Daily Archives: October 19, 2011

My Rohloff thoughts one year on – nearly perfect, but not quite

You’ll never hear me complain about derailleur gear problems as both my bikes are hub gears and I don’t want to go back to derailleurs unless I absolutely have to. The wife’s bike is a derailleur, but she never rides so I don’t have to use or maintain it.

There are lots of sites that say how great the Rohloff is, and it is, but there are issues I come across with my current setup, so I thought I’d make some notes here:

Chain must be tightened using eccentric bottom bracket (or other means) every other month to prevent it popping off. Some setups have small chain tensions, but isn’t that defeating the point of not having a derailleur?

Specialist parts you can’t find in your LBS, for example gear cables, gear ring cable, bayonet connectors and such.

As it’s specialist you pretty much need to do any maintenance yourself unless you are lucky enough to live near a LBS that is experienced with Rohloffs.

Bayonet connector screws (tiny allen bolts) weld into bayonet connector after a winter or two and must be cut off and replaced (at £18 a set they aren’t cheap either).

Getting the rear sprocket off requires a really strong high quality chain whip and a vice, it’s not easy. My original chain whip bent under the force I was using!

Rarely, but occasionally the gear might not engage for half a turn, but this is very rare.

Oil leaks out the seals if bike is laid on its side for longer than a couple of minutes, or in my case when I had the wheel off and I was changing the gear ring cable I had oil drip down onto the beige carpet (missing the dust sheet by millimetres) – oops, still not been forgiven for that!

It’s heavy, there was promise(?) of a lighter model in 2009, but they’re still working on it?

On the flip side if you saw my complaint list for a derailleur setup you’d think this list is nothing.

Black bike locks hide the oil

When I bought my first D-lock many years back now, it was grey, that was a good colour because black oil was visible and I could wipe it off on a rag rather than getting it all over my hands. Recently I’ve been mysteriously getting oil on my hands on a regular basis and today I figured it out, my bike lock is black, it hides the oil so I don’t see it to wipe it off.

Will I remember to regularly wipe my lock? Probably not.
Will I lock my bike up differently? Probably not, I lock the rear wheel through the stays, which is a good method – other than occasionally the lock hangs down or rests on the chain.