Alfine 11 / Gates CT Upgrade Update

Alfine 11

In June I posted a note about upgrading by Civia Bryant from the stock 8-speed Alfine hub to the new Alfine 11 and swapping the stock belt drive for Gates’ new CenterTrack (CT). It’s been nearly a month so I thought I’d post a quick update for those who are looking to make a similar upgrade.

At this point I’ve obtained the rear wheel with hub, the small parts kit, the Versa VRS-11 brifters, and the mysterious and difficult to obtain “outer receiver unit” (more below). The drivetrain parts from Gates, including a 50T CT front pulley, 24T CT rear pulley, and 118T CT belt, are currently in transit.

I’ve learned a few things you’ll want to be aware of if you’re upgrading from an Alfine 8 to an Alfine 11 on a drop bar bike.

  1. The 8-speed cassette joint from your old hub is not compatible with the 11-speed. You will need to order the CJ-S700 small parts kit for the Alfine 11.
  2. If you have a 5-arm, 130mm BCD crank, you’re all set. But, if your existing crank is of the 4-arm, 104mm BCD variety, you’ll want to be aware that Gates will not be producing CT front pulleys to fit your crank until this coming winter. In the meantime, there are two possible solutions. One is to use your existing crank and front pulley until the CT comes available (to my surprise, I learned that CT belts will run fine on non-CT front pulleys). The other is to swap out your existing crank for an Alfine or some other 5-arm model. The Alfine crank and bottom bracket are designed to work with the Alfine hub so they’re a natural choice (assuming they’re compatible with your frame).
  3. The “outer receiver unit” is pictured here (see item no. 6). Unlike the Alfine 8’s cassette joint with its built-in cable stop, the Alfine 11’s cassette joint requires this separate cable stop. The issue is that the receiver unit is currently only available in the U.S. as part of the SL-S700 Rapidfire shifter kit – it cannot be ordered separately. This means purchasing an expensive shifter kit just to obtain this small part. Fortunately, QBP is aware of this problem and will be importing the part for individual purchase this fall. In the meantime, it’s possible to substitute a Jagwire barrel adjuster for the Shimano cable stop, but it’s not a great solution. Of course, if you’re running flat bars this a non-issue because you need the SL-S700 shifter anyway.

As you can see, it’s taken some time to figure this out and obtain the necessary parts – this is not unexpected given the fact that these products are just now coming available. Fortunately, I’m in no hurry and the suppliers (Gates, Civia) have been extremely helpful.

Stay tuned; the next installment will be a report on the actual installation and initial testing of the new drivetrain.

Disclosure: Gates and Civia are sponsors of this website.

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