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  1. #1
    singlespeed smash brother
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    Racing Rolhoff or Alfine 11

    Hi all. I'm finally ready to make the jump to hub gears. I'm prepared to pay the high cost for a rolhoff but I have to say paying half that for an alfine 11 and spending the rest on brake and fork upgrades is attractive. So here's where I'm at.
    I'm mainly a trail rider but do love to enter 100km + enduro events and to shorter dirt crit races. I'm used to riding a 2 x 9 setup (32,22 up front 11-34 cluster) but have found I've wanted some higher gears in some events. The Rolhoff is most attractive for this reason. The other reason I'm leaning to a Rolhoff is durability. I've trawled the net for Alfine 11 reviews and remain unconvinced that it'll stand up to what I want it to do.
    So I ask the learned soles here to either confuse me more or convince me in either direction.

    Do I go the Rolhoff or an Alfine 11 + extra upgrades

    Thanks

  2. #2
    1*14*29*2.1 & 1*1*29*2.4
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    I can't say I have personal experience withthe alfine11 but from what I have read here about the alfine and learnt from owning a rohloff, I'd recommend the rohloff. Maybe the A8 if you just want to give it a go cheaply first, but it's not necessarily easy to change over to a Rohloff later if you get serious.

  3. #3
    I barf on top tubes
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    I think a Rohloff would suit you well if purchased in the right configuration. I would shoot for an OEM setup so that you could just release the external mech, the quick release, and change a flat (maybe go tubeless).. Anything more compilcated than that and it will really slow down your flat changing speed. Find a frame with Rohloff specific dropouts, so you do away with monkey bones, speed bones, torque arms and all the extraneous garbabe that goes wth a non OEM setup. This will be extra helpfull on those short dirt crit races. You cant beat the durability of Rohloff for sure.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by shwinboy View Post
    I'm used to riding a 2 x 9 setup (32,22 up front 11-34 cluster) but have found I've wanted some higher gears in some events.
    An Alfine isn't going to get you close to that low 22 x 34 gear. If you have the money, pop for the Rohloff to get the wide gear range. I have an Alfine 8 because it is economical, but I am saving my pennies for a Rohloff.
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  5. #5
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    I'd take some of what you read about the Alfine 11 with a grain of salt. Shimano did a revision on it after 6 months of production to improve the reliability and a number of problems I have read about seem to be related to improper set up and use. Plus, folks are by nature much more likely to report bad experiences than good ones on forums so there's that too. There's lots of folks running the Alfiine 11 on mountain bikes that are very happy with them (and they've got a pretty good 2 year warranty anyway.)

  6. #6
    singlespeed smash brother
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    Quote Originally Posted by greg w View Post
    Find a frame with Rohloff specific dropouts, so you do away with monkey bones, speed bones, torque arms and all the extraneous garbabe that goes wth a non OEM setup.
    I've got an existing Ti dean ss frame with ebb. Sadly I'll need the speed bone but think if I go the Rolhoff I'll get some one to mod the dropout down the track.

  7. #7
    singlespeed smash brother
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Diller View Post
    An Alfine isn't going to get you close to that low 22 x 34 gear. If you have the money, pop for the Rohloff to get the wide gear range. I have an Alfine 8 because it is economical, but I am saving my pennies for a Rohloff.
    Yeah. I figure that I'd run 32x 20 on the alfine which would give me about the top range I'm after but not really the bottom especially with the low gear being a large jump. Would I be rash in thinking that it'd be similar to running a 1x 10 on standard drive train?

  8. #8
    singlespeed smash brother
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wryknow View Post
    a number of problems I have read about seem to be related to improper set up and use.
    I suppose I'm worried that what I want to do with it , ie run below the recommended ratio, might fall under " improper set up and use."

  9. #9
    1*14*29*2.1 & 1*1*29*2.4
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    yes, I's be worried too. Racing would likely be improper use too for the 11.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wryknow View Post
    I'd take some of what you read about the Alfine 11 with a grain of salt. Shimano did a revision on it after 6 months of production to improve the reliability and a number of problems I have read about seem to be related to improper set up and use. Plus, folks are by nature much more likely to report bad experiences than good ones on forums so there's that too. There's lots of folks running the Alfiine 11 on mountain bikes that are very happy with them (and they've got a pretty good 2 year warranty anyway.)
    i have 400km on my alfine 11 and am in the happy crowd so far. for me dealing with the "improper setup and use" has been spinning easy on the hub for the first couple hundred kms to break it in (not mashing), doing an easy revolution or two after downshifting to be sure it engages and also being careful with cable tweaking. an ever so slight misalignment of the cable and the hub will shift poorly possibly leading to bigger problems. hit the sweet spot and the shifting is real nice.

  11. #11
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    Non-OEM isn't that big a deal. I can change a flat in the field in under 10min, front (20mm thru) or rear (Rohloff). Let's face it, if you get a flat, it will likely cost your race regardless of what drivetrain you're on. ...Part of racing.

    Race the Rohloff. If you're fit, you'll be competetive. If you get a flat, it's just not your day.

  12. #12
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    I can't comment on the rohloff but am a happy owner of an alfine 11. While I really like the alfine I don't think it would be a good choice for racing as it will misbehave if your in a hurry. You don't seem to notice the missed shifts or slipping when you are sniffing flowers but if you need it to work flawlessly I would stick with a derailleur.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by shwinboy View Post
    I've got an existing Ti dean ss frame with ebb. Sadly I'll need the speed bone but think if I go the Rolhoff I'll get some one to mod the dropout down the track.
    It can work without speed bone or monkeybone depending on wich brake you use.

    I use Hope Mono mini and there is enough space between the caliper and the frame , maybe I'm lucky , I don't know .....

    I've put a Presta valve bolt between frame/caliper to "receive" the OEM plate.
    I just chose one with the right thickness.
    "There is a big difference between kneeling down and bending over" -FZ

  14. #14
    singlespeed smash brother
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    I've just ordered a Rolhoff. I'm so excited. Been wanting to do this for years. I have a monkey bone ready to go. I actually like the fact that you have to wear these hubs in. I'm hoping it will give me the motivation to get out more.

  15. #15
    A Man Of The Truth
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    I've been riding an Alfine 11 for almost exactly a year, and I'm on my 5th hub. They just keep dying and so far, they keep replacing them. I do *not* take the reports I read on the internet with a grain of salt, because they all describe the exact same problems I have. You can't really blame it on setup, because there is virtually none. You just have to align the cable, which is similar to aligning a cable on a rear derailer, but it's MUCH easier on the Alfine due to the yellow dots. And that's all there is to it. I run all mine with a 32/30. When the hub is working, it's great, I'm super happy with it, it is superior to derailer in every way. But when it's not working, it sucks. And it's not working A LOT. If one of the big IGH benefits you are seeking is the enhanced reliability, DO NOT GET AN ALFINE 11.

    Also, about gear ratios. The Alfine 11 with a 32/20 is actually VERY close to an XT 3x9. It's basically a 27 speed XT system minus the top gear, and the two very lowest gears. Everything else is there and it's very easy to adapt to the few missing gears. I've never had any issue with the spacing between gears being a problem. Even when my 2nd gear completely disintegrated, it wasn't soo much of a probably going from 1st to 3rd all the time.
    The Rholoff is even better, It's gear range is more like a 3x9 XT setup, with just the very lowest gear gone. And everything else is there. If the Alfine 11 was as reliable as the rholoff (or even reliable AT ALL, I was only hoping to get a solid 3 years out of the hub, not 3 months), I'd definitely recommend it over the Rholoff. On paper, it's an amazing hub that has all of the right options, and it poised to start an IGH frenzy. In reality, it's an unreliable mess that is probably doing a better job of selling derailers than anything else.

    I have a spreadsheet comparing all of the gear ratios of derailer based drive trains, alfine 11s with various input gears, and rholoffs with various input gears. I'd post a link, but it's not on this computer remind me and I'll link to it.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by shwinboy View Post
    I've just ordered a Rolhoff.
    Rohloff is a great choice if you have the $$. I've got a couple Rohloffs, 3 Alfine 8's and an Alfine 11.

    The Alfine 11 is trucking along fine and other folks are having good experiences with them, but OTOH some folks are breaking theirs. It's not clear yet what's going on with the Alfine 11's.

    The Rohloff has a much longer track record and it's service life and quirks are understood much better.

    Enjoy your new IGH...
    Safe riding,

    Vik
    www.vikapproved.com

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by fellsbiker View Post

    Also, about gear ratios. The Alfine 11 with a 32/20 is actually VERY close to an XT 3x9.

    I have a spreadsheet comparing all of the gear ratios of derailer based drive trains, alfine 11s with various input gears, and rholoffs with various input gears. I'd post a link, but it's not on this computer remind me and I'll link to it.
    Well I'm sure you've done your research, but don't you think the problem is right there? The recommended input ratio is 1:1.9, and you are at almost twice that at 1:1.06.

    That's almost twice the input torque. (Well actually it's 1.78 x )
    That's like designing it for a 200 lb rider, and then putting a 356 lb rider on it.

    Don't you think that's the most obvious explanation?

    Disclaimer: I have almost 4 years of perfect reliability with the alfine 8, but no experience with the 11.

  18. #18
    A Man Of The Truth
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    If 1.9 is the "lower limit" of the hub, then shimano should write that it is the "lower limit", rather than simply writing "recommended ratio". "recommended ratio" is really meaningless, and I have yet to hear from anyone, that shimano has said you can't go lower than 1.9. Also my ratio is 1.6 not 1.06. And lastly, at a 1.9 input ratio, the lowest gear becomes a gear higher than 1.0, and the highest gear becomes a gear greater than 4. That would all but preclude using this hub off road.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by evrac View Post
    Well I'm sure you've done your research, but don't you think the problem is right there? The recommended input ratio is 1:1.9, and you are at almost twice that at 1:1.06.
    32/20 is 1.6, not 1.06. Not sure if that was a typo on your part. Either way, that seems to be the preferred setup for MTB.

    1.9 > 1.6 is not that far off and after reading every thread in this IGH forum that had to do with this subject, I've come to the conclusion that the input ratio is a recommendation and not a hard rule.

    Also, Fellsbiker told his story in another thread and 2 of the 4 bad ones were definitely manufacturing defects - one leaked, the other made grinding noise before even mounting on the bike. The other 2 suffered broken 2nd gears during riding.

    To me it sounds like Fellsbiker is just getting screwed with his warranty returns - meaning they're giving him leftovers, repaired and open box returns instead of new. If not, I think we'd have heard more horror stories. ** I HOPE! **

  20. #20
    A Man Of The Truth
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    Here is a link to my ratio sheet.

    http://www.fellsbiker.com/docs/alfine_11_ratios.pdf

    I've upgraded to 36/22 from 36/20 for chain clearance issues, but it is essentially the same ratio as 32/20, just a tiny bit higher.

    The grayed out gear ratios in the first 3 x 9 box show roughly the gears that are missing from an alfine 11 @ 32/20 input. It's a pretty doable match.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by fellsbiker View Post
    I've been riding an Alfine 11 for almost exactly a year, and I'm on my 5th hub. They just keep dying and so far, they keep replacing them. I do *not* take the reports I read on the internet with a grain of salt, because they all describe the exact same problems I have. You can't really blame it on setup, because there is virtually none. You just have to align the cable, which is similar to aligning a cable on a rear derailer, but it's MUCH easier on the Alfine due to the yellow dots. And that's all there is to it. I run all mine with a 32/30. When the hub is working, it's great, I'm super happy with it, it is superior to derailer in every way. But when it's not working, it sucks. And it's not working A LOT. If one of the big IGH benefits you are seeking is the enhanced reliability, DO NOT GET AN ALFINE 11.
    .
    Sorry, I quoted the wrong part, picked up on this typo, and didn't realize you had stated 32:20 on the other quote.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by shwinboy View Post
    I've just ordered a Rolhoff. I'm so excited. Been wanting to do this for years. I have a monkey bone ready to go. I actually like the fact that you have to wear these hubs in. I'm hoping it will give me the motivation to get out more.
    Good choice
    I am a massive fan of IGH, purchased my first Rohloff 9-10 years ago due to local drive train eating conditions and never looked back, to the point where I can't stand riding bikes with mechs

    Pesently I am very fortunate to run

    3 x Rohloffs
    1 x Alfine 11
    1 x Alfine 8

    With price not an issue Rohloff is definatly my favorite and bombproof, my original hub has had a yearly oil change, 2-3 sets of cables, new seals and a new sprocket in it's life time and has been on several bikes and has been fault free.
    This hub has been used for everything from XC to DH and has survived 2 weeks of DH in the French and Austrian Alps. And I think I've just started to run it in.
    2nd Rohloff is 4 years old (new laser etched version) from new and ran smooth out of the box, again bomb proof and just oil and cable changes.
    3rd Rohloff I've had for about 3 years, purchased second hand so not sure of total age, again bomb proof with just oil and cable changes.
    I have slowly reduced the gearing on these over the years presently running 34 x 16, the only change I would make from experience with he Alfine would be to have the TS version for FS frames to stiffen the rear end up.

    The Alfine 8 (500) was purchased second hand for a HT winter hack, replaced sprocket and changed shifter to a Nexus twist shifter, again not sure how old it is but its been bomproof if lacking in range. Running 32 x 24

    The Alfine 11 was purchased finally new for a HT, not ridden it much, better range than the 8 of course but does seem a bit more sensitive to cable setup although appears to be settling down with more use. Low end is the same as the 8 so just more higher ratios. Need a few more mile on it and try it on a FS frame before I'me convinced it's price/performance compromise over the Rohloff. Running 32 x 24.

    I know some one who races enduro with his Rohloff and has just ugraded with a new frame so he canrun a belt drive, very nice.

    Enjoy you won't regret it

  23. #23
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    Wise choice with the Rohloff. Getting the right gearing is also important. I'm running 17- 89 gear inches on my Pugs with 42/20 but you can get virtually the same thing with 36-17. You may want higher gearing depending on your specific bike setup and needs.

  24. #24
    singlespeed smash brother
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    My rolhoff finally arrived this week. I've had one decent ride on it so far but I'm blown away. It is everything I was hoping for and more. Thinking ahead with the shifting is going to take some practice but it's just so good, Gears with the silence of a single speed= Awesome.

    I'm running 42 x 16 and haven't needed to use the lowest 3 gears yet and the upper range has me scaring myself down hill again because now I can pedal where I would coast on the ss. Well worth the money.

  25. #25
    A Man Of The Truth
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    If only rholoff would make a trigger shifter...

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