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  1. #1
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    Just took the plunge on an Alfine 11

    Well, I stripped the cranks on my hardtail (long story) and decided it was time to take the plunge. Sold my FS that I almost never ride any moreand plonked down 1200$ to upgrade my bike to Alfine 11 (hub, shifter, BB, cranks, and rebuilt wheel + labor). Wish me luck -- I'm going to use this bike for *everything* -- commute, single track, etc.

    I'm a fairly heavy, (225) strong rider and was nervous having read all the reports. LBS said not to fear; they've built a lot of mtb IGH and said the 11's performance has been generally excellent. So, wish me luck...I ride hard and will report back with impressions in a couple of months.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by merlinm View Post
    Well, I stripped the cranks on my hardtail (long story) and decided it was time to take the plunge. Sold my FS that I almost never ride any more and and plonked down 1200$ to upgrade my bike to Alfine 11 (hub, shifter, BB, cranks, and rebuilt wheel + labor). Wish me luck -- I'm going to use this bike for *everything* -- commute, single track, etc.

    I'm a fairly heavy, (225) strong rider and was nervous having read all the reports. LBS said not to fear; they've built a lot of mtb IGH and said the 11's performance has been generally excellent. So, wish me luck...I ride hard and will report back with impressions in a couple of months.
    Enjoy! and report back how it goes.
    Safe riding,

    Vik
    www.vikapproved.com

  3. #3
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    most of the parts are already in! decided to go with 32-18.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by merlinm View Post
    most of the parts are already in! decided to go with 32-18.
    I've been using 32 x 23T on a 29er and would like a lower gear.
    Safe riding,

    Vik
    www.vikapproved.com

  5. #5
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    yeah. well, I just went with bike shop recommendations at this stage. I'm going to use this bike for *everything*, commuting, etc. so maybe the higher gearing is in order. Also I ride in Texas, the hills here are not to bad. Plus, I am a bit worried about input torque. What's the biggest cog you can put on the rear wheel?

  6. #6
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    looked -- the max rear cog you can get is 23. so you'd have to drop the front sprocket.

    I'm coming from a 27 speed 11-32. so, by going to alfine 11 on 32/18, I'm basically dropping the bottom two gears on the granny according to http://www.fellsbiker.com/docs/alfine_11_ratios.pdf. I can deal with that -- but that has a lot to do with the terrain around here. I figure it's a about right, but maybe I'll have to re-think it once i start hitting the harder trails.

  7. #7
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    I've ignored any input ratio limits on my two A8s and the A11. No problems in 4yrs+ on the A8s and over a year on the A11.

    Cogs are cheap so if you want to go lower you can at a later date.
    Safe riding,

    Vik
    www.vikapproved.com

  8. #8
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    It's possible to get 24T & 26T cogs (Large Cogs for Internal Geared Hubs), and also to modify Shimano UG/HG cogs to fit as well (Internal-Gear Hubs). Sheldon talks about grinding the lugs off, but I've filed them in the past; it doesn't take long. They can be obtained free by dismantling old cassettes; the large cogs are often unused.

  9. #9
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    First ride impressions

    OK, finally got the bike back from the LBS. This was retrofit and the LBS had a little bit of trouble with it. They had to drop me from a 185 to a 160mm rotor in the back and I'm not completely happy with the way the cable routing turned out -- instead of along the chain stay it loops up to the seat stay. In general though they did an excellent job and I am very happy with it so far. I got a pretty good deal -- Alfine 11, shifter, rotor, parts kit, stylo cranks/bb, tensioner, rear tire (nano tcs), wheel build and installation for a very reasonable price. I talked with the installer for a while about the hub and he felt like IGH or at least some type of internal transmission was the future. The main problem I see is that frames aren't really designed for it.

    Here are my impressions:
    * Shifting so very very smooth and instant as long as you back off the pedals. Shifting under moderate load is fine although there is a small thunk as it goes into gear. I do not shift under high load.

    * Hub feels very solid. No sponginess, slipping, engagement issues, etc.

    * Like vik says, 32-18 is too highly geared for MTB. @ gear 11 I am hauling ass on the road but not anywhere close to spinning. At gear 1 I'm standing on the pedals on some of technical steep climbs, which the hub handled no problem. It's not way off -- with a 32-23 I'd probably be fine for most of the trails around here (Dallas). I can manage the way it is for now -- I blew the budget for now and around christmas I'll make some adjustments.

    * On the bike rack spinning the cranks by hand, you can feel a small amount of drag and hear a bit of faint chain noise which I think is coming from the tensioner. I noticed neither while riding.

    * No more chain slap! No more noise at all! The rotor cured the rear brake squeal! This bike is whisper quiet!

    I'll post in with some more impressions and reliability reports as they come up! Since I'm doing mixed MTB/coummuting, the miles will be racking up very quickly.

  10. #10
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    Thanks for that, and please let us know how things go. I've been dithering about getting one of these hubs for ages and a few more positive reports would help considerably.

  11. #11
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    After my experience with a bike designed for this hub (Specialized Source 11) including a full replacement hub, I would not advise anyone to use unless they can live with the gear jumping problems with this hub. And this is based on relatively easy non mtb road use. Other than this issue (which i think is a safety issue), the hub is pretty cool.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by merlinm View Post
    \
    \It's not way off -- with a 32-23 I'd probably be fine for most of the trails around here (Dallas). I can manage the way it is for now -- I blew the budget for now and around christmas I'll make some adjustments.
    A new cog should be ~$10-$15. They are not expensive and you can fit them yourself at home.

    Enjoy the new hub....
    Safe riding,

    Vik
    www.vikapproved.com

  13. #13
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    6 Month update

    All right. Been riding this bike/hub for 6 months now and have a pretty good idea of the alfine 11 ups/downs. I ride it a fair amount -- maybe 20 miles+/week commuting plus another 10-20/week single track. My riding is not super aggressive -- mostly cross country plus some light AM.

    The takeaways:
    *) cable alignment is very important. When it's perfect, the hub is rock solid. when it wanders off, issues start to show up immediately. The good news is that I've learned to detect warning signs and it's always fixable with the barrel adjuster. Also, visual adjustment is easy.

    *) axle nuts have to be super duper tight. Even with the non-turn washers, there is a little bit of play that tends to work your nuts loose if they aren't tightened enough. This in turns messes with the shifting to a small degree -- it took me a while to figure this out actually and once I did most of the issues I found annoying went away.

    *) adjustment and maintenance is easier than with derailleur mech. front derailleur tolerances are super low these days and I'm just plain sick of the headaches.

    *) 32-18 is geared to high for MTB. I'm not a super adventurous rider, but there are some hills I have to either stand on the pedals to clear and/or walk when I would normally not do so. On single track unless on downhills or straight flats I never go above gear 5-6 and I usually cruise around 3-4.

    *) 32-18 is geared too high even for commuting. MY 35 psi nano raptors are pretty fast rolling but tires and geometry mean I can never keep up with the roadies -- at least not without expending too much energy. I only use gears 10-11 on the downhills -- I cruise on the the road on 8-9. With real slick tires and a more aggressive geometry it would probably be OK, but then I would not be able to hit the trails with the same bike. So, I would like to drop down -- maybe 32-20, or 32-23 -- not sure. I'm not concerned (yet) about torque limitations on low gears -- plus it's still under warranty, heh.


    All the things I loved about the bike I still love. Completely silent operation, instant shifts (if you back off power while you shift), simple easy adjustment. Completely maintenance free. I run ghetto front and back and aside from airing up the tires and the occasional sealant top off this bike (so far) has been rock solid reliable. I sold the FS to pay for the hub and don't really miss it at all.

  14. #14
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    Merlinm,
    Thanks for the review and update for the Allfine 11! I want to add that since May 16th (in 4 days it will be 6 months) I have been using the Allfine 11 logging 3200 miles to date on one of my bikes, the Easy Motion Max 700 + PCS pedal assist E-bike. It is a commuter with, dynamo front hub, front & rear lights, drop bars, fenders, rear rack, panniers, all weighing in at 55 lbs and about 60 lbs with panniers loaded. Add my 130 lbs with clothes, shoes, etc its coming in about 195-200 lbs gross weight.

    I agree that the shifting is quick and easy but I have found that it shifts the best when I STOP PEDALING COMPLETLY up/down shifting of the gears. It only takes an instant but I have got used to this method of shifting. Now, when I get on a derailer equipped bike I tend to want to stop pedaling while shifting, LOL. I really like that you can shift gears when at a stop with the Allfine 11!

    I do notice that if you don't let pressure off it doesn't always want to engage fully into the selected gear and seems to want to tend to skip. If everything is adjusted correctly and I stop pedaling to shift it NEVER skips. If it would happen to skip I would know something was out of adjustment. I first check the alignment marks and adjust the barrel adjuster to realign the marks if they are off (even slightly) which is done in gear number 6 and very simple!

    Since this bike is a commuter and also an e-bike I am running a 41 T ring gear and 19 T rear cog with Surly singulator chain tensioner. It will sail on level ground at about 35 mph (with or without assist) and can bomb the down hill depending on length and grade at an easy 40+ mph. The assist is designed to cut out at 20 mph but since it is a mid drive I can get the advantage of utilizing the gears for more speed when using the assist. I seldom ever use the assist on level or down hill.

    I didn't want to get to lazy hence the assist model, and not hand throttle. I only use the motor on certain hills and if I need to get to work quicker. I commute a round trip of 25 miles getting home at 3:30 am. I did a century in Septemer only using the assist off and on for the last 15 miles as I wanted to make sure if I needed the assist I would have the power for the end of the ride.

    My 1st gear is pretty low and I can make it up most hills without using the assist unless I am carrying a lot of weight and its a long hill. After all the bike with gear can be 60+ lbs! I don't actually use first gear that much, and usually in the range of 3-8, and 9-11 on flats and downhill.

    My overall impression after putting these kinds of miles in I am very happy with it and would recommend it! I know its probably past due but I am getting ready to do the oil change in the unit as soon as my LBS gets my fluid in (this week). I am also in the process now of specing out a Four Seasons Expat SL (Seven) for my next build using the Allfine 11. It will also be a commuter! Since I am hardly using the assist on this bike (although I really like this bike) I want a lighter non powered commuter.

  15. #15
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    nice (thanks but now thanks for making me blow a half hour on the internet looking at e bikes). I'm 220 lb stark naked and I can leg press a mule. I'm not a super rider by any means -- too heavy and get gassed easy, but boy I can crank out some torque. Standing on the pedals and pulling up on the bars and no issue whatsoever assuming the bike is in tune.

    Before I figured out out the cassette joint could rotate over time with the rest of the assembly if the axle nuts weren't real tight, I did have occasional shifting issues and had to futz with the barrel adjuster to keep it in line. Now I just have to judge the marks and it's good.

    Shifting the alfine is a snap when you get the technique down. It's all about the instant shift.

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