Internal Gear Hub

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Internal Gear Hub

Postby morphjk » Fri Sep 14, 2012 9:40 pm

So I have been looking around tonight and from what I can tell Shimano are the main players in the internal gear hubs. Is this correct? I have an 8 speed gear hub and wouldn't mind to change to an 11 speed gear hub but can only find Shimano at a very hefty price (over $500).

Might have to reconsider at that price but just thought I would check if anyone else did them.
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by BNA » Fri Sep 14, 2012 10:03 pm

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Re: Internal Gear Hub

Postby rifraf » Fri Sep 14, 2012 10:03 pm

morphjk wrote:So I have been looking around tonight and from what I can tell Shimano are the main players in the internal gear hubs. Is this correct? I have an 8 speed gear hub and wouldn't mind to change to an 11 speed gear hub but can only find Shimano at a very hefty price (over $500).

Might have to reconsider at that price but just thought I would check if anyone else did them.


How bout $431 and approx US $11.20 for Expedited Int'l Shipping?

http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Shimano-Alfi ... 35bc88f1d7
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Re: Internal Gear Hub

Postby morphjk » Fri Sep 14, 2012 10:06 pm

rifraf wrote:
morphjk wrote:So I have been looking around tonight and from what I can tell Shimano are the main players in the internal gear hubs. Is this correct? I have an 8 speed gear hub and wouldn't mind to change to an 11 speed gear hub but can only find Shimano at a very hefty price (over $500).

Might have to reconsider at that price but just thought I would check if anyone else did them.


How bout $431 and approx US $11.20 for Expedited Int'l Shipping?

http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Shimano-Alfi ... 35bc88f1d7

Certainly an improvement but not sure I can convince the wife still at that price.
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Re: Internal Gear Hub

Postby MattyK » Fri Sep 14, 2012 10:11 pm

Shimano probably have the most.

SRAM (iMotion 9 speed, soon to release G8 - 8 speed, and do some 3 speeds)
Sturmey Archer (masters of the classic 3 speed)
Rohloff (Speedhub - super expensive 14 speed)

What's your reason for wanting to upgrade?

<edit> 305,58 € shipped from Bike24 (AUD$376) - still need fitting kit and shifter though</edit>
Last edited by MattyK on Fri Sep 14, 2012 10:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Internal Gear Hub

Postby WestcoastPete » Fri Sep 14, 2012 10:11 pm

Alfine 11 is a significantly different beast than the Alfine 8. The main difference is that the 11 is oil filled, which can be drained and replaced, where the 8 is greased and needs complete disassembly to service.

I'm assuming you've come across the Rohloff in your searching. They're excellent, but they cost a lot more. Alfine 11 would be the next best thing in my book.

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Re: Internal Gear Hub

Postby morphjk » Fri Sep 14, 2012 10:20 pm

Feel that I'm slightly requiring more in the gearing ratio which I would suspect the 11 speed hub would give me.

I could be wrong

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Re: Internal Gear Hub

Postby morphjk » Fri Sep 14, 2012 10:20 pm

WestcoastPete wrote:Alfine 11 is a significantly different beast than the Alfine 8. The main difference is that the 11 is oil filled, which can be drained and replaced, where the 8 is greased and needs complete disassembly to service.

I'm assuming you've come across the Rohloff in your searching. They're excellent, but they cost a lot more. Alfine 11 would be the next best thing in my book.

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Haven't seen too much on them

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Re: Internal Gear Hub

Postby rifraf » Fri Sep 14, 2012 10:27 pm

morphjk wrote:Feel that I'm slightly requiring more in the gearing ratio which I would suspect the 11 speed hub would give me.

I could be wrong

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You want more top end or bottom end?
What about more/less teeth on the front chainring or rear?
Have a play in here to get a feel for ratio's and gear inches
http://sheldonbrown.com/gears/
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Re: Internal Gear Hub

Postby MattyK » Fri Sep 14, 2012 10:29 pm

morphjk wrote:Feel that I'm slightly requiring more in the gearing ratio which I would suspect the 11 speed hub would give me.

I could be wrong

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Are you running out of low gears or high gears or both? If it's only at one end of the range, and you don't fully use the other end of the range, perhaps a sprocket change would suffice?

Oh and if it's for a MTB I would avoid the Alfine 11 based on internet scaremongering...
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Re: Internal Gear Hub

Postby WestcoastPete » Fri Sep 14, 2012 10:36 pm

morphjk wrote:Feel that I'm slightly requiring more in the gearing ratio which I would suspect the 11 speed hub would give me.

I could be wrong

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More overall range? From memory, the Alfine 11 has a 406% range (or there abouts) and the only hub I can think of with a greater range is the Rohloff at something like 512%.

Where that range starts and ends can be adjusted by changing the ratio between the chainring and the cog. The manufacturers have maximum ratios that you're not supposed to exceed (again, from memory, I think shimano hubs have a maximum 2:1 ratio, so a 40t front 20t rear for example) but plenty have without problems. A search on this forum for the Alfine 11 should pull up a discussion about this.

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Re: Internal Gear Hub

Postby MattyK » Fri Sep 14, 2012 10:40 pm

WestcoastPete wrote:Where that range starts and ends can be adjusted by changing the ratio between the chainring and the cog. The manufacturers have maximum ratios that you're not supposed to exceed (again, from memory, I think shimano hubs have a maximum 2:1 ratio, so a 40t front 20t rear for example) but plenty have without problems. A search on this forum for the Alfine 11 should pull up a discussion about this.

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The manufacturers usually have either limits on the lowest input ratio (eg Rohloff, but they spec it for a tandem so heaps of input torque) or recommendations (e.g. the 1.9 ratio advised by Shimano, but nowhere do they say this is a minimum). MTBR's running very low ratios have repeatedly smashed Alfine 11's...
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Re: Internal Gear Hub

Postby morphjk » Fri Sep 14, 2012 10:42 pm

Top end. I feel that a lot of the time I max out the speed going down some hills and there is no point even peddling. And on the flats.

The bottom end is pretty good. I do use first gear on some climbs but never feel I need lower.

The bike is a commuter bike - a Felt MrMoto which I enjoy riding. Just would like to get a bit more out of it.

Also planning on putting some small bar ends on even some slightly thinner tyres if it can have them. Already has 26x1.5 tyres

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Re: Internal Gear Hub

Postby MattyK » Fri Sep 14, 2012 11:12 pm

Fit a smaller sprocket and HTFU. :twisted:

I run a 44/16T combo on my Avanti Blade 8 (+700x28c). Went from 20T to 18T to 16T. I almost never use 1st gear unless it's a complete bailout - 2nd or 3rd gets me up my local hills. But you might have bigger/steeper hills than me.
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Re: Internal Gear Hub

Postby rkelsen » Sat Sep 15, 2012 10:47 am

The 11 speed Alfine will give you more top end, if that's what you're after.
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Re: Internal Gear Hub

Postby coyote » Sat Sep 15, 2012 5:47 pm

I use a Shimano Nexus 8 speed hub, more then enough top end speed. 8)
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Re: Internal Gear Hub

Postby MattyK » Sat Sep 15, 2012 9:05 pm

To the last two posters - that depends entirely what chainring and sprocket combo you choose.
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Re: Internal Gear Hub

Postby coyote » Sun Sep 16, 2012 6:23 pm

I use a Shimano Nexus 8 speed hub, more then enough top end speed.

MattyK wrote:To the last two posters - that depends entirely what chainring and sprocket combo you choose.


No chainring or sprocket, Shaft Drive. 8)
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Re: Internal Gear Hub

Postby rkelsen » Sun Sep 16, 2012 7:00 pm

MattyK wrote:To the last two posters - that depends entirely what chainring and sprocket combo you choose.

If the OP re-uses his existing sprocket and chainring, then upgrading to the 11 speed hub will give a significantly higher top gear than the 8 speed.
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Re: Internal Gear Hub

Postby morphjk » Sun Sep 16, 2012 7:15 pm

I still haven't decided what I will do. I went into my LBS to speak to the owner who I know well but he wasn't working on the weekend. Talking to one of the guys in there didn't really help. There certainly were expensive for it so if I did go this way I would source it myself.

My current feeling is to just go with what I have now. I am currently working in a different location so have a different ride for a while. It would be nice to have more top end but I am happy with the bike overall.
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Re: Internal Gear Hub

Postby MattyK » Mon Sep 17, 2012 9:51 am

What size sprocket does it have? 20T I'm guessing? Would you like to try an 18T? I'll give you my worn one if you want. (It's 1/8" wide though, you might need a different chain).

Otherwise you can buy new sprockets for about $15. A 2 tooth drop makes a notable difference, about half a gear higher (eg 5th would be about 1/2 way between where 5th and 6th are now).

3 or 4 teeth drop on the sprocket will get you about one full gear higher than before. eg, me going from 20T to 16T, my 1st gear is slightly higher than where 2nd was originally, 7th is higher than where 8th used to be.
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Re: Internal Gear Hub

Postby morphjk » Mon Sep 17, 2012 9:36 pm

MattyK wrote:What size sprocket does it have? 20T I'm guessing? Would you like to try an 18T? I'll give you my worn one if you want. (It's 1/8" wide though, you might need a different chain).

I'm not sure. Specs list the following: Shimano Alfine FC-S500 45t Single ring
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Re: Internal Gear Hub

Postby MattyK » Mon Sep 17, 2012 9:55 pm

I'd bet it's a 20T - that Alfine sprocket with the plastic guard only comes in 18 or 20. But any of the 3-spline sprockets will fit.
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Re: Internal Gear Hub

Postby rifraf » Wed Oct 31, 2012 10:39 pm

Shimano reckons they offer 18, 20, 21, 22, 23T sprockets for both nexus and alfine.
However their proprietary crankset offers only 39T / 45T
Bolt Circle Diameter 130mm
Crank Arm Length 170mm

which for me is way too high geared.

I looked at an Alfine 11 for a Surly Ogre 29"

According to Mr Sheldon Brown's gear calculator, this combo offers only 25.9 to 105.9 inches which is bogus to say the least.

Even with a crankset of 33T the range is only 21.9 to 89.6 which is (in my unhumble opinion at least) still way too high for optimal use of a heavily laden touring bike.

Its been suggested to me that perhaps a bmx crankset may offer the solution of smaller chainring.

I'd require a 26T ring for the front to get my minimum requirement of 17.3 to 70.6 which whilst starting to get low enough for
my cycling tastes is very much then too low at the top end.

A sram dualdrive with 9 speed cassette 14-34 would offer 16.3 to 73.4 with the same crankset 170mm with 26T.

To put it into perspective (for myself) I've compared it to my current 20 inch 406 wheeled bike with dualdrive (and 39T front ring) where I get 16.7 inches to 82.7 inches with a seven speed cassette of 12 to 32T.
I quite like this combo for my Moulton but am a little unsure about how a 29er rides.
I suspect I'd like the same/or very similar gearing.
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Re: Internal Gear Hub

Postby HelmutHerr » Wed Oct 31, 2012 11:23 pm

I've done a lot of reading about IGHs since I test rode a couple of bikes with Alfine 8 speeds, and the bottom line seems to be that 3 speed hubs are light and fun, but if you need higher gearing than they provide, you're best off saving for a Rohloff.

Not only is the Alfine 8 mechanically crude and the Alfine 11 a weak imitation of the Rohloff, but the money saved on drivetrain maintenance for derailers and shifters means that the Rohloff pays for itself in about 5 years of use (including initial capital for a standard drivetrain).

The huge disclaimer here is that I have no first hand experience of using those hubs in the long term, and I'm reporting the summary of what I've read online.
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Re: Internal Gear Hub

Postby HelmutHerr » Wed Oct 31, 2012 11:27 pm

rifraf wrote:I looked at an Alfine 11 for a Surly Ogre 29"

A Surly Ogre what?

I picked up a 24" last week thinking it's the largest frame available. Either that's a typo or I'm going back for a bigger frame. :P
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