Looking at BMC AC01 Alfine 8 or 11 for commuting

pjtn
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Looking at BMC AC01 Alfine 8 or 11 for commuting

Postby pjtn » Wed Nov 02, 2016 12:24 pm

I'm looking at buying a BMC AC01 in either the Alfine 8 or 11.

My commute is 7km each way, so not long, the first 500m is pretty steep (10 degrees in places) but then it flattens out to a consistent 3 degree decline. It's on a sealed rail trail. I currently have drops but would rather go to something with a more upright position.

At the moment I can get the 2016 Alfine 8 model for $2000 or the Alfine 11 for $3000. So a big price difference, we will be buying two, one for me and my partner.

I have worked out that the Alfine 8 with its current gear ratios will do 29kph at a cadence of 60rpm. And has a low gear equivalent of a derailleur running 34:28. It would be nice to go lower on the Alfine 8 but not sure if this will limit the top speed too much.

My current bike has a compact 50:32 crank and a 11-28 cassette. I don't really ever get out of the 32 chainring and if anything would prefer some lower gears. It seems the Alfine 8 has a wider gear range than the 32 crank alone but the Alfine 11 has a wider range than both.

The bike will be ridden on weekends occasionally just for fun, nothing too long though, I'm no pro.

Any thoughts on what I should choose?

Calvin27
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Re: Looking at BMC AC01 Alfine 8 or 11 for commuting

Postby Calvin27 » Wed Nov 02, 2016 1:14 pm

I had an alfine 8 bike for a while that I used for commuting and the occasional weekend tour with a slow group. A few notes, (ignoer if you are well accustomed to hub gears):

- Belt drive is sick. No maintenance whatsoever and no adjustment. The catch is the tensioning method. BMC uses an eccentric bottom bracket. I don't like these as they tend to creak a lot at the slightest sign of moisture. I'd look for a bike with the alternative setup which is sliding rear dropouts.
- At the time there were issues (oil leaks) with the alfine 11 hub so I went with the cheaper 8. Might be good to check if this has been resolved - I imagine it should have.
- You can always swap out the chainring (belt ring?) with a repalcement belt/chainring set to get lower gears. I'd caution going too much lower though. Hub gears don't take high toqrue very well. I'd suggest reading up on what gear ratio is acceptable for the specific hub.
- Finally if this is your first alfine bike, you will get confused shifting gears. The shifting is opposite to regular gear shifters.
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Re: Looking at BMC AC01 Alfine 8 or 11 for commuting

Postby find_bruce » Wed Nov 02, 2016 5:46 pm

I too had an Alfine 8 equipped commuter, with the emphasis on had - I loved the simplicity - gears just went up & down, but it turns out the "maintenance free" line was just BS. First thing you discover is that few shops know how to service the hubs, even those that sell Alfine equipped bikes.

2 years commuting ~10,000 km in all weather before I had an internal bearing issue. I could get it sent to Shimano Australia, but that would have cost more than a new hub.

In the end I just ditched it & went back to 1x8 deraileur.

Its possible that I did something wrong or that I was unlucky, but if you are after a high mileage reliable commuter I would look elsewhere.

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Re: Looking at BMC AC01 Alfine 8 or 11 for commuting

Postby Cheesewheel » Wed Nov 02, 2016 7:27 pm

at one stage I was interested in either the alfine 8 or 11 so I did a bit of research on them. The alfine 8 is a bit of a trip to service (basically you have to completely pull it apart and clean it). The alfine 11 is designed a bit more like the rohloff where you just have to drain the oil with small screw and then refill it. If I ever get an alfine it would be an 11 or not at all.
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Re: Looking at BMC AC01 Alfine 8 or 11 for commuting

Postby pjtn » Thu Nov 03, 2016 11:33 am

Thanks for the replies!

I'm not too worried about servicing the hubs as we have a local bike shop who knows how to work on them. Although the oil bath is definitely a nice feature of the Alfine 11.

I haven't yet seen a bike with the same good looks of the AC01. The Specialized Sirrus Expert Carbon 1 looks nice but the standover height is 76cm on the smallest model and my partner has an inseam of 74cm. She doesn't like the womens models.

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Re: Looking at BMC AC01 Alfine 8 or 11 for commuting

Postby Calvin27 » Thu Nov 03, 2016 2:00 pm

The focus would be my pick. The BMC does look nice though.
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Re: Looking at BMC AC01 Alfine 8 or 11 for commuting

Postby pjtn » Thu Nov 03, 2016 2:11 pm

I have heard that Focus do a nice flat bar but I haven't been able to find it. Have they stopped doing them for 2017?

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Leaf T
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Re: Looking at BMC AC01 Alfine 8 or 11 for commuting

Postby Leaf T » Thu Nov 03, 2016 2:19 pm

Specialized and Scott do comparable bikes too I think. The BMC does look nice but no rack or mudguard mounting points might be annoying. Having to use a sweaty backpack will get pretty annoying pretty fast.

The Focus https://www.bikeexchange.com.au/a/urban ... /102887328

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Re: Looking at BMC AC01 Alfine 8 or 11 for commuting

Postby Sparx » Thu Nov 03, 2016 3:05 pm

I commuted for a couple of years on an Alfine 11 belt drive. Did about 20 000km with very little maintenance (except for changing the oil - very easy).

Was fine but quite heavy. Eccentric BB and changing flats was a bit of a pain.

Have a look at the Canyon version, I think they are pretty cool looking.

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Re: Looking at BMC AC01 Alfine 8 or 11 for commuting

Postby Calvin27 » Thu Nov 03, 2016 4:11 pm

pjtn wrote:I have heard that Focus do a nice flat bar but I haven't been able to find it. Have they stopped doing them for 2017?


https://www.bikeexchange.com.au/s?query ... net%20belt

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Re: Looking at BMC AC01 Alfine 8 or 11 for commuting

Postby pjtn » Thu Nov 03, 2016 4:26 pm

Didn't see that bike on the Focus website. I'm not as keen on the design as the BMC.

The Specialized Sirrus Expert Carbon X1 looks nice but the smallest size seems to large for my partner.

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Re: Looking at BMC AC01 Alfine 8 or 11 for commuting

Postby Leaf T » Sat Nov 05, 2016 11:02 am

As Sparx mentioned the minimal maintenance with IGH is a big plus for a commuter bike. I can recommend the Rohloff although is a lot of money compared to the Alfine. There's also the NuVinci which is a cvt type of hub. Basically it has stepless gears within a set range. Never ridden one but I like the idea.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BbXgsXU ... e=youtu.be
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vGs1nrXaZsA
Comparison with Alfine
http://www.bentrideronline.com/messageb ... hp?t=68678

pjtn
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Re: Looking at BMC AC01 Alfine 8 or 11 for commuting

Postby pjtn » Sat Nov 05, 2016 1:01 pm

Are these BMC AC01's a really aggressive position? The product shots show the handlebars far lower than the saddle. I have seen other images online, though, where they look much more inline.

We are looking for a more comfortable ride than we have now on the drops but it doesn't have to be fully upright.

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Re: Looking at BMC AC01 Alfine 8 or 11 for commuting

Postby CycloTron » Mon Nov 07, 2016 1:49 pm

I commute on a Cannondale Bad Boy 1 (I know... :roll: ), which came with an Alfine 8 (which I then upgraded to 11 for going down hills near my place).

Just some points to consider:

    In terms of maintenance, you would just need to maintain the IGH itself less frequently than you would a traditional derailleur system/cassette. However, you still need to clean and lube chain and/or clean chainring (or belt drive)/rear cog regularly.

    But when it comes time to service your IGH (roughly every 6 to 12 months depending on mileage) it's a big job unless you just palm it off to the LBS. And even though the Alfine 11 is supposedly serviceable by draining and replacing the oil, you will only get the best results with stripping of the hub as per the 8.

    Alfine 8 is easier to setup and to get cable tension right and shifting is usually more reliable. Also costs about 1/2 that of an Alfine 11.

    Alfine 11 only offers more top end over the 8 as the lower ratios are all pretty much identical, and can be more finicky to setup in terms of shifting (i.e. the hub shell is about the same size and they've squeezed an extra 3 gears in there, so tolerances are tighter).

    Gear range can be finessed to suit your riding conditions by carefully choosing the right chainring/rear cog combination.

    Bonus for commuting is you can shift gears while waiting at the lights :wink:

Having said all that, for my commuter, I wouldn't use anything else as on a normal day, I can just ride the bike to work and back and stick it on the rack without any thought to any maintenance of the drive train. I love fiddling with bikes so the 6 monthly strip and service is actually something I enjoy doing.

pjtn
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Re: Looking at BMC AC01 Alfine 8 or 11 for commuting

Postby pjtn » Wed Nov 09, 2016 12:08 am

I decided we would buy the 2016 Alfine 8 models and we went into a bike store in Adelaide today. Unfortunately the Alfine 8 and 11 have both entirely sold out.

So instead we have purchased two brand new 2017 Alfine 11 models. There was only one M and three S left and apparently that is the only run they will be doing.

Will be very interesting to get on these and have a ride, hopefully by next week.

pjtn
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Re: Looking at BMC AC01 Alfine 8 or 11 for commuting

Postby pjtn » Sat Nov 12, 2016 3:47 pm

So we have the bikes now and I have been for a first ride.

Initial impressions are that the bikes are heavier than our old Bombtrack Audax models. It feels as though you have to put more work into riding these bikes. Possibly it could be because the hubs are new and need to break in before they are their most efficient. It is a somewhat windy day and this could have had an impact.

The flat handle bar grips will take a little getting used too. There seems to be a pressure point on the outer part of my hands that feels a little sore. Might look at Ergon grips yet.

The hydraulic brakes are incredibly powerful compared to the old longreach callipers on the Bombtracks. This will take some getting used to as it would not be hard to go over the handlebars.

The belt drive and hub are very quiet and is a strange experience at first.

Will be interesting to see how our opinions form over time. My partner should be happier with hers because the size is much more appropriate, she was too stretched out on her Audax. She hasn't been for a ride yet to try, though.
Last edited by pjtn on Sun Nov 13, 2016 11:00 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Leaf T
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Re: Looking at BMC AC01 Alfine 8 or 11 for commuting

Postby Leaf T » Sun Nov 13, 2016 10:49 am

Thanks for the update. Pictures? :)

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