Nerds! Nerds! Nerds! Please check this out.
The Shimano Alfine Hub is officially great. Here goes:
1. Internally geared 8 speeds.
2. Disc brake compatible.
3. Not expensive compared to *other* hubs
So, it isn't quite a mountain bike accessory yet. But, it will be. And I know I haven't sold you on it yet. So here goes:
The Salvagetti Team went to the Shimano Show Off Clinic (my name, not theirs) and heard all about Dura Ace 7900 and the new XTR. Both very impressive in their own right. But, after we were set free to look at what we wanted, we made a bee line for the Alfine section. We had ridden the Giant Seek and wanted to know if our love was a pure love or just some silly fling. Our love runs deep.
You see? The Alfine hub comes apart very easily with only minimal tools. Then, as if by magic, the gearing system comes out in one lump of beautiful gears. It isn't a pile of parts balancing inside that will shatter into your hands when you glance inside. We enquired how difficult it is to rebuild and the gentleman explained that the maintenance process (done about once every 2 years) will not be a rebuild, but a full cleaning of the gears and a relube! SOLD!
We got the Giant Seek 1 for our towny rental fleet and we will get to test these hubs to the nth degree. We feel confident in their ability to withstand everything we can throw at them. We'll let you know.