I've recently acquired a Specialized Globe Haul 2, which was stored in a shed in Arkansas for 10 years and never ridden. It has the original Shimano Alfine 8 speed internal hub. I replaced the tires and tubes, and greased the chain (which I believe is stainless), but compared to my Trek 7.2 with external gears, it feels very sluggish. I'm not sure if the grease needs to be replaced in the hub, or if it is getting too cold outside (northern Wisconsin weather), but there is enough friction on the inside of the hub that my pedals will spin along with the wheel if I let my feet off of them. I'd like to use this bike since it is a lot more weatherproof, but biking through 5 miles of slush at night to get to work is already difficult enough. Is this typical of internal hubs?

EDIT: Although the answered question linked to in the comments clears it up a little bit, it doesn't answer what would change over 10 years of storage for the grease in the hub nor the effects on extremely cold weather would have on performance. When I have the time I'm just going to take it apart and regrease it, and then post my results. It's an SG-S501, which from what I could find on the manual and youtube is grease only, no oil. There does not appear to be a grease or oil port so the whole thing has to come apart.

  • Even with the best IGH available it can happen that the pedals spin along as you push the bike. That just says that the friction in the freewheel mechanism is larger than the friction in the bottom bracket. Thus, this is not a good test for internal IGH friction. That said, it's hard to judge whether the friction in your hub is abnormally high. Low-cost IGHs loose a bit of power compared to the top-of-the-line products, but to most people, it's not really noticable. Drag sources like underinflated tires can cost much more energy than an IGH should cost. Dec 5, 2019 at 22:54
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    Does this answer your question? What's the efficiency of hub gears compared to derailleurs? Dec 6, 2019 at 1:34
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    There is no grease in an alfine 8 - its an oil-bath gearbox. Don't confuse the two lube systems - they're utterly different and greasing an oilbox will be bad for it. Its NOT a car swivel housing, so one-shot grease is inappropriate here. The oil is supposed to be replaced yearly or every 5000 km, whichever is first, and initially at 1000 km which this bike may never have reached. Change the oil now, then change it again in 1000 km.
    – Criggie
    Dec 6, 2019 at 10:56
  • check the chain tension, if the chain tension is too high this can cause the pedals to spin when pushing the bike forward due to increased friction in freewheel bearings. Dec 6, 2019 at 13:30
  • @Criggie are you sure about that I thought it was only the 11 speed that uses an oil bath, the 8 speeds use grease.
    – Rider_X
    Dec 6, 2019 at 18:49

2 Answers 2


Anything that has been standing around for 10 years needs some maintainance before it can be used with confidence (especially if it was not maintained before properly). So if there is some extra friction it would not be a total surprise. You should check the manuals provided by Shimano what is recommended for your hub (https://si.shimano.com/#/en/search/Keyword?name=SG-S501&name_web=). There it is shown that you take the hub apart and dip the inside into an oil bath. The maintainance interval mentioned is every two years or 5000 km. The manual also says that the hub is not completely water-proof. So maintainance is the only way to get rid of water possibly present in the hub.

Shimano does not seem to specify a temperature range for the Alfine. So it should be possible to assume that they work well in all temperatures that people ride bikes in. But it is also reasonable to assume that whatever lubricant is in the hub will become more viscous when colder, resulting in less efficient lubrication. And again: the hub is not completely water-proof, and if you have a lot of water, that can definitely freeze.

That said, I reactivated a bike with a Shimano Nexus hub that has been unused for about 5 years for my wife, and it was no problem at all, although I skipped my own recommendation from above.

One personal comment on internally geared hub vs. derailleur gears: I changed from derailleur to hub two weeks ago and to me it is like a dream. But I am lazy with cleaning the drivetrain, so what I usually use is far from being friction-optimized.


Taken from the flagged duplicate question:

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