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  1. #201
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    The best thing I ever did with my Alfine 11 was to get rid of it. I'm a qualified engineer in different disciplines and a former cycling journalist bike and component tester previously. Apart from the occasional slipping gears, odd crunches etc (if that is down to cable tension then the whole design is too sensitive/picky) the first thing I noticed when I went back to derailleurs was how much easier it was to peddle the darned bike. Yes, planetary gears are noticeably inefficient compared to derailleurs. I loved the idea of a 'simple' bike with no ugly rear derailleur, no front mech, one control on the handlebar etc. The truth is, 1) you cannot remove the back wheel easy, it's a right struggle if you get a puncture and you have to carry a large spanner, 2) unless you have horizontal dropouts you need a rear chain tensioner so the clean lines at the back are not actually achieved, 3) the system is inefficient to pedal (hard bloody work!), 4) it needs a major strip down and overhaul every couple of years, 4) it is difficult to set up to achieve good clean changes and stability in both directions, 5) it is not lighter than a derailleur setup, and 6) the range and jump size between gears is poor compared to derailleurs. No, I have not looked back on my (three?) years trying to get my Alfine 11 working to my liking, but I'm glad I tried it, it gave me a huge insight into planetary gears in general, and the state of the art as far as Shimano is concerned. I came to the conclusion that for someone tootling around on a town bike in a hilly area they are probably a decent option, but for anyone else - even vaguely sporty - for the reasons I outline above, best left alone. And I really wanted it to work for me. Sadly, it didn't.
    Last edited by BikermanSteve; 1 Week Ago at 12:43 AM.

  2. #202
    will rant for food
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pinchphlat View Post
    I posted on this thread a while ago, but I should give an update on where I am at with the A11.

    As I previously mentioned, I found that the A11s are ultra-sensitive to cable tension. Outside of major damage, I suspect this is the cause of 99% of problems with the hub. Shimano have provided a solution to this - Di2 shifting. I have converted both of my A11 hubs (road and mtb) over to Di2 versions and have never had a single problem since. This is after regular riding for 1 year on the mtb and 2 years on the road bike.

    That confirms the problems for me. I am having a great time with the Di2 A11 hubs
    Disclaimer, I've never owned an A11, just a handful of A8s. Your observations on the cable sensitivity are what I was guessing from the experience with A8s. I enjoy using the phrase "Everything is fine until suddenly it is not" when people accuse me of having paranoid thoughts. I had an A8 last years until one day the cable slipped, and bam, I was grinding a pinion inside and could no longer pedal.

    I am developing a new (well, really old, like a hundred years) frame mounted gearbox, and I think I want the gear indexer to be electro-mechanically motivated because of the exact observations you have on the Di2 system. I'm on the fence about it, because as an end user I dislike the extra hassle of a battery, particularly as I live in a cold climate and batteries hate it here. But my engineer / software biases want to spec a shifting motor.
    Disclaimer: I run Regular Cycles (as of 2016). As a profiteer of the bicycle industry, I am not to be taken very seriously.

  3. #203
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    Please tell more of this gear box which you speak of.
    2003 Kona A
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  4. #204
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    Quote Originally Posted by BikermanSteve View Post
    The best thing I ever did with my Alfine 11 was to get rid of it...
    When they were introduced I took one look at the exploded diagram and decided not to venture there...

    And I like hubgears.

    The problem is they are can be wrecked by misuse eg poor cable adjustment (not that it's hard to get right, about 20 seconds). Any hubgear with that many gear trains needs internal indexing so there's never any chance of the pinions not engaging fully. There's only one system that I know off that does that - the Rohloff hub, and it has an unparalleled record of reliability.

    However for best efficiency I think that the maximum number of gears trains within an epicyclic hubgear should be 2, which limits you to 5 gears. There's no reason a box like that couldn't be made with wider ranges than currently, rather than small steps. A 3 speed actually covers the most used range for most riders and is much lighter, but there's nothing mtb specific (eg sealed, and able to withstand big jumps).

    That said, I have found the Alfine 8 to be totally reliable for my exploration type riding.

    I'm also looking forward to seeing the results of Drew's ingenuity - midframe is the sensible place to mount a gear system, not the rear wheel. It allows lighter, less compromised rear wheels, can be more effectively sealed, and also does not have to take the impact loads of a hub. Best of all, the bike is better balanced.
    As little bike as possible, as silent as possible.
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  5. #205
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    Alfine 11 Conversion

    Di2 is a great solution to the cable shifting problems for sure. Tell me, is there a conversion kit to transform a mechanical Alfine hub to Di2, or did you have to replace the entire hub? I was planning to upgrade to Di2 when I'd worn my hub out, but it's one month shy of three years old, and feels brand new still.

  6. #206
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    We have had three years of year round satisfaction with the a11 we have.
    No sounds. No slipping. No "oh, my god, this pedals sooo hard".
    Year round, 80 degrees to -5 degrees.
    Fatbike use, stripped down in the summer, loaded up in the winter.

  7. #207
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    How much does the whole A11-Di2 costs with everything ?

    (Just paid 1200$ for a Speedhub-XL)
    "There is a big difference between kneeling down and bending over" -FZ

  8. #208
    will rant for food
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    Quote Originally Posted by buell View Post
    Please tell more of this gear box which you speak of.
    It's all stuff, nonsense, and half baked ideas until I have video of a working prototype. I'm still working on the chassis that'll hold it.

    I had a philosophy in writing software: the more feature rich, the more complex and expensive. I am focusing on brutal simplicity, and the catch is that it is difficult to package into a small space in the same way that Pinion has crammed a bunch of hardware into a teeny tiny size envelope. So the goal is going to be: if it's shaped a bit oddly, make the rest of the frame embrace said oddity for the sake of overall simplicity.

    Like I said... stuff and nonsense until I'm riding on one.
    Disclaimer: I run Regular Cycles (as of 2016). As a profiteer of the bicycle industry, I am not to be taken very seriously.

  9. #209
    CS2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Diller View Post
    It's all stuff, nonsense, and half baked ideas until I have video of a working prototype. I'm still working on the chassis that'll hold it.

    I had a philosophy in writing software: the more feature rich, the more complex and expensive. I am focusing on brutal simplicity, and the catch is that it is difficult to package into a small space in the same way that Pinion has crammed a bunch of hardware into a teeny tiny size envelope. So the goal is going to be: if it's shaped a bit oddly, make the rest of the frame embrace said oddity for the sake of overall simplicity.

    Like I said... stuff and nonsense until I'm riding on one.
    Maybe so but every great innovation started as an idea in someone's head. Good luck
    A garage full of steel frames means happiness.

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