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  1. #1
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    Rohloff hub friction/resistance

    Just a quick question for you Rohloff owners...

    I have a Rohloff Speedhub on my hardtail, and when I have the bike on the stand, and spin the rear wheel, I notice a bit of friction and/or resistance (whatever you wish to call it).

    That is, I get nothing like the reasonably smooth rear wheel rotation or spin that we are basically familiar with from standard hubbed bikes. Giving it a good spin, I get a couple of rotations and then the wheel slows, and comes to a stop (not a hard jerky stop but a half-rotation slowing and stop).

    Is this due to the contruction of the planetary gear system? Or is there perhaps something amiss with the way I've got my hub set up, which is pretty new? I don't know if this is normal for these hubs.

    Any thoughts would be welcome. Thanks

  2. #2
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    I have a sample size of 1, but what you describe is consistent with what mine does. It use to bother me that the wheel didn't spin as freely as a regular rear wheel, but in real world coasting and pedaling tests it rolls as well as my various riding partners' XTR/SRAM XX/Chris King equipped bikes. I expect that the lack of "spin" when on the bike stand is 90% planetary gear and 10% seals and bearings -- next time I blow up a rim on my Rohloff hub whee, I'm sending it away to get the bearings serviced.

    In short, my Rohloff hub performs poorly on the bike stand but very ably on the trail.
    "The plural of anecdote is not data." -- Attributed to various people in a variety of forms, but always worth remembering...

  3. #3
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    Sounds normal, they also feel a bit more sticky in cold weather.

  4. #4
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    You've got seals that keep the oil in - mostly. They cause some drag at low pedal inputs like when you spin the cranks by hand. That's normal and it doesn't have much of an effect at normal pedaling loads.
    Safe riding,

    Vik
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  5. #5
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    Thanks very much for the posts.

    This is what I had hoped. It is a bit alarming to see this on the stand, but the stand isn't the real world, and in the real world I haven't noticed the friction once I'm up to speed.

    I DO enjoy the hub, though it's still under 500 km old. My rides are typically on gravel and dirt, and very frequently in the rain. Normal derailleur-ed bikes are an endless pain to fiddle with, what with the derailleurs and cables, chains, pulleys and sprockets being covered in mud, dirt, gravel, wet dust etc. every day. (And I take care of my stuff.) The Rohloff is not flawless but it is far less of a pain.

    Cheers!

    [PS -- one more thing ... cables.

    I notice some slackness in the cables. OR it could be the shifter. That is, when I shift, it is not the instantaneous shifting of SRAM, say. Rather, I get some play, some looseness in the shifter. Again, is that par for the course?]

  6. #6
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    I guess the shifter can feel a bit sloppy or as though there is some give in the system.
    I think this sensation is contributed by the shifter not having any indexing, so you feel the gear remotely locating at the shifter via the hub and cables.

    You can wind out any cable slackness with the adjusters on the external cable box, but I have found this makes the shifting feel "tight" and "draggy", I find the shifting feels better with the cables a bit "slack".

    You soon get used to it and also any percieved slop at the shifter is more than compensated for by the snappy changes at the hub.

  7. #7
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    Rohloff recomends setting the cables up a bit slack. I always tell people not to shift a Rohloff in the stand if they want a good first impression. My oldest hub has over 25,000 miles on it , it is SO much smoother than my newer one , and I have a third on the way.. I am not looking forward to breaking it in. I always tell people if they can find a used one, in the right configuration for your bike, to get it. Its one part that is better used. Like your favorite jeans.

  8. #8
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    They acknowledge that this is the case. They describe power losses as having two types, power independent and power dependent. The loss you are talking about is power independent, and they say that it is extremely few watts, but as you say, it will stop a freely spinning tire if the bike is on a rack.

    This is a very interesting read and gives the details:

    EFFICIENCY: www.rohloff.de

  9. #9
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    Thanx for that link , interesting !

    There is also this one :
    http://www.ihpva.org/HParchive/PDF/hp52-2001.pdf
    "There is a big difference between kneeling down and bending over" -FZ

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    I gave away about 10 to 13% longer times while climbing in gears 1-7 when I had my Rohloff hubbed wheel on my Bionicon climbing the steep mountain fireroads around So California. Had to sell it, didn't feel it was efficient at all. YMMV, it may be fine for commuting, but if you have to pedal to climb, it's not the best tool for the job of being KOM.
    "i'll brazilian when YOU do boy, right around the ol' rusty star. Actually, whole fruit bowl. Get on it!" NicoleB

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by RandyBoy View Post
    I gave away about 10 to 13% longer times while climbing in gears 1-7 when I had my Rohloff hubbed wheel on my Bionicon climbing the steep mountain fireroads around So California. Had to sell it, didn't feel it was efficient at all. YMMV, it may be fine for commuting, but if you have to pedal to climb, it's not the best tool for the job of being KOM.
    Your hub was broken. You bought it used & broken.

    My two Rohloffs and my friends' Rohloffs all climb great and don't have any crazy efficiency losses, but they aren't broken so that's not a shock I guess...

    If I bought a damaged XTR drivetrain that worked like crap and hated/dumped it for a lovely Rohloff then proceeded to SPAM every Rohloff thread with my complaints about how much XTR sucks - my feed back would every bit as useful as yours...
    Safe riding,

    Vik
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by RandyBoy View Post
    Had to sell it, didn't feel it was efficient at all.
    Hope you told whoever you sold it to it was broken (as you've repeatedly whined about on this board). I might be coming down on the "FanBoy" side of things when it comes to the Rohloff, but seven years or trouble-free and virtually maintenance-free operation will do that for a discerning cyclist. You on the other hand come across decidedly on the WhineyBoy side of things...

    Quote Originally Posted by RandyBoy View Post
    YMMV, it may be fine for commuting, but if you have to pedal to climb, it's not the best tool for the job of being KOM.
    The best tool for climbing would be (and always is) the lightest single speed you can put together -- hell, that's even true in the TDF (Hinault used one for that reason on a critical mountain stage back in the late 70's, early 80's). But my experience is that a Rohloff works well climbing and the only penalty over my otherwise identical SS is the weight it adds. And there is, of course, the advantage that you can pick exactly the right gear for the climb when Rohloff-equipped.
    "The plural of anecdote is not data." -- Attributed to various people in a variety of forms, but always worth remembering...

  13. #13
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    Thanks for all the good posts. I enjoyed reading Rohloff's evaluation of their hub's efficiency.

    I'm going to post my own results in a much longer review piece, but for now let me say this:

    I ride the same route almost every day: about 14 km, so 28 km in total, with about 2000 feet of climbing. As I ride this route a lot, and I keep track of my times (along with calories expended and heart rate figures) I can compare my various bikes. For the last couple of months I've been able to compare my Rohloff Speedhub equipped titanium hardtail with my SRAM X0 27 gear full suspension Santa Cruz.

    Now, this is not going to be an exact science. There are too many variables. Weather; the condition (sogginess) of the sandy/dirt/gravel; the amount of air I have in my tires; the amount of stuff I'm carrying on my back; the amount and kinds of clothes I'm wearing (rain gear slows me down), and so on -- ALL of these things play a part in determining my time.

    So far though, my rides on my full suspension conventionally geared bike are more comfortable and faster by about 5%. (By comfortable I mean comfy for my body and comfy for my heart rate: just this week, I did two rides on the Rohloff bike and two on the Santa Cruz. My ave. heart rate for the ride was 149 for the Rohloff bike and 139 for the full susp. bike, and yet my time was 2 min. faster on the full susp. bike. THAT'S what I mean by comfort and heart rate.)

    But ... the Rohloff bike is slightly less stressful. I don't think about shifting, I don't have to listen to the drive train make a racket, and I don't have to think about having my bike mechanic look at the bike every month, which normally is the case, unfortunately. Because I'm riding in rain and muck and soggy gravel in the late fall, winter and early spring, my conventional drive train is a major PITA: I'm constantly needing to clean the bike and tweak the derailleurs, particularly the rear derailleur. And my Rohloff is so new it's barely had 500 km.

    So it kind of balances out.

    Above all, the differences in comfort have something to do with the full suspension bike simply being better for this kind of ride: I am NOT bounced around like I am on the hardtail.

    More on this another time!

    Thanks to those who've posted.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by tkehler View Post
    Above all, the differences in comfort have something to do with the full suspension bike simply being better for this kind of ride: I am NOT bounced around like I am on the hardtail.
    That 5% speed difference is also partially due to hardtail vs. FS bike not simply Rohloff vs. derailleur. There is no way to separate those variables unless you could run the Rohloff on the FS bike and derailleurs on the hardtail.
    Safe riding,

    Vik
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by vikb View Post
    That 5% speed difference is also partially due to hardtail vs. FS bike not simply Rohloff vs. derailleur. There is no way to separate those variables unless you could run the Rohloff on the FS bike and derailleurs on the hardtail.
    You are quite right. I also believe that the FS bike just fits me a bit better too. And the rear shock keeps my rear tire "tighter" on the trail, so even though the ti hardtail is a weight weenie-ish bike, and the FS bike weighs more, the FS bike is just a tad faster. For me.

    Later in the spring, I will put the Rohloff on the FS bike.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by tkehler View Post
    Later in the spring, I will put the Rohloff on the FS bike.
    Awesome... That will be very interesting...keep us posted how it goes...
    Safe riding,

    Vik
    www.vikapproved.com

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by vikb View Post
    Awesome... That will be very interesting...keep us posted how it goes...
    Vik: I have been meaning to write to you and say how much I have enjoyed the Lazy Randonneur for quite a while. Cheers!

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by vikb View Post
    Your hub was broken. You bought it used & broken.

    My two Rohloffs and my friends' Rohloffs all climb great and don't have any crazy efficiency losses, but they aren't broken so that's not a shock I guess...

    If I bought a damaged XTR drivetrain that worked like crap and hated/dumped it for a lovely Rohloff then proceeded to SPAM every Rohloff thread with my complaints about how much XTR sucks - my feed back would every bit as useful as yours...
    My hub was fine when I bought it, it was I that "broke" it. It worked just fine the first 300 miles, nothing "defective" about it. Miles 300 to 400 were another story. Rohloff had a known quality control issue with the flats on the axle that allow the shifting from 2005-2006 with the subcontractor they used for machining the axles. You have no idea what you are talking about in relation to my personal Rohloff hub, or the facts as it relates to my hub. I've never had a failure in 400 miles on any DT Swiss or Hadley hub, or SRAM x7-or x9 derailleur system on any mountain bike that I've owned, built, serviced and ridden myself.

    The Rohloff, on the other hand, was a nightmare. Those are the facts and circumstances in my situation, and I can't recommend Rohloff hubs for true mountain bike applications. Rohloffs are for fanbois. No one serious about riding or competing while riding or racing mountain bikes or efficiency uses them, they are that inferior, except in conditions that would destroy the drivetrain of any bike, ie heavy mud ruining the chain. They are dead slow in climbing, where gears 1-7 are required, on extended vertical climbs, 10 - 13% slower, in my experience. YMMV, I was quite fair in testing mine to make all my samples statistically valid in measuring the climbing times. Those are the facts, in my case.

    The Rohloff is a gearbox in an oil bath, much like what is in a car. Most gear boxes in a car lose at a minimum 15% if traverse mounted, 18-19% if longitudinally mounted. It is far from efficient, and it it heavy. Gear oil is a drag, more so, the colder it gets,with higher viscosity and no means of warming it up to lower the centistokes of the oil in the gearbox, unlike a car.
    Last edited by Boyonadyke; 02-29-2012 at 07:36 AM.
    "i'll brazilian when YOU do boy, right around the ol' rusty star. Actually, whole fruit bowl. Get on it!" NicoleB

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by RandyBoy View Post
    Those are the facts, in my case.
    A sample of 1 broken hub that behaves unlike anyone else's. Totally statistically valid...
    Safe riding,

    Vik
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by vikb View Post
    A sample of 1 broken hub that behaves unlike anyone else's. Totally statistically valid...
    Your Google skills are limited, obviously. The folks in England at Thorn bikes, confirmed a 2 to 3% failure rate on the yeared hubs I mentioned, about 51XXX to 82XXX, they were just sending them back to Germany for new gearboxes. BrontoTX had the exact same problem.

    It's clear, though, when I do a search on Google, that you are a Rohloff fanboi. Any hub that leaks gear oil if you lay your bike down, is defective in design. Gear oil on a brake rotor is another beef of mine, sometimes bikes got laid down on shipping blankets if we did shuttles from cars trunks instead of trucks.

    You need to accept reality vikb, you just aren't gonna win on a Rohloff, ever.
    "i'll brazilian when YOU do boy, right around the ol' rusty star. Actually, whole fruit bowl. Get on it!" NicoleB

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by RandyBoy View Post
    Your Google skills are limited, obviously. The folks in England at Thorn bikes, confirmed a 2 to 3% failure rate on the yeared hubs I mentioned,
    When you first started going nuts about the broken hub you bought used I was the one that pointed you to the Thorn info that 1% of new hubs needed adjustment....something covered for free under warranty if you buy a new hub.

    It's a bit sad you are now recycling the info I provided you [including my comment about Google] back to me...just exaggerating the facts to suit your agenda...as usual...

    I wouldn't recommend anyone buy a young Rohloff hub used for this reason. Either buy a new one or a hub with 5000 kms on it at which point this adjustment issue will have appeared and been fixed for free.

    What you can't accept is you bought a broken hub used and didn't get warranty support. That's why used bike parts are cheaper than new. They lack warranties and they are sometimes not fully functional. It sucks, but there is no free ride.
    Safe riding,

    Vik
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by vikb View Post
    When you first started going nuts about the broken hub you bought used I was the one that pointed you to the Thorn info that 1% of new hubs needed adjustment....something covered for free under warranty if you buy a new hub.

    It's a bit sad you are now recycling the info I provided you [including my comment about Google] back to me...just exaggerating the facts to suit your agenda...as usual...

    I wouldn't recommend anyone buy a young Rohloff hub used for this reason. Either buy a new one or a hub with 5000 kms on it at which point this adjustment issue will have appeared and been fixed for free.

    What you can't accept is you bought a broken hub used and didn't get warranty support. That's why used bike parts are cheaper than new. They lack warranties and they are sometimes not fully functional. It sucks, but there is no free ride.
    Now vikb, don't take this out of context, but I found something of yours worth quoting.

    It's hardly a rant and seeing what failures are happening in the field is useful for everyone here who either owns a Jones or wants a Jones.

    Substitute" Rohloff" for "Jones". I am, in your own words, providing useful information for everyone. Don't be a hypocrite and say otherwise.

    http://forums.mtbr.com/29er-bikes/so...ml#post9017611
    "i'll brazilian when YOU do boy, right around the ol' rusty star. Actually, whole fruit bowl. Get on it!" NicoleB

  23. #23
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    Randy...you're still here slamming Rohloff after all these years Give it up man. You bought a use hub that was defective. Why to you think the seller sold it ? There will always be failures in things humans make. Your problem was you bought used hoping for the best and you lost. Don't tell us the hub was fine for 300 miles/kilometers or whatever then it failed. It hop doubt had a problem before you bought it but you just didn't know it.

    Your logic makes you seem like a nut case. You bought a use hub at your peril and it didn't work out. Just deal with it man. Quit slamming Rohloff. It does no good.No one is listening. As for your statement to Vic that he's just isn't gonna win on a Rohloff ever shows how completely out of touch you really are

  24. #24
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    Randy...you're still here slamming Rohloff after all these years Give it up man. You bought a use hub that was defective. Why to you think the seller sold it ? There will always be failures in things humans make. Your problem was you bought used hoping for the best and you lost. Don't tell us the hub was fine for 300 miles/kilometers or whatever then it failed. It no doubt had a problem before you bought it but you just didn't know it.

    Your logic makes you seem like a nut case. You bought a use hub at your peril and it didn't work out. Just deal with it man. Quit slamming Rohloff. It does no good.No one is listening. As for your statement to Vic that he's just isn't gonna win on a Rohloff ever shows how completely out of touch you really are

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by suba View Post
    Quit slamming Rohloff. It does no good.No one is listening. As for your statement to Vic that he's just isn't gonna win on a Rohloff ever shows how completely out of touch you really are
    Actually, I am listening and have been for some time. You and VikB and others won't win any converts by declaring parts defective you've never seen in order to suit your own agendas.

    Rohloff efficiency is boasted about and b*tched about plenty online. Randy is not alone.

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