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  1. #1
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    Alfine 8 501 vs 500 durability survey

    A while back I built up an Alfine 8 wheelset for my Pugsley after seeing several testimonials from users saying the hubs were holding up well with heavy trail use, for years (vikb, pursuiter, some others). I didn't have as good of a result, mine lasted about 10 months before it started slipping in gear 5. I started a thread about it, and many others posters were saying they had the same issue. Now, since my hub was only 10 months old, my lbs replaced the internals under warranty.

    My hub is the "sg-s501" model that uses a roller clutch, and the model preceding that hub was the "sg-s500" model that did not use a roller clutch. Now, I'm thinking the folks that were writing those positive reviews of the A8 that swayed me into buying one may have been using the 500 model without the roller clutch.

    All of you Alfine 8 users, which model have you been using, for what use and gearing, and how has it worked out for you? I'll start.

    501 model
    Hard trail use on Pugsley, lots of steep climbing in Rocky mountains.
    32 x 22t gearing
    Lasted 10 months, then started slipping in gear 5

    You can still find the 500 hubs new at some places, so If it turns out that the roller clutch is the culprit here...
    Last edited by ultraspontane; 12-29-2014 at 05:10 AM.

  2. #2
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    Dang! I'm being schooled! I just found out that I have one of each! I wasn't even aware that there were two different models of this hub.

    I built my Pugs around the sg-s501 model, and the "new old stock" 2008 Giant TranSend EX I recently bought has the older sg-s500 model on it.
    (edit: Mine is the SG-S500 A-type, with only two roller clutches. Both the SG-S500 B-type and the SG-S501 have three roller clutches.)

    Pugs is set up 26/18 for a 1.444 input ratio on the gearing.
    TranSend EX is 33/20 for a 1.65 input ratio.

    I'm now going to have to take note of any differences I can discern. I haven't been paying that much attention, since the two bikes are so different, and the hubs are relatively new, nowhere close to being broken in yet.
    Thanks for the hedzup! It might be a while before I can actually notice anything, but I'll report here on what my experience is with these two hubs.

    One thing that I have noticed with both hubs is that the cable adjustment must be spot on, with the two yellow marks lined up perfectly, or else the hub might slip a little bit on occasion. This happened in 3rd and 6th or 7th (never 6th and 7th at the same time, but one or the other) on my Pugs (sg-s501).
    I think I had a "ghost shift" from 6th to 5th once on the TranSend when climbing a hill, but I may have shifted a little too far coming down from 7th just before that happened.

    I adjusted the shifter cables on both hubs at their adjusting barrels on the shifters, so that the yellow marks lined up perfectly when in 4th. This seemed to solve the problem. Then, on the Pugs, I had 6th slip a partial revolution once recently, again just after I had downshifted from 7th. I didn't consider whether or not the hub had "ghost shifted" from 6th to 5th. I stopped, shifted into 4th, got off and examined the yellow marks carefully, and noticed that they were slightly off, barely by the breadth of a blond pubic hair. I tweaked the adjuster barrel and got 'em perfectly re-aligned, pedaled away without further incident, and haven't noticed any slippage since.

    The TranSend's shifter cable is staying in adjustment, and I haven't noticed any more slippage in the sg-s500 since that one time. This doesn't mean anything, though. Too early to say.
    Last edited by PlutonicPlague; 12-28-2014 at 09:41 PM.

  3. #3
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    I rode the TranSend today, on some side streets over to a friends house closer to the beach. On the way there, I stood up in 7th and pumped hard up a low hill. I did the same in 6th on the return trip, against the wind. When shifting, I back off on power. After a shift, no slippage occurred after re-engaging pedal power, but this hub feels like there's a tad more pedal travel (than on my Pugs with the SG-S501) after I shift and before I feel re-engagement of power. I'm going to have to pay closer attention to these details now.

  4. #4
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    Alfine 8 501 vs 500 durability survey

    ^ Yes, I believe Shimano mentioned faster engagement when they came out with 501 model. The question is does it make the hub less reliable in the long run.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by ultraspontane View Post
    ^ Yes, I believe Shimano mentioned faster engagement when they came out with 501 model. The question is does it make the hub less reliable in the long run.
    At the relatively slow rate at which I'm racking up the mileage, it may take a while before I find out. My hubs are on two different types of bikes, each of which is used differently, and that makes comparison of the reliability more difficult.
    The 2008 Giant TranSend EX was conceived as a commuter and weekend trekker. It runs on 35mm x 700c rubber, and mainly gets ridden on roads (everything from the shoulder of the state hwy to rough chip/seal country backroads, some gravel logging roads, and various paths). I try to avoid taking it out on the beach, although it does OK on the hard-packed low tide sand. Since I'm usually on a flatter surface, if not a road, I don't have to shift this bike as often as I must when riding my Pugsley.
    The Pugsley goes anywhere, and gets run thru its gears much more.
    I rode the Pugs hard for over an hour and a half yesterday, briefly on local roads heading over to a friend's nearby property, where I can take his trail to the beach. I rode through the dunes, and all over the beach (about 5 or so miles on the beach itself) and ended up having to take backroads and a bit of the state highway for a couple of miles to get back home.
    I was feeling energetic, and rode hard, running the Alfine ruthlessly thru its range of gears, but being sure to shift with impeccable timing. I had no mis-shifts. The hub never slipped once, but performed flawlessly the entire ride. My timing of pedal pressure release and re-powering (especially when down shifiting) is getting more precise with practice.

  6. #6
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    4000 miles on Pugs w/501. Zero issues

  7. #7
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    No issues whatsoever with either of mine.
    I do notice the lag before re-engagement, when shifting the older 500 model on my Transend. Eyeballing it, its somewhere around 110 degrees of rotation, +/- about 10 degrees. Not quite 1/3 of the way around. Still, its a very smooth shifting and quiet hub.

    I would not buy another one of the older 500 hubs because of this lag, even if it was new in the box and marked down in price. It may be OK for a commuter bike or road bike, but I think the lag after shifting would be a bummer off road. I wouldn't want it on a fat bike, nor on a mountain bike.

    I'm liking my 501 on the Pugs well enough that I'm having a set of Rabbit Holes built with a 501. I won't need to change the shifter when I change wheels. Each and every time that I felt it slip, I checked the yellow marks on the hub, and they were a bit out of perfect alignment.
    The last time I had that happen, it was after I removed the rear wheel a couple of times when I was changing over to different tires, and had a slow leak in the tube.
    A simple adjustment of the barrel on the shifter has quickly fixed it every time.

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