User Tag List

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 27

Thread: Shimano Alfine Internal Hub + Gates Belt Drive + Cold Weather?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    NY & MN
    Posts
    4,127
    Post Thanks / Like
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default Shimano Alfine Internal Hub + Gates Belt Drive + Cold Weather?

    Due to some great life developments, my wife and I are planning to cut down to one car in June and mostly commute by bike (with public transit and Lyft as backups).

    For me, this is going to mean bike commuting in really cold weather, which I haven't tried for almost 10 years. My last effort ended in frustration with frozen gear and brake cables/mechs, although I do remember being awed by studded tires.

    Anyway, I'm thinking that if I'm going to do this winter commuting thing, I should DO IT and address my prior frustrations. I understand from reliable sources that current hydro discs can be made reliable in the cold.

    My question is about gearing and drivetrain. The people I know who commute in the winter just destroy metal drivetrain components. I'm thinking about trying an internally geared hub with a belt drive as a solution. My basic question: is a belt drive and internal hub in cold temps a good idea or a bad idea? Will the internal hub shift in extreme cold, say below zero Fahrenheit?

    Personal experiences, links to reviews, and hearsay welcome.
     

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    W Mass
    Posts
    8,778
    Post Thanks / Like
    Mentioned
    2 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)

    Default Re: Shimano Alfine Internal Hub + Gates Belt Drive + Cold Weather?

    Rob English has some valuable experience with this, and has people doing it on both coasts:
    Julian’s winter bike

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob
    Winters here in Oregon are wet and some of the roads are pretty dirty. I have been using my Alfine bike for six years with little to no maintenance. We don’t have salt on the roads though. Julian is based on the East coast, and hasn’t reported any issues with the harsher road conditions there. I think the Alfine hub is a great choice for any sort of winter road bike.
    Tödd Höllând

    Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate to buy shit we don't need. -- Tyler Durden

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    12
    Post Thanks / Like
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default Re: Shimano Alfine Internal Hub + Gates Belt Drive + Cold Weather?

    The hub should work fine in cold weather make SURE the belt isn't too tight though. Use the tension gauge and set it to the loosest acceptable tension. Keep the hub nice and clean so crud doesn't work its way inside
    If you have more questions and concerns Shimano has a forum on the s-tec.shimano.com site with lots of experts
     

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    12,009
    Post Thanks / Like
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default Re: Shimano Alfine Internal Hub + Gates Belt Drive + Cold Weather?

    Is the commute short or flat enough to consider a single-speed? The simplicity of maintenance makes it worthy of consideration even if there are some rises. My old Redline single-speed was fantastic in this winter role. And riding solo there's no real need to worry about speed up the hills.
    La Cheeserie!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    NY & MN
    Posts
    4,127
    Post Thanks / Like
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default Re: Shimano Alfine Internal Hub + Gates Belt Drive + Cold Weather?

    Quote Originally Posted by Saab2000 View Post
    Is the commute short or flat enough to consider a single-speed?
    It would be possible, but not ideal. Every time I ride a single speed, I come to the conclusion that gears were a great invention.

    I guess my hope is that the internal hub would offer most of the benefits of the single speed, but also gears.
     

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Posts
    125
    Post Thanks / Like
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default Re: Shimano Alfine Internal Hub + Gates Belt Drive + Cold Weather?

    Back in 2010 I used an Alfine in the winter for a couple seasons - This was before fat bikes of course and I used it for bad weather training and mental health purposes - as in, 'I'm about ready to go crazy if I don't get outside, despite the weather'.

    It didn't get a ton of miles, eg: commuting, but it certainly was put through the paces in near zero degree weather. Which it worked reasonably well. There were times when it wouldn't want to drop into a gear but I was always able to find one somewhere. I often used it in a local winter group ride and found that the jumps between gears were a bit wide, but that would be a non-issue in a commuting/transportation circumstance.

    I started with an inexpensive steel Bianchi Single Speed bike and had an Alfine hub built into a wheel.
    Attached Images Attached Images
     

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Hartwick NY
    Posts
    342
    Post Thanks / Like
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default Re: Shimano Alfine Internal Hub + Gates Belt Drive + Cold Weather?

    It's been an idea for me for years but never come to fruition.
    Will be anxious to hear your experience if you give it a try.
     

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Posts
    98
    Post Thanks / Like
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default Re: Shimano Alfine Internal Hub + Gates Belt Drive + Cold Weather?

    I have this exact set up and I'm not thrilled with it. The belt drive is not the issue, it's the hub. Maybe the hub I got was built on a Monday. It didn't perform well in really cold, say below 32 degrees, weather. I ended pulling the guts out, not a big deal as it comes out as a unit, and soaking it in transmission fluid for a day. Then let it drip dry and put it back together. The original grease they used was only here and there inside the hub and I guess what was there prevented clean shifts when really cold. It works better now after the transmission fluid bath but not real precise still in really cold weather.

    The bigger headache was changing a flat on the road. There are many steps you have to take, with bare hands, to get the wheel in and out of the frame. There are washers to deal with, the shifter cable disconnect and re-connection, etc. Doing that in the twentys or teens isn't fun.

    Upside - very little maintenance, none to the belt and only once a year soaking of the hub. Downside - lousy shifting in cold weather and a pain to get the wheel in and out for flat repairs.
     

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    New York City
    Posts
    12,341
    Post Thanks / Like
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default Re: Shimano Alfine Internal Hub + Gates Belt Drive + Cold Weather?

    I'd use a mountain bike with a friction shifting 1x set up. Most of the time you'd be in one gear but then you'd have a few other gears to get up and down things. Plenty wide tires for keeping upright. Keep a garden sprayer at work, and fill it with hot water for getting all the gunk off when you arrive. Store the bike inside if at all possible.
    Jorn Ake
    poet

    Flickr
    Books

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    the crescent city
    Posts
    938
    Post Thanks / Like
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)

    Default Re: Shimano Alfine Internal Hub + Gates Belt Drive + Cold Weather?

    I would wait for some more positive reviews before commiting, as I found that really cold weather messes with cables and grease which the internal hub relies on. I guess there are worse things than being stuck in one gear on the crazy cold days, though, and a belt drive would probably be nicer than chains in the nasty stuff. on the other hand, I just used heavy lube in Cleveland and counted on consuming at a higher rate than fair weather but it was worth it. 2x friction drivetrain with a road crank on beater mtb with full fenders (requirement #1)
     

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    W Mass
    Posts
    8,778
    Post Thanks / Like
    Mentioned
    2 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)

    Default Re: Shimano Alfine Internal Hub + Gates Belt Drive + Cold Weather?

    Having recently built up a Nexus hub for my son, I'll agree that the shift cable and anti-rotation washers make rear wheel removal difficult. A pain in the ass.

    But Shimano also has a Di2 option for Alfine now, so no shift cable. That would simplify on-road flat repair. Tubeless sounds smart, too (see the English link above).

    I also know that when I read that a honch like Rob English, Oregon state time trial champ, says he's had six years with essentially zero maintenance, that I should be paying attention.

    Shimano's got some good customer support, ask them about low temp operation.
    Tödd Höllând

    Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate to buy shit we don't need. -- Tyler Durden

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    the crescent city
    Posts
    938
    Post Thanks / Like
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)

    Default Re: Shimano Alfine Internal Hub + Gates Belt Drive + Cold Weather?

    I was going to suggest that di2 made sense for that very reason, although I would worry about battery chemistry at sub-zero temps. tubeless also makes sense, but there too, I wonder how cold would affect sealant. maybe a spot for some home brew?
     

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    NoVA/East Bay
    Posts
    995
    Post Thanks / Like
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default Re: Shimano Alfine Internal Hub + Gates Belt Drive + Cold Weather?

    In my more youthful days of year round daily commutes in urban cold (Montreal) I eventually got smart and traded a geared bike for a fixie with 2 brakes. I had a couple of moderate hills but nothing I had to struggle with, and I kept my gear lowish 65in, max 70in which worked fine to keep my legs moving in cold and the direct drive did as much for my confidence on slippery surfaces as studded tires (original Nokkians, more and better choices now). The drive train was pretty ice-proof, in warmer weather the slush was less of a problem as I always had at least one brake and brakes are not your friends on ice anyway, your legs have perfect modulation not to lock up a wheel. And it was a beater, a steel Fuji, no worries, the salt added a patina that I didn't worry about. The hipsters and messengers aren't totally posing, a fixed gear is a great winter rat bike if the hills aren't too bad, and you'd be surprised how much it grows on you. I still commute with a FG, but DC really doesn't have much more than 3-4 weeks of winter so it's comparatively easy now. Oh yeah-- and TT's NFS lube rocks on winter chains, so much better, longer lasting in the crud and cleaner! I like the original better than the green shit for winter riding.
     

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    NoVA/East Bay
    Posts
    995
    Post Thanks / Like
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default Re: Shimano Alfine Internal Hub + Gates Belt Drive + Cold Weather?

    Quote Originally Posted by j44ke View Post
    I'd use a mountain bike with a friction shifting 1x set up. Most of the time you'd be in one gear but then you'd have a few other gears to get up and down things. Plenty wide tires for keeping upright. Keep a garden sprayer at work, and fill it with hot water for getting all the gunk off when you arrive. Store the bike inside if at all possible.
    Hot water seems a bad idea if the bike is stored below freezing temps. Although maybe a spray bottle with orange winter windshield cleaner, anybody tried this? My storage was always below surface parking garage, the gunk usually melted off the bike by the end of the day except at the most extreme temps at street level.
     

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    144
    Post Thanks / Like
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default Re: Shimano Alfine Internal Hub + Gates Belt Drive + Cold Weather?

    I have a Swobo Fillmore disc with Alfine 8 speed and a chain, no belt.
    Does not have more than a couple of hundred miles but have no issues in cold weather.
    it's a terrific commuter at a very attractive price, I have a friend who had a Spot with the gates drive and he thought it was PIA and said he would only use a chain in the future, and he owns a bike shop.
     

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    144
    Post Thanks / Like
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default Re: Shimano Alfine Internal Hub + Gates Belt Drive + Cold Weather?

    some pucs
    Attached Images Attached Images
     

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    NY & MN
    Posts
    4,127
    Post Thanks / Like
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default Re: Shimano Alfine Internal Hub + Gates Belt Drive + Cold Weather?

    Quote Originally Posted by ZenNMotion View Post
    Hot water seems a bad idea if the bike is stored below freezing temps. Although maybe a spray bottle with orange winter windshield cleaner, anybody tried this? My storage was always below surface parking garage, the gunk usually melted off the bike by the end of the day except at the most extreme temps at street level.
    I've been told in the past to avoid bringing the bike inside, since then you're dealing with water in addition to snow. Better to keep the bike cold, so you aren't dealing with ice inside the cables.

    I tried bringing the bike in to "dry it out," and all I ended up with was frozen cables when I went back out. Maybe I did it wrong?
     

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    NY & MN
    Posts
    4,127
    Post Thanks / Like
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default Re: Shimano Alfine Internal Hub + Gates Belt Drive + Cold Weather?

    Quote Originally Posted by giordana93 View Post
    I was going to suggest that di2 made sense for that very reason, although I would worry about battery chemistry at sub-zero temps. tubeless also makes sense, but there too, I wonder how cold would affect sealant. maybe a spot for some home brew?
    Di2 seems like and interesting way of dealing with the cables. With Di2 and hydro disc brakes, the bike would be cable-free.
     

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    New York City
    Posts
    12,341
    Post Thanks / Like
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default Re: Shimano Alfine Internal Hub + Gates Belt Drive + Cold Weather?

    Rod control shifting!

    Jorn Ake
    poet

    Flickr
    Books

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    NoVA/East Bay
    Posts
    995
    Post Thanks / Like
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default Re: Shimano Alfine Internal Hub + Gates Belt Drive + Cold Weather?

    Quote Originally Posted by caleb View Post
    I've been told in the past to avoid bringing the bike inside, since then you're dealing with water in addition to snow. Better to keep the bike cold, so you aren't dealing with ice inside the cables.

    I tried bringing the bike in to "dry it out," and all I ended up with was frozen cables when I went back out. Maybe I did it wrong?
    The ice problem isn't usually with the cables, it's the cassette/chain and rim/pad interfaces. I always had better luck racing CX with 8 speed cassettes because of the better frozen mud and goo tolerance with more robust chain and bigger cog spacing. You can also run full sealed cable housing. But really, my final answer would be fixed gear beater and NFS lube and don't overthink, below 20deg or so it's just a survival ride to work in any case, who cares what you're riding as long as you make it in one piece without walking or----Uber
     

Similar Threads

  1. Belt Drive
    By dgaddis in forum General Discussion
    Replies: 27
    Last Post: 03-27-2015, 09:58 PM
  2. Replies: 4
    Last Post: 04-05-2014, 04:56 AM
  3. How are the Gates belt drives holding up?
    By steve garro in forum The Path
    Replies: 13
    Last Post: 11-29-2012, 10:12 AM
  4. My new belt drive SS
    By pdmtong in forum General Discussion
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: 05-27-2010, 11:52 AM
  5. Belt Drive
    By Edy in forum General Discussion
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: 10-03-2008, 08:12 PM

Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •