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  1. #1
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    Rohloff or traditional drive train, which is quieter?

    The idea of a Rohloff seems pretty awesome. The thing that I like about it is that I am less likely to bash my largest front ring on rocks, no chain slap and virtually no maintenance. The no chain slap aspect is the most important to me. I have a single speed and that is my favorite part of the bike. The descents donít sound like the bike is about to fall apart. All you hear is the tires rolling over the dirt!

    While I have seen a lot of reviews that really just focus on the maintenance aspect of the Rohloff I have not seen any that talk about no chain slap or having more clearance on the front chain ring(s). How quiet is the Rohloff?

    Another dilemma is the high cost of a Rohloff.

    Is the Rohloff really worth it?

    My apologies if this discussion has already been covered.

  2. #2
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    I suggest you do a search under Rohloff. These types of discussions are plentiful. Generally speaking a Rohloff equipped bike will have a different set of sound characteristics than a non IGH bike. It's more of a whirling sound. Gears 7 & 8 are typically the loudest, but everything is relative. Most who buy Rohloff's are hooked for life I think. They are imo very very good.

  3. #3
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    Cost is really the biggest dilemma associated with a Rohloff. Whether or not it's worth it is subjective.

    I've been riding one on my mt. bike for over 3 years now and I'll never put derailers back on any mt. bike I own! On the other hand, I'll never put an IGH on my 18pound roadbike, as the derailers work fine in this application without the weight penalty.

    Incidentally, you can still get chainslap if your implementation requires a chain tensioner.

  4. #4
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    Quietness and chain slap issues are about the same for SS and IGH. You might consider and Alfine if price is an issue.

  5. #5
    1*14*29*2.1 & 1*1*29*2.4
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    yep, if you are running it on a hardtail it will be quiet like an SS. I get others mentioning how quiet my bike is, then they say, no wonder, its a SS! IGH's aren't common here, and I get a blank look when I say it's a rohloff....yes it will be quieter than derailleurs, but it is expensive. Consider the other benefits too and see if it is worth it to you to spend the money. I love the gear change at slow speeds or while not pedalling over technical obstacles. It still remains the only IGH with very low gears if you climb a lot of steep hills. As for chain ring clearance, there is a minimum size you can use without voiding the warrantee. for a 29er it is 38t, with a 16t sprocket.

  6. #6
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    Excellent feedback guys! How difficult it is to put a new tube/tire on the wheel with a Rohloff. From looking at videos on youtube it seems like you only have to disconnect the two cables to the hub and you are ready to rock.

    So the other day I was thinking about the Rohloff at the top of a pretty steep climb. I was in third on the cassette and the small ring up front. When I got to the top of the hill and started to go along a flat section I just jumped to the middle ring up front. Pretty abrupt gear ratio change by doing that. Can the Rohloff change its gear ratio just as quickly?

    Also how long does it take to get used to the grip shifter? Has anyone every not been ready for a rock while shifting and hurt their wrist because of it being in an odd angle?

    Thanks again for the great feedback guys!

  7. #7
    1*14*29*2.1 & 1*1*29*2.4
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    I think it depends on your setup. I have a rohloff dropout and QR so it is just a matter of undo the shifter box and drop the wheel as normal. Dumping lots of gears is also what the rohloff is great at. Especially when you get hung up on something and can't pedal out. The grip shift is a personal thing but I love it. I always hated getting sore thumbs. I don't think i'd go back to thumb shifters again

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by umland
    How difficult it is to put a new tube/tire on the wheel with a Rohloff. From looking at videos on youtube it seems like you only have to disconnect the two cables to the hub and you are ready to rock.
    Just remove the cable box wich is held by a small screw and remove the wheel.
    The only thing is to be sure that the counter force arm is in place. (Speedbone or else)

    Quote Originally Posted by umland
    So the other day I was thinking about the Rohloff at the top of a pretty steep climb. I was in third on the cassette and the small ring up front. When I got to the top of the hill and started to go along a flat section I just jumped to the middle ring up front. Pretty abrupt gear ratio change by doing that. Can the Rohloff change its gear ratio just as quickly?
    You can shift from 1 to 14 instantly , as long as you are not putting full pressure on the crank arm. You'll have to "learn" how to shift with it, it shifts easier between certain speeds than others , but it's easy to get it.

    Quote Originally Posted by umland
    Also how long does it take to get used to the grip shifter? Has anyone every not been ready for a rock while shifting and hurt their wrist because of it being in an odd angle
    My hate of the grip shift was the thing that made me hesitate to go there , but after 5 years , I understand why ; it's the only way to go 1 to 14.
    It's a rare case where you would need to go 1 to 14 , on an usual ride , a 5 -6 speed jump is common and that jump is very doable with one twist.



    About the noise; as other said it will depend if you have a chain tensioner and also what your frame is made of. An aluminium frame is a more conductive sound carrier , big tubes in particular......
    I have a C'Dale 1FG with an EBB and it is noisy on some gears. Other usres have stated that the noise is not common , it can change from hub to hub.
    When people ask me about the hub , it's the only disadvantage I can see.
    It is particulary noisy on the 3-5-7-12 speed.
    I like my bikes dead silent too , and guys I ride with say it's not noisy.
    Maybe I'm too anal about this ........ maybe because I'm a musician/sound engineer.......
    "There is a big difference between kneeling down and bending over" -FZ

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by finch2
    yep, if you are running it on a hardtail it will be quiet like an SS. I get others mentioning how quiet my bike is, then they say, no wonder, its a SS!
    Not necessarily.

    The Rohloff on my tensioner-less Marzek HT is loud enough that my riding buddy asked "what the hell is that, a motor?" the first time out. And it wasn't peculiar to Mrazek's oversized tubing -- it was similarly loud on my Van Dessel Buzz Bomb.

    I think it really depends on the particular hub you've got, as I've been through five Rohloffs and some definitely begin life quieter than others. Broken in, some are quieter than others.

    Whatever whirring / grinding you DO experience will be offset my the muddy mis-shifts and mis-alignments you'd experience with a derailleur. In my humble opinion, of course.
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  10. #10
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    I did the little test between speeds #11 - #5 - #7
    #11 being 1 for 1 is the quietest @ 52db
    #5 and #7 (the loudest on my hub) are @ 66db

    There is a 14db (C weighting) between those !!!!!
    That's a lot ....

    I put the meter just beside the hub , pedaled at the same speed.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Rohloff or traditional drive train, which is quieter?-speed-11.jpg  

    Rohloff or traditional drive train, which is quieter?-speed-7.jpg  

    Rohloff or traditional drive train, which is quieter?-speed-5.jpg  

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

  11. #11
    1*14*29*2.1 & 1*1*29*2.4
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    hey that is great....but can you now do it for a regular drive train?

  12. #12
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    For the test to be exact , we would have to use the same frame.

    I have 5 bikes , only one with normal drivetrain and it's my road bike , but a carbon frame.
    Doesn't sound the same .....
    "There is a big difference between kneeling down and bending over" -FZ

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by fokof
    I did the little test between speeds #11 - #5 - #7
    #11 being 1 for 1 is the quietest @ 52db
    #5 and #7 (the loudest on my hub) are @ 66db

    There is a 14db (C weighting) between those !!!!!
    That's a lot ....

    I put the meter just beside the hub , pedaled at the same speed.
    From one bass player to another : I hear what you are saying, mechanical resonance is annoying on a bike depending on the frequency(s). Which leds to the next sound mesurement with a chromatic strobe tuner....... right ?

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by space49
    mechanical resonance is annoying on a bike depending on the frequency(s). Which leds to the next sound mesurement with a chromatic strobe tuner....... right ?
    Well the thread is about how noisy it is not the musicality of the noise.
    Frequencies would change with the pedaling cadence .....


    Quote Originally Posted by space49
    From one bass player to another...
    TB?
    "There is a big difference between kneeling down and bending over" -FZ

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by fokof
    Well the thread is about how noisy it is not the musicality of the noise.
    Frequencies would change with the pedaling cadence .....




    TB?
    Yes. Very similar demographics with both forums.

  16. #16
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    Having ridden a Rohloff for a few years on an FS MTB, i'd say the Rohloff is much quieter DURING shifts, but is noisier when not shifting. Except for when your front derailleur chainguide is touching the chain. Or rear chainguide. That's still louder than the gentle whirring of the Rohloff.

    There's really no sound to shifting with a Rohloff (just the audible clicks of the twist shifter), but yeah some gears are a little louder than others.

    So if you want a gentle whirring sound the whole time, do the Rohloff.

    If you want mostly quiet punctuated by silverware-hitting-the-floor type sounds, go derailleur.

    To be honest, I'm still not completely happy with either. I hate derailleurs, but the bike feels lighter and balanced with a derailleur set-up. My big gripe with the Rohloff is the weighting of the rear hub. Overall weight isn't that much more, but all that weight in the rear just messes with the overall feel.

    If the bike gods would just throw a Rohloff into the BB i think i might actually be happy.

  17. #17
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    Gears 5 and 7 are the only ones I can really hear on my Rohloff as well, and freewheeling is also loud in certain gears - although silent in others. Not a problem - I think the whirring noise sounds nice, and it's just two gears where it's noticeable anyway. Overall, definitely quieter than derailleurs. Besides, an occasional sound from the bike is the last thing on my mind when riding.

    Is it worth it ? - if derailleurs get you around without issue, save your money and stick with them. There's really no difference for normal dry riding conditions. For riding in wet or muddy conditions, the rohloff is definitely a huge improvement - although I wouldn't say it really is worth the price.

  18. #18
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    At the risks of angering the Rohloff crowd, the Alfine is completely silent. Silent while pedalling, while shifting, and while coasting (no freewheel racket).

    If you want silent get an Alfine. To be fair, I only have direct experience with the 501 (the 8 speed). The 11 speed Alfine comes out next month, so no experience with that one yet.
    Regional Race Manager, Knolly Bikes
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  19. #19
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    I agree the Shimano is a lot quieter than the Rohloff.






    FWIW;
    In the last 5 years , I've passed through 3 shimano (waiting to receive my third) while changing the oil twice on my Rohloff ....
    "There is a big difference between kneeling down and bending over" -FZ

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by rdhfreethought
    At the risks of angering the Rohloff crowd, the Alfine is completely silent. Silent while pedalling, while shifting, and while coasting (no freewheel racket).

    If you want silent get an Alfine. To be fair, I only have direct experience with the 501 (the 8 speed). The 11 speed Alfine comes out next month, so no experience with that one yet.
    You're not angering the Rohloff crowd. You guys can keep your silent Alfine's, and we'll keep our noisy Rohloff's

  21. #21
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    Speedhbs are noisier and drag more in some gears. Otherwise, they're just heavier. I rode a friend's Intense Spyder 29 last weekend, and was surprised by the difference of weight in the back end.
    I'm just here for the food.

  22. #22
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    Bumping an old thread for some new info

    I just got a new Ti frame and mounted my 8 year old Rohloff to this bike and it is a lot quieter. I have a belt setup that helps a bit in that departement but I can say that a Ti frame is transmitting less of the drivetrain noise than an Aluminium counterpart.
    My other frame was an Alu Cannondale.

    I'll do some test with my sound meter.
    "There is a big difference between kneeling down and bending over" -FZ

  23. #23
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    I can't speak to the Rohloff, but when my chain is well lubed, my alfine setup is dead silent. I love that.

  24. #24
    1*14*29*2.1 & 1*1*29*2.4
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    had mine ona steel and Ti, and not much diferent, but makes sense that alu is noisier. Funnily I go-proed myself recently and could hear the hub wirring away in the background. I don't take much notice normally. A few gears are definitely louder than others, but not unpleasantly so. I find deralieurs rattle and whirr a fair bit more.

  25. #25
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    My Rohloff hub generates more noise on gears 1-7 while pedaling compared to derailleur gears. On gears 8-14 ~same, if sprockets on rear derailleur are clean.

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