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Tech Rohloff Speedhubs

Kangaeroo

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Does anybody know where/if I would be able to buy a complete bike (L or XL-sized frame) equipped with a Rohloff Speedhub and belt drive in Japan, preferably Tokyo?
I ask because I don't want to build a bike because I'm too old to learn how, want to minimize maintenance and need something durable and reliable that will keep riding with minimum fuss until I drop (which probably won't be too long).
Any other tips or suggestions about parts/bikes, etc. that keep going forever would be greatly appreciated.
 
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bloaker

Sincerely A Dick
Nov 14, 2011
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You could always order a frame and have a reputable shop build it.... Then you get exactly what you want... i mean, since it will be your last bike and all..... ;)
 

Kangaeroo

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I did think of that, but the reality is that I don't need a great frame, a serviceable one will do. I've never had serious problems with a frame, but constant trouble with wheels/tires and drive sets. That's why the Rohloff looks good.
I'm sure this will be my last bike, too. At least for a few months! :)
 

kiwisimon

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Are you looking to go touring globally or just after a reliable bike to ride in Japan?
Two things 1) you will need to drop a shit load of cash on a frame with a gate for the belt to slip through and 2) then another 8 man for the hub not to mention get a wheel made and it installed.

Also the chances of a XL sized bike compatible with a Rohloff hub in Japan are not that great. List of most approved Frame manufacturers here https://ww2.gatescarbondrive.com/Manufacturers-And-Models most Euro or American.

Gates belt drives here: https://www.cyclingabout.com/carbon-belt-drive-everything-you-ever-need-to-know/

I think you'll be going custom or at least off shore. Chain drive is easier and a monthly service is about all it will require.

If you know what size you take might be easier to find one for sale on ebay and get it shipped.

this has the gears in the BB. Pretty cool.


CGOAB has things like this for sale but as you can see a kittted out bike is not cheap.
 

Kangaeroo

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Jan 24, 2018
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Wow! Thanks @kiwisimon
I will delve into some of those sites later tonight. I already knew the Cycling About because Alle is partly the inspiration for looking into Rohloff.
My aim is essentially a commuter, but something that can also climb a little bit if I make my annual trip up Wada or Tomin no Mori. Nothing too hard. I'm not riding 600 km/week, but do ride about 20,000 km for the year.
What makes you prefer a chain to the belt?
I am scared by the price of a Rohloff, but have already gone through three derailleurs and seven chains (one of each when I tried to DIY) in the 11 months I've had my bike. Add in a new wheel, two sets of tire changes, a series of broken spokes, wheel truing and punctures I really should have done myself, I'm not far off having paid the price of a Rohloff anyway. I have more than paid for it if I add in the costs of repairing/upgrading/modifying my foldups (which is the same thing in my wife's eyes), so having a single bike less likely to fall apart may well be the cheap option.
 

kiwisimon

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Chain set up is the cheaper option, as many standard frames will take a RO speedhub (all you buy is the hub, get it laced to a rim and install cables and shifter). It also makes swapping chainring easier than with a beltdrive, thus giving you more options for loaded touring. You do need to check the chainline however.
With no derailleurs then there is less to go wrong (loooking at your tale of woe). Just wipe and re-lube weekly (weather and conditions dependent) and maybe every six months swap out the worn chain with another of the same length. You can do that!
 

bloaker

Sincerely A Dick
Nov 14, 2011
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How tall are you? If in the 188 range, you are welcome to come to zushi and try out my bikes... all of them.
You can try everything from Rigid to suspension to a road bike.
 

kiwisimon

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actually that bike you are selling would likely fit the bill pretty well.

Do you have the rigid fork somewhere?

 

Gok

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Dec 22, 2016
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but have already gone through three derailleurs and seven chains (one of each when I tried to DIY) in the 11 months I've had my bike.

@Kangaeroo what type of bike do you ride at the moment? What's your weight and height?

Even with your given mileage, 7 chains and 3 mechs are a little extreme. Are you wearing them down?

My aim is essentially a commuter, but something that can also climb a little bit if I make my annual trip up Wada or Tomin no Mori.

With all that has been already said, belt drive is also going to have a hefty weight penalty (compared to a standard road bike). Not sure if you'll be OK with that.

If your commute is flat-ish, may even go for a single speed commuter. Those things with chunky chains + Gatorskins + 32~ 36 spoke wheels would be indestructible and maintenance free (and very cheap). Saved money can be put forward to a nice 'road bike', dedicated to weekend rides.
 

sean-e

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Mar 4, 2019
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Blue Lug Hatagaya in Tokyo supposedly built a Surly World Troller with a Rohloff hub on their online catalogue: https://bluelug.com/bike-catalog/30/ , maybe contact them and see if they have a bike with one in stock to try? Wouldn't get your hopes up though, they're pretty rare. I crossed paths with this guy in Mongolia and he had a Rohloff https://cyclingfordays.wordpress.com/gear/ ... only one I've ever seen in person.

And not to armchair mechanic but also am curious like @Gok what groupset's derailleurs & chains are you snapping on a regular basis? I know you're strong but... :warau: is the derailleur hanger snapping every time? Maybe something in the frame is bent?
 

joewein

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Oct 25, 2011
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Three derailleurs and seven chains in 11 months is insane. One chain per year would seem more reasonable and maybe one derailleur in 5 years, unless you crash, longer if you keep it clean.

I have only come across a single Rohloff-equipped bike in the wild in Japan, a Bike Friday on top of Norikura. As an engineer I find the Speedhub exciting. It is pricey, but more efficient and more reliable than the Shimano Alfine 8 and 11 IGHs. Yes, there's a weight penalty compared to derailleurs but it feels worse than it is because it's concentrated at one end of the bike. You gain weight at the hub but lose some on the crank and rear derailleur and front derailleur.

I would vote against belt drive because the belt tension introduces friction, you need different dropouts and fixing rear punctures becomes much more of a PITA.

So far I have not had a chance to ride a Rohloff bike, but would be curious. I did ride a Shimano Alfine 8 equipped city bike once and was underwhelmed.
 

stu_kawagoe

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I could see you on something like that Surly. I'd also be very interested to see how much Blue Lug would quote to build a bike like that.
 

joewein

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The Rohloff Speedhub needs an oil change every 5000 km or once per year, pretty much like a car engine ;) It's an extremely well designed and built piece of German technology. The 14 gears are evenly spaced across a wide range (526%) and unlike the Alfine you can actually do pretty low gearing suitable for loaded touring.

One feature I miss about it is support for drop bar brifters. There are various options if you use it with flat bars, but not for drop handles. That may be fine for a commuter, but for long distance rides I like the variety of different hand positions offered by drop handles, combined with the convenience of shifting or breaking without moving the hands away from where they are.
 

Kangaeroo

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How tall are you? If in the 188 range, you are welcome to come to zushi and try out my bikes... all of them.
You can try everything from Rigid to suspension to a road bike.
Thank you! I am, indeed, about 188....unfortunately, that's the horizontal measurement. Vertically, I am 177 and shrinking.
 

Kangaeroo

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@Kangaeroo what type of bike do you ride at the moment? What's your weight and height?
I ride a Trek FX3 and am 177, 88 kg.
I think my biggest problem is that I am clumsy, careless and don't maintain the bike properly. Rohloff is attractive to me because of its low maintenance reputation.
With all that has been already said, belt drive is also going to have a hefty weight penalty (compared to a standard road bike). Not sure if you'll be OK with that.
Well, to be honest, if I were worried about weight penalties I would eat fewer ice creams, but that would defeat the purpose of me cycling.
If your commute is flat-ish, may even go for a single speed commuter. Those things with chunky chains + Gatorskins + 32~ 36 spoke wheels would be indestructible and maintenance free (and very cheap). Saved money can be put forward to a nice 'road bike', dedicated to weekend rides.
This is also a really attractive option. One problem is that I would like to improve my climbing (so I can eat more ice cream), but buying another bike is not going to go down well with the family bean counter.
 

Kangaeroo

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I have only come across a single Rohloff-equipped bike in the wild in Japan, a Bike Friday on top of Norikura.
A Bike Friday???? Wow!! Now you're exciting me into thinking I could get my Brompton re-engineered (and will probably need another marriage at the price that would cost).

I would vote against belt drive because the belt tension introduces friction, you need different dropouts and fixing rear punctures becomes much more of a PITA.
This is valuable information as I have an innate fear of rear punctures. Earlier this year I fixed a puncture and failed to reattach the wheel properly, which I didn't realize until my LBS pointed it out 2 1/2 months later. (Which is a good indication of my mechanical ability)

So far I have not had a chance to ride a Rohloff bike, but would be curious. I did ride a Shimano Alfine 8 equipped city bike once and was underwhelmed.
I have also heard the Alfine 8 and 11 are not much to write home about. If I do get a Rohloff, I will make sure I bring it to you so that you can test it out. I am dying to accompany you on one of your massive rides anyway (if that would be OK), so it would be a great excuse.
 

Kangaeroo

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Just wipe and re-lube weekly (weather and conditions dependent) and maybe every six months swap out the worn chain with another of the same length. You can do that!
Is it that easy to swap a worn chain?
 
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