I am very pleased with the Alfine. I have some mixed feelings but they are created by me. If you have spent a fair amount of time riding single speed, you will find this hub to be quite beneficail. It allows you to adjust to the terrain a little better. I have my setup with the ring/cog that I would normally run in the off season. (38/20) With that said, forth gear is 1:1 which is essentiall riding as if I was single speed. I then effectively have three granny gears and four overdrive gears. That is pretty awesome. The downside to this is the urge to ease off the pain when the road turns upward. When I had no choice but the gear that I brung, you get out of the saddle and push through it until its done. When you have options, it is easy to drop a gear (or in this case up to three gears) and spin it out. It takes the edge off but I realized that it was an easy alternative to grunting it out. I think overall that is the least of my problems. I welcome the options. It will allow me to venture further out and help leave my legs fresher to ride longer. I will continue to put many miles on it and everytime I click the shifter, I will remember how hard it was sometimes before I had it.
This is a pretty common site in the Vermont country side. The photo below is the same barn, just panned back for a more complete look of the scene.