The Chainlink

Hello all, I'm a daily bike commuter here in Chicago, from my home in the West Loop up to my job in downtown Evanston (woo-hoo reverse commuter!).  My dedicated foul-weather/winter bike (Scott SUB 10) has an Alfine 8 IGH. From some of the experienced IGH riders over on bikeforums.com, I've learned that the Alfine 8 is lubricated with grease instead of oil, as is used in the higher-end Alfine 11. Apparently this grease can cause extra drag in the hub in colder weather. As a daily 4-season rider in Chicago, the situation is less than ideal.

The solution is to open up the IGH and give it an oil bath. I've visited the hubstripping webpage to learn how to do it, but I'm still honestly intimidated and would rather not tackle this mod by myself.

Does anyone know of any bike shops in the city that are especially knowledgeable with IGH servicing? I got the bike from REI, but I'm not inclined to trust a product-mover like REI with a highly technical service job like this. What would be THE shop in Chicago to get an oil bath for my IGH?

Thanks in advance for any insight anyone may provide, and as a die-hard cycling freak, I look forward to contributing to the discussions here, cheers!

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My kind of thread.:) Most all my bikes have geared hubs.

I have experience with older SA 5 speeds, the S5 series. Simple hub and works very well if you ditch the original shifter(s) and go with a standard SA shifter for the right side and a friction shifter for the left. Know nothing about the single shifter 5 speeds.

I did convert my Sram S7 to oil lube after condensation formed in the hub(unheated garage) and rusted the thrust key to the axle and fucked up the shifting. I found absolutely no grease in the center of the axle. Freed that up, drilled a hole in the shell and threaded it for a SA oiler. Couple drops of oil when I think about it and no issues for the last two years.

Plan on doing the oil conversion to the Alfine sometime in the future. Just decided not to commute this winter.

Mike, I beg you to reconsider. So far this has been the calmest fall in years. Winter is not so bad, and this year it promises to stay warm.

Mike Bullis said:


Plan on doing the oil conversion to the Alfine sometime in the future. Just decided not to commute this winter.

Your first 5speed comment had funny grammer- that's all.

I'd love to call up Aaron's and find out what they do. They advertise in Momentum mag. My instinct is that is a guarded secret. We've been fond of that red sticky grease (RocknRoll) for hub overhauls. I sometimes buy it from homedepot made by Lucas Oil. I went to Lucas Oil's site and found that the grease they sell that looks like Park Polylube is more recommended for bicycle parts according to it's characteristics (waterproofness, etc). I just like the red sticky stuff. It's stickyness makes me think it will stay in place longer. I suppose a good test would be to overhaul my own parts (hubs and BB) with red on one side and green on the other, and check every few months. (most of my hubs and BB's are sealed Cartridge style though).

As far as oil bathness (see comment below by Mike Bullis) SA hubs still need grease for their bearings. It helps to pull the hub apart once in a while to add grease to the three bearing sets.



notoriousDUG said:

I have not really seen problems with the 5 speed

Are they using a different grease when they overhaul them?  It seems like the issue is the grease washing out and letting the hub shell and bearings rust.  

I've noticed the weather part, but I've commuted for eight suburban winters and need a break. Besides, I've been on the road for the last seven weeks, so not commuting by bike is a moot point.

As to greasing of bearings, I've had really good results with blue marine grease. Water proof and not easily washed out by oils. And, just to turn this into a 'What is the best lube for an IG hub?' thread, I use Mobil1 0-40 only because it's what's in my garage.

kevin womac said:

Mike, I beg you to reconsider. So far this has been the calmest fall in years. Winter is not so bad, and this year it promises to stay warm.

Mike Bullis said:


Plan on doing the oil conversion to the Alfine sometime in the future. Just decided not to commute this winter.

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