Whats the current verdict on the alfine 11 - Page 2- Mtbr.com
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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; 11-22-2016 at 12:43 AM.

  2. #202
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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.
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  3. #203
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    Please tell more of this gear box which you speak of.
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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.
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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.
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  7. #207
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    How much does the whole A11-Di2 costs with everything ?

    (Just paid 1200$ for a Speedhub-XL)
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  8. #208
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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.
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  9. #209
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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
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  10. #210
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    So...I sold a wheel yesterday equipped with Alfine Di2 on Ebay, Also shipped the wheel yesterday to the buyer. Today he comes and ask for a refund/return because he didn't know he also needs to buy the battery, junction box, wires....the rest for the system (he knew about the Di2 motor because I told him)....what would be your reaction?

    (not going to say how I am reacting).

  11. #211
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    Quote Originally Posted by andrepsz View Post
    So...I sold a wheel yesterday equipped with Alfine Di2 on Ebay, Also shipped the wheel yesterday to the buyer. Today he comes and ask for a refund/return because he didn't know he also needs to buy the battery, junction box, wires....the rest for the system (he knew about the Di2 motor because I told him)....what would be your reaction?

    (not going to say how I am reacting).
    I'd point out to him that the misunderstanding is his, and now it's his problem. Totally. You sold 'what you sold' in good faith. You shouldn't have to explain to a prospective buyer all the intricacies of what ownership may entail. He could have been planning to use it for a lab experiment for all you know?! How he uses it, and what he uses it with are totally his concern and his problem. Was the unit as described? No misleading statements? If you think not, then what I said, it's HIS problem. Too many people have grown up thinking they can blame others for their own stupidity, lack of understanding and actions. Would a shop take it back for the reasons he states? Of course not! Stick to your guns. Problem is, you're worried about negative feedback aren't you? I'm not sure, but if he does give NFB, you can, for a valid reason get it scrubbed. In your case that reason being he bought something that he had not researched and wanted to return it purely from that standpoint, and that from your side it was exactly as described (if that's the case). Seems clear to me.

  12. #212
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    If you are a "store" on ebay, probably take the return and just sell it to someone else.

    If you are just a guy selling your old stuff, tell him that. And tell him your listing was very clear on exactly what you were selling (assuming it is) and tell him no returns. Assuming you list your return policy as no returns, and assuming it is as-described, you will win even if he tries to dispute it. You can't just blindly buy thigs and not know what you are buying
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  13. #213
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    Quote Originally Posted by fellsbiker View Post
    If you are a "store" on ebay, probably take the return and just sell it to someone else.

    If you are just a guy selling your old stuff, tell him that. And tell him your listing was very clear on exactly what you were selling (assuming it is) and tell him no returns. Assuming you list your return policy as no returns, and assuming it is as-described, you will win even if he tries to dispute it. You can't just blindly buy thigs and not know what you are buying
    Just a guy selling my stuff:

    Here is the description:

    ‘FORGET derailleurs and cassette! And don’t be fooled....Alfine hubs are NOT only for commuting...the Di2 makes the shifting experience so fast and accurate that this wheel can be used on MTB as well! The rim on this wheel is quite wide and would do great with a 26 x 2.8 or 3.0 semi fat tire.
    Used for about 10 miles.
    I’m selling the complete rear wheel including the tire (Schwalbe Marathon 26x1.75 e-bike ready) + tube inside and 180mm rotor.
    This is the Di2 version so you will need to buy to Di2 kit in order to operate the hub’


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  14. #214
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    So you specifically say they need to buy a Di2 kit? And I assume your pictures only included what you shipped the guy, and not the stuff he's whining about needing to buy?
    If all that is true, then tell him "sorry" and go on with your life. ebay feedback is completely meaningless now so let him do whatever. But if he disputes it, he's an idiot.

    Unless he complains that you advertised the hub as being "for mountain biking", when they actually explode on demand when you try to mountain bike with them. If that's his complaint, you're a bad person and should give him his money back
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  15. #215
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    Quote Originally Posted by fellsbiker View Post
    So you specifically say they need to buy a Di2 kit? And I assume your pictures only included what you shipped the guy, and not the stuff he's whining about needing to buy?
    If all that is true, then tell him "sorry" and go on with your life. ebay feedback is completely meaningless now so let him do whatever. But if he disputes it, he's an idiot.

    Unless he complains that you advertised the hub as being "for mountain biking", when they actually explode on demand when you try to mountain bike with them. If that's his complaint, you're a bad person and should give him his money back
    Yeah advertising is very clear on the Di2 kit...so no my reaction wasn’t good at all!

    This discussion about using on MTB is a good one!


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  16. #216
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    Question now more into the topic: What is the difference between:

    SG-S705 and SG-S7051-11?

    Is the SG-S7051-11 newer? improved internals?

  17. #217
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    I've been riding a folder (Tern Verge S11i) since 2013. Its Alfine 11 has about 6,000 miles on it. Its performance has been basically flawless. The best thing about it is the ease of maintenance: an oil change every 600 miles or so.
    I haven't seen the inside of the hub so I can't comment on the apparent robustness of the parts, but they're holding up so far. My Nexus-8 hubs, one of which has almost 10,000 miles on it, are opened for lubrication once a year. There's no visible wear on the gears or other internal parts. I think I'd feel more comfortable with the Nexus in heavy-duty applications than the Alfine, but it's just a feeling.

  18. #218
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    Quote Originally Posted by andrepsz View Post
    Question now more into the topic: What is the difference between: SG-S705 and SG-S7051-11?Is the SG-S7051-11 newer? improved internals?
    SG-S7051-8 is the 8 gear Di2 electronic shifting version of the Alfine 8 gear hub.

    SG-S7051-11 is the 11 gear Di2 electronic shifting version of the Alfine 8 gear hub.

    See https://bike.shimano.com/en-EU/produ...-S7051-11.html

    -IG

  19. #219
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    I know the discussion is about Alfine hubs (8 and 11 gear), but Alfine 8 (previous to 7001-8) is very close to a Nexus 8 gear, so for what its worth: I have a Nexus SG-8R25 from 2006 which is still in use in a set of 36 spoke Rigida Disc Bulls in a Fort MT2 frame, ridden in the city in all weather conditions from freezing, snow, sleet, rain to summer about 10 miles (per direction) commute with heavy stuff on the rear rack.

    Every couple years maintenance has been the official oil dip and re-grease. The shift cables have been replaced a couple times (that made eveything precise again). Will it last another 12 years? Who knows. When it dies, I've got a set of Ryde Big Bulls (Rigida is now Ryde, Disc Bull got replaced by Big Bull frames -- times change some things, if only a little) waiting to be laced up with an as yet unspecified IGH -- I'd say some day it'll be whatever is the current Alfine 8 or 11 gear hub at the time.

    From the long-term use Alfine 11 information I've read, the new 7001-11 (and 7051-11 Di2 model) have finally gotten the biggest issues worked out. I think the first model of the Alfine 11 gear hub was indeed deficient.

    -IG

  20. #220
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    Does someone know…

    1. How the new Alfine 11 (SG-S7001-11) differs from the original (SG-S700)

    2. If the hubs are identical, so that upgrading could be done by simply replacing the internal core instead of building a whole new wheel
    ?

    Thank you.

  21. #221
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    Quote Originally Posted by IGgear View Post

    From the long-term use Alfine 11 information I've read, the new 7001-11 (and 7051-11 Di2 model) have finally gotten the biggest issues worked out. I think the first model of the Alfine 11 gear hub was indeed deficient.

    -IG
    Can anyone verify this info?

    The page I looked at says the 11 Di2 is 5 grams lighter than the 1,670 gram 8 speed DI2. 11 speed hub is about $400 and 8 speed hub about $200.

    I was thinking of getting an Alfine hub for my 2009 Fargo, perhaps DI2. Honestly, I don´t ride the Fargo all that much anymore. I would roll on thousands of miles, but not tens of thousands. I have a couple of old Crest rims I have not used, and time to lace up a couple of wheels.

    Anyone see a reason not to use the new model 11 speed for a little back road touring in the western US and or northern Mexico? Maybe even an XT dyno hub on the front?

    If my foggy old memory serves, they used to say the 8 was more reliable than the 11. IGgear seems to think the new model is good to go¿

  22. #222
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    I think shimano could have made big inroads with internal hubs if they did a better job of designing and marketing this hub. But I think the opportunity for that has passed, now that the future will likely be Pinion style internal gearboxes.
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  23. #223
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    Doubtful. Gearboxes built into the frame can't be interchanged like hubs can. The bicycle industry is successful because parts are interchangeable, so people can buy what they can afford rather than not buying anything at all.

  24. #224
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    Quote Originally Posted by deusexaethera View Post
    Doubtful. Gearboxes built into the frame can't be interchanged like hubs can. The bicycle industry is successful because parts are interchangeable, so people can buy what they can afford rather than not buying anything at all.
    Well... you have a (mild) non-sequitur there. Interchangeability does not relate to cost. Interchangeability is a measure of usefulness.

    It just so happens that right now, the available mid-drive gearboxes are expensive.

    If you look at the beginnings of the electric assist bike, those started as bolt on rear drive kits. However, the rear mass bias made for garbage handling qualities. The obvious solution was to concentrate the mass in the middle, where it will handle more "like a bike". Large companies were hesitant to do this until they were convinced of the (huge!) demand, and then they made it happen.

    Now, I wouldn't say the demand for human powered mid drive gearboxes is nearly as large as mid drive E-bikes, but the demand is definitely there. I've staked the majority of my savings on becoming the first USA produced bicycle gearbox. Once it becomes easy enough and affordable enough, things will change.

    Until that finally happens, yeah, internal hubs for sure.
    Disclaimer: I run Regular Cycles (as of 2016). As a profiteer of the bicycle industry, I am not to be taken very seriously.

  25. #225
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    It's not a non-sequitur, but it does require following several related lines of logic until they intersect.

    Bicycles are an industrial product. Industrial products are built by professionals, because amateurs lack the skills to build things with the uniformity of quality that industrial products require. Professionals work for companies. Companies succeed or fail based on whether people buy their products. (I was originally going to say companies succeed or fail based on whether their products work well, but then I remembered that Wal-mart exists, and I had to revise my logic.) People will only buy products if they can afford to. (you can debate about cash vs. credit, but since credit reduces future buying-power in exchange for increased immediate buying-power, in the long-term it doesn't matter how a person buys something, only whether they can afford to buy it at all.)

    Bicycles are also complex products. Complex products are expensive. Because people will only buy products if they can afford to, reducing the cost of a product without significantly diminishing its quality is usually a good approach to generating more sales. (I was originally going to say reducing the cost of a product without significantly diminishing its quality is always the best approach to generating more sales, but again the existence Wal-mart forces me to revise my logic.) Reducing the cost of a product without significantly diminishing its quality can be accomplished in several different ways:
    - Manufacture and sell the product in huge numbers, benefiting from significant economies of scale;
    - Integrate all the components into a single assembly that can be assembled mostly or entirely by machines;
    - Build the product out of interchangeable components designed to use standard interfaces, so each customer can easily get a product configured to their exact needs without having to spend more than necessary;

    Lots of consumer products use #1 and/or #2, with the tradeoff of those products being extremely difficult to customize or repair. And that's fine for iPhones, car engines, and stainless-steel tableware. But bicycles need to be repairable because they see significantly harder use (relative to their material strength) in more widely-varying conditions than those other products I mentioned. Also, bicycles (or at least, nice bicycles like the ones owned by people on this forum) need to be customizable because each of us has different needs and expectations of the same general product. So option #3 (interchangeable parts) is the only feasible approach to reducing the cost of bicycles to increase sales.

    Perhaps I have a different perspective on this than the average MTBR member. I mostly ride alone -- I don't have any friends who are bicycling enthusiasts because I tend to get along very badly with them -- and I don't live in the MTB meccas of Colorado, Utah, or British Columbia. As a result the only place I've ever seen a mid-frame-gearbox bike, or an e-bike, or a fatbike (I mention those three together because there seems to be a lot of overlap in their respective markets), or anything other than a normal chain-and-sprocket bike, is on the internet. I've been to all my local bike shops and they don't have a single one. That's not because I live in a poor area, either; I live near DC, which is one of the wealthiest areas of the USA. There are lots of people around here who could afford a $6000 bike, and I do see them riding from time to time.

    Given the oppressive summer heat and hilariously unpredicable weather here, you'd think anyone wanting to bike on a regular basis would welcome the assistance of an electric motor and the efficiency of an oiled-and-sealed gearbox, so they could enjoy a nice breeze without having to pedal as hard. But despite the obvious-on-paper benefits, I don't see any bikes like that around here. The bikes I do see around here fall into two general categories:
    - Legions of rusty Wal-mart "full suspension mountain bikes" (quotes used to indicate marketing BS) that immigrant workers use to ride to the bus stop or carpool location every morning, chained to whatever immovable object was handy at the end of their ride;
    - A few shiny MTBs and road bikes ridden by people like me when the weather is nice;

    Even among the nice bikes, I haven't seen a bike with proprietary-fit components attached to it in years; Cannondale Lefty forks were slightly more common than unicorns for a few years, but those eventually disappeared too. Why? Because Lefty forks require special maintenance, as well as proprietary hubs and disc-brake mounts, and that makes them more difficult to repair and upgrade.

    As a mea-culpa, I admit I made that mistake with the first and second bikes I bought as an adult: a Pro-Flex 756 and a Christini AWD. The Pro-Flex 756 uses a strut-mount rear shock instead of a standard dual-pivot rear shock, and the only reason anyone other than Girvin/Noleen ever made shocks for it is because it is because Pro-Flex was an elite brand back in the day. Even so, there were only a couple of shock options, none of them from companies known for making bicycle shocks. One company made an adapter to fit a standard shock onto a Pro-Flex frame, and I took one look at it and decided it was way too sketchy to trust with my bodily safety. And my Christini AWD has a specially-modified White Brothers fork that I can't replace at all, which is an increasingly-inconvenient problem because the Englund Total Air cartridges inside it have never held pressure correctly.

    Bicycles that use non-interchangeable components are doomed to premature obsolescence, and nobody wants to throw their money at a bicycle that can't be repaired. Bicycles are not iPhones. Modularity and interchangeability is what makes bicycles work in the real world, plain and simple. For that reason, I think it is entirely reasonable to say it will always be the case that the overwhelming majority of bicycles will have their gears attached to their rear hubs, not proprietary-fit pods built into the frame.

    However, I understand you have an aspiring business model to defend, and I wish you luck. Focus your efforts not on producing the best gearboxes, but on getting companies to agree on a standard design that can be bolted onto any bike designed for it. That will open the door to competitors, yes, but more companies making standard-fit gearboxes will reduce the risk for framebuilders to start making frames that can use those gearboxes. That is the only way your product will succeed, unless your definition of "success" is limited to selling a couple hundred of them to boutique framebuilders.

  26. #226
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    Quote Originally Posted by deusexaethera View Post
    (snipped for length)

    However, I understand you have an aspiring business model to defend, and I wish you luck. Focus your efforts not on producing the best gearboxes, but on getting companies to agree on a standard design that can be bolted onto any bike designed for it. That will open the door to competitors, yes, but more companies making standard-fit gearboxes will reduce the risk for framebuilders to start making frames that can use those gearboxes. That is the only way your product will succeed, unless your definition of "success" is limited to selling a couple hundred of them to boutique framebuilders.
    First off, I agree-chuckled at your Walmart related reevaluations. Yeah... feel ya there. Your observations about who rides what and where as it relates to socioeconomic status and purpose... those things are pretty much true in the midwest as well, although to a lesser extent regarding the bad weather portion.

    Curiously, I don't have a business model to defend specifically. I think part of the problem with IGHs and especially gearboxes is just... lack of exposure. Part of the lack of exposure is lack of shop knowledge on what to do with a defective component, replacement turnaround time, which is tied into the interchangeability thing. I've seen shops be very knowledgeable about IGHs, some not, and it shows in terms of what they display on the shop floor.

    If you'll indulge me I can explain what my "success metric" is. First off, my business model as a whole is to sell carbon stuff (and metal whenever I learn to weld in the future and tool up for a wholly second discipline). The reason I pursued this is to enable the creation of a new gearbox design, and then release the specs to anyone and everyone. Simply because so few manufacturers have been willing to return my initial contact, I figure, I'm on my own. Most of them say "It's too hard, too complex", all that. Well, what if I made an open source design, give it to the world, and see what happens? Once it is out there, I would simply... continue making carbon stuff, which is not really dependent on the gearbox thing.

    Does that make sense? I need two capabilities to make the gearbox stuff happen, but I only need the first capability to make some money. My desire to get a new type of gearbox into the wild is an emotional one. The enabler technology (frame fab / custom parts fab) is the actual money maker.

    With the above in mind, the very idea of its assembly is that it needs to be simple enough that any learned mechanic could work on it, and it would be relatively easy to hire an outside source to make replacement parts in the event that I get hit by a bus and die. Lots of plates, screws, shallow ramps that will be easy to CNC mill from flat plate stock material.

    My initial hope in terms of economic impact was that I could make a gearbox that could legitimately appear on "entry level" high quality bicycles (better than a Walmart 80-miles-and-it-dies bike). Since there are so many more moving parts, this quickly became obvious that it would not work. Then I was like ok, mid-high end stuff? Also no. With time I realized I just need to focus on the critical detail that sets my gearbox apart (reliable downshifting under torque), make some examples, put a life time warranty on em, and just publish the specs. Along with making the integration design painfully simple such that no one with their head on straight could screw it up (fasteners and a flat plate, pretty easy).

    In other words, my success metrics are:

    1) Making a new gearbox exist with a specific "feel"
    2) Making the barrier of imitation extremely low to see what the world does with it (perhaps nothing)

    Because seriously, I can make money on, like, fenders and handlebars and seatposts and stuff. I split the time 50/50. It's all a little strange, I'll admit.
    Disclaimer: I run Regular Cycles (as of 2016). As a profiteer of the bicycle industry, I am not to be taken very seriously.

  27. #227
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    Ah, so this is a passion-project for you, and also an open-source project that you're not planning to get rich from. That changes the metrics a bit.

    In that case, the two main hurdles I see are:
    1) Why would bicycle manufacturers do something different when what they have sells well enough and doesn't require taking any new risks? Big businesses hate taking risks, because everyone wants to keep their steady jobs. (though having just ridden my Christini with its derailleur drivetrain after a few weeks of riding my new IGH bike, I can say the stuttering in the drivetrain caused by shifting sprockets was unexpectedly jarring, and I agree if more people got to ride gearbox bikes of any kind they'd probably prefer the "feel".) Admittedly there's nothing you can do about institutional inertia, short of paying millions of people to try your product, or launching a fabulously-persuasive advertising campaign.

    2) Humans are all torque and no horsepower, which is a big problem for any drivetrain design. If you've ever had the opportunity to take apart a car transmission (which I'm guessing you have), you know the gears are big, chunky, and heavy. That is entirely because the gears need to withstand the torque the engine generates -- it's actually a disadvantage to have heavy gears spinning at high speed, but it's much more of a disadvantage to have broken gears not spinning at all. Diesel transmissions are even beefier, for the same reason. A reasonably strong human struggles to generate 0.5 horsepower, but even my desk-job physique can generate over 120lb-ft of torque (as much as a small car engine) just by standing on the forward pedal on my bike -- my torque output goes up even more when I brace against the handlebars and push hard on the pedals.

    That is a huge problem for designing bicycle drivetrains, because they have to be strong enough to withstand as much torque as a small car engine can produce, but also be light enough that they don't make pedaling uphill significantly harder than it needs to be. The saving grace is that bicycles don't need to work as long between repairs, so their drivetrains can be made out of normal metals instead of gold-plated unobtainium. Derailleur drivetrains further improve their torque-carrying capacity by using large gears that can be made out of even lighter metals, whereas IGH gearboxes don't have that option, so they have to use hardened carbon-steel instead. IGH gearboxes do benefit from the torque-reducing effect of having a large drive sprocket connected to a small driven sprocket, so the full torque of the rider is reduced by ~66% in exchange for 3x faster rotational speed at the hub. That means IGH gears can at least be made small to minimize the weight penalty of using an IGH, without also needing to be made from gold-plated unobtainium to handle the rider's torque. But a mid-frame gearbox doesn't get the benefit of being on the output side of a torque-reducing/speed-amplifying chain-drive. A mid-frame gearbox is the worst of both worlds, in that respect; it has to handle as much torque as a small car engine can produce, while also being light enough and durable enough that the rider won't regret buying one.

    I'm sure you've heard the old engineering joke "Strong, light, fast: pick two." In this case we're talking about "strong, light, durable" instead, and mid-frame gearboxes demand that you pick all three. In that case, the unavoidable tradeoff is that it will be horrendously expensive. Lightweight metals that can handle high loads for lots of miles without deforming or cracking are horrendously expensive, not just in materials costs, but also in machining costs.

    Also this one might surprise you, but fancy alloys are also nearly impossible to lubricate effectively. I don't entirely understand the chemical reasons for that, but the 50-cent explanation that I've scraped together is: the atoms in high-strength alloys are so tightly-bound to each other that their outer electron shells don't have enough available electrostatic charge to attract oil molecules very well. (hopefully there aren't any physicists or chemists reading this, because they'll probably have a nosebleed from the crudeness of that explanation.) 6Al4V aerospace-grade titanium is the metal that comes to mind for the gearbox you want to build, and I know from past experience in other hobbies that cutting titanium wears-out tools super fast, and lubricating titanium is an exercise in frustration. I spent a couple years figuring out how to lubricate titanium screw-threads for a different hobby, and the best I could do was to reduce the awful scraping sensation to a minimum. I actually made some money selling small batches of a special grease that I mixed in my workshop at home for that purpose, because the minimal level of lubrication was still better than what anyone else had managed to achieve, including the big lube-manufacturing companies. But that wouldn't be good enough for the heavily-loaded surfaces of the gear teeth in your gearbox; you'd probably need to use fancy surface coatings like AlTiN or DLC that would easily double the cost of your gearbox design, and those have an irritating tendency to flake off over time. Not such a great thing for that lifetime warranty you're proposing.

    Buuuut, you're not the first guy to chase the holy grail in their chosen hobby, so keep at it. I like being proven wrong when I say something won't work. It reminds me of when I was a kid and I still believed in magic.

  28. #228
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    Quote Originally Posted by deusexaethera View Post
    Ah, so this is a passion-project for you, and also an open-source project that you're not planning to get rich from. That changes the metrics a bit.
    Yeah, yep, you get it. There's two things I'm angling at with my launch of a new design. The first one, as you've stated, torqued release of a gear is very difficult. "All torque and no power" is exactly right, we don't want to be snapping or shearing or chipping any teeth.

    That part, specifically, is what I have spent the bulk of my design work on so far.

    Regarding the mass, I'm playing a "two ends against the middle" affair. Let's say, for sake of discussion, that the gearbox mass doesn't matter (it does, but let's ignore this). Instead what matters is rider perception, and to me that breaks into two categories: initial "Can I pick up this entire bike up with one hand?" response in a parking lot, vs really hard jumping-and-twisting of the bike. If the gearbox is heavy but at the middle, the high-demand performance handling will go largely unaffected. In other words it is the overall mass that matters more than the gearbox mass, at the outset.

    THAT is why I do the carbon frame stuff. The light frame will sort of blunt the mass penalty of the gearbox, and result in an overall acceptable "yeah I'd ride that" response. From there, if one wanted to attach a gearbox to a steel frame for people who do not go airborne, then by all means.

    I get what you mean about idealism -- I've really pared it down to one critical function that has to be different. The downshift release under torque MUST be different. It needs to tolerate foul rider input under the worst circumstance, and deliver the shift quickly. No system that I've tried so far does this on a bicycle. I've been told ad nauseum that downshift release is not a priority, and that riders should do everything they can to shift correctly. I strictly beg to differ on this one critical issue, and I've met riders who feel likewise. This design is for them. This was not easy to design, I had to use my software engineering background because conventional CAD modeling couldn't achieve some of the tooth shaping that I wanted. Everything that goes into accommodating that is collateral damage that I need to mitigate any way possible.

    For instance high mass is one of the damages, and one of my prospective clients wants a relatively light weight gearbox for road purposes (I don't understand, but I'll indulge). If I am restricted to thick teeth and heavy materials for the gearbox (which I am), the only way to achieve low mass is to have as little gearbox as possible, or as few speeds as possible. For this one dude's purposes, that number is four gears. My number is six. Some folks want nine, which is where I am required to draw the line because my torque-release design takes up a lot of volume that is otherwise occupied by gears in Pinion and Effigear designs.

    Pleasure chatting with you about this, most people are not interested in the details.
    Disclaimer: I run Regular Cycles (as of 2016). As a profiteer of the bicycle industry, I am not to be taken very seriously.

  29. #229
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    Not to dig up an old thread - but I bought a new alfine 11 and want to put it on the Pugsley who is her retirement era.

    I have two other good mountain bikes and she does not get ridden much other than a jaunt in the snow or on the beach.

    BUT

    I am a big guy and am worried about watts for the hub. I don't' ride like an idiot but I am rather ham fisted when it comes to "I think I can ride up that." I have spun the threads on my single speed cog once or twice.

    I have always wanted to build one - but maybe I should have gotten the 8 or a sturmy 5 which people say are more durable..

    What do you all think??
    My bike is heavier than yours - it does not have Carbon or Titanium parts - I love it!

  30. #230
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    Quote Originally Posted by Weinerts View Post
    Not to dig up an old thread - but I bought a new alfine 11 and want to put it on the Pugsley who is her retirement era.

    I have two other good mountain bikes and she does not get ridden much other than a jaunt in the snow or on the beach.

    BUT

    I am a big guy and am worried about watts for the hub. I don't' ride like an idiot but I am rather ham fisted when it comes to "I think I can ride up that." I have spun the threads on my single speed cog once or twice.

    I have always wanted to build one - but maybe I should have gotten the 8 or a sturmy 5 which people say are more durable..

    What do you all think??
    Well my experience with that hub is now 8 years old. But I weigh 155 lbs, and I could break the alfine 11 at will just by pedaling hard up a hill in second gear. They just couldn't handle the torque. Maybe they have changed the design over the years. But it sounds like you are asking for trouble. If I were you, i'd go a different route. I've always heard that the alfine 8's were very reliable, but with much less range. I have no personal experience with them though.
    Check out my Mountain Bike Keychains on eBay

  31. #231
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    The nimble beast

    Whats the current verdict on the alfine 11-img_20191130_075033a.jpg

    We do not get a lot of snow in San Diego - so it is really fun when we do!

    Whats the current verdict on the alfine 11-img_20190322_162730.jpg

    Its normal habitat..
    My bike is heavier than yours - it does not have Carbon or Titanium parts - I love it!

  32. #232
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    Quote Originally Posted by Weinerts View Post
    I am a big guy and am worried about watts for the hub.
    I have an Alfine 11 on a folding commuter bike that I've been riding since 2013 in Chicago in all kinds of weather (rain, snow, temps 0 F - 98 F). I weigh 210 pounds, but don't consider myself a powerhouse. The hub has over 7,000 miles on it, with oil changes about every 600 miles. I use Royal Purple Gear Oil 75w-140. The oil, when changed, contains small amounts of tiny metal particles which are able to be cleared by a magnet (so steel, not aluminum). I've had no trouble with the hub other than a missed shift once in a while.

    According to Shimano's technical documents:
    "It is recommended that the gear ratio of the front chain ring be set to approximately 1.9. Example: F34T - R18T, F39T - R20T, F45T - R23T."
    Hope this helps!
    Steve

  33. #233
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    The problem with that is that 1.9 gives you a really high final gear range that would be very hard to use in the woods on trails.
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  34. #234
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    Well, there's always the Rohloff Speedhub. Also, the NuVinci continuously-variable hub is supposed to be able to handle high torque- it's used with mid-drive electric motors. Both these hubs are sort of heavy.

  35. #235
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    Yeah that is what I keep reading.. I think Does anybody want to buy an Alfine 11 with shifter and fit kit and cog? I would trade for an 8 speed...
    My bike is heavier than yours - it does not have Carbon or Titanium parts - I love it!

  36. #236
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steveroot View Post
    Both these hubs are sort of heavy.
    https://forums.mtbr.com/internal-gea...b-1089558.html

    I compared a Alfine 8 to a Speedhub , 100g more for the Speedhub , so I guess an Alfine 11 will be heavier
    "There is a big difference between kneeling down and bending over" -FZ

  37. #237
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    Quote Originally Posted by fokof View Post
    I compared a Alfine 8 to a Speedhub , 100g more for the Speedhub , so I guess an Alfine 11 will be heavier
    You're right. According to this site: https://www.bikestation.fi/info/en/b...eedhub/weight/, the Alfine is 120 grams heavier than the Rohloff. The NuVinci hub is about 500 grams heavier than the Alfine.

  38. #238
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    I got an SA 5 speed - going to run it with 2 rings in front.
    If I cannot sell the 11 I will put it on a recumbent that I got.. nerd level 11!
    My bike is heavier than yours - it does not have Carbon or Titanium parts - I love it!

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