Custom Bike - 6~8 weeks
Bike Repair - 1 week
What is an Alfine or Nexus Hub?
Much like the Rohloff Speedhub, the Shimano Alfine 11 is an internally geared hub (referred to as IGH for short) that eliminates the use of derailleurs on your bike. Made by Shimano as an evolution of their Nexus and Alfine 8 speed hubs, the new Alfine 11 offers the rider something a little more serious for hilly conditions. Like the Rohloff, all the gears are contained inside the hub so you don't need to worry about your chain jamming or bending your derailleurs. The idea is to cut down substantially on adjustments and maintenance. If properly maintained (adding oil once in a while) the internal gears of these types of hubs rarely wear out. You can also shift without pedaling, making that start from a red light that much easier!
With the introduction of the 11 speed Alfine, Shimano has gotten closer to the hub offered by Rohloff, but still has a ways to go for the serious touring cyclist.
"Do I want Alfine?"
In the last few years we've built a number of bikes with Shimano Alfine hubs and we get a lot of questions about them. The bikes we've built with Alfine 11 have had good responses from the customers who bought them. Easy to use, great for simplicity, and lower maintenance than the traditional derailleur set up.
I heard one customer equate it to switching from manaul transmission to automatic. You no longer need to think about how you're shifting, you just go up and down with no gear overlap or worries about too large a change.
The information below is to help you understand the different options available and to help you decide if an Alfine is right for you.
|Features of the different gear options|
|Alfine/Nexus 8||Alfine 11||Rohloff Speedhub||Derailleur Set ups|
|Cost||$||$$$||$$$$$||$ ~ $$$$$|
22.3%, 16%, 14%
17.5%, 22.3%, 16%, 13.9%
then 17% ~ 18% per change
|Flexible; depends on
cassette and chainrings
1200 to 2000
|Quick Release||No||No||Yes!||Yes! or No|
|Durability||Durable||Too early to tell||Nearly Invincible||Durable|
|Maintenance||Low Maintenance||Low Maintenance||Low Maintenance||High Maintenance|
|Tandem History||Sport/Fun tandems||No||Yes, all styles||Yes, all styles|
|Noise||Some rumble after break in period||Some rumble after break in period||Rumble in some gears||None when adjusted properly|
|Tire Clearance||Up to 1.9" slicks||Up to 1.9" slicks||Any tire works||Any tire works|
|Belt Drive Compatible||Mostly||Mostly||Yes||No|
|*Shimano initially advertised an even 13% full range for the 11-sp, but the final product did not turn out that way|
**Weight depends greatly on other factors than just the hub weight.
The Alfine 11 Speed Hub Wrap-up