Shimano Alfine 11 - Longer term reliability

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radlr
Posts: 4
Joined: 5 Jul 2018, 12:05am

Re: Shimano Alfine 11 - Longer term reliability

Postby radlr » 30 Aug 2018, 12:36pm

Hi Fredrik,

I have a Nexus SG-8R25 8-speed hub that is 12 years old and has never had any problems. The wheel set I am keeping as such, I am now building a new set with the 11 speed Alfine model. I was faced with the same decision as you - which of the Shimano Inter-11 internal geared hubs should I get? And I think it is rather conclusively documented that it makes no sense to buy an older Inter-11 model today, when today you can get the SG-S7001-11.

I think one very telling point is to have a look at the parts listing for the SG-S7001-11. Shimano lists part compatibility between different Inter-11 models (also for other products, such as between different Inter-8 models, the Nexus and the Alfines). This is a clear indication if a part was modified, and how much it was modified. If a part from the current model was changed enough that it is no longer compatible with older models, then that is a significant change.

The SG-S7001-11 IGH has the following newer parts that no longer can be used with the older SG-S700 model:
Item No. 8 - Sun Gear 4
Item No. 10 - Carrier 2 Unit
Item No. 11 - Sun gear 2 Unit
Item No. 12 - Carrier 1 Unit
Item No. 14 - Hub Axle Unit
Item No. 15 - Clutch Unit

These are not trivial parts. They have to do with the functions that have well documented problems, as you can read in this and other forums.

So no, I would not get anything else than the latest Shimano Inter-11 model, the Alfine SG-S7001-11.

Sincerely

R

Fredrik
Posts: 2
Joined: 29 Aug 2018, 7:22pm

Re: Shimano Alfine 11 - Longer term reliability

Postby Fredrik » 30 Aug 2018, 9:28pm

Hi radlr.

Thank you for your quick answer.

Yes i can see that there is a lot of parts which have been exchanged and (hopefully) improved.
I have asked a bike store if the could build me a set of wheels if I bring them the parts needed, and they sayd yes.
I kindof wanted someone to say that the SG-S700 is great, because that would save me some moments time and money in the short time (you know, order a set of wheels, mount it on the frame and go for a ride) but not in the long time.

I'm new to build wheels and, all that I must check and compare parts and spokes and holes and rims, I will probably miss something ending up with a BMX size wheel with Alfine Internal 11 gear on my bike.
I know what I had and I want something simular so I need to speak to the Bike Store and see what they can do for me with a SG-S7001-11 hub.
It will be more reliable for me in the long run.

Best Regards

Fredrik.

radlr
Posts: 4
Joined: 5 Jul 2018, 12:05am

Re: Shimano Alfine 11 - Longer term reliability

Postby radlr » 30 Aug 2018, 10:23pm

Hi Fredrik,

I think we are in very similar situations. My 26" Fort MTB setup, Rigida Disc Bull 36-spoke wheel set, has done service for 12 years in the city and country riding in rain and snow and freezing and hot weather and never gave me any problems ever. I use the Alfine thumb-shifter with my Nexus 8 (red band) hub (yes, that is not specified anywhere, and it works perfectly - I hate twist shifters!) and in those twelve years, its the shifter that eventually started having problems. I have replaced the shifter once, and the shift cable also once. I have done the oil-dip service and re-greased the Nexus twice in twelve years. That's it. I've also serviced the roller brakes (IM-70 and IM-75) by competlely taking them apart and servicing them (also something that is supposedly impossible, but is no problem at all) twice.

So, now the bike got stripped and got a new powder-coating, and all the components are replaced. And what to do with the wheel set? See if I can get another 12 years out of the Nexus 8? I kept the wheels as is, perhaps I will switch them for winter riding, as the roller brakes are so perfect for snow and slush. But, since the frame got stripped, I decided I might as well lace up some new wheels, and I got the SG-S7001-11 and I switched to discs front and rear.

I'm building some Ryde (Rigida is now Ryde) Big Bull (they are the successor to the Disc Bulls) 26" 36-hole rims (disc version, so the brake flanges are painted) with the SG-S7001-11 hub and in front I'm building the rims with Shutter Precision SP-8L (disc) also 36-hole. I'm waiting on the DT Swiss Competition spokes, hopefully they get here by the weekend.

Then in 12 years I'll see if the new stuff is as good as the old stuff. ;)

Sincerely

R

Macadam
Posts: 7
Joined: 3 Sep 2018, 12:38pm

Re: Shimano Alfine 11 - Longer term reliability

Postby Macadam » 3 Sep 2018, 12:48pm

Hello Everybody,

I am new on this forum (sorry for my English).
I have an Alfine 11 (SG-S700-11) installed on a Brompton (with a Kinetics stainless steel triangle).
I wonder if someone has already tried to modify an Alfine 11 (mechanical version) in Di2 version keeping the hub shell and most of the internal parts ?
I ask this question because the cost of an Alfine Di2 is around 700 € and the difference between the two hubs seems to be the internal spring and the fixation of the motor unit.
Thank you.

Macadam

Nota : thanks to VanGoose for the very detailled note (V1 and V2) about the Alfine 11

Brucey
Posts: 32768
Joined: 4 Jan 2012, 6:25pm

Re: Shimano Alfine 11 - Longer term reliability

Postby Brucey » 3 Sep 2018, 2:48pm

I've looked into the reverse conversion (i.e. converting a Di2 hub to mechanical *) a little bit (on a cybernexus 8 shub, which is a bit different admittedly) and I think an external spring could be used to tension the cable and provide a return spring for the shifter. However (unlike a hub with an internal return spring) this will only control the shift mechanism in the hub properly if there is no backlash between the cassette joint and the hub.

Other changes required would include a different way of retaining the cassette joint, I think.

So in total there are at least three issues;

1) providing a return spring action for the hub/shifter
2) providing a backlash free drive connection between the cassette joint
and the hub's gear selector mechanism
3) retaining the cassette joint on the hub.

The third of these (and possibly the second) may mean purchasing a few of the RH parts for a normal A11 hub, and the other items I think are DIY-able. The return spring needs to exert a nearly constant force (estimated at ~5lbs) over the ~51mm total cable pull. This is well within the compass of various tension springs, which could be mounted under the RH chainstay.

I daresay the reverse is also possible but this would require the axle assy to be replaced or dismantled, in order to remove the internal return spring action.

(*) I did this because at the time, e-bay was infested with Di2 hubs (new and used) which were being sold for about half the price of the mechanical variants. It would appear that either the whole concept of Di2 on bikes with IGHs is unappealing and/or the electronics are not robust/reliable/repairable. I suspect the latter; the most common fate for a faulty IGH Di2 system in a lot of LBSs is that it get scrapped; you can replace the entire shooting match with mechanical stuff (in 8s) for less money than a few Di2 spares and there is not a massive (= expensive) time-wasting exercise trying to work out which bit has actually broken.

cheers
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

radlr
Posts: 4
Joined: 5 Jul 2018, 12:05am

Re: Shimano Alfine 11 - Longer term reliability

Postby radlr » 3 Sep 2018, 9:18pm

Interestingly on Amazon I see SG-S705-11 (Di2) Hubs going for EU199. This is pretty cheap I gotta say... I briefly considered Di2, but decided that a bicycle for me is a mode of transport that functions entirely through the energy I put into it with my body - I never want to have to replace a battery on my bike in order for me to shift it! I also don't wan't to charge lights, hence dynamo hubs. Okay but that's getting a bit away from the topic.

It will be interesting to see what the long term issues of say the SG-S705 (Di2) models are. The internals are no different than an SG-S700, plus there is an electrical servo added, so I would assume the failure rate will be higher than a purely mechanical Inter-11 hub.

So if you really want Di2, perhaps just get an SG-S7005-11 and be done with it?

-R

Cavemud
Posts: 134
Joined: 16 Feb 2009, 10:02pm

Re: Shimano Alfine 11 - Longer term reliability

Postby Cavemud » 3 Sep 2018, 10:28pm

I've recently built two bikes up from scratch using the SG-S705 (Di2).

One of the bikes has been running since February and has been 100% reliable in that time. I occasionally get a little clunk or slip but this usually associated with laying on the power soon after a shift. This happens maybe once in a 5 mile commute, although is getting less frequent now, possibly because my timing is getting better.

The Di2 shift is truly amazing. Super quick and silent. It really is a joy to ride.

As for charging, after a bit of DIY electronics I have a changeover switch that charges the Di2 Battery from the dynamo, so it hasn't seen an external power source since the day it was built.

All in all I'm pretty smug about the whole thing, however there are a couple of drawbacks:

1) The wheel cannot be removed without disconnecting the motor, which means disconnecting a little e-tube connector. This was fine for a little while until the connector stopped clicking in properly. I've also seen you tube reviews where others have had the same issue. Ultimately this cost me a new motor (and nearly another when I thought I'd cracked it during installation). I now have a little DIY magnetic connector which I cobbled together with some reversed magnets and some heat shrink. The shimano connector never gets touched.. Shimano could have done a better job here.

2) The whole system is a bit heavier than my old derailleur set up. Not a lot, but my touring bike was heavy anyway, and the distribution of weight to the rear makes it more noticeable.

3) Getting it all to work with belt drive was a bit traumatic and involved some custom frame work.

Having experienced it, I really can't see why servo shifted hub gears wouldn't become the norm if more manufacturers got involved and prices came down.

Finally to pick up on Bruceys point about diagnosing faults, when I first plugged it all together on the kitchen table I couldnt get it to do anything. Eventually I downloaded the shimano e-tube software onto the laptop which diagnosed the problem for me straight away!!

Brucey
Posts: 32768
Joined: 4 Jan 2012, 6:25pm

Re: Shimano Alfine 11 - Longer term reliability

Postby Brucey » 3 Sep 2018, 11:12pm

given that the thing slips occasionally and has eaten a motor unit, I wouldn't describe it as '100% reliable'....?

FWIW one of the problems with the mechanical hub is that you only have one external point of reference (the yellow marks) to tell you if the shifting system is properly calibrated, and that might well be slightly misleading anyway. Apart from dismantling the hub and actually eyeballing the pawl lifts, there is no good way to see if the hub can be expected to work properly.

IMHO the Di2 version is worse; the shift servo (motor unit) is just a black box. If the 11s Di2 servo is anything like the 8s cybernexus one, it

a) isn't perfectly sealed and
b) contains a fairly crappy potentiometer as a 'resolving' element.

If the latter starts to become intermittent or gives false readings (very likely if it, ooh, gets damp... :roll: ) then this won't be obvious (not to the software either) and regardless of this you are still left with the basic calibration issue; I don't see that there is particular reason why the servo should be any more accurately timed to the hub innards than the mechanical version (it fits using exactly the same splined coupling, which wears/can be badly made), but in addition there is a whole gear train to go sloppy before you get to the resolver; the difference is that you don't even have one external point of reference to tell you if it is really doing the right thing or not.

In other words you have perhaps merely added a layer of potential obfuscation to the mechanical parts of the system, that may well serve mainly to frustrate your attempts to diagnose what would normally be a simple fault.

With systems of this sort one commonly has to resort to playing 'parts change bingo' in order to fix them. It is an expensive, frustrating, and time-consuming game....

cheers
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

jb
Posts: 840
Joined: 6 Jan 2007, 12:17pm
Location: Clitheroe

Re: Shimano Alfine 11 - Longer term reliability

Postby jb » 4 Sep 2018, 1:22am

The servo method does at least eliminate the grit getting in the pulley problem I would have thought, though I've never seen one.

There also seems to be a difference in perception of how important / annoying an occasional slip is. After a long ride and climbing a hill - very annoying, to the point of throwing the whole contraption in the nearest ditch.
For a daily commute on the other hand it may barely be noticed - just a quirk of the gearbox.

There must be a reason they are still selling.
Cheers
J Bro

Macadam
Posts: 7
Joined: 3 Sep 2018, 12:38pm

Re: Shimano Alfine 11 - Longer term reliability

Postby Macadam » 4 Sep 2018, 6:15am

Thank you Brucey and Radl for all these informations.
Indeed, Amazon sell the SG-705-11 hub, but it's not available for the moment (it's sold out).
For only 199 €, it's a good deal but I wonder if it was not the old version in promotion which will become more and more rare ?
Other problem if someone wants to convert an Alfine 11 (mechanical) into a Di2, it's to find the parts :mrgreen:
Some bike dealers like SJS Cycles in UK sell parts for the Alfine 11 and particularly the hub axle unit, but I didn't see the axle unit Di2 version and some other parts (there's too few parts for this version).
Thank you Cavemud for your testimony. I will see later if I chose the Di2 or if I stay with my SG-S700 system.

Macadam

meandros
Posts: 21
Joined: 1 Jan 2018, 7:34pm

Re: Shimano Alfine 11 - Longer term reliability

Postby meandros » 14 Sep 2018, 3:14am

Upon servicing half a dozen Alfine11s, all of them SGS700, I've come to the conclusion there is nothing inherently wrong with either the design or the materials used. It does indeed seem the SGS700 is more particular about the 184mm setting than the newer SGS700111. If one uses the original shimano tool for setting the cable distance there are no more hickups; simply aligning the yella lines does the trick.
My experience with these hubs (and the Nexus/Alfine 8s as well), leads me to believe the recommended shimano greasing method and grease/oil are plain wrong for long term use. It does seem to be sufficient, however, for reliable usage within the advertised and warrantied 50.000km. The thing is, though, these hubs are so tough that with proper lubrication they can go indefinitely and more than 100.000km between internal service; that is, if the outside it kept clean and in proper working order.
In conclusion, for those that are looking at the first gen A11s, no fretting is necessary and, if without access to a proper IGH mecanic, just do yourself a big favor and spend a tenner for that cable setting tool: it will make your IGH experience into joy.

Happy pedals!

Brucey
Posts: 32768
Joined: 4 Jan 2012, 6:25pm

Re: Shimano Alfine 11 - Longer term reliability

Postby Brucey » 14 Sep 2018, 10:58am

that is what I'd call 'a bit optimistic'.

cheers
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

meandros
Posts: 21
Joined: 1 Jan 2018, 7:34pm

Re: Shimano Alfine 11 - Longer term reliability

Postby meandros » 16 Sep 2018, 7:33pm

It's easy to be even 'a bit optimistic', Brucey, with all this doom n' gloom regarding the SGS700. Fact is, that hub is solid. As previously discussed on this thread and others, whether that true yellaline alignmet is where shimano say or not, that is another matter however, like we demonstrated, in this thread and others, with pictures n' words, it is actually not that difficult finding the true alignment once the correct cable setting has been made.

As far as my travails with these hubs go, only one of the half dozen I've serviced had the true alignment so far out of whack, it made me wonder but that hub happens to be one of mine (I have two A11 transmissions and an A8) and it's going super-strong, no faults what-so-ever.

One trait I've encountered with the A11, be it somewhat quirky, it doesn't seem to like 203mm rotors; 180mm is perfectly fine, but the 203 makes such a racket and seems to perform poorly compared to a 180. I've tried it with a couple 203 in the rear, I'm now 180 only on the Alfine hubs. Anyone else experienced this?

vanGoose
Posts: 12
Joined: 15 Mar 2018, 8:47pm

Re: Shimano Alfine 11 - Longer term reliability

Postby vanGoose » 27 Sep 2018, 7:19pm

radlr wrote:
vanGoose wrote:Hi, long time no see...

Calling just to say: "Second's Out!".

My book grew to 52 pages, contains more photographs and - maybe - can start further discussions about the "magic" within pawl engagement profiles...

Here is your link for everybody who is curious:

https://c.gmx.net/@329602864890517692/P ... EjXCnpZyCw

A few notes:

5. The link is valid until 2018-06-21.

Comments welcome - enjoy!


Hi vanGoose, I guess I missed the time to download your book on A11 disection. Would you please make another link?

Thank you very much.

-Radlr


radir, sorry for not being around recently. I preferred to ride rather than write...

Link has been renewed, valid for 30 days again. THIS is supposed to work:

https://c.gmx.net/@329602864890517692/P ... EjXCnpZyCw (actually same link as before but validity is now extended)

Everybody is free to download and share, as you like. PLEASE NOTE:

All my books are about the "old" A-11 i.e. the SG-S700. I never owned or opened the new version SG-S7001 series hubs. Those newer versions seem to have undergone improvements and do no longer torture their owners afaik. Even with the old SG-S700, there were multiple versions out there. I personally own two and they use different axle units. My book shows both and discusses some differences.

I would like to add a few expieriences i recently had:

I got both units for free and played for hours, no weeks, with the internals. The first set i touched and had ready for riding had previously suffered so far that what was left to operate was a "A-10", not a "A-11". Things worsened and in July 2018 i changed to the second unit which is now in operation.

The first unit never worked as should. Gear 10 and (less troubleful though) gear 5 were not ok, i stopped using no.10 because it slipped almost continuously (i.e. at least once every 10 pedal revolutions). The funny thing is, though, that gear 5&10 have exactly the same pawl setting active. Sure, it is a different section of the pawl selector sleeve, but the scheme still is same. I may try and get to the bottom of it next winter. Few weeks later it got messed up in a way that (as i suppose) the non-turn-springs on the left side probably escaped. The unit started ratcheting noises all the time and more gears (most often no.8) started to slip. Until swapping to unit #2, i rode unit #1 for @3000km in total.

Sure, when you encounter such behaviour, it is not a good idea to keep riding, especially when having a second set available. But, lazy as i am, i still did for some weeks. I think that, if i feel like playing again during long cold winter nights, i will re-open unit #1 and look inside. I think that the failures may have to do something with AXIAL play. As we know, item no. 3 in the Shimano exploded view (stop ring LHS) is available in 3 thicknesses so as to compensate for axial play coming from shims (item no. 4&7) wear/tolerances. Too much of axial play enables the spring(s) no. 5&6 to escape, but before that what we may see is tilting of the latched pawls due to axial play of planetary gears/sun wheels. If nobody else is ahead of me with analysing then perhaps this will be what my next book may be about.

The second unit is now operating "trouble-free" since @1000km ride. Once in a while it gets mad at me slipping gear 5 and 10 (yes those two again), but this is really rarely happening only. This unit is a "true A-11". It will hopefully stay like that...

One comment about you people wondering if an old SG-S700 (Alfine-11), a SG-S501 (Alfine-8) or any of the 7000 series is recommendable to try:

Do definitely not touch SG-S700's, no matter how cheap they are. Obviously, the redesign (my unit #2) is more reliable than before, but you will not know which version you get because both were marked same "type". There certainly is some link to serial numbers but i do not know about any details.

The SG-S501 is very reliable eversince, i rode my own for 8 years (>30000km). BUT: The gear stepping is very unequal. If you ever rode a A-11 or even a Rohloff, then you will be annoyed with the unequal stepping of an A-8. The A-11 is a real improvement in that regard. My old A-8 was now moved to the "guests" bicycle (replacing a Spectro-S7), but i do not want to go back myself, now that i enjoyed the A-11.

When you are stuck between SG-S7001-8 (successor of SGS501 Alfine-8) and SG-S7001-11 (latest Alfine-11) then please take a while and think about the benefit of equally spaced gears. In my personal sense it is worth the money. The only "better" hub available is the Rohloff (i ride one on my "tandem" bicycle, a Hase Pino, together with the most wonderful lady on earth) and this hub is really much harder to pay.

Conclusion: Dig deep in your wallet. If you can't afford a Rohloff then go for the 7001-11 - you will love it for many years. If this is still too expensive then go for the Alfine-8, but be aware that you will hate it in the long run even though it is very reliable. The "standard" Nexus-8 is not a good alternative. Its ETA is far below the Alfine's, one can easily notice that. Do you want to spend force on driving or on the hub?? When selecting Shimano IGH, then go for Alfine's. When you can afford it then go for a SG-S7001-11.
Best regards
vanGoose
everyday cyclist, sram-3, spectro-s7, a-8, a-11, r-14

Brucey
Posts: 32768
Joined: 4 Jan 2012, 6:25pm

Re: Shimano Alfine 11 - Longer term reliability

Postby Brucey » 27 Sep 2018, 7:43pm

just to mention that Nexus 8 'premium' models have roller bearings on the planet gears just like A8 hubs. They have the same ratios too. Thus they work the same as A8 hubs and the only things to discriminate them from alfine are the appearance of the hub, the sealing, the disc brake option (in older hubs) and the low normal vs high normal operation of later versions of the A8 hub.

If you cannot afford (or do not want) more than 8s IGH, then consider adapting the system to include two chainrings (or sprockets) in a half-step or one and a half step configuration. This can give you more closely spaced gears.

This compares half step with one and half step gearing on an A8/N8 hub

http://ritzelrechner.de/?GR=SNI8&KB=36,40&RZ=18&UF=2150&TF=90&SL=2.6&UN=MPH&DV=gearInches&GR2=SNI8&KB2=31,40&RZ2=18&UF2=2150

With half step the maximum gear interval is 11% and with one and half step the maximum gear interval (in the midrange) is 13%, with bigger steps at the top and bottom of the range.

Cheers
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~