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Reviewed by 1 customer
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Comments about Shimano Alfine SGS 700 11 Speed Hub:
I've been riding this hub for just about one full year now. Despite the issue I've had, I'm giving it 5 stars. It really changes everything! These hubs are clearly the future of mountain biking!
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.