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Rohloff, yeah, nah, yeah, nah.

Old 06-15-17, 04:42 PM
  #1  
Trevtassie
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Rohloff, yeah, nah, yeah, nah.

So here is my assessment of the Rohloff.
Things I like:
The gear changing. So convenient when touring. Gotta suddenly cross the road when a foot path ends, no problems. Suddenly feel the need to go up that steep ramp...ditto.
Things I don't like:
Dragging a brick behind me all the time. Seriously, the amount of drag is ludicrous. On a downhill it's equivalent to around 2-3%. My partner and I always used to play the rolly game. Start at the top of a pass and I'd shoot off into the distance. Now she's on my hammer all the time, she has got better at descending, but this happens on the straight too. I've gotta pedal. Like having the brakes on.
That brings to me the second issue, the restricted gear range. If I have to pedal, it'd be nice to not spin out, but if I'm geared for a 12% slope then I run out of gears pretty quick.

Summary: If you happen to score one at a great price like I did, and you ride with someone slower than you it's worthwhile, but otherwise save your money for plane tickets.
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Old 06-15-17, 05:07 PM
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I would agree with you.
Mine was purchased on a used set of wheels. I've never had 2" tires before so I can't tell if it's the extra weight/rolling resistance or the Rohloff.
I don't care. I have no interest in going fast. Gear changes are great and lack of maintenance is nice.
When on tour I'm dragging my bike through high brush to camp. I don't really worry about snagging anything on a cassette/derailleur anymore.
I don't go up any 12% grades (maybe only once in my life) and I don't seem to spin out when standing on the pedals because I pedal pretty darn slow.

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Old 06-15-17, 06:20 PM
  #3  
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Too many downsides. Money, weight, drag, as you mentioned. Also, you need a special wheel for the hub, special rotors if you have disc brakes, aftermarket brifter shifting. You can now get a similar range with a 12 speed drivetrain. I'd take one if it was a really sweet deal, but not at full or close to full price.
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Old 06-15-17, 06:24 PM
  #4  
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Yep, there's an entire solar system in those planetary-gears!

Derailleurs are mostly shift-and-get-outta-the-way those internals are always involved and grinding those gears together.

Other than chain-line there's nothing simple going on.
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Old 06-15-17, 07:57 PM
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Would be a nice setup for a beach cruiser. I'd love to have one for a casual-Sunday-go-riding bike, but not for anything serious. Too heavy, and I can just imagine the set of sweet wheels I can get for that kind of cash!
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Old 06-15-17, 08:13 PM
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I like my Rohloff bike for some things, derailleur bikes for other things. I like to have both kinds of gearing, that gives me a choice of which bike to use.

First photo, my Rohloff bike (Thorn Nomad Mk II) in Iceland interior last summer.
Second photo, one of my derailleur touring bikes (Thorn Sherpa) this past February in Florida Everglades and Keys.
Third photo, my other derailleur touring bike (Lynskey Backroad, built it up a couple months ago) in Western Wisconsin last month.

I like all three bikes and I am sure I will use all three on future tours.

Regarding drag while coasting downhill, as the Rohloff wears in the seals will loosen up a bit and you will have less drag while coasting. I also found the noise in gear 7 was noticeably diminished after my first oil change. But the hub will always have noise in gears 1 through 7, mostly in 7.
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Old 06-15-17, 08:18 PM
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"Touring"... Its the Journey not the hardware.
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Old 06-15-17, 10:26 PM
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DeFaileurs ? WTH are they??? I just sold my last one. Good Riddance, Bon Debarras. Pffft
Impossible to clean, fix or use. Just yesterday I was watching a video of 3 randoneur race bikes in Quebec. One of them suddenly got chain suck. LOL Busted hangers?? NO thanks. More efficient ?? NOT
My Rohloff has 11,000 miles now, 4,200 pushing 120 lbs+ in SE Asia. Every morning just go find drinks and ride. Mostly 13.5 or 14 mph. 22 to 116 GI, Not Rohloff's fault so many want stupidly low gears. Only motor bikes were passing me. I passed them going downhill 38 mph. ha Mine is getting faster all the time, doing centuries at home. My bike is weight almost 50/ 50. My White Ind AL chainring sucks tho. Still haven't touched the shifter, except for the slippery cover.

Yesterday I was puttering my 50 lb CCM SA 3 spd on a MUP behind 2 girls. Got to a steep hill where they were in their second lowest gear and I had 52 GI. LOL Stayed with them all the way up.

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Old 06-15-17, 10:30 PM
  #9  
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Heh, thanks to the reviewers who make me glad I didn't sink $1,000 into a heavy draggy Rohloff. To me it doesn't make a lot of sense to buy a low-maintenance IGH but still have to do dirty & time-consuming chain cleaning/lubing. Belt-drive helps make up for some of Rohloff weight but few frames include split-dropout.

For drop-bar/Rohloff it seems a bit incongruous to combine expensive & sophisticated gear hub with kludgy twist-shifter that is more work & less safe than a brifter. AFAIK only way to get Rohloff/drop-bar/brifter/disc-brake system is Rohbox/SRAM hydraulic package: includes the brifters & calipers but is almost $1,000 extra.

OTOH Rohloff says their 14-gear hub has wider range than 44/32/24 X 12-34 derailleur, I haven't seen complaints about Rohloff gear range before.
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Old 06-16-17, 01:12 AM
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Originally Posted by GamblerGORD53 View Post
...My Rohloff has 11,000 miles now, 4,200 pushing 120 lbs+ in SE Asia. Every morning just go find drinks and ride. Mostly 13.5 or 14 mph. 22 to 116 GI, Not Rohloff's fault so many want stupidly low gears........
my current inferior oldfangled defailler bike has well over 50,000 miles in SE asia.
former (sold or deceased) defairller bikes with 100's of 1000's of touring miles,
some pushing 175 pounds (NOT including little old me!) spent many hours riding
slowly up 30-40 km long hills, instead of pushing slightly slowerfully. 22 GI? NO!

i've got a stupid 16.5 GI low, and a dim-witted 98 GI high.
and after all this time, i've still got my knees.

is there a fix for rohloff stupid?

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Old 06-16-17, 06:21 AM
  #11  
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Originally Posted by GamblerGORD53 View Post
Impossible to clean


I've now rebuilt seven bikes, all of which involved completely disassembling the rear end for a cleaning.

The only one still in pieces that never went back together is the IGH...
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Old 06-16-17, 06:22 AM
  #12  
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While in a down pour, wearing my Cyclist's rain cape, the grip shift always finds the next gear, higher or lower,
depending on which way I rotate it, Sight unseen, Cape draped over my (trekking) handlebars...

the Rohloff in my Bike Friday Pocket Llama , because of the 406-47, 20" wheel has a pretty big chainring 53t,
to have the same gearing range as the one in a 26" wheel at the 16:38t minimum..

want super low gears, Rohloff hub lovers?, a bike with a smaller wheel will achieve hat.




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Old 06-16-17, 11:03 AM
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I don't have a Rohloff; but my daughter does on her touring bike. She chose it for ease of use. The ease of setting it up when she assembles the bicycle, which she does frequently, and the ease of riding.

There is no need to tinker with the derailleur. There is no constant clacking. It is just easy to use. I understand that some don't value that. That is fine. Others do, It doesn't make them wrong.

As for me, I have gone with the NuVinci. I first got one for my commuter in order to limit the maintenance. I was impressed. I then got one for my wife's trike; now she won't have anything else. This summer I tried the N380 and rode it over the Rockies. I was satisfied with it.

I understand that cycling is a very conservative crowd. A lot of people feel that we hit the apex over half a century ago and everything from there on has just been refinement. Others like to play with different ideas.

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Old 06-16-17, 11:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Robert C View Post
That doesn't make them: just different; and there is nothing wrong with that.
Sure, but we're talking about someone acting like a few cogs, springs, and a chain are particularly complicated.

I don't have a problem with any of the less-common drive options, because they have their various uses where they're more or less ideal. But acting like any of them are particularly bad really is kinda stupid.
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Old 06-16-17, 01:00 PM
  #15  
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with Rohloff your bike behaves like a lame brick...

of course the mechanics and maintenance are great, bike behaving while moving is poor.
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Old 06-16-17, 01:26 PM
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I did the Nuvinci for a while. I love the shifting, but I had multiple problems with the hub itself. The company was always quick to do warrantee work or replacements for me, but for what it costs, I wasn't prepared to keep a spare on hand, so every problem meant the bike was out of commission until the repair was done.

Still, I rode that hub, or at least a Nuvinci hub, almost exclusively for several years, including some short tours. But the last time I had to get a warrantee replacement, I decided that really was the last time, and I gave my replacement hub to a Nuvinci-curious friend, and set my bike up with an Alfine 8.

All along I had said that while the Nuvinci was heavy, I only really noticed it when carrying the bike up the stairs. The Alfine made me eat those words because I absolutely felt how much lighter the Alfine was. I also really enjoy having two wheelsets I can swap at a moment's notice, and I'd like to build up another set or two. I was never willing to do that with the Nuvinci because I was never willing to spend that much to have a back up hub. Also I could never imagine quickly swapping Nuvinci tires. I used to hate taking that wheel off. Still, I found it a competent tourer, and I still miss the shifting, but I don't regret the change in hubs at all. The Rohloff seems similar in weight to the Alfine, and I think I'd like it, but it would have the same issue as the Nuvinci, only moreso, when it came to building up multiple wheelsets.

I have enjoyed stepping away from a derailler system for all the reasons mentioned. I don't think there's anything wrong with deraillers. I just really enjoy those benefits of the hub gear like a simplified drive train and shifting from a standstill.

I have considered something like the Speed Drive that installs in the bottom bracket as a way to increase gearing, but keep the simplicity of the drivetrain. That would stay with the bike frame rather than the wheel, so that has some additional appeal. But it costs up there with the Rohloff and basically gives the equivalent of one more chainring on the front. I haven't been able to justify pulling the trigger on that.

Still, the OP's Rohloff issues aside, I really like riding a hub gear, and even though my Alfine 8 doesn't have the range favoured by most tourers, it does the job for me. I don't mind getting off the bike every now then to push, though, either (he says, remembering being near tears two weeks ago when trying to push his bike out of the Ohio River valley. Well, okay, usually I don't mind.)
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Old 06-16-17, 01:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Rob_E View Post
I did the Nuvinci for a while. I love the shifting, but I had multiple problems with the hub itself. The company was always quick to do warrantee work or replacements for me, but for what it costs, I wasn't prepared to keep a spare on hand, so every problem meant the bike was out of commission until the repair was done.

. . .

All along I had said that while the Nuvinci was heavy, I only really noticed it when carrying the bike up the stairs. The Alfine made me eat those words because I absolutely felt how much lighter the Alfine was. I also really enjoy having two wheelsets I can swap at a moment's notice, and I'd like to build up another set or two. I was never willing to do that with the Nuvinci because I was never willing to spend that much to have a back up hub. Also I could never imagine quickly swapping Nuvinci tires. I used to hate taking that wheel off. Still, I found it a competent tourer, and I still miss the shifting, but I don't regret the change in hubs at all. The Rohloff seems similar in weight to the Alfine, and I think I'd like it, but it would have the same issue as the Nuvinci, only moreso, when it came to building up multiple wheelsets.
The new N360 & N380's are smaller and lighter than the old N171. They also have a wider gear range. I currently have two N360's and one N380; so far I have had no trouble with them.

N171 350% (0.5 Under-Drive to 1.75 Over-Drive) 3.85–3.95 kilograms (8.5–8.7 lb)
N380 380% nominal, 0.5 underdrive to 1.9 overdrive 2.45 kilograms (5.4 lb
from here

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Old 06-16-17, 02:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Robert C View Post
The new N360 & N380's are smaller and lighter than the old N171. They also has a wider gear range. I currently have two N360's and one N380; so far I have had no trouble with them.

from here
I started with a N171. It lost the lower half of its gear range one day, all of the sudden. In the lower half of the gear range, it would just freewheel. I made it home in high gear, then got it replaced. A little while later it happened again. That time they replaced it with an N360.

Right before that happened, a friend who knew I liked the Nuvinci hubs pointed out an eBay bike shop that was selling off their stock of N360s at a really good price, so I grabbed it as an upgrade. So I ended up with 2 N360s. One I built into a wheel for my LHT, which is where the N171 had been, and one I built into a wheel for my Raleigh Twenty.

The one on my Trucker started freewheeling maybe a year later. It wasn't the internals of the shifting mechanism this time, it was the actual freewheel assembly on the hub. The support guy admitted that the early batches on N360 were vulnerable to this kind of failure, and he sent me a replacement. That was the point at which I decided, rather than rebuilding my Trucker wheel with my 3rd replacement hub, maybe it was time to try something else.

The N360 in the Raleigh wheel did keep going until the bike died in a fire.

I still think they are good hubs, and that I just had some bad luck, but I've been very happy with the Alfine, so while I miss the continuous shifting, I haven't really been tempted to go back. Although with the Raleigh Twenty, I had ridiculously low gearing while still keeping the hub within manufacturer's specs. That had been an issue with LHT: the low gear was just a little higher than I wanted it, and lowering it would have voided the warrantee. So there is a temptation to try a Nuvinci in my small wheeled bike.
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Old 06-16-17, 08:25 PM
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My derailleur Trucker is already heavier than I'd like, Rohloff supposedly 600+ g heavier. Was initially intrigued by Pinion P.18 but it's a lot heavier than Rohloff.

A plus for derailleur (vs IGH/belt) is that modern chains are far superior to 70's chains: quieter & smoother even at an angle & shift quicker. Quick-link makes it easy to remove chain for cleaning.
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Old 06-16-17, 08:35 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
...want super low gears, Rohloff hub lovers?, a bike with a smaller wheel will achieve hat.
indeed. but then you've lost all the advantages of riding a bigwheel 29rrrr over obstacles
on rough techie terrain.

your heavy 20rrr (or 16rrr for stupid low gearing ) will be stuck on the pavement, where
defaillerrrrs are just fine.
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Old 06-16-17, 08:46 PM
  #21  
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Mr Trev, again, thanks for the frank assessment, which I really do believe comes from getting it at a special price/circumstance and thus being a bit more forthright.
I can certainly see both sides of the fence, pros and cons, but still for now, I'm happy with a derailleur system, will use the money for a plane ticket, and yes, I readily admit that I like "stupidly low gears", as do my knees (which are clearly not as tough as those of GamblerGrumpyPants) but I'm ok with that and accept my inadequacies ;-)
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Old 06-16-17, 10:07 PM
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I've got a heavy steel 7 speed around town bicycle (Giant momentum if you must know) cost $450.
I don't need a Rolhoff.
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Old 06-17-17, 06:11 AM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by DropBarFan View Post
...
A plus for derailleur (vs IGH/belt) is that modern chains are far superior to 70's chains: quieter & smoother even at an angle & shift quicker. Quick-link makes it easy to remove chain for cleaning.
Rohloff hubs can be used with either chains or belts. Many if not most Rohloffs are on frames that can't use a belt.

All of my bikes (except a vintage 3 speed) run the same eight speed chains and use the same quick links. That includes my Rohloff bike too.

Although many belt owners will tell you how great belts are, I prefer chain on my Rohloff bike because I use a larger chainring for unladen riding around home and a smaller chainring for touring or mountain biking where I want the lower gears for hill climbing. It is easy for me with a second quick link to adjust the chain length when I change chainrings.
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Old 06-17-17, 06:25 AM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by Rob_E View Post
I started with a N171. It lost the lower half of its gear range one day, all of the sudden. In the lower half of the gear range, it would just freewheel. I made it home in high gear, then got it replaced. A little while later it happened again. That time they replaced it with an N360.

Right before that happened, a friend who knew I liked the Nuvinci hubs pointed out an eBay bike shop that was selling off their stock of N360s at a really good price, so I grabbed it as an upgrade. So I ended up with 2 N360s. One I built into a wheel for my LHT, which is where the N171 had been, and one I built into a wheel for my Raleigh Twenty.

The one on my Trucker started freewheeling maybe a year later. It wasn't the internals of the shifting mechanism this time, it was the actual freewheel assembly on the hub. The support guy admitted that the early batches on N360 were vulnerable to this kind of failure, and he sent me a replacement. That was the point at which I decided, rather than rebuilding my Trucker wheel with my 3rd replacement hub, maybe it was time to try something else.

The N360 in the Raleigh wheel did keep going until the bike died in a fire.

I still think they are good hubs, and that I just had some bad luck, but I've been very happy with the Alfine, so while I miss the continuous shifting, I haven't really been tempted to go back. Although with the Raleigh Twenty, I had ridiculously low gearing while still keeping the hub within manufacturer's specs. That had been an issue with LHT: the low gear was just a little higher than I wanted it, and lowering it would have voided the warrantee. So there is a temptation to try a Nuvinci in my small wheeled bike.
I'm excited to get into a Nuvinci for a cruiser project I have waiting in the wings. I have an old Schwinn Corvette that will get a complete makeover and modernization, and a Nuvinci will make for a nice modern upgrade.

Originally Posted by saddlesores View Post
indeed. but then you've lost all the advantages of riding a bigwheel 29rrrr over obstacles
on rough techie terrain.

your heavy 20rrr (or 16rrr for stupid low gearing ) will be stuck on the pavement, where
defaillerrrrs are just fine.
Agreed. I have a couple of nice road bikes now, but I must admit that riding them is a pain in the arse... literally! This is due to the very poor back roads that I live on. The town repaves a small section every year, but the rough stuff is never going to completely disappear. I'm considering selling off my road bikes and getting a Trek 920 or some other 29er road bike just to have some bump-relief.
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I'm thinking that I spend about 40% of my daily productive time patiently waiting for people to get out of my way.
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Old 06-17-17, 07:30 AM
  #25  
fietsbob
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Tour on a race bike if you wish..
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