Alfine "sticking" in sub-zero temperatures

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tonycarrigan
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Joined: 25 Mar 2008, 8:20pm

Alfine "sticking" in sub-zero temperatures

Postby tonycarrigan » 15 Jan 2012, 6:46pm

Hi All,

I have a bit of a problem with my Alfine 8-speed hub when riding in subzero temperatures. It freezes so that I can't shift down - suspect it is the cassette joint that freezes but not sure.

E.g. this morning it was -3 degrees; the shifting was absolutely fine when I took the bike out of the shed (as always I checked it by shifting from 4 to 8 to 1 then back up to 4 and making sure the yellow marks were still aligned). After 5mins in the open air, however, the downshift stopped working. It didn't start working again till a couple of hours later when the sun came out.

The same thing happened one day last winter as well, when it was about -5 degrees.

Has anybody else experienced this? I am guessing that maybe spraying some windscreen de-icer on the cassette joint before leaving the house might resolve this, but would be interested to hear any comments or suggestions.

Thanks
Tony

andyh2
Posts: 365
Joined: 24 Oct 2007, 8:49pm

Re: Alfine "sticking" in sub-zero temperatures

Postby andyh2 » 15 Jan 2012, 7:57pm

Here;
http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.ph ... s-Its-Toll
they reckon....
'Cold weather shifting problems are usually due to water intrusion into the shifting cable.'

and here;
http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.ph ... ld-weather
they suggest....
'Cables should also be generously lubed in the winter to prevent moisture from building up and causing freeze up.'

Brucey
Posts: 33941
Joined: 4 Jan 2012, 6:25pm

Re: Alfine "sticking" in sub-zero temperatures

Postby Brucey » 15 Jan 2012, 9:25pm

I thinking it has to be the cable, shifter or the cassette because the freezing happened too fast to be the guts of the hub itself.

Next time it happens, try tipping hot water over various parts, one at a time, to pin down where the trouble lies.

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

tonycarrigan
Posts: 79
Joined: 25 Mar 2008, 8:20pm

Re: Alfine "sticking" in sub-zero temperatures

Postby tonycarrigan » 15 Jan 2012, 9:26pm

Thanks Andy - those links are very helpful :D

reohn2
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Joined: 26 Jun 2009, 8:21pm

Re: Alfine "sticking" in sub-zero temperatures

Postby reohn2 » 15 Jan 2012, 10:10pm

The only time anything like that has happened to me,albeit with a deraileur system, has been cable related,think small diameter cold things,condensation on them freezing.
At best slowed movement,at worst solid frozen no change at all stuck in one gear usually a high one!
Answer is to lubricate by squirting oil down the outers until i comes out the other end, then grease the inners where they emerge from the outers to stop further water ingress.
Do it annually just before winter.
A quick get you going fix is a hairdrier played on the cable(s) to defrost it/them.
Anyone who says cables don't need lubing doesn't ride in adverse conditions enough to have had the problem.
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I cycle therefore I am.

Nettled Shin
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Joined: 1 Jul 2010, 10:01am
Location: Brigadoon

Re: Alfine "sticking" in sub-zero temperatures

Postby Nettled Shin » 16 Jan 2012, 1:12am

andyh2 wrote:'Cold weather shifting problems are usually due to water intrusion into the shifting cable.'


I think the Alfine cable is sealed at the cassette joint end (the Nexus 8 has a foam wiper and an o-ring in the cable ferrule.). I didn't read the instructions and shortened the cable from the wrong end, which was an annoying mistake. Hopefully, this renders them a bit more immune to water ingress?

tonycarrigan
Posts: 79
Joined: 25 Mar 2008, 8:20pm

Re: Alfine "sticking" in sub-zero temperatures

Postby tonycarrigan » 16 Jan 2012, 10:08pm

Thanks to all who replied. I think ice in the cable housing is almost certainly the explanation. I'm not big on cable maintenance but I suppose I'll have to bite the bullet and oil my gear cable once a year :)

Never had this problem with a derailleur-geared bike but then I've never had a fully-enclosed gear cable before.

For next winter I think I might split the cable run using a couple of clamp-on cable stops on the down tube (my frame is a Surly 1x1 so doesn't have any brazed-on cable stops). Hopefully this would greatly reduce the likelihood of water building up in the cable housing.

Brucey
Posts: 33941
Joined: 4 Jan 2012, 6:25pm

Re: Alfine "sticking" in sub-zero temperatures

Postby Brucey » 16 Jan 2012, 10:32pm

if you have a full cable run it might be best to leave it that way. At least there are only two places the water can get in. Split cable runs often need little boots on etc to help stop water from going in, Shimano do a thing like this for the seat stay stop on MTBs, dunno if it works with band-on cable stops tho'.


I've used heat shrink insulation material to help prevent water ingress in some places (e.g. V-pipe joins).

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

Elizabethsdad
Posts: 1155
Joined: 15 Jan 2011, 7:09pm

Re: Alfine "sticking" in sub-zero temperatures

Postby Elizabethsdad » 17 Jan 2012, 7:11pm

I have had problems in the past with the cables feezing up on bikes left out in the cold. My two steeds now live indoors.

reohn2
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Joined: 26 Jun 2009, 8:21pm

Re: Alfine "sticking" in sub-zero temperatures

Postby reohn2 » 17 Jan 2012, 7:44pm

Brucey wrote:if you have a full cable run it might be best to leave it that way. At least there are only two places the water can get in.
cheers

+1
When I've experienced it,with deraileurs,its been the short outer near the rear mech thats frozen.That bit of outer now has particular attention paid to it at this time of year.
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I cycle therefore I am.

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Phil_Lee
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Location: Cambs

Re: Alfine "sticking" in sub-zero temperatures

Postby Phil_Lee » 22 Jan 2012, 10:16pm

This is one thing that WD40 is useful for.
The WD in the name stands for Water Displacer, and it's water freezing in the cable outer that's the problem, so if you displace it, you get rid of the problem.
Last edited by Phil_Lee on 22 Jan 2012, 11:15pm, edited 1 time in total.

Brucey
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Re: Alfine "sticking" in sub-zero temperatures

Postby Brucey » 22 Jan 2012, 10:40pm

back in my day it was WD40.

that's inflation for you... :wink:

cheers
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Phil_Lee
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Re: Alfine "sticking" in sub-zero temperatures

Postby Phil_Lee » 22 Jan 2012, 11:16pm

Brucey wrote:back in my day it was WD40.

that's inflation for you... :wink:

cheers


Thank you, finger trouble fixed :D

That'll teach me to read it before hitting "Submit".

Mark Berry
Posts: 75
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Location: London

Re: Alfine "sticking" in sub-zero temperatures

Postby Mark Berry » 23 Jan 2012, 9:48pm

Hi Tony,

My Nexus 8 (Alfine with a roller brake) froze two mornings last week. I'm quite sure it was the hub - not the cable. Top four gears shifted fine - but it absolutely refused to go into the lower gears. Being cold and dark, I didn't closely investigate if the changer 'pulley' was turning or not, but I thought I could see was slack in the cable at the hub end as well as the shifter end. I experienced this last winter too, but not so bad, dispute the fact that the weather was colder last year. I'm guessing that the 10/40 motor oil I've been dunking the hub internals in is too thick. Did I read somewhere that ATF might be more appropriate? (The Shimano stuff is out of my price league!). The good news is that all returns to normal once things warm up.

MarkB

Nettled Shin
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Re: Alfine "sticking" in sub-zero temperatures

Postby Nettled Shin » 24 Jan 2012, 12:33am

Mark Berry wrote:My Nexus 8 (Alfine with a roller brake) froze two mornings last week. I'm quite sure it was the hub - not the cable.MarkB


I find it surprising that the increased viscosity of your oil would prevent a change occurring at all. Would it not just be delayed? I hope you've not got any water inside your hub?
Just goes to show that hubgears can't be that inefficient, else you'd expect the 10s of watts lost to heat would keep the lubricants nicely fluid.