My precious Alfine hub will soon be at peace with its maker, but I’ve still got some healing to do. My experience with Alfine has been a roller coaster ride that has left me wary of internally geared hubs. Not to mention anxious, moody, and prone to sudden outbursts of sobbing. Combined with my DualDrive and Sturmey-Archer experience I guess you could say that I’m thrice bitten… fourfold shy? I’ve lost count. What follows is my therapy.
Author Archives: Kurt
Di2 Battery Life
I’ve now got enough data on Alfine Di2 to jump to some conclusions about Di2 battery life in general. Some of what follows is still conjecture, hence the jump, but seems reasonable based on the data I’ve got so far. Update: Click here to cut to the chase; a running report of my real-world battery life since January 2015.
Here are some more details on this increasingly interesting alternative to Alfine.
Life After Alfine
The jury is still out on Alfine and to a lesser extent Di2 so I’m pressing on with the experiment. If Alfine proves a bust, here are the options I see.
Reality Check: Shimano Alfine
In less than a week of running the Alfine-11 Di2 on my daily commute I’ve encountered nearly every failure mode known to the internet. I have only myself to blame.
I’m still waiting on my order for 166mm spokes so that I can rebuild the Alfine wheel as a cross-2 to address the spoke angle problems of my original cross-3 build. Apparently spokes this short are pretty hard to come by but Cambria Bicycle Outfitter assures me I’ll have them in about a week. Meanwhile the weather has dipped into the teens again and I’ve been stuck in a single gear for my work commute. Last night I’d had enough and decided to throw what I have on the trike and see how it works.
I stand corrected. Courtesy of Trike Asylum, I recently learned of a (nearly) production trike that meets most of my criteria for the “ultimate human-powered touring and commuting machine.”
Here’s a video of the Shimano Alfine-11 Di2 system in action on the bench.
I don’t knit, but if I did I think it would feel like building wheels. It’s methodical and repetitive. The end product looks good and is really useful. It’s a great thing to do planted in front of the TV– you have a shiny new wheel to show for your otherwise wasted evening. Building your own wheels opens up infinite possibilities in rims, hubs, spokes, spoke patterns, and colors, and the end product is stronger and stays truer than any machine-built wheel.
Di2 Secrets Revealed!
Shimano does an impressive job documenting all of the Alfine Di2 components and making it readily available through the internet. Even so, I had a hard time finding answers to a variety of questions before I took the plunge and just purchased the stuff. To be fair, many of these questions come from the fringes of trying to adapt to a recumbent trike a system that is designed for upright bikes. Now I know the answers to most of my burning questions, and so do you.