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I had been thinking years ago to install an Alfine 11 in my touring bike, but house renovations and other things took my time. I finally spent a lot of time riding a bike from a friend in Poland, which has an Alfine 11 hub (with rapidfire shifter). I rode about 500 km with it on long trips and at least 50 km more in the city of Wroclaw. It was noticeable most of the time for not being noticeable which is good. No noise, easy shifting. On some of the long trips I wished for a lower gear when going up hills, so even without much baggage I was going 8-10 km/h in some places.
The bike has a chain and I took stuff with me just in case, puncture repair kit etc., but I didn't need anything. What really stood out most of all was that the tyres were not wide enough to safely ride through the many potholes, and because I got stuck on sandy roads in the east of Poland several times, and had to walk many kilometres. Another point is that of course you would want to evade such roads, but evading bad gravel roads or sandy roads was sometimes not possible or would require enormous detours. From Wroclaw to Olawa, there was really just 1 good road, the other options were extremely bad gravel road and ride on the road with cars. In the east I got into a section where I did not find any good roads at a certain point. I decided to ride on which was a mistake but in any case, 32 or 37mm tyres are too narrow in Poland. Even the good road had some very bad sections, in 1 place I thought I lost my phone as it was ejected from the handlebar mount, but then discovered it was still hanging from the wire that I had laced through the phone's case and wrapped around the handlebar. I would suggest to anyone wanting to ride in Poland to use a bike with front suspension and 50mm wide tyres...
What I noticed on my rides is that it was sometimes hard to select a gear precisely, I adjusted the cable tension as best I could but it was never perfect which means you might get the occasional crunching sound, and when that happened I adjusted cable tension again, as the Alfine 11 is not like the Rohloff hub, it can get damaged if the gear is not properly selected and you apply power.
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Last modified: 2023-3-28