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  Topic Name: IGH Battle - Rohloff vs Shimano Alfine 11 on: March 11, 2013, 01:33:52 AM
Area54
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« on: March 11, 2013, 01:33:52 AM »

I'm speccing 2 bikepacking bikes for a client, I need solid feedback from hard users of these hubs to help me make a decision on which hub to spec. Bikes are El Mariachis. Basically I want to hear the stories and experiences of both hubs, good and bad.

Thanks in advance  thumbsup
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  Topic Name: IGH Battle - Rohloff vs Shimano Alfine 11 Reply #1 on: March 11, 2013, 10:21:47 AM
annoying crack


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« Reply #1 on: March 11, 2013, 10:21:47 AM »

Ok, this has my interest too, especially the alfine 11.
Area54, be sure to post some pics of those bikes when they are done.
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  Topic Name: IGH Battle - Rohloff vs Shimano Alfine 11 Reply #2 on: March 11, 2013, 12:14:59 PM
phil_rad


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« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2013, 12:14:59 PM »

I bought a used Rohloff hub about 18 months ago, it had 2500 km on it. I've put in 1500 km on it, it's not my main bike, I like to ride single speed. I did do a trans alp trip last year. At first it felt kind of sluggish and weird, shifting is not as snappy and quick as a derailleur setup. When down shifting on hills it takes some practice, cause unlike the normal derailleur you have to take pressure off the pedals, other wise the shifting becomes very difficult. When downshifting from 8Th to 7Th gear if you try and hammer it, it shifts for a split second into 14Th gear! But only as long as you have pressure on the pedals. When shifting up to a taller gear this is not an issue; you can hammer the pedals and it jumps right on the next gear. Once you get the hang of it's quirks it's great, no maintenance, no worries. Chain and sprocket lasts a long time; I'm still running the first chain and rings and no sign of serious wear.
Bottom line for me is; when I ride with gears then without a doubt - Rohloff.  thumbsup
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  Topic Name: IGH Battle - Rohloff vs Shimano Alfine 11 Reply #3 on: March 15, 2013, 04:52:03 AM
pickupel


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« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2013, 04:52:03 AM »

I have gone with a Rohloff on the bike I put together for this years TD. I have mine built into a ti El Mariachi frame and the pairing is great  the cable-routing is not a hassle and the Rohloff specific 'alternator' dropouts are easy to setup and adjust. 

I've had similar experience to phil_rad with the Rohloff hub itself. It is definitely a different experience to using derailleur gears, especially if used to a well-tuned setup. The shifting improves with practice and experience, and the hub 'quietens down' after it beds-in (a sign of quality German engineering).

When choosing the spec for my TD bike I considered the Alfine 11  it has nearly the gearing range of the Rohloff, while being much cheaper and coming at a lesser weight penalty. However, I work at a bike shop and around the time I was making my decision we had some feedback from two customers who were using Alfine equipped bikes to ride from South Africa back to the UK. They reported that both hubs had failed internally in Kenya, within 100 miles of each other. The fact that both hubs had failed, in the same conditions, so close to each other tells me that it was not a one-off failure  rather the hubs had been pushed beyond their intended limits.

Granted, the Alfines were being used in extreme conditions for a prolonged period of time, but I did not want to take the risk of a hub failure ruining my TD attempt  so I went with the Rohloff. For me the biggest factor was the fact that Rohloffs have been tested in all conditions over decades and have a proven track record.
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  Topic Name: IGH Battle - Rohloff vs Shimano Alfine 11 Reply #4 on: March 15, 2013, 07:55:08 AM
JRA


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« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2013, 07:55:08 AM »

Have you read the story of the three brothers who rode from Alaska to the tip of South America?  They used Rohloff hubs on their bikes.  I don't recall reading about any serious problems.

More info here:
http://boundsouth.org/gear/
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  Topic Name: IGH Battle - Rohloff vs Shimano Alfine 11 Reply #5 on: March 15, 2013, 01:50:23 PM
RossC


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« Reply #5 on: March 15, 2013, 01:50:23 PM »

I've seen nothing but bad from the alfine 11. There were 3 bought between myself and 2 other locals just after they were first released and they all died.

The seals on mine constantly leaked and i suspect shifting performance is dependent upon oil levels because it would only shift correctly after having the oil replaced and then it would start skipping around regardless of how it was tuned. I warrantied it and then sold the warranty replacement off and won't ever touch an alfine 11 again.

The other 2 local ones all had similar problems with seals. One was put in a moonlander and lasted about 2 months before pawls were broken internally. It also had a huge problem with sand forcing its way into the shift mechanism and a: changing the cable pull ratio and b: popping the rear cog off as sand packed in and levered against it.

The same rider now has a rohloff - it hasn't skipped a beat despite numerous salt water immersions etc. Don't use an alfine 11.
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  Topic Name: IGH Battle - Rohloff vs Shimano Alfine 11 Reply #6 on: May 30, 2013, 07:58:27 AM
pedalingnowhere


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« Reply #6 on: May 30, 2013, 07:58:27 AM »

I was looking into the Alfine 11 for a Krampus build, but I would love a Rohloff for this... seems the Alfine has had some issues over long hauls. We put about 3k miles on our Rohloffs on a pan-am trip (http://www.pedalingnowhere.com) and had no problems. We did some fairly rough off-road stuff in Costa Rica and Nicaragua as well.
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  Topic Name: IGH Battle - Rohloff vs Shimano Alfine 11 Reply #7 on: May 30, 2013, 10:24:34 PM
joeydurango


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« Reply #7 on: May 30, 2013, 10:24:34 PM »

To be fair, Shimano definitely is not recommending the Alfine series hubs for the type of use we're talking about here... I've put serious commuter miles over the last 5 years on my Alfine 8 with zero issues, and I have customers on 11s, once again for commuting, with no problems.  But I personally wouldn't use an Alfine for off-road or loaded touring use - just beyond the intended usage scope of the hubs.

For off-road/loaded touring IGH, Rohloff would be my choice, as it is designed with that usage in mind.
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  Topic Name: IGH Battle - Rohloff vs Shimano Alfine 11 Reply #8 on: August 01, 2013, 01:19:14 PM
zuren


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« Reply #8 on: August 01, 2013, 01:19:14 PM »

Forgive me for bringing back an old thread but this same question is rolling through my head.

I noticed that custom builder English Cycles spec-ed a Tour Divide racer with an Alfine 8 - http://www.englishcycles.com/custombikes/black-rainbow-divide-ride/.  With the feedback I'm seeing about the Shimano offerings, I find this surprising.  Is it still the general consensus that the Alfines should be reserved for commuters and any loaded, 29er mountain touring should be left to derailleurs or a Rohloff?

Thanks! 
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  Topic Name: IGH Battle - Rohloff vs Shimano Alfine 11 Reply #9 on: August 01, 2013, 03:46:11 PM
bmike-vt


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« Reply #9 on: August 01, 2013, 03:46:11 PM »

8 was used by a TD finisher in ... 2011?
a friend has one on his voodoo bikepacking rig and an older model on his necromancer.
and he's a big guy.
he keeps thinking he'll kill the thing off, but it keeps going strong.
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  Topic Name: IGH Battle - Rohloff vs Shimano Alfine 11 Reply #10 on: August 02, 2013, 12:37:50 AM
Area54
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« Reply #10 on: August 02, 2013, 12:37:50 AM »

I spoke to a Shimano engineer the other day at our annual product releases, he alluded to people not being mechanically sympathetic during gear changes - ie not backing off the torque a bit to effect a smooth gear change. Edges of the gears can get worn/broken off and munched into the mechanism.

They are dead easy to service too, but I worry about those big seals letting in contaminants in harsh environments.
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  Topic Name: IGH Battle - Rohloff vs Shimano Alfine 11 Reply #11 on: August 07, 2013, 04:46:27 AM
JonCox


Location: Wivenhoe, Essex, UK
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« Reply #11 on: August 07, 2013, 04:46:27 AM »

I used an Alfine 11 during the TD12 and it got me to end, albeit with some of the issues that have been highlighted here.

On returning the UK the hub failed and luckily my sympathetic bikeshop provided a replacement under warranty.  When I got my new hub I did some reflection and research, and concluded that the problems with the hub were my fault.  Primarily my the issues were that I had not changed the oil after the initial 300 miles, or eased off the hub when shifting.

With the new hub I changed the oil on schedule and stop pedalling completely during a shift and it has worked PERFECTLY for a year over some serious mileage through a miserable UK winter. 

I got my initial Alfine 11 only a few months before the TD12 and did not pay enough time bedding it in, learning how it operates and how to maintain it properly. When I returned I was convinced that they were a rubbish piece of kit, but 1 year on I am so impressed that I am considering a second Alfine 11 for my full suss trail bike.     

BOTTOM LINE:  I believe that almost of the issues associated with Alfine hubs are down to user error and that it is an excellent piece of kit.  This opinion is 10000 miles in the making.
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  Topic Name: IGH Battle - Rohloff vs Shimano Alfine 11 Reply #12 on: April 12, 2014, 06:20:54 PM
Reland


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« Reply #12 on: April 12, 2014, 06:20:54 PM »

I joined this forum just to say Thank You "JonCox" for the first completely honest post in the history of the Internet.

pickupel: The anecdote about the two hubs failing in Kenya doesn't necessarily suggest that all Alfine 11 hubs are ticking time bombs set with fuses of very similar lengths; it may suggest that the two people riding together in Kenya did the same wrong things to their respective hubs and destroyed them at roughly the same rate.

RossC: I don't think accumulated sand could possibly remove the cog from an Alfine hub or indeed a Nexus 3-speed or a Joytech single-speed coaster brake hub if the cog and lock ring were installed correctly. Have you ever installed and removed those things? If three hubs failed in the same local area, I wonder if they were all set up by the same mechanic or if they were all subjected to the same harsh conditions?

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