Contrary to my previous post, I am actually relieved to be dumping the Alfine. Who knows if I’ll ever wind up selling the thing—there seems to be a glut of under-priced (gray market?) hubs out there– but at least I now have a high confidence path forward. Here is that path, with very few question marks remaining.
No surprise, I’m moving forward with Ultegra Di2 in the rear and Schlumpf High Speed Drive in the front. The only real trick with this setup is finding an appropriate rear hub. Shimano doesn’t seem to make an 11-speed 135 O.L.D. hub, probably because 135mm is common for mountain and city hubs; road hubs are typically 130mm. Even the new 11-speed XTR mountain bike groupset seems to have bypassed 135mm and jumped to 142mm for their 11-speed hub.
Fortunately there are “boutique” hub makers that let you mix and match 130/135 O.L.D. with 10/11 speed cassettes. One in particular, White Industries, seems to be well respected and offers hubs comparable to Dura-Ace in both quality and, unfortunately, price. I considered using washers (or not) to retrofit a cheaper 130mm hub onto my 135mm frame, but I just can’t do it knowing the correct hub exists. I’m already in so deep at this point, might as well do it right. These hubs have an advantage (in my opinion) over Dura-Ace in that they use cartridge bearings instead of loose balls—a little bit easier to maintain. Even though I may wind up using a rim parking brake, I’d prefer to use a disc-capable hub. I’ve been burned in the past when I’ve wanted to use a disc brake (for whatever reason) but didn’t have a compatible rear hub. Also, the width of the disc mount tends to offset the width of the freewheel somewhat, minimizing the dish. And I think they may only offer disc hubs anyway.
White Industries offers two hubs that would work, the CX11 and CLD, the former with the older ISO 6-bolt rotor mount and the latter with Shimano’s Centerlock spline. The CLD is lighter so I plan to use that one.
For now I’ll run my existing front triple with Ultegra in the rear until I can fill the coffers a bit. I’ll lose a gear on both the high and low end compared to my current Capreo setup but won’t miss them too much. When I do take the plunge for the Schlumpf I’ll use a 30 tooth chain ring to give me a little more top end for commuting on the 1:1 Schlumpf gear. The numbers look like this:
And that’s it! Once I offload the Alfine or a bit more of my old hang gliding equipment I’ll purchase the remaining components and then build it up. I’ve figured out some clean routing for the e-tube cables which will be fun to implement. But mostly I’m anxious to put the evaluation and speculation on hold for a while and do some actual riding. ‘Tis the season.