the alfine trigger shifter might be an improvement, but I'm skeptical, and the trigger won't be available in the states anytime this year.

  37. #37
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    That's why I was clear to point out that my observation was not that the engagement is disappointing when compared to a 72 poe White Eno Trials freewheel. My complaint is that the engagement is disappointing when compared to the 1990 Deore DX rear hub that I have on my winter commuter bike.

    I appreciate fine champagne, but I also enjoy a good glass of chocolate milk. That doesn't mean that I can't tell the difference between Nestlé's Quick and Ovaltine.

    It's not a matter of relative ignorance or snobbery, it is a matter of taste in tools to meet the demands of riding a rigid bike on very rooty and rocky technical trails. The engagemetnt issue might make a little less difference if we were talking about a full cush all-mountain sit and spin bike and/or faster, smoother, more forgiving terrain.

    Quote Originally Posted by El Caballo
    I guess I haven't ridden enough expensive hubs to puncture my protective shell of blissful ignorance.

  38. #38
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    I've been riding the Nexus red-band hub for a few years off-road, and it has been fine, a lot nicer than the old 7-speed nexus (which lasted ~4 months before expiring), and not nearly as nice as the Rohloff, but then it's 1/6th the price.

    Quote Originally Posted by Daner
    ... I recognize and appreciate quicker engagement, but am not bound to it. That having been established, the clutches on the Alfine (and I am assuming also with the Nexus) engage with more delay than a standard 24 poe Shimano hub....
    Shimano freehubs only have 16 poe. The odd engagement in step-up gears is normal for planetary gear system hubs, the clutches often engage the lower (or lowest) gear before catching up to the final gear - Rohloffs do this too, but it is less evident when you have a higher primary ratio. If you have ever tried to ratched up a skinny with the Rohloff in the wrong gear (5th I think - I don't keep track of which gear I'm in these days, which is one of the advantages of the Rohloff), you simple can't get the ratched to advance, there is so much play. You have to switch to another gear. The SRAM DualDrive does this to when in the 3rd gear. Like most things, you get use to it, and it certainly does not stop me from doing drops or step up ledges, or popping wheelies or manuals, or any technical rocky rooty section.


    Quote Originally Posted by Daner
    ... Once again, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend them for their intended use, but anybody who claims that Alfine is truly desireable for off-road use is either: A) only talking about gravel road touring, B) has no experience on them, or C) just doesn't know what they are talking about.
    Since I don't tour on gravel roads, and I've been riding geared hubs for way longer than I want to admit.... I must not know what I'm talking about....

    Really though, the Alfine / red-bad hubs have NOT been certified for off-road use, despite the number of people who have used them mtb-ing. But then there were no off-road components when I started riding my bike on trails either. Geared hub are different, and have their disadvantages as well as their advantages. All I know is, I have divested myself of all bikes that have derailleurs. FYI I'm primarily SS and Fixie off-road these days, although we like our Rohloff's, and I'll always be trying out any new geared hubs (Nexus/Alfine, SRAM, and in the future, I9, NuVinci, etc...)

  39. #39
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    Maybe I just haven't had enough time to get used to dealing automatically with the change in response that up to 22.5 degrees of delay in engagement and inconsistent response feel cause as compared to most of my other SS and geared hubs, which have half of that delay or less, with a consistant feel.

    It is of course by no means something that cannot be overcome with sufficient practice, but faced with today's current set of tradeoffs I would rather keep looking. I don't have enough time on a well-sorted Speedhub to make a valid judgement, but if the SRAM or NuVinci units feel better than the Alfine/Red Band Nexus units they might eventually end up being a better choice for technical riding.

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daner
    Maybe I just haven't had enough time to get used to dealing automatically with the change in response that up to 22.5 degrees of delay in engagement...

    ... I don't have enough time on a well-sorted Speedhub to make a valid judgement, but if the SRAM or NuVinci units feel better than the Alfine/Red Band Nexus units they might eventually end up being a better choice for technical riding.
    The odd clutch engagement issues only happen on some "step-up" gears, they generally don't occur on the reduction gears. Depending on your chainring/cog ratio, this may or may not be an issue with practical riding. The hub actually engages within ~10deg - to the lowest gear, but then it goes though another 10 deg before it engages the higher gear that was selected. It's very annoying when you are trying to track stand, but I look at it as another challenge.

    SRAM will probably not be any different, planetary geared hubs share this type of clutch system (although it is possible to minimize or eliminate it, as Rohloff has done on most of their gears). The NuVinci dose not have this problem, but there are others issues (like transmission loss) that will be an issue.

    Keep in mind that the predecessor to the Alfine/red-band Nexus hubs all died a rapid death on trails (not even rocky technical ones). This is the first geared hub Shimano has made that has been able to survive more than a year on trails, and that is the only reason people are calling it trail worthy - some people have still killed it withing a year, but that was using it on drops as a FR hub. But Shimano has improved them quite a bit - the engagement issue is far worse on thier old 7-s hub, as was the pause in down shifting (it's not really a pause, but due to the pawls design, the clutch will not disengage until you remove pressure from the drivetrain). They get better ever few years, so one can hope.

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by GlowBoy
    Daner: thanks for the detailed report. The engagement issue is certainly a disappointment. I had higher hopes, especially since I've been quite pleased with the engagement of my SRAM DualDrive Disc hub.
    I am curious about the SRAM i-MOTION 9.

    Disc brake version in the works
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  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiggy
    I am curious about the SRAM i-MOTION 9.

    Disc brake version in the works
    It comes with a kick-back brake, who needs a disc? :-)
    There will also be an I-Brake, which is not the disc one, hmmm.
    Seems the 9spd just offers one longer gear, otherwise same gearing.

  43. #43
    JJT
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daner
    it is a matter of taste in tools to meet the demands of riding a rigid bike on very rooty and rocky technical trails.
    That is exactly the point. I think for off road touring the Alfine hub is a great thing, for more demanding terrain like you describe here and racing the hub does not meet the demand of quick engagement (like it is available in every normal geared cassette hub)

    And in my opinion the new trigeer is a big improvement over the nexus twister, although I never rode that shifter off road.

    JJ
    Singlespeed Central - European SS and 29" webshop

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiggy
    I am curious about the SRAM i-MOTION 9.

    Disc brake version in the works
    Me too -- if and when we really get the disc version. And if we can get a shifter without the integrated brake lever and bell. Any updates on price or availability?
    "People like GloyBoy are deaf. They are partisan, intellectually lazy & usually very angry." -Jaybo

  45. #45
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    So when can I actually buy this elusive hub?

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    regarding the red band, both of mine are still rocking supreme. i'm well into the second season on my off road setup, ad still no issues. a friend cleaned up my cassette joint and bearing around february, and noted it all looked to be in good shape despite the frequent salty minnesota street rides i'd been doing. so far this summer its taken its fair share of trail rides as well. i still stand behind my opinion that this hub rocks in any terrain, whether it be beatin rough and technical singletrak, street/ramp/dirt jumping, or haulin a load with my bob trailer. its worth mentioning there are some engagment issues with mine, but after spending a lot time on a bmx freecoaster hub it seems pretty negligable. it does take a small amount of foresight for wheelie drops and bich cranks, but it is easy to adjust for them.

    (edited to skirt the expletive censorship)

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    also, im still really hoping to get an alfine setup, and a couple of trigger shifters to replace my current twist shift setups on the nexus'. my modified setup on the mtb is really starting to degrade, (fyi i cut 75% or so of the twistshift's gripping area off) often coming apart on me if the hand grip slides outward on the bar. when its fit together all snug like, gripping the raised inner flange for shifting is great, and allows one to keep his entire mit on the hand grip rather than only partially. brake lever reach is much better this way too..

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    Alfine Humu

    Built this bike with an Alfine rear hub and trigger shifter as a gift for my girlfriend. I got the hub and shifter from JJ on this forum, who shipped it fast from Holland. LBS built the wheels for me. Except for the wheelset and the On One Mary handlebar, almost everything is stock from a 2005 Kona Humu Humu Deluxe. The best part is that her nickname actually *is* Humu, and it's right there on the top tube . I'm pretty happy with the results. I hope the Alfine will last for a while, since this will just be a commuter/all-rounder which will not see much off-road use.
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    Nice!!!

    That is one sweet looking ride! Congrats. I'd love to get my hands on one of those trigger shifters. What do they cost?

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    SL-s500 Alfine trigger shifter price

    Thanks. I could only find a price at one shop in Holland, where I got the part, but from there it would cost between $30 and $40, depending on the euro to dollar exchange rate. Here's a link:

    http://www.singlespeed.nl/catalog/in...7a0cfb45f4e335

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