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Missouri sucks...
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been researching for close to a month about switching to an Alfine 8 this off season. I've read just about every thread on MTBR that has to do with the Alfine and I keep hearing that it is durable and lasts for a long time in "mountain bike use" but how hard of trails are you guys really riding? By "mountain bike use" do you mean fast XC fire roads, long Rocky Mountain climbs, pebble gravel walking trails...what exactly are you classifying as "mountain bike use"? If I switch over it's going to be run with 32t/19t and run on a HT 29er on Black Diamond technical, rocky, rooty and wet(creek crossings) trails 3-4 times a week. Can it handle that sort of abuse? Do any of you have any videos or pictures of an Alfine taking a serious beating? I'll be replacing an XTR/X0/X9 drivetrain, which is about as good as it gets for gears, so you can see why I'm balking at the idea:madman: For the price of entry I might just try it for the heck of it and then upgrade to 1x10 if it doesn't pan out but KNOWING it won't last in rough&tumble conditions might make me pass altogether...
 

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Candlestick Maker
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DFYFZX said:
I've been researching for close to a month about switching to an Alfine 8 this off season. I've read just about every thread on MTBR that has to do with the Alfine and I keep hearing that it is durable and lasts for a long time in "mountain bike use" but how hard of trails are you guys really riding? By "mountain bike use" do you mean fast XC fire roads, long Rocky Mountain climbs, pebble gravel walking trails...what exactly are you classifying as "mountain bike use"? If I switch over it's going to be run with 32t/19t and run on a HT 29er on Black Diamond technical, rocky, rooty and wet(creek crossings) trails 3-4 times a week. Can it handle that sort of abuse? Do any of you have any videos or pictures of an Alfine taking a serious beating? I'll be replacing an XTR/X0/X9 drivetrain, which is about as good as it gets for gears, so you can see why I'm balking at the idea:madman: For the price of entry I might just try it for the heck of it and then upgrade to 1x10 if it doesn't pan out but KNOWING it won't last in rough&tumble conditions might make me pass altogether...
I've beaten the crap out of my alfine with no problems. Mud, technical riding (rocks, roots), huge climbs, 18 hours straight of riding, commuting, etc. Has held up fine. In my experience, durability hasn't been an issue. The only thing I'm not super convinced on is continual creek crossings, as I rarely do that. Also, I haven't done any hucking on my Alfine.

The negatives I have with the hub: heavy and limited gear range. So, for this year's race season, I actually went back to a 2x9 drivetrain. Lighter and more gear range for the large amount of climbing I had in two of my big races.

I'll still use the Alfine 8, but it isn't the end all be all for me. I'm hoping the Alfine 11 will be.
 

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Compressorman
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163 Posts
I am a 220# masher, I ride Trabuco canyon here in So Cal, which is rocky and technical. I bought my Alfine specifically because I also ride Arroyo Trabuco which has several stream crossings with sandy banks. I got tired if the "coffee grinder" sound from my derailleur when I got it wet and sandy. Been running it all year, no problem. I took the hub apart a few weeks ago to give it the "Alfine oil bath", and saw no evidence of water inside whatsoever. But the creek is at most, just shy of hub deep. So it gets plenty of water splashed on it, but not submerged.

I had one issue where it would occasionally pop in 3rd gear. I thought the oil bath would help, but it got worse. I double and triple checked the shift alignment marks, they were always perfect. At the end of my rope, I intentionally misaligned the marks in one direction, and it got even worse. I misaligned them in the opposite direction and I haven't heard any popping since. And by misaligned, I mean only by one turn of the adjustment nut at the shifter. The alignment marks are so wide, they still line up with each other, just not perfectly. So be it, I'm happy.

Anyway, I too wish for more range, and perhaps the Alfine 11 will give me what I want. But even if Shimano did not come out with the 11, I would never, ever go back to using a derailleur.
 

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Mine does everything my other bike does. I even raced an O cup with it. However, I don't ride in the wet hardly at all and I don't do drops of more than a foot and a half or so. I've basically pounded on it otherwise, even riding road on some semi-fast club rides (with different gearing and tires). The weight and limited range are the only handicaps.

Drew
 

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Rohloff
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1,600 Posts
I've run my A8 on lots of hard pounding trails both on a HT and a FS bike. At one time, I weighed over 250 pounds. I had no problems at all. I can't wait for the A11.
 

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Missouri sucks...
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I currently run 1x6 so the A8 would be a welcome increase in gear ratios. I like what I've seen/heard so I think I'll try it out;)

Do you guys that use them in the rough use the wet weather cable kit or just the standard. My creek crossings won't submerge the hub but with all the mud I encounter it sounds like an extra safety precaution. Opinions?
 

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@adelorenzo
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1,670 Posts
Other thing to consider, moving from a high-end drivetrain, is that the Alfine is slow to engage... In fact, I would say it feels sloppy. I like it on my Pugsley but it would drive me nuts on a mountain bike. YMMV.
 

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Rohloff
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anthony.delorenzo said:
Other thing to consider, moving from a high-end drivetrain, is that the Alfine is slow to engage... In fact, I would say it feels sloppy. I like it on my Pugsley but it would drive me nuts on a mountain bike. YMMV.
I would say there seems to be a "low end" feel in the Alfine shifter but then you're instantly in the gear. With a regular drivetrain, the shifter feels more "high-end" when you shift but it takes a moment for the chain to move and for drivetrain to be fulling engaged.

Just this past weekend, I test rode a new bike with Sram X0. The shifter felt great, but after years of IGH, the clicking, clanking, skipping and time it took for shifts seemed awkward to me.
 

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Compressorman
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163 Posts
DFYFZX said:
I currently run 1x6 so the A8 would be a welcome increase in gear ratios. I like what I've seen/heard so I think I'll try it out;)

Do you guys that use them in the rough use the wet weather cable kit or just the standard. My creek crossings won't submerge the hub but with all the mud I encounter it sounds like an extra safety precaution. Opinions?
I use the standard cable. No problems - so far.
 

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Compressorman
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163 Posts
anthony.delorenzo said:
Other thing to consider, moving from a high-end drivetrain, is that the Alfine is slow to engage... In fact, I would say it feels sloppy. I like it on my Pugsley but it would drive me nuts on a mountain bike. YMMV.
Hmmm,,,maybe my previous drive train wasn't high end enough. To me, the A8 shifts are crisp and instant, and I'm usually shifting under moderate power. Sometimes it lags a bit if I'm really hammering on it, and then I might have to unload momentarily, but that is rare.
 

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Who turned out the lights
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No real long-term durability info to add here, but I recently borrowed an A8 wheel from a friend of mine for a trip to Arkansas. I have been running 29er 1x9 (XO) and SS (32x19), and wanted to give the A8 a shot on this trip just for fun. On the 25 miles of the Womble Trail that I rode it on, it performed flawlessly. Insanely easy setup (used a Gen1 Singulator with my vert dropout frame). It had a 22 tooth cog on it, and I didn't get it in time to buy a 19t so I could magic gear it, but I didn't get any of the typical drivetrain crunchies that I sometimes get in AR with the rock content in the soil and the occassional creek crossing.

The hardest things to adjust to are the low-normal shifting and the fact that you need to stop pedaling when you shift (or at least soft pedal). If you can actually stop pedaling for a moment or do a quick back-pedal, the gear engages and you move on. If you continue to pedal (like you would with a derailleur system), the hub takes a moment to engage and will feel 1989ish slow. Once you get yourself adjusted to these two factors, you're pretty much good to go.

I thought it transitioned into climbs from descents and vice versa very well. I believe it's a bit heavier than the "normal" system (especially if it's high end), but I really did not notice it on the bike. It had plenty of range for me to climb and descend.

The only other thing I didn't like was that it was laced to a Velocity Blunt rim. If I end up with one, I'll lace it to a Flow like my other wheels and run it tubeless. I hit a rock on a descent and actually dented the rim b/c I hit it right at the weld seam on the rim. Quick field fix and I was back in business, but those Velocities seem a little soft.
 

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Compressorman
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Francis Buxton said:
The hardest things to adjust to are the low-normal shifting and the fact that you need to stop pedaling when you shift (or at least soft pedal). If you can actually stop pedaling for a moment or do a quick back-pedal, the gear engages and you move on. If you continue to pedal (like you would with a derailleur system), the hub takes a moment to engage and will feel 1989ish slow. Once you get yourself adjusted to these two factors, you're pretty much good to go.
Not my experience at all. I shift under load all the time and it always feels quick and precise. Before I bought mine, I heard the reports of having to unload to shift, so I was looking for it to happen. Normally it doesn't for me, unless I'm climbing hard. Maybe I got lucky, but I got one for my daughter's bike and it seems to feel the same to me. Or maybe I'm just unconsciously unloading and I don't realize it, but I don't think so. I have everything carefully adjusted, so maybe that helps?
 

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Missouri sucks...
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I "unload" anyway when I'm shifting. Mashing up a hill and down shifting under force is doable on a conventional drivetrain but it's not good for it. I think I've already got the shifting technic down pat and I've never even ridden one;)
 

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Compressorman
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Sure, I hear you. Just relating my experience that it shifts under load for me, and I might add from a durability standpoint, when I removed the gear assembly to give it an oil bath there was no evidence stress. No chipped teeth, heck there wasn't even any metallic dust or flakes or residue or whatever you want to call it that normally accumulates in a gearbox during normal operation. The thing looked pristine, and that's after about 850 miles on it. Not a huge amount, but enough to show potential problems if there were any.
 

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Look at some of my old threads and you will see an Alfine in Freeride use. I live in the PNW an it has 2.5 seasons at Whistler on it. I am comfortable on all the black diamond runs and probably have a few hundred runs under my belt at Whistler (blue, blck, double black). I have recently had some issues with bent spokes, and the mavic 823 has a bit of wobble to it, but the Alfine is pristine. I also rode it in the snow in Boulder quite a bit, and various wierd things when it was my 'one bike' (100mi Century roadie race etc). My freeride rig (Knolly DT) sits at a burly 43-46lbs and I weigh 200-210 in gear.
I am sure it is not as burly as a nice CK, Hadley, or I9 hub, but quality hubs rarely give out, imo.
 

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@adelorenzo
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oasismfg said:
Hmmm,,,maybe my previous drive train wasn't high end enough. To me, the A8 shifts are crisp and instant, and I'm usually shifting under moderate power. Sometimes it lags a bit if I'm really hammering on it, and then I might have to unload momentarily, but that is rare.
Definitely, the shifts are crisp. No complaints there. I meant to say that the engagement when pedaling is slow. OP is coming from an XTR drivetrain that has something like 10 degree engagement. I don't know what it is for the Alfine but it is definitely much slower for the clutch to engage. This would be a factor to consider.

I ride a White Industries freewheel on my MTB, and when I'm on the Alfine Pugsley I really notice the slower engagement. It might not bother some people, but it does bug me.

When it does engage, I find that there is still a sloppy feeling back there. Definitely not as solid-feeling as other drivetrains I have ridden.
 

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Master of None
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My Alfine 8 went about a year and then I broke the 2nd gear pawl. After fishing out the broken parts I am missing 2nd and 6th gear (those gears act like 1st and 5th) but it works fine otherwise. I am 200 lbs "tare weight" and often stand and mash.

Also during a particularly heavy rain I got some water inside by doing multiple submerged hub creek crossings.
 

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I rode it last winter, almost exclusifly.
No problems in mud, snow and rain.
Clutch engagement was a bit slow in some gears.
I had the 501, with silent (pawless) clutches.
Worked fine, shifting took some time to get used to.
But I never could get used to the internal drag I noticed in lower gears.
Sold the wheel, was like new after one winter of negleckt.
 

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Tour Divide tested

I rode an Alfine 8 in the 2010 Tour Divide race this summer. 2745 miles off road - Canada to Mexico. Swapped out chains in Colorado but never even touched the cable adjustment. I had put an additional 5,000 miles in training on this hub here in Vermont, USA. I will continue to ride it until there is a problem or Shimano comes out with a lighter 8spd hub!

 
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