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  1. #1
    All Lefty's, all the time Moderator
    Reputation: MendonCycleSmith's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005

    Alfine specific ???, I'm a newb on these....

    So I have a buddy who want to build up a Milk Money, and was debating either Hammerschmidt, or an Alfine. Rohloff would be awesome, but starts to push the budget envelope if you know what I mean.

    So I asked over on the 29er forum, where I know some are in use, and I could kinda get the lay of the land so to speak. Now, I have some more specific questions.

    Primarily, gearing. He runs a 32/17 and is very happy with it. He'd thinking about using a Gates Belt Drive, so we need to get the gearing kinda nailed down, as the drive gears aren't free. It sounds like the gearing range is limited on the Alfines, so, does anyone have an idea how to relate it to a SS set up? As in, with a 32 up front, 3rd gear gives you a 17t effective in the rear, etc? That way, I can figure out what sort of range he'll have. He's happy to ride most stuff with the gearing he has, so a narrow range is okay, as long as it's positioned a bit to on both sides of what he has now, it'll be an improvement.

    Also, asked this there too, but how's durability under a gear crusher? He's a super strong rider, and we don't want to get him all set up, only to find it's not happy being used in the mud, crud, freezing temps, abusive power pushing, etc. A common theme was having to lighten up up to shift, I'm okay with that. You guys find they hold up well to a true off road environment, as opposed to commuting, or railing some smooth singletrack somewhere in the midwest? Nothing against the midwest of course, but in the northeast here, we've got a lot of these sudden super steep techy climbs and the like, which tends to put a hurting on gear that isn't really up to the task, if you know what I mean.

    Thanks all!
    This is a Pugs not some carbon wannabee pretzel wagon!!

    - FrostyStruthers

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Reputation: rdhfreethought's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    I have both the Hammerschmidt (all mountain version) and the Alfine, on my Freeride bike. I rode in 5 degree weather yesterday (see pic) and have had it in the mud (pic #2 is after a muddy day in Whistler). I've been using them about 7 months now, and overall very happy. I would say the Hammerschmidt is both more durable (strength wise) and gear changes are quicker. I did crash fairly bad at Whistler and smashed up the Alfine shifter, but it has survived so far. I have had to adjust the Alfine 3 times to keep it shifting correctly. I have never had a problem with the Hammerschmidt.

    -the HS is twice as expensive, but you get a crankset and chainguide included (never had the chain fall off)
    -the drag in overdrive on the HS is more noticable than any gear on the Alfine, So, I try to stay out of OD.

    For a gear masher, I would recommend a standard cassette, and use the HS up front.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Alfine specific ???, I'm a newb on these....-003b.jpg  

    Alfine specific ???, I'm a newb on these....-dirty-knolly-001b.jpg  

    Alfine specific ???, I'm a newb on these....-dirty-knolly-002b.jpg  

    Regional Race Manager, Knolly Bikes
    Washington, Oregon, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    May 2006

    I am by no means a heavy gear masher, but I can attest to the Alfine's general reliability over eastern terrain. I'm at 500+ miles of true rocky, rooty, muddy PA singletrack with no issues to report. (This is on the back of a short travel 29er not too much unlike the MM.)

    The alfine gearing is as follows:
    8 1.615
    7 1.419
    6 1.223
    5 1
    4 0.851
    3 0.748
    2 0.644
    1 0.527

    (edited to number the gear ratios as they are numbered on the shifter)

    When I converted from my SS, I did a direct swap from 29/20 SS to the same sizes with the Alfine so I have 4 lower and 3 higher (21.3" to 65.3") which suits my nearly 100% off road riding. Note that my fairly low ratios reflect my lack of pedal mashing stregth - adjust as you see fit for your customer. It doesn't sound like it will be an issue for your build, but there has been at least one report of problems at very low chainring/cog ratios - see here: Alfine - How low can I go?

    If that MM ends up with an Alfine AND a Lefty, I'd love to see a picture (or two) when is is complete!
    Last edited by jdrds17; 12-09-2009 at 12:17 PM.

  4. #4
    dru is offline
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    MCS, those are ratios so you take your 1:1 gear (5th) (what ever size rear sprocket you choose) and divide by the ratios.

    for example

    a 20 tooth/1st(.527) = 37.95 lowest gear

    a 20 tooth/8th(1.615) =12.38 highest gear

    The gear equivalent range using a 20 tooth:

    38 31 27 23.5 20 16 14 12

    I run a 32 front/20 rear, on my 29er.

    It is even OK for road if you are running knobbies and you are solo. It is too low for any descending at all. Ditto for drafting people. IIRC, my gearing gives me a 20mph speed at 90 rpm cadence

    The ~38 1st gear is fine except for the steepest of stuff off road.

    As for abuse, many people are running theirs hard. However, your friend needs to finesse the shifts on the Alfine. If he's a masher he won't likely get the hub to downshift nicely. Shifting requires letting up on the pressure the slightest bit. I have no issues with mine, but I'm also very used to it by now. One really nice feature is the fact you can be dead stopped and it will shift into what ever gear you want.

    I've been riding half seriously since '93 running pretty much Shimano LX, DX, XT and XTR (for the past 3 years) on my other bikes and I LOVE my Alfine. The only thing that sucks is the weight.


    Last edited by dru; 12-08-2009 at 04:57 PM.
    occasional cyclist

  5. #5
    Frt Range, CO
    Reputation: pursuiter's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    here's mine in some mud:
    Attached Images Attached Images

  6. #6
    Candlestick Maker
    Reputation: baker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    I've had no hub probs in mud, even completely disgusting unbelievable cr@p like this:

    I did have issues with inability to turn the twist shifter in the pic above (all mud, no friction). Also, my shifting started to get flaky a few months ago. Turned out to be a worn shifter (not hub). I had used the shifter with a Nexus for a long time b4 moving it over to my Alfine. Switching to a new trigger shifter resolved the flakiness.

    I have beat the snot outta my Nexus and Alfine hubs. Plenty of technical riding, lots of climbing, nearly complete disregard for well-timed shifts, etc. They've all withstood the abuse, although the sealing on the Nexus hubs sucks compared to the Alfine.

    I have to admit, there are times when a 3x9 derailleur setup is appealing (endless climbing days, some very technical climbs, etc), but mostly the Alfine/Nexus is great.

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