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  1. #1
    Riding a Rig.
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    Shimano Alfine Problems [Roller Clutch Slipping?]

    Hey guys. I've been using an Alfine hub for about 4 months... Recently I've been having some issues. Under heavy loads I'm sometimes getting a slipping in the drivetrain accompanied by a popping/skipping noise.

    The sound is exactly like what I've heard before when a chain tried to jump... So I Initially thought thats what it was... However, I've swapped the chain and improved the chainline without much change in the problem. This leads me to believe that the roller clutch is slipping under load.

    I've done some research and haven't been able to find any other reports of the alfine's clutch slipping.

    Any ideas on what to do at this point?
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  2. #2
    dru
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    wow, don't know. I've got 3 months on mine, maybe I'm next!

    Drew
    occasional cyclist

  3. #3
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    Interesting.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Burkhart
    I have had 2 Alfine hubs that had to be sent to Shimano because of slippage or skipping in the higher gears (5 through 8). They told me it
    was because a circlip had not been properly installed.
    http://groups.google.com/group/rec.b...3b07319e?pli=1

    Sounds exactly like the problem I am having. Sounds like it might warrant a teardown to check it out.
    "Physics is timeless. Marketing and bs never lasts. Thats been proven time and time again."
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  4. #4
    Frt Range, CO
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vulcan
    ...Sounds exactly like the problem I am having. Sounds like it might warrant a teardown to check it out.
    Date of those posts are October 2007, the Alfine's in question would have been 500 versions. Is your hub a 500 or 501 version?

    I've set up 4 new shifters and they all needed to be re-adjusted after a couple hundred miles, the cable streches and the housing compresses until the cassette joint's indicator is off slightly. I had some missed shifts as a result, once I adjusted the shifter cable, everything was fine.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by pursuiter
    Date of those posts are October 2007, the Alfine's in question would have been 500 versions. Is your hub a 500 or 501 version?

    I've set up 4 new shifters and they all needed to be re-adjusted after a couple hundred miles, the cable streches and the housing compresses until the cassette joint's indicator is off slightly. I had some missed shifts as a result, once I adjusted the shifter cable, everything was fine.
    Fairly sure mine is the 500 version.

    Going by the Shimano documentation it seems that the clutch from the 501 can be dropped into 500, though.
    "Physics is timeless. Marketing and bs never lasts. Thats been proven time and time again."
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  6. #6
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    Iíve never had mine slip under heavy load, once itís engaged itís rock solid. However about once every ride or so I would put my foot down and the clutch didnít engage properly and slipped after half a pedal stroke. I would have investigated it further but I only needed the Alfine for one winter.

  7. #7
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    So what is the latest on the slippage/skipping problem (mine is skipping too after 4000km/2500miles) and does anybody know which circlip (mentioned above) in the hub it is that is suppose to cause the problem?
    Cheers.
    PS: Good to hear that it might not be because I am putting 1.5hp (engine) through the hub...,haha (see: bikemoto.wordpress.com)...
    Last edited by kiwial; 08-27-2010 at 01:26 AM.

  8. #8
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    Hmmm



    Well, I found out a bit more. Somebody wrote the following:
    "I have an Alfine 501, been using it off-road for a bit over a year now.
    Today I noticed some bad skipping but seemed to be only in gear number 2...
    Well I tore it all apart and it's now back together. First thing I see was some water intrusion and a bit of corrosion on the outer races of the roller clutches. Cleaned that up with some 600 grit.
    Second thing was the pawl for gear two was slightly deformed and a couple of the teeth on the mating ring were marred as well. Touched those with a dremel, they look okay now.
    I even removed all the planetary gears to get to the mating ring and I found out the hard way that the rotation of the planetary gears upon reassembly is important. Whew, just gotta line up all the dots. The gears looked perfect.
    I think the biggest cause of problems is not the actual gearing, but shifting under load. That is what really screws up the hub".
    It turns out the small amount I ground off the tip of the pawl was too much. It would not always fully engage the gear. I took it apart again, removed the pawl, welded a little more material on top and ground it back into shape. Works good now, took it on a real ride."
    I just invent, then wait until man comes around to needing what Iíve invented - bikemoto.wordpress.com

  9. #9
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    I think the real answer is unpopular:

    People ride with the 'I dunno what that grinding sound is, but Im gonna ride anyway". Sorta like people that run their car engine without oil, or no coolant in the radiator, then complaint to the mechanic.

    I would say it is rider error 99 percent of the time. The moment my Alfine starts to think about slipping, I readjust the alignment on the hub (line up the dots). I always am careful about shifting under power. You dont shift your car under power do you? I think this is why Shimano went Low normal, to reduce this type of abuse. Thank god the Alfine-11 is supposed to me high normal. Although, I am sure the hamfisted among us will break cogs and complain about durability.

    Treat your gear well, and it will treat you well.
    Regional Race Manager, Knolly Bikes
    Washington State, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa

  10. #10
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    ...sorted

    Quote Originally Posted by Vulcan
    Hey guys. I've been using an Alfine hub for about 4 months... Recently I've been having some issues. Under heavy loads I'm sometimes getting a slipping in the drivetrain accompanied by a popping/skipping noise.

    The sound is exactly like what I've heard before when a chain tried to jump... So I Initially thought thats what it was... However, I've swapped the chain and improved the chainline without much change in the problem. This leads me to believe that the roller clutch is slipping under load.

    I've done some research and haven't been able to find any other reports of the alfine's clutch slipping.

    Any ideas on what to do at this point?

    kiwial QUOTE:
    So what is the latest on the slippage/skipping problem (mine is skipping too after 4000km/2500miles) and does anybody know which circlip (mentioned above) in the hub it is that is suppose to cause the problem?
    Cheers.
    PS: Good to hear that it might not be because I am putting 1.5hp (engine) through the hub...,haha (see: bikemoto.wordpress.com)...
    -UNQUOTE.




    ...SORTED

    Easy fix that one was...
    That thing they call the 'internet' is good...
    Found somebody on 'Hubstripping' solved the problem for me. Here is what 'Redchilli' had to say:
    Quote- "...i havenít been brutal to my bike but for sure materials need to be solid and durable for my profile of use.
    to get a nicer chainline and to keep my 1/8 singlespeed chain from eventually touching the dustcap of the alfine hub, i mounted the 18t nexus rear cog (has no plastic rim as the alfine cog does) in the opposite direction, meaning with an outward lean instead of a snug towards the hub.
    this was all sound an fun until recently when the temperatures got a little warmer again (~15-20įC), when i noticed an highly disturbing crack followed by a maybe 1/6 Ė 1/5 free turn when pedalling with lets say over 95% power (sitting).
    i first noticed this only in 5th gear but was able to reproduce this behaviour through pretty much all gears now.
    iíve looked around the net and found some hints that people had similar problems with their nexusís (or nexi how bob once put it) hubs which seemed to result from problems with the shifting line (wrong tension, dirt, folded etc). i checked all this and futher tried various adjustment settings also a little besides the perfect match of the yellow indicators without any improvement! setting the single-point chain-tensioner a little of the middle seemed to slightly improve the situation but the cracks did still occur.
    now i am afraid that maybe an internal ratchet my have broken and wonder what to do about it. i fear iím loosing any guarantee if i open the hub. or maybe shimano would not accept this claim for guarantee at all; anybody has an idea?
    i finally tried to turn the rear cog into the position it is normally mounted in yesterday and could yet not produce any more of those horrible cracks.
    it need maybe further testing but it seems pretty good for now. the thing is, that i couldnít really find an explanation to this..." -Unquote.

    Well, for one reason or another (prototype/experimenting...) I also had to mount my rear cog 'with an outward lean instead of snug towards the hub' and while the chain-line wasn't quite right I thought that would not matter THAT much and it did work for a while without any problems.
    But it seems it does matter quite a lot in the end .
    I have changed a few things now e.g. mounting the cog with the lean towards the hub with my chain-line now being correct and 'see and behold: no more skipping gears.
    I of course also opened the hub and checked for wear...as good as none.
    While I also considered that the outward lean of the cog could produce too much leverage and cause the skipping I don't think that is the case because the mounting of the cog that way is universally done and officially allowable therefore it has to be the CHAIN-LINE.
    And it is easy to just change the cog with a 'lean to the inside/snug towards the hub' and see if the skipping is gone EVEN if you 'think' your chain-line IS right.

    So far: SKIPPING=WRONG CHAIN-LINE, especially if no obvious wear inside hub.

    The apparently mentioned reason by Shimano for skipping gears having been a wrongly placed circlip I don't believe until somebody shows me that circlip and how it could cause skipping gears because I am slowly getting to know how the hub works and all the parts involved and so far the circlip idea doesn't make sense.

    Last edited by kiwial; 09-03-2010 at 11:41 PM.
    I just invent, then wait until man comes around to needing what Iíve invented - bikemoto.wordpress.com

  11. #11
    1*14*29*2.1 & 1*1*29*2.4
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    isn't the alfine meant to be used with a double chain ring if desired though? Wouldn't this then be an issue regarding the ultimate chainline?

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by finch2
    isn't the alfine meant to be used with a double chain ring if desired though? Wouldn't this then be an issue regarding the ultimate chainline?
    Good point.
    So lets investigate...

    a) Case No.1: One front chain ring...IF the chain-line was straight with the cog mounted 'dished inwards', then with the cog mounted 'dished outwards' the chain-line would be quite a distance off...right? (=Why the gears skipped on my bike)

    b) Case No.2: Two front chain rings...the chain-line is done so that it runs straight BETWEEN the 2 chain rings...meaning the chain-line when on either of the front chain rings is only a little off...right? (=Why the gears don't skip with two front chain rings)

    Of course IF in case No.1 (One front chain ring) the chain-line was straight when between 'dished outwards' and 'dished inwards' then it should not matter much (???) if run either way.

    The same with case No.2...(Two front chain rings) IF the chain-line was straight when running on either one of the front chain rings then it would be quite a bit out when running on the other chain ring.

    BUT
    the question still remains WHAT EXACTLY actually causes the skipping gears when the chain-line is out?
    AND
    would it be skipping gears if the chain-line was out the other way...meaning if the chain-line was straight with the cog 'dished outwards' and you mounted the cog 'dished inwards' BECAUSE there would be LESS LEVERAGE on the hub axle because the cog is mounted further inwards...
    That is If the skipping gears has anything to do with THE AMOUNT OF LEVERAGE on the hub axle TOGETHER WITH THE WRONG CHAIN-LINE or is it just the chain-line?
    It cannot be the leverage alone since it is accepted that the cog can be mounted 'dished outwards' as long as the chain-line is straight.

    That investigation/experimentation is something Shimano should do or have done (as part of the development and test running) with a hub to see how much off the ideal chain-line can the hub be run before it skips gears and be able to tell us about so that we don't have to confuse ourselves with questions like that.
    But then again 'Redchilli and me run the hub for quite a while like that without skipping gears and then suddenly it was 'all on' hence the confusion...if it had skipped straight away after mounting it a specific way we would have thought of the chain-line being a possible cause.

    I have to also mention that for experimental purposes (e.g. to find out which size cog gives the best gearing) the normal back cog can be substituted with a cog from a normal cassette (which of course is not dished...) ...after a little grinding off with a dremel so that only 3 protrusions (in the exact right shape) are left as on the original gearhub cog. (PLUS a spacer made from another cassette part to make up for the difference in thickness...exactly which part I can't quite remember because it was years ago (HELP)...(maybe another ground down cog or original cassette spacer...have to check in my parts box or google...))
    I just invent, then wait until man comes around to needing what Iíve invented - bikemoto.wordpress.com

  13. #13
    1*14*29*2.1 & 1*1*29*2.4
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    how much difference is there dished in or out for the cog? Just curious if the alfine is really temperamental with this chainline or if it is reasonable....

  14. #14
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    Quote: "how much difference is there dished in or out for the cog?" Just curious if the alfine is really temperamental with this chainline or if it is reasonable...." -Unquote

    "I'd far rather be happy than right any day."
    OR
    For instance, on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much - the wheel, New York, Brisbane, wars and so on - whilst all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man - for precisely the same reasons. -Douglas Adams
    Last edited by kiwial; 09-04-2010 at 06:26 AM.
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  15. #15
    Frt Range, CO
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    Quote Originally Posted by finch2
    how much difference is there dished in or out for the cog? Just curious if the alfine is really temperamental with this chainline or if it is reasonable....
    Alfine/Nexus chainline is 43mm with the dished cog inward, 47mm with the dished cog outward. The Alfine/Nexus isn't going to skip unless your chainline is really bad. I think your skipping and popping is due to either mal-adjusted shifter or the hub needs servicing.

  16. #16
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    4mm would probably do it I suppose if your ring wasn't lined up well originally, but I'd like the hub to take that kind of alignment if I could. There musn't be much room for error if you are running two rings. It must be about the interface, which maybe is why Rohloff still have the old screw-on type.

  17. #17
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    I have recently experienced the slipping clutch/gear described by the OP. It all started last week when I fully disassembled the hub for some much needed cleaning/re-greasing. I followed along with the photos/info found on hubstripping. Got everything put back together, but now there is some serious resistance in the system. For example, when I take my feet off the pedals and let the bike coast, the crank continues to turn almost as if it is a fixed gear (however there is some free-wheeling still happening). Back pedaling with the rear wheel off the ground also causes the wheel to eventually run in reverse! For the most part gear shifts seem normal and I don't encounter any terrible noises, but I have noticed a good deal of slippage happening.

    Any thoughts?

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by need2ski9
    I have recently experienced the slipping clutch/gear described by the OP. It all started last week when I fully disassembled the hub for some much needed cleaning/re-greasing. I followed along with the photos/info found on hubstripping. Got everything put back together, but now there is some serious resistance in the system. For example, when I take my feet off the pedals and let the bike coast, the crank continues to turn almost as if it is a fixed gear (however there is some free-wheeling still happening). Back pedaling with the rear wheel off the ground also causes the wheel to eventually run in reverse! For the most part gear shifts seem normal and I don't encounter any terrible noises, but I have noticed a good deal of slippage happening.

    Any thoughts?
    I experienced this with a brand new hub I bought to use while I dismantled my original hub. After the first couple rides, I noticed white grease oozing out the NDS side. So I think it might be a case of too much grease.

  19. #19
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    I wonder if that's my problem. brand new hub (from handspun, wicked deal) got it mounted and I get click click click when downshifting under load, Going up I get a clank. Under heavy load it sometimes misses 3-2, 2-1, it'll engage when I back off a bit, all the while making a ratcheting noise. I'm using the nexus revo shifter, I think that may be the problem, even though I have it dialed in perfectly.

    I'm using the 36/22t and was wondering if its just too much torque for the thing. I've got the alfine trigger shifter I'm going to swap in tomorrow, if that doesn't help, oil bath or send back

    I dunno???

  20. #20
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    There has been a lot of talk about torque going into the hub. Having recently stripped mynew hub down and now having a spare one as well to play around with, I have to ask, just how strong do some of you guys think you are as the metal work in the hub is strong (or at least looks pretty meaty).

    I weigh around 200ibs when kitted up and I am ex-rower and I fail to see how my legs could generate enough power to frighten the hub gearing let alone damage it.

    As for gear slipping, I found on my mine that once I replace the rear cog (as they wear faster than you think).. all skipping went away after careful dot-dot alignment of the gears.

    I also run a triple ring up front (44-32-22) and get ZERO chainline issue.. in fact with a Alfine tensioner and a change of jockey wheels to some quality ones with cermaic bearings, my assembly now runs silent, smooth and very slick..

    My only other change was I stripped this hub down from new, degreased, re lubed and greased back up to my taste (which is more generous than the original and using decent bearing grease mxed with a little quality ATF).

  21. #21
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    Well I'm not insinuating that I'm strong or anything, and I don't think I'm breaking anything, But the problem I'm having (downshift engaging) definitely exhibits itself when under load if I'm on a flat surface or going downhill the thing shifts flawlessly. That's the only reason I considered it a torque issue.

    I'd think you'd throw/break a chain before an internal part on these things.

  22. #22
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    I have found all my issues have been with getting the cable set up correctly and alignment of the dots etc.. I had the same twist grip as you but did find the trigger shifter to be better..

    I will also add that I replaced my inner and outer cable with something of a bit more quality than standard, yes it cost more, but almost instantly I noticed where the money had gone, it was much smoother.

    I don't think which way you route the cable makes any difference at all.. I have tried both ways and I have some serious (by my standards) bends in mine in order to get it to cosmetically please me and still no problem.

    I will also say that the cassette joint can account for some minor issues (cleanness and tight fitting are important) but internally, having stripped my hub down completely now, I can see nothing inside that can account for any slipping.

    I note some say they have to ease off the pressure to change gears and this baffles me.. yesterday I went out deliberately to try and recreate some of issues mention here.. Going up hill I was able to change into lower gears no problem, on the same uphill I was able to change gears upwards, no problem and I was (although I did not need to) standing up, did not ease off at all.

    I then came down the hill (note I have 3 rings upfront) was able with a 44t x 18t from gear 5, able to grind really hard up to 8th gear reaching around 37mph in doing so, again, constant pressure and no problem..

    This all leads me back to the cable and cassette joint plus yellow dot alignment.. Hope this helps a little..
    Last edited by EFMax; 10-03-2010 at 01:20 AM.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by LuckyPunk
    I get click click click when downshifting under load, Going up I get a clank. Under heavy load it sometimes misses 3-2, 2-1, it'll engage when I back off a bit, all the while making a ratcheting noise.
    Actually, that sounds pretty normal to me. You can not shift an Alfine under load; especially when down shifting.

    I cringe everytime I hear that ratcheting sound if I shift under too much load. "If you can't find 'em, grind 'em" ???

  24. #24
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    yeah, I'm coming to realize that it may just be the normal behavior, put on the trigger shifter, and went for a ride this morning lots of descent/ascent. Even though the thing seems to make some noise shifting into gear (Of course not nearly as much as a traditional set up) never once did I feel unconnected to the drivetrain (like almost every shift with a derailleur)

    Overall it's pretty sweet, I think I'll have to learn to do more pre-selection to avoid panic downshifts under load.

    I guess I was expecting completely silent operation, my only other experience with an IGH was a test ride on a NuVinci eqp bike and that was a little different, of course your not changing gears there, so its always engaged.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by LuckyPunk
    I wonder if that's my problem. brand new hub (from handspun, wicked deal) got it mounted and I get click click click when downshifting under load, Going up I get a clank. Under heavy load it sometimes misses 3-2, 2-1, it'll engage when I back off a bit, all the while making a ratcheting noise. I'm using the nexus revo shifter, I think that may be the problem, even though I have it dialed in perfectly.

    I'm using the 36/22t and was wondering if its just too much torque for the thing. I've got the alfine trigger shifter I'm going to swap in tomorrow, if that doesn't help, oil bath or send back

    I dunno???

    I don't use mine for mountain biking, just commuting. I run a 44/21 with the Jtek bar end shifter. Early on, I got into the habit of easing up on the pedal pressure when shifting either up or down. Brand new, I had to readjust the cable tension a few times during the first weeks before it finally held the proper setting.

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