Should I convert to a Rohloff hub - costs vs benefits ?

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
ThePinkOne
Posts: 195
Joined: 12 Jul 2007, 9:21pm

Should I convert to a Rohloff hub - costs vs benefits ?

Postby ThePinkOne » 16 Feb 2019, 11:02am

I have a bit of a dilemma.

Due to various life things, I have been off the bike and trike for a year or so, and slowly getting back into it as the weather warms up.

I like my Disc Trucker a lot, but I'm not really that keen on the derailleur set up. There's nothing technical wrong with it- but I prefer being able to change gear when stopped and I'm not a fan of more than one chainring as my chainset hasn't got a bashguard and I'm the sort of clumsy person who get "bitten" by the chainring too often.

I am seriously thinking of converting the Trucker to a Rohloff hub- like the trike has. I really like them.

Upsides: it would make the bike easier for me in town (most of my riding) and cleaner to ride. Less maintenance. The bike would be more "grab and go" ready and so I could use it more instead of car again.

Downsides. Cost. Nickability.

The other part of this is that most of my driving is done for work- and I use my Big Van (mobile office/stealth campervan) for that. My husband wanted me to keep the car when I acquired the van, however although he's insured for the car on my policy he hasn't ever driven it in over 4 years. Only trips I make where car is currently more viable than bke are to take cat to vet and to go to the tip.

Local council just confirmed by email that I can use bike + trailer to go to tip.

I've taken the cat to the vet by taxi before, and if all else failed could use the van so long as I manage the tax implications- it would only be very occasional, my accountant doesn't see a difficulty with that.

The plan would be to (1) convert the bike to Rohloff (2) use it for all local journeys and then once that habit is established (3) I have an argument to get rid of the car. (Van stays as it allows me to overnight cheaply when working on client sites and is my mobile office). This over 6 months or so.

Wondered what people thought, am I being realistic?

TPO
Last edited by Graham on 16 Feb 2019, 12:39pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Title

pwa
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Re: A dilemma....

Postby pwa » 16 Feb 2019, 11:40am

I'd keep the bike as it is. Do you use the big ring? If not, change it for a bash guard ring.

geocycle
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Re: A dilemma....

Postby geocycle » 16 Feb 2019, 11:57am

Converting a bike to rohloff involves some compromises over buying a rohloff specific frame. For example you will need a chain tensioner and check the cable runs are OK. But, I am a huge fan of rohloff and use mine everyday. The derailleur bike comes out on dry days and is perhaps a bit more fun. However, the Thorn rohloff has been fantastic this winter with a chain permanently encrusted in mud from the muddy commute, on tours its 19" bottom gear will climb walls -after 12 years I'd not be without it.

slowster
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Re: A dilemma....

Postby slowster » 16 Feb 2019, 12:32pm

If your trike is a recumbent, then I suspect the Rohloff hub may be much closer to your centre of gravity than it would be on a standard upright like the Disc Trucker. If so you might find the 1.8kg of the hub in the rear wheel noticeable in a way that it isn't on your trike. That might or might not be a concern for you.

The lighter the bike (and rider) and the more a rider likes the feel of a (relatively) light bike underneath them and gets out of the saddle when climbing a short rise or accelerating, the more the weight of a Rohloff in the rear wheel is likely to be noticeable. If you are a sedate rider who tends to climb in the saddle, tends to carry extra weight anyway in panniers, and uses flat bars rather than drops, then I think the impact of the Rohloff's weight on the feel of the bike is much less noticeable.

If most of your riding is in town, would a Sturmey Archer 3 or 5 speed be adequate? If you are going to use the bike for carrying heavy loads, touring, and riding in hilly or mountainous areas, then there is nothing really to match a Rohloff, but for a general runabout in a not too hilly area a 3 or 5 speed might be quite adequate, and would have the advantages of being lighter and much cheaper (and hopefully less attractive to thieves as well as less costly to replace if it were stolen or damaged). If you needed lower gears only for touring holidays, you could keep your derailleur gears and rear wheel and simply refit them just for the holiday.

Brucey
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Re: Should I convert to a Rohloff hub - costs vs benefits ?

Postby Brucey » 16 Feb 2019, 2:33pm

I like IGHs a lot but

a) I wouldn't look to use a rohloff primarily for local journeys; there are probably cheaper alternatives for that (less nickable and will work as well in most cases) and
b) I wouldn't factor the IGH into any calculations regarding whether you do or don't need a car.

FWIW if you want a low maintenance bike for local journeys then something with an IGH and hub brakes would be the most weatherproof and lowest maintenance, i.e. most 'get-on and go'. With a hub dynamo as well, the net result can be a very practical machine. Quite possibly you could buy/build something suitable for less than the cost of a rohloff hub.

You must know this from your trike already but do note that any IGH makes the rear wheel a bit more of a faff to remove in the event of a p, and whilst this isn't a really big deal (once you are used to it) arguably it is converted framesets with vertical dropouts which carry the biggest penalty here; the tensioner gets in the way a little bit, and on the other side as well as the gear controls and disc/disc caliper clash to worry about, there will be a reaction arm to unbolt too. A dedicated frameset (with rohloff specific dropouts) avoids the reaction arm and (if it has an eccentric BB) then there is no tensioner either. Anyway any IGH may require a different strategy for the p. eventuality.

cheers
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

grufty
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Re: Should I convert to a Rohloff hub - costs vs benefits ?

Postby grufty » 16 Feb 2019, 5:25pm

I have a Disc Trucker with Alfine 8 hub and hub dynamo which i like a lot, and considerably cheaper than Rohloff! Ok , so you don't get the range of gears, but adequate for my local hills. Fitted with the Alfine tensioner, saves some of the hassle of adjusting disc calipers when removing the wheel. Brucey makes the point of fixing a p, but I usually do this without wheel removal, easier with disc or hub brakes. My all time favourite run around bike had Sachs Pentaport igh, coaster and front hub brake, the Trucker comes a close second.

brynpoeth
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Re: Should I convert to a Rohloff hub - costs vs benefits ?

Postby brynpoeth » 16 Feb 2019, 6:17pm

I would use a hub gear with back-pedal brake
Cycling-of course, but it is far better on a Gillott
We love the three Es: enforcement, enforcement & enforcement

Brucey
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Re: Should I convert to a Rohloff hub - costs vs benefits ?

Postby Brucey » 16 Feb 2019, 6:59pm

coaster brakes have some pluses and minuses. Amongst the minuses

- not every IGH is available with a coaster brake option
- with a coaster brake water can always get into the LHS of the hub more easily (this part gets hot so cannot be sealed by conventional means)
- it is not a very good brake in some respects
- in some hub models the coaster brake version is less reliable than the non-coaster brake version (the coaster brake mechanism can cause problems in the RHS of the hub)
- in all coaster brakes there is a slight parasitic drag (from the drag spring)
- the brake is metal-on-metal; the metal wear debris goes into the grease that is also trying to lubricate the LH bearing as well as the rest of the hub, where it does no good.
- with most IGHs just adding lube will keep it sweet for a very long time. With a coaster brake it is more important that you strip the hub at intervals so that the brake parts are regreased and cleaned to remove the brake wear debris. There is usually about x1000 more metal wear debris from the brake than from wear in the other parts of the hub.

So yes coaster brakes have some attractive features but these must be balanced against the downsides. If there were no such thing as an SA drum brake then coasters would be more popular. As it is, I'd usually choose an SA drum brake even if the IGH that comes with it is not quite what I really wanted.

cheers
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

PH
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Re: Should I convert to a Rohloff hub - costs vs benefits ?

Postby PH » 16 Feb 2019, 11:05pm

Brucey wrote:You must know this from your trike already but do note that any IGH makes the rear wheel a bit more of a faff to remove in the event of a p, and whilst this isn't a really big deal (once you are used to it) arguably it is converted framesets with vertical dropouts which carry the biggest penalty here; the tensioner gets in the way a little bit, and on the other side as well as the gear controls and disc/disc caliper clash to worry about, there will be a reaction arm to unbolt too. A dedicated frameset (with rohloff specific dropouts) avoids the reaction arm and (if it has an eccentric BB) then there is no tensioner either. Anyway any IGH may require a different strategy for the p. eventuality.

cheers

In a purpose made frame I've never found the wheel harder to remove than with a derailleur, if anything it's a bit easier. On a Disc LHT there's no reaction arm to unbolt, it uses a screw permanently attached to the frame and an axle plate with a notch that fits around it, I'm using the same system on an Airnimal and it's simple enough. Wish I could say the same for the tensioner, I ended up using a dropout extender and it's still tight.

brynpoeth
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Re: Should I convert to a Rohloff hub - costs vs benefits ?

Postby brynpoeth » 16 Feb 2019, 11:25pm

Another drawback for back-pedal brakes? Do they overheat or fade if one brakes a lot (lives in a hilly area)?
For me the advantages beat not having 14 gears
Cycling-of course, but it is far better on a Gillott
We love the three Es: enforcement, enforcement & enforcement

Brucey
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Joined: 4 Jan 2012, 6:25pm

Re: Should I convert to a Rohloff hub - costs vs benefits ?

Postby Brucey » 17 Feb 2019, 2:09am

brynpoeth wrote:Another drawback for back-pedal brakes? Do they overheat or fade if one brakes a lot (lives in a hilly area)?

yes. The grease all melts and then they run dry. The same thing happens with roller brakes, although they are slightly better cooled. Really, coaster brakes are best as moderate speed retarders for folk pootling around on the flat rather than serious stoppers that are good to use on big hills.

cheers
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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epa611
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Re: Should I convert to a Rohloff hub - costs vs benefits ?

Postby epa611 » 17 Feb 2019, 9:37am

Instead of Rohloff, what about an Alfine 8 or 11 sp IGH? Also possible to add a Gates belt with suitable Frame mod?

I'm a trendy consumer. Just look at my STF-L09 using Tapatalk

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Mick F
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Re: Should I convert to a Rohloff hub - costs vs benefits ?

Postby Mick F » 17 Feb 2019, 9:46am

Sturmey Archer with a cassette.

Excellent system. :D
http://www.sturmey-archer.com/en/produc ... rf3-silver

Much cheaper than a Rohloff.
Mick F. Cornwall

ThePinkOne
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Joined: 12 Jul 2007, 9:21pm

Re: Should I convert to a Rohloff hub - costs vs benefits ?

Postby ThePinkOne » 17 Feb 2019, 9:51am

Thanks for all the thoughts, given me some angles to ponder and made me consider my reasoning.

I think maybe I'm also trying to make excuses for fitting something to my favourite bike which would (for me) make it better and maybe I shouldn't be moithering over justifying bike-spend if I enjoy it.

Another thought is to get an Elephant bike for local use, although I'm not sure where it would live. In the back of my van is a possibility- then there is also always a bike in there for a good potter when working away.

Lots more angles to thnk of though, thanks again to all who replied.

TPO

Bonefishblues
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Re: Should I convert to a Rohloff hub - costs vs benefits ?

Postby Bonefishblues » 17 Feb 2019, 9:55am

An elephant sounds like a sensible move for truly local stuff tbh - later ones are 3 speed, IIRC. Getting it in and out of a van on a regular basis is another matter, mind.