This is an expensive and heavy hub but I'm looking to build a new wheel and strip the rear derailleur off my old Trek MTB. It already has a fixed Ritchey carbon fork and front disc and is a nice commuter, I just hate the grindy noise of a gritty derailleur so I want it gone to create a low maintenance wet weather bike. In the summer it's this, unmodified. Both bikes get a complete strip, clean and lube when they need it but I want to cut down on the time spend doing that - the IGH-carrying Trek will go out on wet days and the road bike in the sun.

I've googled plenty on this. There just aren't many pages up though, and none I can find that gives the whole fitting process. Shimano's PDF installation instructions are pretty dense and don't point out the important bits that a real person would need to know. I've read enough about performance to know it isn't perfect (and I would probably prefer a Rohloff) but it's going to solve my muddy, gritty bike path problem.

Buying it from an Australian store is pretty much out of the question given that it will easily cost hundreds more - importers gotta eat I guess but not at my expense and not at such a ridiculous markup. Sheldon Brown's pages, among others, have me keen to buy all the parts and build the wheel myself. Ordering all the parts is the time gate and failing to order something that later has to be sourced will lead to a frustrating wait of more weeks and paying an extra large shipping cost while another order is placed.

What I need to know is exactly what is required to fit the Alfine system to an existing bike. The hub is sold as one unit, the shifter another. The chain ring is sold separately too. Then there are one or two different small parts kits available which seem to be harder to get.

What will I need to buy (part numbers if you know them)?

What parts will be troublesome to fit?

For those of you that have experience installing these: Have you used one of these hubs and did you go through the process of sourcing, fitting and adjusting this hub yourself? What did you improvise/overcome/improve during your fitting? When done did you feel you had done it perfectly? Compare the complexity of this task (Alfine system and adjustment) to a conventional derailleur...

edit: if what you are looking for is a grease-free solution for your belt-drive bike, these are not questions you should be asking. Alfie 11 hubs leak oil and make your belt just as greasy as a chain. I'm hearing from many people "mine too". One store tells me the extra tension on the sprocket when using a belt with this hub makes leaks all but inevitable. Shimano have had mine twice for extended periods for service and can't fix it. I am massively disappointed in this product, wish I had bought the 8-speed that uses grease rather than oil bath internally.

2018 edit: Spot Acme still running nicely, but now with drop bars, TRP Hylex brakes, new wheels. I've given up worrying about the Alfine 11 leaking oil on the belt, it's inevitable.

  • FWIW I have a Spot Acme on order - it turns out my Trek frame was always going to cause problems with the dropouts, and even with the right adapter the geometry made fitting a modern disc brake to the rear impossible.
    – user1914
    Commented Mar 21, 2012 at 5:22
  • And the Spot Acme is an awesome bike! Very happy I didn't mess around trying to fit belt + Alfine to the old frame, would have been very difficult.
    – user1914
    Commented Oct 18, 2012 at 22:20
  • Re the German retailers referred to by Lantius in third post above , i would suggest give Hibike a miss. My experience was really bad, Good price but worst service I ever experienced online, they messed up my order, they shipped wrong and missing and damaged items, Hibike would not acknowledge error, Hibikee would not apologise for errors, HiBike would not remedy errors, HiBike would not acknowledge or reply to my emails for months on end, email ping pong lasting 12 months for a half baked resolution, my advice steer well clear of HiBike and buy from a reputable online retailer. I've also deal
    – user6192
    Commented Feb 21, 2013 at 8:56
  • Adam - thank you for coming back and providing updates. Its very much appreciated.
    – Criggie
    Commented Nov 19, 2018 at 18:04

3 Answers 3


With the bike linked, I don't think this hub can be fitted properly.

It requires a method to adjust the chain tension, and this frame has neither the eccentric bottom bracket recommended, nor a horizontal dropout which could allow the adjustment.

It is possible you could run it with V-brakes, and something like a Surly Singleator. It just isn't something I'd trust under that kind of load.

The hub is intended for a disc brake, and that frame is not set up for that.

While you could mount a coaster or drum brake, attaching it to a carbon fiber chain stay, which was not engineered with force from a coaster brake clamp in mind seems to be a possibly unhealthy option.

With the right rim, you could still use V-brakes, but how would you tension the chain? I've used various dropout based chain tensioners, and they function on a straight single speed hub, as long as you keep them adjusted, but throwing in the stress and multi-directional forces from shifting, and I don't think it would stay tensioned for very long.

Building the wheel is a worthwhile job, and the install on a proper horizontal dropout frame is fairly simple with the 8 speed version, and this looks to be set up the same.

But I wouldn't choose to run it on that frame.

  • Thanks! I have an "AD-PMR Rear Disc Brake Adaptor, Hayes 22m to 51m IS" that will let me mount the disc. It attaches to the horizontal part of the rear triangle which appears to be some kind of alloy casting. But the lack of chain tensioning could be a problem, I do not want an extra tensioning wheel in there.
    – user1914
    Commented Aug 3, 2011 at 23:10
  • No problem. I had't realized that frame had the 22mm option for discs. I'm not trying to be negative about the project, but that's an expensive hub. I'd say do it on a new frame for sure. And post some photos when you're done. It looks like it'll be a cool machine.
    – zenbike
    Commented Aug 4, 2011 at 2:16
  • I've got an alfine 11 hub with a centerlock disk brake mount, built into a wheel where I use rim brakes. It works perfectly because the Overlocknut Distance is correct. I've just left the rubberised boot over the centerlock fitting.
    – Criggie
    Commented Feb 20, 2019 at 7:32
  • Yeah, having a disc mount on a rim brake wheel build is no problem at all. Not sure how that is relevant to the build he is proposing, since the bike is disc compatible, but not set up for tensioning the chain on an IG hub.
    – zenbike
    Commented Feb 22, 2019 at 13:13

I've not set up the Alfine 11 specifically, but it's quite similar to it's less-geared cousin. You might also consider the Alfine 8 - it's rather cheaper and is a well-regarded hub with only slightly less total gear range.

In either case, the main things you'll need will be the hub (the SG-700-L is for disc and rim brakes), a 26"/559 rim of your choice, and spokes to match. In addition you'll need the Alfine 11 small parts kit, which includes the anti-rotation washers and other bits needed for installation. It's kind of annoying, really.

Alfine hubs also don't include a cog, so you'll need to to select one. You can continue using your current crankset, using only one chainring. The Alfine is rated for a ratio of 2:1, so a 16t cog would work well with your 32t middle chainring and give you a good range of 26" to 107". (107" is ~50kph at 100rpm cadence). If you want to consider other gearing options, check out the Sheldon Brown IGH gear calculator. One note for installation, the Alfine has a fairly narrow chainline, so you'll probably want to line up with the middle ring. You can remove the inner and outer chainrings; replacing the outer with a simple bash ring / chain guard can be a nice touch.

As noted in other answers, you'll probably need a chain tensioner since your bike has vertical dropouts. The Alfine Chain Tensioner or the Rohloff Chain Tensioner are both rather good, basically just being derailleurs with stiff springs and no cable adjustment. If you feel like getting hacky, you might be able to succeed with a magic gear, especially if you're willing to do a little filing. Running the chain through a tensioner adds a little bit more drag and a little bit more slop than being able to tension it directly, but otherwise should be fine.

Lastly, since you've got flat bars, you'll want the Alfine SL-S700 rapidfire shifter. Since you don't have the integrated shifter-lever pods, it should be a simple swap.

Installation should be fairly straightforward, since it's mostly removing stuff: extra chainrings, current derailleurs and shifters, rear wheel. You'll install the wheel using the "vertical" antirotation washers (8R/8L, green & blue), install the shifter and chain tensioner, run the chain and then cables and housing. There's a bit of adjustment but the techdocs do make more sense when you have the hub in front of you - you're basically adjusting cable tension to line up the pair of yellow lines that mark the middle gear.

On the retail side, I'd recommend looking at some of the big German resellers - I've dealt with Starbike and Hibike and somehow they seem to undercut Shimano pricing pretty reliably (something about buying directly from Shimano Europe without a distributor? I don't entirely understand it); I just ordered a dynamo hub and it was cheaper including euro-shipping than I could get domestically in the US even from the deep discount sites online.

  • Thanks! I have only looked on Wiggle so far. I am starting to agree that I might be better off with a new frame although the magic gear looks interesting. And if I got the new frame I could get the Gates Carbon Belt Drive also. Hmm!
    – user1914
    Commented Aug 3, 2011 at 23:13

Just get the bundle that has all the parts you need to retrofit Alfine 11 Speed onto your bike.

I know product/shop recommendations are wrong, however here you go:


Seems the key ingredient you are looking for is the 'Alfine fitting kit'.

  • If you didn't notice, that is a disc brake hub and fit kit. Won't run on his frame.
    – zenbike
    Commented Aug 3, 2011 at 17:01
  • Maybe he should just get in touch with them, they advise some contraption for the chain tension and he could run it without the disk, to put that on if and when he gets a new frame, don't you think that would be one way to do it? Commented Aug 3, 2011 at 17:29
  • I believe all the Alfine 11 hubs are centerlock compatible, but it's true, you don't need the disc rotor.
    – lantius
    Commented Aug 3, 2011 at 17:31
  • @Lantius, you don't need the rotor, but you do need the ability to adjust chain tension. The site above suggests the On One dropout tensioner. I've not use that particular brand, but I've used the Surly Singulator, and had major problems keeping it in tension on Surly SS hubs. I wouldn't recommend it for a geared hub at all, and the On One uses the same design. I love the idea here, but I'm concerned about using a carbon frame in a manner for which it was not designed, and the chain tension adjustment. I hope it does work out. But it's an expensive experiment if not.
    – zenbike
    Commented Aug 3, 2011 at 17:40
  • @zenbike the Alfine & Rohloff tensioners are quite good. If your bike can handle a derailleur and an 11t sprocket it's going to be fine with a tensioner and an internal hub. Not quite as aesthetically pleasing nor as efficient, but it's not going to explode or anything.
    – lantius
    Commented Aug 3, 2011 at 18:09

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