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  1. #1
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    Man, I REALLY Want To Try An IGH...

    ... but, cripes they are expensive.
    I am really starting to get the urge to give one a shot for a number of reasons:
    1. A centered hub with no dish
    2. Stealth mode
    3. Really clean look
    Weight isn't really an issue since I am riding a '96 GF Mamba.
    Problem is, it is a pretty expensive experiment if I end up not liking it.
    Any thoughts or suggestions?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by CharleyGnarlyP290 View Post
    ... but, cripes they are expensive.
    I am really starting to get the urge to give one a shot for a number of reasons:
    1. A centered hub with no dish
    2. Stealth mode
    3. Really clean look
    Weight isn't really an issue since I am riding a '96 GF Mamba.
    Problem is, it is a pretty expensive experiment if I end up not liking it.
    Any thoughts or suggestions?
    I have my Rohloff for 8 years now ( 9 in June) , I've changed the cables after 2 weeks (originals are crap) oil each year , that's it.

    With a derailleur system I had to change chain yearly , cassette every two years , chainring two-three years , derailleurs : depending on how many rock I'd hit. Shifters after 7-8 years .

    I've calculated that after 10-12 it's gonna be paid by itself.

    And BTW , in those 8 years , I got through 3 Shimano IGH on my commuter.
    "There is a big difference between kneeling down and bending over" -FZ

  3. #3
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    Igh

    Go for it. You'll like it. I've run a rohloff, alfine 11, and an alfine 8. All are good, and hit different points on the price / performance spectrum. I currently run a Rohloff cargo bike and a Rohloff fat bike, and an alfine 8 commuter. I've run an alfine 11 commuter as well, and will build an alfine (haven't decided which yet) into my folder. They're fun.

    And I have a couple Alfine hubs for sale in the classifieds section right now.

    As you're read, the Rohloff is the durability king, with the price to back it up. If you're riding around the world twice, it's what you want. But almost nobody needs that.

    The Alfine hubs are quieter and feel like they shift faster - feels more like a MTB than a teutonic engineering experiment, and there are many people running alfine 8s and 11s for thousands of miles. The forums don't tend to attract the vast majority of people that are happy with their stuff.

    In my experience, the alfine hubs need occasional recalibration the first 100 miles or so as the cable stretches out, requiring turning a barrel adjuster to make sure the marks on the hub stay in alignment. But that's not much, and after that they're just great. Good housing and a completely enclosed run makes a difference. When they are out of alignment, (compared to a standard derailleur setup) they'll feel like they slip a gear every couple miles when I don't press the shift lever fully. It's nothing compared to a new or incorrectly aligned derailleur, and the maintenance / adjustment is much easier when it's off. Imagine adjusting a derailleur at trailside vs turning a barrel adjuster until you see 2 marks line up. It's night and day.

    Bottom line - if you want ultimate durability, go with the Rohloff. Anything else, go with whichever alfine you can afford and you'll love it.

  4. #4
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    I have a variety of IGH's, mostly 3spd. My cargo bike has an older model Nuvinci, and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it. The newer version is lighter, and has a bit more range. From everything I've read it is the only hub that is as durable as the Rohloff, and much cheaper. It doesn't have the same range, but it does have continuously variable shifting which is far more significant than you might think. It is designed to be virtually maintenance free as well. I don't have a problem cracking open an IGH, but it's nice to not have to.

  5. #5
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    One problem is you're posting this to the IGH forum. If you ask, "Should I try one?" the answer is going to be "Yes!" - heck, my answer is also yes.

    I understand your feeling. I had the same problem two years ago when fat tire bikes were very much a niche, and I had a really hard time finding a demo bike to ride before spending a wad of cash.

    Search, search, search out a demo bike with a gear hub. You should be able to find a bike with an Alfine 8 hub relatively easy, I should hope. I know I have seen a few at local bikes shops.
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  6. #6
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    IMO, it takes some mechanical aptitude and a willingness to experiment for a positive IGH experience. If you're not able to learn from others, you just might chew through a bunch of perfectly fine hubs doing the same stupid stuff hub after hub. If you're that kind of fool, you'll need to go to a full service, experienced Rolhoff shop and pay through the nose for what smart, educated consumers can get for a few hundred $$....

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by pursuiter View Post
    IMO, it takes some mechanical aptitude and a willingness to experiment for a positive IGH experience. If you're not able to learn from others, you just might chew through a bunch of perfectly fine hubs doing the same stupid stuff hub after hub. If you're that kind of fool, you'll need to go to a full service, experienced Rolhoff shop and pay through the nose for what smart, educated consumers can get for a few hundred $$....
    I totally agree. These are really toys for tinkerers. Stay away if you're not handy or you'll spend a fortune and still walk away disappointed at some point if you're unable to even make necessary adjustments on your own. Some bike shops don't even know IGH exist, much less are able to service them. When I bought my alfine 8, I also did my first wheel build. Nothing like diving in head first. I saved some dough and gained some valuable experience.

    If you can live with the same range as a 1x_, then go with the alfine 8. Its relatively cheap and pretty tough. My build cost me a little over $300 (not including a new SS crankset). My only first-time riding/maint advice is don't shift while pedaling. You'll learn after a few rides what you can and can't do beyond that to keep your hub healthy. And if it blows up after 3 years then you basically broke even versus annual traditional drivetrain replacement. And they're more fun.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Corporal Punishment View Post
    And if it blows up after 3 years then you basically broke even versus annual traditional drivetrain replacement.
    It's a bit more complicated. In a traditional drive-train you can easily change chain-cassette-chainrings and keep the rear wheel. When you blow your IGH you have to relace your old rim and spokes on your new hub. (Some may argue, you can reuse the old rim and spokes, that's another story... ).
    I'm in the second season on my alfine 8 and I hope it will last another two (at least).

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by selin View Post
    It's a bit more complicated. In a traditional drive-train you can easily change chain-cassette-chainrings and keep the rear wheel. When you blow your IGH you have to relace your old rim and spokes on your new hub.
    Well, no - if you were just replacing like with like you could just fit the new internals to the existing hub shell.

  10. #10
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    I'm a DIY'er so I build my own wheels, if the rim isn't out of true then the spokes haven't been stretched and both can be re-used. I always use new nipples, $0.12 x 36, cost me less than $5 to replace a hub.

  11. #11
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    I don't think its really what the OP is talking about, but FWIW a Sturmey-Archer 3-speed IGH isn't expensive and you can buy every little internal part to repair them. You'll find them ticking away on old bikes that haven't seen maintenance in decades, so it's hard to argue they're fussy or only for tinkerers.

    jd

  12. #12
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    I wouldn't say IGH is "fussy". They' definitely require very little maintenance. I haven't touched my alfine 8 in months. As said above, after the cable stretches a bit, its almost maintenance free. But there will come a time (for me - as I've only owned my alfine for 9 months) that I will have to lube and grease it, and that's where the "tinkerer" part come in. It also comes into play when simply purchasing the hub - usually - unless you know a good mechanic experienced with IGH. Even then you'll pay extra for it.

    I suppose what I meant by "tinkerers" is that you really have to be of a handy mindset to begin with because the setup is the big part. The maintenance is low, but when its required - and I'm speaking alfine 8 here - you'll need to be fairly handy to disassemble and reassemble the hub to lube and grease. At least more so than a traditional (legacy?) drivetrain.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by pursuiter View Post
    IMO, it takes some mechanical aptitude and a willingness to experiment for a positive IGH experience.
    This is true with all the Shimano IGH I had so far.

    I have to open/grease it once/twice a year , depending on the amount of snow that year.
    I also changed the cable every time I had to ditch the hub.

    On the other hand with my rohloff , I changed the oil yearly,and changed the cable on the first year and run on the same cable since ( 7 years ) , nothing else.


    And BTW , I've worked as a bike mechanic for many years but it's not that hard to open a Shimano IGH.
    "There is a big difference between kneeling down and bending over" -FZ

  14. #14
    Frt Range, CO
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    Quote Originally Posted by fokof View Post
    This is true with all the Shimano IGH I had so far.

    I have to open/grease it once/twice a year , depending on the amount of snow that year.
    I also changed the cable every time I had to ditch the hub.....
    How it is that you can't make a Shimano IGH work when so many of us ride them year-round in all sorts of extreme conditions with no issues is a mystery to me. If you're as good as you claim, it's got to make you wonder too?

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by pursuiter View Post
    How it is that you can't make a Shimano IGH work when so many of us ride them year-round in all sorts of extreme conditions with no issues is a mystery to me. If you're as good as you claim, it's got to make you wonder too?
    They work , really well , like all other Shimano products.
    I don't expect an Alfine to last as long as other products

    You get what you pay for.
    "There is a big difference between kneeling down and bending over" -FZ

  16. #16
    Frt Range, CO
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    Quote Originally Posted by fokof View Post
    They work , really well , like all other Shimano products.
    I don't expect an Alfine to last as long as other products

    You get what you pay for.
    Quote Originally Posted by pursuiter View Post
    ... If you're not able to learn from others, you just might chew through a bunch of perfectly fine hubs doing the same stupid stuff, hub after hub. If you're that kind of fool, you'll need to go to a full service, experienced Rolhoff shop and pay through the nose for what smart, educated consumers can get for a few hundred $$....
    I had it right the first time....

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by pursuiter View Post
    I had it right the first time....
    I think you don't get it


    If I buy a Honda Civic , wich is a very good vehicle , I'll pay less than a Hummer.
    I won't expect the Civic to last as long as the Hummer if I use it off road.




    Are you telling me that your Rohloff is less reliable than your Alfine and that you service your Rohloff more than your Shimano ?
    "There is a big difference between kneeling down and bending over" -FZ

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