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  1. #1
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    rohloff hubs scandal?

    after hours of surfing, i was about convinced to go with a rohloff, but a chance google query led me to this site: http://www.rohloffhubs.com/.

    After dedicating close to 2 years of our time and an investment in excess of $50,000 to help establish Rohloff hubs as a great freeride and DH hub, Rohloff has chosen to thank us for all our hard, unpaid work by deliberately not paying their bills owing to us and committing FRAUD against our company at Interbike 2004 and the months that followed. More details to become public as the investigation and evidence can be made public. We gave them many opportunities to right their wrongs, including intervention with the Canadian Consulate in Munich, but sadly, they have refused to rectify the situation.

    We would like to caution Distributors and Consumers alike to use their best judgement if they choose to deal with Rohloff AG in Germany or Rohloff USA Inc. They have lied to us on numerous occasions and caused us tremendous direct damages relating to at least 4 counts of fraud. We caution you not to fall victim to their lies and promises too.

    We hope to be able to offer a better performing alternative internal gear system within several months - and at lower prices than Rohloff systems :) Send us an email if you'd like to find out about it when we have it in. Email: siteinfo@shaw.ca
    IMPORTANT PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT...

    It has come to our attention in recent months that several serious problems have arisen with Rohloff Speedhubs (14 speed internal gearhubs). One problem in particular could be very dangerous to the rider and cause significant injury.

    The problems riders have notified us of are:

    1. The 8 hub cap torx bolts magically come undone on their own allowing bolts to be lost and gear oil to be sprayed everywhere - including on the brakes. This either seems to stem from faulty design or improper torque settings during manufacture. We suggest you contact your national cycling association and get them to encourage Rohloff to do a recall. Contact the International Cycling body at:

    UCI
    Union Cycliste Internationale
    CH 1860 Aigle
    Switzerland
    Tel:+41 24 468 58 11
    Fax:+41 24 468 58 12
    E-mail: admin@uci.ch

    2. Many riders have found it impossible to remove a worn out cog without either breaking their chain whips or breaking away the 4 aluminum tabs that the special Rohloff cog tool is supposed to lock onto. We suggest you send the hub into a Rohloff service centre to get them to undo it.

    3. From time to time, riders have experienced a complete "freewheeling affect" while under power. This can only be explained as a very dangerous occurrence where the gears must momentarily disengage.

    4. We have had many complaints of hubs being very "stiff" even when freewheeling. This has been explained as one of the axle bearings gets unseated in a fall or mishap and creates drag. There is a relatively simple fix to this which can be done with a mallet. Simply take the mallet and give the end of the axle a moderate tap. If that does not work, tap the other side of the axle.
    anybody have any more info on this?

  2. #2
    Caffeinated. Camel's Avatar
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    No more info.

    A comment on the riders problems though: Perhaps these hubs were not designed to be jumped off 20' ramps&such. Or for downhill use.

    Something seems a bit fishy to me though, this Co only sells Rohloff hubs, and is slamming Rohloff publicly? Hmmm...

    I think they would be an excellent application for a tourer (as do some very reputable maufacturers).

    [EDIT] Seems even MORE fishy to me that this is your first post to the forums...
    Last edited by Camel; 07-13-05 at 06:43 AM.

  3. #3
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    WOW... How the high and mighty have fallen.

    I don't believe half of what the article states because it's from a party that's suing Rohloff hubs. However, I never really believed the Rohloff was indistructable as they've been claiming all these years but now we know better. As one person stated, these hubs are for touring and recreational riding and certainly not downhill or aggressive single track.

    Many of the claims like the "freewheeling effect" or "drag" are common on other hubs from Shimano, Sturmey Archer and Sram so this does not surprise me. As they age, hub gears develope these problems especially if you're an aggressive rider. As for the oil spraying everywhere including the brakes, this sounds like an angry company that just lost 50K.

  4. #4
    POWERCRANK addict markhr's Avatar
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    At the risk of being flamed to death...

    Having just done a little digging I think bonkless might just be the POI concerned because...

    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=rohloff+speedhub

    http://www.mtbr.com/reviews/Hub/index_R.shtml

    Thanks for the dirt but BAD LUCK, PATCH take it somewhere else.
    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
    aspiring wannabe hoogie's Avatar
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    interesting ...

    sjscycles [aka thorn bikes] in the uk are heavily promoting rohloff hubs, and the director is selling all his deraileur bikes for rohloff equipped ones ...
    some interesting [promotional] rohloff articles on their website

    however ... [why is there always a however???]

    Moz had a recumbent built with a rohloff hub and this is what he had to say about it ...


    The rear wheel looks a little busy: there's the rack loops, holding panniers out of the rear wheel, then the disk brakes, then the Rohloff hub. Also the suspension, and the giant rear light. But it all works. The only real problem was oil leaking out of the Rohloff and onto the disk. Not sure how to fix that, but I'm trying to get new seals from Rohloff (which the IHPVA lists assure me might work).
    more on his website ... about half way down
    thought for today: "Does my ass look fast on this bike?"

  6. #6
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    The OP is highly suspect. I am very unimpressed with bad reviews from anonymous sources with an obvious (and totally unrelated) axe to grind. I'll take the professional and user reviews, thanks very much.

  7. #7
    Banned Bikepacker67's Avatar
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    Why would anyone use this on tour?

    Yes, internal gearing is a cool gadget, but I'm looking for pragmatism, simplicity, and serviceability when out in the wilds gettin' stanky.

  8. #8
    aspiring wannabe hoogie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by markhr
    cool commuter ... have read good things about condor's in C+
    is that a schlumpf drive crankset? does it give any advantage?
    can i ask why the cranks face the same way, rather than at 180deg?

    cheers
    Last edited by hoogie; 07-14-05 at 04:03 PM. Reason: missed a bit on it
    thought for today: "Does my ass look fast on this bike?"

  9. #9
    POWERCRANK addict markhr's Avatar
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    cheers - the cranks have ratchets in them hence the size. Makes you physically pick your feet up and and then kick over, i.e., no mashing. Some people think they're an expensive gimmick - I like them though.

    Powercranks video marketing hype - well it sold me (right click save as)

    or go to www.powercranks.com

    ...and yeah, Condor are good - the fixies of choice for london couriers so I'm guessing they'd know good bikes.
    Last edited by markhr; 07-14-05 at 04:39 PM.
    shameless POWERCRANK plug
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    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!

  10. #10
    Caffeinated. Camel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bikepacker67
    Why would anyone use this on tour?

    Yes, internal gearing is a cool gadget, but I'm looking for pragmatism, simplicity, and serviceability when out in the wilds gettin' stanky.
    More than a gadget. I'd seriously consider a rohloff for extended touring (currently out of budget). The only routine drive train maintenance involved is changing the oil (properly at 5000K intervals). With a single ring, single cog setup (what I would do on a fullsized diamond frame), the chain-cog-sprocket will last a rather long time. This setup also allows for building a much stronger zero to near zero dish rear wheel. Kind of gets rid of two concerns-drive train issues, and rear broken spokes.

    Current 9 spd setups need a new chain/cassette after ?3000miles-even less when used day in&out through rain/sand&such. I've read of a couple going through 10+ chains on there Africa-Europe leg alone. Then there are the possible deraileur problems.

    [edit] As far as field servicablity goes-Should a rear cassette hub fail (bent/broken axle, pawl problems, bearing problems) the only field serviceable ones I'm aware of are Phil Wood&Chris King (provided you have the tools&spares).

  11. #11
    Banned Bikepacker67's Avatar
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    You just don't get it.

    A catastrophic failure of this fancy-pants gizmo will put the kibosh on any long distance tour.

    How many LBS's have experience with this swiss watch of cycling? How long will it take for parts to arrive?

    Will it lock up on me, 50 miles from God-knows-where?

    Quote Originally Posted by Camel
    More than a gadget. I'd seriously consider a rohloff for extended touring (currently out of budget). The only routine drive train maintenance involved is changing the oil (properly at 5000K intervals). With a single ring, single cog setup (what I would do on a fullsized diamond frame), the chain-cog-sprocket will last a rather long time. This setup also allows for building a much stronger zero to near zero dish rear wheel. Kind of gets rid of two concerns-drive train issues, and rear broken spokes.

    Current 9 spd setups need a new chain/cassette after ?3000miles-even less when used day in&out through rain/sand&such. I've read of a couple going through 10+ chains on there Africa-Europe leg alone. Then there are the possible deraileur problems.

  12. #12
    Caffeinated. Camel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bikepacker67
    A catastrophic failure of this fancy-pants gizmo will put the kibosh on any long distance tour.
    There are a lot of things that certainley could put the kibosh on any long distance tour. Being 50 miles from anywhere with a catstrophic failed anything could be one.

    I'm submitting that there reliability is high enough that I would use one for a RTW. You wouldn't. Allrite.
    Last edited by Camel; 07-15-05 at 02:22 AM.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bikepacker67
    You just don't get it.

    A catastrophic failure of this fancy-pants gizmo will put the kibosh on any long distance tour.

    How many LBS's have experience with this swiss watch of cycling? How long will it take for parts to arrive?

    Will it lock up on me, 50 miles from God-knows-where?

    Ever tried to fix a rear derailleur on the trail? like single speeding up big hills?
    There's lots that can go wrong, worst comes to worse (which seems incredibly unlikely) you'd end up with a seized rolhoff == fixed gear, still ridable.
    If you worry about stuff like this, make sure you have steel handlebars cuase a alu bar failure would be way more likely than a rolhoff hub failure.

  14. #14
    Banned Bikepacker67's Avatar
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    What I worry about is how long, and how much of my touring $$$ is it gonna gobble up b4 I'm back on the road.

    A derailleur bike is easily serviced, and the parts are relatively cheap.



    Quote Originally Posted by luke.harrison
    Ever tried to fix a rear derailleur on the trail? like single speeding up big hills?
    There's lots that can go wrong, worst comes to worse (which seems incredibly unlikely) you'd end up with a seized rolhoff == fixed gear, still ridable.
    If you worry about stuff like this, make sure you have steel handlebars cuase a alu bar failure would be way more likely than a rolhoff hub failure.

  15. #15
    Senior Member biodiesel's Avatar
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    dude, from a tourers experience... a catastrophic failure of alot of things can end a tour. A pac man wheel if your too far from a bike shop, a cracked frame (sorry but you really can't weld most frames these days, even steel.)
    You have a point about shipping though, you can always check into a hotel, order parts online and have them overnighted. Expensive but poissible.

    But even in northern California there are plenty of places where you can go hundereds of miles and pass only bike shops that sell sport, bmx or MTB bike parts... My northern tour of the coast i rode 4 days and couldn't find 700c tubes!

  16. #16
    Caffeinated. Camel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bikepacker67
    What I worry about is how long, and how much of my touring $$$ is it gonna gobble up b4 I'm back on the road.

    A derailleur bike is easily serviced, and the parts are relatively cheap.
    Understandable point. I'd probably only really buy one were I able to afford going off touring for a year or two*. Over that lengthy of a tour, hanging out for a week or two, waiting for parts via PostResistance/FedEx whatever, and make repairs is (allmost) like a mandatory "rest period". Most folks over such lengthy tours usually have leway budget/time wise.

    Agreed, for shorter, time limited tours-a rohloff problem would (most likely) end it short. However, most folks start tours with a "fresh" drive train, and tuned up bike (overall). I'd assume folks heading off on shorter tours (who currently use Rohloffs)-have had there maintenance done as well (oil changed), and have checked for leaks/slips/skips/extra drag/cable wear etc.

    *I had been pondering getting one for a bit for commuting&tour use, but is too costly (for me-at this time), perhaps primarily due to the poor Euro/Dollar Franc/Dollar exchange. If the 14 spd were currently available new here in the states for say $500-I would have allready bought one.

  17. #17
    cyclotourist
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    It sounds to me like this is some kind of dispute between Rohloff and one of its (ex?)-distributors.
    I have no idea of the long term reliability of the Rohloff, but the idea looks good to me. The big advantage being that you could protect the drivetrain from dirt and moisture, it would last almost forever.

  18. #18
    Banned Bikepacker67's Avatar
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    The big advantage being that you could protect the drivetrain from dirt and moisture, it would last almost forever.
    And the big disadvantage is that it isn't serviceable but for an elite few.

    Call me crazy, but I thought long distance self-contained touring was about simplicity and practicality.

    EDIT:
    Mind you... I consider this a cool technology, but something I'd opt for on an urban bike. The abililty to downshift at stoplights is a nice thing to have in the commuter world.

    But stick me on the Northern Tier somewhere in North Dakota, and I'll take an old fashioned derailleur every time.
    Last edited by Bikepacker67; 07-15-05 at 08:46 PM.

  19. #19
    I can't remember
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    My girlfriend and I have just bought two of Thorn's Rohloff equipped tourers. Haven't done a long tour yet (from nest week thought going on a five week trip through northern Japan, so should be a good test). Anyway experience with the hub so far has been excellent.

    Call me crazy, but I thought long distance self-contained touring was about simplicity and practicality.
    Of course everyonne is entitled to their opinion (it would be a boring world otherwise ) but the Rohloff hub is all about simplicity and practicality.

    Looking at the original post it looks to me like someone with an axe to grind. How convenient that this was included
    We hope to be able to offer a better performing alternative internal gear system within several months - and at lower prices than Rohloff systems Send us an email if you'd like to find out about it when we have it in. Email: siteinfo@shaw.ca
    Wouldn't trust this at all.

  20. #20
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    The fact that the OP hasn't bothered to try to stand up for themselves makes their post even more suspect in my eyes. I had already seen that site while researching the Rohloff (too expensive for me right now) and it just comes across as sour grapes. Sour grapes make great whine.
    Paul the Alloy Addict

  21. #21
    Shiftless bum cavit8's Avatar
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    That and the fact they've made one post . . .
    Quote Originally Posted by operator
    truneo that tuned park internal nipple wrench work ??

  22. #22
    Senior Member onbike 1939's Avatar
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    While I would agree that the ability to repair all of the equipment used on your bike is of great advantage to a tourer and is a principle that I've always adopted, reliability has to be taken into account. According to Rhollof they have not experienced one breakdown in any of their hubs and they have been selling them now for I think around ten years. In that time they have sold many thousands and in the UK cycling forums we hear regularly from expedition riders who have taken them all over the world in very difficult conditions without any problem. The only thing I have heard was on some earlier hubs there was some oil leakage but I understand they have fixed this. Anyway, I for one have taken the plunge and sold my custom Mercian tourer in order to buy a Thorn Raven.

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