All's Fine 4 years on - 25,000 kms on the Kona DrFine

Its now been over 4 years and approximately 25,000 km's since I bought my Kona DrFine commuter with 8spd Alfine hub.

In my last update some 12 months ago I had reached the 20,000 km milestone having been doored a couple of months earlier at 3 year mark.
Since then I estimate that I have only added another 5000 km as I have been off the bike again.

This time it was my own fault. Late August my neighbour invited me to go for a ride around Manly Dam on his other carbon soft tail. It was my first time around the dam and perhaps a little out of my depth as I managed to dislocate my shoulder going over the bars clipped in ¾ of the way around the track.
In the weeks leading up to this that I had some kind of nerve damage in the right hip/leg which I think was meralgia paresthetica. This had me on and off the bike as well. The symptom is limited to a random and sudden bee sting like or electric shock on a specific part of the upper thigh. At it's worst it happened every hour or so all day and night but generally limited to a few times a day. Anyone else had this?
The good news is that my shoulder didn't require surgery and nearly 6 months on it's 90% there. And the time off the bike gave the damaged nerve a chance to rest and heal.

Depending on which way you look at it it was also good timing for me to get a severe sinus infection a couple of weeks after the accident. Perhaps not so great timing for my wife to have a baby with me nursing my sore shoulder and constantly blowing my nose 24/7. Baby Isaac was born 11pm September 11th, 58 cms long, 8 pounds with long strong legs!

Unlike  my old and worn out self the 8spd Alfine hub Kona is still going strong.

Last update I replaced the 45 chain ring with a 39 with 18 tooth rear cog. At the time I complained that it didn’t seem to make much difference in the lower gears and spinning out much earlier in top gear down hills. I have since gone to a 20 tooth rear cog and it seems to be a much better solution on my commute as I find I am making the most from the range on most of commute and now able to sit and spin in second or third on several hills including Battle Boulevard when I used to have to get out of the seat.
I’ve also had the discs replaced. I think the generic brand pads I was using might have contributed to excessive wear on the discs. These pads lasted a long time but made a hell of racket in the wet and didn’t work as well as the factory Shimano resin pads. I have since gone to another brand of pad that work as well as the factory ones, are quiet and long wearing.
Still yet to have a puncture and still running on Matharon Plus’ which Ok but the rear seems to go bald quickly.

I keep toying with the idea of getting a roadie or a nice soft tail mountain bike, or both! But the reliability and low maintenance of the Kona. It can also take a bit of punishment going up and down gutters and through pot holes. And so I'll stick with it for now until the finances allow for that roadie.

Till next year.


Views: 186

Comment by Jasesly on February 25, 2014 at 9:36am

Congrats on the new bub, he looks like a lot of fun! Also hope you're recovery continues well. 

In terms of maintenance on the Hub do you give it a clean/oil every year as recommended by Sheldon?

I ask as I have a Focus Planet with the 8 speed Alfine hub. I've had it for just over 18 months now and have done over 10000k's on it. After about 6 months and 3500k's it was skipping frequently (especially when working hard up hills) and would make a grinding noise in certain gears. I took it to the LBS where I purchased the bike and he stripped the hub cleaned out some grit and re oiled it, its been at dream to ride ever since. I read with interest on the Sheldon page, linked above, that its often the case that at manufacture they often don't come adequately lubricated to withstand wet conditions. Part of my regular commute is through some bush tracks west of Hornsby that includes a number of creek crossings which may have contributed.

I often wonder if my Maintenance strategy should be to wait until its showing symptoms of needing a clean or if prevention is better than cure. Seeing as you've done a lot more k's on yours and had it for longer i'm interested to know what, if anything, you've been doing in terms of hub maintenance? Also do you ride in all conditions (wet weather in particular, judging by the mileage on the bike it suggests you have been)? 

Comment by DrFine on February 25, 2014 at 9:38pm

Thanks Jasely. I'd have to go back through my records but I'd say the hub gets looked at once a year at most. Not sure what they do other than pull it apart, quick clean and re pack it with grease (the 11 spds are oil). Too be honest I think if it ain't broke then don't fix it applies to internally geared hubs. I've had mixed results with bike mechanics messing with it, especially the cable mechanism at the hub end. If its not done properly when serviced it can make the hub skip under load. Sounds like your LBS mechanic knows what he is doing just make sure he does it every time and not someone else. I'm sure criticisms of internally geared hubs skipping and/or being rough and noisy are due to incorrect adjusted. 

And yes I ride rain, hail or shine. Have ridden through many hub high puddles no problems at all. If you're worried about the mud and creek crossings you could hose it down every weekend or when you get home.  But if you look at my photo you will see that my bike is very grubby as I NEVER clean it, such is the life of a commuter bike.

So yes these hubs (8 spd Alfine at least) really are bullet proof in my experience.

Comment by DrFine on February 25, 2014 at 9:50pm

A couple of other things. If it appears, over the coming months, that it is starting to skip again under load it could be that the chain, chain ring and cogs need replacing especially as you have done are over 10,000 kms but your mechanic would have been onto that. The other thing to be aware of is bottom brackets. I went through a heap of them one after the other but not since I changed mechanics. So I can only conclude that the other mechanics (where I bought the bike from) were lazy with getting the tension correct.

Comment by Jasesly on February 26, 2014 at 10:36am

Cool good to hear. 

My bike came with the gates carbon belt drive so drive train wear and tear is negligible. I was told that normal commuting should get 40000k out of the belt, could be reduced with excessive grit exposure but a regular hose down takes care of most of it.

You're right that getting the tension right is important. Once after repairing a flat i popped the back wheel back on and didn't quite get it right, gear changes were terribly noisy but i was able to sort it out when i got home. 


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