exactly How I feel …. well my tourer is normal but my MTB is a Rohloff
The Rohloff Speedhub 500/14 is the epitome of German engineering. Just look at it!
The Rohloff features 14 gears that are equally spaced over a wide spread of ratios, confined within a sealed bearing hub and weigh a similar amount to a typical mountain bike derailleur system. A singlespeed drivetrain smoothly operates the hub, resulting in hassle free funtimes. Shifting is done via a twist shifter which requires effortless force forwards or backwards to shift to easier and harder gears respectively. Being an internally geared hub, the chain does not have to move between sprockets, which improves shifting reliability and allows shifts to be made without pedalling.
CyclingAbout are pretty much in love with our Rohloffs. They are great when the riding conditions are good and even better when they are not.
If you use a drop handlebar, there are still heaps of options for you available at 12 ways to run Rohloff shifters with road drop handlebars.
Here are 15 reasons why you should also tour with Rohloff:
- Rohloffs gears are inside the hub shell
- Rohloffs are sturdy
- Rohloffs have a wide gear range
- Rohloffs are virtually maintenance free
- Rohloff drivetrains require minimal cleaning
- Rohloffs allow you to shift gears without pedalling
- Rohloffs allow you to drop many gears at once
- Rohloffs have equally spaced gear ratios
- Rohloffs instantly change gears
- Rohloffs allow for a straight chain line
- Rohloffs are a zero-dish wheel build
- Rohloffs are just as efficient as derailleur drivetrains
- Rohloff hubs have less dependance on a shifter than derailleur drivetrains
- Rohloffs build with shorter spokes
- Rohloffs are belt drive compatible
1. Rohloffs gears are inside the hub shell
Do you want your gears hiding, protected in the safe confines of an aluminium hub shell? For touring, of course you do! The Rohloff hub is a sealed unit of cogs which work under a small volume of oil. Being sealed, it is resilient against (to an extent) mud, grit, dust, snow and sand. This means that you will have your gears operating much longer than you would with derailleurs! When the derailleur and cogs get full of grit, conventional derailleur systems have the problem of ‘chain sucking’, often causing bikes to become unridable as the drivetrain becomes seized. With a Rohloff hub, you will not suffer this fate again and will not even be subject to chains falling off cogs or the frustration of slipping gears!
2. Rohloffs are sturdy
A key advantage of running a Rohloff is that there are less parts susceptible to damage. You do not have an exposed derailleur, a delicate derailleur hanger, a brittle cassette or shifters that can fail. Instead these things are inside your hub (except the shifter – more details on that down the post)!
3. Rohloffs have a wide gear range
The 526% gear range provides plenty of gears to get up and over all kinds of terrain. It is not quite as wide as what you can achieve with a conventional drivetrain, so you may miss some of the larger gears. On a touring bike, I recommend setting the external ratio on your chainring and cog to as low as Rohloff recommend. That means that your chainring should be around 2.35x bigger than your rear cog (eg. 40/17). This ratio is roughly the same as 22-34 on a conventional drivetrain! Any lower and you’re better off walking…
4. Rohloffs are virtually maintenance free
Rohloff hubs should get you through a minimum of 100,000km riding and some people have been known to do far more. The only maintenance that you should be doing is an oil change every 5000km. If something more serious does happen to your hub, you will unfortunately have to send it to Germany for a service which is, from what I’ve heard, fortunately often free.
5. Rohloff drivetrains require minimal cleaning
You do not need to get your brushes out! If you’ve ever spent time cleaning conventional drivetrains (or even if you haven’t) trust us, it really is a pain. Getting the brushes between cassette teeth, derailleur pulleys and chainrings is time consuming and annoying. Avoid all this nuisance by using the singlespeed drivetrain of a Rohloff!
6. Rohloffs allow you to shift gears without pedaling
The Rohloff hub allows you to change gears, and be ready to ride without pedaling. This means you are able to choose your gear before you take off at the traffic lights, or select a gear before you pedal on a climb. Very handy on a loaded touring bike!
7. Rohloffs allow you to drop many gears at once
You are able to drop a whole heap of gears in one go. The only limitation is the amount of movement you have in your wrist! I can comfortably change seven gears at once, and trust me, I’ve had to before! Think sand…
8. Rohloffs have equally spaced gear ratios
There is a constant 13.6% ratio change between every gear in the Rohloff hub. This makes changing gears predictable; much like changing gears along a conventional rear cassette. Most other internally geared hubs offer inconsistent ratio changes, which doesn’t make a lot of sense in my mind.
9. Rohloffs instantly change gears
As soon as you change the gear at the Rohloff shifter, the hub is instantly in the targeted gear. There’s no dilly-dallying around here – it’s wonderfully predictable compared with waiting that split-second for a derailleur to change your gear.
10. Rohloffs allow for a straight chain line
Rohloff hubs allow you to run your drivetrain as a singlespeed. The chain line of a singlespeed is perfectly straight. The chain hence doesn’t have to jump around to different cogs and this ultimately results in less chain wear. Less chain wear leads to noticeably longer chain life and a lessened chance of broken chains. Other advantages of a singlespeed drivetrain are that there is no chain slap on the frame on rough roads and trails, and no chance of your chain dropping off your chainrings. Basically, all the benefits of singlespeed life, but with 14 gears!
11. Rohloffs are a zero-dish wheel build
Rohloff hub flanges are the same height and are spaced equally from the frame on both sides. This means that you’ll be running the same tension on every spoke, resulting in a stronger wheel!
12. Rohloffs are just as efficient as derailleur drivetrains
According to Rohloff data, Rohloff hubs are just as efficient at transferring the power that you put into the pedals and through to the wheel as a conventional drivetrain, and when riding in the mud, they are even more efficient! From my riding experience on a Rohloff, this information feels correct. Hubs such as the Shimano Alfine really suffer here.
13. Rohloff hubs have less dependance on a shifter than derailleur drivetrains
Rohloff use a dual cable system which means that one cable is always pulling the hub into its next gear. Unlike a conventional shifter, there is no reliance on springs inside shifters for making gear changes. As a result, the rohloff shifter has no moving parts which eliminates one element of potential equipment failure: the shifter! Furthermore, as gear indexing occurs in the hub, no cable adjustment is required between the hub and shifter.
14. Rohloffs build with shorter spokes
Rohloff hubs use a bigger hub shell than conventional wheels, and as a result Rohloff-built wheels use shorter spokes than normal. The shorter the spoke, the stronger the wheel! Perfect for touring, as most weight you’re carrying is sitting over the rear wheel.
15. Rohloffs are belt drive compatible
As Rohloff hubs use a singlespeed drivetrain, carbon belt systems are possible! Belts are pretty amazing, we love our Centertrack kit – read all about them at Carbon Belt Drive: Everything you ever need to know.