Shimano Alfine Inter 11 Oil Change

There is going to be sucking, squirting, a nipple and a syringe.

The Shimano Alfine Inter 11 internal gear hub uses oil for lubrication. It is recommend you perform this procedure for a new hub after the first 500 kilometers of riding. After this every two years, or 5000 kilometers.

Like the Rohloff Speedhub the Shimano Inter 11 is lubricated with oil, rather than grease that other internal gear hubs use. The oil can be supplied through a dedicated hole in the hub, making the procedure fast and easy without requiring removal of the wheel or disassembly of the hub.

The only special tools required are a syringe with a hose. Shimano sells this in a kit. I, and many other use Rohloff oil and kit because it is cheaper and the oil is biodegradable and seems to work just as well, but does void the warranty.

It is normal for oil to leak out around the seals. Some hubs leak faster than others. When you do not change the oil regularly the oil you may notice some sounds coming from the hub in certain gears.

Personally I like to change the oil in spring at the start of the riding season.

These are step by step instruction with pictures of the oil changing procedure:

Oil, syringe, hose and 3 mm hex key.

To do this, you need the following items:

  • Bicycle with Shimano Alfine 11 gear hub installed in rear wheel.
  • Oil; you can use 50 mL Shimano oil or Rohloff oil which has 25 mL flushing oil and 25 mL hub oil.
  • Syringe with tube and 3 mm thread.
  • 3 mm hex key.
  • Cup, waterproof ziplock bag or something like that for disposing at least 50 mL of oil
  • Paper towels or rags to wipe any excess oil.
  • Optional: Workstand for your bicycle.
3 mm hex key on the nipple with the handle facing forward.

The first step is to locate the oil nipple. The nipple is labeled with an oil symbol next to it. Rotate the wheel so that it is on top. Insert a 3 mm hex key in the nipple. The nipple has a rubber ring around it on the inside to seal it. It may require some force to open it.

Have the key handle pointing towards the front of the bicycle and turn it towards the left. After it has come loose insert the long end of the key and keep turning until it is out. You will need the nipple again, keep it somewhere safe.

Hose connected to the hub.

Screw in the hose and attach the syringe. Make sure the syringe is pushed all the way in.

Syringe hanging below the hub.

Rotate the wheel half a turn so that the nipple is now on the bottom. Pull the syringe to suck out the old oil.

Draining the oil from the hub through the hose.

It may take a while for all the oil to seep to the bottom. As it is normal for oil to leak out during use, you may only get 10 to 20 mL out.

If this is the first oil change you will get more, there will probably also be tiny aluminum shavings visible as little sparkles in the oil.

Squirting the oil out of the syringe.

Turn the wheel again with the nipple facing up. Disconnect the syringe and dispose of the oil.

Filling the syringe with fresh oil.

Suck 25 mL of (flushing) oil into the syringe. Connect it to the hose and squirt the flushing oil into the hub.

Syringe secured between the spokes, still connected.

You could remove the hose, and put the nipple back, but there is a faster way. Tuck the syringe between the spokes. Now spin the pedals and use the shifter to cycle through all the gears.

Stop the wheel from turning with the brake, not your fingers. Take the syringe from the spokes, turn the it downwards and ,b>suck out the (flushing) oil. Again, it may take a while, but you don't have to wait for the last drop. The flushing oil can be mixed with regular oil.

Syringe with 25 mL of flushing oil.

You should get about 25 mL flushing oil out, but don't waste too much time getting every last drop. Turn the wheel again with the nipple up, disconnect the syringe and dispose of the oil.

Filling the hub with oil using a syringe.

Suck up 25 mL of oil with the syringe. Connect to the hose and squirt the fresh oil into the hub.

Turn a 3 mm hex key right to close the nipple.

Keep a paper towel or rag ready. Disconnect the syringe, and unscrew the hose. Get the nipple and 3 mm hex key and screw the nipple back in. Wipe away any excess oil. You are now done.

You can re-use the syringe and hose many times, so keep them around. Dispose of the oil, according to your local regulations. Often times not down the drain, but in the garbage.