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  1. #1
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    New Rohloff Speedhub

    So I have been looking to purchase a IGH and i did some poking around at Rohloff to see when their new hub will be sold. This is the email i got from them.

    Hello Justin,

    We are indeed working on a newer, lighter version of our ever popular SPEEDHUB 500/14.

    It is not possible (as with other bicycle components) to simply replace the material from which the SPEEDHUB is constructed with that of a lighter metal. Instead we must try to reduce the surface area of the entire system and this means completely revising the construction of the hub. This process as I am sure you can understand, is not exactly a light task.

    To date, the designs themselves are not satisfactorily completed, for this reason we have no prototypes which we can start testing and therefore will most probably take a good couple of years before we are ready to release something into the open market place.

    Again, because we have not yet completed the designs of the newer SPEEDHUB version, I am momentarily not able to say anything more about the construction.

    The current version (SPEEDHUB 500/14) weighs approximately 1760g and therefore the weight lies only a few hundred grams over that of a derailleur gear system of the same quality. For this excess weight you receive a product which saves maintenance and repair costs, time by cleaning and adjustment, and by shifting the entire weight of the shifting system to the rear of the bicycle, the total weight of a bicycle will be evened out and centrally balanced (balancing point over the BB).

    More information over the current SPEEDHUB can be found on our internet site www.rohloff.de <http://www.rohloff.de/en/home/index.html>.


    Best Wishes from Fuldatal, Germany.

    Stewart Stabik,
    Technical Support Manager
    Rohloff AG, Germany
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  2. #2
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    I had just heard the same thing. Bummer. Oh well, I'll just keep riding the one I already have and think "light".

  3. #3
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    I am really glad I have a definitive news.. Now i can happily buy a speedhub 14 and not worry about not buying the latest and the greatest..

  4. #4
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    cmreddy my exact thinking. . . no hesitation for me anymore.

  5. #5
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    So I got cheap and held off on my Rohloff purchase, but with the anticipation of another riding season coming up I find myself drooling over the Speedhub once again. To be cautious, again, I emailed Rohloff about any news or the forthcoming Speedhub 'lite'. This was their response:

    Hello Justin,

    We are indeed working on a newer, lighter version of our ever popular SPEEDHUB 500/14. This will not be suitable for every aspect and style of cycle sport and therefore, even after its release, it may well be that the current model is better for your riding preferences.

    To date, the designs themselves for the newer SPEEDHUB version are however not satisfactorily completed, for this reason we do not have prototypes which we can start testing and therefore it will most probably take a good year or so before we are ready or able to release a new product into the open market place. I must however stress that development can never be truly estimated, sometimes there is a breakthrough which can lead to earlier than expected release, sometimes there are set backs and the product can take years longer to complete. I really am not able to estimate when the newer version will be market ready.

    It is not possible (as with other bicycle components) to simply replace the material from which the SPEEDHUB is constructed with that of a lighter metal. Instead we must try to reduce the surface area of the entire system and this means completely revising the construction of the hub. This process as I am sure you can understand, is not exactly a light task.

    We hope that the newer SPEEDHUB version will be circa 300-400g lighter than the current version. We plan to retain the number of gears and the even increments but expand the overall gear range to approximately 580%. The new/lighter version will most probably not be suitable or permitted for use in a tandem, however this hub will be more than capable of normal (ie. no extreme freeride) use. I am afraid that I cannot be 100% certain of any details simply because the designs of the newer SPEEDHUB version not yet completed. All plans are still subject to change depending upon feedback, the market and any technical hurdles which our engineers may encounter whilst constructing the gear-unit. I am therefore momentarily unable to say anything more about the exact construction.

    I hope this information helps you further.
    Have a nice day.


    Best Wishes from Fuldatal, Germany.

    Stewart Stabik,
    Technical Support Manager
    Rohloff AG, Germany
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  6. #6
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    Wow, this talk has been going on for coming up on five years. At least they're still talking about it.

    The one thing that seems to stay constant is the "not tandem rated" which to me implies they're looking for that threshold of how bulletproof is too bulletproof?

    With Shimano's deep R&D pockets, I wonder how long Rohloff can keep this up. Among other things, this hub is projected to be more expensive, too.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Speedub.Nate
    With Shimano's deep R&D pockets, I wonder how long Rohloff can keep this up. Among other things, this hub is projected to be more expensive, too.
    The elephant in the room!

  8. #8
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    I think the Shimano 11 is going to put a fire under Rohloff's butt. If the Alfine 11 is as good as the 8, and they can hit that <$500 mark I'll guess that Rohloff will have to find a way to drop the price of their standard hub quite a bit, or loose a huge number of sales. Rohloff also has to get their North American distribution and service back together or Shimano will bury them on that front too.

    I'm super excited to see the IGH wars start up and bring things into the modern age.

  9. #9
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    I really like Rohloff, but they need to get on the ball. They've got a real good product but I think it's a little over-engineered and over-geared. It would seem to me to be a relatively easy task to simply to drop off a primary gear, making it a 12 speed with about a 475% range, and slightly downgrade the specs so it's engineered to last a couple of decades instead of centuries. It would be naturally lighter and a little cheaper to build. Sell it for under $1000 and they'd have something a little more expensive but probably better than an Alfine 11.

  10. #10
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    Is there a reason they(Rohloff) have never attempted to make any kind of trigger or dual thumb press style shifters? Are these simply MUCH less popular in europe and the UK or is it a sore point there too?

    I know some people prefer the twist shift style but tbh if you are designing a bulletproof 10 yr all duty hub you have to assume DHers and hard use all mountain guys are going to get it intending on putting it through it's paces and that is quite hard to do when constantly having to worry about hand placement on the bars. On top of that Shimano and Sram make pretty much solely non twist at the higher end of there gear systems so it is hard for me to believe that this doesn't affect there sales considering it is a standard that is basically an entire generation of MTBing behind.

    You would think that an overhaul with weight cuts in mind might warrant a look at redisigning the shifting method to make it a bit more flexible but so far I have never seen a mention or acknowledgment of it being limiting from them ever. I realize it is ideal the way it is for enduro riding in remote regions but considering the high price tag and high weight it sure seems like they are bound and determined to corner themselves into an ever tighter niche of the MTB world.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Deserteagle99uzi

    Is there a reason they(Rohloff) have never attempted to make any kind of trigger or dual thumb press style shifters?

    The company line is that only twist shifters allow you to drop a full range of gears in a simple, fluid twist of the wrist. I actually concur with that, but Rohloff as got to know that there is a whole population of riders out there unwilling to switch to a Speedhub due to hate and scorn of twisters.

    There have been rumors, and there have been product announcements from third parties, but as far as I've seen, none has ever materialized. Triggers may be a bit more technically challenging than we would all suspect, but more challenging than building a 14-speed hub? I'm skeptical.
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  12. #12
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    A few years back I designed something like a pulley attached to a old downtube shift lever on a Kelly Take-off that would shift a Rohloff. I never ended up making it, but every Rohloff owner I ever told about the design said it would have been awesome to have that option. So even owners would like a different option.

    I hate to say that I doubt they'll change anything of their chain is any example. I love my SLT on 8-speed or single-speed, but on 9-speed they don't shift very well. They've also avoided making a 10-speed or narrower 9. They are a prime example of a company who designs something great and then refuses to touch it, even if that change makes a better product or increases sales.

  13. #13
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    So no more info about a release date for this lighter version then?
    Marriage is a wonderful invention, but then again so is the puncture repair kit...

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by themanmonkey
    Rohloff also has to get their North American distribution and service back together or Shimano will bury them on that front too.

    Distribution issues were resolved last fall after only a few months of interruption. The hubs are currently available through QBP, BTI, and Cycle Monkey, with Cycle Monkey handling all of the hub service. Stewart at Rohloff is available for tech support as well as myself.

    Neil
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by MonkeyWrench

    Distribution issues were resolved last fall after only a few months of interruption. The hubs are currently available through QBP, BTI, and Cycle Monkey, with Cycle Monkey handling all of the hub service. Stewart at Rohloff is available for tech support as well as myself.

    Neil
    Thanks, Neil.

    Now just if some creative guy with the right resources could address this trigger issue, everybody would be happy...
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Speedub.Nate
    Thanks, Neil.

    Now just if some creative guy with the right resources could address this trigger issue, everybody would be happy...

    Yeah, I know. The resources are the key ingredient at this point. I have a design, but no machine shop and limited capital. Anyone interested in helping fund this project????

    Neil
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by MonkeyWrench

    Yeah, I know. The resources are the key ingredient at this point. I have a design, but no machine shop and limited capital. Anyone interested in helping fund this project????

    I've got no money, but have a Dremel and a micrometer at the ready. Just say the word!
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by MonkeyWrench
    Yeah, I know. The resources are the key ingredient at this point. I have a design, but no machine shop and limited capital. Anyone interested in helping fund this project????
    What's your design?

  19. #19
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    Two triggers, one for each thumb, shift direction reversible as with the twist shifter.
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  20. #20
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    Yeah I've thought about doing it that way. Are you proposing taking up the cable slack in the shifters with springs? I mean if you perform a shift on one side, the other side will have to spool the same length of cable out again. It's tricky to come up with a mechanism that will do this reliably. I've come up with a couple of ideas for doing this, but they are complicated and are full of tiny parts that would be hard to manufacture and would be difficult to get to work with stock springs without a lot of tuning and/or compromise in terms of size/weight.

    The other idea I've had is to move the ratcheting mechanism to a replacement external shifter box (i.e. the black thing that goes on the hub itself) so that the individual shifters are mechanically disconnected from the hub until they're actuated.

    One of these days I'll get enough spare time to actually manufacture these ideas .
    Last edited by Timbo; 02-27-2010 at 04:39 PM.

  21. #21
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    I think fabricating the trigger shifter will be the easy part. The hard part will be developing the strength and stamina to operate the triggers with your thumb and/or finger.

  22. #22
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    The ratchet will indeed go in a new cable box, maybe a shift box, but better to leave that part alone. Simple spring return on the lever at the bar, mtb type thumb lever or drop bar integrated levers could plug in. The mechanism isn't very complicated. No tiny part, only a couple of moderately difficult parts to cut.

    Lever force is dictated by cable pulley diameters, so no problem making it function with normal thumb strength. Is 2 gears per throw enough for most people or would 3 be the minimum? 4 would be pushing it. Less thumb force = fewer gears per lever throw.
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  23. #23
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    I've always thought a hydraulic shifter would work with two small cylinders mounted on the shifter, pulling the lever with the index finger compresses the fluid in one & a thumb push compresses the fluid in the other (both venting the pressure in the other to give the same push/pull action of the cable system) then two hydraulic lines down to a rotorary actuator on the click box.
    I don't think the volume of fluid required or the pressure would be very high (same force as the twist action of the grip) therefore cylinders & levers could be very small & parts very light.
    Might even be doable with a couple of modified disc brake levers.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by MHC

    I've always thought a hydraulic shifter would work...
    Hmmm... I wonder if you'd be able to feel each click. I'm guessing "yes," sort of?

    Gotta say, though, that all this talk of triggers makes it seem like a lot of effort and complexity to change a very simple twist-shift system that works really, really well and will get you to just about any gear with the quick flick of the wrist -- which is perhaps why nothing's been produced yet.
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  25. #25
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    hope they keep the twister

  26. #26
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    ^^^ this

    Can't see how you can pass from 1 to 14 instantly with a trigger.

    "The" big advantage of the twist.
    "There is a big difference between kneeling down and bending over" -FZ

  27. #27
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    I don't understand why people always say that. For one it's hardly instant; it takes me 3 or 4 twists to go from one end to the other. The hypothetical trigger shifter may take 1 or 2 more "strokes", but is moving through your entire gear range quickly really all that useful in the first place?

    The two approaches aren't mutually exclusive anyway. If Rohloff or someone else eventually develops a trigger shifter, it's not like they're suddenly going to stop making the twist shifter...

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by MonkeyWrench
    Lever force is dictated by cable pulley diameters, so no problem making it function with normal thumb strength. Is 2 gears per throw enough for most people or would 3 be the minimum? 4 would be pushing it. Less thumb force = fewer gears per lever throw.
    I favor low shifting force and would be happy with 2 gears per throw. It would be great if you were able to offer triggers!

  29. #29
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    It will be interesting to see what happens first:

    1) Shimano Alfine 14 speed IGH for $700USD

    2) New version of Rohloff
    Safe riding,

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  30. #30
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    I have recently spent some time on an Alfine hub and the single gear per throw is no good, especially when I'm used to dumping large numbers of gear with my Rohloff twist shifter when needed. I now think two will probably also be too few. 4 would be ideal. Just a matter of lever force.......
    Cycle Monkey
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  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by MonkeyWrench
    I have recently spent some time on an Alfine hub and the single gear per throw is no good, especially when I'm used to dumping large numbers of gear with my Rohloff twist shifter when needed. I now think two will probably also be too few. 4 would be ideal. Just a matter of lever force.......
    Why not run the Alfine with a Nexus 8 twist shifter....that will work with 8 speed Alfines?
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  32. #32
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    I use a Nexus 8spd twistshifter on my Alfine.
    It works fine, and then again is doesn't.
    Shifting is OK, but lots of ghost shifts on the trails.
    Never had ghost shifts with my SRAM gripshifters(X-9).

    I think about buying the alfine trigger shifter, altough I'll miss the ability to shift "all" the gears in one twist.
    Belgian beer and Scotch whisky.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by vikb
    It will be interesting to see what happens first:

    1) Shimano Alfine 14 speed IGH for $700USD

    2) New version of Rohloff
    For sure the Alfine 11 speed will happen first. And that may be enough. If they can get that thing out for under $500 and it's as smooth as the 8 is with more range. They're going to see a big uptick in IGH interest.

  34. #34
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    Forgot about that option, but still unhappy with the performance of the Alfine hub under load and the limited gear range for hilly riding. Surprisingly, I didn't notice the inconsistent gear ratio changes as I had expected to. The shifts often won't take unless almost all the power is let off. The Speedhub complains sometimes when shifting under load, but you can almost always force it to shift. I was running a Schlumpf HSD with it so I actually had a wider gear range than the Speedhub but I ended up needing to shift the crankset too often and it was not always convenient to get my heel to the shift button when I ran out of hub gears on a steep pitch.

    I put the Speedhub back on that bike last week and it was a welcomed change. Admittedly, I ride a bike with a Speedhub almost every day so they feel normal to me, but they definitely work better.

    Neil
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  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Speedub.Nate
    I actually concur with that, but Rohloff as got to know that there is a whole population of riders out there unwilling to switch to a Speedhub due to hate and scorn of twisters.
    I had this same worry when I bought my Speedhub in 2006; I ran SRAM Grip Shift in the mid-90's, and didn't really care for it. I went back to Rapidfire, then SRAM trigger shifting for quite some time.

    However, I've since found that having fourteen gears available in one shifter was pretty nice. I've lost any misgivings that I ever had.

    I also have a Nexus-8 Red Band with the Shimano twist shifter on a townie bike that my wife and I use for dragging our boys around in their Chariot. The Nexus's unpredictable shift behavior and general feeling of flimsiness leads me to even more appreciation for the robustness and good performance in the Speedhub.
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  36. #36
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    Shift-box converter idea

    I've just ordered my Speedhub and I'm super stoked to get it next week.

    I read this forum thread and I see lots of good ideas. How about this one:

    Why bother designing a trigger shifter for the SH? Is it not possible to create a shift-box (the thing down at the hub) that could convert the input from ANY shifter?

    Admittedly I'm no engineer, so I'm speaking in concepts. Any machinist out there want to run with the idea? Is it even possible? Maybe with return springs in the shift-box or something?

    My two cents...

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lokimann View Post
    I've just ordered my Speedhub and I'm super stoked to get it next week.

    I read this forum thread and I see lots of good ideas. How about this one:

    Why bother designing a trigger shifter for the SH? Is it not possible to create a shift-box (the thing down at the hub) that could convert the input from ANY shifter?

    Admittedly I'm no engineer, so I'm speaking in concepts. Any machinist out there want to run with the idea? Is it even possible? Maybe with return springs in the shift-box or something?

    My two cents...
    Not an engineer either, but I think you'd have to devise a cable pull multiplier in something that like as a trigger won't pull the 4" (?) of cable the SH requires. Something like the cable from the trigger rotating a small splindle attached to a larger diameter spindle with the cable attached to the "shifter box mechanism thing" that engages with the hub? So when you pull the trigger and move the cable 1/4" it pulls the cable at the box by 1"? Just thinking out loud.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lokimann View Post
    I've just ordered my Speedhub and I'm super stoked to get it next week.

    I read this forum thread and I see lots of good ideas. How about this one:

    Why bother designing a trigger shifter for the SH? Is it not possible to create a shift-box (the thing down at the hub) that could convert the input from ANY shifter?

    Admittedly I'm no engineer, so I'm speaking in concepts. Any machinist out there want to run with the idea? Is it even possible? Maybe with return springs in the shift-box or something?

    My two cents...
    The indexing in the Speedhub is at the hub. The indexing in other gearing systems is at the shifter. Two problems with that:
    1- The amount of cable pull per shift doesn't match so 1 click on, say, a Shimano shifter doesn't equal 1 gear change worth of cable for the Speedhub.
    2- There aren't any 14 speed trigger shifters.
    Additionally the Speedhub uses two cables, other shifters use one.

    I doubt it would be too hard for someone to make a thumb shifter to handle the double cables of the Speedhub but a trigger shifter is a bit harder to design. In order to use the two levers, one for up and one for down-shifting, you need a ratcheting mechanism of some sort which means pre-defined stops (each time the pawl catches a gear tooth) which you'd have to keep perfectly lined up with the detents at the hub. I guess you could use a roller clutch arrangement or something but then you are looking at a lot of fiddly little parts for a garage machinist to make.
    Also, I've never used a Speedhub but I don't believe there's much if any pull in one direction on the cables so unlike a normal trigger shifter, where your thumb works against the derailleur spring and your index just releases cable, on a Speedhub trigger shifter your index would also have to pull cable which seems like it might be awkward. You could, as you suggested use a return spring on one end of the cable but will the shift-box like that?

    Obviously all these issues are surmountable, even for a hobbyist but I suspect it would be as a labour of love for themselves, not something to sell at a reasonable price.

  39. #39
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    Marriage is a wonderful invention, but then again so is the puncture repair kit...

  40. #40
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    So are Rohloff releasing any new kit or what!!?? I've seen "in testing" and "about bla weight" and "trigger this" and "hardcore" that and "bike show" the other. Geez. Sorry Rohloff. Did you hear that slight smooth buzzing noise? That was a Shimano Alfine 11 speed passing you by.....

  41. #41
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    any news from the eurobike?

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by mat-with-one-t View Post
    Did you hear that slight smooth buzzing noise? That was a Shimano Alfine 11 speed passing you by.....
    If only .......

    "There is a big difference between kneeling down and bending over" -FZ

  43. #43
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    There will not be any light Rohloff

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by alpinibis View Post
    There will not be any light Rohloff
    Care to elaborate ?
    "There is a big difference between kneeling down and bending over" -FZ

  45. #45
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    Any updates?
    I'm still tossing up between a Speedhub and an Alfine 11 for my MTB...my rational side tells me SHIMANO, but deep down inside I want to spoil myself with a rohloff...hmmmm :-)

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by mat-with-one-t View Post
    ... Did you hear that slight smooth buzzing noise? That was a Shimano Alfine 11 speed passing you by.....
    Keep dreaming.

  47. #47
    Ancient Astronaut
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    Greetings,

    IGH looks to me like a great opportunity to implement a remote wireless shifting system.

    At the hub, a servo actuator, and black box, at the bars, a little black box with a dominant rocker switch, and tiny ( so as not to accidentally activate) or under cover secondary programmable function, buttons.

    With the latter, you choose things like how many gears to throw with a click of the rocker, or in the more advanced model, an electronic inclinometer and other sensors scan for things like slope, humidity, temperature, and also talk to your heart rate and cadence able computer wireless-ly, to automatically adjust to a preselected ratio range, so as to keep you in the zone.
    Of course you will also, have "idiot" buttons to simplify things and go from "Sport or Race" mode for total manual control to "Training mode or leisure" mode for pre-canned ( those that the electronic geniuses combined with exercise physiologists will create for the less creative) programs, or some based on parameters you choose based on heart rate etc like I mention above, based on your own knowledge of your body.
    All the technology is available, and cheap, actually. There are miniature servo actuators that can exert more than the necessary forces and PCB controls weight many times less than mechanical controllers.
    That alone would help shave quite a bit of fat of the current Rholoff. From a human factor stand point, and in my opinion ( which tends to generate controversy and downright piss off others, without it being my goal) , the thing is that hard core mechanical minds sometimes get stock in purist solutions and in doing so they get tunnel vision.

    In brief why spend time and money developing electromechanical shifting "aids at best" for the traditional derailleur system when IGH are such a natural.

    Besides why get stuck on CNC manufacturing as a limitation, like it sounds Rohloff is doing, when parts could also be high pressure cast while integrating function along the way.

    Has anyone tried a "torque converter" transmission for bikes? The bike itself is a pump isn't it?
    Capillaries would probably create enough force for shifting. with minimum fluid weight, and a little high pressure accumulator ( also molded inside the hub, could accumulate enough energy to maintain power much in the same way capacitors would in a dynamo electromechanical based system like mentioned in the beginning. (KERS)

    BTW all this material is copyrighted by the BORG collective and if you use it without expressed written permission you will most definitely be assimilated.

    PG

  48. #48
    will rant for food
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    Patagrande, wow, that's a lot to digest... By torque converter transmission, do you mean something like the NuVinci hub?

    I don't know about wireless, maybe, but I like the idea of electronic shifting by push of a button. I think it would be neat to have a small button on each side of the handlebar that you'd tap with your thumb, left side for up, right side for down. Sort of like paddle shifters in a Formula One car.
    Disclaimer: I run Regular Cycles (as of 2016). As a profiteer of the bicycle industry, I am not to be taken very seriously.

  49. #49
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    ... and if we just ...

    Drew,

    Sorry for the indigestion

    I am not too familiar with the Nuvinci, but I think it is a CVT constant velocity Transmission.

    I looked at the weight of one and decided against it, I got the impression their aim is at electric assisted bikes.

    Rocker switches are generally used for changing between states, on/off for a light switch, or in this case up/down, but your idea of one switch per bar side is more consistent with current practice.

    The most common torque converters are paired to automatic transmissions, and in essence use a fluid ATF, to transmit power, it all happens in a sealed "container". On the drive side you have the engine spinning a shaft that goes through a sealed hole on the side of the container, at the end of that shaft there is a sort of "propeller" but it acts more like an egg beater really, or better yet a mixing paddle, its purpose is to "spin" the fluid, as this happens, the driven side which is the same type of arrangement but ends up at the differential, starts to spin as well, and in turn the rotational motion is apportioned to each wheel as needed, this due to the fact that fluids are not compressible, there is no mechanical contact between the "propellers".

    The torque converter idea was a dumb thing for me to mention as a possible application.

    See, the reason why one cannot push start an automatic transmission equipped car, (actually its possible but can be nerve wrecking and also car wrecking) its because you need to be able to have the drive side spin at a considerable high RPM for there to be transmission.

    Perhaps there could be a way to make it work for lower speed application using a higher viscosity fluid, but then this is likely to pose problems at the transmission end.
    Dumb idea, forget I mentioned TC's.

    The electromechanical scenario is still the most attractive for IGH in my opinion, on both function and viability.

    PG

  50. #50
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    Shimano had the cyber-nexus, which was much as you have described.

    Also, there have been at least two electronic shifters for Rohloff.

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