Rohloff changes for 2016

It was only as i was looking at a thru axle bike that I was wondering if a Rohloff could be be retrofitted for them. But the news on looking is even better ….

FOR 2016 – Three big new changes have been revealed: there are 12mm thru axle hubs, new post-mount axleplates and a cheaper, completely new sprocket design which can be retrofitted to ANY Rohloff hub!

Rohloff Speedhub XL

1. 12mm Thru Axle Compatibility

The Speedhub 500/14 A12 is designed for 12mm DT-Maxle, X-12 Syntace and Shimano E Thru frames. In fact, this is the first internally geared hub to be available in the thru axle design. Unfortunately, current Rohloff users are not able to convert their current hubs to suit thru axles.

Rohloff thru axle hubs will be available in three different widths: 142mm, 177mm and 197mm.

142×12 is becoming a popular standard for cyclocross and mountain bike frames and is somewhat likely to be found soon on touring bikes. 177mm and 197mm hub spacing are reserved for fat bikes which typically use 4-5 inch wide tyres. It’s interesting that there is no 148mm version, a standard becoming popular on both 27+ and 29+ bikes.

Rohloff Speedhub A12 142mmRohloff Speedhub A12 Fat

2. Post Mount Brake Axleplates

If your frame doesn’t have a Rohloff dropout, but instead has a post-mount brake, you’re in luck. Six new axle plates have been released catering for 135, 142, 170, 177, 190 and 197mm rear axles. That makes Rohloff compatibility much better for any frame not specifically designed around these hubs.

Rohloff Speedhub PM Bone

Rohloff Speedhub Fat Bone

3. New Sprocket Adapters

The current sprocket style is screw-on; Rohloff owners know how much of a pain these cogs are to get off! For 2016, the latest sprocket design is splined, and all you need is an adapter kit and cog to upgrade. The adapter fits to the existing driver allowing splined sprockets to slide right on, and here’s the best bit: all you need is a flat head screwdriver to replace a rear cog. Prise the circlip off and on and you’re done. No chainwhips or spanners required!

Rohloff Speedhub Splined SprocketRohloff Speedhub Splined Sprockets

Dream Bikes: Twenty2 Cycles Ti Rohloff Gates fat bike

Screenshot 2015-07-03 10.07.24

titanium Rohloff Gates Belt – this is one for the roughest track trip through any continent.

Twenty2 – The Bully is a four season fatbike that loves snow and ripping singletrack. Short chainstays and perfect geometry make the bully the most high performance fatty available. The highest quality aerospace grade titanium tubing is the basis for this Colorado handcrafted machine.

Screenshot 2015-07-03 10.07.36

Full fat Rohloff

Screenshot 2015-07-03 10.06.26

And obviously custom paint. I love Raw titanium but there is something about these split tone paint jobs that screams lovely.

Race last …. Last Saturday and tomorrow

last Saturday was the Selkirk mtb marathon – a 80km mtb race in the Scottish Borders. Started well – and I was cycling well – the lynskey 29er rohloff is a beast when it comes to rolling. All was well to the 55km mark when coming through the Innerleithen trails I hint some Flint so hard it punched through the rear tyre (set up tubeless). Stopped and jiggled the wheel trying to get lube to block hole. Big cut about 5mm and it wasn’t sealing but slowed after 5min so pumped up more and carried on…… 400m later it was obvious it wasn’t going to hold so I stopped and changed tyre – got the tube I carry out and fitted it. Pump up and on the bike slowly – took 10 minutes and carry on. Into a drop and Pfffffffff! A puncture.

Now here I was delayed and must have seen 150people pass as I took tube out and tried to wipe the latex off so I could patch it. Bloody hell what a mess – was wiping the tube on the grass on my clothes trying to get it dry.

So I lost 50min at least – carried on feeling how strange the bike handles with tubes in it. If you have never tried tubeless you really should it is so much quicker. I was also riding slower as I didn’t want another puncture, then the gps died.

Still a good race might try find another mtb later in the year.  


A good race but not by the look of my face

And the amount of crap – sorry energy supps I consumed …..

And here is the Strava summary (well part)


Great ride yesterday …. mtb up the west highland way to Conic Hill

Strava summary
Strava summary

Meetup ride yesterday planned to leave Milngavie at 10am

I had a work call starting at 9am so was going to be late – messaged the guys to start without me and by the time i cycled out they were 15min gone. I will just catch up i thought …. but it took 40min to do so catching up just before the ascent to Conic Hill.

The climb is a beast as always …

now you see us
now you see us
now you don't
now you don’t

Brief lunch looking out over Loch Lomond – then the long haul home.

The year that Fat got better: Handmade bike Show article from single track MAG

Source: SingletrackMAG

There is so much to love here – my ideal would be ti fat bike Rolloff Gates drive with dynamo front hub to power lights ….

Our tall guy with a camera, Brad Quartuccio, reports once more from the NAHBS show. A couple of years it seems all the builders were making $10,000 townie bikes to show off their craft. This time it’s the turn of the fat bike. (Click on the pics to make them extra biggerer). Looking at some of these, you’d think that California was Frozen2, (er – frozen too, but can you see what we did there? Badum-tish)

Peacock Groove

Based in one of the coldest big cities in the United States, Peacock Groove is well versed in fat bikes and cold weather riding. If you want to ride in Minneapolis, you’re going to have to deal with some snow — there’s a reason the modern fat bike was more or less “invented” by the bike industry in and around Minneapolis. Erik Noren is one of the most talented builders around, with the creativity and finish work other wish they could harness so succinctly. This fat bike featuring color shifting paint, a Rohloff hub, and enough rack and bottle mounts to get plenty dangerous is no exception. Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Reeb Cycles

Oscar Blues Brewing started its own brand back in 2011, and in the years since, Reeb Cycles has established itself as a favorite Colorado-based builder. Along with a RockShox Bluto fork and red Gates Carbon Drive, this titanium fat bike features a built in Pinion gearbox, eliminating most external sources of drivetrain failure. While some fat bikes are meant to plod along on soft surfaces, this one is clearly meant to go fast, and go anywhere — note the upright position and dropper post. Longmont, Colorado.

Retrotec Cycles

This Retrotec fat bike is the personal bike of builder Curtis Inglis, and was judged the Best Mountain Bike of NAHBS 2015. Curtis is the modern master of American cruiser-like frame construction fit for current use, and year after year brings out show favorites. Note the segmented fork and seatstay construction, and final prototype Paul Components disc brake calipers,190mm wide hub and matching thru-axle QR. Napa, California.

Wiseman Frameworks

David Wiseman is the rare mountain bike builder still choosing classic brazed steel construction throughout. Done well, brazed frames look seamless like carbon, yet the tubes remain classically proportioned. This fat bike features internal front triangle cable routing, and impeccable paint finishing.
Naperville, Illinois.

Your Dream Touring Bike

ABOUTCYLING have this great list on their site

I’ve completed an internet trawl to find some of the nicest, most aesthetically pleasing touring bikes getting about and I don’t think you’ll be disappointed with what’s coming up.

Somehow I’ve ended up with the majority of these bikes made in the USA, so either my taste is for North American builders, or perhaps North American builders are better exposed on the internet. I’m keen to get a more international splash of handmade bikes on this page, so please drop a comment with a bike that you think is just as worthy as these. It has to be pretty special, with nice paint and colour-matched parts – good driveside pictures are also essential.


Out of the 28 bikes on showcase, this is the characteristic breakdown:

  • Handlebars: Drop (20), Flat (8).
  • Brakes: Disc (14), Cantilever (10), Road (1), hydraulic rim (1), V-brake (2).
  • Mudguards: Metal (15), Plastic (6), None (6), Wooden (1).
  • Frame Material: Titanium (14), Steel (10), Stainless Steel (4).
  • Gears: Derailleur (17), Internally Geared Hub (9), Gearbox (2).
  • Shifters: STI (7), Barend (5), Gripshift (10), Downtube (2), Trigger (2), Stem (1), Retroshift (1).
  • Country of Origin: USA (19), Australia (3), Switzerland (3), The Netherlands (3).


This Swiss company works with titanium to make unique touring bikes for purposes from light touring to expedition. We couldn’t pick one to show you, so we settled for three. Many of their bikes use Rohloff 14s hubs, Pinion 18s gearboxes and Gates Carbon Drive. Integrated racks and seatposts, and matching stems finish the Hilite look.

Van Nicholas

This Dutch builder has specialised in titanium over the years, putting together some mighty fine looking touring bikes. The Pioneer Rohloff 29er is unique compared to most touring bikes, in that it can squeeze in wide 700c tyres. Van Nicholas come with all the top end touring gear, including Gates Carbon Drive and Rohloff 14s hubs. Matching stems, handlebars and seatposts complete the look.


Breadwinner of Portland (USA) are Ira Ryan and Tony Pereira. These two builders teamed up together “to get more beautiful bikes to more people who ride everyday”. Although I’m not a huge fan of the green, the matching stem and pump look superb, and make sure to check out the headtube badge in Breadwinner’s website – it’s a work of art. The only thing I don’t agree at all with is the use of Shimano Ultegra crankset and derailleurs, as they’re too modern-looking on such a classic bike. If it were mine, it’d be silver Campagnolo components instead.

Ti Cycles

Dave Levy of Ti Cycles has gone all out on this unique ride. In Dave’s Portland (USA) workshop, he has managed to create a titanium frame that looks nothing like the rest on the list, given the hyper extended top tube. The more impressive features include the custom ti racks with integrated mudguard struts, the u-lock holder and the Supernova dynamo light fittings. My only gripes are the use of yellow on the stem and the Shimano road crankset which seems a bit out of place here.

Horse Cycles

Light blue is pretty much my favourite colour, so it is no suprise that this stainless steel Horse by Thomas Callahan in New York (USA) makes the list. It seems a bit more randonneur than most on this list, but given it has custom front and rear racks we’ll consider it a tourer. The colour-matched ‘guards look incredible, as do the racks and fillet-brazed stem. My only gripe is that the crankset does not fit in… at all. A White Industries crankset in silver would make me much happier.


This stainless steel, fillet-brazed beauty is possibly the wackiest ride on this list, and is without doubt the most expensive. Somewhere between a work of art and a very capable tourer, it was built by Joseph Ahearne in Portland, taking six weeks to build, at 10-12 hours a day with no days off. The estimated value is $25,000 USD, which is presumedly made up in labour costs. Interesting features include the high polish finish which exposes immaculate fillet brazing, KVA stainless steel tubing which is much thicker than any other option, Ritchey breakaway parts, additional support tubing for the seatstay/toptube, custom steel racks with a built-in lock holder, a flask holder on the downtube, a super retro Shimano derailleur and a logo panel made of stainless which has been laser cut and left unpolished on the downtube. This Ahearne Flickr album is a must see to understand the level of detail and work that went into this amazing ride!

Chapman Cycles

Chapman cycles touring bike

This touring bike features stainless steel lugs, fenders and fork crown, which looks beautiful against the stealth finish. The fork has a built in dynamo connector, allowing the dynamo wire to run on the inside of the fork leg for a neat look. This wire powers both the lights and the USB plug found on the top of the stem. The Tubus rear rack has been stripped of it’s original paint, and chrome plated, matching the front rack perfectly. Even the saddle has a custom finish on it, the leather replaced and re-stitched to match the yellow cables. More photos on the Chapman website.



It’s my opinion that Firefly Bicycles of Boston (USA) make some of the nicest titanium and stainless steel bikes in the world. The upper bike is setup with Shimano electronic gearing which is normally only featured on road bikes, but has been fitted to work with MTB parts in this case. The lower two bikes have splits for Gates Carbon Drive which works seamlessly in combination with the Rohloff 14s hub – we certainly love our drivetrain. The Firefly lettering is sometimes buffed up to a glossy finish on the downtube and can be chemically coated with anything from gold to a rainbow effect. Other nice features include built-in rear racks, internal cabling, custom dynamo light mounts and stunning titanium stem and seatpost combos. James Medeiros and Tyler Evans of Firefly have nailed these modern touring bikes. More @ Firefly’s Flickr.


Alex Cook of A-Train Bicycles in Minneapolis (USA) has whipped together an incredibly simple and elegant tourer. The material of choice: stainless steel. This frame uses stainless S&S couplers which bring the packed bike size right down to about half the regular length. The A-train custom racks blend right in to this bike.


I was trying to pick one titanium Bilenky tandem, but just couldn’t do it. These two titanium bikes are probably the nicest touring tandems I’ve ever laid my eyes on. The top tandem, which a bit more of a randonneur, has enough purple to be crazy, but somehow still pulls off a very elegant look (in my humble opinion). The below tandem is long-distance touring ready with a Rohloff hub and some schmick looking racks. The frame is without doubt the most impressive part however, as the curvy, retro style is still very functional and even breaks into three parts so that you can easily get it into an plane. These incredible tandems are manufacturered by Stephen Bilenky and family in Philadelphia (USA).

Independent Fabrication

Indy Fab of Newmarket (USA) have been around longer than most, and as a result, have mastered the frame-building trade. The finish on an Indy Fab is generally 10/10 and these look to be no exception. I also have no doubts that both would be sturdy enough to complete round-the-world trips. Here’s hoping they get ridden regularly! Via Indy Fab.


Jordan Hufnagel has put together this georgeous classic tourer in bespoke bike central, Portland (USA). The paint-matched stem and racks are pure class and I especially love the wooden panels that are inserted into the racks. More images @ UrbanVelo.


Tony Pereira, based in Portland (USA), has built this 650b bike up nice and classic. The high top tube, downtube shifters and birch finish give this bike a timeless look. A colour-matched stem, pump and Tubus cargo rack finish the build very well. I can’t help but think the bike would look much better with some brown leather Brooks bartape to match the saddle.


Darren Baum of Geelong (Australia) is a household name around custom bike enthusiasts. His frames are world class and are always dressed with incredible paint jobs. These two bikes have been put together for two cyclists who completed a charity ride across three continents, documented on the website The Long Road Tour. Check out the Baum Flickr for more.


Pilot make their titanium bikes in the Netherlands; the finishing is top quality! On these bikes you’ll find Rohloff 14s hubs, Pinion 18s gearboxes and Gates Carbon Drivetrains. They’re certainly something to drool over.


This custom Clockwork randonneur was too good to keep off the list! Apart from the stunning looks, there are lots of nice design details to be found including a custom mount for downtube shifters located on the top tube. The matching painted rack and leather saddle complete the look.


Keith Marshall from Canberra (Australia) is inspired by Japanese metalwork, but really, the Japanese should probably be inspired by him! This stainless steel beauty is again a bit more on the randonneur side of things, but damn, look at it! It features S&S couplers to break the frame down nice and small, internal cable routing for the dynamo lights and beautiful Llewellyn lugs (these lugs are best in the business btw). More @ Kumo Cycles.


John from the Radavist takes photos of the nicest custom bikes in the world, but also has his fair share of sweet rides! I love the simplicity and colour of his Geekhouse, which is made by Marty Walsh and the team in Boston (USA). John has the colours and tones on this bike right down to the gold bidons – I love the custom racks too! The bike employs a double 50-32 crankset and an 11-36t cassette which gives ample low-end gearing for the type of riding John does. More @ The Radavist.

Vanilla Bikes

Sacha White of Vanilla Bicycles in Portland (USA) had so many pre-ordered frames to build that he no longer takes orders! That’s 5+ years worth, so I hope you’re not lusting for one too badly. This Vanilla is more of a randonneur than a tourer, but given it’s impeccable finish it was too hard to keep it off my list. I particularly love the lugs and the colour matched guards/pump. The stem is a work of art too, check it out on the Vanilla website.


Rivendell are very well known for their touring bikes but this Hunqapillar takes the cake. The diagatube is the most obvious feature on this bike, designed to stiffen the bike up by increasing the triangulation. Wooden guards, a lugged frame construction, retro racks and the Rohloff 14s hub give this bike a distinctive look.

Building a Beautiful Touring Bike

Follow these tips and you can have your very own gorgeous tourer. Remember, it doesn’t have to be custom-made to look incredible!

1. Keep your colours to a minimum. Two colours are enough (not including your black and silver components), three starts to look messy but can be pulled off.

2. Balance your silvers and blacks. Bikes typically look better with a mix of black and silver components. It’s hard to completely avoid black as it’s often found at the lever hood or on the tyres at a minimum. I really like it when silver hubs, silver mudguards and a silver crankset are used with all black components.

3. Match the colour of your seat and bartape/grips. This is the easiest way to make any bike look extra nice.

4. Use metal mudguards. Polished or hammered metal guards are all class. Who cares if they weigh more?

5. Paint your mudguards the same colour as your frame. Colour-matched guards are all class.

6. Paint your stem and racks the same colour as your frame. You’ll notice a number of the bikes featured in this article feature colour matched parts.

7. Use classic-styled cranks on classic-styled builds. There is nothing worse than a modern road crankset on a classic build (see the Horse above). White Industries, Middleburn and Campagnolo make some nice classic cranks.

allaboutcycling – 15 reasons to tour with a Rohloff

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:

  1. Rohloffs gears are inside the hub shell
  2. Rohloffs are sturdy
  3. Rohloffs have a wide gear range
  4. Rohloffs are virtually maintenance free
  5. Rohloff drivetrains require minimal cleaning
  6. Rohloffs allow you to shift gears without pedalling
  7. Rohloffs allow you to drop many gears at once
  8. Rohloffs have equally spaced gear ratios
  9. Rohloffs instantly change gears
  10. Rohloffs allow for a straight chain line
  11. Rohloffs are a zero-dish wheel build
  12. Rohloffs are just as efficient as derailleur drivetrains
  13. Rohloff hubs have less dependance on a shifter than derailleur drivetrains
  14. Rohloffs build with shorter spokes
  15. 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.

The best internal gear hub now being made for fat bikes

Yes Rohloff the indestructible internal hub gear manufacturer is making a version to fit fat bikes …… this is a must have for the best remote builds ….

Screen Shot 2014-10-22 at 14.52.13

Rohloff offers a version of our now legendary SPEEDHUB 500/14 gear hub especially suited to the extreme conditions in which Fatbikes are used. The Rohloff SPEEDHUB 500/14 XL is constructed for frames using a 170mm spacing and dropouts which accept 10mm threaded or quick-release axles (not thru-axle compatible).

Screen Shot 2014-10-22 at 14.51.35

Fatbikes are primarily designed to enable one to keep pedalling through even the harshest conditions – conditions in which a cyclist on a traditional bicycle would be forced to dismount and push. The fat tires offer a much larger footprint thus keeping the bicycle afloat on soft terrain. The additional traction this provides ensures a Fatbike rider will enjoy may miles of riding long after the standard bicycle has reached its limits. Fatbikes are especially suitable for transversing snow, bogs/marshland and sand.

The SPEEDHUB 500/14 XL is the ideal transmission for Fatbikes. The conditions in which such bicycles are ridden require a transmission that can be kept as clean as possible. Only a clean, un-clogged transmission can ensure problem-free functionality and nothing increases the enjoyment you can have out on the trails more than having access to the right gear at all times! Of course the SPEEDHUB 500/14 XL has the additional advantage of being compatible with the ‘Gates Carbon Drive’ belt drive system, reducing the level of transmission maintenance even further.

 Screen Shot 2014-10-22 at 14.51.46

Further advantages:

  • 14 real gears
  • Even gear increments of 13.6%
  • 526% overall transmission ratio
  • Straight chain-/belt-line
  • Incredibly strong rear wheel due to even spoke tension
  • Encapsulated construction
  • 100% adjustment free
  • Extremely low maintenance
  • Compatible with the ‚Gates Carbon Drive’ belt drive system.

Technical Data SPEEDHUB 500/14 XL:

  • Suitable for 170mm frame spacing (10mm diameter axles)
  • Quick-release (CC) or bolt-on (TS) axles available
  • Chainline = 71.5mm (15,16 and 17 tooth sprockets), beltline = 72.25mm
  • Flangedistance (middle-middle) = 93mm
  • 32-spoke
  • Disc version (DB)
  • Anodized black

Download Productflyer

These dimensions enable the use of up to 5“ tires (mounted on rims up to 100mm wide) in frames with a 170mm spacing – without the risk of chain/tire interference! We recommend the use of rims with a minimum 12.5mm nipple offset in order to avoid the spoke ‚kinking’ when entering the nipple. Such kinks will weaken the spoke and can cause premature spoke failure.

Yesterday pootle meant I struck gold (or how not to let a creak spoil the ride)

Blue skies – a break in work and the dilemma about whether to go road cycling or mtb’ing (some dilemma)

Well it was fab … well apart from the niggle you get when something on the bike is not in perfect synchronous perfection with the rest. Those that read this blog will know I love my ti brides (titanium lynskey bikes – a Cooper road bike and a Ridgeline SL 29’er) but the 29er is being a bit naughty.

Well the crank/bottom bracket needs some timeout on the naughty step (not the owner of course)/ The chain side crank keeps on working loose and then there is the slight creak whenever I stand up and give it some torque. Eeeek Nnnnnnk Eeeeeek Nnnnnnnk. I have taken to carrying the large allen key with me to do a mid ride tighten but what I need to do is go into my LBS and get some lock grease.

But I put the noise out of my mind – the rohloff is particularly sweet in terms of little transmission noise – and rode. The only moment i stopped was to strip off a layer and then to stop at the end of a descent to scoff down a wee bar of flapjack goodness. When i got back i loaded up the gps and bang 

2 x KOM and a smattering of places

Screenshot 2014-09-10 20.30.14

Now most people don’t care about these things but i felt a small tinkle of happiness being a competitive over 40 has been of an athlete. But i don’t expect this to last long as the person I scuppered is a Strava KOM poacher of renown – I expect my glorified basking in the sun victorious feat to last at least 10 hours.

Screenshot 2014-09-10 14.54.17

this descent is a nice fire road/trail mix that was actually feeling quite tough in the dry – it feels smoother when slightly damp but I guess that is the friction.

Off for a ride tomorrow – might just make it a roadie day as playing 5 a side tonight and my legs probably won’t be working.

Electric Bike Gears go off road – Shimano XTR 2015

Shimano 2015 XTR goes electric. Races it this weekend in Albstadt.

So this is making me think about the weight penalty of my Rohloff more than I should for something that has been trouble free for 5 years


As of… now! we’re allowed to officially tell you what many of you already suspected – that there was going to be a further reveal to the Shimano XTR 11speed story. Already well established in the pro peloton and also used successfully for the last couple of years on the cyclocross circuit, Shimano’s Di2 electric shifting system has been incorporated into Shimano’s flagship groupset. With development taking place over the last three years as part of Shimano’s 20,000km pre-launch testing of XTR, we’re expecting nothing short of a spectacular groupset, and initial impressions are very favourable.

Here’s the zoom-splash video!

Shimano’s confidence in the group is impressive – as it has equipped some of its top racers (like Julien Absalon and Dan McConnell) with the new groupset and, with less than a week of testing it on their bikes they’re all set to race this Sunday’s UCI World Cup on it.






Di2 is already in its second incarnation on Shimano’s Dura Ace groupset, having been slimmed down a lot so that the motors are a lot less noticeable than before. This continues over to XTR, where only a couple of bulges on the front and rear mech suggest the electric nature of the gearing. Shifting is controlled by wires (in case you were expecting something wireless like SRAM’s recent road groupset has in development) and there are a pair of neat shifters on the handlebars, along with a digital screen that indicates the gear selected, the battery level and which mode the system is in. There’s also scope to integrate Fox’s iCD remote shock lockout system too (it’s not the first time the two companies have worked together, Shimano helped develop the 15mm thru-axle used in Fox’ forks and provides batteries and other tech for Fox’ electric lockout systems)

In its simplest mode, there’s a pair of up/down buttons under each thumb, with the left side doing front shifting and the right pair doing rear shifting (assuming you’re running two or three rings up front. Running 1×11 will only need a single shifter pod). Being an electric system, though, the buttons are just switches and can be re-programmed to suit – so if you wanted a more ‘paddle shift’ approach to gears, that can easily be done by the (PC only) control box that hopefully your local shop will buy. This box of tricks can also do a lot more, setting up the special modes…

Things get more interesting though when you go into one of two special modes. Here, you can get the gears to shift sequentially front and rear – which needs only a single shift unit, even if you’re running 3×11. The sequential gears can be run as a true sequential gear system, shifting at the front and back to choose the smoothest way through the gears, or it can additionally be set up with two different profiles (that you can select while riding). You could, for example, have a profile that keeps you in the big ring for the whole of the rear block, keeping the chain tight and only bailing out into the inner ring when you’ve used all those gears up. Or you could have a ‘first lap of the race’ setting where it only keeps you in the big ring, then you select regular mode for the rest of the race. It all has great potential.

In terms of reliability, we’ve seen road Di2 used extensively in the worst conditions in cyclocross racing for a couple of years. Shimano have then done years of additional testing to make sure it withstands the rigours of off-road bumping around and filthy conditions. There are still some potential vulnerabilities in the flexible wires used to connect the shifters and mechs. While Shimano expects that all OEM speccing of the system will be on bikes with neat, internal routing, the aftermarket is a different matter and we think we’ll still see a few bikes with external cables taped on to the outside of frame tubes. There’s also the possibility for a wire to get hooked on a branch, or sliced by a suspension pivot – or for a mech to get smashed by a rock (the motor safely disengages from the mech if, say, a stick gets caught in the wheel) – but these are dangers with any system – although the price of failure is higher with a £400 rear mech. It’ll be interesting to see where manufacturers hide the battery, as the internal battery will only fit inside the seatpost (as it does on road bikes) if you’re not running a dropper post. Inside the fork steerer tube is one suggestion we might see, otherwise an external bottle boss, chainstay or BB mount will work.




Overall, though, it looks like Shimano has put a lot of work into making sure that XTR is as durable and reliable as possible. The shifting motors are reasonably unobtrusive and the ‘Firebolt’ shift buttons are small and neat. The shift action has more throw than a road Di2 switch (though way less than a mechanical shifter) and a more positive click to make it discernible over the bumping around off road. There are two clicks in either direction, to allow for quick rear shifts, plus a ‘push and hold’ option. The front mech will auto-trim (and comes in either a double or triple setup) and the motor is said to be 50% stronger than Dura Ace.

Chipps is in Albstadt, Germany right now at the World Cup XC race, where it’ll be campaigned in anger this weekend by Shimano’s top sponsored riders – and he’ll also be getting an exclusive ride on the new XTR Di2 groupset, so stay tuned for his first impressions. We expect to see production samples start to come through around New Year 2015.

UK Prices:
Rear Mech: £429.99
Front Mech: £269.99
Left and right shifters £149.99 each
Batteries: Internal £99.99. External £49.99
PCE1 (optional cable/programming interface): £179.99
Junction boxes and cables will be another £100 (approx) a bike.

Front derailleur (FD-M9070 D-type) | 115 grams
Rear derailleur (RD-M9050-GS) | 289 grams
System display (SC-M9050) | 30 grams
Shift switch (SW-M9050) | 64 grams

In case that’s not enough enthusiasm, here’s the official press release.

Shimano is pleased to announce the launch of the first electronic groupset for mountain biking, XTR Di2 (M9050).  This development is the result of a very extensive testing program and is the moment many mountain bikers have long been waiting for. XTR Di2 comes in addition to the previously announced XTR M9000 mechanical groupset. The Di2 platform offers a number of advantages over a regular mechanical system including faster, more accurate and more powerful shifting which remains consistent in all riding conditions. Shifting requires minimal effort with a simple press of a button.  XTR Di2 also brings a new programmable shifting layout called Synchro Shift. XTR Di2 offers a clean appearance on the bike and low maintenance thanks to the use of electrical wires.

Electronic shifting is not controlled by a regular mechanical shifter; it is controlled by a new electronic switch. Working with Shimano’s test riders and professional racers, Shimano engineers designed and tested many varieties of switches before the perfect solution was found. The result is Firebolt; an electronic shift switch that provides a natural feel, feedback and ergonomics. XTR’s easy to reach, compact shift switches offer a short stroke with tactile feedback.

Intuitive operation
One of the main advantages of electronic shifting is the programmability of the system. With new XTR Di2 it is possible to have the best shifting setup for every individual riding style. XTR Di2 works on the same E-tube platform as Shimano’s current road Di2 groupsets. The E-tube platform offers full programmability of the groupset and transmits interactive signals and power supply to each individual part by ‘plug & play’ connection. E-tube makes it possible to customise your shifting system by changing the function of the shift buttons. For example, it is possible to change the control of the front derailleur to the right switch and/or the control of your rear derailleur to the left switch. Multi shifting is also possible with XTR Di2 and is fully programmable. Multi shift can be engaged by pressing and holding the shift switch. Not only is the speed of the shift customisable but also the number of shifts, whether you want to shift up to a maximum of two sprockets with a single hold, or all the way through the cassette.  Working with E-Tube electric wires also means no rust and no cable stretch while ensuring low maintenance and consistent shifting compared to a traditional mechanical cable-operated system.

One of the most unique features of XTR Di2 is the new Synchro Shift option. XTR Di2 has undergone over 20,000 test kilometers. This extensive test period allowed Shimano engineers to closely analyse the most used gears to be effective. With Synchro Shift enabled, it is possible to control both derailleurs with just one shifter. The front derailleur reads the position of the rear derailleur and automatically operates the front shift to position the gears in the most efficient gear and best chain line so the rider never has to worry about front shifting and correction shifts again. Synchro Shift is best explained in this video and improves efficiency of shifting and riding.

Shimano have used all the data from test riding to produce two pre-set shifting maps. E-tube allows the rider to change these pre-sets and create their own preferred shifting map. While riding it is possible to change between the programmed shifting maps or change back to manual mode. XTR Di2 provides fast and accurate shifting with less effort compared to mechanical systems.

Powerful shifting
Responsible for these shifts are the XTR Di2 derailleurs. These derailleurs deliver powerful, accurate and consistent shifting. The Di2 front derailleur is twice as powerful as the current M980 front derailleur and provides reliable, fast and smooth gear changes, even under heavy load. Shifting becomes effortless regardless of the terrain with a simple the push of a button. The rear derailleur is upgraded with new Shadow RD+ technology for Di2. Besides the regular on and off switch it is now also possible to externally adjust the spring tension of the rear derailleur with an Allen key (see video). The derailleurs react instantly to rider input and take up an accurate position in every gear combination using the front derailleur auto-trimming function. The electric wires guarantee stable and consistent performance.

Clean appearance and system expansion
The ‘brain’ of the XTR Di2 system is the digital display. This display indicates the battery level, gear position, shift mode (manual or Synchro) and the suspension mode. Using a button on the display it is also possible to change the shift mode to either manual or choose one of the two Synchro Shift maps, even while riding. The display also functions as a charging port, connection to the E-tube software (for personal settings) and includes 3 E-tube ports. Thanks to the E-tube platform, mountain bikes get a cleaner appearance. Electronic wires are easy to hide inside the frame and it is possible to integrate the Fox suspension system which minimises the visible cables on the bike and handlebars.

XTR Di2 M9050 uses the same batteries as its road equivalent. The external SM-BTR1 battery and the internal SM-BTR2 battery.

Saturdays Ride up the WHW to Conic Hill

What a fab day – not much to say but stats

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And then a video

shot on one of those  garmin Virb cameras


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this weather has beaten me

I confess I have been avoiding going out on the bike – hitting the gym and the swimming pool as the rain has lashed down this winter. Forced myself out today and for the first hour it was pretty dry.

click on the pic to go to Strava
click on the pic to go to Strava

I do love my Lynskey Ridgeline and felt that today was it’s day with messy mudguards in place ….

lynskey 29 mugdock-1



Dream bike: surly Krampus (customised)


This bike from the cycle monkey blog really talks to me ….

It’s not often that we’re asked to build the ideal bike for someone commuting in Siberia. We dreamed up this build for a customer of ours who is a British expatriate working in the snowy climate of central Russia. He intends to do a mix of snow, dirt, and paved riding in sub-freezing temperatures and wanted a dependable bike that could handle a range of conditions but still feel speedy. He ruled out a full fat bike and opted for the more versatile “29+” platform, a tire/rim designation that Surly invented to provide the float and traction of a fatbike, but the fast rollover of a 29er mountain bike. Once we agreed on the type of bike, we set to work planning out the build specifications.

Surly’s Krampus is the bike that brought the 29+ platform into the world, and is still one of the few bikes designed specifically to use 29×3 inch tires on 50 mm wide rims. The Krampus frame is optimized for speedy trail riding, but since its debut, it has also gained a reputation for being a comfortable off road touring bike. Our customer’s riding style is a perfect mix of these two disciplines: a stable, touring-style setup to deal with snowy or sloppy conditions and also a nimble-handling geometry that will roll fast and get him where he needs to go quickly. We sent this Krampus frame off to a framebuilder to get a belt drive splitter installed and also had the frame powdercoated black to fulfill our customer’s desire for a stealth-looking all-black bike.

Sometimes even a bad ride is good

MTB today – as i left the flat the heavens opened and the rain and sleet hail came down. I could have, if i had a modicum of sense, gone back in and then either gone on the turbo or headed out to the gym. but in for a penny, in for a pound i headed off but changed the route from what would be a very wet and unpassable wood to canal paths which would be muddy but quick.

Hardly saw anyone all day and that is rare for a weekend when walkers and dog owners and other crazy cyclists and runners are out.

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2 degrees C – by the time I got in my winter mtg boots had leaked the water through to my now icy toes and the Sealskin gloves were wet and my fingers a bit numb. But quick bucket to clean the bike (all the mud sprayed off with rain puddles and then me …

post ridefor once the iPhone stayed in my bag as I didn’t want it ruined in the deluge …. then quick snap and 200m down the road to my victorian gym and their lovely turkish rooms …. aaaah bliss



Dream Bikes – Tourer Heaven

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The Co-Motion Americano Rohloff combines unmatched frame reliability with the amazing Rohloff Speed hub’s 14 internal gears, eliminating the need for derailleurs. Borrowing from our tandem experience, we include an eccentric bottom bracket to easily take up chain slack. We designed our own house-made dropout for superbly elegant and simple integration of the Rohloff hub system.

Self-locking eccentric bottom bracket for simple, clean chain adjustment
14-speed internally-geared hub means sleek, derailleur-free set up for unparalleled reliability
Dual disc brakes for excellent safety and control
Upgrade to the Classic Trim Package with a Brooks B17 saddle, and leather grips/bar tape plus a nickel-plated Co-Motion head-badge
Now available with Gates Carbon Drive option
Larger head tube with internal Chris King Inset headset

belt and rohloff

First Ride – Cathkin Braes MTB course (review)

it’s been a few years since the Cathkin Braes course was opened and MTB’s were asked to use the course in order to bed in the track. It will be used for the MTB race in the Commonwealth Games of 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland. It was only the other week over dinner with friends when they asked if I had ridden the course – I had but that was before the bulldozers were there or any tracks so the real answer was err …. no

Here is a description of the course

So I travelled down there on Monday for a wee ride. the course is just over 5.5km long and is a figure of 8 course … a wee tunnel prevents you shooting the gap during the crossover.

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It is a great course – not overly technical but difficult enough to make you concentrate on your line in places.

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If you are stood in the main car-park looking at this sign The track heads off to the RIGHT!!!! as it seems that a fair few folk are getting it wrong. I came across two very confused people who couldn’t see the little no entry signs a an indication they were going the wrong way.

The next section you will come to is The first Listed feature on the Trail map Named Propeller Point. There is a red and Blue line down this … the red has two drops on it …This section most riders will have no problems getting through.

Further on you will next come to a trail crossing where you can loop down through a tunnel although I didn’t see it first time and went over the top which is  nice technical drop.

Again this is a section that most rider will breeze through with ease and now the fun begins as you pick up speed through a sharp few corners in to a short rock section that the 29er just flows through.

Just after this you pop out the trees in to a sharp left and start descending across the hill,

That done there is a short steep climb up to the start of the Double Dare (Dual) Section a 200m section of trail made up of a series of seven corners. I preferred the right hand line but dual boys might prefer the slightly trickier left line.

At the bottom of this run you crest a wee bump and have a climb back up (Clyde Climb)

Once you have got to the top of this climb you cycle across the open(Rest and be thankful) and in to the Feature Three line Corner.

3 lines but much more bedded in now since this was taken
3 lines but much more bedded in now since this was taken

First the inside line with the rock drops. The middle line with one rock drop. And the outside line with no drop.

then it is a loop through a flowy bit and around and up a small climb to the Forest and along the bedrock (Broken Biscuits) section. Back across the tunnel intersection and through a section of small swooping berms (The Jock) with some small rock sections and Tree stump features that can be easily rid over or round.

You then roll in to the (Brig O’doom) This section is a tight twisty trail that run’s along side a 2 meter high natural  rock ledge.

Then over a burn and up a very steep short climb. (i didnt make it the first 2 times but was ready the third time and ground up it …. JUST)

Then through the stream

Out of the trees and over the (Boulder Dash)

Then onward up the last few baby rock climbs to the finish.

Once back at the car-park you have completed the 5.5k 2014  Commonwealth Games Cross Country Mountain Bike  Track. Give yourself a big pat on the back and get a few more laps in! Getting faster and fitter with every lap. So do it – dry course drains great – easy for all levels Green Blue and Red runs … kid friendly too and lots of spectator space for the Games ….

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what the course looks like on Strava ….

the 3 laps i did before i had some lunch
the 3 laps i did before i had some lunch

here rab wardell that can do the course in 13m57s as opposed to my 20m31s talks to us about the course and the games ….

and another

Another ride out on the bike

This morning was a ride and a plan that i don’t do often – got dressed up in my mtb gear pushed m bike down to the school and dropped the girls off and set off directly from there 9am. I don’t normally get up that early for a bike ride but it was well worth it. The sun was out and already i had stuffed my jacket into the camelbak.

ride with gps screen
ride with gps screen

What a blast – up to Bearsden and the hills beyond on my Lynskey Ridgeline 29er. I think I love this bike …. a lot. It is so effortless and quick. I did trails today quicker and with less effort (and mainly with less fitness than I did them before) The bike flows over obstacles so much better than my old carver. I even bagged a KOM on one section with little effort …. mind you only 68 people before and only a few seconds up on my previous attempts.

Wooo Hooo KOM (for a day or two)
Wooo Hooo KOM (for a day or two)

Went up some old trails and was also impressed by the traction once again from the Maxxis Ardent tyres so grippy yet still fast rolling.

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rohloff2013-05-30 10.53.07

grippy Maxxis Ardent UST
grippy Maxxis Ardent UST


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beast2013-05-30 10.53.41

DT swiss forks2013-05-30 10.54.08

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I went down some trails that I had never been down before – one in particular seemed very sweet then suddenly the angle got steeper and steeper – suddenly it was a 45 degree slope and i was hanging on. I guess over time I have become particularly good at crashing so did a slow slide of doom before i had to jettison prior to going over the bars. I loved it I picked myself up laughing with a scrape on my leg and mud on the gloves. Stopped on the way home at the garage and used the jet wash – a quick and cost / time effective way to clean the bike.

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bushed – mud and helmet hair

strava - click on to link
strava – click on to link

Another Day – Another Lynskey – feeling fly on my ti

Dropped the girls off at school and was supposed to start my edit but the sun was out and it was warm so work was scuppered in favour of a jaunt out on the newly built Lynskey Ridgeline 29er. My first ride on it was only a 10 mile lop in the snow and ice and although it felt good the conditions made it difficult to tell.

click the pic to go to strava
click the pic to go to strava



I went out of Glasgow to my local trail and then horror I could feel some movement in the cranks and sure enough it hadnt been tightened enough when it was built up. Check my bag and multitool and horror 0 the large allen is needed and that is at home as I never need it right?


So cycle slowly back into the local village and borrow a small handled allen key from a shoemaker / key cutter. It feels tight but I cant be sure. I bomb down the trail and come to a section that I have never managed to clear in the past and there you go 29er wheel roll through no problem and i even manage to climb the tricky rock lump ascent at the end no bother (setting a strava 3rd position PR at the same time)

Then it started working loose again – I stopped took some pics then dropped through roots and rocks and set my fastest time on that despite there being loads of mud and the section is more chewed up than I have ever seen it before …. I believe the hype the bike just rolls incredible well. Whether this is all because of 29er wheels or helped by the cracking DT swiss fork XMM100 I cant tell – all i can tell is that i like it … A LOT


ti bride (the dirty one)
ti bride (the dirty one)

And the looks well the bike looks sweet – a 26.5lbs rohloff Lynskey Ridgeline SL 29er with Rohloff Speedhub