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  1. #1
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    Disc & Rohloff-compatible commuting frame advice?

    After hours of scouring the forums, I hope that I might trouble y'all for your opinions on a bike build. I've bought a Rohloff, and I guess I'm going to build the bike to match it (I hear that happens a lot). This 700c/discbrake thread was great, but I still haven't found the perfect bike that:

    - Fits 6'5" skinny guy w/ 35" inseam
    - Is fun to ride in city
    - Can handle salt/slush/mud as a commuter/day-tripper/pothole-basher
    - Rohloff-ready with minimum disassembly/eBay part hocking (e.g. built single-speed, or frame/fork)

    My shopping list seems to be:

    - Eccentric BB (or disc-compatible sliding dropouts that don't suck)
    - Disc tabs (mechanical discs ideal)
    - Cyclocross-ish geometry with fender clearance
    - Flat dropouts to fit Burley/Wike trailer hitch on left side
    - Cheap/ugly

    Ideas so far:
    Steel Wool Tweed (nice, but expensive and possibly not trailerhitch-compatible)
    Baron Outsider (niche, but nice looking)
    Swobo Dixon (kludgy sliding dropouts)
    Giant Seek 1 (don't need the hydraulic discs or Shimano hubs)
    Mongoose Sabrosa (road-ish enough handling?)
    Kona Explosif/Unit (again, roadish handling?)

    I've test-ridden the Giant, but that's about all I have found in Toronto so far.

    Anything I've missed? What would you suggest?

  2. #2
    Gear Hub fan
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    IMO the Rohloff gear hub is best installed in a frame specifically designed for it. Otherwise various additional parts and work arounds are required for a satisfactory installation.

    The Civia Hyland frame is available separately and has Rohloff intended bolt on dropouts available. I have the complete Civia Hyland Rohloff and like it a lot. Civia also offers either CF or steel forks for the Hyland frame, take your pick. It is a large tube diameter aluminum frame.

    Thorn Cycles of England does a number of Rohloff specific frames that use eccentric bottom bracket chain adjustment. All their frames are steel if you prefer that.

    Neither may meet your cheap & ugly requirement. Why do you want to put a high end hub into a cheap and ugly frame?

    Any frame with non Rohloff specific design dropouts requires either the long torque arm arrangement or use of a Rohloff speedbone for hub anti rotation against torque forces. All well covered in the Rohloff hub manual. Standard vertical dropouts also require a chain tensioner.

    BTW I also have the Swobo Dixon and the dropouts are fine for a bolt in gear hub such as the stock iMotion9 hub. They are rear opening dropouts as also used on most FG and other gear hub bikes, not sliding or adkustable dropouts. The only kludgy item is that the disc caliper mount does not move with the wheel when adjusting chain tension so occasional caliper position adjustment is required.
    Last edited by tatfiend; 03-02-09 at 04:45 AM. Reason: clarify
    Gear Hubs Owned: Rohloff disc brake, SRAM iM9 disc brake, SRAM P5 freewheel, Sachs Torpedo 3 speed freewheel, NuVinci CVT, Shimano Alfine SG S-501, Sturmey Archer S5-2 Alloy. Other: 83 Colnago Super Record, Univega Via De Oro

    Visit and join the Yahoo Geared Hub Bikes group for support and links.
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  3. #3
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    I think what's challenging is the 'cheap/ugly' requirement. One option would be to get a decent yet used cross frame and find a good welder to install some Paragon sliders, which are very high quality. They have a Rohloff specific sliding dropout, and you can mount anything, another IGH, derailleur, singlespeed, fixed, whatever. $300 (used frame) + $100 welding + ~$200 sliders. not too expensive

  4. #4
    POWERCRANK addict markhr's Avatar
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    Niner maybe? No option for belt drive though unless you can find a specialist to "cut and shut".

    Niner one9 (700c/29", ebb, SS, disc brake, aluminium)
    http://www.ninerbikes.com/one9.html

    Niner s.i.r.9 (700c/29", ebb, SS/gears, disc brake, steel)
    http://www.ninerbikes.com/sir9.html

    There's the Nicolai option too but it's kind of expensive (but has almost every option you could wish for)

    Nicolai Argon TR
    http://www.nicolai.net/products/e-fr...r.html#argontr

    p.s. thanks for the link to my bike geek thread
    shameless POWERCRANK plug
    Recommended reading for all cyclists - Cyclecraft - Effective Cycling
    Condor Cycles - quite possibly the best bike shop in London
    Don't run red lights, wear a helmet, use hand signals, get some cycle lights(front and rear) and, FFS, don't run red lights!

  5. #5
    Senior Member gear's Avatar
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    If you already bought a Rohloff why are you suddenly turning to "cheap/ugly" when it comes to the frame?

    Get a nice custom made Seven frame for that hub. You'll be able to get just what you want in a frame that fits like a glove.

  6. #6
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    Thanks for the answers, all. The Civia Hyland is near as dead-on, if I can afford it. The Thorn Raven is likewise awesome, would be perfect with disc tabs but L700 frame only! I hadn't thought of the S.I.R. but I would want to test-ride it first - I already have a fine MTB, I'm looking for a pavement-specific bike this time around.

    I realize that the cheap/ugly frame is a bit schizophrenic - Having convinced myself that I want discs and the Rohloff, I'm pretty much building a thief magnet. So, having a heavy, ugly frame is a halfhearted attempt to keep the bike not much over $1000 (the Rohloff was only half my budget - a good deal). Also, I don't want a harem of bikes, so this one is going to suck down salt, slush, etc. and will suffer in winter commuting.

    The Paragon slider idea might be what I go with, if Craigslist will provide.

  7. #7
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    Anthony - I am in a similar situation to you... looking for an IGH bike, except I don't have the IGH. I also want to be able to pull a bike trailer as my daughter will be going to day care in the Fall. And I live in Toronto!

    Where did you test the Giant Seek 1? I'd like to give that a try. I'm also going to try the Trek Soho when the arrives in town. And I've been considering the Steelwool Tweed too. I have a Steelwool Sweet City now that I commute on and it is great, but not a good candidate to convert to an IGH bike.

    The bike show is coming up next weekend, which may give you some other ideas.

  8. #8
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    wellllll since you already pulled the trigger on a rohloff you might as well do it right. Surly Big Dummy.
    That bike with a rohloff would be an ultimate commuter/utility bike.

    Don't go throwing it in some cheap bike,a $1,400 hub does not belong in some cheap mtb frame. Do that hub well.

    The Steel Wool Tweed is a pretty nice frame, if i hadn't gone with my cross-check i would of went with one of those and it's not that pricey.
    derailleur? I hardly know her
    http://a2bikegeek.wordpress.com/

  9. #9
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    Gord - hilarious! Would love to meet up and see your Sweet City at the bike show - I'll be manning the Trailblazers Tandem Club booth on Saturday from 1-4, and wandering the show after that.

    The Seek 1 is in the window of Cycle Solutions, 444 Parliament Street. I also test-rode a Batavus Lightning at Curbside cycle (good bike, with classic nexus-7 hub). Other than that, slim pickings.

    Thanks Metrico, I'm definitely leaning towards the Tweed. I haven't seen the paint job, but the frame build looks purty for $700. Good thing I didn't pay $1400 for the Rohloff...

  10. #10
    benter
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    Karate Monkey?

    It has Breezer-style track ends, but Burley makes an alternative hitch for either skewered or nutted hubs with those.

    Sheldon "Nothing Exceeds Like Excess" Brown built one with both drop & straight bars & disc & cantilever brakes, but certainly road-style tires & saddle.

    Also- more money, but eccentric BB instead of track ends is the Tout Boulevard.
    $1200 for the frameset.

    I looked for Paragon or Rohloff sliding dropouts & found them awfully rare on production bikes. Gunnar makes a MTB with Paragon, but if you want to avoid the torque arm, it seems like custom is the only option-- am I missing something?
    Last edited by morganw; 03-04-09 at 08:56 PM.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by antonyfhilliard View Post
    Thanks Metrico, I'm definitely leaning towards the Tweed. I haven't seen the paint job, but the frame build looks purty for $700. Good thing I didn't pay $1400 for the Rohloff...
    hahaha you are a lucky man!

    I really liked the Tweed because it had just about everything you could ever want, dics tabs, canti's, eccentric bb, plenty of clearance for fenders and tires, braze-ons for racks, and i'm a sucker for lugged frames, it really is a swiss army knife of a frame set.
    derailleur? I hardly know her
    http://a2bikegeek.wordpress.com/

  12. #12
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    I should clarify - my Rohloff should come with the OEM2 fitting and a Speedbone disc mount torque arm. So it should work in any frame with disc mounts, ideally with a split-shell EBB instead of track ends.

    Morgan, thanks for the link on the alternative Burley hitch, I didn't know that existed. I think I might need that if I go with the Tweed frame as well. The Tout Boulevard looks very well thought out, and great value. I'm not going to be touring with this bike though, just commuting, so I want something with relatively twitchy and exciting geometry.
    Last edited by antonyfhilliard; 03-04-09 at 10:05 PM.

  13. #13
    Gear Hub fan
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    Quote Originally Posted by morganw View Post
    Karate Monkey?


    I looked for Paragon or Rohloff sliding dropouts & found them awfully rare on production bikes. Gunnar makes a MTB with Paragon, but if you want to avoid the torque arm, it seems like custom is the only option-- am I missing something?
    The Civia Hyland frame is available with Rohloff compatible sliding dropouts. Also derailleur or Alfine compatible dropouts are offered, all bolt on.

    Alternate Needs Transportation in Massachusetts does Rohloff compatible frames too. See below.

    http://www.antbikemike.com/rohloff.html

    Per the Rohloff hub manual only frames with ISO rear disc brake mounts can use the speedbone and OEM2 torque arm. This does not include bikes with the brake caliper mounted inside the rear triangle. Civia gets around this by using the OEM torque arm and having the brake caliper post mounts on the sliding dropout. A different engineering approach to the mounting requirements.

    The Steel Wool Tweed does look like it has definite possibilities as a Rohloff hub platform. I need to take another look at it.

    The Surly Big Dummy has vertical dropouts w/o an eccentric bottom bracket so needs a chain tensioner. Surly's Karate Monkey has been used as has their Crosscheck. The latter needs the long torque arm.

    Unless you go with a true custom frame the frame options available for a clean mounting of the Rohloff are limited in the U.S. unfortunately.
    Gear Hubs Owned: Rohloff disc brake, SRAM iM9 disc brake, SRAM P5 freewheel, Sachs Torpedo 3 speed freewheel, NuVinci CVT, Shimano Alfine SG S-501, Sturmey Archer S5-2 Alloy. Other: 83 Colnago Super Record, Univega Via De Oro

    Visit and join the Yahoo Geared Hub Bikes group for support and links.
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  14. #14
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    Anthony - I'll certainly have a look for you next Sat.! Thanks for the tips, I'll visit those shops soon. Do you remember the price of the Batavus Lightning?

  15. #15
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    Gord - About the same as the Giant Seek1, just under the magic PST-free $1000.

  16. #16
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    My Disc Rohloff hub is on a frame specifically built for it, but I'm going to retrofit my XC hardtail in the near future with a rohloff as well, so I've been researching this...

    This handy thing solves chain tensioning on a disc frame with standard dropouts and a standard bb shell, compatible with shimano hollowtech II cranks:

    Tr!ckstuff Excentriker bottom bracket: http://www.trickstuff.de/shop/produc...roducts_id=414



    Get an OEM2 axle plate and a speedbone for your hub from a rohloff dealer


    Get a frame that will allow for nice cable routing (if you have hydro guides for the rear disc you can zip-tie all three cables to it) and fits you and you're set! I'd recommend one with a gusset for the rear disc for extra strength

    Oh, and if you don't have one, get a click box and a CC axle for faster-and-easier-than-derailleur wheel changes.
    Last edited by int19; 03-05-09 at 05:33 PM. Reason: clarify

  17. #17
    Non-Spandex Commuter jdmitch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by int19 View Post
    My Disc Rohloff hub is on a frame specifically built for it, but I'm going to retrofit my XC hardtail in the near future with a rohloff as well, so I've been researching this...

    This handy thing solves chain tensioning on a disc frame with standard dropouts and a standard bb shell, compatible with shimano hollowtech II cranks:

    Tr!ckstuff Excentriker bottom bracket: http://www.trickstuff.de/shop/produc...roducts_id=414
    Here's another, similar, offering I've been considering.
    Forward Components EBB $135 http://forwardcomponents.blogspot.co...et-patent.html

    Also, it's not a EBB, but a nicely mounted (IMO) chain tensioner
    Yess ETR-B $60 http://yess.myshopify.com/products/e...hain-tensioner

    Also, the Yess HALO is supposed to be, essentially, a BB > EBB adapter, but I haven't worked out how it works
    Yess HALO $50 http://labs.yesspro.com/products/halo-bb-adapter

  18. #18
    crash survivor tate65's Avatar
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    THis is a freinds soulcraft it meets all your specs, he's a sasquach, but soulcraft can be gotten in many sizes

  19. #19
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    Notice above the rear disk caliper is compatable with a luggage rack because the ISO mount is on the chainstay NOT the seatstay.

  20. #20
    Administrator Allen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tatfiend View Post
    IMO the Rohloff gear hub is best installed in a frame specifically designed for it. Otherwise various additional parts and work arounds are required for a satisfactory installation.

    The Civia Hyland frame is available separately and has Rohloff intended bolt on dropouts available. I have the complete Civia Hyland Rohloff and like it a lot. Civia also offers either CF or steel forks for the Hyland frame, take your pick. It is a large tube diameter aluminum frame.

    Thorn Cycles of England does a number of Rohloff specific frames that use eccentric bottom bracket chain adjustment. All their frames are steel if you prefer that.

    Neither may meet your cheap & ugly requirement. Why do you want to put a high end hub into a cheap and ugly frame?

    Any frame with non Rohloff specific design dropouts requires either the long torque arm arrangement or use of a Rohloff speedbone for hub anti rotation against torque forces. All well covered in the Rohloff hub manual. Standard vertical dropouts also require a chain tensioner.

    BTW I also have the Swobo Dixon and the dropouts are fine for a bolt in gear hub such as the stock iMotion9 hub. They are rear opening dropouts as also used on most FG and other gear hub bikes, not sliding or adkustable dropouts. The only kludgy item is that the disc caliper mount does not move with the wheel when adjusting chain tension so occasional caliper position adjustment is required.
    The workaround is a torque arm that keeps the hub from slipping in the dropouts.
    It's vastly superior to the non-slip nuts that other IGHs use.

  21. #21
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    Beautiful Soulcraft. That's a custom frame, right?

    Watch out though; Rohloff says bad things (see p.30) about using the OEM2 adapter with ISO disc chainstay mounts. I assume because that positioning makes pedaling torque push the hub axle downward and potentially out of the dropouts. Shouldn't be a huge force, and if you fasten the axle tightly you probably won't notice.

    Thanks for the links to the eccentric BB converter kits, that's another interesting way to go.

  22. #22
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    I think I'm going custom...

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