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  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    My Rohloff Speedhubs are GREAT

    Hi,
    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:
    http://tandem-fahren.de/Mitglieder/Christoph_Timm/SpeedhubFAQ.html
    and of course
    http://www.rohloff.de/index.php?lang=en&p=&d=
    Searching for Rohloff and speedhub on the internet will give you quite a lot of hits.


    Happy cycling,

    Hans Uittenboogaard, Netherlands

  2. #2
    60mph in the 42 ring! Dave Stohler's Avatar
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    You know, those speedhubs look like a good idea, but I just can't justify spending $1000 on a hub.
    Cycling Addict
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    (techinical questions gladly answered via AIM)

  3. #3
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    Rohloff - the price tag

    Dave,
    you are right, 1.ooo $ is stiff price tag, but please calculate with the DIFFERENCE compared with a derailleur system. A good quality Shimano group does not come cheap either!
    You will initially pay a few hundred dollars more for the Rohloff option, but depending on the mileage you make, you may eventually save money.

    Count on substantially lower bills for cogs/sprockets/chains/labour.
    In my case with over 10.000 km/year and high wear on a derailleur system, the Rohloff hub will pay out quickly, which I consider a fortunate side-effect.
    Trouble-free, super-smooth running, reliability, ease-of-use are the key factors for me.
    Besides, I spend 8-10 hours a week on my bike and generally not more than a few hours per week in my car. Yet, my total spending on a car is a lot more than what I spend on a good quality bike.
    As a general rule I never regret spending money on high-quality, well engineered stuff. This hub will outlive your bike!

    happy cycling, Hans.
    Last edited by Hans_U; 12-09-03 at 03:24 AM.

  4. #4
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    Must say I love this thing too, its the Rolex of bike stuff.
    "After a certain point, all dangers are equal'

  5. #5
    Junior Member
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    Ed,
    yep, seems a good comparison. Both probably have happy, proud owners.
    Main difference is that a Rolex costs a lot of money compared with most other watches but doesn't save you any after the initial purchase.
    A Rohloff however will save you money every year and may in the long run even end up cheaper.
    I have great plans for long trips across the globe and am already looking forward to travelling without the maintenance and trouble you see reported on travels with standard-gear bikes.

    happy cycling, Hans.

  6. #6
    Spawn of Satan
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    Aren't intertnal hubs less efficient than a derailler system?

  7. #7
    opinionated SOB cycletourist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by captsven
    Aren't intertnal hubs less efficient than a derailler system?
    Only in theory. In practice the difference is so small you won't notice.

  8. #8
    Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by captsven
    Aren't intertnal hubs less efficient than a derailler system?
    hi,
    they used to be, until Rohloff re-designed the internal hub. I've seen some stats (probably on the Rohloff website, but I'm not sure) with the difference per gear. For the higher gears (7-14) the differences are minimal (typically .5%) with Rohloff 11th gear being .5% more efficient than a derailleur system. For the lower gears, there is an additional resistance of around 2%.
    Rohloff makes the case that the human 'machine' works more efficiently because of the identical spacing between all gears (i.e. easier to choose your optimum rounds per minute). I don't know, I mainly use the higher gears and prefer riding my Rohloff bicycle to my racing bike.

    I consider my Rohloff hub to be what we call in Dutch 'a wolf in sheep's clothes'.
    Fellow cyclists think they can easily beat me : this guy is cycling with hub gears.
    NOT.

    happy cycling, Hans.
    Last edited by Hans_U; 12-18-03 at 03:23 AM.

  9. #9
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    You also get a perfect chain line with a Hub gear, not to mention the lack of mess and stronger rear wheel. If only Rohloff would make a front gear that ran off a belt instead of a chain and it really would be 'trouble free'. Couple that with a SON Dynohub and you would be set for years and years without having to spend another penny.
    "After a certain point, all dangers are equal'

  10. #10
    Senior Member B1105's Avatar
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    Can you run two chainrings up front with the speedhub? Or would this mess up the chainline.

  11. #11
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    I believe you can run a double chainring but with the equivalent of a 27 spd derailler system, it dosent really seem worth it.
    "After a certain point, all dangers are equal'

  12. #12
    Geezer Member Grampy™'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Simon Ed
    I believe you can run a double chainring but with the equivalent of a 27 spd derailler system, it dosent really seem worth it.
    I believe Sheldon Brown played around with a Triple. Just wanted to prove he could do it.

  13. #13
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    Oh yeah, I forgot about that. He also put a 9sp on a 3 spd hub and had a tripple chainring! Nutz!
    "After a certain point, all dangers are equal'

  14. #14
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    More Info on the web

    hi,
    found the part of the Rohloff website dealing with efficiency. Interesting.
    http://www.rohloff.de/index.php?p=TE...B/Wirkungsgrad

    And if you think I am entusiastic about the speedhub, read what (most of) these reviewers have to say.

    http://www.mtbreview.com/reviews/Hub...ct_68271.shtml

    happy cycling, Hans.

  15. #15
    Senior Member DieselDan's Avatar
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    Are you a sales rep or factory rep for Rohloff? Do you work in Rohloff's marketing department or the advertising agency contracted by Rohloff?

    I've seen their product and I do like the idea. It is heavy and expensive, and you really have only 14 or 15 different gears in a typical triple chainring/nine speed cassette drive train.
    Bikes use brakes to stop.

    If your bike has breaks, don't ride it.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Avalanche325's Avatar
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    its the Rolex of bike stuff
    You mean it is a $12 hub sold for $1000? Sorry, I know what you meant. I am a watch collector. Rolex is probably the most successful marketing scam of all times.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by DieselDan
    Are you a sales rep or factory rep for Rohloff? Do you work in Rohloff's marketing department or the advertising agency contracted by Rohloff?

    I've seen their product and I do like the idea. It is heavy and expensive, and you really have only 14 or 15 different gears in a typical triple chainring/nine speed cassette drive train.
    hi,
    no, I have no relation with Rohloff at all, other than having bought their product.
    Only finding out about the Rohloff hub by coincidence, I thought I'd better bring it under people's attention, I am really glad not having bought two new bikes (solo + tandem) with derailleur systems.
    My enthusiasm stems from years of frustration with derailleur systems which I spent a lot of money on but which did not give good riding conditions after a couple of MONTHS (or sometimes weeks) of usage.
    During one year I have tried to keep my bike clean and smooth running.
    First of all, it's not very well possible to get it really clean when you are biking every day in all whether conditions and secondly, it costs an awful amount of time. So, I gave up and concluding that I was shorter of time than of money I would not do more maintenance than lubricating and getting worn out stuff replaced (about twice a year).

    What a difference compared with my Rohloff set-up! No maintenance and always smooth running.

    Lance Armstrong wouldn't win the Tour the France on it, you will also not fit it on a simple touring bike that you only use on a sunny sunday afternoon.
    I'll not repeat my earlier postings, but for my kind of usage and other frequent, heavy use I think it is ideal, providing excellent value for money.

    happy cycling, Hans.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Avalanche325
    You mean it is a $12 hub sold for $1000? Sorry, I know what you meant. I am a watch collector. Rolex is probably the most successful marketing scam of all times.
    mmmmm,
    must admit that I only know Rolex from advertisements in glossy magazines. In that case it probably is not a good comparison.

    Ever seen a Rohloff advertisement? I haven't.
    These guys are very quality-driven engineers, not marketeers.
    Sales are increasing via word-of-mouth and good customer reports.

    Expensive? depends. My late father used to say : things that you don't really need are always too expensive, things that you really need, seldom.

    Not that I intended to buy a Rolex, but thanks for the warning.

    Happy cycling, Hans.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Avalanche325
    You mean it is a $12 hub sold for $1000? Sorry, I know what you meant. I am a watch collector. Rolex is probably the most successful marketing scam of all times.
    Each to their own, I can respect that.

    However, if you get pleasure out of haveing a superbly engineered timepiece that will not only last your lifetime but will please you kids and their kids... I have 2, both were gifts, one for my 21st (Explorer II) and one from my wife (Sea Dweller) 11 years on and I still get a thrill from looking at it and hearing the cool 4x a second tick. I am quite sure that if, nay, when I get a Rohloff it will give me as much pleasure too.

    The old argument that I have heard against getting expensive kit is 'well they both tell the time' or 'well it still gets you from A to B'. This is a valid statement, but again.. 'Each to his own'

    (Note: I am in no way affiliated with Rolex or Rohloff
    "After a certain point, all dangers are equal'

  20. #20
    Senior Member DieselDan's Avatar
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    Just a wonderin'. Enthusiasm for a good product is the best advertising.
    Bikes use brakes to stop.

    If your bike has breaks, don't ride it.

  21. #21
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    Rohloff Speedhub - website Peter Smolka

    hi,
    found another nice website with real-life experience from a world-traveler with over 30.000 km's done with a Rohloff hub (when reporting, end 2002).

    Unfortunately the site is only in German. It does contain a few nice pictures of biking in exotic places.

    http://www.lemlem.de/berichte/smolka...f/html/01.html

    Peter is very enthusiastic about the speedhub. Worth mentioning :
    - considerable less wear on chain/cog/chainring. He is still using the original cog and can still reverse it once it has worn out.
    - not a single broken spoke
    30.000 km's, most of them undoubtedly with luggage, a part undoubtedly under tough circumstances. Unbelievable!

    He mentions two problems:
    - oil leakage. This occurred with the earlier versions, has been resolved
    - more work to take the wheel out. This depends on the dropouts and tensioner.
    On my solo bike I have Rohloff quick-release dropouts without tensioner. Perfect.
    On our tandem we do have a tensioner and quick-release. Also no problem to quickly take the wheel out. Peter was using a screwed version without tensioner.

    One correction on earlier postings:
    - the ADDITIONAL weight for a Rohloff is around 300-400 grams. The one and a half pounds mentioned are the full weight of the hub (around 1800 grams, depending a bit on the version).

    happy to answer any queries you may have,

    happy cycling, Hans.

  22. #22
    Senior Member DieselDan's Avatar
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    Google and bablefish.com have translation programs.
    Bikes use brakes to stop.

    If your bike has breaks, don't ride it.

  23. #23
    Senior Member leilin's Avatar
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    Hi man, I really underestand some people with such extra money to spare, 1000$ for a hub, not to say bicycle. I admit that it is your such money to keep thoes German to float without sink, but some day they will sink. bicycle is a low tech aparatus, marketing people creats new concept bicycle and new bicycle products every year, the design of bicycle mutured more than hundred years ago, Wright brothers had a racing bike weighted a little than 20 lb and the material was steel. i see a lot people talk about their high tech bike and the tearing and wearing for the drive train, i suggest these people take a look of Ken Keifer's web site,
    http://www.kenkifer.com/bikepages/
    I have a hybrid steel bike for 250$, I commute with it 20 mile/day round trip for almost three years now, it still going strong with almost all the oringinal components, except I change grip shifter to friction thumb shifter. I agree with previous post that Rolex is the most disgusting scame in history.

  24. #24
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    I dont get you guys that have it in for beautifully enginered things. Is it envy of not having the money to buy one for yourself?
    Why is Rolex a marketing scam? Its not a Thigh Master for gods sake! It tells the time without having to manually wind it up for about 100 years without needing a service, sheesh thats a real rip off. I guess you would rather support the Japs and their plastic crap. I mean they only tried to wipe you out, way to go! Support them instead.

    I just don't get the bitter 'I can't afford that' grumble grumble my 1.50 watch tells the time too. Yes it does, but it has no class. And talking about old tech how about the fact that we have been burning oil for so long just to make a vehicle move. Its just big business that are holding back the convertion to wood alc, bio diesel, gas or other fuel sources. now THAT is a scam!.

    Rant over!
    Last edited by Simon Ed; 01-01-04 at 12:50 AM.
    "After a certain point, all dangers are equal'

  25. #25
    Senior Member
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    And another thing! All you nay sayers

    Taken from a UK watch site



    Why It's Okay to Hate Rolex
    by James Dowling


    It's a free world, you can love or hate any one or any thing that you choose. However the point that I would like to make is that a little research might convince even the most ardent critic of Rolex (or of the folks who wear them) that in this case a little tolerance might be no bad thing. Let us first look at the facts and then turn our view upon the perception.

    To all intents and purposes, Rolex invented the wristwatch, as we know it. Sure there were companies making and marketing the things before Rolex burst upon the scene in 1905. But none of them put the effort that Rolex did into this new market. The reason for this is that the older companies could see no reason to change; they had major investments in plant and machinery designed specifically to make pocket watches. So why should they change. Rolex had nothing, no history, no factory and most importantly no tradition. So the only option open to them was that of being an innovator; and the innovation they chose was the wristwatch
    Rolex without doubt invented the waterproof wristwatch; again as with all their other advances, they were not the originators of the concept. But they were the people who made it work, the screw down crown was a classically simple concept and Wilsdorf had the genius to see the simplicity and make it work for the company.
    Once again with self-winding mechanisms, Rolex saw the way the market was going, saw the mistakes all their predecessors had made and neatly sidestepped them all. Whilst many other competing self winding systems have arisen in the 65 years since Rolex introduced the Auto Rotor system, the vast majority of all automatic watches now use a version of the Rolex concept.
    However despite all of the above reasons, my opinion is that the greatest advance Rolex have ever made is their decision to gain chronometer certification for a few and then for almost all their watches. In the days before Rolex instituted this program, every watch manufacturer TALKED about the accuracy of their watches; but Rolex were the first people ever to have the accuracy proved by an independent agency. Before the advent of quartz watches; accuracy was in direct relationship to the cost of the watch; therefore people wanted to know that their watch was really accurate. Rolex gave them that assurance.
    Nowadays we are all used to the concept of Tool watches, that is watches designed for a particular job or hobby; you know the sort of thing.............diving watches, sailing watches, pilot's watches etc. Well Rolex invented that concept too. The Submariner, the GMT Master and the Milgauss were all pioneers in this field.
    Being waterproof and shockproof long before the rest of the watch industry was, Rolex became the natural choice of sports people who needed a watch. From this starting point they then moved to make watches FOR sportsmen; this moved the Tool watch concept on a little further. Watches such as the Explorer 1 and 2 were targeted at climbers and cave explorers, they were simple timepieces but with high visibility dials and very strong cases. Once again they created a market and defined it.
    They are, by far, the most innovative of all the Swiss watch companies; as well as all the new ideas mentioned above; Rolex have always pursued a long term development strategy. They have patented more than a thousand advances in horology during their 90+ year history.
    Rolex is now the most self-sufficient watch company in Europe; they make all their own movements (apart from chronograph movements), all their cases, all their bracelets and all their crystals. They own most of their distributors and have no shareholders (as all the shares are held by 2 family trusts which have charitable status) because of this they can pursue long term goals without fear.
    They are, without doubt, the largest Swiss watchmaker. Producing around 800,000 watches a year, they still sell every watch they make. They are dependent on no single market, one could really say that the world is their OYSTER !!!!!!!! (sorry)
    Perhaps the one problem they do have is that they have become a victim of their own success. Whilst the company has not changed its design philosophy; their public perception have changed. Whereas Rolex made its name with sports watches and still makes more of them than any other kind of watch; many people think of diamond encrusted Day-Dates when they hear the name Rolex. This, however, is not the fault of the company.
    Rolex have the longest single continuous ownership of any Swiss watch company; having been owned by the same two families (and its successor trusts) for its entire existence. During this time the company has essentially had only 2 chief executives (the third came to power in 1997). Both of these factors have enabled the company to steer in an uninterrupted course throughout its history.
    Many people whine about the cost of a new Rolex; they forget 2 things. Firstly Rolex manage to sell every watch they make (so obviously SOME people do not think they are too expensive). Secondly, no-one was ever forced to buy a Rolex watch; it is a decision people make with their own free will and their own money. In the end, the free market rules everything.
    It is difficult to talk about Rolex watches without talking about resale value; in simple terms Rolex (new or used) retain a higher percentage of their cost than any other production Swiss watch. Everything from the no date Submariner all the way to the President can be resold in an instant anywhere in the world, for very good money. Also, if the watch was bought used, it is quite possible to wear a Rolex for 2 or 3 years and sell it for the same price you paid for it. Apart from the cost of the money invested, essentially that makes it a free watch.
    One of the reasons to buy a Rolex may well be one of the best, but undoubtedly one that no-one ever thinks of: it is that most of the profits made through the sale of the watches go to good causes. As mentioned above, the company is owned by two family trusts. The larger one (the Wilsdorf family trusts) gives a fixed sum to the remaining members of his family but the majority is given to charitable causes; including a high school in his home town and the watchmakers school in Geneva. This gives rise to the thought that if it were not for the substantial profits made by Rolex, there would probably be no Franck Muller; because it was at the Geneva watchmaker's school that Muller learned his trade.


    As I said in the introduction, if you want to hate Rolex; then be my guest but at least I hope when you do you will at least give the devil his due.
    "After a certain point, all dangers are equal'

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