Nice looking hub, eh? If you disagree, the rest of this post may be even more unbearable than usual. But most of us in the shop (and the late Sheldon Brown) think this hub is the bee's knees. It's the Shimano Alfine (Shimano says it's all fine if you pronounce it all-FEE-nay), and it shares innards with the Nexus 8 internal hub, but adds the disc brake and that hot polished finish.
Shimano got the buzz machine bump-started on this in 2006, when they got a bunch of small framebuilders to make show specials built around the all-FEE-nay, and showed them at industry fashion week Interbike, see a few samples below.This one is from ANT in Massachusetts.
Here's a pic of the show winner from Old Man Mountain (pinched from the Bicycledesign blog).And my personal favorite, from Rock Lobster. Cool bikes, all of them.
Anyway, Shimano then ran the buzz-machine across a jersey wall and into a brick wall by announcing that so sorry, Alfine would be for Europe only. Oh. But swayed by who-knows-what, they relented, and this year saw the first offerings of bikes specced with Alfine. Like the $2K Civia Hyland I mentioned from Frostbike; and the nice-looking, upcoming Breezer Finesse, pic below, price not much less.So what's the point of all this? A $2K bike looks nice? Post more pics of those hot-looking store signs!
The point is that we are stocking a bike that is flying entirely under the radar. Unknown, unheralded, unblogged. Googling didn't even pop this bike up on the manufacturer's site. But it is for real -- one of our vendors managed to spec a practical, useful, and wonderfully offbeat bike, with the Alfine hub, for under $900. Yes, $900 in US dollars. Tomorrow, I'll uncover this mystery machine.
How's that for buzz?