Alfine 8 vs Alfine 11 – Which One Should You Get?

Choosing between internal gear hubs is already a confusing thing to do. It even adds to the confusion when they are of the same company.

Choosing the right gear hub depends mostly on what you need. The needs can be uphill climbing, regular commuting in the city, or higher top speed.

So many ask the question, “Alfine 8 vs Alfine 11, What are the main differences?”

Alfine 11 has 11 gear ratios, is lighter and quieter than Alfine 8. Whereas, Alfine 8 has 8 gear ratios, has better gear spacing symmetry, performs better while climbing uphill, and has single-speed gear.

Seems interesting? Well, these were just the overview of their differences. We’ll go into details about these in our article.

So what are you waiting for? Let’s dig right in.

Alfine 8 vs Alfine 11-Quick Comparison

Let’s have a look at the quick comparison between these 2 gear hubs-

FeaturesAlfine 8Alfine 11
Gear Range307%409%
Gear ratios0.527, 0.644, 0.748, 0.851, 1, 1.223, 1.419, and 1.6150.527, 0.681, 0.77, 0.878, 0.995, 1.134, 1.292, 1.462, 1.667, 1.888, and 2.153. 
SpeedHIgher speedLower speed
Gear skipping 5,65,6,7
Single Speed5th gearAbsent
Uphill RidingGoodAverage 
Weight1680g1590g
NoiseMore Less
Brake TypeDisc Brake( Center Lock)Disc Brake( Center Lock)
Axle length 187 mm187 mm
Price Check PriceCheck Price

Are you super confused seeing how these differences took place in the first place? Well, it’s completely okay. We’ll discuss them in our next segment.

Alfine 8 vs Alfine 11 – Let’s Dig Deep

Now it’s time that we go into the details of what these differences apply. And how it affects which one to choose. Let’s see-

Gear Range

The gear range of Alfine 11 and 8 is pretty much self-explanatory. You get 11 distinct drive ratios in the Alfine 11 and 8 distinct gear ratios on the Alfine 8.

Shimano Alfine 11 has a 409%gear range over the 11 gears spread out. Everything from granny rings to middle rings is covered by the Alfine 409% gear range.

On the other hand, Over 8 gears, Shimano Alfine 8 has a gear range of 307%. Alfine 8 features gears that are less uniformly distributed and more widely spread. This is added with a lower total gear range. 

So if top speed plays a role for you, go with Shimano Alfine 11. It obviously has more speed than Alfine 11 by gears.

WInner: Alfine 11

Gear Ratio

Gear ratio determines the speed you’ll get from each gear of the hub. So, the number of times the back wheel rotates for 1 turn of the pedals is the gear ratio.

So the hub with a larger gear ratio provides more speed.

Below we’ve compared the gear ratio of all gears present in Shimano Alfine 11 and 8- 

Gear Shimano Alfine 11Shimano Alfine 8
1.527.527
2.681.644
3.77.748
4.878.851
5.9951
61.1341.223
71.2921.419
81.4621.615
91.667
101.888
112.153

No gear with a 1:1 ratio can be found in Alfine 11. But this is present in Shimano Alfine 8.

However, most gear ratios in the Alfine 11 are slightly higher than Alfine 8. This is except for the 5th and 6th. But the 5th and 6th gear is mostly seen to get skipped while shifting in Alfine 8 if it’s ridden uphill.

And not to mention the last 3 gears of the 11 that are not present in the Alfine 8. So even without the additional gears, almost all other gears provide more speed in Alfine 11. 

Lastly, the lowest gear in Alfine 11 has a step that is nearly twice as large for climbing high heels than Alfine 8.

So according to speed in each gear in accordance with gear ratio, Alfine 11 is the winner.

WInner: Alfine 11

Gear Step Symmetry 

The step symmetry between gears is an important factor for smooth gear shifting.

Since both Alfine 11 and 8 have different gear ranges, they have different steps between gears.

The first gear ratio of Alfine 11 is 0.527 and the second one is 0.681. This gives a step-up of 29.2% for the second gear. We hope you got the concept. Let’s see their gear steps below-

Gear RatioShimano Alfine 11Shimano Alfine 8
2:129.2%22.3%
3:213.1%16%
4:314%13.9%
5:413.3%17.5%
6:514%22.3%
7:613.9%16%
8:713.2%13.9%
9:814.0%
10:913.3%
11:1014.0%

Alfine 11 has a few additional gearing steps than what Alfine 8 has. The steps in the 11 are more regularly spaced. But, the steps in the 8 have some very large leaps between them. 

Asymmetry exists in the gearing steps of Alfine 8. This asymmetry exists with the gap between gears five and six being significantly greater than the spread between all other gears.

So in terms of gear spacing symmetry, Alfine 11 is an upgrade from Alfine 8. And due to this symmetry, it gets easier to shift in the Alfine. So less chance of gear skipping.

WInner: Alfine 11

Gear Shifting

When it comes to gear shifting, almost all of the Alfine lineups starting from Nexus 7 faces shifting problems. It happens in both Alfine 8 and 11 too!

The Alfine 11 mostly skips gears when the bike is ridden standing up. It’s mostly seen to skip gears in the 5,6, and 7th gears.

Similarly, Alfine 8 has the same issue. It skips gears mostly in the 5th and 6th gears. Note that these 2 gears are the most malfunctioning ones in Alfine 8. But here it’s mostly seen to skip gears while on heavy load, riding uphill, or high acceleration.

So, both have the same issue here. But if we take reviews from riders, Alfine 11 is more swift in shifting.

Shifting becomes smoother when the shifting cable is free of contamination. So to make it free of contamination, you can use cassette joint units.

WInner: Alfine 11

Oil Lubrication and Maintenance

Maintenance is quite important thing considered by riders while choosing gear hubs. It’s due to the fact that nobody likes to take extra hassle for anything. 

In contrast to the majority of today’s gear hubs, both Alfine 8 and 11 are oil-lubricated and equipped with an oil port. 

So where there’s oil and gears, there requires mandatory maintenance. 

The Alfine 8 maintenance comprises soaking the center components in oil. It’s recommended to dip the internal hub in the maintenance kit. Shimano produces them on their own. If you wanna install Alfine 8, you can use the Shimano parts kit. 

Whereas, the Alfine 11 servicing and maintenance entails draining the oil and re-filling it with fresh oil. In either scenario, the cost of the oil bath should not exceed 80 dollars, and it can even be significantly less if done correctly. 

Winner: Tie

Single Speed

As we mentioned before, the Alfine 8 has a single-speed gear which is the 5th one. Now, you might be wondering if single-speed bikes are any good. Well, yes. Single-speed is more preferable to many. 

Single-speed gear means the wheel will turn once for one revolution of the pedal. And having a bike that has both single speed and other gear ratios is a huge bonus. So Alfine 8 provides this feature.

Many riders are accustomed to single drive speed. They can’t adjust when introduced with a hub gear that doesn’t have a single gear ratio.

So if you prefer single speed, Alfine 8 is the way to go. Alfine 11 doesn’t have single-speed gear. 

WInner: Alfine 8

Uphill Riding

Uphill riding can be the deciding factor for many while choosing between these 2 hubs.

Low gears are what make you comfortable while riding uphill. After a long day at work, while riding uphill, lower gears can make your day much easier.

Now, both of the 1st gears in Alfine 11 and 8 have a ratio of .527. This means that the first gear gives similar results in both of them. And, you can get Alfine 8 at almost half the price. So this is an important thing to consider here.

Similarly, the low gears(1-4) in Alfine 8 have less gear ratio than Alfine 11. And given the fact that it’s easier to go uphill at lower gear ratios, Alfine 8 is the winner here with less price.

WInner: Alfine 8

Noise

Noise can be another minor issue while choosing your means of commuting. 

The Alfine 11 is a little bit quieter than the Alfine 8. It’s not that Alfine 8 is very noisy, but while riding on different gears, Alfine 11 makes little noise compared to Alfine 11.

So if noise is a factor of consideration for you, Shimano Alfine 11 is the right choice.

WInner: Alfine 11

Weight

The weight of Alfine 11 and 8 is different from each other. The number is about 100 grams or so.

Alfine 8 is a little bit heavier than the 11. Alfine 8’s weight is about 1680g. This can be a thing to consider since the weight of your bike centers in the tail. So it can be a problem if the weight is an issue for you.

On the other hand, the weight of Alfine 11 is 1590g. It is a little bit lighter than the Alfine 8. Since the weight is mostly carried in the tail, you might feel lighter to move it forward. Its weight is even lighter than a speed hub.

So, considering the weight of these two, Alfine 11 is more preferable to riders for its lesser weight. 

WInner: Alfine 11

What Do We think?

Now it’s time for our final verdict!

Alfine 11 faces problems. That’s true. But so does Alfine 8. So to compare, we need to keep into consideration which features are best suitable for you despite the problems. 

If top speed is an important factor for you, you can go with Alfine 11. It’s also lightweight and makes less noise. The steps among gears is also even compared to Alfine 8.

That’s because Alfine 8 provides almost the same features as Alfine 11, some even better! It has a one-speed gear ratio and lower ratios of gear for uphill climbing which are absent in Alfine 11.

Alfine 8 doesn’t have the asymmetry in the gear ratios as Alfine 11 does. This is annoying to many. Also, some problems are the same in both which are gear skipping, regular maintenance, etc. 

So our recommendation is, go with Alfine 8 if you are more into climbing uphill and used to single speeds. Otherwise, there’s no point in spending twice the money on 11. Alfine 11 does offer even steps and higher gears. But it’s also seen to skip gears in spite of even steps.. So it doesn’t make much of a difference.

FAQs

How do internal hub gears work?

Internal hub gears work through a system called planetary system. Here are sun gears in the center and planetary gears rotating around it. The planetary gears are spun and then the sun gears. All the gears are sealed inside unlike a derailleur system.

Are internal gear hubs heavy?

Yes. They are heavier than derailleur systems. With higher weight, the acceleration is slightly less in internal hub gears.

Conclusion

This was all for today from us regarding Alfine 8 vs Alfine 11. We hope we’ve been able to help you with which gear is suitable for you. Do keep in mind that you should make a choice according to your needs.

Thank you for staying with us till the end. Do let us know if you have any queries in the comment section below. 

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