A few months ago our good friend Nelson Snyder contacted us regarding the upcoming release of Shimano’s DI2 Alfine group. Nelson logs hundreds of off-road miles throughout the notoriously wet winter months near his home in Hood River; he knows first-hand what these conditions do to exposed drivetrains. He was hoping to build his Ventana 29er into the ultimate Pacific NW Winter Bike using the DI2 Alfine 11 speed internally geared hub – modified to accept a Gates Carbon Belt Drive. As the DI2 Alfine group had not yet been released, we were uncertain as to the viability of the project, but excited to give it a shot.
Once we had the parts in hand, we were faced with quite a few compatibility issues. More than once we ran into walls and were on the brink of abandoning the build – but each time either Nelson or one of us here at the shop pushed the project forward.
The end result was exactly what Nelson hoped for – a bomb-proof off-road winter machine. In his words, “Got my first ride on the Di2 set up today… I love technology! No issues at all, except that it still won’t send Tweets or pick up live satellite feeds…”
While we were quite happy with the functionality of the bike, there were some aesthetic limitations with regard to external wiring and routing for the battery mount. Once the internal battery is available from Shimano (in a few months), we plan to re-visit the Ventana and do some custom internal routing for the wiring and really clean things up. In the meantime, Nelson will be putting this bike through the paces getting his legs ready for 1150 km Trans-Portugal Race in May 2013. Get it Nelson!
Nelson took the time to update us on the status of his Belted DI29er:
“Gates: “what mud?”
Alfine: “Is that all you’ve got?”
So far the sloppy winter mud of Post Canyon isn’t an issue for the new drivetrain…Forgot to add a Di2 perspective. If Di2 could talk, it would go something like this: ” ok, I see how it is. You submerge my motor in the water when your dumb-ass slid off the trail into the creek, then you proceed to drag my wire harness thru the 38 degree rain for the next 2 hrs, all while not having been charged in almost 2 weeks and still showing a full battery…and then you forget to mention my condition at the first real field report! No respect…”
So far, so good! Thanks to bikerumor.com for sharing Nelson’s story: http://www.bikerumor.com/2013/01/25/ventana-29er-hacked-with-gates-belt-drive-shimano-alfine-di2/