- Double roller clutch for smooth, quiet shifting
- 11 speeds with a 409% gear range
- Oil port for lubrication
- 135mm spacing
- 3/8" bolt on axle
- Centerlock disc rotor mount
- Does not include shifter, rotor, cog, cog snap-ring, axle nuts, non-turn washers & cassette joint
First, the positive. This thing is great. I've done the math, and with 11 speeds, you aren't missing much at all. Compared to a 27 speed XT drivetrain, the Alfine 11 with 32t/20t gears, is basically the equivalent of the XT gear range, minus the one top gear, and two bottom gears. Given that most bikers don't even use a triple chainring any more, the Alfine 11 has more than enough range!
The shifting is amazing! You can't shift under power. BUT the shifting itself is so amazing fast, you don't need to get off the power either, just slightly lag your pedal stroke, and you can shift between pushes. It's great!
You can shift any time. You can be parked on the trail, and instantly downshift so you can take off up a hill. You can be in a high gear pedaling towards a drop, then downshift in the air, without pedaling, so as soon as you land, you can pedal up a steep hill right after the landing. It really gives you significantly more flexibility.
On paper, they say that hubs like this are not as efficient as a chain drivetrain. This may be true, but here's the funny thing. The shifting is SO fast, that the hub actually feels way MORE efficient. You never have to do the "pedal gently until the chain catches" thing. You just ease up for a fraction of a second, hit the shifter, and get right back on the power. Your cranks are connected to the wheel so much more, that you feel significantly, noticeable more efficient!
Extra weight? Maybe. I had a 3x9 drivetrain before. A full 27 speeds, plus a front derailer mounting bracket, and a huge aluminum bash guard that protected all three rings. So once I pulled all of that off my bike, the weight was pretty much even. I may have gained one pound, if that.
But, as a bonus, the weight distribution is much better. You have less weight on your handlebars, less weight at your cranks, and more weight on your rear hub. Whats that mean? It means you can turn much easier. Turning becomes much more responsive as more weight is closer to the pivot point of the turn, the rear wheel.
I am so sold on this hub, I don't think I would ever go back to derailers ever again, despite the cost, and some other issues.
...oh right, those other issues.
So after half a season, my first Alfine-11 lost it's 2nd gear. If you tried to use 2nd gear, it would skip really bad. You had to shift from 1st to 3rd (both of which were completely unaffected) and then up to through the gears.
Shimano replaced the insides of the hub.
But this newly rebuilt hub, kept leaking out all of it's oil. It's an oil bath design, you need your oil. Plus, the oil is super expensive.
So now Shimano is replacing the entire hub with a new hub.
But all of these problems are covered under warranty. And compared to the constant problems of a derailer based drivetrain, this hub still wins hands down.
The most important part about using this hub, is to remember that you can't shift under power. It's not like derailers where you shouldn't shift under power. You CAN NOT shift this hub under power. One bad skip can destroy the gear. But after a month or so, it becomes instinct just like derailers used to be.
PROS: Super Fast Shifting, Singlespeed Chainline, Superior to Derailers
However, I have had some problems with the hub on the Krampus, which gets a lot of use on punishing singletrack as well as touring on gravel roads and fire trails. I'm running a 30-tooth narrow-wide chainring and 20-tooth Alfine cog (which I admit is a lower ratio than Shimano recommend). The gears have slipped at times, but I have generally been able to manage this problem by fine tuning with the barrel adjuster on the shifter. Just remember, the dots on the hub are a guide only! Recently, it has started to slip more and more, especially in 2nd and 7th gears, and I've decided I need to do something about it. I considered switching to an external derailleur, but when I thought about it, this hub has served me well for almost 2 years, during which time I have not had to change a chain, cog or chainring. The oil is expensive, but you use a tiny amount and I use a lot less lube than I used to on my dually. In the end, I'm simply going to buy a new hub and swap the internals (no re-lacing required). Even though the initial outlay on a new hub is relatively high, I reckon I'm still ahead overall. And if I went 1x11 to get a similar range of gears, well, look at the price of cassettes and all the other hits that wear out on a regular basis. The Alfine is actually good value for money. For MTB use, it's good but not perfect and therefore gets 4 stars overall.
The bottom line is - it depends on how you intend to use these hubs. If you want to put it on a dual suspension MTB and beat the heck out of it, it's probably not the right choice. It's also not for the weight weanies (adds about 0.5kg overall). But if you are going to look after it (at least a little) or need the protection and low maintenance an IGH offers, then it's a great option. It's not a Rohloff, but it is 1/3 the price. Just don't dare your partner to ride through a salt water lagoon.
PROS: Protects The Drive Train, Low Maintenance, Shift While Stationary, Nice Clean Chainline
CONS: Fine Tuning Required, Heavy
BEST USES: Fatbiking, Casual Riding, Bikepacking, Mountain Biking
The hub never stopped breaking. The first one was actually the MOST durable. Shimano kept sending my bike shop warranty replacements, but they would break very quickly. When I got the first hub, it was spring and I was weak, doing all of my climbing in 1st gear. By the end of the season, I was spending a lot more time in my higher gears, and those gears just can't take the force of my pedals. I didn't have that bad of an input ratio either. It's been a white but I want to say I was using 36/22. I only weigh 155lbs and I got to the point where I could break that hub at will just by doing a very tough climb in 2nd gear. After a year, we all gave up and I switched back to derailers. Now I ride a SRAM/Shimano mixed 1x9. I miss the range and the fast shifts. But now I can pedal as hard as I can up hills and never miss a beat, or destroy a gear.
I would STRONGLY advice against ANYONE using this hub for anything. I'm not joking. The average rider weighs a lot more than me. And even if you are doing "touring" riding instead of mountain biking, you're still going to hit a hill eventually. And your weight plus all your extra gear means this hub is unlikely to survive. If you really want an internal hub, You just need to bite the bullet and save up for that Rohloff. We all hoped the Alfine 11 would be a "baby rohloff". It is not. The best use for this hub would be to fill the insides with cement and used it as a fixit hub.
PROS: Awesome When Brand New
CONS: Might Only Last 2 Rides
Q & A
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