With some new Surly Rolling Darryl rims ready to be built up for my Pugsley I couldn’t put off inspecting my Alfine 8 IGH any longer. I bought it new over 4yrs ago and have never opened it up. To be honest I was a little worried what I would find inside and I was prepared to buy a new hub rather then spend the $$ building up a wheel set with compromised parts
Here is an outline of what my Alfine 8 has been through:
- 6 months on the beach in Baja
- 2 Canadian winters
- winter mountain biking on Vancouver Island
- 1 trip to burning man
- 5 chains
- 1 set of trashed Phil Woods BB bearings
My plan was to inspect the hub myself at home and then take it to the Fairfield Bike Shop for any maintenance it needed. If the hub was not worth a new rim I’d keep it built up with the Large Marge as a spare for our Pugsleys and buy a new hub.
I found the following useful guides for overhauling an Alfine 8 IGH:
- Hub Stripping Alfine 8 overhaul pictorial
- Muddly Moles Alfine service post
- Lockies Alfine 8 rebuild
- 14 Degrees Alfine 8 service
- Shimano Alfine Dealer’s Manual
Taking the IGH apart is straightforward – about a 15 min job taking your time. You’ll find the instructions in the links above.
This video will also walk you through it.
I was ready for all kinds of badness when I pulled the internals out. This hub has been used hard and didn’t owe my anything. So you can imagine my shock when the damn thing looked perfect.
And I’m not kidding about that when I say perfect. No rust. No dirt. No water. The factory grease was still clearly in place.
I was very impressed and changed my plans. I didn’t see any point in going through the cleaning and relubing process when the original grease was in such good shape. The oil lube promised even better hub efficiency, but when I thought about it ease of maintenance and reliability was more important to me than slightly easier rolling. Plus I can always strip the grease and relube with oil later now that I see how easy opening the hub is.
I cleaned the cones on both sides and made sure they were looking good. Everything was running great so I didn’t see the point in trying to break the hub down further. With my luck I would screw up a perfectly good hub trying to make it “better”!
I should have cleaned the driveside of the IGH before I cracked it open. Since I didn’t I was careful I didn’t contaminate the internals.
The only lubing I did was adding some grease to both outboard bearings to help keep water out of the hub.
I sealed the Alfine 8 IGH back up and ensured the locknuts weren’t too tight.
Next up was a quick clean up of the external parts of the hub.
Baja wasn’t kind to the drivetrain.
The cog and the chainring show some wear, but I figured I’ll get another year out of them. The chain on the other hand is trashed – another year – another $16!
I didn’t bother reassembling the hub 100% as its next move will be to a truing stand for the Rolling Darryl rim swap. Once clean I bagged all the small parts so they wouldn’t get lost.
For a final test I threw the rear wheel back in the frame and gave it a spin. It rotated for a long time confirming the axle wasn’t overly tight and that the new grease didn’t cause any significant drag. I also checked the hub for lateral play- loose is bad.
I expected this mission to end with some saddness and possibly some $$ being spent on a new hub. I’m still amazed the internals are in such good shape. Perhaps not good as new, but certainly worth transfering over to the rebuilt wheels.
Nice one Shimano!