Making the Switch; Commuting with Gears, to the Internal Alfine-8 hub
For those of you that don't know, internal gear hubs replace the conventional derailleur/cassette setup; in short, the gears are changed internally within the hub. The Alfine-8 hub features 8 gears that are methodically spaced out for a wide variety of gears.
At the start of last year, I was lucky enough to have the pick of the litter, the Brodie Ocho: It was love at first sight. When you work for a bicycle company, instant pride comes from an emerging line, but this time it was different. Like a kid in a candy store or a woman in a Gucci store, I knew that this bike had to be mine. Being a "guys-guy," with a background of rugged sports such as hockey, rugby, snowboarding... (the list goes on) I'm not easily impressed, but the Ocho was a thing of beauty. Matching gold seat rivets, rims, stem cap, seat collar and decals juxtaposed to the gloss black paint gives the Ocho a sleek, dark look; flashy, but not. Being stubborn as usual, I jumped in head first with what I wanted, not knowing anything about the Alfine internal hub.
Previous to the Ocho, I had built myself a Brodie Infinity and with 27 gears I was on easy street. Not being in the best of shape, I figured the 10k commute on a 8-speed Alfine would prove to be a challenge. With rolling hills from home to work, I was worried the weight along with the lack of gears would leave me with an empty tank of gas by time I got to my destination. Boy was I ever wrong; the low center of gravity weight of the hub and the range of gears was amazing. To tell you the truth, I couldn't even tell a difference from riding one over the other. The Alfine hub has a gear range much like a middle front chain ring and a 12-38T cassette: More than enough to tackle the westside Vancouver terrain.
This year the Brodie Ocho moves into hydraulic disc brakes and a much more affordable price point at $1049! Lucky for me tho, I'm moving into bigger and better things and I think it's time to try out Shimano's new 11-speed Alfine on our Brodie Once; not necessary, but why not!