Can only comment on Alfine 8 speed but having built an IGH bike up for the former mrs Fidbod found out the following.
As distributed by Shimano it only works with thumb shifters. If you want to use drop bars you need to get a third party shifter - either VRS-8 or J-tek bar end shift which add at least £100 onto the cost.
The 8 speed is quite finickety to keep dialled in properly - I had to check the alignment before each ride to ensure there were no phantom shifts.
It does make for a very heavy rear end as well.
Final rather cynical thought is that if a bike shop sells IGH bikes, the are losing the opportunity to ever sell that customer a cassette again.
are we in a catch 22, where the price point won't come down until people start buying them, but people won't start buying them until they come down in price.
I've only started this thread as I have bike envy, as I wanted a Day One Alfine 8spd, recommended it to a friend who brought it, and now I want one for myself, and the options apart from the day one, aren't great.
BMC, entry level is £1250, already £250 more than the Day One, and it's belt drive. as are it's more expensive siblings which retail at £1500 and £1900 for Alfine 11spd
Norco Indie £750, though it does look like a bit of a jump bike
Creme Ristretto Doppio £1299
or the Creme Tempo Doppio £799 which looks like the same bike but with a rear rack rather than a front one
Haven't costed it but Surly Straggler frame seems like the way to go - depending on brake choices you should get close to the cost of a day-one
@fidbod, the cable tension issue would seem to be sorted by using Di2, expensive probably, but electronic shifting will come down in price relatively soon, I would think.
@allensea that pinion thing is interesting but super pricey and a good few iterations away from being industry standard and affordable for all but the nerdiest/wealthiest of cyclists..
That sturmey 3speed rotary disc hub looks like a winner for urban/city riding to me. Cassette joint (a la Alfine) so no gubbins outside of the chainstay, 177% range, 500g less than Alfine8sp and middle gear is direct drive so gear it cleverly and you have an efficient singlespeed with a downhill and climbing gear.
What are the shifter options?
I used to have one of those, very expensive but it last me two years of everyday riding without even been serviced (brake pads been replaced twice).
Alfine 11 work great.
Old school thumbie, bar-end, downtube, seatpost (wtf?) or modern plastic rapidfire style I think Dave. Looks like a good hub - we're using it next year.
On the day 01?
Nope, something a bit different. They'll be a cheaper 8sp IGH CL disc option from Shimano this year too. Like Alfine but a bit more affordable. The Day One will get that and hopefully drop in price.
Having owned a bike with a Nexus 8 speed hub, a Carrera Subway 8, for about 8 years, and done most of my 5.6 mile each way commutes on it for about 5 years, I would say that IGHs definitely have their place in that role.
I am on the second hub after the first one had a major failure due to water getting and causing serious corrosion in the first one. I have fitted the later drive side seal design on the new hub and it has lasted twice as long as the first already. I believe the Alfine sealing is even better.
The shifter I use is the twist grip 'Revoshifter' one, which is by far the best twist grip shifter I have met and lets you shift straight from any gear to any other gear in one movement, even when stopped- very useful on an urban commute.
For commuting purposes having a bit of weight in the rear wheel is no big deal IMO and believe me maintenance is very much reduced compared to derailleur gears, especially since I switched to a 1/8" chain- all it needs is a monthly oil and adjustment about twice a year.
I do not have the same experience as cornelius_blackfoot, once a new cable has finished initial stretching over a few days the shifting stays spot on for the rest of the cable's life. Mine has a tendency to need a cable every couple of years. In winter water that has collected in the cable can freeze causing major shifting issues- not common in Cornwall but the better sealed cable end available for the Alfine would probably be a good idea in colder climates.
I actually think that an 8 sped hub is overkill for urban commuting unless it is a very hilly city, a three speed hub is cheaper, lighter, less draggy and easier to maintain. The Sturmey Archer AW and derivatives are probably favourite but the offerings from SRAM and Shimano are supposed to be OK as well.
Disc brakes are only marginally better than rim brakes IMO, the really low maintenance and reliable choice would be hub brakes, e.g. as made by Sturmey Archer.
There are far more IGH bikes available to customers in areas with higher levels of cycle commuting such as on the continent- e.g brands like Gazelle etc. I think this country has some kind of collective amnesia about utility cycling and commuting when you consider that for half a century before the rise of car use there were hordes of British workers riding their SA hub geared bikes to work, plus manufacturing and exporting our 3-speed bicycles to the rest of the world, but most of us would struggle to find one now in our LBS amongst all the 'Road' and 'MTB' exotica, which probably reflects demand.
A proper commuter/utility bike ideally would have the full works fitted as standard, i.e. hub gears, full chain case, hub brakes, hub dynamo, mudguards and rack. This will put both the price and weight up at the point of sale thus putting off the uninformed public who will probably buy a cheaper and lighter derailleur geared hybrid then spend ££s and time on adding the missing equipment and maintaining the thing.
Would agree with most of that bar the bit about brakes. If you're going to have a hub with that sort of lifetime why not try and get the same from the rim? Urban commuting on rim brakes is really tough on rims. Most of the times when brakes are applied it's to bring the complete stop (traffic lights, etc) and opposed to scrubbing speed - really takes it's toll with everyday use. I generally get 8-12 months out of a decent rim on my everyday commuter (all weather). I dunno, maybe I'm being picky, but there's something that irks me about cutting a perfectly good hub out of a spent rim.
Which is why I suggest drum/hub brakes: no rim wear and less maintenance than disc brakes
Indeed, since swapping my cross check frame with cantis, for the Genesis with discs (same Alfine 8 rear wheel), maintenance has involved nothing more than chain clean and oil, and v occasional brake pads and tyres. Much nicer frame too.
How to hub brakes compare with discs for braking function?
Not as powerful, but same all weather performance.
Fair enough, they are cheap, fairly maintenance free and work well. Only downside is weight. You're looking at approx +200g per wheel (more for the bigger cooling fin size) vs. a disc setup. I guess this is what limits their broader appeal?
My experiences of using an Alfine 8,
I found a hub on ebay that was pretty cheap, can't remember how cheap but too cheap to go by anyway.
Hub came with the trigger shifter and a cable (also a rotor attached and spokes had been cut so needed to clamp rotor in a vice to remove it, destroyed the rotor in the process but also reckon it was half the reason it was so cheap). I fitted a new cable straight away and have been happy with shifting since. I have done precisely zero servicing on the hub .
I check the yellow marks whenever I remove and refit the wheel (always be sure to do a few shift cycles first to 'seat' the cable, I have adjusted it to only have to adjust it back as soon as I start riding it) and when I do things like checking tyre pressures and crank bolts. Usually when I check it, it is where it should be.
The "indirect" or "disconnected" feel that some people complain about is, in my opinion, such a minor thing that if I notice it at all it's only for the first mile or 2 and it's certainly not something that affects my enjoyment of the ride or anything like that. I can jump from a fixed or a singlespeed cassette type drivetrain to my Alfine without feeling like it is an alien thing. The only thing I notice when riding the hub is that there is a small amount of slack I suppose you could call it? When pulling away the pedals will turn for maybe 1/8 of a rev very lightly, like being in a very low gear, then I presume the hub engages properly and it feels like the gear that it should.
There's chatter on a lot of forums of 1.6:1 being the lowest input ratio you should use and I have stuck to that but there are also plenty of examples online (even within this thread) of people going for lower input ratios and having no problems, recently I noticed some of the KTM electric bikes are Alfine equipped and running larger rear cogs than front so I think the minimum input ratio is perhaps an urban myth.
I started off using my hub for mostly on road and smooth off road (fire track etc) riding but recently rode it at a trail centre where it coped well, shifting under load while climbing etc and I even found that I was unhindered by the weight when descending and going over some jumps. I think if you balance the weight out with maybe a suspension fork upfront (or a rack as on my bike) you'll really not notice any effect on your riding. I have been thinking about making a '1 bike to do it all' type thing with discs and the Alfine on a hardtail frame with a sus fork with a lockout and to this end have been googling things like "aggressive hardtail alfine" or "freeride alfine" and have found a lot of reports of people really thrashing on Alfine 8 hubs without issue.
FYI I have also used an old (50s or 60s era) Sturmey 3 speed dynohub, a new Sturmey 3 speed coaster and a Sachs T3 coaster. Old Sturmey worked alright, new Sturmey was utterly gash and the Sachs T3 puts both of the Sturmeys, and tbh the Alfine, to shame. It cost me buttons and despite being ridden hard through 3 winters (by me, god knows how many by previous owner) with zero maintenance the brake actually works (unlike the Sturmey version) and shifting is fast and crisp (the cable is also 3 winters old, never oiled or anything).
anyone wants an Alfine 8 on a On One Scandal size medium pink colour, with an One one Crabon fork,
4 year old wheel build with new shifter,
you can have the lot for 400 notes.
Ill be building my Rohloff Surly Life bike in next few weeks
pm me if interested
Hub gears rock as long as you get them set up right
not that hard to change when getting flats
and no fucking about with extra cleaning all winter
Cooling fin size? Are you meaning Shimano roller brakes, which I have on my Subay 8? If so don't bother I have already swapped the front with a disc brake and wheel from a skip bike (front roller brake uses standard disc brake mount) as it was so awful, poor performance with a nasty 'power modulator' in the hub which lets go just when you need maximum braking. Sturmey Archer drum brakes are a different design entirely, like a motorcycle drum brake, with no cooling disc, and are generally considered very low maintenance by owners: http://www.sjscycles.co.uk/sturmey-archer-x-fd-aluminium-front-hub-with-70mm-drum-brake-36-hole-prod20092/
avid bb7 ftw
piss easy cable change
I see the alfine 11spd di2 with shimano drop bar hydraulic levers as being the ideal low maintenance roadie winter commuter.
Run it with a belt for even lower maintenance.
What's not to like?
this looks quite nice http://www.evanscycles.com/products/cooper/monaco-2014-hybrid-bike-ec046770