8-Speed IGH Fixed, Promptly Soiled.

Illustration for article titled 8-Speed IGH Fixed, Promptly Soiled.

I built the Shimano Alfine 8-speed in last fall after the stock derailleur rusted together. Rode it up north, and then it lost a gear. After a busy winter, I finally got the bike to a shop, and uffda. It was quite a ride.

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Before the repairs, the cassette joint (the part that accepts the shift cable) was lined up with the seat stay, forcing the cable into an S-curve to go under the bottom bracket. The angle of the cassette joint, of course, can be adjusted by buying non-turn washers specific to communist bikes with vertical dropouts.

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Illustration for article titled 8-Speed IGH Fixed, Promptly Soiled.

I was wondering if my replacing the cog for lower gearing had messed something up in the cassette joint. Not exactly. The mechanic at the bike shop is quite experienced with Shimano IGH’s (internal gear hubs) and relentlessly adjusted and re-adjusted the hub to no avail. At wits’ end, he sent for completely new internals under warranty from Shimano. This included a slightly different cassette joint and holy crap, everything finally worked. Of course this also lined up the cable routing SO NICELY as well (omg it’s soothing).

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POS chain tensioner. Just go with a Surly. Seriously. Cameo by the narrow-wide chainring from my 9spd days.
POS chain tensioner. Just go with a Surly. Seriously. Cameo by the narrow-wide chainring from my 9spd days.

The theory is that the slightly different cassette joint went slightly out of adjustment and crunched something inside. Apparently the old internals, having been removed from the hub shell, made a crunchy sound when turned. This is probably the worst issue I’ve yet experienced with a bike- equivalent to grinding a transmission out of service in a car.

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I’m not going to name the bike shop that sold me the wrong part because I bought a ton of stuff from them for years and never had a problem. I know they’re good guys, and mistakes happen. But I also want to give a shout out to Paul for figuring all this stuff out and getting it fixed. I’d have gone mad trying to do it myself.

Business end. Line up the yellow dots in 4th gear, I’m told. Witchcraft.
Business end. Line up the yellow dots in 4th gear, I’m told. Witchcraft.
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After putting up with the fatbike on trails for months, I was super excited to get this thing out on some dirt. I’d added an under-downtube bottle cage with rivuts a couple weeks ago so this bike is now able to carry the same 70 oz as my fatbike. Everything was nice and clean.

On the way home I took the normal FUTS paths to pavement, then split off to a few random two-tracks through the woods. The ruts at the bottom of the hill held a little water but the middle looked pretty solid.

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Nope.

The one-foot shuffle
The one-foot shuffle
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Today was a bad day to wear off-white shorts, and (in addition to doing some impromptu weed pulling at the pollinator garden) perfectly illustrates why I don’t buy light colored pants anymore.

I need to make a water bottle condom for this kind of stuff.
I need to make a water bottle condom for this kind of stuff.
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But this situation also perfectly illustrates why I built an Alfine into my mountain bike- the third rear wheel the 2013 bike has seen. It continued to shift perfectly, the mud bath’s existence only apparent through a little crunchiness in the chain.

Should have bought a nicer replacement suspension fork.
Should have bought a nicer replacement suspension fork.
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I’ll probably clean and re-lube the chain tomorrow anyway. But it’s otherwise ready for trails. And let me tell you, there are there some cool trails around Flagstaff.

PS- One more shout out to NAIPTA and the Flagstaff Mountain Line for getting me to and from the bike shop, with and without the bike.

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Edit: 27th June. Rode about 15 miles of trail today. It still works! First gear is not low enough. Have to check out whether standing on the pedals will ruin it.

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