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A shiny Charge with a rare-as-hen's-teeth Shimano Alfine 11 speed hub plugged in.....

Oooh, exciting. One of the most viewed pages on road.cc over the last year has been the Alfine 11 car park test, it seems everyone's talking about Shimano's new hub. Talking about it they might have been but riding it they certainly haven't; the things are like hen's teeth. But now we've got one.

Massive thanks to the chaps at Charge who have sent us a Charge Mixer 11 to play with. In fact they've sent their only one, as thus far they've only got one of the hubs. But one's enough to have a go on, so we will.

In case you haven't read about the Alfine 11 hub, it's a very different beast to the eight-speed hub. The most obvious change is the increase in ratios, both in number from eight to 11 and in range from 320% to 400%. But the most important changes are internal. Shimano have dropped the grease-based workings of the old hub and started from scratch, building the new unit with oil-bath internals that should make maintenance easy and dramatically increase the running life of the hub. It's a bit lighter too, and the Rapidfire shifter is the right way round – as in the same as a derailleur system – and allows you to shift up two ratios at a time.

Enough about the hub, what about the bike it's built into? Well, it's a looker alright. The Mixer is built from the same Tange tubing that Charge use widely across their range and it's finished in a stainless-esque silver. You get a matching fork and the bottom bracket is asymetric to allow for proper chain tensioning. There's a raft of Charge finishing kit, all solid stuff including their own brand hubs laced to Alex rims and wearing Conti Sport Contact 32mm tyres. Shimano's 486 hydraulic discs take care of the stopping.

We'll be putting the Alfine hub through its paces as much as we can in the next few weeks and when we've got enough riding in, we'll let you know what we think. Certainly if it lives up to expectations it'll be a shoe-in for high-end commuter bikes, but will it be able to make the crossover to purer road disciplines? we'll see... The Charge Mixer retails for £1,229 and you can find out more about it from the Charge website: www.chargebikes.com

Dave is a founding father of road.cc and responsible for kicking the server when it breaks. In a previous life he was a graphic designer but he's also a three-time Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling world champion, and remains unbeaten through the bog. Dave rides all sorts of bikes but tends to prefer metal ones. He's getting old is why.

23 comments

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bikeandy61 [538 posts] 6 years ago
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TBH more interested in the hub than the bike. I know another company make a drop bar shifter for the 8 speed hub (is it Microshift?) any news if they will be doing one for the 11? Any idea if Shimano have plans to do a drop bar shifter for the 11? Not like the BIG S to let an aftermarket company get in on their act, hence ever changing spider layouts/BCD.

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bikeandy61 [538 posts] 6 years ago
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Versa shifters actually

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dave atkinson [6287 posts] 6 years ago
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nobody's officially making an 11 speed shifter so far as we know, although we did see a prototype one on setting up day at eurobike; however, by the time we returned with our camera it had mysteriously disappeared. no reason why it can't be done, shimano last time we asked them said it was too niche...

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Chuffy [200 posts] 6 years ago
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No sign of the Pompetamine then ?  20

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dave atkinson [6287 posts] 6 years ago
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not yet, although they said they'd send one... we'll chase next week  1

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Ush [831 posts] 6 years ago
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So this uses some sort of non-rotating washers (the green and blue ones in the pictures e.g. javascript:openImgWindow('http://road.cc/content/image/26869-charge-mixer-11-disc-brake') ) instead of an arm bolted to the chain stay?

Also, did the test rider actually have the seat post yanked up that high? Must have been damn uncomfortable on the lungs!

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Trev Allen [132 posts] 6 years ago
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Phwooarrrrrrr

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sunil1974 [7 posts] 6 years ago
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Got mine on order...arrives 3 December. I'm hoping the review comes up trumps!

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jezzzer [329 posts] 6 years ago
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sumink about those 'guards. ruins the look of what might be a nice looking bike. maybe if they were black?

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berniethebike [1 post] 6 years ago
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...or maybe if it wasn't a wanky courier wannabee but had some nice drops instead it would look better?

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dave atkinson [6287 posts] 6 years ago
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We'd all be happy if it had drops, because that would mean there was a drop bar shifter, which there currently isn't...  39

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ir_bandito [58 posts] 6 years ago
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Ugh. EBB.

It is Versa who make the Alfine shifters. I have some and they're very good. By all accounts, they are Microshift shifters though, with butchered insides. Won't be too long till there's an 11-spd version I suspect.

Alfine chainset would look nicer without the "bash-ring".

Can't wait to get my hands on an Alfine-11 though, albeit for a different bike.

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dave atkinson [6287 posts] 6 years ago
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we've contacted versa to ask if they're going to make an 11-speed one. I suspect it's a much harder job because you can't just use 8 of the 10 available ratchets in an existing unit and change the pull ratio... could use a campy shifter maybe?  1

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workhard [396 posts] 6 years ago
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Jtek will do a bar end job for sure.

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alg [170 posts] 6 years ago
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 38 11 speeds at 1 finger without clanky dangly bits and too much chain all on looking bike too - perfect !! want one now

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sunil1974 [7 posts] 6 years ago
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Delivery delayed again...likely to be January-March 2011. Charge v. vague on when UK stockists will get the bikes, other than it will be before all other countries.

Xmas hopes dashed...  2

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STATO [514 posts] 6 years ago
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Can anyone at road.cc towers let us know how many mm's of cable is pulled per shift on this 11-speed unit? (assuming its the same per gear, unlike a mech where it changes through the gears)

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dave atkinson [6287 posts] 6 years ago
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STATO wrote:

Can anyone at road.cc towers let us know how many mm's of cable is pulled per shift on this 11-speed unit? (assuming its the same per gear, unlike a mech where it changes through the gears)

the white board marker, blu-tack and metal ruler suggest it's 10 equal shifts of 5.3mm

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STATO [514 posts] 6 years ago
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Hmm, thats a lot of cable. According to the CTC page Campagnolo pulls around 2.6mm per click so if shiftmate can make a 2:1 adaptor a Campagnolo/Afine set-up may be possible.

But what to call it? Campagnolfine? Campalfine?  4

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dave atkinson [6287 posts] 6 years ago
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the problem there STATO is that derailleur setups aren't a consistent pull over the spread of gears, the cable pull gets larger towards the big sprockets.

i expect JTEK will be doing their matrix code thing with their CNC machine even now... a bar-end lever looks like the best bet for the drops.

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STATO [514 posts] 6 years ago
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Yeah, know about derailleur pull differences, thats what i was getting at in the previous post. But knowing a campy 11 is 2.6mm average it should be easy for JTek (or someone) to make a shiftmate to suit.

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dave atkinson [6287 posts] 6 years ago
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Just spoke to Ryan at Jtek who's confirmed that they are looking to do an 11spd shifter. happy days!

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sunil1974 [7 posts] 5 years ago
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Picked up my Charge Mixer 11 on Saturday...absolutely fantastic. Alfine 11 is very smooth and good range for a city bike.

Well worth the 6 month wait!  1 1 1