At long last, I’m riding a complete installation that meets at least a portion of my original goals. It’s been a rocky journey but now I can tick off “fast, precise, and reliable shifting that is impervious to freezing” and “high quality, ergonomic shifter” from my list. Here are the gory details of the recent build that got me here. Once I’ve had time for evaluation and to refill my coffers, I’ll embark on Phase II—Dynamo Lighting and Hydraulic Brakes and Phase III—Schlumpf. Stay tuned. Continue reading
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.
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.
Here are some more details on this increasingly interesting alternative to 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.
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.