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tallbikeman

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I've had several internal geared hubs going back to a Steyr 3 speed hub when I was in 5th grade.  All the 3 speed hubs I've owned have worked well with a minimum of fuss.  Usually very easy to take apart and lube and easy to adjust.  This internal geared hub thing finally manifested its true glory when I purchased a Shimano Alfine 11 speed IGH about 5 years ago.  Not long after I bought the hub I started hearing bad things about its durability, and its leaky habits.  I finally installed the hub on a bicycle equipped with 700C x 35mm tires, called it my all around bicycle and off I went.  This happened a little over two years ago.  I've only used Shimano Special very expensive IGH oil in the hub and I geared it just above 2 to 1 on the front chainring to rear sprocket ratio.  I absolutely love the shifting of this hub, I use a Shimano flat bar Rapidfire plus shifter.  The shifting has been good from the beginning of use and only got better as the shift cable stopped stretching from use.  If I miss a shift I immediately look to the adjustment dots and adjust the cable.  This  happens very rarely.  I don't shift under load ever.  This hub uses a special oil and as many have noted in reviews it tends to be leaky.  I find that I need to put in oil every 6 months.  By that time when you go to drain the hub prior to putting in the new oil you get a very small amount out.  Certainly nowhere near the amount that is supposed to be in there.  It isn't hard to tell where all the oil went.  It came out the drive side of the hub and coated everything with oil.  So every once in a while off comes the wheel and I have to clean up that side of the hub.  This brings us to the other problem I have with this hub.  To take off the the wheel the shift cable and its cable end must be disengaged from the hub.  This activity is best done with a pair of pliers so you can grab the cable end and force the cable stop to rotate and come out of its slot.  Usually what happens next is all the little plastic parts that hold the cable in place on the hub then come undone and fall off the hub.  There are two plastic parts one being a cable guide and the other being the lock ring.  They only fit properly on the hub in one way yet offer so many tantalizing close fits but no cigar.  This puzzle can take a while to figure out and again a pair of pliers is very helpful for reassembly. The oil coating of course adds to the misery of dismounting and remounting the rear wheel. This led me to the realization that repairing a flat outside of my home workshop was going to be a miserable experience.  This has the effect of limiting my ride lengths to no further away from home than I wish to walk back.  All in all a wonderful hub that I'm fearful of taking too far from home.  On longer rides I use derailleur equipped bicycles because they are so easy to dismount the wheels for flat repair.  My 3 speeds went everywhere without the oily mess and very easy to dismount the wheels.  Progress has sure made things better.
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