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I just bought a new rear wheel with an Alfine S7001-11 internal-gear hub. Before installing it, I realized that it apparently has heavy internal friction. When the wheel is set in motion, it comes to a halt again after only a few seconds.

Since I have mostly used bikes with derailleur systems in recent years, I'm not sure if this level of friction is "normal" with internal-gear hubs, or if I received a damaged hub.

For an illustration of the issue, find a video with a comparison of the new wheel with the Alfine hub and my old one with a derailleur system via https://photos.app.goo.gl/5m6GG9HRmzLCeUyS9

Is the hub malfunctioning?

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  • 1
    Good question! Seeing the video I am curios!
    – Stücke
    Aug 5 '20 at 13:24
  • 2
    Take it back to the shop, the part is still under warranty, and let them have a look.
    – Carel
    Aug 6 '20 at 7:52
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Summary: You should not expect this hub to spin like a well adjusted gearless hub. Make sure that the hub is lubricated and adjusted correctly (assuming it's not broken) and whatever drag is left is normal.

In addition to the drag from the gears and roller clutches, there may be drag from the bearing seals. Drag from the large bearing seal on the right side is highest when coasting, or in the lowest and highest gears, which are farther away from unity ratio.

Sheldon Brown on the Alfine 11

The question then becomes - How much resistance is too much?

The key to this is to adjust the hub correctly.

  1. Place finger and thumb over the lock nut so that they are touching the hub, move the wheel rim up and down and feel for a slight bit of play through your thumb. If none is detected back of the cone until it is. Then by small increments turn back the cone and nip the lock nut until the play is almost undetectable then tighten the lock nut. Note: an over-tight cone can cause creaking when cycling, excessive play will strain the mechanism.

Cycling IK Forum - "Shimano Alfine 11 - Longer term reliability"

According to the Shimano manual - page 78 (there are pictures)

  1. Screw the left hand cone to adjust so that the hub shell can be turned smoothly without any play. After adjusting, secure the stop nut with the locknut.

The manual also details how to add oil or change the oil in this hub.

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  • Concur - I put 15,000 km into an alfine 11 and it was unimpressive. Shifting while stopped is a neat party trick, but general power losses outweigh that.
    – Criggie
    Dec 14 '20 at 21:14
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I own an nexus 7 hub and can say that it will not spin as freely depending on the gear it's in, where the 1:1 gear (gear 4 on the nexus 7) will have the highest mechanical efficiency. Although in general, all gears will cause a slight amount of spin in the crank. As a property of thicker lubricants, the low inertia of a wheel (compared to with a rider) will cause it not spin as freely as long.

Think of it like a fidget spinner; a clean or very light oil on a fidget spinner and it will rotate for a long time. Put a thick automotive grease in and it almost instantly stops spinning. This doesn't mean the bearing in the spinner has gone bad. A free spinning bearing isn't a good indicator of efficiency, only a bearing under load.

I'm not too certain how exactly reliable Rohloff can be on showing efficiencies for competing IGH companies, but below is a chart that they have released relating their own speedhub to the earlier alfine series and derailleur setups. Rohloff Efficiency Chart

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  • Curiously, the alfine11 lacks a 1:1 ratio - it has a 1000:1003 which is close but not exact.
    – Criggie
    Mar 11 at 2:07

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