Author Topic: Going from Single Speed to Alfine  (Read 4766 times)

vorsprung

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Going from Single Speed to Alfine
« on: January 22, 2010, 01:31:50 pm »
I recently got a new bike.  It is a Cotic Roadrat.  It is my replacement commuter bike.  The old single speed was pretty much on it's last legs.

Now I've used it for a week, a few words on the difference between the Alfine hub gear experience and a single speed

There is a similarity, in the wya it is pedalled.   The gears are widely spaced so fast spinning (or mashing a big gear) is often the best way to go.  The problem can be if the bike is in an incorrect ratio ( say a bit to big a gear going uphill ) then it is more difficult to judge a suitable cadence and amount of effort to put in.  With a single speed the legs quickly adjust to whatever set ratio is in use.

Over all the drive feels a little heavier.  The hub is physically heavier.  A couple of times when pulling away I've noticed a tiny bit of softness in the transmission.  There seems to be a tiny bit more resistance to pedalling.

Occasionally there is a bit of noise from the gears at the back.  When climbing a hill fast for example.   Mostly though the Alfine is as quiet as a single speed hub, not at all chatty like a dérailleur system
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Cudzoziemiec

  • Waking up now, put the kettle on!
Re: Going from Single Speed to Alfine
« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2010, 01:36:02 pm »
A lot of people on this forum ride fixed, but single speed seems very much a rarity. I used to, but gave that bike away when I left the old continent. Might get myself another - apparently I'm owed a new bike cos Mrs Cudzo bought herself a new handbag just before Christmas  ;D (yes, the finances don't even out - but she has so many bags that... No, it still doesn't even out!)
I do not ride a great big Mercian, gangster tanwalls, fixed cog in the back.

Re: Going from Single Speed to Alfine
« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2010, 05:56:28 pm »
I'd suggest that this thread be resuurected with comments from those of us running Alfine hubs.

Mine is about 3 months old now and underwent a dramatic "stiffening up" as the bad weather peaked and has not really lossened up. I suspect that the roller clutches have become contaminated.
Everything works well and there seems to be no particular loss of pedalling efficiency, however, there is distinct resistance to freewheeling - personally, coming from fixed, this feels fine since I rarely stop pedalling. However, I clearly need to strip and oil bath the hub.

I have changed the sprocket on mine. The 21 tooth fitted did not come with a "chain guard" and I lost the chain a few times as a result of it either riding off at the front or back. Running the chain very tight made the transmission feel terrible. In any case the hub crept forwards slightly of its own accord and then the chain would come off a few rides later.

Since I found the hub undergeared from stock, I replaced the 21t with an 18t cog which comes with a "chain guard". I took a link out of the chain, put everything back together and despite the chain looking pretty slack, everything runs very smoothly.

I now feel (possibly due to winter tyres) that the hub is a bit overgeared. If changing back to slicks doesn't solve this, I may fit a 19t cog.

Overall the hub is really easy to live with. Wheel changes are easy, removing the wheel is straightforward, although a headlamp would help for night time visitations "in the wilds", and the range of gears seems usable.

I recently serviced a bike fitted with a SRAM Spectro P5. This required so much dissassembly of fiddly parts to remove the rear wheel that I would judge in the field repairs as pretty much impossible without a strong likelihood of losing something vital. There are 3 parts to the gear change mechanism that end up as loose parts on the floor!

vorsprung

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Re: Going from Single Speed to Alfine
« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2010, 10:15:44 am »
I am running a 20T at the back which with a 45T front and 28mm 700C gives 30" to 96"
It doesn't have a chainguard

I am also getting axle creep.  I have tightened things up with a long wrench and if this doesn't work I will try a chain tug

After 600km the hub is slightly less draggy

Have you noticed it changing less quickly when it is very cold weather?  It's quite amusing
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Re: Going from Single Speed to Alfine
« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2010, 10:27:24 am »
...With a single speed the legs quickly adjust to whatever set ratio is in use...

There's the germ of a solution there, though it might require a new hub.

vorsprung

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Re: Going from Single Speed to Alfine
« Reply #5 on: February 03, 2010, 11:00:41 am »
...With a single speed the legs quickly adjust to whatever set ratio is in use...

There's the germ of a solution there, though it might require a new hub.

I decided to use gears despite their manifold disadvantages because it's less painful going up culm davey in the winter and this will encourage me to commute more
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citoyen

  • Cat 6 Racer
Re: Going from Single Speed to Alfine
« Reply #6 on: February 03, 2010, 11:12:34 am »
...With a single speed the legs quickly adjust to whatever set ratio is in use...

There's the germ of a solution there, though it might require a new hub.

I've found my Brompton much more enjoyable to ride since I converted it to singlespeed. For the type of bike it is and the type of use I put it to, one gear is plenty. But then I don't have any really steep hills on my commute.

d.

Re: Going from Single Speed to Alfine
« Reply #7 on: February 03, 2010, 05:09:29 pm »
I am running a 20T at the back which with a 45T front and 28mm 700C gives 30" to 96"
It doesn't have a chainguard

I am also getting axle creep.  I have tightened things up with a long wrench and if this doesn't work I will try a chain tug

After 600km the hub is slightly less draggy

Have you noticed it changing less quickly when it is very cold weather?  It's quite amusing

It doesn't seem to change any slower, but the return on the changer definately seems to hesitate.
Overall it does exactly what I wanted it to.

If it wasn't for the gappiness of the gear rations I'd be seriously tempted for an audax bike, if only for the eery silence of the whole system.

Re: Going from Single Speed to Alfine
« Reply #8 on: February 03, 2010, 09:48:59 pm »

I am also getting axle creep.  I have tightened things up with a long wrench and if this doesn't work I will try a chain tug


I had problems with axle creep on my Alfine making it noisy and finally the chain coming off. I didn't want to tighten things up too much in case of having to remove the wheel while out and about with my smaller spanner so I fitted a Surly chaintug (AKA Surly Tugnut Chain Tensioner) on the drive side.
http://www.wiggle.co.uk/p/cycle/7/Surly_Tuggnut_Chain_Tensioner/5360018550/

This has solved the problem and everything runs a lot smoother  :) Also makes it easier to get the perfect chain tension.

I had to get rid of the non-turn washer to do this, but this has had no adverse effects. I got the idea after seeing it done here (5th picture down)
http://www.ecovelo.info/2009/12/29/first-look-civia-bryant-2/

vorsprung

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Re: Going from Single Speed to Alfine
« Reply #9 on: February 04, 2010, 04:11:38 pm »
... the eery silence of the whole system.

Yes it is very quiet.  It doesn't even seem to make much noise freewheeling
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gordon taylor

Re: Going from Single Speed to Alfine
« Reply #10 on: February 04, 2010, 05:52:20 pm »
I've become absolutely hooked by my Alfine since I got it last June. All the other bikes just stay hanging on their hooks and I cruise everywhere in easy silence. I can't believe I ever thought that all that derailleur complexity (two shifters? WTF? OMG, Ha Ha Ha!) ever atttacted me.

Hub gears are going to be massively popular in the UK very soon, IMHO.

Re: Going from Single Speed to Alfine
« Reply #11 on: February 04, 2010, 06:28:08 pm »
"Hub gears are going to be massively popular in the UK very soon, IMHO."

Hmmmm. I think that they OUGHT to be, but I very much doubt that they'll be more than say 10% of the new market within 5-10 years. I would have a bet on it, but I'm unlikely to be around long enough to be proven right or wrong!
Let right or wrong alone decide
God was never on your side.

vorsprung

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Re: Going from Single Speed to Alfine
« Reply #12 on: February 05, 2010, 09:22:07 am »
IHub gears are going to be massively popular in the UK very soon, IMHO.

I for one welcome our new Dutch overlords
(that's the only way that would happen!)
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Cudzoziemiec

  • Waking up now, put the kettle on!
Re: Going from Single Speed to Alfine
« Reply #13 on: July 26, 2010, 11:41:33 pm »
Just thinking about this - it is unlikely to happen on most bikes unless hub gears are turned into a feature in the way that e.g. suspension has, which means if it does, it won't be Alfine on those bikes but a cheap and not too cheerful copy.
I do not ride a great big Mercian, gangster tanwalls, fixed cog in the back.

itsbruce

  • Lavender Bike Menace
Re: Going from Single Speed to Alfine
« Reply #14 on: July 27, 2010, 12:16:45 am »
I think hub gears risk being tainted with a "safe but boring" label, like automatic transmissions in cars.  It's hard for a retail salesdroid to make 8 or 9 gears sound as whizzy as all the settings on a 10-speed dérailleur.  That and the cost is likely to keep people put off.  Sure, the maintenance is easier but most people don't look after their bikes anyway.

My Alfine machine is the quietest bike I've ever ridden, which is spooky.  Quieter than my Madison no matter which way I flip the hub.
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Sigurd Mudtracker

Re: Going from Single Speed to Alfine
« Reply #15 on: July 27, 2010, 08:26:13 am »
My Nexus-8 hubbed bike isn't the noisiest bike I've got, but I've concluded that neither is it the quiestest.  There are all sorts of regular ticks and clicks (bit quieter than a S-A hub gear, but not silent).  Which makes me fret that there's something wrong with it, as I had been led to believe that the Alfine and Nexus Premium (mine is the "red band" model, something-25 model name) were mechanically identical.

But yes, I'm very pleased with mine especially with the Jtek shifter and drops combo.