Would you be quickerbybike?


Quickerbybike.com is a campaign to promote cycling to non-cyclists
& decent cycling to existing cyclists.

If you commute to work or school but not by bike,
would you consider switching?

It's probably quicker, healthier, more friendly, more independent, cheaper, quieter & brighter.

If you already ride, would you promote cycling via your shorts?

If you ride like a bit of a wally, running red lights & annoying other road users,

would you wear the shorts and ride decently?


Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Genesis Day One Alfine 11 Review

I bought a Genesis Day 1 Alfine 11 last year to ride off-road as a 'cross bike.

This is what I learnt:
  • Riding trails on a 'cross bike is not as much fun as riding them on a mountain bike.
  • Cyclocross is a racing discipline only.
  • The Genesis Day 1 is heavy, despite the 853 tubing.  It would be hopeless for 'cross racing.
  • The Genesis Day 1 has poor mud clearance to the front fork (you won't think it's important until you're having to stop and pull the stuff out with your hands because it's jamming the wheel).
  • The Avid BB7 disc brakes are great, as is the Versa shifter and the Alfine 11 speed hub.
I got muddy:
After a few outings I gave up and took my mountain bike instead.  It was fine riding the Genesis on my own as an alternative to training on the road (with the busy, angry cars) but it wasn't very sociable because my friends were either on the road on road bikes or off the road on mountain bikes.

I left the Day One in the shed but I kept hold of my buyer's remorse.

Then I moved house and my commute went from 8 miles to 21 miles.

I stepped the Genesis up for the job.  And   it   is  brilliant.

I've now been riding the Genesis for my extended commute for three months.  I put the original Conti Gatorskin 28s back on and fitted SKS Bluemels guards.  Much better than the cross version.  It now looks like this.

You'll need some patience and skill (and some long bolts and spacers) to fit the mudguards so that they go around the disc calipers.  Ask Genesis if you're stuck.

It's just perfect.  Almost no maintenance.  Bomber braking.  Comfortable but fast.  Easy gear changes and huge range.  Just perfect.  Apart from anything else it's silent.  Derailler gears always make a bit of noise when you pedal and when you freewheel.  Hubs make no noise at any time.

I've done all my winter training on the Genesis too, riding in the Surrey Hills with friends on road bikes.  I can keep up fine, my brakes are reliable in the wet and don't create a horrible black paste on the rims.  The gears are in a metal box so they don't care if it's raining and gritty.

So, I highly recommend the Genesis Day Alfine but with some caveats.
  • If you're buying a bike for commuting, why not get the Alfine 8.  It's a lot cheaper and the slightly heavier tubing won't make any difference to you.  The 8 and 11 are both heavy bikes.
  • If you're buying it for racing 'cross, get the Day 01 disc and race singlespeed.  At least it will be a race-weight bike.
  • If you're buying it to go riding off road - get a mountain bike.

37 comments:

Chris S said...

Im thinking of buying the Alfine 11 and I too live in the Surrey Hills.
So your info has really helped me decide, I ride a 20 mile commute a day on a Boardman CX at the moment but my CX got bent by a motorist on a roundabout so... insurance money on way.
By the way the CX is Excellent but deraileurs goes like every other one after a few thousand miles. Hence my desire for a hub gear.

quickerbybike said...

Hi Chris. I don't think you can go far wrong with the Genesis for a long commute. It is heavy though, make no mistake. And the gears will slip now and then. I don't find either of these a major problem and would be very sorry to have to go bake to a traditional bike for commuting. In fact the thought of it depresses me! I suspect there are alternatives to the Genesis now.

mike said...

Hi everyone being a 14 mile a day commuter I have a ridgeback nemesis which I've had for 7 years ,its got shimano nexave 8 speed hub gearing and roller brakes. It weighs just over 14 KGS but now the old gears are not running smoothly also the bottom bracket needs replacing but its a sealed unit and connected to the spider , costly ! So i am looking to the genesis range for drop handled fun ,have been riding single speed all winter but not sure whether I want a bit of gearing to keep pace with my summer only friends. Can you also say how much the alfine 8 weighs? Cheers mike

Anonymous said...

The Alfine 11 weighs 11,3 kg.

Anonymous said...

I bought a day one alfine 8 speed about a year and a half ago. I'm a round trip of 23 miles into work on main roads and country roads and some bridle paths. It soaks all this up and is pretty comfortable and fast. If I was on a mountain bike instead of 50 minutes each way I'd be more like an hour and the rest. I do wish I'd maybe got the croix de fer to save a bit weight but at the end of my ride I just throw it in the shed. Brakes on mines are bb3 so not as good as the latest ones but I live that bike, does everything on or off road.

Sam Bedford said...

I'm a Day One Alfine 8 owner - I originally bought it for commuting but have since advanced my cycling to long weekend rides culminating in the etape Caledonia done in a little over 4 hours earlier this year.

Problem is, on club rides I find myself dropped without fail.

Before I go buying a fancy road bike I'd be interested in people's views on the weight & speed differences?

Either I'm just slower than I'd like to think, or the weight and gearing of the alfine 8 is slowing me down (on the flat only, I'm a whippet going uphill :)

Thanks in advance
Sam

quickerbybike said...

Hi Sam. I think you can legitimately blame the bike. It's very heavy and I struggle to handle club rides if they are at all feisty. Great for training alone or in groups riding steady but you have to work a bit harder than the rest on the hills. I can think why you'd struggle on the flat but not the hills.
You'd enjoy a race bike and would feel the difference.
Martin

Adrian Howe said...

I have an alfine 11, and Ive only ridden it a few miles. The gears keep slipping, its infuriating. Any suggestions?

quickerbybike said...

Hi Adrian. There's no escaping the odd slip with either of the Alfines but it shouldn't happen much. Have you used the barrel-adjuster to align the yellow tabs on the hub? I can't remember off-hand which gear it should be in to do this but only one will put them close. Really shouldn't slip much once you've done this.
Martin

Will Stephenson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Will Stephenson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Will Stephenson said...

Hi Adrian

I've had mine for 2 years now. Lessons learned:
1) Check the assembly of the gear cable at the hub end. The pinch bolt was loose on mine as it came from the shop and slowly slipped.
2) The distance between the shoulder on the ferrule and the centre of the pinch bolt has to be 184mm for reliable shifting in all gears. I don't know why. See link below
3) Align the yellow lines as quicker suggests in gear 6. Check alignment before each ride as the barrel adjuster does not stay put.
4) Have the oil changed after the first 200km, not 1000km as specced. The factory oil fill brings out all the detritus of the initial running-in.
5) Gear slips in 4 or 5 reduce after the first few hundred km, but go easy after a shift until the gear has properly engaged.
6) The cassette joint will fill up with gunk after a few months and needs removing, disassembling with a small Phillips screwdriver and cleaning for optimal shifting (dirt changes the radius of the joint and thus the amount the joint rotates on gear change).
7) No, you can't upgrade it to Di2, even if you wanted to spend another 1K on your bike.

Service instructions

Will Stephenson said...

I agree with all the points in the original article. Has anyone got any insight into why Genesis built the Day One so heavily? Did they use a bit too much of the magical 853 overall? Or is the (non-853) back end made of hi-ten? I have bugged them on their Facebook comments a couple of times but never got a response.

I use mine as my about town bike and for hauling the kids in a Singletrailer, where I don't have any worries about breaking the frame or stopping from 60kph, but it's very heavy, especially in the wheels, I just got killed on a steel racers' tour by a bunch of guys and bikes several decades older.

Also, after about a year the upshift started jumping all the way into gear 11. I guess this is a problem in the Versa STI. Anyone else see this?

I'm not sure if I would do it again. The tradeoff of the extra weight and decreased shifting performance vs lower daily maintenance is not in the Day One's favour. I might get a Croix De Fer though.

AndyC said...

I've owned a Day One Alfine 8 for over 2 years now and it's a rock solid commuter. I love it. It's a solid, comfy ride. I do a 22 mile round trip, mainly on road with a couple of killer hills and a few bridle paths. It is very heavy though, especially with a pair of Schwalbe Marathon Plus', which probably add at least an extra KG... The positives outweigh (forgive the pun) the negative of the weight though. Its brilliant for training too. As soon as you jump onto a CF road bike, you just fly

nicko said...

Hello Chaps,

I've been riding an Alfine8 bike for my 29mile round trip commute since May 2013 - not a Genesis, I bought a Charge Mixer (I don't think I can upload a photo here) which I converted to drop bars and Versa changers/Avid BB7s.
It has been excellent - I thought I would share my problems/experience with the Versa/Alfine combination in case anyone else reads this:

As Will says, the pinch bolt needs to be correctly and tightly fitted.

The (yellow marks) gear alignment needs checking once a week, cables stretch and such.

If you are experiencing sudden down shitfs then check the cable for ANY chafing or cable degradation - I found that I had a single fibre come away and was effectively acting as a spring - I replaced the cable and it was like a new machine again!

I am thinking about buying a Day One Alfine 11 - Martin thank you for posting your comments - have you found any significant/notable problems with the 11 speed hub? I am sold on the whole hub system, so much better than scrubbing a chain/cassette once a week.

Nicko

quickerbybike said...

Hiya Nicko

I'm sorry to have been so slow to reply. I've been going on holiday, getting engaged and watnot. Hooray!

But no, no problems with the 11 speed. It's much the same as the 8 to live with. It slips now and then but not enough to upset me. The adjustment is a lot easier to reach, see and affect than it is on the 8, so keeping it well tuned is less hassle.

I've ridden mine for um, 3000 miles and had no problems. I've done no maintenance as yet.

There are other, similarly equiped bikes out there now. The Genesis does the job really well. The weight is the only downside. Train heavy, race light. Doesn't bother me.

Martin

Anonymous said...

Thanks Martin - I've just come back from hols too.
I took the plunge and bought one, probikekit were offering 35% off so I couldn't resist - you couldn't buy the parts for that price, I checked!
A few observations, bad bits first-
1. Design fail on the horizontal dropouts: Having fitted some nice ETC mudguards, you have to remove the mudguard stays to get the rear wheel off! On my Charge Mixer it's vertical dropouts with eccentric bottom bracket to tension the chain.
2. Design fail on the rear disc brake mounting, this should have been mounted on the chain, not seat stay so you can use any rack (as i is on my Charge Mixer).
3. The paint is very prone to chipping.
4. The top gears are so high they are almost useless. I will try a lower sprocket to see if this cures the problem.
5. The Versa8 changes gear so much quicker than the 11, partly because it is configured to work in reverse so that you press the large lever to change up, meaning you have quicker downshifts.

These niggles aside, I love it. It is more comfortable and lighter than my Charge Mixer. I did a 15 mile brake bedding in ride, and so far two 27 mile commutes. The first commute a lad on a Brompton told me it was his dream bike, and the second time (this morning) I broke my previous best record that I had been trying to beat since May! I don't think I could part with it now, it really is an excellent machine.
There is my two pence worth.
All the best,
Nicko
p.s. Have I seen you riding the Upper Richmond Road on a weekday morning? If it was you and I see you again I'll say hello!

quickerbybike said...

Hello Nicko

That's good news. You got one (cheap!) and you love it.

I agree about the design issues. I've overcome the mudguard thing by using a spare set of SKS front wheel quick-release / safety fittings on the rear wheel. They just pull out.

I do get other riders saying what a great bike it looks. I agree!

Part of my training (I race TTs) is to grind 8 miles of my commute in a big gear. I in fact fitted a slightly larger chainring. But I agree it's a useless top gear for most applications.

You may well have seen me, yes. I commute to Weybridge from Borough most days, so I cross Putney Bridge and head to Roehampton Gate. Please do wave and shout if you see me. I'm always in full quickerbybike kit in the winter.

All the best

Martin

nicko said...

I do love it, it just looks "right"!
Excellent tip about the mudguard quick release jobbies, I shall be doing likewise!

And you put a LARGER chainring on - I assume you only have small hills on your route?!

Given that the 8 speed was flat out down the fastest hill in Richmond Park at 40mph, I think top gear must equate to 50mph plus...mental.

That is a serious commute you have, hats off to you sir. I'll say hello if I see you again.

All the best,
Nicko

Will Stephenson said...

So, fellow Day One A11 owners, I need your advice.

Would You Do It Again?

I got T-boned by a car where a separated cycle path down a one way street crosses a side street. The driver sped over the give way line looking the other way to connect with my left pedal and send me over the bonnet. I'm ok, 20 years of falling off BMX and mountain bikes paid off, but the bike's a writeoff.

Right now I'm considering the 2014 Day One Di2, a Croix de Fer, or something Ti and versatile like a Lynskey Sportive or Kinesis Tripster ATR.

nicko said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
nicko said...

Personally I have no doubts about the bike, it is excellent. I have just gone past 260 miles on it now, and I realise that I have been using the higher gears (that i thought were superfluous) downhill!

It is comfortable, quick enough and almost maintenance free. There simply isn't anything like it.
I have reservations about the Di2 - such as why suffer the weight of the batteries and in fact why dispense with the Versa changers they are excellent and go for all the extra cost? I expect it is more profitable for Genesis/Madison/Shimano to do so as the Versa changers are not Shimano products.

I say if you can find one of the 2013 bikes then go for it you won't regret it despite it's flaws (no bike is perfect is it).
My tuppence worth!

nicko said...

Thought I'd update on the merits of changing your oil, or in my case not very much oil... passed the 600 mile last week and drained the oil - there was nowhere near the prescribed 25ml - flushed drained and refilled and it is better than it was brand new - the gear change is totally silent and smooth. Love it!

quickerbybike said...

Nicko, that's brilliant. Thank you. I've been meaning to do it for ages. I guess it's about time I did it now. 6000k on the clock. Which oil did you use and where did you buy it? And where did you find simple instructions for the job?
Many thanks for posting.
Martin

nicko said...

I bought a kit from Ebid (you can get it on Ebay but it's a few quid more)

http://uk.ebid.net/for-sale/shimano-alfine-11-sg-s700-hub-oil-maintenance-kit-beats-tl-s703-117393983.htm

it actually only comprises two plastic syringes and a threaded tube attachment but is much cheaper than buying the Shimano kit, or doubtlessly the cost of LBS doing it. There are instructions on how to do it here -

http://techdocs.shimano.com/media/techdocs/content/cycle/SI/SI_7080A/SI-7080A-001-ENG_v1_m56577569830723823.pdf

all quite simple and easy, took me about 30-40 minutes very worthwhile though I reckon. Good luck!



nicko said...

...and realised that I'd missed your extra 0 Martin you need a comma in that number! 6,000 mile no oil change you naughty boy!

quickerbybike said...

Nicko - thank you!
Oil change done!
As you say, the hub feels smoother. Really enjoyed doing the job. Nice and simple and quick.
There was barely a dribble of oil in the hub. Now there's roughly 25 mls. Hard to guage as less comes out from the cleaning than you put in.

Thank you very much for the prompt and the links. That kit was ideal.

I think I got away with the huge gap between new and 1st change. Feels fine.

Martin

nicko said...

Ha! well done Martin glad you got away with it, the hubs are £450 odd new!

nicko said...

Martin I'm thinking about changing chain - I'm assuming you must have done yours - what chain did you go for?
Kind regards,
Nicko

nicko said...

p.s. am only thinking about the chain because the original is getting a bit baggy (at 850 miles now) and I'm thinking ahead - I don't want to ruin the sprocket or chain ring!

quickerbybike said...

Hi Nicko.

I just used a SRAM PC850, 8-speed chain. But then my chainring is not the original. I think the original ring is wide, so you'll need a 1/8 inch chain. Something like a KMC Z510.

If your chain is just baggy, you should be able to tension it by loosening the axle bolts and then tweaking the little hex-key tensioner bolts (if they haven't seized). Make sure you do the axle bolts up nice and tight afterwards.

I use a chain-wear measuring tool and just replace the chain when it's getting close to the mark. Only done it once so far. Probably needs checking.

I tend to buy cheap chains and replace them often. SRAM and KMC both have very good magic-links for separating.

Martin

nicko said...

Thank you sir. I've adjusted the tension ok, just thinking ahead to when it's time to change.

Anonymous said...

What size are you guys riding compared to your height. I'm tied between buying a 58 or 60cm

I'm 6'2" with a 35" inseam

nicko said...

I'm 5'10 and ride the 54cm. If you're in doubt then go for the size down - I'm assuming that you've checked the Genesis size guide/contacted them? I bought mine online without having tested one in a shop and it felt spot on straight away. hope that helps, and merry Xmas!

nicko said...

Hello Martin/All,

I've ridden almost 2,800 miles since last September, and am about to have to replace my second chain. I replaced the original KMC-K810 with the same KMC chain at 1,500 miles, and am about to have to replace this one now (at about 1,300 miles).

Questions:

1. is 1,500 miles a short life expectancy for what is effectively a single speed chain?

2. do you have any recommendations for durable chains?

Many thanks in advance,
Nicko

quickerbybike said...

Hiya Nicko
That does seem a bit short doesn't it. However, I'd just take it on the chin and keep swapping in new chains when they fail the chain-wear test. I'd say just buy fairly cheap chains and expact to replace them frequently.

I had been meaning to post a message to you: have you noticed that the more oil you put into the Alfine 11 hub, the more comes out? I'm not sure I'll bother putting more oil in in the future as it leaves the external moving parts of the hub covered in oil.

nicko said...

Was hoping you'd say 'try this chain it's magic!' :)

My hub does lose a little oil but it's had two oil changes now and has been ok in terms of oil retention.: sounds like your sealing is suspect.

I stripped the outer parts of my wheel down in a quest to find why it had such high rolling resistance only to find that the cones were probably a bit over tightened (was meaning to tell you about this too). This will reveal if anything is loose that's not meant to be, and it's pretty straightforward - there are guides online (I think I followed the on for my 8 speed hub) - sounds like it's worth you having a tinker/look?
Let us know what you find, good luck sir.