Alfine 11 Gearing and Shifters.

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Mr Blister
Posts: 17
Joined: 26 May 2009, 10:31pm

Alfine 11 Gearing and Shifters.

Post by Mr Blister »

I have just finished building what I think is just about my "ultimate" commuter/ tourer (for my needs and budget at any rate!) For brakes I have specced avid discs and the bike is geared with an alfine 11 hub.

I have had an absolute pig of a time trying to find a way of having drop bars with the standard thumb shifter due to bar diameter. In the end what I settled for was an On-One Bingo bull bar so that I could run the standard shifter. This then meant that most tt bar end brake levers wouldn't fit as the inside diamater on the handle bars was to small. I ended up using a pair of dia-compe levers which I fashioned some new expanders for.

The problem that I am having is that while this set up actuall feels pretty comfortable and everything works well. I am back to the age old problem of having to move my hands to shift gears, thus losing momentum and rhythm. I was wondering if anyone has tried the VRSA shifters, specifically the 11 speed ones or whether anyone has explored the possibility of a bar end friction shifter for an alfine 11?

My other question, which has been touched upon on another thread, is just interested to know if there are many people out there running an alfine 11 with a double chain ring up front? I'm thinking of running mine with a 42/ 34 and just doing a manual change as when needed (not very often!)
Brucey
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Joined: 4 Jan 2012, 6:25pm

Re: Alfine 11 Gearing and Shifters.

Post by Brucey »

a chum of mine has the Versa 11 shifters and they have been fine so far (some have reported trouble with versa shifters). The bike is set up with drops, with a short and high stem so that the default position is on the hoods.

Not sure there is a conventional thumbshifter with 11 clicks yet. And I'm not sure it is a good idea to run non-indexed; this can wreck some hub gears and I don't know if the Alfine 11 is one such or not.

cheers
Last edited by Brucey on 18 Mar 2012, 10:43am, edited 1 time in total.
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catsnapper
Posts: 62
Joined: 19 Sep 2010, 8:29am

Re: Alfine 11 Gearing and Shifters.

Post by catsnapper »

Brucey wrote: And I'm not sure it is a good idea to run non-indexed; this can wreck some hub gears and I don't know if the Alfine 11 is one such or not


This quite long thread on the hubstripping blog http://hubstripping.wordpress.com/2010/02/03/11-speed-alfine-hub-from-shimano/ would suggest the Alfine 11 can get seriously mucked up with incorrect shifting.

Alan
Brucey
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Re: Alfine 11 Gearing and Shifters.

Post by Brucey »

catsnapper wrote:
Brucey wrote: And I'm not sure it is a good idea to run non-indexed; this can wreck some hub gears and I don't know if the Alfine 11 is one such or not


This quite long thread on the hubstripping blog http://hubstripping.wordpress.com/2010/02/03/11-speed-alfine-hub-from-shimano/ would suggest the Alfine 11 can get seriously mucked up with incorrect shifting.

Alan


cheers, I'll take a look at that... :D

edit; I took a look at it and it seems that the alfine 11 uses a mixture of 'pawl defeat' and 'sliding clutch' shifts. Whilst in many hub gears the former (IME) are fairly tolerant (although not completely immune to breakage) when shifting under load, badly adjusted index etc the latter are not. Definitely not a hub to use with friction shifters then.
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Mr Blister
Posts: 17
Joined: 26 May 2009, 10:31pm

Re: Alfine 11 Gearing and Shifters.

Post by Mr Blister »

Thanks for the replies. Looks like it's back to the VRSA idea for shifting then. I must say I am loathed to fork out the best part of £200 for them though, especially when you consider only one of the shifters is an STI the other is just a brake lever!
Brucey
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Re: Alfine 11 Gearing and Shifters.

Post by Brucey »

Mr Blister wrote:Thanks for the replies. Looks like it's back to the VRSA idea for shifting then. I must say I am loathed to fork out the best part of £200 for them though, especially when you consider only one of the shifters is an STI the other is just a brake lever!


you could always go for the recently announced Alfine Di2 when it becomes available..... if you are as mad as a box of frogs that is..... :shock: :shock:

edit: $193 + shipping here:
http://www.modernbike.com/itemgroup.asp?IGPK=2126194555
may sweeten the deal depending on shipping arrangements.

cheers
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Mr Blister
Posts: 17
Joined: 26 May 2009, 10:31pm

Re: Alfine 11 Gearing and Shifters.

Post by Mr Blister »

They look interesting but sadly having seen people get caught out by customs duty and Vat added on to purchases from outside of the EU I am very wary of purchasing from the US. I think I will just have to wait for Santa and maybe the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny! They do still visit right? :D
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[XAP]Bob
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Re: Alfine 11 Gearing and Shifters.

Post by [XAP]Bob »

They're never seen together though. Coincidence?
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RickH
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Location: Horwich, Lancs.

Re: Alfine 11 Gearing and Shifters.

Post by RickH »

Mr Blister wrote:They look interesting but sadly having seen people get caught out by customs duty and Vat added on to purchases from outside of the EU I am very wary of purchasing from the US. I think I will just have to wait for Santa and maybe the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny! They do still visit right? :D

If by "they" you mean the Versa shifters - SJS do them here.
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speedsixdave
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Joined: 19 Apr 2007, 1:48pm
Location: Nottingham, UK

Re: Alfine 11 Gearing and Shifters.

Post by speedsixdave »

No experience with the 11 but I have the Versa VRS8 shifters for my Nexus and really like them. Very comfortable with lots of hand positions, like Shimano STIs from a few years ago.

There are a couple of odd things: the shift levers are 'the wrong way round' - the big lever changes to a higher gear and the smaller button-lever does a lower gear, which is the opposite way round to ergos and STIs. The throw of the big lever is a little bit longer than I would like, but not a problem. It's more like a two- or three-cog shift on a STI. And beware of the optional adjusters! My hub kept going out of adjustment and I couldn't work out why, until I realised that the helpful lever-mounted adjuster would adjust itself out of adjustment by about an eighth of a turn every time I applied the brake lever. Solved with some gaffer tape.

Once you're used to these slight idiosyncracies they're a great bit of kit - much better than any other solution in my experience. The build quality is not as good as (say) Shimano Ultegra but mine have survived one hard winter and my damp garage without any issues at all. If you wante to ride round the world you might want something more sturdy, but then you probably wouldn't want a Shimano hub gear either. As to the price, they're a complex bit of kit and I was more than happy to support Versa's r&d and am thankful that they bothered to fill a tiny niche with a good product. Especially since I got them in one of On One / Planet X's occasional sales!

FWIW mine brake Avid BB7 Road discs, and work well with this setup.
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rfryer
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Joined: 7 Feb 2013, 3:58pm

Re: Alfine 11 Gearing and Shifters.

Post by rfryer »

I'm using Versa shifters with an Alfine 11, and enjoying the ride! Unlike the Alfine 8 setup, the STI is the right way round (big lever drops to a lower gear).

However, I've not had it long, and after reading lots of scare stories on the 'net I'm being very kind to it! That means a lot of things, including an oil check/top up before the first ride (it was at half quantity), ensuring the chain wasn't too tight (t was on delivery), increased frequency of the first few oil changes and always pausing the pedalling (momentarily) when I change gear. So far, this regime has served me well, though I suppose I'll never know whether it was necessary!

I do think it's worth considering letting up on gear changes. Intuitively, changing gear involves engaging some pawls and disengaging others. During the shift, there'll be a time when some pawls are half up, and others are half down, and it'd be optimistic to expect the hub to survive this at full pedalling pressure, even though I know it's supposed to protect itself. By interrupting the spin, I ensure that on restart I get exactly the gear I'm expecting, reliably. Other than a slight loss of momentum, the only downside is that I caught myself doing it on my road/bike as well!

Good luck with the build, hope you have as much luck with the Alfine as I'm having.
Brucey
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Re: Alfine 11 Gearing and Shifters.

Post by Brucey »

BTW I don't know if this is usually the case in every gear on an Alfine 11, but in many shimano hub gears, should you backpedal, the gear disengages, since the pawls that engage the gear are the same as those that allow backpedalling (but not freewheeling) in any one gear. When you resume pedalling after backpedalling, the effect is identical to a gearshift in that the gear engagement pawls must re-engage.

Forwards pedalling without load (FPWL) during/after shifting allows the engagement pawls to settle without risk of partial engagement, and therefore slippage. Actually backpedalling during shifting may be counterproductive in many cases, unless it is followed by some forward pedalling without load (FPWL).

Cheers
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rfryer
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Joined: 7 Feb 2013, 3:58pm

Re: Alfine 11 Gearing and Shifters.

Post by rfryer »

That makes sense, pedalling backwards does feel/sound very different inside the hub. I think that what I do is a brief pause, followed by maybe half a revolution of FPWL as I try to re-engage the gears gently. The feel is surprisingly like a manual gear change on a car; press the clutch (stop pedalling, usually at TDC/BDC), change gear, gently release the clutch (bring pedals up to cadence within around 1/2 turn).

As well as being kind (I hope) to the hub, it's also good for my knees as I can rely on the hub always being in the gear I expect, rather than shifting when it feels like it.
bobc
Posts: 495
Joined: 5 Apr 2012, 11:59am

Re: Alfine 11 Gearing and Shifters.

Post by bobc »

another completely satisfied user of the versa shifters on an alfine 11 ;^)

BTW our greenpower cars running nexus 8 (mostly) were shifted on load (up to about 1000W) in our greenpower race cars for years & gave sterling service. Really - thousands of racing miles as well as thousands more training and testing - the red band nexus 8 was bomb proof. Bear in mind that 11 to 16 yr old schoolgirls are not noted for their mechanical sympathy........
Brucey
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Re: Alfine 11 Gearing and Shifters.

Post by Brucey »

I was wondering about that too. My rationale that attempts to explain this is twofold;

1) Inertia; if you slip half a turn with a motor drive, the inertia of the drive when it 'catches up' isn't necessarily that much. I think that the pawls may get hammered on a bike and maybe not so much with an electric motor in the event of slippage.

2) shift speed and precision. I would expect the shift movement to be swift and precise on a greenpower vehicle, maybe?

The slippage risk is increased anytime the shift movement is slow and/or imprecise; 'almost engaged' is the danger time where slippage and damage can result.

cheers
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