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

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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.

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

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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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  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.
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  46. #46
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    What physical gears are you using?
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  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.
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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.
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  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.
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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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  51. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by fellsbiker View Post
    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.
    I'm taking the time to participate in this thread because if only folks that have problems speak up it sounds like every Alfine 11 is doomed to fail. OTOH - that's not what I'm reading on the various forums and blogs.

    And that's not my experience.
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    My experience with 5 Alfine 11's is that every Alfine IS doomed to fail. No one wishes this wasn't the case more than me. But even Shimano said the gear ratio is too low and that's what is killing the drives. My gear ratios is/was 32/20 (1.6) and then 36/22 (1.64). All I can say to people who haven't had a failure yet is good luck!
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  53. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by fellsbiker View Post
    My experience with 5 Alfine 11's is that every Alfine IS doomed to fail. No one wishes this wasn't the case more than me. But even Shimano said the gear ratio is too low and that's what is killing the drives. My gear ratios is/was 32/20 (1.6) and then 36/22 (1.64). All I can say to people who haven't had a failure yet is good luck!
    I'm sorry you have had some problems, but even 5 failures on one bike for one rider are statistically insignificant.

    It's totally possible the problems are related to you or your bike or you have extremely bad luck.

    Either way my hub continues to work just fine.
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  54. #54
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    Well based on all of the other failure reports, I don't think it's bad luck. I've also contacted other bike shops that have told me about 20% of their 11's have failed.
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    Quote Originally Posted by fellsbiker View Post
    Well based on all of the other failure reports, I don't think it's bad luck. I've also contacted other bike shops that have told me about 20% of their 11's have failed.
    Let's assume 20% is accurate....then 80% of the hubs are trucking along just fine. So if you got 5 bad hubs in a row that would be really bad luck.
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    Well thats a bit of an over-simplification. But even with a 20% failure rate, that still gives me only a 0.032% chance of getting 5 duds in a row.
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    Does it ever occur to Fellsbiker that his LBS is clueless? He's also over at bikeforum.com where all the Shimano haters are out in full force. He and some cat named "Don in Austin" have ground through 5 hubs each and they've convinced the bikeforum mob that Shimano is un-fit to sell IGHs. Then they go for an Alfine 8 and a derailliuer, too funny.

    And the fact that sooo many people are not having issues, does that make them question their LBS? Nope, instead they claim their experience is the only real representation of an Alfine 11, it's just a matter of time before everyone's fails.

    You close your mind, you get the result you're hoping for.

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    You seem to gloss right over the fact that shimano said my 32/20 gear ratio is too low, and that it will tear through every replacement they send me. And that they told me the exact opposite of that for the first 4 failure, and after the 5th, that's what they say. There are a LOT of failure reports all over the internet, outside of my few threads. Oh boy now I get to go replay to your thread on the other forum too.
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    "Shimano haters"
    By "shimano haters", you mean people that have had Alfine 11 failures, and are annoyed at shimano about how they were up-selling this hub's abilities early on, only to backpedal that after they started failing regularly.

    You make it sound like we all had an ax to grind against shimano, and bought this $750+ hub so we could use it to talk **** about shimano on the internet.
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  60. #60
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    Your complaints about up selling are silly. Shimano never said the Alfine 8 or Alfine 11 are MTB hubs. OTOH, plenty of users are getting more than two rides on an Alfine 11 and have used them for months on MTBs with no failures (with a primary gear you claim is not allowed).

    You've never tried a single suggestion recommended by experienced users here. You and Don have all the answers, I get it. As I've said in the past, "IGHs are not for the naive or uninitiated." You are living proof.

  61. #61
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    But 20% is a very high fail rate imo. I wonder what other product would have sucha fail rate and not put the maker out of business. For a complex part like this (and expensive) Its totally unacceptable with a 20% fail rate. 2 yes, 20 no.

    I have a proposition to shimano, instead of just accepting the fact that 20% break down, why even make those 20%, why don't they just make the remaining 80% that is working and and save money?

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  62. #62
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    I doubt the failure rate is anywhere near 20% if it is installed properly. Shimano would be losing money hand-over-fist on warranty replacement costs if that was the case.

  63. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wryknow View Post
    I doubt the failure rate is anywhere near 20% if it is installed properly. Shimano would be losing money hand-over-fist on warranty replacement costs if that was the case.
    I doubt anyone outside of Shimano's warranty department actually knows what the failure rate of these hubs is.
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  64. #64
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    i had a scare with mine on the weekend, all going well then it started skipping and jumping gears
    pulled over to have a look all seemed ok, checked the dots were still aligned and all was well but kept jumping
    pulled it apart today and couldnt see anything wrong but when i put it back together it all works well haha... but now i dont trust it
    Josh

  65. #65
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    I sucks to not be able to trust gear.
    Rule #9 // If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period.

    Quote Originally Posted by iheartbicycles View Post
    Specialized sucks ass.

  66. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by car bone View Post
    I sucks to not be able to trust gear.
    That's why it pays not to be paranoid. I don't stress about my Alfine 11. I use it for bikepacking so if it breaks I might be a 30km walk back to help. I could spend my time stressing about that or I could just get on with the ride.

    I do the later. Lots of people are riding them without problems including me.

    I could rip a derailleur off a bike way out in the boondocks or taco a wheel on any bike. Lots of potential for walking back to civilization even if your bike doesn't have an IGH.
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  67. #67
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    The problem is using a product for the wrong application.
    If you check at the shimanonweb page , alfine product is for commuter, city , pavement application. I wouldn't hold anything against Shimano if i put an Alfine hub on a MTB and it fails later , it's not made / designed for that application.
    Do you see Dura Ace stuff on the mud ?
    It's not designed to be used there so no big surprise.


    If you want to use an IGH on an MTB application , buy a real IGH that is designed for MTB application , or be aware that your Pavement IGH might fail on MTB application.
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  68. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by fokof View Post
    The problem is using a product for the wrong application.
    If you check at the shimanonweb page , alfine product is for commuter, city , pavement application. I wouldn't hold anything against Shimano if i put an Alfine hub on a MTB and it fails later , it's not made / designed for that application.
    I agree with you to a point. These hubs were not designed for MTBing. If any of my Alfine's die in a MTB I won't blame Shimano.

    The thing is Alfine 8's seem to be holding up great in MTBs. I have one that's 4yrs old and has been abused in every way possible in my Pugsley.

    So far my Alfine 11 is holding up great as well for MTBing and bikepacking. I'm not ready to suggest that it's some sort of certainty it's going to fail despite being used for a purpose other than city use.
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  69. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by vikb View Post
    That's why it pays not to be paranoid. I don't stress about my Alfine 11. I use it for bikepacking so if it breaks I might be a 30km walk back to help. I could spend my time stressing about that or I could just get on with the ride.

    I do the later. Lots of people are riding them without problems including me.

    I could rip a derailleur off a bike way out in the boondocks or taco a wheel on any bike. Lots of potential for walking back to civilization even if your bike doesn't have an IGH.
    A wheel can be overbuilt to guard against failure. The risk to derailler bikes are well known. Not to mention a century of research and development into a part that has changed very little. A mysterious hub with all internal parts, that might fail at a moments notice? This would put me off as well. I think the concern is well founded here. He's not the only user reporting issues with gears failing on the Alfine 11.

  70. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by crazylemurboy View Post
    A wheel can be overbuilt to guard against failure. The risk to derailler bikes are well known. Not to mention a century of research and development into a part that has changed very little. A mysterious hub with all internal parts, that might fail at a moments notice? This would put me off as well. I think the concern is well founded here. He's not the only user reporting issues with gears failing on the Alfine 11.
    The reality is that you can taco wheel, rip off a derailleur, have pawls that won't engage, etc... It happens. An IGH can break as well.

    Folks have broken Rohloffs and Alfine 8s. Even though the general consensus is that they are a good choice for a MTB.

    I use all of these parts. You can be aware that something can fail without obsessing about it.

    If using an Alfine 11 really freaks you out than I'd suggest you don't buy one.

    Part of the reason I am running an Alfine 11 is to see what actually happens when it's used hard in a MTB. So far so good....
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  71. #71
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    I think the most important thing that everyone is trying to communicate here is the rate of failure that is the cause of concern. The other systems you mention did not have many reports of failure. It's like comparing a Yugo to a BMW. Sure they are both cars and will fail eventually, but one is certainly less well engineered in comparison and will fail sooner.

  72. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by crazylemurboy View Post
    I think the most important thing that everyone is trying to communicate here is the rate of failure that is the cause of concern. The other systems you mention did not have many reports of failure. It's like comparing a Yugo to a BMW. Sure they are both cars and will fail eventually, but one is certainly less well engineered in comparison and will fail sooner.
    So far I haven't seen anyone establish a rate of failure. How many of the Alfine 11's sold so far have failed? We also don't have an understanding of what caused the failures that have been reported. Manufacturing problems? Setup problems? User issues?

    How do we account for the hubs that are doing fine? Is it because they are defect free from the factory? Is it because they are being used by someone else?

    I'm all for trying to understand what's going on and seeing if we have a real problem or not. And if there is a problem what is it specifically?

    What I have an issue with is fear based reactionary hype like telling people the first steep climb in 2nd gear your Alfine 11 will blow up. Mine didn't. Okay....then you better worry it will blow up soon.

    That's not particularly useful.

    I'm not sure how many Alfine 8's have failed. I've read about more than a few. It seems to me like there was a time when people were dissing the Alfine 8 for MTBing and that has passed - I presume because more and more people had successes and the reality of the situation became apparent.

    Just my personnel opinion, but I feel like there is freak out going on about the Alfine 11 that may well pass in time as well. I have a Rohloff sitting in my garage that I was going to use for my bikepacking rig, but decided to use an Alfine 11 because I wanted to see what will happen.

    It only takes a few people complaining loudly to create what looks like a huge problem online. Especially when other folks reporting positive experiences get dismissed as failures that just haven't happened yet.

    Ultimately if you don't want to use an Alfine 11 for fear of failure don't. Get a Rohloff or an Alfine 8 or stick with derailleurs.
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  73. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by crazylemurboy View Post
    I think the most important thing that everyone is trying to communicate here is the rate of failure that is the cause of concern.
    That rate of failure is caused by using a product in an application that it's not designed for.

    I'm *****ing Shimano IGH because I'm on my 3rd hub in the last 5-6 years on my commuter , I wouldn't ***** on Shimano IGH using it on MTB.

    If I was using a Mavic Ksyrium road wheel in a trail , I would not come in forum and moan about how fast it failed.
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  74. #74
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    I have replaced an Alfine 8 with an 11 and am very pleased with it. No problems at all in all gears. Measured aproximately 180mm from cable ferule to the inner cable fixing bolt unit and fine tuned on shifter to align the yellow dots in 6th. No shifting problems at all unless you try to shift without taking the pressure off the pedals (as per Shimano instructions). I prefer it to the 8 as it is smoother and seems to have less drag (but had no problems with the 8 really). I also have had a Rohloff for around 7 years without any problems that has been used for x country and again it has a couple of well known quirks such as 7th gear and again it is best to back of the pedal pressure slightly when changing gears. The 8 and 11 alfine have been used for urban stuff on cycleways and our deteriorating minor roads in the UK (full of ruts and potholes from last two winters). I use the Alfine 45t chainset with a 20t rear sprocket...do not know what ratio that gives but no problems heaving through the lower gears on hills provided pedal pressure is backed off on changing gear.

  75. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by lesoudeur View Post
    ... unless you try to shift without taking the pressure off the pedals (as per Shimano instructions).
    where did you read that? I could not find it
    tks

  76. #76
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    Shimano technical document on th erapidfire shifter SI-6TV0A-001-00.... "Reduce the force being applied to the pedals when shifting the lever. If you try to force operation of the shifting lever while the pedals are being turned strongly, your feet may come off the pedals and the bicycle may topple over, which could result in serious injury."

  77. #77
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    Quote Originally Posted by lesoudeur View Post
    ... shifting lever while the pedals are being turned strongly, your feet may come off the pedals and the bicycle may topple over, which could result in serious injury."
    that sounds a bit funny (and in reality it seems to work better). shimano seem to protect themselves against issues with gear changing?
    and on the other hand in ads is said
    "shimano offers superior gear changing even on hills"
    confused
    ro

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    Quote Originally Posted by vikb View Post
    I'm not sure how many Alfine 8's have failed. I've read about more than a few. It seems to me like there was a time when people were dissing the Alfine 8 for MTBing and that has passed - I presume because more and more people had successes and the reality of the situation became apparent.
    Since the original SG-8R20 eight-speed hub, Shimano has released six follow-on versions, each with additional improvements: SG-8R25, SG-8R27, SG-8R35, SG-8R36, SG-S500 and SG-S501.

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  79. #79
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    if someone already covered this then i apologize cause i missed it but...

    is there a real statement in print from shimano that states that the alfine 11 is officially NOT for mtb use? there is alot of talk stating its not and i am wondering if its just something people have inferred (much like what ratios are ok and not ok) or if it is documented fact. i am not saying it is or is not designed for mtb use and am not trying to stir up debate... i am just asking cause i dont know.

    by the way i am about to hit the first 1000km oil change with mine running 32x23 with no issues whatsoever and with every passing mile the shifting gets better. i guess either i have been easier on mine than most or i am lucky and got a good one (or both).

  80. #80
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    I would have to guess that you would assume it was not for mtb use unless mentioned otherwise. The only hub officially rated for mtb as far as I know is the rohloff...it's the extreme scenario that would require special rating, not hte other way around. Doesn't mean of course you can't get away with it.

  81. #81
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    Quote Originally Posted by roll_off View Post
    that sounds a bit funny (and in reality it seems to work better). shimano seem to protect themselves against issues with gear changing?
    and on the other hand in ads is said
    "shimano offers superior gear changing even on hills"
    confused
    ro
    That bit is absolutely true and one of the reasons I dumped derailleurs.

  82. #82
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    well mine is off for warranty but im not holding my breath
    shimano australia arent they greatest when it comes to these things
    Josh

  83. #83
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    Done with that.

    I rode my Alfine 11 maybe 30 miles before it developed a major oil leak. Waited two months for the new seal. It started leaking again within a few days after what maybe 5 miles? My local shop totally backed me up. I am now happily back on a derailleur.

    In fairness, though, I have not had even a tiny issue with the Alfine 8 on my Kona Dr. Fine other than the perception of a bit of drivetrain drag.

  84. #84
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    Yeah in my 5 hubs, I also had a few oil leaks.
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    I recently fitted a Shimano Alfine 11 speed hub system to my hybrid for road use (no MTB stuff at all) with 26" wheels. I have placed this post as a thread on other forums, but as I cannot start a thread on here until I have 5 posts, I'm posting here. I was wondering what experiences other people have had with the system. I use a 32t chainring, 20T sprocket, and the chain line is perfect. I use the Shimano 'single wheel' chain tensioner.

    Firstly, after an initial announcement, it was about two years before Alfine 11 became available in the UK - were they working on solving niggling, lingering 'issues' with the system...

    Anyway, the system generally works 'ok', but it is not without its foibles and idiosyncracies. I'm talking about mishifts, delayed shifts, non-shifts, drop backs and crunches. These don't happen 'all the time', but in a twenty mile ride I would expect to get at LEAST four or five issues like these.

    I am currently considering changing the cable supplied (the normal cheapo Shimano one) to a an XTR grade coated slippery one and associated outer. Has anyone done that and found improved results? My current cable is well lubricated, I know what I'm doing in this respect having owned, raced and built bikes for over 45 years.

    Also, re the expandable rubber gator that sits at the end of the outer cable by the hub, it has a circular metal clip at the end, and this clip has been compressed to an eliptical shape so that it applies a degree of grip on to the inner cable. What's that all about? I'm thinking it could be adversely affecting shifts a little by putting a bit of delay in the system - or maybe that's what it's trying to do - dunno. So why is this clip 'crushed' on to the inner cable?! Is it a Shimano retro mod?

    By the way, my two 'yellow lines' are lined up perfectly, so no issues there.

    One more point, as everyone seems to be saying, the mishifts seem to happen more so when pedalling under higher load conditions - though I stress, nothing major like standing on the pedals. Whilst I can understand, and to SOME extent accept that this is the case, let's face it, you cannot always change gear when pedalling pressure is low, especially when climbing a steep hill and you have to make your way down through the gears, there's nothing you can do about it, and crunched or missed changes are not acceptable. I've tried different ways of operating the lever; quickly, slower etc - no better.

    All in all I love not having to bother about a front mech, the ability to 'just change gear' without having to really think about it, but those mishifts are not acceptable in my opinion. The odd one would be ok, but to have four or five during every short ride is not really up to scratch in my opinion.

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    Does anyone know what is the lowest input ratio allowed on this hub ? I've read many times about the 1.9 "recomended" but nothing about a lower limit.

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    "1.9 recommended" is the only thing that's written down. Shimano finally told my bike shop that my 1.6 input ratio was "way too low" and that it would destroy "any alfine 11 you put it on". So I would assume that 1.9 isn't the "recommended ratio, it is in fact the lower limit.
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    It's all very well Shimano stating their case (though apparently not too sure of it), but a 1.9 ration is nowhere near low enough on a bike to get up even 'steepish' hills. For gawd's sake Shimano, design useable kit.

  89. #89
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    For those interested in the math, an exact 1.9 input ratio gives you a low gear of almost exactly 1:1, and a high gear of about 4.1:1. And I fully agree, this limit makes this hub suitable for little more than road biking. The one genre of biking that want's nothing to do with an IGH.
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  90. #90
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    Quote Originally Posted by fellsbiker View Post
    For those interested in the math, an exact 1.9 input ratio gives you a low gear of almost exactly 1:1, and a high gear of about 4.1:1. And I fully agree, this limit makes this hub suitable for little more than road biking. The one genre of biking that want's nothing to do with an IGH.
    I have to disagree. Mine is on a road bike, a hybrid. It (1.9 ratio) is not suitable for road biking by any imagination. Maybe tootling along disused railway bike tracks, in towns, shopping, Holland, etc etc. But general road riding as in touring where there are hills and mountains - no way. The lowest gear would be just too high to get over anything but the mildest of hills. And from where do you get the notion that road riding wants nothing to do with IGH?! They are used by thousands upon thousands of road touring cyclists. I think you're getting 'roadies' - as in racers - mixed up with the many other kinds of cyclists who ride a bike on the road.

  91. #91
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    Dude i'm on your side, you don't have to bust my balls.
    I was referring to people who ride bikes like this:
    Specialized Bicycle Components
    And I'm not the least bit confused about it.
    That said, I ride my 6.5" travel all mountain bike on the street once a week. And after my 5th hub failure, I built up my bike as a 2:1 singlespeed. And surprisingly, when I have no other choice, I was able to make it up even the steepest of paved hills. That said, if your $1000 hub is no better than a single speed, you should go with a single speed. Also, even with a 1.9 ratio, I'm sure going up very steep hills on the 11 in 2nd gear would quickly kill that gear. I'd love to have the chance to prove that theory, but my Alfine 11 has been returned, and mostly refunded, and I'm now running a 1x9 sram drivetrain. (that i hate, but one thing I've never done on a derailer based drivetrain, is annihilate a gear while pedaling up a modest hill)
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    I use a 1:9 transmision as well with a 34-11 cluster. To have the same lowest gear (which I use) I'd need to go as low as 1.3.. heck I'd be willing to loose the 34 and keep the 30-11 lowest, then I'd need 1.46 input ratio.. still much lower then 1.9.
    I'm out of shape and weight around 145 soaking wet but still wouldn't gamble it judging by what I'm reading here.

  93. #93
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    1.6 in the 11 gives you a really nice range that you adapt to pretty quick. It helps speed up adapting, that shifting is so quick and engagement of the pedal stroke is so quick (no ratchet). This saves so much energy, that it makes up for what you lose elsewhere.

    If only the hubs didn't fail like clockwork.
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  94. #94
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    Quote Originally Posted by fellsbiker View Post
    1.6 in the 11 gives you a really nice range that you adapt to pretty quick. It helps speed up adapting, that shifting is so quick and engagement of the pedal stroke is so quick (no ratchet). This saves so much energy, that it makes up for what you lose elsewhere.

    If only the hubs didn't fail like clockwork.
    I'm running a 32T x 23T on my Alfine 11. No issues. MTBing or bikepacking.
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  95. #95
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    Quote Originally Posted by fellsbiker View Post
    ...If only the hubs didn't fail like clockwork.
    You are bitter, but your problem is you. You don't listen to others and demand the right to do the same stupid actions over and over while expecting a different result. 5 dead hubs speaks to Shimano's forbearance and your lack of mechanical abilities, nothing else. Now you've made it personal, you're on a mission to attack Alfines anywhere you can.

    You've made your point several times, isn't it time to go away quietly?

  96. #96
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    ... here we go again. Please explain to me which mechanical abilities I lack, and how they caused my hubs to fail.
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  97. #97
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    I have one specific question, as I've encountered someone on this forum elsewhere that was affected by the following.

    As far as lining up the yellow line, was your shifter in the right place? Example, an Alfine 8 has to have the shifter in 4th gear while lining up the two lines.

    This guy I mentioned, I'll try to find the post, he was just configuring the lines with the shifter all the way slack, and his hub was basically unusable. I mentioned he should follow the manual, he did, and he is now riding it happily.
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  98. #98
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    Fellsbiker : Pursuiter doesn't like people who talks about Shimano's IGH failure.
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  99. #99
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    Quote Originally Posted by fellsbiker View Post
    ... here we go again. Please explain to me which mechanical abilities I lack, and how they caused my hubs to fail.
    Yes, here you are again, whining and complaining, yet so many others get their hubs to work under conditions you promise will destroy them. I don't know why you're so clueless, for what ever reason you refuse to try the suggestions given to you.

    So give it a rest, it's time to move on.

  100. #100
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    Quote Originally Posted by fokof View Post
    Fellsbiker : Pursuiter doesn't like people who talks about Shimano's IGH failure.
    And you claim the only reason why I haven't had troubles is that I don't ride, as if you know when and how long I ride. So many of us use these hubs under conditions you promise will destroy them. As if you're the only person that rides in cold, wet/icing conditions. You're another that refuses to take any input, the only answer you allow is "Shimano sucks, buy a Rolhoff."

  101. #101
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    Quote Originally Posted by pursuiter View Post
    You're another that refuses to take any input, the only answer you allow is "Shimano sucks, buy a Rolhoff."
    I never said that.

    I still use a Shimano hub.

    I say that a Shimano IGH is designed as a Pavement product with a limit to it's torque input.
    Just read the Shimano web site.

    I say that if you want an IGH that is designed to use as a MTB , buy one that is designed for that.

    For the price , the Alfine is a very good product if used in right circumstance.
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  102. #102
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    It's clear from the Rolhoff threads here that they're no walk in the park. Questionable quality and a very high out-of-box failure (2%~10% depending on if it's an ex-Rolhoff or current employee reporting). I stay away from Rolhoff threads now because when this fact is pointed out, you Rolhoff fan-bois go nuts.

    So choose your poison, no IGH is perfect, some cost less than others. Those with mechanical abilities get Shimano hubs to do amazing things, others that lack said skills suffer and are forced to enter the Rolhoff zone....

  103. #103
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    Quote Originally Posted by pursuiter View Post
    Those with mechanical abilities get Shimano hubs to do amazing things...
    Still waiting for you to elaborate on that meaningless statement.
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  104. #104
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    fellsbiker, would you answer my question here about shift indicator and shifter position? Trying to help.
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  105. #105
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    Yes my shifter was always in 6th gear when calibrating the yellow dots. This procedure is very simple and impossible to mess up. 6th gear is the only 'middle' gear that's marked on the shifter indicator. So it's painfully simple to make sure it's in 6th gear, then go adjust your dots.

    If adjusting the yellow dots is what pursuiter means when he refers to "mechanical abilities", then I must be a straight up genius to be able to adjust a pair of derailers, which is a much more difficult than the Alfine yellow dots.
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  106. #106
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    Ok. I felt compelled to ask after encountering someone who didn't know about the notch. I don't believe anything is impossible to screw up, I write software for a living.

    I don't know what the heck you're doing wrong, but five repeats is fûcked up. I'm riding a second hand 8 speed hub so I can't comment on the 11. I'm using a 1.625 input ratio on a fat bike (so, 29er). I pay extremely close attention to treating the hub like a manual transmission on a car - I tend to shift after the very bottom of a pedal down stroke.

    The only thing I can comment on is the pawl design of the Shimano hubs (do some digging) is this:

    ಠ_ಠ

    ...and the price of a Rohloff:

    ಠ_ಠ
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  107. #107
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    Quote Originally Posted by fellsbiker View Post
    Yes my shifter was always in 6th gear when calibrating the yellow dots. This procedure is very simple and impossible to mess up. 6th gear is the only 'middle' gear that's marked on the shifter indicator. So it's painfully simple to make sure it's in 6th gear, then go adjust your dots.

    If adjusting the yellow dots is what pursuiter means when he refers to "mechanical abilities", then I must be a straight up genius to be able to adjust a pair of derailers, which is a much more difficult than the Alfine yellow dots.
    Forgive me for not wading through the whole of this thread, I came into it about halfway, but I want to ask you a question or two if I may? especially as - if you read my first post, I have had a few small problems too. I kinda bought it thinking it was a 'perfect gearing system', like you could just do whatever you wanted with the lever, at any time. However, from what the guys on here say, you have to 'look after the system'. It seems upshifting tends to be ok pretty much, but downshifts have to be accompanied with a fractional reduction of pedalling effort to enable the IGH to operate. So, when you used the Alfine 11, tell me about how you operated the control lever. Like did you ever operate it while pedalling under pressure? if so, what kind of pressure? like, were you pushing hard up a steep hill? Any insight whatsoever that may help me to understand what went wrong, I don't want to end up with a faulty unit. So, please, tell me all you can about how you used the system, especially under what conditions downshifts were undertaken. Thanks.

  108. #108
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    Early on, i would try some gentle shifts under pressure. But after the first one failed, i really babied all the rest. I would stop pedaling with one foot up and one foot down, shift, then keep pedaling. But because the shifts are nearly instant, you barley have to stop at all. And the hub has instant engagement too which also speeds the whole process up. My problem had nothing to do with shifting. My failures from what I can remember, all happened while I was simply riding around in 2nd gear.
    I would imagine that shifting under force would just accelerate the hub's failure. But they shift so quickly, that as I said, you really don't lose any momentum at all, stopping for an instant, shifting, then resuming your pedal stroke.

    ALSO I'm still waiting for pursuiter to elaborate on what this means:
    Those with mechanical abilities get Shimano hubs to do amazing things, others that lack said skills suffer and are forced to enter the Rolhoff zone....
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  109. #109
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    translate...I am amazing...you others numbskulls have to resort to a better product

    Sorry, should have restrained myself.

  110. #110
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    I ran across an interesting graphic recently and I wish I could find it. It showed an exploded view of the alfine hub and how each set of gears works. If I remember correctly, there are 3 sets of planetary gears that actuate off cams on the spindle when the shifter puts a gear pawl in place. 1,2,3 are actuated off 3 separate cams, 4 is a direct drive gear and there is a ring gear that puts all of them into overdrive. Actually, I'm not sure that's completely accurate because I think 5 is the direct drive. But anyway that's not the point. The point is the cam actuation.

    One thing I noticed on my A8 is that the cone nut and cone retainer nut were never properly tightened at the factory. And I don't have a cone wrench. So once in a while I've had to play with the nuts to put them back in place properly after performing maintenance, messing with the wheel off the bike, etc. If I forget to do this, the hub shell will have some play left/right on the axle.

    When that happens, its possible that if the shell/gear sets are not properly located over the axle cams, damage can occur to the pawls. I also imagine there are more of these pawls/cams crammed into the 11 speed because there are more gears and axle width is the same as the A8. Smaller pawls/cams are probably more susceptible to damage with improper cone nut placement because they're just plain smaller.

    This is a shot in the dark, but probably worth looking at when it comes to these gear issues. Yesterday I had some clicking noises in 4th gear when mashing on the pedals which went away after I adjusted the cone nut properly.

  111. #111
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    I haven’t replied to this post for a while but I thought all of you may be interested in some of the observations I have made with both of my Alfine 11 hubs (one for commuting and one for mtb riding). My experiences may shed some light on some of the problems that have been reported with the hub.

    When I first put the Alfine 11 onto my commuter (44:20 ratio) it worked fine until a few weeks later. Then I lost my 11th gear. The rest of the gears worked fine, but not 11- the hub would just stay in 10th gear even when the shifter was in its 11 slot. No efforts with the cable, torque nut tightening etc worked. Since it was my commuting bike I wasn’t too concerned that I may end up with an Alfine 10 equipped bike.

    However, after I gave the hub its first oil change, and about 6 months after riding with the hub, I started to get the 11th hub back. It would often slip or try to shift back to 10 (an unpleasant experience) but it was there. After another month the hub shifted into the 11th gear without any trouble and has worked perfectly ever since.

    I am now encountering a similar problem with my mtb Alfine 11 hub that I fitted 6 months ago (32:21 ratio). The hub seems to be very sensitive to cable tension – two weeks ago, any downshift (but not upshifting) into 6th gear would cause a lot of slipping and free spinning of the hub. So I played with the cable tension until it went away. The next ride however resulted in the same problem for the 2nd gear and I promptly retensioned it back out. I plan to take the bike out for another ride soon to see if this is a more long term solution. I am not concerned about the Alfine 11 hub on my mtb, as this is similar to what happened with my commuter.

    However this has gotten me thinking that my problem may actually be related to the breaking in of the gears in the hub (which occurs with all IGHs). The Alfine 11s seem to be very sensitive to cable tension (even when the yellow dots are lined up), and so they may be initially at risk have lost gears/slipping issues until the gears are worn enough to accommodate a bit of play in the cable tension. So perhaps patience is the best solution?

  112. #112
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pinchphlat View Post
    So perhaps patience is the best solution?
    You are an accommodating person. When it comes being that way with people, cheers

    When it comes to products, I think break-in time is a bunch of ********. Yeah, there may be reasons for it, but it doesn't mean I have to like it.

    I've experienced exactly what you describe. I think the Alfine hub is pretty good with the major exception of the pawl design. This is a tough gig because most manual transmissions have a much more involved shifter that can move in several directions and receive cooperation from an independently controlled clutch. With an Alfine, all you're doing is rotating a dial to try and achieve both the shifter and the clutch action in one literally unintelligently (there is no more thinking behind it than a thumb) driven motion.

    That said, there shouldn't be a "neutral" gear when the shifting interface doesn't intentionally afford its selection. No amount of patience will ever put an "N" for neutral on your shifter.

    I'd bet a case of beer that the Di2 Alfine stuff coming out is going to be a lot more accurate. It is simply the most persnickety sensitive cable actuated anything I've encountered.

    It's just weird to me, that so much clever stuff (I mean the silent clutch freewheel? Hell yes) would go into a device, only to have it hampered by one bad design detail.

    I'd be interested to see a pawl design using rare earth magnets - you slide a powerful magnet along a shaft on the inside of a bunch of pawl sets, and otherwise sprung-inward pawls extend forcefully in accord with the magnet position. The inward spring of each pawl would be relatively weak, so if you're exerting heavy pedal pressure while trying to downshift, the engaged pawl will fail to release (as is the case now with Alfine hubs, where you have to back off a bit). However, a major difference is there would be another pawl deployed, waiting, and you'd hear a sort of very-slow-freewheel-ticking sound until you backed off the pedals. The worst that would happen when the cable gets out of tune is you'd hear some clicking of a neighboring pawl.

    If I ever get the design off the ground, I'll share information. Just too much stuff I want to get done first (and not enough money to do it with), so I'll deal with the finicky nature of my Alfine until then.

    They pissed me off so bad this summer I tried derailleurs again. NOPE, those piss me off worse still.
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  113. #113
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Diller View Post
    I'd be interested to see a pawl design using rare earth magnets
    Why not go for depleted uranium while you're at it? ;-)

  114. #114
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    Quote Originally Posted by Corporal Punishment View Post
    Why not go for depleted uranium while you're at it? ;-)
    I will totally make the first ever nuclear powered bamboo bike, a true abomination of conflicting interests.

    There may be a waiver to sign.
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  115. #115
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    well i just got my hub back from warranty, shimano just replaced it with a new one after a few phone calls, so if anyone is after a cheap new 11speed hub pm me
    Josh

  116. #116
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    No thanks, 5 is plenty for me.
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  117. #117
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    yeah 1 was to many for me haha
    Josh

  118. #118
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Diller View Post

    I'd be interested to see a pawl design using rare earth magnets - you slide a powerful magnet along a shaft on the inside of a bunch of pawl sets, and otherwise sprung-inward pawls extend forcefully in accord with the magnet position. The inward spring of each pawl would be relatively weak, so if you're exerting heavy pedal pressure while trying to downshift, the engaged pawl will fail to release (as is the case now with Alfine hubs, where you have to back off a bit). However, a major difference is there would be another pawl deployed, waiting, and you'd hear a sort of very-slow-freewheel-ticking sound until you backed off the pedals. The worst that would happen when the cable gets out of tune is you'd hear some clicking of a neighboring pawl.

    If I ever get the design off the ground, I'll share information. Just too much stuff I want to get done first (and not enough money to do it with), so I'll deal with the finicky nature of my Alfine until then.
    The German internal gearbox "G-Boxx 2" used magnets just as you describe.

    Universal Transmissions GmbH

  119. #119
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    Quote Originally Posted by evrac View Post
    The German internal gearbox "G-Boxx 2" used magnets just as you describe.

    Universal Transmissions GmbH
    That doesn't surprise me, but they won't sell me one. I've asked twice over the last year.
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  120. #120
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    Enlighten me, how do you calculate comparable gearing for this hub? I currently run a 1x9 setup that is an XT 32-11 cassette and a 34T.

  121. #121
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    Quote Originally Posted by kustomz View Post
    Enlighten me, how do you calculate comparable gearing for this hub? I currently run a 1x9 setup that is an XT 32-11 cassette and a 34T.
    Gear-calculator
    Last edited by irrah; 07-26-2012 at 12:03 PM. Reason: link

  122. #122
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    Quote Originally Posted by kustomz View Post
    Enlighten me, how do you calculate comparable gearing for this hub? I currently run a 1x9 setup that is an XT 32-11 cassette and a 34T.
    http://www.fellsbiker.com/docs/alfine_11_ratios.pdf
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    Thanks!

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    My 5 cents worth of how I've found the alfine 11. Initially I loved it, then struggled with it, now after a warranty fix I like it again - lots. In winter time it is great to commute on. Basically It has been an up and down road with the alfine 11spd for me. Bought one of the first models produced and it ran nicely for a couple of months but then started leaking oil. To/Fro with shimano, new seals etc before they finally agreed that there was an issue with the initial run and completely replaced the internals. Since then it has been bulletproof. Wickedly good for winter commuting...A mate has a later version and he has not had the same issues I faced.He raves about it...

    Yes it's heavy but I haven't had an issue with flats on the rear even when running it on the trails. Runs stans in the rear just in case so a small puncture won't mean a whole tube change. Easier than an 8 to change a tyre. was bulletproof in a 500km 3day off road tour in particularly harsh conditions. All cassette/derailleur riders were having gear selection issues after 1st day. Alfine was fine the whole way through...

  125. #125
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    one last thing I forgot, chainline seems to be real important. It seems to run better with the rear cog reversed to get a chainline closer to 50mm as I run this on gt Peace 29er mtb. Don't think that would be an issue with a commuter.

    However I think shimano are shooting themselves in the foot with the narrow chainline (42.7mm) on an alfine. Is this because it's mean for a commuter/touring bike ? have been trying to convert one to a belt drive in a 29er frame and the conclusion I've come to is time to get a custom frame

  126. #126
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    Quote Originally Posted by kustomz View Post
    Enlighten me, how do you calculate comparable gearing for this hub? I currently run a 1x9 setup that is an XT 32-11 cassette and a 34T.
    sheldon brown's calculator has all the IGHs pre-defined

    google Sheldon Brown's Bicycle Gear Calculator & gears

    sorry not up to 10 posts yet so can't post the clickety-click link

  127. #127
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    Quote Originally Posted by uzumati View Post
    one last thing I forgot, chainline seems to be real important....
    Just run it dish out, it's ~47mm. Lots of people run belts with DIY modified dropouts on standard frames.

  128. #128
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    An update on my Alfine 11 MTB. IGH working great with a low 32T x 23T gearing. No miss shifts or other issues. Steep climbs in 1st or 2nd gear are fine. The Alfine 11 has been invisible on my bike which is how I like my drivetrains.

    Glad to have an IGH on this bike when exploring in the BC rainforest as there is a lot of dragging the bike through the bush going on!
    Safe riding,

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  129. #129
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    Nice Shot !!!!


    Looks like it's very dry out there , bike is spankin' clean !!
    "There is a big difference between kneeling down and bending over" -FZ

  130. #130
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    Quote Originally Posted by fokof View Post
    Nice Shot !!!!


    Looks like it's very dry out there , bike is spankin' clean !!
    Thanks It's very dry at the moment. We get very little rain June through Aug.

    The bike is actually pretty dirty, but black and white components photograph well. I was just thinking of hosing the beast off because wheels are so filthy!
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  131. #131
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    my first oil 1000km oil change came and went with no issues and my (original) alfine 11 is still running smooth. it seems like it runs and shifts more smoothly after the change but that might be because i think it should (placebo effect).

    its mentioned elsewhere but for anyone that doesnt know, the rohloff oil change kit fits the alfine 11 fine and is less than a third of the price. i stuck with the alfine oil while its still under warranty just in case and i am not an oil expert but the alfine oil looked to have a much higher viscosity than the rohloff. maybe someone in the know can comment on their interchangeability.

  132. #132
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    I have an 11 speed on my commuter and I'll agree that it's a lot weaker than the 8. I was running a very tall setup (52T cainring and 16T sprocket) and the first hub completely failed at 500 miles. I still have my second hub. It first crapped out at around 300 miles. I took it apart and found lots of metal from break-in had packed into the sprocket wheels where the pawls lock in to engage a gear. I cleaned out the hub and refilled it with a thicker oil (mobil 75-90 synthetic gear lube) and it behaved with no further issues for about 2,000 miles.

    My route changed and now includes some actual hills, so I changed my chainring for a 36T. After that it went back to the usual skipping, popping, jumping out of gear. If it weren't for using clipless pedals, I probably would have broken an ankle several times over by now from the pedals falling away from my feet.

    For me 10th gear has been weakest. Or at least the first to go. Now the hub is popping out of all gears if I push hard enough. I think this hub just does not do well with a lot of torque. I tend to ride in too high a gear with low cadence and mashing the pedals. I've met a couple of others with them who have had no trouble and when I ride with them they spin a much higher cadence than I do and stay in the saddle. I don't consider myself an especially strong rider, either. If you take a hub apart you'll see just how small an area the pawl has to catch on. It takes only a small amount of contamination or damage in that small area to cause a slip.

    I put nearly 10k on my old 8-speed before I had any trouble at all and my experience with washing this one out to ease shifting issues makes me think washing out my old 8-speed might solve my problems with it.

    When people ask me I advise against the 11spd.

    I think I'll save up for a rohloff. Considering the expense of the 11, the additional price jump to a rohloff from here doesn't feel as bad as the price jump from a traditional setup.

  133. #133
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    Quote Originally Posted by vikb View Post
    Let's assume 20% is accurate....then 80% of the hubs are trucking along just fine. So if you got 5 bad hubs in a row that would be really bad luck.
    If that's your thought process on equipment, then please don't design anything for public consumption. Ever.

  134. #134
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    Quote Originally Posted by OneBadWagon View Post
    If that's your thought process on equipment, then please don't design anything for public consumption. Ever.
    "just fine" != "is fine"

    I think his point was more about the unlikelihood of getting that many defective hubs in a row based on a 20% failure rate. I'm not a statistician, though.
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  135. #135
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    I'am choose between Alfine 8 and Alfine 11. My goal - 500 kilometers in the other country. So, if a hub breaks, then I find myself in a very difficult situation.

    Alfine 8 is more simple, but 11 have liquid oil, sealed and since it is Shimano best hub, i think, that they pay maximum attention to the quality.

    Which of this hub is more reliable?

    P.S. Can i install 180mm brake rotor to Alfine? Or only 160?

  136. #136
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    It seems like the 8 is much more reliable, from what I've heard.
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  137. #137
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    Can't comment on the 11 because I don't own one, but my 8 has been bullet proof. As for rotors, it's no problem running a 180mm.

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  138. #138
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    I want to build my own bike with a single speed frame. My question is if I can use the alfine 8 or 11 with a shimano tiple 8 speed STI lever R500. A road shift gear, as I'm using a road handelbars.
    Thanks for the input

  139. #139
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    Quote Originally Posted by Davidbike View Post
    I want to build my own bike with a single speed frame. My question is if I can use the alfine 8 or 11 with a shimano tiple 8 speed STI lever R500. A road shift gear, as I'm using a road handelbars.
    Thanks for the input
    Nope, use a Versa brand Alfine shifter. Or a Jtek bar end shifter.

    Versa 11

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  140. #140
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    Thanks good finding

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    I've been running this AM build with an Alfine 11 running a 26-20 primary drive for the last year without any issues. When it jumps out of gear, it's always because the cable isn't correctly adjusted.

    My worst problem was a few weeks ago when the shifting froze up during a ride in deep snow.

  142. #142
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    I reckon reading this thread helped me fork out the extra for my Rohloff. I was initially keen to go the half price route and get a Shimano 11 speed but I'm a little less than interested in hubs with what appears to be a much higher failure rate than any of my other cycling purchased products. Good luck to those who give it a go but I decided to break the bank by getting the German product. Now to find the money to build it into a wheel. I think If I couldnt have scrapped up the funds for the Rohloff I would have got another dualdrive hub for my Ogre build like my Moulton bicycle has. Its never given a moments issue and has done a tour from New South Wales to Perth Australia problem free towing a heavy trailer.

  143. #143
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    Check out CyclepathNW's web site. They did a Di2 Gates build recently.

  144. #144
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    Quote Originally Posted by cathar View Post

    My worst problem was a few weeks ago when the shifting froze up during a ride in deep snow.
    Same here

    -30°C this morning , the spring isn't strong enough to move it back


    EDIT: I'm on an 8 not an 11
    Last edited by fokof; 01-24-2013 at 10:32 PM.
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  145. #145
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    Æleven lead me through each gentle...

    Quote Originally Posted by fokof View Post
    Same here

    -30°C this morning , the spring isn't strong enough to move it back
    Same here too. I took my Æleven out for its maiden voyage yesterday, but it was merely 14ºF, which I would have never thought would be too cold for gears. After about forty minutes, my brand new hub started slipping. You can imagine my disappointment, but when I looked down, I noticed how slowly the spring was returning the cassette-joint when I would trigger it. It wasn't caked with snow and ice or anything, just cold, I guess.

    After it warmed up inside my house, shifting is perfect up on the work-stand. Only one disappointing ride under my belt with the Alf'd Æleven so far, and I'm not ready to give up yet. I had the best luck with the first Nexus 7, that thing was great, so I had high hopes for this Alf, since it's some four generations evolved, but my Nexus 7 never got too cold to shift.

    EDIT: It was just as cold today, but the Æleven ran like a scolded dog. I'm pretty sure it was that new cable stretch phenomenon, as I adjusted it up to snuff and aligned the yellow marks as perfectly as I possibly could.

    The spring seems to return slower in the cold, but it didn't affect my shifts on day two. Since it worked perfectly today, I love it.

    The space between 1st and 2nd seems like a pretty large gap to me, leaving 1st as my "Bail-Out-Gear". I often find myself searching for 1.5, and going between 1st and 2nd a couple times, before settling for 2nd. So far, 1 through 5 is for inclines and 6 through 11 are for downhill (on tarmac).

    I'm running 33t x 23t on a 29'er w/180mm crank arms. Dry weight is 39 lbs, but that's just going to go up.

    I love how silent my geared drivetrain is. I plan on changing the oil a lot. I doubt I'll wait until 1000 kilometers, since the "break-in" of new gears dirtiest the oil the most in the beginning. I'll probably change the oil at fifty miles, then at 250, 500, then probably every thousand. Automatic Transmission Fluid is cheap, although I plan on using Rohloff Oil until I make a solid decision to go with ATF, from reading other peoples' anecdotes.
    Last edited by Gritter; 01-24-2013 at 10:30 PM.
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    So if money was not a consideration, only reliability, would you go rohl or alpine?

  147. #147
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    interesting read... currently considering building up a rear wheel for one of my singlespeeders... just subscribing for the info!
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  148. #148
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    Quote Originally Posted by fellsbiker View Post
    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.

    maybe time for a rohloff.. ouch.

  149. #149
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    Quote Originally Posted by endurowanker View Post
    maybe time for a rohloff.. ouch.
    Rohloff isn't a great option, based on its very high cost, and terrible shifters. There are 3rd party shifters, which of course raise the price even more. Hopefully someday (soon), someone will make a hub that is exactly what the Alfine 11 was supposed to be. A cheap, mass produced internal hub with good enough gear range, good enough reliability, and good enough price, all with the features people want these days, like non rapid-rise trigger shifters and 36h hubs with disc mounts. Shimano tried and failed miserably, but its still without a doubt, the future of mountain biking.
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  150. #150
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    I built up this Alfine 11 29er wheel last January. This year I moved it to a new frame and took it out for a shake out bike camping trip in the mountains:

    Missing Link Tour - a set on Flickr



    So far so good.... The hub is working great with no issues. It's geared 32T x 23T. I've got a lot of bikepacking trips planned for 2013 so I'll give it some more abuse riding with a load in the mountains a well as some more trail riding.

    It's nice having a clean IGH setup when clambering over blowdown or hike-a-biking through the brush...I don't have to think about bending or ripping off my derailleur.

    I also like the fact it's silent when coasting and bouncing down rough terrain at speed.
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  151. #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.

  152. #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.

  153. #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.
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  154. #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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  155. #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.

  156. #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.

  157. #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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  158. #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.

  159. #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.

  160. #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.

  161. #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.

  162. #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.
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  163. #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.

  164. #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

  165. #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.

  166. #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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  167. #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.

  168. #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?

  169. #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.

  170. #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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  171. #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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  172. #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.

  173. #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.

  174. #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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  175. #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.

  176. #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.

  177. #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?

  178. #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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  179. #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.

  180. #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.

  181. #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.

  182. #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?

  183. #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.

  184. #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.
    Safe riding,

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  185. #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:


  186. #186
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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.

  187. #187
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    Quote Originally Posted by lesoudeur View Post
    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.
    That's a great bit of perspective. Hopefully once I build my Nexus 8 bike I won't have problems, but if I do, I'll bite the bullet and buy a Rohloff hub.

  188. #188
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    Quote Originally Posted by Winfried View Post
    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.)
    Is that legit? Devices that have sealed oil baths are usually extremely sensitive to different oil formulations, because even minor changes in the oil's additive package can cause the seals to swell, shrink, or fall apart completely. Not to mention, ATF gets sticky when squeezed into thin films, a property which most oils don't have -- necessary for the proper functioning of automatic transmissions, but it might not be good for IGH internals to deal with the extra drag from sticky oil, unless the OEM oil also has that property.

  189. #189
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    atf is not sticky imo. My rear hub needs atf (true precision roller clutch). You can probably put whatever oil you like in these shimano hubs. I would use whatever I could find.
    Rule #9 // If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period.

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    Specialized sucks ass.

  190. #190
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    Tl-s700

    Quote Originally Posted by Winfried View Post
    Anybody knows where this part can be ordered? It's a simple way to configure the Alfine 11
    That's a Shimano TL-S700 Cable Fixing Bolt Tool Search Amazon too.
    Note: The JensonUSA photo is of the"back" of the tool.

  191. #191
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    Quote Originally Posted by car bone View Post
    atf is not sticky imo. My rear hub needs atf (true precision roller clutch). You can probably put whatever oil you like in these shimano hubs. I would use whatever I could find.
    Like I said, it's only sticky when squeezed into thin films between parts. It's formulated that way so the metal clutches and brakes inside an automatic transmission can engage firmly despite being slathered in oil.

    A roller clutch seems like it could benefit from that property of ATF. The rest of the hub internals, I dunno. It probably doesn't hurt any of the metal parts, I'm just concerned about the rubber seals deteriorating.

  192. #192
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    The Shimano hubs do not seem to need anything special for the roller clutches, as almost every Inter-[#] hub now has roller clutches in them, but the lubrication process has remained the same as for the pawl-drive hubs: dunk in proprietary oil. A large number of people have been using ATF, in particular, in the Alfine/Nexus 8 speed hubs--which lack sealing, other than dust shield/or a large right side seal for the first bearing on the internal assembly. Leaking isn't really a problem, more to be expected on those hubs, as can be seen coming from the shifting mechanism after a service. Some pack the ends with heavy marine grease in an attempt to alleviate the leaking.

    Those who use off-label oil in the 11 speed hub usually choose to use (relatively light) gear oil. Synthetics work quite well, in this case, and the proper formulation will have no effect on the seals in the hub (really, only 3: the left bearing, the large right bearing seal, and the shifting clutch seal). You can read more about stripping the gear cluster out of the hub and cleaning it at MBR, or via the Hubstripping Wordpress, which is rife with broken links, unfortunately. Still some good info there, though.

  193. #193
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    Thanks, I'll check out those links.

    Since the Nexus hubs are designed to use grease, is there really any benefit to lubricating them with oil instead? Oil generally doesn't prevent wear as effectively as grease does. Is it more a matter of liquid oil being able to work its way between parts more easily, or is the Shimano IGH grease actually not very good?

  194. #194
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    The bearings still need to be greased in i8 hubs and lower. The Shimano prescribed 'oil dip' is merely for lubricating the internal assemblies without disassembling the planetaries. Depending on the size of the internal assembly (i3 vs i8, for example), roughly 5-15ml of oil is 'consumed', so to speak, during the dip service. Shimano still specifies that the bearings/any easily accessible gears (such as on the i3 hubs) should be lubricated with a spurt of Nexus grease.

    The i11 hub is open enough that oil moves between the end bearings--if you strip the hub, you will find them covered in oil. That said, it is prudent to use a compatible grease on the bearings, if you are opening the hub entirely for service, as it deals with the loads better than oil; it is very important that the grease is a compatible base, or you may get sluggish gear shifts/slipping gears, as the grease migrates through the hub. Though the two sites linked now lack pictures, removal from the hub shell is identical to the Alfine i8. Do not attempt to remove the e-rings from the internal assembly unless you are aware that the individual stages must be timed for the hub to work properly.

    The service interval for all the Inter[#] hubs is roughly 1500 miles, if I remember correctly. For hubs that lack true sealing, and without pumps or filters, this does not strike me as excessive. There have been mixed reports with regards to the only 'sealed' hub, the Afline 11, losing most of the 'free' oil in the shell between services. This has certainly not been my experience with it, but it does leak oil from the external shift clutch, regardless of the age/number of services. It couldn't amount to more than 1ml or so, unless there was some severe problem with the hub (left or right seals compromised, with the bike laying on the given side). My only thoughts with regards to that is that seals degrade from use, and quite fast if someone who was unaware cleaned the hub fastidiously, relubricated, but did not apply grease or oil to the seal contacts. Any ability to retain oil would be severely compromised in such a case.

  195. #195
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    Hmm. So does the oil bath in the i8 hub also serve to thin-out the grease and allow it to move around inside the hub better? Or does the grease repel the oil and keep to itself on the outer surface of the internal assembly? Would the i11 hub also benefit from being lubricated with partially-gelled oil that results from mixing compatible oil and grease together, instead of relying on oil alone? That might reduce leakage between services.

  196. #196
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    Being that the gears in the i11 are meant to be run in oil, I wouldn't grease them. Oil leakage is to be expected of any bicycle IGH, due to the use of contact seals (which require leakage to stay intact) or labyrinth seals (which absolutely leak if oil is allowed to pool on top, as in setting the bike on its side for an extended period of time). The latter is almost entirely user error, while the former is unavoidable. It really isn't that bad at the end of the day...as long as the bicycle was never left on its side for a long period of time, the oil loss is minimal.

    The purpose of the oil in an i3-8 isn't to thin out the grease in the hub; the Nexus grease is already pretty thin compared to a NGLI 2 grease (ie, most stuff at an auto-parts store/bike shop), and has no problem being spread where it needs to be. That said, upon re-opening a hub to replace a part immediately after being serviced (and rolling a few hundred feet), the nexus grease/oil was pretty much completely mixed. That alone speaks volumes, at least to me, about how the service procedure is designed--with 15-ish minutes of work, the guts and the bearings (save the right-side cone assembly) are almost entirely lubricated for relatively little work. Compared to properly lubricating a SA AWS 3 (ie, total disassembly), that's amazing.

    Of course, breaking the hub down to the axle shift assembly should still be done on occasion, if you have the tools, as there is no substitute for such a deep cleaning.

  197. #197
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    My experience echo's what people generally see here, I use 75w-90 gear oil and find it is the best, ATF leaked too much on me and the gear oil shifts smooth too. I never get below zero degrees celcius here in NZ though.

    Cable kinks or adjustment was my biggest issue, after about a year of 6 and 7th gears slipping (and i was about to take it to a shop to get rebuilt) I finally found out that taking off the cable, freeing it up then adjusting it and it has been great for 6 months, I knocked the cable once going off road and I lost all but 2 gears, which sucked.
    So all along every issue was to do with cable adjustment.

    The hub is super sensitive to cable adjustment, and changing the oil every 6 months helps too.
    I have it on an avanti inc 3 commuter with a gates belt drive and it is pretty maintenance free except for when i knock the gear cable.

    Was frustrated with this hub for a while though, If i didn't trawl bike forums I still would be. Bought the bike 2nd hand so no info on the hub.
    Cheers
    Perry

  198. #198
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    Quote Originally Posted by wschruba View Post
    Being that the gears in the i11 are meant to be run in oil, I wouldn't grease them. Oil leakage is to be expected of any bicycle IGH, due to the use of contact seals (which require leakage to stay intact) or labyrinth seals (which absolutely leak if oil is allowed to pool on top, as in setting the bike on its side for an extended period of time). The latter is almost entirely user error, while the former is unavoidable. It really isn't that bad at the end of the day...as long as the bicycle was never left on its side for a long period of time, the oil loss is minimal.

    The purpose of the oil in an i3-8 isn't to thin out the grease in the hub; the Nexus grease is already pretty thin compared to a NGLI 2 grease (ie, most stuff at an auto-parts store/bike shop), and has no problem being spread where it needs to be. That said, upon re-opening a hub to replace a part immediately after being serviced (and rolling a few hundred feet), the nexus grease/oil was pretty much completely mixed. That alone speaks volumes, at least to me, about how the service procedure is designed--with 15-ish minutes of work, the guts and the bearings (save the right-side cone assembly) are almost entirely lubricated for relatively little work. Compared to properly lubricating a SA AWS 3 (ie, total disassembly), that's amazing.

    Of course, breaking the hub down to the axle shift assembly should still be done on occasion, if you have the tools, as there is no substitute for such a deep cleaning.
    I guess what I get hung-up on is the idea of mixing grease and ATF (or the stock A11 oil and ATF) which are not guaranteed to be chemically compatible, and thus might sabotage each lubricant's ability to actually lubricate anything. If the purpose of the ATF isn't to thin-out the grease, but the grease *does* thin-out and reach the internal components better after being dipped in ATF, then what *is* the purpose of dipping them in ATF?

  199. #199
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    I've been on an Alfine 11 for over two years on my daily commuter, which happens to use a Gates Carbon belt drive, and the only problems I've experienced with this hub can be traced back to a problem with the cable. This should always be your first avenue to address any problems you're having. Especially important is the distance from the nut, I believe 184mm from the end where it attaches to the shifting arm to the cable clamp. I improperly measured it once, and installed it that way, and it seemed to work fine initially, but the hub ended up in no time being very noisy, missing shifts, skipping, you name it. Very bad, to say the least. I must have taken the hub apart ten times in an attempt to diagnose the problem, when I finally ended up checking the cable, and voila! Problem solved, and the hub runs smoothly all the time now.
    I do use my commuter for training for my mountain bike racing, and so at least one of my commutes per week, I am pushing a very high gear. Super low cadence, high as I can go to build leg strength, and the hub handles it very well. I have over 500 meters of climbing in my commute, and I'm about 190 pounds, with a 32 pound bike with usually another 10-12 pounds in my panniers, so if the hub can handle that, then it's pretty tough in my books.
    One more thing: I have found it best to disassemble the hub to change the oil, rather than using the "bleed" screw on the hub shell. I did fork out the big bucks for the Shimano oil, and I change it about every 2000 kms. (I am very anal when it comes to bike maintenance). Sometimes I will add a bit (5 ml) of oil if I feel any roughness or hear noises from the hub which are telling me it is thirsty. Once you've ridden the hub enough, these noises will be very obvious. And, believe me, they are very rarely heard.
    Last edited by vancitybiker; 10-08-2016 at 10:33 PM. Reason: Spelling error

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    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

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