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  1. #151
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    After a year on 11 small report:
    1. 2nd gear is slipping under load with really awfull sounds. No adjustment can change that. I ride trying to avoid 2nd gear...
    2. When temperature drops below -10 Celsius shifting becomes very slow and then on 11 and 10th gear start to fail. After warming up my bike hub again works properly (except for 2nd gear problem)
    3. I probably missed my first oil change by some several hundred kilometers.
    My gearing is 32 front and 22 rear.

  2. #152
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    So are the people that are experiencing problems with second gear feeling like they use that gear frequently? When I compare my 1x9 gearing to an Alfine 11 on gear-calculator website it seems like second would be in my bail out range that is rarely used.

  3. #153
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    The thing is, with only 11 total gears, widely space, you tend to use them all. When I had my 11, early in the season, I was doing all my climbing in 1st gear. As the season progressed and I got stronger, I would climb more in 2nd. But once 2nd gear popped once, it would get worse and worse, after not much more use, 2nd gear would be completely unusable. And other gears were affected too, like bits of 2nd gear were jamming up the other gears.

  4. #154
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    Quote Originally Posted by kustomz View Post
    So are the people that are experiencing problems with second gear feeling like they use that gear frequently? When I compare my 1x9 gearing to an Alfine 11 on it seems like second would be in my bail out range that is rarely used.
    I use 1-6 regularly. With a loaded bike in the mtns I'm climbing in a 1,2 & 3 a fair bit. That's with 32 x 23T and 29er wheels. So far no issues with gear 2.

    I don't use the top end as much.
    Last edited by vikb; 05-23-2014 at 07:59 AM.
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  5. #155
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    Well someday I will take advantage of the SwapOuts on my On-One Scandal and run an Alfine, but I will have to figure out the straight dope on second gear first.

  6. #156
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    Also, is it possible to use aftermarket cables with the Alfine hub and shifter or is there a proprietary feature? I know that when I started running the Jagwire Ripcord stuff with the slick teflon coatings on a regular derailleur it was like night and day difference compared to OEM quality.

  7. #157
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    Quote Originally Posted by kustomz View Post
    Well someday I will take advantage of the SwapOuts on my On-One Scandal and run an Alfine, but I will have to figure out the straight dope on second gear first.
    You can always get an A8. Cheaper and they seem to be better suited to MTBing based on user reports. I don't find myself needing more gears than an A8 has.

    Quote Originally Posted by kustomz View Post
    Also, is it possible to use aftermarket cables with the Alfine hub and shifter or is there a proprietary feature? I know that when I started running the Jagwire Ripcord stuff with the slick teflon coatings on a regular derailleur it was like night and day difference compared to OEM quality.
    I've used whatever cables and housing fell to hand when I have been maintaining my A8/A11 bikes with no issues. I haven't tried anything special though.
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  8. #158
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    Quote Originally Posted by kustomz View Post
    Also, is it possible to use aftermarket cables with the Alfine hub and shifter or is there a proprietary feature? I know that when I started running the Jagwire Ripcord stuff with the slick teflon coatings on a regular derailleur it was like night and day difference compared to OEM quality.
    I installed the Jagwire Ripcord initially on my Sawyer and have had no issues. I may even change out the cables on the Nexus & Alfine 8 on my other bikes.

  9. #159
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    Yes, i would like to use 2nd. I rarely use gear indicator, i just shift to what i think is appropriate gear based on my feeling. So when i start going uphill and downshift i very often get into second gear. And then hear all those awfull sounds.

    By the way i already changed cable to Jagwire Ripcord. No difference.

  10. #160
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    In my opinion the hub is put into the market to soon.
    Too many problems which weren't solved.
    My hub is one of the first hubs. I have many problems with the second gear, the other gears has been affected too.
    I use the hub in my kona unit, mostly for urban cycling. Ratio 32/22
    But even then many problems occure in gears jumping. Or skipping.
    Shifting itself is going well, I like the shifting when standing still. Thats great in urban traffic.
    There are many stories about not functioning well of these hubs.
    I my opninion there are some serious problems with this product. But what I don not understand, that there no improvents known made by shimano.
    I can't believe that shimano has not taken any action on this.

  11. #161
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    After reading a few of the latest comments, I went out for a ride that includes a pretty long steep climb. When I first got the Alfine 11 it would be problematic getting into second from first or third about 2/3rd of the way up the hill and once or twice missed picking up any any gear properly in 2nd complete with with some death rattle noise. However, now in its third oil change, it shifts fine from first to second but still has problems from third to second, in fact it was going directly into first gear (in second setting)on a couple of occasions. As soon as I am reaching the top of the hill the shifting becomes fine again. I am using a 20t x39t ratio and am backing off when changing so releasing pressure from the pedals. So what I can say is that 2nd gear poses problems for me on steep hills but it is getting better with time...but who knows if it will continue to do so. Apart from a consistent very fine release of oil from the drive side it has been excellent (apart from what I have described) with no problems of cable adjustment. It is about 1.6 years old now. I have a Rohloff for XC stuff and for those people that say that it is expensive, I have had mine for about 8 problem free years which has worked out about £2 per week; and less chains to replace.

  12. #162
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    I purchases the Releigh Cadent i11 for commuting late last year and the Alfine 11 hub shifted beautifully, but is now becoming problematic. I've had it back to the shop to correct clunkiness and mis-shifting a couple time and it doesn't seem to have corrected the problem. I'll give it a couple more weeks and then see if I can return the bike. It's shifting so roughly, it's starting to feel like it's going to fail on me.
    Ride dangerously. Take chances.

  13. #163
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    Quote Originally Posted by EdZilla View Post
    ...I've had it back to the shop to correct clunkiness and mis-shifting a couple time and it doesn't seem to have corrected the problem....
    Did they service the hub with fresh factory oil? Before giving up, I'd make sure they did a proper service, sometimes the A11 comes a little dry from the factory.

  14. #164
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    Quote Originally Posted by EdZilla View Post
    I purchases the Releigh Cadent i11 for commuting late last year and the Alfine 11 hub shifted beautifully, but is now becoming problematic. I've had it back to the shop to correct clunkiness and mis-shifting a couple time and it doesn't seem to have corrected the problem. I'll give it a couple more weeks and then see if I can return the bike. It's shifting so roughly, it's starting to feel like it's going to fail on me.
    I had the same issue after months of slick shifting, tracked it down to a couple of culprits.

    1. Minor cause - the cassette joint isn't well sealed and need regular cleaning especially if used off road.

    2. Major cause - this essentially killed all the problems I was starting get, which was adjusting the cone bearing.
    I only found the problem when I started feeling a bit of play in the bearings, but the problem started before they felt loose.
    After initially taking the play out it was better but not perfect, it takes a bit of practice to get the adjustment point correct which is tighter than you think and just off slightly binding.
    Why Shimano continue to use cone bearings I just don't know, it's like going back to the 70's again

  15. #165
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    Perhaps this is my problem on my 8. My local LBS can't quite get it to stay adjusted. Perhaps they are under adjusting and it is loosening. Thinking of sending it to Aaron in Seattle.

    I wish shimano would build a mt 8. But I think they are into selling $150 derailleurs that get trashed regularly. Or heck give me a 7 speed speedhub built for fat/29er range requirements. Seems like a easy win. I have never gotten the boat anchor with huge gear range. Give me and all mountain IGH and people would line up.

    Like the comment about 8 years of use. Maybe if I can't get the A8 fixed I will just buy some German tech.

  16. #166
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    Quote Originally Posted by xophere View Post
    Perhaps this is my problem on my 8. My local LBS can't quite get it to stay adjusted. Perhaps they are under adjusting and it is loosening. Thinking of sending it to Aaron in Seattle.

    I wish shimano would build a mt 8. But I think they are into selling $150 derailleurs that get trashed regularly. Or heck give me a 7 speed speedhub built for fat/29er range requirements. Seems like a easy win. I have never gotten the boat anchor with huge gear range. Give me and all mountain IGH and people would line up.
    Buy some cone wrenches and adjust it at home. You don't want to send away your IGH every time it needs a minor tweak.

    I've had A8's in two fat bikes and they have done very well. They work well in my fat bike IGH because they are cheap and can be geared low enough for sand/snow. The gear range isn't overly wide, but it's plenty to give you a soft conditions set of gears and a road/hardpack set.
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  17. #167
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    Legit call. I do a lot of my own wrenching at the local bike co-op. I kinda just wanted it resolved since I paid them to do so. But perhaps this is good time after bad money at this point.

  18. #168
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    So they opened it up again. This time the bearing retainer was snapped. Their verdict was that it wasn't tough enough for off road use. So I think the reality is the cone came loose and this broke the retainer.

    I would presume the failure scenario for the hub is not the bearing retainer but parts inside the transmission. I would doubt the angle contact bearings properly adjusted are anywhere near their failure threshold?

    What do you guys think?

  19. #169
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    Quote Originally Posted by xophere View Post
    So they opened it up again. This time the bearing retainer was snapped. Their verdict was that it wasn't tough enough for off road use. So I think the reality is the cone came loose and this broke the retainer.

    I would presume the failure scenario for the hub is not the bearing retainer but parts inside the transmission. I would doubt the angle contact bearings properly adjusted are anywhere near their failure threshold?

    What do you guys think?
    Agreed, especially since Shimano has been using their cup & cone bearings on their hubs since they started.

  20. #170
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    Quote Originally Posted by xophere View Post
    Their verdict was that it wasn't tough enough for off road use.
    Given the number of A8's being used for MTBing and bikepacking that's not a reasonable assumption. People destroy "normal" hubs MTBing so anything can break, but it's not like A8's are exploding left and right on dirt.
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  21. #171
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    I sold mine (after it was refurbished by Shimano). I decided not to even give it another chance after they warrantied it. Lost a lot on its resale. Replaced it with a single cog and it's so much better. The disappointment I felt every time it messed up (which was quite often) was just too stressful and would ruin a good ride. I ran a Nexus 7 for more than 7 years without a single hiccup, so I was well versed in its set-up. The hub was just disappointing. The cassette joint was so cheap and plastic, and fit loosely. It was pretty much the same as my old Nexus. I didn't like spending so much money on such ill-fitting components. I do not recommend the Æleven speed Alfine.
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  22. #172
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    Alfine 11 report

    I thought I would chip in with my experience of the Alfine 11. I bought mine used but it was virtually new, the first oil change hadn't been done yet.

    -Time in use: Just over 2 years
    -Terrain: Almost exclusively XC riding, lots of wet mud
    -Riding style: I tend to spin 90-100rpm in low gears, not a torque monster
    -Installed in: 2003 Specialized Stumpjumper (full suspension Horst link 100/100mm travel)
    -Configuration: Mostly 32x23 but lately 22x16
    -Total distance: ~2500km
    -Issues: Most of the issues with this hub have been caused by
    1. Oil contamination through normal wear i.e. old oil
    2. Cable adjustment and condition
    3. Cassette joint compatibility

    1. After about the first 300km of use I was getting problems staying in gear, particularly 2nd and 7th. It would slip out of gear with a horrible clang and I feared the worst but it turned out to oil contamination due to an overdue oil change. The first oil change removed virtually no oil, maybe 5ml (25ml is the refill spec). I put this down to normal leakage (it weeps very slightly in use).

    2. The hub is sensitive to cable tension. Some problems occurred due to cable stretch and cable routing that caused tension to fluctuate (due to suspension deflection). At first cable issues could be resolved by simply following the spec and aligning the yellow markers but lately I had issues with 2nd and 10th slipping which persisted after oil change and cable alignment. I resolved this by adjusting the cable tension manually (ignoring the markers) until the problem was gone.
    Another issue I have come across is kinks in the cable. This is tricky to diagnose because the kinks are rarely obvious (concealed within the outer cable, for instance) and manifest as mis-shifts and dropping out of gear. If you are getting these symptoms and have exhausted all other avenues sometimes it is best to change the cable as a precaution.

    3. Because I am using the hub in a bike with vertical dropouts, I couldn't orient the hub according to spec (with the cassette joint arm parallel with the chain stay). I have swapped the standard anti-rotation washers (Vertical type 8R/Blue and 8L/Green) left for right and the arm is pointing upwards at approx 1 o'clock position, with the cable routed along the seat stay. This puts stress on the cable and arm and what I have noticed is if I tighten the wheel nuts without putting pressure on the arm to rotate it as far forward as possible (to get the cable as straight as possible in relation to the seat stay) there is some binding occurring in the hub. I think this is contributing to the cable tension issues and I am fabricating a set of anti-rotation washers to fix this issue permanently.

    Oil
    The first thing I do when shifting issues occur (apart from visual checks for cable tension, etc) is an oil change. This hub seems very sensitive to oil contamination and oil level. I cannot understand why the Alfine oil is so expensive considering what little stress it is under in terms of shear and heat so I never used it. I tried 10W40 and also standard transmission oil and both of these performed as well (subjectively) as the standard oil. In order to account for leakage I add 40ml (more than spec 25ml) and I am changing it more frequently, every ~500km (spec is 1000km and then 5000km). The oil comes out very dark and I expected to find metal fragments, particularly after hearing all the clattering of missed gears but there is only ever a sparkle in the oil of very small particles. I read on the CTC forum that flushing the oil is not sufficient to remove all of the contamination, you must partially disassemble the hub to properly clean it

    Gearing
    The last thing is the gearing. I've gone well beyond the spec in this area. I hope this doesn't end up destroying the hub but since I tend to stay seated and I'm not into pushing a big gear I think it will be OK. I just cannot do without my 22x34 first gear that my derailleur gave me. This means my Alfine is running 22x16 which gives me my old first gear and I lose my top 3 gears and in the process created a very nice chain line (when viewed from the side). I now have monster ground clearance of about 30cm, I've yet to even hit the bashguard I made a few months ago.


    My general impression of the hub is favourable. I have read many objections to issues such as adding unsprung mass and mass at the rear of the bike but to be honest I couldn't really detect much difference although I'm not riding big downhills that much. The bike handles downhill very nicely and I'm way faster than my hardtail friends. It's a winner at the price point but next time I am springing for a Rohloff or perhaps a Pinion box because I miss my top end gears.

    Spotted some errors, did a couple of edits.
    Last edited by Carlos Fandango; 09-03-2014 at 02:03 AM.

  23. #173
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    Thanks. I am handing my off to my new to mt biking girl friend. She is significantly smaller then me and not going to be hammering it. I will let you know how it does. I did have it fully serviced at Aaron's Bikes i Seattle so hopefully it will hold up for a season or two before it needs to be redone.

  24. #174
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carlos Fandango View Post

    Oil
    I read on the CTC forum that flushing the oil is not sufficient to remove all of the contamination, you must partially disassemble the hub to properly clean it
    All contamination - no, but Rohloff IGHs do fine with a oil change every 5K kms so I don't think it's important to get it all out.

    Having said that in extreme cases I have heard Rohloff recommend doing 2 or 3 oil changes in a row to flush the internals of contamination.

    After using 2 A8s and 1 A11 I find the A8's are easy enough to open and clean/lube the internals directly I wouldn't pay extra for the A11's oil bath feature. It's actually more hassle to use and I think the A8 can be cleaned more thoroughly more easily.

    Anyways thanks for the thorough post. It good to get feedback from folks who have used these hubs a while.
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  25. #175
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    Alfine 11 report - Update 21 April 2015

    It has been a long and miserable winter for me and I literally didn't get out for a single ride on my MTB for 5 months. To cap that dismal situation, when I did get back in the saddle I discovered my beloved Alfine 11 was broken somehow. I started by eliminating any cable/installation/oil issues but it seems that something internal has gone awry.
    The symptoms are: jumping out of gear, particularly under load. It shifts up and down all the gears OK but simply will not stay in gear, no matter how much I play with the cable tension.

    I have started the process of stripping it down to find out exactly what is wrong. I am using a very nice post on the CTC forum and the official Shimano SG-700 parts list as reference. I also found some description here.
    Needless to say with a device this complex it makes a huge amount of sense to periodically take photos from every conceivable angle, in order to make re-assembly less of a headache. As I understand, you don't want to disturb the planetary-sun gear wheel relationship because this has implications for the timing and will negatively impact the shifting if incorrect.

    On commencing strip down I came across the first problem: I don't own special too TL-AF10 (item 50) in order to remove the large plastic cover (item 26). I don't intend to strip a lot of Alfine hubs down so I made one which was simple enough, if time consuming. The internal gearing is now out of the hub shell and sitting in a drip tray, waiting for me to come home and remove the circlip (item 3) which retains the first gear set.
    So far nothing is amiss, there are no visible signs of wear and the oil has minimal glitter with no large particulates. My intuition at the moment is the clutches or pawls are damaged but that is just a guess.

    I will update this post as work progresses, hopefully with pictures.

  26. #176
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    I had an Alfine 11 a few years ago. Didn't even last me one year (500 mi.). (Top 5 or 6 gears just "gave out" -- gears spinned freely, wouldn't engage with the gears, or whatever happened -- at first thought the chain broke. Never again.

  27. #177
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    Quote Originally Posted by pakcyclist View Post
    I had an Alfine 11 a few years ago. Didn't even last me one year (500 mi.). (Top 5 or 6 gears just "gave out" -- gears spinned freely, wouldn't engage with the gears, or whatever happened -- at first thought the chain broke. Never again.
    This would almost certainly be related to one of the clutches, labelled sprag clutch here and dog clutch here, which engages for gears 7-11. It doesn't look too difficult to fix. Do you still have the hub?

  28. #178
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    Alfine 11 report - Update 29 April 2015

    OK so I have done the strip down and rebuild and all I have achieved is that I am more confused than ever about this problem.

    On inspecting the internals, there is no obvious problem with this hub. All of the pawls, mating surfaces, springs, spacers, circlips and gears look to be in good shape. The pawls actuate in the right pattern and do not stick (with the hub open). I put it all together in a hopeful mood and all was well for the first 30 seconds and then a slip whilst in gear. Bollocks. I've ridden the bike off road since and while I have returned most of the functionality, it still persistently slips out of gear.

    Having witnessed the internal workings, it occurred to me that it would be helpful to note exactly what gear was slipping and how it fails. This is easier said than done but it seems that the slips occur more frequently under load in gears 1-6 and when coming off load in 7-11 (you can hear a clunk and torque feedback from the pedals).

    In order to diagnose exactly what is going wrong my next move will be to test the pawls individually to see if I can narrow it down (I seriously doubt it is the clutches with these symptoms). In order to test the pawls, I have used the truth table (below), very thoughtfully provided by JB on the CTC Forum (anybody attempting to fix their Alfine, I suggest you head over there to look at the strip down tutorial, it is excellent).
    For instance, during the ride I noticed there are far fewer slips in gear 10 that 11. Problems are often reported in 2 and 7 and looking at the table, we can see that pawl 1 is the likely culprit in that case.

    Name:  Pawl truth table.PNG
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  29. #179
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    Alfine 11 report - Update 1 May 2015

    I did a little more work on the hub and took some pictures.
    Whats the current verdict on the alfine 11-100_7972.jpg
    Once the big plastic cover is removed (using the special tool - but you can improvise), it is merely a matter of easing off the big old cirplip holding the stack together. Circlip removed, it is surprisingly simple to disassemble, no special tools required (unless you want to disassemble the planetary gear sets). In the picture I am holding the first gear set to be removed, with the next set still on the axle.
    Whats the current verdict on the alfine 11-100_7991.jpg
    This is a shot of the partially stripped axle with the 3 planetary gear sets removed. The three gear set actuator pawls (to the left of the shaft) are exposed and can be inspected. The pawls work like programmable ratchets. As the cassette joint is rotated i.e. gear selection is taking place, the pawls retract and extend in order to engage the appropriate planetary gear sets. It is my opinion that the problem lies in this area and the chief suspect is the shape of the pawls which is causing the hub to slip whilst in gear.
    Whats the current verdict on the alfine 11-100_8007a.jpg
    This picture shows the pawl being offered up to the respective gear set and that I need to clean my nails more often. The pawl should never be in this position in service, it will only be the uppermost point, the 'shoulder' at the top which engages with the toothed gear. The lower right part of the pawl is a crescent which continually rests in a groove (that is just visible in the previous picture, nearest the threaded section). The lower left of the pawl is a 'foot' which rests on the axle when the pawl is in the retracted position. There is also a lug on the pawl which retains a hair spring. The spring serves to allow freewheeling and provide the force to lift the pawl from the retracted position and engage the pawl with the toothed ring.

    The plan is to add some material (perhaps 1mm) to the top side of the pawl (visible in the previous picture) using a MIG welder and shaping it to clear/engage the ring of teeth. At the very least this should inform me if the shape of the pawl has somehow worn or deteriorated (it doesn't appear to be) or if it has not been manufactured to a satisfactory tolerance, which is a possibility, considering the bargain basement way the gears have been produced - they look distinctly cast/press-formed.

    I can't think what else to try, everything seems ok internally but the symptoms are consistent with a pawl failure. If somebody with some experience in this area would like to chip in, that would be most appreciated. There aren't many guides online (which motivates this one) so obtaining good information is problematic.

  30. #180
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    The angle on the face of the pawl makes me think it's designed to shift with a bit of load on the hub.
    Unfortunately that means it's going to have to be held in place under load or it won't stay engaged which seems to be the issue some people are having. If the pawl and mating surfaces don't look worn I'd be looking at what's going on in the axle in the mechanism that pushes the pawls out.

  31. #181
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    Quote Originally Posted by Surestick Malone View Post
    If the pawl and mating surfaces don't look worn I'd be looking at what's going on in the axle in the mechanism that pushes the pawls out.
    Yes it occurred to me that this is a potential source of problems. The actuation is achieved via a hair spring which does not offer much force, if say the pawl selection mechanism got clogged up. It's definitely a possible source of failure. I have noticed that there is some variability in the extension of the pawls, as the cassette joint is rotated through the gear positions.

    Somebody at Shimano really needs to pull their finger out and offer the small parts like pawls as spares. At least we would have something to compare.

  32. #182
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    Anybody knows where this part can be ordered? It's a simple way to configure the Alfine 11:

    Whats the current verdict on the alfine 11-alfine.ruler.jpghttps://www.flickr.com/photos/cycleo...in/dateposted/

    Incidently, what IGH would need to have its anchor bolt set at 143mm? The Alfine 8?

  33. #183
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    Wow. I'm thinking of getting an IGH for my next Tour Divide attempt. This thread has talked me out of the Alfine 11. Seems like the majority of people have problems with them.

  34. #184
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ailuropoda View Post
    Wow. I'm thinking of getting an IGH for my next Tour Divide attempt. This thread has talked me out of the Alfine 11. Seems like the majority of people have problems with them.
    I had no issues with two A8's or one A11. That said for a mission critical high-performance ride like the TD I wouldn't mess around with anything, but a Rohloff.
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  35. #185
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ailuropoda View Post
    This thread has talked me out of the Alfine 11. Seems like the majority of people have problems with them.
    Statistical bias: Satisfied users don't bother posting on the Internet. You'd have to find how many users in the world use an Alfine 11, and then count how many are unhappy with it.

    I, for one, am very happy with it. It runs well, it's very silent, and all it takes is an oil bath every year or so (in cheap ATF instead of the very expensive Shimano oil.)

    The small issues I had were due to 1) this being the first bike I own that has an IGH, 2) living in an area where few people ride IGH-powered bikes (derailleur is the thing) and 3) buying this bike on the Net instead of through a LBS (where alternatives are much more expensive).

    Other great sources of infos about the Alfine 11:


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    CS2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Winfried View Post
    Statistical bias: Satisfied users don't bother posting on the Internet. You'd have to find how many users in the world use an Alfine 11, and then count how many are unhappy with it.

    I, for one, am very happy with it. It runs well, it's very silent, and all it takes is an oil bath every year or so (in cheap ATF instead of the very expensive Shimano oil.)

    The small issues I had were due to 1) this being the first bike I own that has an IGH, 2) living in an area where few people ride IGH-powered bikes (derailleur is the thing) and 3) buying this bike on the Net instead of through a LBS (where alternatives are much more expensive).

    Other great sources of infos about the Alfine 11:

    Agreed, satisfied riders are actually riding and not sitting behind the keyboard complaining. Having been in customer service satisfied customers don't say anything unless you ask them. @winfried is correct you need to poll all Ałfine i11 users to get an accurate assessment.
    A garage full of steel frames means happiness.

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