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  1. #1
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    IGHs versus wide tyres versus derailleurs - aaaargh!!!

    So, I'm currently dithering about two potential bikes, either of which would ideally have a Rohloff DB hub if cost wasn't an object. As if!

    One is the Surly Krampus, which takes a normal 135mm rear hub but has limited clearance for double chainrings, and would thus require moving the RH crank out. I'd prefer not to do this due to an old knee injury which means it's better for me to keep the cranks as far inboard as possible, which makes 2x10 less viable. If I stick with an IGH that problem goes away, and crank choice is limited only by chainstay clearance.

    The other potential bike is at least a few months away yet, and would be a low Q fatbike with chainstays elevated to clear the crankarms, and symmetrical 135mm hubs front and rear. I'm currently doing an evening engineering course so would like to have a go at making this a bit later in the year. There's almost zero chance I'd ever ride on snow so could stick with narrower rims (probably 47mm, or maybe 65mm) and 3.7-4" tyres on the back; I'd most likely use a Moonlander fork so anything would fit on the front. To get any chain/tyre clearance with a 73mm BB and low Q standard crankset the chainline needs to stay as far outboard as possible, so derailleurs won't work; my knees really don't want to know about 100mm BB shells or the cranks that go with them.

    The situation with the Krampus is similar; 1x10 is possible but won't give a low enough gear for the local climbs, and XX1 is too spendy and the Q156 cranks won't clear the chainstays. While SS would work (mechanically), my knees would explode very quickly, so that's not a realistic option.

    That leaves IGH, which I'd prefer anyway, the options being:

    * Alfine 8: Cheap, reliable, takes standard CL rotor, but limited range, big gaps between some gears, "backwards" shifting action. 47mm chainline is okay for Krampus but not enough to clear fat bike tyres.

    * Alfine 11: Wider range & mostly closer ratios (except 1st to 2nd) than A8, "normal" shifting action, but much more expensive than A8, finicky adjustment, many reports casting doubt on reliability. Same chainline as A8.

    * Nuvinci 360: CVT so no gaps between gears, standard rotor (IS), reasonable price, but very heavy, may be less efficient in lower gears than others, not user maintainable - and I'm in Australia so this is a problem(!). 49mm chainline is plenty for a Krampus but still marginal with fat bike tyres; might be doable with an offset 10 speed bottom gear cog if that would clear all the shifting gubbins - anyone know if there's any room to spare outside the standard flat cog?

    * Rohloff: Reliable, wide range of gears with close enough gaps (similar to A11), widest chainline @54mm so most tyre/chain clearance, but very expensive, and I would need the most costly variant for the Krampus as it's disc only, plus rotors are expensive too [sigh].

    There are 47mm 26" trials rims available ex-Europe that will work with narrower fat bike tyres, so a rim brake could be used on the rear, potentially saving a few hundred dollars on the Rohloff when duty an taxes are considered. Still, all Rohloff hubs are expensive, and I'd prefer to avoid used in light of recent experiences.

    Seems to me like the cheapest, easiest solution is to forego fat tyres and stick with derailleurs, but as a former Australian Prime Minister once infamously said, "Life wasn't meant to be easy."

    Suggestions, anyone? (Apart from psychiatric help that is!) If I've ignored any other sensible options, please do tell...

  2. #2
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    Buy once and buy right - get the Hoff!
    If you hate it, sell it and you wont loose too much on a new one.
    They take some getting use to initially and I really wasnt very impressed by mine when I got it, but I'm now happy I've little maintenance to worry about can just concentrate on riding.
    The shifting is not instantaneous nor would I describe it as any way crisp, but it works and I dont race so its all good.
    Its initially very noisy to the point of embarrassment but it grows on you and you learn to tolerate it knowing that your its harshest critic.
    I'm glad I made the switch although I had little issue with my Sram dual drive, I just got sick of bent derailleur hangers and gear adjustments when they occasionally happened.

    I went with cheap rotor options:
    Wiggle | Hope Mono Mini Rotor (SAW) for 4 Bolt Rohloff Hub | Disc Brake Rotors
    Wiggle | Hope Mini (Wavey) Rotor | Disc Brake Rotors

  3. #3
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    Re: IGHs versus wide tyres versus derailleurs - aaaargh!!!

    Alfine 8 chainline is perfect for the Surly Pugsley. Here's mine:



    I don't know much about the Rohloff, its way out of my budget, but my Alfine 8 has been awesome on my Pugsley for the 2+ months I've had it. I live in Denver and ride it on Dakota Ridge, so It's definitely getting put through its paces.

  4. #4
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    I've used an Alfine 11 in my Krampus and it now runs on a Rohloff.

    I've used two Alfine 8's in two Pugs for 5yr of beach, winter and dirt riding. They've been 100% solid.

    The difference between the A8 and A11 is only at the top end - which isn't that important to me on a MTB. I rarely find myself running out of high gears.

    For value I think the A8 is hard to beat.

    The A11 oil bath works as advertised, but once you've serviced your A8 I think you'll find that it's not really much harder and since you have better access to the internals I think it's more effective.

    The Rohloff is a lifetime investment and if you ride enough the $/km cost will be the same or lower than another IGH/derailleur, but you have to pay most of it up front.

    IMO fatbikes and IGHs are an excellent combo. You are likely taking your bike into drivetrain destroying terrain so it makes sense to have a setup that is hard to break and requires minimal maintenance.
    Safe riding,

    Vik
    www.vikapproved.com

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by ultraspontane View Post
    ....I don't know much about the Rohloff, its way out of my budget, but my Alfine 8 has been awesome on my Pugsley for the 2+ months I've had it. I live in Denver and ride it on Dakota Ridge, so It's definitely getting put through its paces.
    What gearing are you using?
    Fargo Ti + Moonlander + Necro Pug + Nature Boy

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by singlefin View Post
    What gearing are you using?
    32x22

  7. #7
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    Thanks guys! Another Rohloff won't fit into the budget anytime soon, so I guess that realistically leaves the Alfines, given I might not be able to get an N360 serviced without posting it back to the USA. Last week, I went to Shimano's 2014 product launch here in Oz and spoke to one of the guys about the A11 hubs, the opinion given being that if they were setup properly and not abused they were no less reliable than anything else. I may have to buy one (or an A8) and find out for myself. (BTW, if I use an A11 I will most likely use 30x24.)

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