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Is anyone using the Rohloff Internal Hub? What's the word?

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Is anyone using the Rohloff Internal Hub? What's the word?

Old 02-24-09, 11:20 AM
  #26  
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Originally Posted by Al Downie View Post
The thing that put me off derailleurs (and Shimano) for life was an experience quite a few years ago, when I went to my local bike shop for a replacement sprocket for my rear block (Shimano XT 6-speed). "Oh, we don't sell individual sprockets any more", the man said.

"How much for a new block then?" I asked.

"Well, the new blocks aren't compatible with your hub", he replied.

"So I've got to build a whole new wheel because one of my sprockets is worn???"

"Um... you'd also have to buy a new derailleur. And shifter."

Add to that the cost of re-tooling the workshop to cater for the 'new' Shimano equipment, and the total cost to replace that one sprocket was about the same price as a whole new bike. Utterly daft.
Al, I suspect that this is more of a problem with your shop than it is for shimano/derailers. Things may have been different then, but in the mdoern age of QBP (in the us, anyways), online retailers, shops desperate enough to actually offer service to customers, NOS stuff being sold on ebay and the like, etc it is quite possible to grab the old crap with just a little bit of hassle. I've been running the 9spd stuff for years, but i have 10spd on my roadbike, and i just gave away my last 8speed rig--not because of a dearth of cassettes, but because i was building a new bike and i had a friend in need of something reliable and utilitarian. Most any shop can order you compat stuff if they know what they're doing and they have an ounce of scruples. Of course, many shops have neither knowledge nor honour, which will forever be a problem.

To be sure, the planned obsolescence thing is annoying. However, when I first heard of Rohloff at, like, the turn of the centuray, my primary fear was with *unplanned* obsolescence; what happens if Rohloff goes under, and I can't get good cogs and bits, and something goes wrong with my hub, so i'd need to send it in for service? Of course, all these years later, and Rohloff is still around. Better still, whenever they make an improvement to their product, it tends to be something that can be "retro'd" to their older products (an understandable exception being disc-compatibility), much like VW did ages ago with their air-cooled offerings. Shimano, of course, never tries to do this, and in the case of things like derailers (Most of which have enough swing to work with any of the cassettes Shimano has ever produced, and the long-cage versions all having enough capacity for even the big-blocks), they feign noncompatibility, presumably to sell more derailers. Fact is, the 8speed derailers work with 10speed systems, and vice-versa. But, shimano will label a rear derailer as being "8speed" or "10speed" for reasons that seem most assuredly to be purely market-driven.

So, will I ever run a rohloff? I don't want to say "never", but i'll probably never run it with disc brakes, and i doubt if i'll ever try to rig it up on a bike that wasn't purpose-built for the system. That being said, the cost of the Hub itself, the custom frame, and the fact that I wouldn't think a garbage crank was worthy of such an excellent hub (hence, more expense) all conspire to keep it out of my immediate plans. I like blowing cash on bikes, but my pockets don't run that deep at the moment. Maybe after grad school...

I don't want to dissuade anyone from running the Rohloff; i've got no direct, empirical data on 'em, so I'm not qualified. But, as a guy who has looked into it, repeatedly over the years, I don't want anyone to miss the fact that the initial cost is substantial, even if the thing will save you some cash in the long-run.

-rob
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Old 02-24-09, 11:32 AM
  #27  
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The best thing I've read on Rohloff's is on the Thorn site - they have an article titled something like "living with a Rohloff" that lists the good & the bad.

BTW, it's possible to build a bike with a Paragon dropout for Rohloff that can be later retrofit to use a derailleur.
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Old 02-24-09, 11:53 AM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by stedalus View Post
This is not quite right. Power goes down by 3%, but this means speed only goes down by roughly 1%, so you're only "adding on" another 40 miles. But like you say, not a dealbreaker for most, but not negligible either.
Not to be a total wiseass but how are power/efficiency costs estimated? Are cross-chaining and derailer pulley routing vs the direct drive and good chainline of an IGH taken into account?
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Old 02-24-09, 12:11 PM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by surreal View Post
SNIP
Of course, all these years later, and Rohloff is still around. Better still, whenever they make an improvement to their product, it tends to be something that can be "retro'd" to their older products (an understandable exception being disc-compatibility),
SNIP
Actually, it is possible to retrofit disc-compatibility to a rohloff hub by switching the side plate of the hub. (just for the record)
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Old 02-24-09, 12:22 PM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by surreal View Post
Al, I suspect that this is more of a problem with your shop than it is for shimano/derailers. Things may have been different then, but in the mdoern age of QBP (in the us, anyways), online retailers, shops desperate enough to actually offer service to customers, NOS stuff being sold on ebay and the like, etc it is quite possible to grab the old crap with just a little bit of hassle. I've been running the 9spd stuff for years, but i have 10spd on my roadbike, and i just gave away my last 8speed rig--not because of a dearth of cassettes, but because i was building a new bike and i had a friend in need of something reliable and utilitarian. Most any shop can order you compat stuff if they know what they're doing and they have an ounce of scruples. Of course, many shops have neither knowledge nor honour, which will forever be a problem.
He probably had a Uniglide cassette that is nearly impossible to replace now, and probably was very difficult then. Chances are the shop could have just replaced the freehub (not the whole rear hub), but even some of those were incompatible, and he would still need a new shifter and maybe a derailleur.

I agree that buying a very expensive hub that can only be serviced by the small company that makes it is a strange move if obsolescence is your concern, but whatever makes you happy.
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Old 02-24-09, 12:27 PM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by HardyWeinberg View Post
Not to be a total wiseass but how are power/efficiency costs estimated? Are cross-chaining and derailer pulley routing vs the direct drive and good chainline of an IGH taken into account?
Not to be a wiseass either, but RTFA: https://www.ihpva.org/HParchive/PDF/hp52-2001.pdf
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Old 02-24-09, 12:35 PM
  #32  
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I do understand those that like these hubs. It's all about personal choice and such. What I can't figure out is what is so hard about maintaining a simple derailleur system in the first place. It's simple and simple to adjust. The above poster mentioned 10,000 failures(in jest I'm sure). If I had a failure of the rear derailleur system it can be replaced cheap and without to much effort on my part and I am back on the road. I could see myself using one of these internal hubs if I was using it local. I could never see myself using one on a long tour. To each his own I say. I think LHT's suck . yep... I said it and if you all don't ride a Jamis you all suck too.
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Old 02-24-09, 08:06 PM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by HardyWeinberg View Post
Not to be a total wiseass but how are power/efficiency costs estimated? Are cross-chaining and derailer pulley routing vs the direct drive and good chainline of an IGH taken into account?
You're such a wiseass, Hardy.

In the IHPVA article linked above, the authors evaluated each IGH in every gear. They give results by individual hub, efficiency in each gear, in the article, as you have probably already seen yourself.

The pdf article is fairly long, probably too long for most to be interested. Also a little complicated and probably hard for some folks to interpret.

I recommended looking at Figure 12 on page 9 in earlier post. This is a single graph that compares all tested IGHs to 2 different derailler systems - one a relatively unknown made by Browning, and the other the common Shimano 3x9 speed.

The graph shows average efficiency of each hub,all gears for that hub averaged, at three different power input levels. Tourists are generally operating at the lowest power level on this graph, the first data point.

This is the lowest efficiency point for all hubs. Friction losses appear to be somewhat fixed for a given hub and gear selection, so that as power input increases, friction loss declines as a fraction of the input, thus yielding higher efficiency at racer-level power inputs.

You can accurately deduce the following from this graph: For touring purposes, IGHs average 88.6% efficiency versus 91.5% for Shimano derailler.

Drivetrain friction loss is only part of the picture. More important are aerodynamic losses, although at an average 10 mph touring speed it's not nearly as important as in competitive cycling. A decent recumbent bike with Rohloff hub is overall a more efficient touring machine than a mtb with shimano derailler drive, due to overwhelming aerodynamic advantage.
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Old 02-24-09, 08:55 PM
  #34  
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Just got back from my first real ride on my brand new Rohloff hub. The bike is 10 times funner to ride, I'm sure the fun factor will wear off soon, but by then I'll be using my bike for daily transportation deep in the jungles of Costa Rica.

I took the bike straight up the steepest road I could find, a two block long 12% grade. Dropped the hub to the lowest gear and went straight up. My XT system would have jumped skipped and hopped all the way up that hill.
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Old 02-24-09, 10:10 PM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by kyakdiver View Post
I do understand those that like these hubs. It's all about personal choice and such. What I can't figure out is what is so hard about maintaining a simple derailleur system in the first place. It's simple and simple to adjust. The above poster mentioned 10,000 failures(in jest I'm sure). If I had a failure of the rear derailleur system it can be replaced cheap and without to much effort on my part and I am back on the road. I could see myself using one of these internal hubs if I was using it local. I could never see myself using one on a long tour. To each his own I say. I think LHT's suck . yep... I said it and if you all don't ride a Jamis you all suck too.
Thats just it. I do not want to adjust my shifting. I just want my bike to work when I ride it which is every single day.

The last poster makes a point. Put some real stress on your derailleur drivetrain and see how in tune it is. Hook it to a bikesatwork trailer with 300 pounds and hit the biggest hill you can. About 1/5 of the way up go ahead and change to the small ring up front.

Thats the sort of stuff I need my bike to do and do well. When I ran derailleurs it would almost always ghost shift under EXTREME conditions and my small ring was so small that it would almost always fall of of it when trying to shift under extreme conditions. I've had several systems including ultegra and I have not been satisfied with any of them. Then again, I *really* hate tinkering with **** and I become infuriated when my equipment fails me. Living car free and trying to use human power for everything is hard enough without using equipment that was designed based upon how lightweight it is. I want real parts for my bike that never need adjusting, never ever ghost shifts and allowed me to go with a single chain ring. Again, I needed all those 14 gears and I use all 14 of them everyday.

I LOVE MY ROHLOFF AND I WILL NEVER USE ANOTHER DERAILLEUR SYSTEM AGAIN. : )
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Old 02-24-09, 10:25 PM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by Joe_Gardner View Post
Just got back from my first real ride on my brand new Rohloff hub. The bike is 10 times funner to ride, I'm sure the fun factor will wear off soon, but by then I'll be using my bike for daily transportation deep in the jungles of Costa Rica.

I took the bike straight up the steepest road I could find, a two block long 12% grade. Dropped the hub to the lowest gear and went straight up. My XT system would have jumped skipped and hopped all the way up that hill.
I still don't understand why your XT system would jump skip and hop..... I'm glad you like the Rohloff hub but I climb stuff that steep and steeper with any of my non internal hubs and they do not skip. Bad/worn chain or worn cassette or just a lack of adjustment would be what is going on.
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Old 02-24-09, 11:16 PM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by kyakdiver View Post
I still don't understand why your XT system would jump skip and hop..... I'm glad you like the Rohloff hub but I climb stuff that steep and steeper with any of my non internal hubs and they do not skip. Bad/worn chain or worn cassette or just a lack of adjustment would be what is going on.
Everyone recognizes that derailleur systems work well when their nearly constant adjustment is up to date.

The posters, and my comments, point out that the rohloff NEVER needs adjustment. Some folks like tinkering with stuff and probably get a woody when their drive train starts ghost shifting. They think "whoopie, I can finally turn some barrel adjusters!!"

ME THINKS I never wants to FU#@ with that stuff again!
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Old 02-24-09, 11:26 PM
  #38  
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Don't get me wrong Gosmsgo.... I think the hubs are cool. Constant adjustments? Nope.
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Old 02-25-09, 12:40 AM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by bwgride View Post
At one time I was considering a Rohloff and did a search on the net for possible problems. It is difficult to estimate exactly the percentage of Rohloff owners who have problems, but it became clear that like all bike components, including Phil Wood, Rohloff's are not "bomb proof". I decided against Rohloff for three reasons: (1) price; (2) if failure occurs, expect long delay; and (3) 32 spokes--I prefer symmetrical 48 holes for my heavy load, thus tandem wheels for me.

For those interested, here are some of the Rohloff problems I found on the net:
Interesting.

I've discovered several of these broken Rohloff stories too. I stopped looking for them because once you discover some, it doesn't take too hard to find many. Maybe we should start a thread, "Who Broke their Rohloff, I did!". I'm sure we would fill a thread, four pages long! LOL!
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Old 02-25-09, 06:08 AM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve View Post
Interesting.

I've discovered several of these broken Rohloff stories too. I stopped looking for them because once you discover some, it doesn't take too hard to find many. Maybe we should start a thread, "Who Broke their Rohloff, I did!". I'm sure we would fill a thread, four pages long! LOL!
I don't know about that, but my impression is that given the relatively low production numbers it seems like there are quite a few failures. Then again maybe we just hear about all of them.

The fact that I have heard of several failures on a hub uncommon enough that I haven't even seen one would give me a bit of pause when dropping that kind of money.
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Old 02-25-09, 06:20 AM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
I don't know about that, but my impression is that given the relatively low production numbers it seems like there are quite a few failures. Then again maybe we just hear about all of them. SNIP
they've made over 100,000 hubs so far....
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Old 02-25-09, 06:38 AM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
The fact that I have heard of several failures on a hub uncommon enough that I haven't even seen one would give me a bit of pause when dropping that kind of money.
You and everyone else with any sense - of course! But I hope I'm not so dumb as to throw my money away like that.

There's a lot of naysayers in the cycling community who seek and celebrate ANY report of Rohloff failure, and rather than being a quick, random snapshot of user feedback, the handful of problems listed above are the same ones I've seen regurgitated many times before by those people in their drive to discredit the hub. It's not a catalogue of disasters, but a small list of unfortunate users. You'll get that with ANY product.

There are very many, very happy Rohloff users who just get on with using them, completely trouble-free, and in very demanding environments.
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Old 02-25-09, 07:26 AM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by positron View Post
they've made over 100,000 hubs so far....
My point exactly. That is a tiny portion of all the bikes sold in the world even in just one year. Some individual bike shops have probably sold more bikes than that. I think that US bike sales are close to 20,000,000 per year so 100,000 is about 0.5% of bike sales in just one country for one year. If you calculate market share based on worldwide bike production and over the amount of time the Rohlhoff has been in production it would be a tiny fraction of that 0.5%

I agree that we are way more likely to hear about their failures, given the high price and the claims that they are bombproof. That makes it likely someone will dredge up every failure.

I don't knock anyone who wants a Rohloff, but given the price and the numbers I see I personally wouldn't consider it an option. I have found more conventional drive trains quite adequate or maybe I would feel differently.
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Old 02-25-09, 07:54 AM
  #44  
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Timex watches are adequate, very popular and cheap. But they ain't like Rolexes...
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Old 02-25-09, 10:15 AM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by kyakdiver View Post
Don't get me wrong Gosmsgo.... I think the hubs are cool. Constant adjustments? Nope.
How often do you adjust your derailleur and what is the heaviest load you have pulled with it?
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Old 02-25-09, 10:39 AM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by Al Downie View Post
Timex watches are adequate, very popular and cheap. But they ain't like Rolexes...
Excellent example. I am a Timex guy and think a Rolex is just a huge waste of money. For someone who wants to know what time it is a Timex is more than adequate. For someone who want a beautiful piece of (over?) engineering and craftsmanship the Rolex is it. The Rolex also has the benefit or stigma (depending on the viewpoint) of status or snob appeal. In the case of the Rolex some significant portion people who buy it do so because it is expensive and is therefore a status symbol. I don't know if that is the case with the Rohloff, but suspect it just might be in some instances.
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Old 02-25-09, 11:19 AM
  #47  
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"I don't know if that is the case with the Rohloff, but suspect it just might be in some instances."
Could be. I wouldn't buy a Rolex because everyone knows Rolex and knows the perceived snob appeal that accompanies them (and Mont Blanc and BMW and ...). I would rather have a nice Patek Philippe that very few would recognize - good watch that I can admire - but falls under the radar. When it comes to bike gear, however, I just want it to go the long haul without breaking down. Who cares who notices? Hence my question about the Rohloff... Is it a good investment, Is it going to last? I don't think many, if any, of the people I cycle with would ever notice the thing. (Btw... I am a $35 Casio guy - it keeps near perfect time!)
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Old 02-25-09, 11:53 AM
  #48  
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Originally Posted by oddtanlines View Post
Could be. I wouldn't buy a Rolex because everyone knows Rolex and knows the perceived snob appeal that accompanies them (and Mont Blanc and BMW and ...). I would rather have a nice Patek Philippe that very few would recognize - good watch that I can admire - but falls under the radar. When it comes to bike gear, however, I just want it to go the long haul without breaking down. Who cares who notices? Hence my question about the Rohloff... Is it a good investment, Is it going to last? I don't think many, if any, of the people I cycle with would ever notice the thing. (Btw... I am a $35 Casio guy - it keeps near perfect time!)
By all reports that I have heard the Rohloff is a pretty reliable and low maintenance hub. I don't think it is likely to leave you stranded. I am just not convinced that it solves any significant problem or offers enough significant benefit over a more conventional and much cheaper choice. Then again I am a Timex kind of guy. Also I hate the notion of not being able to readily fix the thing in the field in the unlikely event of a break down.

All that said I claim no first hand experience. I have never even seen on in person. So my experience is nil and my comments are based on the same info that you can get by reading what is said about them on line.
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Old 02-25-09, 12:52 PM
  #49  
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I got a used Rohloff for my tandem. Shifting the derailleurs while trying to coordinate pedaling with the stoker was a pain, and since I've been using IG hubs on my other bikes I've lost much of my derailleur handling skill. I feel much safer being able to do any shift any time, even stopped, climbing a hill while fully loaded, whatever.

Snob appeal was not a factor for me. My tandem is a touring bike from 1984 with all original equipment in mint condition, including first generation Exage derailleurs, Phil Wood hub, Weinmann concave rim, etc., and for me it had much more snob appeal in its pristine 1984 configuration.

Mine is noisy. I've hears the Rohloffs are famous for being noisy, sometimes; there's an old thread on that: https://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...38#post2992738 but so far I haven't heard much by way of description of the noise. Can anyone comment?
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Old 02-25-09, 01:11 PM
  #50  
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
By all reports that I have heard the Rohloff is a pretty reliable and low maintenance hub. I don't think it is likely to leave you stranded. I am just not convinced that it solves any significant problem or offers enough significant benefit over a more conventional and much cheaper choice. Then again I am a Timex kind of guy. Also I hate the notion of not being able to readily fix the thing in the field in the unlikely event of a break down.

All that said I claim no first hand experience. I have never even seen on in person. So my experience is nil and my comments are based on the same info that you can get by reading what is said about them on line.
The timex vs rolex argument is completely off base. First, timex watches are reliable and do not need constant adjustment.

A derailleur system is more like a grandfather clock that needs to be adjusted periodically and maintained really well in order to work properly.
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