According to the postal service my Alfine hub has been received by Shimano. According to Shimano they’ll look at it within three to five days. So I should have some sort of resolution soon. Meanwhile I’m back using my old drivetrain, and it sucks.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I’ve begun acquiring the Di2 parts necessary to get the system running on the bench. I have a rim and Alfine-11 hub in hand and am waiting on a spoke order before I begin building the wheel. I was surprised how difficult it was to find the Alfine-11 in 36 hole silver here in the states. Jim (aka Bike Hermit) at Bike Touring News had no trouble and I had my hub within just a few days of placing the order.
Before I can complete the initial Di2 order I need to figure out the wire I’ll need. Continue reading
Now that I’ve seen belt drive in action on a couple of “city bikes” in town, I can’t seem to let this one go. On an upright bike, belt drive is smooth, reliable, light, and silent. On a recumbent it has the potential to solve what for many is their bane: a long, greasy, noisy, unwieldy chain. This post is my attempt at taking a closer look to see what might be preventing the adoption of belt drive for recumbents and, specifically, ‘bent trikes. I’ll discuss the issues I see, many unique to ‘bents. Then I’ll see if I can figure out what it would take to adapt my current trike to belt drive. Continue reading