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Uphill shifting with a Rohloff

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Uphill shifting with a Rohloff

Old 07-07-19, 08:36 PM
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Uphill shifting with a Rohloff

So we got first three rides done with our new tandem. One puzzle is the proper technique when shifting on uphill slope. We have to pause the pedaling before we can shift which is mildly annoying on a tandem.

What do you do?
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Old 07-07-19, 08:46 PM
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That's how they work. You just get used to it. I can see where it's more annoying on a tandem. You invent a word like "shift" then you both pause. I used "shifting" on my derailleur equipped tandem to soft pedal before shifting.
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Old 07-08-19, 01:46 AM
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That’s for me one of the few issues to be taken into consideration when having the Rohloff in everyday use. You really have to release the load on your pedals while changing gears. Even more than with derailleur gears. Over the years Shimano (and all the others) put lots of effort in designing chain rings and cassettes that allow the chain to climb quite smoothly even under quite a bit of load. Thinking about the fragile looking teeth on your chain ring (the downside of this development) you try to avoid loaded shifting… but it works.

Rohloff says, that you do not destroy the hub if you shift under load, but you have to stand some noise plus the effect, that you can land in an unwanted gear. Both things are rather annoying to me.

The key is, as 2manybikes said, you have to find a way of communication. After nearly 4000 km on our “Rohloff-Tandem” I’m still somewhat experimenting with this. At first, I used the word “click” to prepare the stoker for shifting. Works fine but gets on your nerves sometimes when you’re shifting a lot in a short period of time. And -since a tandem is a “communication monster”- you have to interrupt your speech or -even worse- the comments of your stoker by a profane command.
Now we agreed on something different: Communication via timing chain. I asked her whether she’s fine with me delaying our pedaling for just a fraction of a second. She was and since then I try to optimize this method. Works perfectly in about 95 per cent of all shifting actions. The top or bottom dead centers are good pedal positions for this. It’s fast. You really need only two tenths of a second. But you have to synchronize this period with your hand movement. Finally -as always- it just takes a little practice. I’m still struggling a little bit when shifting of 3 or more gears at the same time time..

Last edited by lichtgrau; 07-08-19 at 06:47 AM.
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Old 07-15-19, 08:01 AM
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Originally Posted by PedalingWalrus View Post
So we got first three rides done with our new tandem. One puzzle is the proper technique when shifting on uphill slope. We have to pause the pedaling before we can shift which is mildly annoying on a tandem.

What do you do?
I always try to shift when the crank arms are vertical and just a slight stutter in the cadence. Iím generally always putting out 2x as many watts as she is so I can do pretty much what ever I want to do with the cadence and hardly can feel any back pressure from her in the pedals.
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Old 07-19-19, 05:56 AM
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Inability to shift under load was the reason why the Rohloff hub only lasted about 3 rides on our tandem before I gave up and put it on a hardtail MTB for me instead. We ride 90 degrees out of phase to make pedal power more constant when climbing, which makes shifting the Rohloff even more difficult because there is no dead spot.

We finally got the shifting we wanted on the tandem when I installed XT Di2 derailleurs with Ultegra Di2 levers; now we can shift whenever we need to.

The Rohloff is pretty good on the MTB because I don't have to worry about breaking derailleurs or hangers when I crash, but I still get annoyed by how much I have to ease off to be able shift properly.
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