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Tech Rohloff Speedhubs

Gok

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Dec 22, 2016
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Yes. I basically take everything to the shop.

You can save a lot by doing most of the things yourself. Changing chains, tires, brake pads; maintaining your drivetrain can easily be done with minimal tools. You can easily cut down on half (or even more) of the cost! I know its a lot to take in when you do it the first time; but just give it a try few times and you'll learn really quickly. Also, 'maintaining' your bike is part of the whole 'biking' experience. Although I'm a bit of a noob myself, but I'll be happy to show you how some of the stuff is done.

By the way; this is the ideal season for buying a bike. Most of this years stock goes on sale. :p
 

Kangaeroo

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Jan 24, 2018
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Thanks @Gok !
I'd love to tap into your brain.
I'm doing a bit of maintenance and enjoy it, but find nothing really sinks in anymore at my age, so unless I do it daily (or weekly at best), I'm useless.
 
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joewein

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Oct 25, 2011
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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).

Here are pictures from the 2012 Half-Fast Cycling Norikura weekend that I joined on my Bike Friday Pocket Rocket. 2700 m above sea level I met a couple who were touring on small wheels. She was riding a 27-speed Moulton, he was on a Rohloff Speedhub-equipped Bike Friday Air Glide, a model no longer in production:





Bike Friday's use standard parts for everything but the frame. AFAIK if you use a chain tensioner then you don't need horizontal dropouts like for single speed / fixed gear, so you can switch between derailleur gears and IGH easily. By contrast, I think Brompton uses 115 mm rear spacing vs. 130/135 on most road bikes and also on Bike Fridays, severely restricting what hubs you can use. So your marriage is safe! :D

This is valuable information as I have an innate fear of rear punctures.

At least 2/3 of all punctures happen on the rear tire. Jobst Brandt once wrote about why that is so: Basically the front wheel will flip nails, glass shards and other objects lying on the road up just in time for the rear wheel to then get skewered by them.

I have also heard the Alfine 8 and 11 are not much to write home about.

The Alfine doesn't shift very well even under moderate load. You really have to make a point of backing off the pedalling while you shift. This is particularly a problem when going between 4th and 5th, as it internally does two shifts at the same time (between two ranges and between gears in that range). You can end up with only one of the two shifts happening, so you end up in a totally unexpected gear. Shifting an Alfine under load not only causes misshifts, it also shortens the lifespan of the IGH.

As with all IGHs you can choose where to put the gear range by the choice of chainring and rear cog, but if you go too low the torque will kill the hub. The Alfine 11 has more ratios than the Alfine 8, but the same minimum gear limit, so basically it only gives you more tall gears, not more climbing gears. It's designed for flat commutes.

The Rohloff has much better specs, allowing you to do the equivalent of a 22/36 gear as the low gear and it has the reliability that you would want for a ride across Central Asia or South America. Mind you, I would still go for a derailleur gear setup for exotic locations, simply because if anything fails (not necessarily the hub, it could be the cables or the shifter), you can always find parts for that.
 
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Kangaeroo

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Jan 24, 2018
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So your marriage is safe! :D
At least in this regard! They were beautiful bikes!

At least 2/3 of all punctures happen on the rear tire.
Also fascinating, and mirroring my experience.

The Alfine doesn't shift very well even under moderate load. You really have to make a point of backing off the pedalling while you shift.
The Alfine information was also extremely interesting. Thank you! It is very close to my experience with the Brompon's Sturmey Archer in some regards.

Thanks for everything, @joewein
 

DanBell

Speeding Up
Apr 26, 2010
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Just wanted to chime in and say that I have a Rohloff equipped bike and removing the rear wheel is not really that much more difficult than a derailleured bike. There is an external shifter box that has a thumb screw for removal. Unscrew that and the wheel just lifts out as normal. Getting it in is slightly more tricky as you have no rear derailleur to push forward to create some slack in the chain/belt, but it's not difficult and as with all things becomes easier with practice.
 
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thooms

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Jul 6, 2019
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I've got an Alfine 8 on my Birdy and it works really well for commuting. I wondered about a Rohloff, but decided against it because of the cost.

Rohloffs make a really cool noise in some gears too :)

Kinetics (in Glasgow, so not very local...) make a Rohloff conversion for a Brompton:

 

DanBell

Speeding Up
Apr 26, 2010
223
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I don't know if this information is still current, but about four or five years ago I was looking into an Alfine build and at that time the Alfine 8 had really positive reviews while the Alfine 11 had overwhelmingly negative reviews for being unreliable. No idea if Shimano has improved the 11 or not, but it's worth looking into to see if that still holds true if you decide to go that route.
 

joewein

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Oct 25, 2011
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Kinetics (in Glasgow, so not very local...) make a Rohloff conversion for a Brompton:

I assumed they would maybe cold set the existing rear triangle to widen it (quite doable with any steel frame), but they actually fabricate a new rear triangle for that!

On the Alfine 8, don't get me wrong: It does what it's designed to do, relatively flat, relatively low maintenance commuting. If I was riding one as my main bike, I probably would get used to easing off enough during shifts that they consistently succeed.

In terms of efficiency, the Rohloff matches a clean, well maintained derailleur gear setup and beats a dirty one.

The Alfine is less efficient. The Alfine 11 doesn't even have a direct drive gear. The Alfine 8 does have one, 5th gear. The longer the ride, the more the efficiency will matter.
 
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Kangaeroo

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Jan 24, 2018
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I've got an Alfine 8 on my Birdy and it works really well for commuting. I wondered about a Rohloff, but decided against it because of the cost.
Now I understand your interest in Birdies!
I love the Birdy ride. It's delightfully comfortable. I have two complaints: the fold is cumbersome and the gears are a bit light with a narrow range. My missus looks like she will commandeer the Birdy, though.
Not really keen on putting a Rohlhoff on the Brompton. I knew the triangles could be replaced, but I think I'd rather have something I can use anywhere, which means a bike with as many standard parts as possible rather than a Brommie, which has so many specialized parts that I am not capable enough to deal with.
 

stu_kawagoe

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Jun 23, 2018
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No discussion topic😀

They aren’t too expensive abroad. The one below is €3,000 and would make a decent commuter / travel bike:

 
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microcord

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Aug 28, 2012
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Friction shifting on the downtube means that there's less to go wrong and less to be adjusted. Good tough old derailleurs like the V GT are still findable and cheap (as long as they aren't branded "Campagnolo"). Of course all this stuff is breakable; but I think that if you can break it you can also break new and far more expensive alternatives. And you can have it attached to an old steel frame of a size that's easy to find in Japan, and cheap. Just choose the shop carefully: I get the impression that many don't want to be bothered, even if they have the know-how (and they may not). And check the frame for ripples in paint and other signs of collisions.

I weigh over 70 kg, I'm careless, and I'm too lazy to make adjustments, let alone to essay any maintenance, until I hear grating sounds. But I haven't broken or even damaged the cheapo Tiagra RD on either of the bikes I use for non-humdrum rides. Or indeed the almost-forty-year-old Cyclone II on the bike I use for humdrum rides. It sounds to me as if you're doing something very wrong. Better work out what it is before throwing more money at it.
 

Kangaeroo

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Jan 24, 2018
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No discussion topic😀

They aren’t too expensive abroad. The one below is €3,000 and would make a decent commuter / travel bike:

That was an amazing site!
 
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