After finding some useful and interesting info on this forum, I decided to share my enthusiasm for the Rohloff Speedhub with you. I got to know the speedhub by coincidence about a year ago.
The speedhub is not a thing for everybody, but it would be a pity if you missed it simply because not knowing that it exists or not fully appreciating its features and working.
The speedhub is a 14-speed internal hub with performance similar to a 3*9 derailleur system but without the hassle and maintenance.
I have a speedhub on my commuting bike (custom-built, world-travel style). I ride between 10.000-12.000 km’s per year at fairly high speed (35 km/hour cruising speed) in all weather conditions (including rain, snow, ice) and have no time to CLEAN the bike.
A traditional derailleur system is a near-disaster under these circumstances.
-I used 2-3 cassettes/chains a year and a set of chainrings every 2 years.
-After a few rides on a wet/sandy road shifting becomes ‘grinding’ which can only partly be overcome by generously spraying derailleur oil.
I have done 6.000 km’s with my speedhub now and I have fallen in love with it.
No maintenance, shifts like silk, totally reliable, you can shift whenever you want (‘shifting freedom’ should be their slogan) shorter/less spokes, no adjustments, chain always in a straight line, etc…
Shifting is so quick that you really ‘accelerate’ from low to higher gears when leaving e.g. at a traffic light leaving all other (non-Rohloff) cyclists behind you.
The maintenance I have done so far in 6 months:
-once cleaned chainring/chain/cog (no tensioner, I have special quick-release Rohloff dropouts)
-3 times wiped off some dirt and sprayed the chain
only slight signs of wear at the cog, probably zero if you would put in some more cleaning/maintenance effort. The cog is said to last 20.000k after which it can be reversed.
Our TANDEM also greatly benefits from a Rohloff speedhub. Same advantages as a solo-bike PLUS:
- simpler, stronger drive-train. Chains/sprockets/cog are all on one side
Stronger rear wheel and shifting at standstill or when not pedaling are even more important than on a solo bike.
We have done only 2.000k on the tandem this year. Will be a lot more in the years to come.
As far as I’m concerned, anybody doing serious distances (not having bike cleaning as a hobby) should consider the speedhub. Seems ideal for world trips.
Disadvantages? Of course. These are the ones I came across:
- high price tag (albeit cheaper in the long run in my case)
- shifting between 7/8 gear under load requires some attention
- oil needs changing every 5.000k
-slight grinding noise in the lower gears
- it takes some 5.000k (in my case) for the hub to fully ‘wear-in’ (silent and incredibly ‘silky’ shifting). I have enjoyed it from day one though.
Further info on these websites:
and of course
Searching for Rohloff and speedhub on the internet will give you quite a lot of hits.
Hans Uittenboogaard, Netherlands