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  1. #1
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    Whats the current verdict on the alfine 11

    So this was supposed to be the best thing that was ever invented, oil bath, weirdo cutting of the cogs inside and so on.

    I would like to know if its actually a better hub than the 8, if you buy a new one that was made yesterday, alfine 8 also made yesterday to keep things even.

    What can I expect from the 11 vs the 8?

    Durability
    Unfinickyness
    Function in rain, snow, whatever you have
    Ease of setup and maintainence
    Bang for buck

    It has been available now for over a year and I know they have changed some parts in it so there must be a somewhat clear picture of how it performs by now.
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  2. #2
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    I've been flogging an Alfine 8 for years hard and it's worked great. The bike above has an Alfine 11 and it's been rolling along since the start of this year.

    - Setup is same as Alfine 8.
    - ease of use the same
    - trigger shifting same as Alfine 8
    - haven't had to service the Alfine 11 yet, but it looks dead easy

    So far I've used the Alfine 11 for bikepacking and technical MTBing. It's only been a few months so I can't speak to durability yet.

    No complaints so far...
    Safe riding,

    Vik
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  3. #3
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    I got my first Alfine 11 one year ago. My 5th Alfine 11 is on the way. Sadly, I do not have 5 bikes. They just keep failing. Sometimes after a few months of great use, sometimes after a few miles (#4 failed after about 6 miles). One was bad out of the box and the bike shop sent it back without me even riding the bike. In every other way, they are great and I love them! But the average life span seems to be about 2 or 3 months. That's a pretty short life for a wheel that ends up costing you close to $1000 all said and done.

  4. #4
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    fellsbiker... What type of riding are you doing? And are these failures being covered under warranty?

  5. #5
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    Off road. And yes they are. But since january, I've done exactly one full ride on my bike, with the 11 speed hub. I've done a bunch of riding with my bike temporarily converted to a singlespeed while the shop waits for replacement hubs.


  6. #6
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    I have an Alfine 11 on my bike. Works great.

  7. #7
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    i have about 650km (400miles) on my Alfine 11 and its been great for spinning rail trail and easy singletrack. the first couple hundred km did have some random skipping but as others have reported that went away after it seemed to get broken in and a skip is very rare now.

    i have also found the cable tension to be really really finicky as reported. once you get it tweaked right dont touch it unless you have to. pedal easy on the downshifts for a revolution or 2 and upshift however you want and its smooth. 2nd and 6th gear can feel a little spongy.

    for this style of riding and any kind of long distance touring i would def buy another one but i dont know that i would say that for mashing hills or hammering at top speed.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by fellsbiker View Post
    ... My 5th Alfine 11 is on the way...average life span seems to be about 2 or 3 months....
    Do you shift the Alfine 11 while loading the pedals with force/torque?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by pursuiter View Post
    Do you shift the Alfine 11 while loading the pedals with force/torque?
    Nope never. It shifts so fast, I do all of my shifting either in the air, or between pedal strokes. Its an instant switch so once you get your timing down, it's very easy to shift between strokes. I would never shift under full pedal load while climbing. Even in my derailer days. Shifting and pedaling never mixed. When the 11 is working, it shifts so fast, you feel like you have MORE power because you are applying power more of the time. Instead of a few pedal strokes to let the chain shift over, it now takes a fraction of a second. That is, when the hub is working.

    My 5th hub came in to the shop today so we'll see how it runs tomorrow when it's installed.

  10. #10
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    That was my natural first guess too.

  11. #11
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    Bummer, maybe you're just too strong.

  12. #12
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    Hmm I'm reading Shimano's official tech doc right now. And in addition to 1.9 being only a "recommended" ratio, and nothing about it being a limit, either an upper or a lower limit, the tech doc also specifically says you CAN shift gears while pedaling, but it might be a little noisier. That's interesting. This really makes me wonder why i go through these hubs like a fat kid goes through a candy bar. And you know 1.6 is awfully close to 1.9 anyway, it's not that big of a difference. Something else has got to be going on. Maybe it's my shifter that is defective, not the hubs?

  13. #13
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    I'm thinking that it has to be something other than the hub causing the failure. Shimano isn't known for making poor quality gear. Even if the defect rate on the alfine 11 is really high the odds of you getting 5 bad hubs in a row is miniscule. I'm guessing that it's something else causing the problem just by the mathematics of it but I'm no expert on the installation. (I had mine installed by one of the LBS.)

  14. #14
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    I also had the shop do all of my installs. I've done very little other than keep my dots aligned.

  15. #15
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    Then again, you would think that shimano would have the shop somehow test my shifter and cable, rather than just keep sending them hub after hub after hub.

  16. #16
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    Quite frankly, if you don't pedal while shifting, that does seem to be the likely cause.

    - I had a very slight "hang" on my Alfine 8 cassette joint. I determined that the no-turn washers I selected put the cassette joint cable stop against the chain stay. The cassette joint does move around slightly depending on whether the gearbox is over-drive (6-7-8) or under-drive (1-2-3-4), that movement combined with the proximity to chainstay caused the gearbox shift to "hang" just slightly and a mis-shift was the result.

    - Is there lube in the hub? More than one user has commented that there wasn't any lube to drain on the first flush.

  17. #17
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    I read about misaligning the red dots a little on purpose, some users report that it shifted better then, can't remeber if it was the 8 or the 11 though. I enterpret this as sometimes "the dots" is actually not aligned when they are aligned. Or the things that lines up in the hub.

    r a revolution or 2 and upshift however you want and its smooth. 2nd and 6th gear can feel a little spongy.
    Where does the sponge come from? It should be rock solid right, its all metal cogs inside there or? Its like having a spongy chain or something.
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  18. #18
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    Maybe compressing the suspension is tugging on the cable?

    Maybe different non-turn washers to straighten out that big friction-causing loop of cable?

  19. #19
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    Hub #5 is installed and working. I need to go pick it up today. Shimano told my shop that there are *NO* gear ratio limits or torque input limits. Running 36/22 or any other ratio is fine and will not void my warranty. And that's about all they said, hopefully #5 runs better than all the rest. Time for my biking season to START

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by car bone View Post
    ... It should be rock solid right....
    There's roller clutches and some kind of torque limiter, I assume one or the other or both are the reason for the sponginess.

  21. #21
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    Theres also a lot of gear for the torque to go through. Metal or no metal, if you line up enough gears in a row, you're going to get some flex. If you cram those gears into a can, you'll still get some flex. But its not a problem. I absolutely love my hub when it's working.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by evrac View Post
    Maybe compressing the suspension is tugging on the cable?

    Maybe different non-turn washers to straighten out that big friction-causing loop of cable?
    That is solid advice and something to look at seriously. If you get a buddy to hold the bike for you, put it in 6th gear and run the rear end through its entire travel and see if the yellow dots move. If they do, buy a new cable/housing and run as much slack as possible at the bends.

  23. #23
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    Just to make sure - you have the hub in 6th gear when you're doing the dot alignment right? It may sound like a stupid question but I actually started trying to adjust it once in 5th gear but luckily read the manual before I caused any problems

  24. #24
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    Yup, 6th gear is the magic gear. Its the only gear that's marked on the shifter besides first and last gears.

  25. #25
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    I had the A11 on my spot acme for about 500 miles of commuting. I have a pretty powerful sprint, and only tried 1 time to pedal really hard off of a light and the gears jumped. Since then, I have limited power during standing starts only, but otherwise ridden normally.

    If I shifted when applying power, the hub most times doesn't change gears until I let off the power - but that actually depends which gears you're shifting from and to.

    No issues. I never had to adjust the hub for shifting, after several flat tires, wheel removals etc. never had any issue with it.

    It always worked.

    There is some sponge in certain gears, but I believe that's just in feel as it's spongy until you load the hub, then normal feeling if more power is applied after that.

    Only knock I hear is that A11 uses bushings, and Rohloff uses bearings, and so feels less spongy.

    I just wish it was lighter: if it was lighter than a chain/derailleur setup I'd switch my MTB to one in a heartbeat.

  26. #26
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    My second hub is still running fine after 600+ miles of off roading. I have found that aligning the yellow dots is not the best way to set the cable, yes it's close but it seems to me that the most sensitive two gears are 2nd & 10th. So I align the dots then gently pedal around shifting between 2nd & 10th while twiddling the adjuster counting the turns between getting a skipping 10th & skipping 2nd & then take the average. Bit of a faff, but it works. should you neeed to do this - well no - not on a £400 hub. I still like it though, yes there is sponginess in the lower gears, but sit & pedal smoothly & it all works for me. Running 32/18 on a 26er by the way.

  27. #27
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    I did a long ride on my 5th hub tonight and it also worked well. I am noticing 2nd gear is pretty flexy. I'm not sure if it's more flexy than my other hubs, or if I'm just more tuned to the flex now. I'm thinking that 2nd is probably just too weak. My tentative plan is going to be to try to avoid 2nd gear on strong climbs. I'll stick to 3rd and 1st when possible and when I think of it.

  28. #28
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    I have just started dream building my Alfine equipped adventure bike and really know very little about the system compared to the real world users posting in this thread. That being said, it seems that the soon coming Di2 Alfine system will eliminate cables all together, and with it, possibly some of the vague set up issues?

    Here is one of many links.

  29. #29
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    I believe the Di2 is Shimano's response to their failure analysis of reported issues with the Alfine 11. It would be a typical Japanese style TQM response. If your failure analysis indicates that customer problems are being caused by cable routing and hub alignment issues then this upgrade would make perfect sense. I doubt it will eliminate the cable initially (although a wireless version should be possible right?), but it will ensure that the shifts are completed correctly.

  30. #30
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    It appears from all of the pictures and descriptions to be fly by wire. So no actual tension cables, just wires that could be run internally to carry the battery voltage and a trigger signal. Plus some of the information is pointing to an average 1,000 mile Li-on battery recharge point. This system will not be for everybody, but it will certainly suite my application if it ever comes to light.

  31. #31
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    The weather has been crappy since my last post and I haven't gotten in many rides. Maybe 3 good ones on this my 5th hub.

    Condition: No 2nd gear.
    It self-destructed on my second ride. Now if I shift around it, the hub generally works fine. But if I accidentally shift into second gear, the hub goes crazy with grinding and clicking and no engagement.

    So I guess I just need to accept the fact that the Alfine 11 hub is only a 10 speed.

  32. #32
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    Those marks are definitely not lined up inside the hub then or? To me iot sounds like they are putting these blobs of paint where they see fit, more or less. could be wrong here but 5 hubs!! Not a ****ing chance.
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  33. #33
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    Finally got word today, after a year of asking for an explanation from shimano and getting none, that my gear ratio of 36/22 is too low and that's what is destroying the hub. Shimano has previously stated that there are NO input limits and that you can run any gears you want. So what this means is that this hub can NOT handle MTB use. Unless you mountain bike in florida where the trails are flat as can be.

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by fellsbiker View Post
    The weather has been crappy since my last post and I haven't gotten in many rides. Maybe 3 good ones on this my 5th hub.

    Condition: No 2nd gear.
    It self-destructed on my second ride. Now if I shift around it, the hub generally works fine. But if I accidentally shift into second gear, the hub goes crazy with grinding and clicking and no engagement.

    So I guess I just need to accept the fact that the Alfine 11 hub is only a 10 speed.
    I think the lemon law applies here in some fashion .... 5 hubs??? I would never tolerate that.

  35. #35
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    The only good alternative is to get a rholoff, and thats not in the budget. No amount of "tough-guyness" is going to get shimano to make me a hub that doesn't fail. I very strongly do NOT want to go back to derailers. Options are not in abundance.

  36. #36
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    Well, you could try going with the Alfine 8. That seems to be a more robust offering, and will save you some cheddar. I use a Nuvinci N360 and there are no gears to smash up, no issues after 8 months of use. It blows for uphill battles though, and forget about using it in a 700c/29" wheel; the lowest gear ratio specified by Fallbrook is too tall for these large wheels, at least in MTB applications. I would recommend 26" or less if possible. I agree with the sentiment about deraillers. I use my internal gear hub for commuting so I am less concerned about super lower gearing.

  37. #37
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    I am contemplating the 8, it's range is just so limited. I figure the most "well rounded" ratio I could give it is 36/19, which would make my lowest gear right around 1:1, and my highest gear right around 3:1. Compare that to the old days where my granny gear was 0.65:1 and my top gear was 4:1. Then I started thinking maybe tow chainrings in the front and an alfine 8 in the back. I most likely wouldn't even use that front shifter while riding, it would just be a way to shift my entire range from some lower gears to some higher ones. So if I'm in the woods, I'd keep it in my smaller chainring, and if I'm on the streets, i'd keep it in my higher one. But I haven't done any of the math on that crazy option yet. My problem is that every one of my options is a shitty option.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by fellsbiker View Post
    I am contemplating the 8, it's range is just so limited. I figure the most "well rounded" ratio I could give it is 36/19, which would make my lowest gear right around 1:1, and my highest gear right around 3:1. Compare that to the old days where my granny gear was 0.65:1 and my top gear was 4:1. Then I started thinking maybe tow chainrings in the front and an alfine 8 in the back. I most likely wouldn't even use that front shifter while riding, it would just be a way to shift my entire range from some lower gears to some higher ones. So if I'm in the woods, I'd keep it in my smaller chainring, and if I'm on the streets, i'd keep it in my higher one. But I haven't done any of the math on that crazy option yet. My problem is that every one of my options is a shitty option.
    That is interesting because I am considering the same set up on my N360. I am frustrated with the smallish gear range and have to choose a gear that compromises on both ends. Now my hub is so so on hills, and so so on the flats. If I were to set up the bike with a double chainring I could have one gear for hills and one for flats... but this defeats the entire purpose of getting a hub gear. And I do love having that delicious single speed chainline.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by fellsbiker View Post
    I am contemplating the 8, it's range is just so limited....But I haven't done any of the math on that crazy option yet. My problem is that every one of my options is a shitty option.
    You and Don in Austin are not well suited for IGHs. Despite so many success stories, for whatever reason, you two have something going on that doesn't allow you to use IGHs. I'd give up and go back to derailliuers.

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by fellsbiker View Post
    Unless you mountain bike in florida where the trails are flat as can be.


    I'm sorry you've had issues with your Alfine 11....

    Mine is going strong. I just came back from a bikepacking trip with lots of steep grinding climbs. I've also used the bike unloaded on BC's steep and techy MTB trails...

    So far I've had no issues. Mine is geared at 32T ring x 23T cog. I find that's low enough for mountain biking and bikepacking.
    Safe riding,

    Vik
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  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by vikb View Post


    Mine is going strong. I just came back from a bikepacking trip with lots of steep grinding climbs. I've also used the bike unloaded on BC's steep and techy MTB trails...
    Nice! How many miles do you have on your hub? I'm really enjoying mine but I don't even have 200 miles on it yet (work + family + school = lucky to bike twice a week )

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wryknow View Post
    Nice! How many miles do you have on your hub? I'm really enjoying mine but I don't even have 200 miles on it yet (work + family + school = lucky to bike twice a week )
    I don't have a bike computer so my guess is 500-700kms. Mostly dirt. I only ride this bike on pavement when needed to connect up dirt for bikepacking routes.
    Safe riding,

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  43. #43
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    I will give the Alfine 11 a thumbs up for a mtb. It is sad to read of fellsbiker's problems, but maybe pursuiter is correct that the alfine 11 is not suited to your type of riding. I am running 32/21 on my mtb and find that it is plenty low for the type of riding I do, which does include steep difficult climbs. I also recently took the Alfine equipped mtb out on a 100km (63 mile) endurance race and it performed really well (the rider was a different story though!).

    I would also add that I have had the Alfine 11 set up on a commuting bike at 44/20 for a year and a half now, and it is going strong. The simple oil-change servicing means that maintenance is an easy chore

  44. #44
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    I'm not saying that the Alfine 11 isn't great for mountain biking when it's not broken. It is amazing on the trails, the gear range is nice and wide, shifting is fast. It's great. The problem is that the hubs are not strong enough for mountain biking. If your hub hasn't broke yet, you're going to love it. Once you destroy 2nd gear, you're doing to be a sad sack like me.

    Like I said, one tough climb in 2nd gear and your hub will be gone. But if you really want your hub to last, my advice is never ever use 2nd gear. 1st gear seems to be rock solid. The problem comes mid-season when you're really getting strong, and using the "granny gear" to climb is no longer appealing. So you try to do more climbs in higher gears because you can. But your hub... it can not.

    I did my first single speed ride today with 36/18 ratio. It was depressing.

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by fellsbiker View Post
    I'm not saying that the Alfine 11 isn't great for mountain biking when it's not broken. It is amazing on the trails, the gear range is nice and wide, shifting is fast. It's great. The problem is that the hubs are not strong enough for mountain biking. If your hub hasn't broke yet, you're going to love it. Once you destroy 2nd gear, you're doing to be a sad sack like me.

    Like I said, one tough climb in 2nd gear and your hub will be gone. But if you really want your hub to last, my advice is never ever use 2nd gear. 1st gear seems to be rock solid. The problem comes mid-season when you're really getting strong, and using the "granny gear" to climb is no longer appealing. So you try to do more climbs in higher gears because you can. But your hub... it can not.
    I've been using the Alfine 11 for months now and using all the gears for our steep MTB trails. It's doing fine.

    Can't say it will never break, but I can say that one steep climb in second isn't the end of my hub.
    Safe riding,

    Vik
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  46. #46
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    What physical gears are you using?

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by fellsbiker View Post
    What physical gears are you using?
    Quote Originally Posted by vikb View Post
    So far I've had no issues. Mine is geared at 32T ring x 23T cog. I find that's low enough for mountain biking and bikepacking.
    I ride the steep techy trails on the South Shore of Vancouver Island BC and use the same bike for bikepacking.
    Safe riding,

    Vik
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  48. #48
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    32x23, that's an extremely low ratio. I wouldn't bet on your hub lasting much longer, but that's just me.

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by fellsbiker View Post
    32x23, that's an extremely low ratio. I wouldn't bet on your hub lasting much longer, but that's just me.
    I'll let you know if it dies. In the meantime I'm going to just keep on riding it and not spend a lot of mental energy on it. It seems like there are quite a few other folks using these hubs without problems so I am not going to write it off until something actually happens.
    Safe riding,

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  50. #50
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    Well if you don't want to spend a lot of mental energy on it, then this probably isn't the ideal thread for you. That said, there are a lot of people who are not having problems, but there are a whole lot that are. My first hub lasted 2 months of heavy riding before it started to fail, so it does seem there is some variability as far as how long they last. I'll be happy when I finally get a rohloff and I'm done with all drivetrain headaches. But there's no telling when that will be $$$

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