My Final Verdict on the Rohloff- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    My Final Verdict on the Rohloff

    Attempted the Tour Divide with a Rohloff. A few observations:

    1. There was a lot of mud the first few days. The Rohloff performed as advertised. At one point the bike was so caked with mud I had to drag it but, after dunking it in a creek and scrubbing the chain with a toothbrush it ran like nothing had ever happened. Try that with a derailleur.

    2. The weight was noticable. I swear it was harder going up the same passes as last year. I could feel the weight on the back.

    3. I think there is some drag. I trained in Louisiana where we don't have any mountain and in the higher gears I don't think it's an issue. But in the low gears going through two gear trains I had the distinct impression that I was losing some power.

    4. Shifting was great, especially on hill starts of which there were many. Some people don't like twist shifters but it works really well on the Rohloff.

    5. Makes for a very stiff wheel, especially with a 29er, as the hub flange is really wide. You basically have a 29er with 26er spokes.

    I like the Rohloff. I'm keeping it. But I don't think I'd do another mountain race on it. I like riding it and I think it's great for the long, casual rides but I was a little disppointed on the race.

  2. #2
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    Your verdict is just perfect.

  3. #3
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    I like the Rohloff. It's pretty cool and works great...but some of those climbs were 15 miles uphill. Of course, I had a lot of weight on the bike, too.

  4. #4
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    220 grams over conventional 3X9 shouldn't be a deal breaker...have two Rohloffs...no complaints. Never have any problems hanging with friends, or doing races...

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ailuropoda View Post
    ...3. I think there is some drag. I trained in Louisiana where we don't have any mountain and in the higher gears I don't think it's an issue. But in the low gears going through two gear trains I had the distinct impression that I was losing some power....
    I bought one many years ago and had the same impression. Generally I prefer the feel of the Alfine 8.

    However my brother has got tens of thousands of miles on his and he reckons a Rohloff needs at least 10,000 miles before it's run in. He's used his for doing the Bicentennial Trail in Australia and towed a trailer (heavy with water).

    I have just relaced my Rohloff into another wheel and it's going on my general purpose bike, so I'll be able to renew my opinion once I have a substantial mileage on it.
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  6. #6
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    The rohloff makes some grinding noises in some gear. If this induces real drag or you are just imagining it you will mever know - I have the same thing.

    The weight itself is not a big issue, but that much weight in your rear wheel can be a pita if you have to carry the bike or something - I sometimes carry my bike down the stairs to the basement.

    Rohloff wheels are strong but also need to be laced carefully with very even spoke tension. Relacing needs to be done with the same spoke pattern. The spokes will make some grooves in the flange and these could lead to a broken flange - happened to me once. For the full story, see my thread about that.

    I have pretty much come to the same verdict. If weight counts or when you are only in clean environments, a rohloff is not really worth the investment. But if the going gets tough, the rohloff gets going and pays off.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ailuropoda View Post

    3. I think there is some drag. I trained in Louisiana where we don't have any mountain and in the higher gears I don't think it's an issue. But in the low gears going through two gear trains I had the distinct impression that I was losing some power.
    I was surprised to see that article :
    What's The Difference In Speed Between Gearbox Systems? Rohloff, Pinion, Shimano - CyclingAbout

    Efficiencies:
    Singlespeed : 97%
    Rohloff : 94,5%
    Normal drivetrain : 94-95%

    Hummmmm ........... Food for thoughts !

    I too , always had the perception that the noisiest speeds were the least efficient ; psychology plays a bigger role than I thought !!
    ( I speak for myself )
    "There is a big difference between kneeling down and bending over" -FZ

  8. #8
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    Ive read that article too and was also surprised to see that the pinion gearbox got an efficiency of only 90%. The designers of pinion are two previous gearbox engineers at porsche. I thought people like that would know better...

    Rohloff themselves states their hub to be a bit less efficient than a NEW AND CLEAN chain gearing drivetrain, but says the difference to disappear when the chain gear is worn and/or dirty.

  9. #9
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    Just sold my last Rohloff. If you don't do big mileage and ride in challenging weather conditions and are lucky/careful [no ripped off derailleurs] than ya no point getting a Rohloff. On the other hand if you rock 10,000kms without thinking about, need to be able to ride through shit weather without stopping to work on your bike and can't afford to worry about damaging a derailleur the Rohloff makes a lot of sense.

    I think it's a great product, but not everyone has a need for what it offers.
    Safe riding,

    Vik
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by vikb View Post
    Just sold my last Rohloff. If you don't do big mileage and ride in challenging weather conditions and are lucky/careful [no ripped off derailleurs] than ya no point getting a Rohloff. On the other hand if you rock 10,000kms without thinking about, need to be able to ride through shit weather without stopping to work on your bike and can't afford to worry about damaging a derailleur the Rohloff makes a lot of sense.

    I think it's a great product, but not everyone has a need for what it offers.
    Did you have any other problems with it other than the weight and the cost?

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flai View Post
    Did you have any other problems with it other than the weight and the cost?
    The only issue I had really was if you laid the Rohloff wheel on its side during storage or transport it would weep a little oil and could contaminate the rear disc rotor/pads. This never cause an issue while on rides, but it was something else to think about at home between trips.

    I'd buy another Rohloff if I had the appropriate application for one come up.
    Safe riding,

    Vik
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by vikb View Post
    The only issue I had really was if you laid the Rohloff wheel on its side during storage or transport it would weep a little oil and could contaminate the rear disc rotor/pads. This never cause an issue while on rides, but it was something else to think about at home between trips.

    I'd buy another Rohloff if I had the appropriate application for one come up.
    Oh man, I read about that oil leaking but didn't think of that it could contaminate the disc brakes. Definitely have to keep in mind if I end up with Rohloff.

    I was pretty set on 1x11 or 1x12 setup for my long-distance/international bikepacking bike but during the past week the Rohloff has kinda won me over But I'll have to think a bit more still, it's scary that I could end up far away from any civilization with a hub that I have no chance of fixing or "duck taping" to work :P

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flai View Post
    Oh man, I read about that oil leaking but didn't think of that it could contaminate the disc brakes. Definitely have to keep in mind if I end up with Rohloff.

    I was pretty set on 1x11 or 1x12 setup for my long-distance/international bikepacking bike but during the past week the Rohloff has kinda won me over But I'll have to think a bit more still, it's scary that I could end up far away from any civilization with a hub that I have no chance of fixing or "duck taping" to work :P
    A long tour away from civilisation is where I think a Rohloff starts to make sense. % chance of a real failure is very very low and the problems it avoids are far more likely to cause you issues. Not to mention you aren't fixing a derailleur drivetrain in the bush if you really mangle it.

    Like the OP noted when your bike is covered in thick mud yet it pedals and shifts like new you'll be glad you have a Rohloff.
    Safe riding,

    Vik
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by vikb View Post
    Just sold my last Rohloff. If you don't do big mileage and ride in challenging weather conditions and are lucky/careful [no ripped off derailleurs] than ya no point getting a Rohloff. On the other hand if you rock 10,000kms without thinking about, need to be able to ride through shit weather without stopping to work on your bike and can't afford to worry about damaging a derailleur the Rohloff makes a lot of sense.

    I think it's a great product, but not everyone has a need for what it offers.
    I agree that it's not for everybody , it's an acquired taste.
    But it also makes perfect sense to have one on your normal/ day to day MTB , Fatbike , commuter , etc.... if you're not into programmed obsolescence and change your drivetrain every time they come out with new stuff. If you want a durable , "setup and forget" drivetrain , it's the one to get.

    I don't do world tours on bike and I'm very happy with my 3 Rohloff.
    The first one I bought 15 years ago is getting near 90 000Km and still going strong.
    Last edited by fokof; 09-13-2017 at 01:32 PM.
    "There is a big difference between kneeling down and bending over" -FZ

  15. #15
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    I agree with everything except your dig on mud +derailleurs

    mud has never given me an issue with my rear der or cogset, i just grind though it all and rinse if I get a chance. Now, grass and weeds is another story entirely. that kills the mission
    "Put your seatbelt back on or get out and sit in the middle of that circle of death." - Johnny Scoot

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by 127.0.0.1 View Post
    I agree with everything except your dig on mud +derailleurs

    mud has never given me an issue with my rear der or cogset, i just grind though it all and rinse if I get a chance. Now, grass and weeds is another story entirely. that kills the mission
    That's great that you haven't had a problem. That doesn't mean mud and derailleurs are not a problem for everyone everywhere.
    Safe riding,

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  17. #17
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    I tend to agree with both, never had an issue on the rear der with mud but I did have issues with snow (chain slipped over the lowest cogs), grass clogging up and several bent der hangers that screwed up shifting until I got it right again. Mud was only an issue on the front der, but there really. Mud is coming down from the rear wheel and unloaded in the front der. I installed a shimano mudflap for 2,50, worked perfectly since then until I sold the bike

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by fokof View Post
    The first one I bought 15 years ago is getting near 90 000Km and still going strong.
    90 000 Km I do not see me doing that kind of millage, I got a mine just because I want to try it and I am a hoarder but to be real the fact is I do not need a Rohloff bike equiped, as you guys said could be mental but I feel a considerable amount of drag maybe because mine should have around 300km total that is why I am considering sale it in favor of another bike
    In my workshop, dirty hands is a state of mind

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Midle Age Warrior View Post
    90 000 Km I do not see me doing that kind of millage, I got a mine just because I want to try it and I am a hoarder but to be real the fact is I do not need a Rohloff bike equiped, as you guys said could be mental but I feel a considerable amount of drag maybe because mine should have around 300km total that is why I am considering sale it in favor of another bike
    Give it more than 300 km. Also, and this may be obvious, loosen the chain in the dropouts. For the first 100 miles or so I had my Rohloff I had the chain tension set wicked high. I gave it a little slack and the difference was startling.

    The problem with me and my Rohloff is that I'm living in Michigan right now and the Rohloff is perfect for our endless, rolling, dirt roads. Not a lot of steep climbs and no mountains. It just rolls and rolls and rolls and, as I stay in the upper gears most of the time, it is so smooth that I don't even notice it.

    I have about 4000 miles on mine (6400 km) and it keeps getting better. I've changed the oil twice using the recommended cleaning procedure. Probably didn't need the oil change but it's easy and fun.

    I have a gravel bike with a SRAM 1x11 drivetrain and my average speeds over the same routes are almost exactly the same.

    I am not busting on the Rohloff. It's just not ideal for going up a mountain pass in the American West. I don't think any of the serious contenders on this years Tour Divide used them and only a few other folks did.

    I'm going SRAM Eagle the next time I do a big mountain bike race. But I'm happy enough training on a Rohloff bike.

    Oh, and you get a lot of interested people looking at it. I did a fun-ride with my wife last week (she's a pretty fast road cyclist) and a couple of people thought it was an Ebike!

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ailuropoda View Post
    I did a fun-ride with my wife last week (she's a pretty fast road cyclist) and a couple of people thought it was an Ebike!
    Hahahaha Rohloff are for sure a conversation starter
    In my workshop, dirty hands is a state of mind

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Midle Age Warrior View Post
    Hahahaha Rohloff are for sure a conversation starter
    I had a full expedition load. They thought the frame bag was a battery and the gear mech cables were wires. Had to be. They lifted up my rig and the whole thing weighs about 45 pounds.

  22. #22
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    New Rohloff Owner

    Thought I'd chime in on an one of the more recent posts on Rohloff performance.

    New to this forum and have read several other forums on how I might increase efficiency of my new setup. My situation is this. I am interested in doing some touring on the West Coast US, have setup a Schwinn Ultra with a Roholff and bike weighs just under 24lbs. I will be trailoring the Bob Yak for my ventures.

    I have standing mid week rides with a friend who rides a Schwinn Letour with road wheels (I gave him no less haha) and no longer can keep up, even while drafting. These 2 bikes weigh roughly the same.

    However the Saturday rides with same friend on our Carbon road bikes, I lead and he drafts and if we hit hills, I drop and wait. I have only had the Rohloff for a few weeks so maybe setup is too new?? The wheels were from a previous owner and maybe didn't have many miles. While pedaling it feels as if they have quite a bit more drag than I was expecting. I checked the install, no brake rub, no apparent drag while on the workstand in the shop. I am also running a shimano dynamo in the front wheel and that doesn't seem to have much drag either - although maybe more than I think. I am running conti gatorskin 28's on both front and rear wheels, so decent road tires I think.


    On the up side, the hub is a thing of beauty and shifting is flawless and I am happy with the look and weight, would just like a bit more performance out of the setup.

    One note on the setup is I have customized a couple things. I routed the cables to the downtube shifter brazeons and then the rohloff clamp on the chain stay. This was done so that I didn't run full cable housings all the way across the bike and I can adjust from the brazeon. I just didn't like the look and the shifting remians very very good even though I bent a rule on the install. Also I made an aluminum plate that clamps to the chainstay and fits the "square" peg on the Rohloff hub. This was so that when a flat occurs, I loosen the quick release and the plate comes free of the peg. I do not have to remove the clamp when I need to remove the rear wheel. The plate is a copy of the Rohloff Speedbone, except a customized hole for the square peg.

    Any input would be appreciated, was a bit disappointed on last few rides and quite out of breath trying to keep up!

    Apologies in advance for any typos, just came back from a Christmas work celebration....



    Quote Originally Posted by Ailuropoda View Post
    I had a full expedition load. They thought the frame bag was a battery and the gear mech cables were wires. Had to be. They lifted up my rig and the whole thing weighs about 45 pounds.
    Last edited by rasmith9; 12-19-2018 at 09:46 PM. Reason: typo

  23. #23
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    For those who don't have trouble with their derailleurs in mud - that's true until you do.

    It can be a long walk if you're in the middle of nowhere.



    (Pic belongs to Bob Arnott, from Fat-Bikeuk)
    As little bike as possible, as silent as possible.
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by rasmith9 View Post
    Any input would be appreciated, was a bit disappointed on last few rides and quite out of breath trying to keep up!

    Apologies in advance for any typos, just came back from a Christmas work celebration....
    Tires and the pressure you inflate them to have a much bigger influence on speed than pretty much everything else combined. I don't think the Gatorskins are fast rolling tire, but I am not an expert on Contis non-MTB tires.

    I'd suggest buying the widest set of Compass tires that will fit your bike. Inflate so you get 15% of the measured width as vertical drop when you are sitting on the bike. I suspect you'll be amazed at the difference.

    https://www.compasscycle.com/product...ponents/tires/
    Last edited by vikb; 12-20-2018 at 07:48 AM.
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  25. #25
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    Tires

    Thanks for the tip on Compass tires, they look really well made and have some great info on their website about width and pressure.

    Quote Originally Posted by vikb View Post
    Tires and the pressure you inflate them to have a much bigger influence on speed than pretty much everything else combined. I don't think the Gatorskins are fast rolling tire, but I am not an expert on Contis non-tires.

    I'd suggest buying the widest set of Compass tires that will fit your bike. Inflate so you get 15% of the measured width as vertical drop when you are sitting on the bike. I suspect you'll be amazed at the difference.

    https://www.compasscycle.com/product...ponents/tires/

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by rasmith9 View Post
    Thanks for the tip on Compass tires, they look really well made and have some great info on their website about width and pressure.
    No problem. Compass tires changed my life.
    Safe riding,

    Vik
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  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velobike View Post
    For those who don't have trouble with their derailleurs in mud - that's true until you do.

    It can be a long walk if you're in the middle of nowhere.



    (Pic belongs to Bob Arnott, from Fat-Bikeuk)
    Still possible to ride without a derailleur in the rare instance that it fails. No need to do anything crazy like walk!

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by geraldooka View Post
    Still possible to ride without a derailleur in the rare instance that it fails. No need to do anything crazy like walk!
    That's assuming you carry a chainbreaker and can find a workable magic ratio when all your cogs are designed to allow the chain to slip off easily...

    I know how to do it, but I'd like to see it in practice - especially if there was rough terrain.
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  29. #29
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    kinda thought 135mm Rohloffs would get cheaper by now

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by manida View Post
    kinda thought 135mm Rohloffs would get cheaper by now
    Nope. Why should they? Rohloff is very popular among touring cyclists and in very many countries across the world the 100/135mm skewers are still standard.

  31. #31
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    For what you get, the Rohloff is surprisingly inexpensive. There are a lot of components in it, many of them requiring precision machining, not to mention that it will run forever.

    All of this is packed into a relatively compact package with a wide range of gears.

    It's the only product I have ever bought that gets better the more you use it and one of the few things I own that is not built with the "cheaper is better" philosophy.

    I really want to try out the Pinion one day and see if it is as robust as the Rohloff.

    Shooting for the Tour Divide again in 2020. Not making excuses (really) but 2017 was a disaster. I was getting sued by my ex-wife for a ruinous amount of money and, out of nowhere, I was hit with a couple of medical malpractice suits that really took my enthusiasm away. Plus I didn't have time to train and I was out of shape for it. I should have deferred for another year and not wasted all that time and money. Every time I got within range of a town I got more bad news and my heart was not into it anymore by the time I got to Butte where I quit.

    But I'm losing weight, getting in better shape....maybe I'll feel differently about the Rohloff in 18 months and use it again. It certainly never let me down and was about as tough as any mechanical device can be. It was one thing I never worried about.

    I'm not a fanboi for much. I really like some things...like SRAM Eagle drivetrains and Niner carbon forks. The Rohloff is one of those things.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by rasmith9 View Post
    While pedaling it feels as if they have quite a bit more drag than I was expecting. I checked the install, no brake rub, no apparent drag while on the workstand in the shop. I am also running a shimano dynamo in the front wheel and that doesn't seem to have much drag either - although maybe more than I think.
    A common mistake is people new and even some old thinking that the feedback via the pedals is drag.
    I've found my 2012 Rohloff an acquired taste after hating its, for me, embarrassing clicking on coasting in the top 7 gears.
    I don't notice it any more although I secretly suspect that its not really any quieter, merely me no longer giving a flying continental.
    I did well buying back then as shortly afterwards they got tricky importing them from Europe and local in Australia was a gauging double the price.
    I'm hoping mine will see me out in combination with my Son dynohub as my riding is now about the ride and little about the bike.

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