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  1. #1
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    Alfine reliability

    I wrench for a local pedicab company part time. The owner was thinking of adapting Alfine 8's or 11's to the cabs. Currently they are 2x7 or 1x7 basic Shimano or Sun Race drive trains. I have a Alfine 8 equipped bike now and really like it. My question is these bikes see 500-800lbs. loads. Speeds are only 15mph tops. Would a Alfine hub survive this?

    Tim

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by TimT View Post
    I wrench for a local pedicab company part time. The owner was thinking of adapting Alfine 8's or 11's to the cabs. Currently they are 2x7 or 1x7 basic Shimano or Sun Race drive trains. I have a Alfine 8 equipped bike now and really like it. My question is these bikes see 500-800lbs. loads. Speeds are only 15mph tops. Would a Alfine hub survive this?

    Tim
    I wouldn't count on it. That's not saying it couldn't work, but if you need a 100% solution I think this is pushing an IGH made for urban recreational/commuter use. You are likely to need very low gearing which is also not their forte.

    If you are really keen on the Alfine try one for a few months and see what happens.
    Safe riding,

    Vik
    www.vikapproved.com

  3. #3
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    1 summer on alfine with my son's trailer on the beach probably about 20 or 25 days of actual beachwork, the rest just commuting.
    combined bike, trailer and child weight probably close to 100 pounds.
    (which may or may not be analogous to a pedicab's weight before passengers)

    ping ping ping, can't adjust it out.
    haven't opened it up but dollars to doughnuts it's damaged.

    vik's right, it's just a load it's not meant to handle.
    If steel is real then aluminium is supercallafragiliniun!

  4. #4
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    So the way the pedicab is designed is like this. The front half looks like a normal bicycle. Crank attaches to a rear hub the the rear hub is a disc hub with a cog (just like a Tomy cog) bolted to the disc mount. the hub then connects via chain to a differential. There is no weight on the "rear" hubs axle. The torque is my big concern. Right now the cabs have 7 speed Shimano THREAD on freewheels. Yes thread on freewheels on a disc hub. This is a Chinese made cab. I can't imagine the freewheels have more then 4 sprawls. The reason he wants to change is the rear derailleurs are crap and the hub bearings are failing. The hubs are loose ball and are of very low quality. Metal lip seals in the hubs and the cones are self destructing.

    So would a Sturmy Archer or SRAM hub be better? The Rohloff would not work due to the cog mounting situation on the disc side. Plus cost.

    Tim

  5. #5
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    The torque and low gearing is my main concern. Realistically given the cost of an Alfine I would buy one and demo it. For sure a pedi cab is beyond the design specs of the Alfine so they only way to get confidence in one is to try it and see what happens.

    None of the bike IGHs you've referenced, including the Rohloff, was designed for that type of gearing/torque. It's simply not "normal" for the types of bicycles most IGHs are put in.

    Having said that some cargo bikers/tandem teams use IGHs. This is an application outside the design specs of most IGHs and they seem to do okay.
    Safe riding,

    Vik
    www.vikapproved.com

  6. #6
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    I had mine on a 29 mtb. Geared 26 x 26. Went into a steep climb in gear one and it free wheeled. It free spins in gears 1,3,4,8, & 9. The other gears seem to work fine. I will let you know the rest of the story when I get it back from Shimano. When I get it back I will put it on a 26 inch bike geared at 32 front by 26 rear. Maybe it will hold up to this lower torque.

  7. #7
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    geweber where did you get a 26t rear sprocket from ? 24t was the biggest I could find.

  8. #8
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    I was mistaken. It is a 24 tooth sprocket.

  9. #9
    will rant for food
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    Get a first generation NuVinci hub. Can't break those things.
    Latitude: 44.93 N

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Diller View Post
    Get a first generation NuVinci hub. Can't break those things.
    heard good things about them too...for your use seems more appropriate

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by -jes View Post
    geweber where did you get a 26t rear sprocket from ? 24t was the biggest I could find.
    Bikesmith offers 26T cogs in the common IGH three tab interface.

  12. #12
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    Have the second generation NuVinci's been less reliable?

  13. #13
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    Ordered the N360 today.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by evrac View Post
    Have the second generation NuVinci's been less reliable?
    Not by any means. I undergeared the crap out of my N360 and it worked fine. I simply recall some discussion about the first gen hubs being absurdly over built. Take this with a grain of salt given the lack of specifics.
    Latitude: 44.93 N

  15. #15
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    A MTBR member posted a review of a Nuvinci IGH in this forum - he was quite stoked about it at first:

    NuVinci N360 Review « The Lazy Rando Blog…

    I'm not sure how long it lasted in his MTB before he pulled it. If you search for the thread on MTBR he may have posted his reasons for being dissatisfied or he may have emailed me directly. I can't recall.

    Update: I found the link to the thread I mentioned above. Worth a read if you are interested in a Nuvinci:

    NuVinci N360: Amateur Review
    Safe riding,

    Vik
    www.vikapproved.com

  16. #16
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    And another rider's take on the NuVinci here.

  17. #17
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    I got both my Alfine 11 and NuVinci 360 about a week ago. The LBS didn't get any report from Shimano on what went wrong with the Alfine 11 hub that went bad. They just sent a new one. I am gearing it a little safer this time at 32 x 24. I have ridden it about 8 hours. It has only clicked a few times. Mostly third gear this time. With the last one it was 2nd gear mostly until gears 1, 3, 4, 8,& 9 all went at the same time.

    The Nuvinci feels like it is pretty stout. I am geared 22 x 18 and it doesn't complain on a steep climb. I do, the drag seems worse the more torque you have on it. I cannot make climbs that I make with my other bikes. It is not for mountain biking other than on easy rides without too much climbing. I have changed the gearing to 22 x 22. Just rode it in the drive way putting the front brake on. Nothing gave way.

    I may try it one more time on a mountain bike ride when I am by myself. I don't mind going slow on a climb but I don't like to have to hike a bike.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by geweber View Post
    The LBS didn't get any report from Shimano on what went wrong with the Alfine 11 hub that went bad. They just sent a new one. I am gearing it a little safer this time at 32 x 24.
    I'll be gearing a 29er hardtail with Alfine 11 starting at 38 x 24 and working down through smaller chainrings untilI I hit the low gear I need for my local trails or break the hub!...
    Safe riding,

    Vik
    www.vikapproved.com

  19. #19
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    Every time I try a standing start on my alfine 11, it slips (I tried this about 3x, then stopped doing it anymore before I break the thing).

    My guess is that a fairly strong rider at low rpm with a heavy load can easily break the thing.

    I put out about 1500-1600w during a high speed sprint, so I would guess that a standing start would see much higher torque/wattage than that, and that it's beyond the spec for this hub.

    BTW: I can also snap a SRAM 10-spc chain with a few thousand miles on it doing the same thing, so it's not like the alfine is much worse - I think the Alfine is about 70% as strong as a 10-spd chain, but that's a guess.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by naisan View Post
    ...I put out about 1500-1600w....
    Over 2HP, that's unbelievable!

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by pursuiter View Post
    Over 2HP, that's unbelievable!
    I did a quick internet search for average human horsepower and the results say that avg is about 1/10 HP while top athletes can generate a maximum of a 1/4 HP. I'm not trying to belittle anyone, but the numbers don't seem to jive. Of course, internet search results have been known to be wrong as well.

  22. #22
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    No offence taken

    @Corporal Punishment: you are right about internet searches.

    I use a Quarq powermeter, and have ridden on SRM and powertaps, so I know the 1600w figure is a good one.

    Pro sprinters and BMX riders routinely put out over 2000w, and you can see SRM files of TourDeFrance sprints where riders hit 1600+ multiple times, after 100+ miles of racing. For instance google for Tour de France 2011 Special - SRM Data Analysis André Greipel Sprint Stage 7

    Plainly, I can not keep up with the TDF riders, so there's no boasting here, nor any claims of X or Y HP. In fact, since HP was raised I looked for some info on HP vs wattage, and .5HP = 400W roughly. I can sustain that kind of wattage for about 3 minutes, then I have to slow down. Pros can keep that up for a long time - the world hour record is about that wattage depending on the size of the rider. So the 2HP is right on. Most competitive riders who call themselves "sprinters" can put out about 2HP, albeit for seconds at a time. For more on this kind of discussion google for "mean maximal power cycling."

    Back to the original topic. Alfine hubs are not strong enough for that kind of power, and I am guessing that a fairly strong pedicab driver can easily generate that wattage from a standing start, and so would shy away from the Alfine hubs unless the riders were very careful when starting.

  23. #23
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    Thanks for the info. I suppose I could light one of those old fashioned Edison light bulbs.

    I'm also glad to say I can stand on my pedals without problem, which I do routinely and I'm about 190 lbs (6'-4" with pencil legs). I have had my axle jump out of the dropouts while standing on the pedals (no need now to remind me to tighten the axle nuts before every ride ), but I've never had the gear slipping you described. S501 8-speed.

  24. #24
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    On the Yahoo IGH group there was a member that ran an Alfine 8 with a 750W motor, it lasted about 2K miles before the outside bearings cooked. Might have lasted longer if those bearings had a supply of lube from the hub body (or if he added lube to those bearings).

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