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  1. #1
    A God Without A Name
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    Considering an Alfine 11.

    Now that I've had the 8 for a while I am in a love/hate relationship with it. The drag stopped being an issue since the rebuild, it actually coasts quite nicely.

    My satisfaction is limited at this point only by the little things, the first of them being the space between gears, with only 8 gears across this range I am often left compromising on a good enough gear. Frankly the gear range is plenty wide to me. I just want more even spacing. smaller steps.

    Oh, and a crisper shifter would be nice.

    So the 11 apparently has even less drag (Which really interests me, as the drag on the 8 is already TEENY) An upgraded shifter (though I really doubt I'm going to be willing to pay for Di2. unless it's just the mindblowingest ever.) And better spacing.

    what I still don't like about the 8 is a sloppy feeling shifter and the gear spacing. It was rather fidgety getting the hub adjusted initially (though installation is actually quite easy, as is servicing!) Other than that I'm a pretty happy camper.

    I'm on the fence between the new 105 and this. Both systems have their ups and downs.

    So my question is, does the 11 have crisper shifting and more natural gearing? is the Di2 even worth it?

  2. #2
    Frt Range, CO
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    I have an regular cable shift Alfine 11, the shift action isn't any better or precise than an oil-filled Alfine 8 (and no grip shifter which I prefer). Gear deltas are much better on the 11. I find the 5th to 6th gear delta on the 8 to be very irritating, esp when riding with another person.

    I had my 11 on a Krampus that I rode on MTB trails using 26tx20t gearing, no issues with reliability. I never shift an IGH under load. I moved from the midwest to Colorado and I needed more gears, my Alfine11 is sitting now. I've been looking at a Straggler to use the 11 on but have resisted so far....

    IGHs are for those of us that need to be different, the 105 system is much more LBS friendly. I do my bike building/fixing (including wheel building), IGH is almost a statement for me. Here in Longmont I am constantly stopped and questioned about my IGH bike, makes good conversation with like-mined strangers.

  3. #3
    A God Without A Name
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    There is very little I trust the LBS to do, I fix my own things as well, I also helped run a bike co-op and was one of their top instructors. I know what you're saying about that attention though, I'd be lying if I didn't admit I liked it!

    Seems like what I really need to do is find one I can take for a spin.

  4. #4
    singlespeed smash brother
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    The more I tinker with my alfine 8 the more I like it. Like you the gear steps bugged me but I addressed it by using a 32 X 22 chain ring cog combo. This Made it so the gears I used for flat, climbing and Dh are grouped either side of the 2 biggest gear jumps. Now I don't notice them so much. I also transformed the shifting and coasting performance by injecting 7ml of auto transmition oil into the hub by removing the non drive side cone. That has made a huge difference to shifting. No sticky shifts or missed shifts since.

  5. #5
    A God Without A Name
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    Yeah, the ATF really does the trick.

    as much as I like the Alfine, I'm floating between Di2 Alfine 11 and 105-5800.

    After consulting with several trusted LBS employees, I know that the Di2 will address the dull shifts. and I already knew the 11 does good things for gear steps.

  6. #6
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    An Alfine 11 with Di2 must be getting close to the price of a Rohloff.

  7. #7
    A God Without A Name
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    Quote Originally Posted by -jes View Post
    An Alfine 11 with Di2 must be getting close to the price of a Rohloff.
    I've been running some numbers on it. and even with the worst deal it would be sub 900. (I may have gotten closer to 700. but we will see what can happen when I've got the money in the bank.)

    And that is for a complete system with internal battery.

    comparing that to the Rohloff, which has just a massively annoying shifter. I was finding a build in the range of 1,100 to 1,700 depending on a LOT of variables.

    in spite of the fact a Rohloff is a far superior hub. It's not going on this bike. every single part of the shifting mechanism from the shifter to the dogbone is very ugly, very hard to mount and not really compatible with my future plans for the bike.

    complete system to complete system, In the ballpark of retail pricing. is like 900 vs 1,400.

    so yeah. not too close.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Agwan View Post

    complete system to complete system, In the ballpark of retail pricing. is like 900 vs 1,400.

    so yeah. not too close.
    Comparing an Alfine [8 or 11] to a Rohloff is like comparing a Rav 4 to a military Hummer [not the pretend ones sold to soccer moms].

    If you have the attention span to actually keep it and use it the Rohloff is cheaper on a per/km basis, more robust/reliable with a wider gear range.

    I've got A8's, an A11 and a couple Rohloffs. The A8 is a good choice due to price vs. functionality. The Rohloff is a good choice for reliability, gear range and service life.

    The A11 is not as clear a choice due to the much higher cost relative to the A8 for modest gains. I doubt I'd ever buy another A11.
    Safe riding,

    Vik
    www.vikapproved.com

  9. #9
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    Interesting comments. I was throwing the idea around of a Afline 11 versus an Alfine 8 and just assumed the Alfine 11 would be a better option.

    A quick price check at ex Germany has the Alfine 8 at AU$192 and the Alfine 11 at AU$276 so a $84 difference.

    Is the Alfine worth the extra $84? It would be a for a Pugsley build x 2 (fatbike and a 29er build for touring duties).

    Thanks
    Andrew

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aushiker View Post
    Interesting comments. I was throwing the idea around of a Afline 11 versus an Alfine 8 and just assumed the Alfine 11 would be a better option.

    A quick price check at ex Germany has the Alfine 8 at AU$192 and the Alfine 11 at AU$276 so a $84 difference.

    Is the Alfine worth the extra $84? It would be a for a Pugsley build x 2 (fatbike and a 29er build for touring duties).

    Thanks
    Andrew
    I've had no failures with my 2 x A8s or my A11, but I have significantly more miles on the A8'S.

    If I was building a new fatbike with IGH and my choice was between the A8 and A11 I'd go for the A8 again even if they cost the same.

    - I really care about the low end of the gear range where they are the same
    - I have more confidence in the A8
    - after servicing both the A8 and A11 the A8 is actually easier
    - A8 has no oil seals to deal with/maintain
    - bigger variety of shifters available for the A8
    - A8 typically is cheaper so if I did manage to destroy one I can slide new internals into my existing wheel cheaper
    Safe riding,

    Vik
    www.vikapproved.com

  11. #11
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    Thanks Vik. As is my usual practice I tend to ask question and then do some research . I was playing around with Sheldon Brown gear calculator after I posted here and it seems (assuming I am reading this right) that the low range with the Alfine 8 (or Alfine 11) is really not that low whilst keeping the 1:9 ratio compared to say an 11-36 cluster with 22/36 crankset.

    As the bike will see a mainly touring duty and often having to carry up to five days of water low range is pretty important.

    Am I reading it right on the gearing?

    Thanks
    Andrew

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aushiker View Post
    Thanks Vik. As is my usual practice I tend to ask question and then do some research . I was playing around with Sheldon Brown gear calculator after I posted here and it seems (assuming I am reading this right) that the low range with the Alfine 8 (or Alfine 11) is really not that low whilst keeping the 1:9 ratio compared to say an 11-36 cluster with 22/36 crankset.

    As the bike will see a mainly touring duty and often having to carry up to five days of water low range is pretty important.

    Am I reading it right on the gearing?

    Thanks
    Andrew
    My gearing with the A8 has always been 32 x 23T which is 1:1.39. I wouldn't hesitate to go down to 30 x 32T which is 1:1.3.

    I've toured in the mountains with 4 fully loaded panniers and racks with the 32 x 23T gearing. That was back with a huge amount of gear compared to what I would carry now. However, I'm okay with hike-a-bike on a mountain bike tour so I don't care about having a super low granny gear.

    You can certainly get a lower gear more easily with a derailleur setup.

    The reason I favour IGHs for a fatbike in particular and a bikepacking bike more generally is I often end up in terrain/conditions where keeping a derailleur bike operating is a pain.

    If you can't get your derailleur to shift reliably that low gear isn't all that useful.
    Safe riding,

    Vik
    www.vikapproved.com

  13. #13
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    ^^I would also like to add my thanks for your timely opinion on gearing down the Alfine 8, Vik. I have a 26/18 chainring/cog setup (1.444:1) on my Pugs, which is just fine for my local beach and dune riding. I was wondering about the added weight of bike packing gear when climbing, so I recently decided to try swapping out the 18 for a 20 tooth cog, which would get me 1.3:1.
    I haven't ordered the new cog yet. I'm not even sure that I need it. I just want to try it!
    I don't dare try the spare 23 tooth cog i have with my 26 tooth chainring. No.
    Last edited by PlutonicPlague; 01-03-2015 at 11:55 PM. Reason: backward ratios

  14. #14
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    Considering an Alfine 11.

    G'day Andrew,

    I love my Alfine 8 as a commuter, but both the Alfine 8 & 11 have one feature that you should be aware of & that is that they are torque limited.

    In standard trim that means recommendations not to stand & pedal.

    Riding on dirt the reduced traction helps to minimise the issue.

    As you are looking at a fat bike, the increased tire width will improve traction.

    With a heavily loaded fat tourer I would be concerned at how the hub will handle the low gearing you need. I'm not saying it won't work, just that I would prefer someone else to do it first.

    Im sure you would agree the backroads & tracks of WA are not the place to find you have a problem.

  15. #15
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    ^^ Did Shimano not address this torque limitation problem in the Alfine 8-spd when they came out with the newer SG-S 501 version? (I don't know the answer, myself). I read in another thread here (forget now which one it was) that they engineered some kind of torque limitation into the SG-S 501, which wasn't a feature of the older SG-S 500 8-spd hubs).
    I am going to be a guinea pig and try the 26/20 configuration on my SG-S 501. That will give me an input ratio of 1.3:1. I have a 2008 model year bike with a SG-S 500 on it that came factory set up with 33/20, which is an input ratio of 1.65:1. I am not going to mess with that, since it is the "older" version of the hub.

  16. #16
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    As I understand it, the SG S501 addresses the torque limitation by releasing to prevent you damaging the hub. My experience has been if standing when it releases, an awkward fall results. Having read up on the issue, I no longer stand when climbing.

    I am no expert on the hub internals & would be happy to be corrected.

  17. #17
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    ^^ Thank you, find_bruce, for this info! Its good to know what I might expect to happen.
    Maybe I should wear padded chamois shorts and a cup!

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by find_bruce View Post
    With a heavily loaded fat tourer I would be concerned at how the hub will handle the low gearing you need. I'm not saying it won't work, just that I would prefer someone else to do it first.


    I've tested 2 A8's pretty well. Used them for 5yrs+. I'm a masher so standing and cranking is what I do.

    I didn't experience any torque release or slipping...I may have had IGHs that were previous to that change.



    Having said all that I'm no Alfine zealot. If you can afford a Rohloff it's a better product for sure.
    Safe riding,

    Vik
    www.vikapproved.com

  19. #19
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    I'm no Alfine zealot either, but I'm relatively new to them, and I'm trying to learn all that I can about my particular hubs.
    Myself, I can afford a Rohloff, and I even have considered getting one, but I'm not sure that I'll live long enough to extract the full value from it. I'm sure that at age 64, I wouldn't stand a chance at even coming close to outliving the thing. I might just get it broken in a little, and then some lucky sucker that I don't even know might end up with it on the cheap. I'd have to get cremated after I go, and be sure to instruct my survivors to cremate the Rohloff along with my carcass, just to make sure that I don't start spinning inside a coffin!

    I am seriously considering a Pinion setup, but I am waiting for them to become more available. If I can obtain a Pinion Gearbox bike (hardtail 29er+, perhaps?) reasonably soon, then one of those might be for me. Pinion will only sell its gearboxes to bona fide, established bicycle builders, which is understandable.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by find_bruce View Post

    With a heavily loaded fat tourer I would be concerned at how the hub will handle the low gearing you need. I'm not saying it won't work, just that I would prefer someone else to do it first.

    Im sure you would agree the backroads & tracks of WA are not the place to find you have a problem.
    Sage advice indeed ... I may have a bigger issue now as I have come across the Salsa Mukluk and that is really appealing to me; the downside is it runs a 170 mm rear spacing which pretty much knocks out an Afline.

    I think I need to do less research and more riding

    Andrew

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by PlutonicPlague View Post
    I am seriously considering a Pinion setup, but I am waiting for them to become more available. If I can obtain a Pinion Gearbox bike (hardtail 29er+, perhaps?) reasonably soon, then one of those might be for me. Pinion will only sell its gearboxes to bona fide, established bicycle builders, which is understandable.
    I can't see how a Pinion solves any of your concerns with a Rohloff except for adding an expensive custom frame to the mix.

    There is also a problematic lack of efficiency data for Pinion gearboxes from any independent sources. That could be a deal breaker for anything other than gravity mountain biking.

    I was an early adopter of the SRAM Hammerschmidt 2 speed BB. The high range was so inefficient it became a very expensive and heavy single ring crank.
    Safe riding,

    Vik
    www.vikapproved.com

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by vikb View Post
    My gearing with the A8 has always been 32 x 23T which is 1:1.39. I wouldn't hesitate to go down to 30 x 32T which is 1:1.3.
    Okay I stuck these numbers in Sheldon (RIP) and with the 32T x 23T at 80 RPM I am looking at around 8 to 25 km/h. 8 km/h is okay and really getting to walking speed anyway. What bothers me but is the other end but them at 90 RPM it goes up to 28 km/h and realistically I average in the 10 to 20 km/h range so maybe it isn't that bad.

    Does Shimano have a warranty breaking ratio like Rohloff?

    Thanks
    Andrew

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aushiker View Post
    Okay I stuck these numbers in Sheldon (RIP) and with the 32T x 23T at 80 RPM I am looking at around 8 to 25 km/h. 8 km/h is okay and really getting to walking speed anyway. What bothers me but is the other end but them at 90 RPM it goes up to 28 km/h and realistically I average in the 10 to 20 km/h range so maybe it isn't that bad.

    Does Shimano have a warranty breaking ratio like Rohloff?

    Thanks
    Andrew
    Personally I vary my RPM as needed. I can pedal slower and higher than 90RPM. I don't need to pedal downhill so if I can get into the 4 - 30KPH+ range that meets all my needs. I'm not cruising on a fatbike at 30KPH+ a whole heck of a lot.

    As for the Shimano warranty I've heard various things about input ratios including there was no limit. Having said that there is no practical way they can know what you used so it's not something I'd worry about. They can inspect the hub and decide if the damage should be warrantied.

    One nice thing with Alfines is that the internals slide easily out of the shell and Shimano doesn't repair them so you'll get new internals in a successful warranty claim and can be back on the road quickly after receiving it. No need to rebuild the wheel.

    That is also something to consider if you are doing an extended tour and can't afford a Rohloff. If you had a problem and can get a new Alfine delivered by mail you can replace the internals at the side of the road and be back in the game.
    Safe riding,

    Vik
    www.vikapproved.com

  24. #24
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    Good points, Vik! If I ever spring for a Pinion bike, it probably wouldn't be until at least a year from now...at my age, only a year away is "soon." Time flies! I was sort of joking when I said that I wouldn't want a Rohloff because I'm too old to extract the full value from it! Sure, at my age, the thing would likely outlive me, but it would still be worth it. I'm just not going to put one on my extra set of wheels that I'm probably going to get built for the Pugs.
    Rohloff or Pinion would be on a completely different bike.

    Your point about the Shimano warranty and the relatively easy replacement of an Alfine's internals is a strong point in their favor. I am probably going to get another set of wheels (on Rabbit Holes) built up for the Pugs, and I'll have the rear built with another Alfine 8-spd.
    I am not having any problems with mine now. I like the gear ratio I have set up right now. Its perfect for fat tires on the beach and trails.
    Fully loaded for a backcountry tour on my fat tires, I think that I might want a 1.3:1 input ratio, which I can easily achieve with a 20-tooth cog.

    I'm actually happy with the day-tripping performance of my Alfine Pugs set up as it is now with a 1.444:1 input ratio (26/18). I think I would only want to lower that to 1.3:1 if I were heading out loaded with gear.

    Thanks again, Vik, for sharing your experience with these hubs.

  25. #25
    Stubby-legged
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    I have an a8 and my wife has an a11.
    We have ignored all warnings and cautions.
    We stand and crank hard.
    We overload our fatbikes (mainly with FAT riders )
    We coast and shift.
    We stand and shift.
    We ride into the woods of Maine with nary a thought except where we are going to stop and eat.
    We love our alfines.

    Gearing is 30x24.
    We are slow and chubby.
    We smile a lot.
    I don't have to replace de-rail-yours 3-4 times a year.

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