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  1. #1
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    Shimano Alfine on a Fat Bike?

    Thinking about building a "simple" fat bike for my kid with an internal gearing hub (8 or 11 speed).

    Would like to build this from scratch and would like to get any input from the community here...

    Primary use would be for some trail riding and sand/beach; nothing too extreme. I see some Shimano 8-speed bikes on ebay, however they are tipping 40lbs and questionable components. ($700)

    I'd like to pick and choose my own components and preferably an aluminum frame that would allow 4.5-4.7" tires.

    Suggestion please...

  2. #2
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    The 11 speed is overkill. You can't gear it any lower than the 8 speed, so the top 3 gears aren't much use on a fatbike unless you are really fast on the flats and downhills. It's a nice piece of kit, but I'd only fit it to a road oriented bike.

    The 8 speeds are also more reliable.

    If you haven't used a hubgear before, be aware that almost all hubgear problems come down to cabling faults.

    It is important to adjust the cable exactly to the mark (easy to do - there's an indicator on the hub). Twiddling to get adjustment as one does on a derailleur can lead to a wrecked hubgear.

    The other important thing is to momentarily take the pressure of the pedals when making a gearchange. Repeatedly failing to do that can wreck the internals. The crunching noises will tell you when you're doing it wrong.
    As little bike as possible, as silent as possible.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velobike View Post
    The 11 speed is overkill. You can't gear it any lower than the 8 speed, so the top 3 gears aren't much use on a fatbike unless you are really fast on the flats and downhills. It's a nice piece of kit, but I'd only fit it to a road oriented bike.

    The 8 speeds are also more reliable.

    If you haven't used a hubgear before, be aware that almost all hubgear problems come down to cabling faults.

    It is important to adjust the cable exactly to the mark (easy to do - there's an indicator on the hub). Twiddling to get adjustment as one does on a derailleur can lead to a wrecked hubgear.

    The other important thing is to momentarily take the pressure of the pedals when making a gearchange. Repeatedly failing to do that can wreck the internals. The crunching noises will tell you when you're doing it wrong.
    All good points, and don't forget that as good as Alfine is, there is a whole host of load bearing parts inside made of plastic. This may or may not be of concern to you based on how cold it is where you ride. But keep in mind that cold, brittle plastic, combined with harsher off road shifiting loads instead of the easier commuter riding that it was designed for may not make this great hub a good choice for a fat bike.


    If you do go with Alfine, you really should purchase the shimano cable length tool. Even with lots of practise in the factory, it almost impossible to get right without this tool.

  4. #4
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    I have an 8 spd Alfine on my Pugs for the last 8 yrs. Zero issues. It's weighty but painless.

  5. #5
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    As others have said, go with the 8 speed unit. It is cheaper and more reliable.

    I don't think you are going to be able to find a frame that meets all of your requirements though. The Alfine hub requires a 135mm spaced rear end, so the only way to achieve that is with an offset design like the Surly Pugsley. There were a couple of other manufacturers that made offset 135 frames, but most have moved to 170mm and 190mm spaced frames which are not compatible with the Alfine hub. Tire clearance is also an issue, as most will only fit maybe a 4.25" tire. Lastly, you want a frame with some way to tension the chain, like sliding dropouts.

    There may be others, but the closest I could find is a 9 Zero 7 135 offset frame with sliders. It's aluminum & has sliders, but will only fir a 4.0" tire. I'm also not sure if they are still making them: 9:Zero:7 Fat Tire Bikes from Alaska: 135mm Sliding Rear Dropout Frame

    Another option is a steel Surly Pugsley.

    Edit: Just found this on Ebay: 9 Zero 7 Size Medium Fat Bike Winter Bike Internal Geared Hub Custom Build | eBay

  6. #6
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    Friend of mine has one his Pugs also with zero issues. Also has a beer opener right next to it.


  7. #7
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    My 8 speed works great on my Pugsley. It is geared 32/22, works great in the snow and trail. Pretty topped out on flat bike paths, speed-wise. I think it ends up being similar to 32/14. Lowest gear is 32/42 I believe.

  8. #8
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    At my shop, I built up a Alfine 8 hub for a guy with a Moonie. We got the New Snowshoe XXLs to work on that frame, but its pretty damn tight. AFter a few weeks of riding, he is thinking the Alfine is great for in town winter riding (we are in Calgary Canada > Cold and icy when not hit by the chinooks), but at the trails, it just doesn't deliver. Would like to hear what you find out though.

  9. #9
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    I would think a Nexus 3 would be indestructible and 3 might be enough......

  10. #10
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    If your kid is smaller than a full size adult, they can probably get away with a <4.5" tire.

  11. #11
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    This was the end result of my experiment with an Alfine on a Pugsley. Drive gear and axle sheared in half. This occurred while accelerating, but not shifting.

    Shimano Alfine on a Fat Bike?-img_0238.jpg

    Shimano replaced the hub under warranty, but I had lost faith at that point. The lack of maintenance was great, but I do not think that it is a viable option for true MTB use. Even the Alfine on my commuter occasionally skips.

    Take all of this with a grain of salt because I did this to the cog on my commuter today. So who knows...

    Shimano Alfine on a Fat Bike?-1036225d1450376123-shattered-gates-cog-1a6adbb2-31bc-4b2b-9159-0993bd2b1ed8.jpg

  12. #12
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    8 spd failures are rare.
    We have an 8 spd (me) and an 11 spd (her) on a Pugs and a 907. have used them for a couple of years now. Absolutely no problems or failures.

  13. #13
    The Dog.
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1spd1way View Post
    8 spd failures are rare.
    We have an 8 spd (me) and an 11 spd (her) on a Pugs and a 907. have used them for a couple of years now. Absolutely no problems or failures.
    That was an 8 speed above.

  14. #14
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    I really hate to dig up an old thread here, but I think it's important to get some data on long term usage. Now that we've had a few years under the belt, were there any more failures with these internal hubs on fat bikes?

    I'm really interested in an internal hub on my moonlander because a) its 135mm b) i run dingle speed now, and really appreciate having a bailout gear for the real gnarly stuff and c) i've found that when shit really gets gnarly, i need a solid drive train. single speed hasn't let me down yet and i'm hoping an internal hub is a nice compromise to two more speeds with a minimal setup.

    there's also some informal information about gearing ratios and torque, but nothing concrete from sturmey archer. i'm curious if there are failures, what gear ratio (chainring / cog) was being run.

    also... how they have performed in the winter?

  15. #15
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    Blaineb,
    I think there are a few members on here who have had good success with the Nexus/Alfine variations. I've toyed with the idea myself, but my alfine does need new internals (I got it free, so...). In general, the Nexus/Alfines "can" be solid reliable units, but they have potential issues, such as being very mindful of how you shift/cable tension/not best to brute force/low gear torque it up a rock wall. I think if you meet all of the hubs needs/requirements, it could be a great option, but it is much like owning an old car with no power steering and drum brakes on all four corners. Really gotta know your machine and the intricacies it has.

    Rohloffs are good bets for Moonies
    Deflated - buy parts to sell parts to buy more parts.. bikes are my drug of choice

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  16. #16
    Stubby-legged
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    I wish I could have my orange camo Pugs with the Alfine8 back.
    I put a cazillion miles winter and summer with no problems at all.

    I am also looking for one for my moonlander.

  17. #17
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    I have a guy with two Alfine-Pugs setups... One fat, one Krampugs. Zero problems. The fat bike is about five years old. The Krampug, two.
    I like turtles

  18. #18
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    Is a Rohloff out of the question? I've seen a few used ones available and the double pull cable system might be the most reliable shifter for the cold weather riding.

  19. #19
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    I've used both Alfine on 907 asymmetric and presently have a Rohloff XL on my ElGordo.

    Wasn't able to put more than a 4,0 in the back with the Assym setup, I think it's the same with Surly.

    Alfines are cheaper but they are cheaper.
    As other stated , the cable adjustment is Super important and can "jam" in extreme cold and Slushy condition. (As derailleur would also)

    I suggest to save a little and go directly to a Rohloff.
    Shifting is in the hub , not spring loaded and it will last forever.
    Same weight : http://forums.mtbr.com/internal-gear...b-1089558.html

    I still run my 16 years old Speedhub on my winter beater/commuter.
    "There is a big difference between kneeling down and bending over" -FZ

  20. #20
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    I ran an Alfine 8 on a Pugsley for 1 winter and it broke - it would not stay in gear. It was replaced under warranty and I never used it again. It doesn't have a very low gear and I believe you're supposed to use a 34t chainring or higher. In general, I didn't like having to completely disengage from pedaling to shift. I think it's fine for commuting but not so much for mountain biking. YMMV.

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