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

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
brynpoeth
Posts: 10978
Joined: 30 Nov 2013, 11:26am

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

Postby brynpoeth » 19 Feb 2019, 6:42pm

One could afford the branded oil, the question is whether one can -thoyle- buying it
I have cycle/sewing machine oil and motor oil at home, might I use one of those? Is the branded oil really special and different?
Entertainer, juvenile, curmudgeon
Cycling-of course, but it is far better on a Gillott
We love safety cameras, we love life

geocycle
Posts: 1726
Joined: 11 Jan 2007, 9:46am

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

Postby geocycle » 19 Feb 2019, 7:57pm

brynpoeth wrote:One could afford the branded oil, the question is whether one can -thoyle- buying it
I have cycle/sewing machine oil and motor oil at home, might I use one of those? Is the branded oil really special and different?


It’s not that expensive! I did what PH reported and bought a job lot through the thorn forum. Using other oils would void the warranty which is worth having on the rohloff. I think they do more useful volumes now whereas it was either very small quantities or litre vats in 2006.

ThePinkOne
Posts: 215
Joined: 12 Jul 2007, 9:21pm

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

Postby ThePinkOne » 19 Feb 2019, 8:20pm

I have ordered an Elephant bike..... 3- speed Sturmey Archer IHG and what looks like drum brakes front and rear (no doubt Brucey will know more about the exact set up :D )

Worked out where it will live (not in the van). Have pushed the boat out and got the front rack & tray too.

Has a 3 week lead time.

What made the decision in the end is that I can put a rear wheel lock on and a not too hefty lock and park outside the local supermarket without worrying the way I do whenever I park the Trucker even with a couple of decent locks.

TPO

brynpoeth
Posts: 10978
Joined: 30 Nov 2013, 11:26am

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

Postby brynpoeth » 19 Feb 2019, 8:54pm

I want to see a picture of the Elephant.Bike :wink:

A cycle could have more than two brakes, rim AND disc brakes on the same wheel for example, trikes have two rim brakes on the front wheel, there are coaster, drum brakes &c
Would Brucey care to suggest a practical setup with three or more brakes?
I am quite untechical but I like reading about things that are beyond me, thanks
Entertainer, juvenile, curmudgeon
Cycling-of course, but it is far better on a Gillott
We love safety cameras, we love life

Brucey
Posts: 35525
Joined: 4 Jan 2012, 6:25pm

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

Postby Brucey » 19 Feb 2019, 8:58pm

brynpoeth wrote: Is the branded oil really special and different?


yes. If you use the wrong lube in some things you will shorten the service life considerably.

cheers
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

colin54
Posts: 1065
Joined: 24 Sep 2013, 4:34pm

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

Postby colin54 » 19 Feb 2019, 9:37pm

ThePinkOne wrote:I have ordered an Elephant bike..... 3- speed Sturmey Archer IHG and what looks like drum brakes front and rear (no doubt Brucey will know more about the exact set up :D )


Some Brucey info' here.

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=102955

Brucey
Posts: 35525
Joined: 4 Jan 2012, 6:25pm

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

Postby Brucey » 19 Feb 2019, 10:17pm

Re the elephant bike. This is still available new (at some fantastic cost, I think about three times what an elephant bike costs) from pashley as the pashley pronto. It is basically a robust design, however do remember that the elephant bike is basically a used bike with a freshly painted frame; I would advise that the wheels are retensioned and the tyres replaced where necessary and some parts (like the rear hub) are give a good going over.

The hubs are

front X-FD 70mm drum brake

http://www.sturmey-archer.com/files/catalog/files/172/PART%20LIST%20-%20X-FD.pdf

Rear X-RD3 (if alloy shell) or SAB3 (if steel shell). The internals are basically the same in each case.

http://www.sturmey-archer.com/files/catalog/files/307/PART%20LIST%20-%20X-RD3.pdf

If the brake arm on either hub is strained at all sideways when fitted, then braking performance won't be as good as it could be and it will vary whenever the wheel is removed and refitted. The brake levers ought to be high MA (short cable pull) but I have seen some machines with long pull (for V brake) levers used, which results in brakes that are hard work.

The rear hub is basically strong but the actuator plate may give trouble. They don't say that they service the hubs, so if it were my bike I'd remove the driver, and refit the actuator plate, (having checked it for cracks) reshaping it so that it is snug if necessary. I'd lubricate the hub with some better quality SFG too (but not so much that it contaminates the brake linings). I'd also fit washer HMW147 on the RHS of the hub and washer HMW150 on the left side.

Local to me there are quite a few prontos in use and the LBS that services them has seen a few breakages, mainly through abuse. Basically it is tempting to seat folk on parts of the bike that are not meant for seating folk. Specifically the rear carrier (carrier breaks), the front carrier (front carrier breaks) and the stand. If you sit on the saddle with the stand down, the stand breaks. IIRC they are fitted with a Hebie stand; a common mode of failure is that the stand separates at the top where it is meant to be projection welded; I have repaired several. If it doesn't break there then the legs break. I have a suspicion that the front carriers can eventually break even if not overloaded; I have seen several with fatigue cracks in them. They are fairly easily weld-repaired.

Try not to need a front rim or a front tyre in a hurry; LBSs tend not to have either in the required 507 size(24 x 1.75") -well not without knobbles on the tyre anyway. The rear rim and tyre are 559 size (26x1.75") which is a fair bit easier to source.

One of the parts that routinely gives trouble on these bikes is the chain tensioner; if the chain gets slack enough the tensioner folds backwards and stops working; the chain length is best carefully set using half links if necessary, and if the tensioner becomes angled at more than 45 degrees or more then the end is surprisingly close at hand. With suitably low gearing fitted (large sprocket) the tensioner pulley hits the sprocket when it folds backwards and gets smashed to pieces. Occasionally the pulley bearings wear out or the spring breaks. The tensioner is a design that is unique to pashley.

Useful modifications that are possible include

- front mudflap
- extra stays on the rear mudguard
- chainguard ( I think an SKS one will fit)
- The rear hub can be converted to accept two sprockets using a Brompton BWR driver, and with a derailleur (and parts to use a 3/32" chain) can be made to give six gears in a half-step or 1-1/2 step format if you need more gears. eg half-step 6s gearing compared with standard 3s gearing here

http://ritzelrechner.de/?GR=SAAW&KB=38&RZ=20&UF=2050&TF=90&SL=2.6&UN=MPH&DV=gearInches&GR2=SAAW&KB2=38&RZ2=24,21&UF2=2050

- a five speed rear hub (X-RD5(W) or RX-RD5) will give you more gear range, as would a Nexus 8.
- the front hub can be replaced with X-FDD which will give you hub dynamo lighting; to my mind this is a vital ingredient in a really practical bike.
- if you are routinely carrying a heavy load in hilly territory then changing the front brake to XL-FD or XL-FDD (90mm drum) might be a good idea.

Basically these are strong and durable workhorse bikes; if you make sure that the rear hub is kept in good shape and keep an eye on the rest of it, it ought to be a really practical machine for all kinds of utility purposes.

edit; this is an older pronto; it has the same tensioner arrangement as more recent machines but also has a gear hanger for a derailleur

Image

cheers
Last edited by Brucey on 19 Feb 2019, 10:36pm, edited 1 time in total.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

PH
Posts: 7485
Joined: 21 Jan 2007, 12:31am
Location: Derby
Contact:

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

Postby PH » 19 Feb 2019, 10:28pm

Sweep wrote:I did once consider one but that was when SJS would sell you a RBohloff equipped full bike for under a grand - they must surely have been getting a discount to popularise them.

Yes I jumped early, the price and the 100 day trial period tempted me despite some other frame builders rubbishing them, I know of two such builders who soon after had changed their tune. Whatever deal Thorn and Rohloff did it seems to have paid off for them both.

ThePinkOne
Posts: 215
Joined: 12 Jul 2007, 9:21pm

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

Postby ThePinkOne » 3 Mar 2019, 4:38pm

Brucey wrote:< SNIP - duplicate of long posting above >

Many thanks for the info Brucey, much appreciated.

I've been away working the past 10 days, had a text from the Elephant bike people to try to arrange delivery, hopefully will happen sometime this coming week.

Then I can have a fiddle with it. Am thinking a cheap bottle dynamo/light may also be a good addition at some point.

TPO

ThePinkOne
Posts: 215
Joined: 12 Jul 2007, 9:21pm

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

Postby ThePinkOne » 5 Mar 2019, 4:42pm

Update: the Elephant arrived today, I was impressed at how the courier popped the box on his shoulder and carried it around to my back gate!

It also arrived in the only part of the day which was dry and sunny- someone Up There obviously approved :lol:

Unboxed it, turned the handlebars around, had an initial look over it but not yet put the pedals on (had lots of work to finish off before going to a client site tomorrow, fun will have to wait until weekend). Looks tidy enough, brakes seem to be set up OK and have a decent bit of bite, obviously it's had a bit of TLC and there is plenty life left on the Marathon Plus tyres. The dark green colour suits it. A little multi-way bike spanner and pair of allen keys is a thoughtful addition to the package as it means someone without any bike tools could get going straight away.

I ordered a bottle dynamo and light from Rose Bikes yesterday, so anticipate a happy weekend installing that to make it a routine use steed- with the prices of dynamo lights at Rose, it's cheaper than reasonable battery lights, and a bottle dynamo is a low-cost alternative which doesn't require replacing the hub/wheel (tyres already have a dynamo track). Plus I've not played with a bottle dynamo yet :D . I have a frame lock somewhere that I will dig out for it too- yes I am making it as close to a Dutch utility bike in practicality terms.

Other tweaking can wait, if I find I need lower gears I think I have enough bits around the place to change the chainring at low/no cost, and seeing it has square taper cranks (and obviously a new BB fitted) was pleasing.

Overall, first impressions good- more updates after I've ridden it for a bit.

TPO

mercalia
Posts: 11305
Joined: 22 Sep 2013, 10:03pm
Location: london South

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

Postby mercalia » 5 Mar 2019, 7:38pm

ThePinkOne wrote:Update: the Elephant arrived today, I was impressed at how the courier popped the box on his shoulder and carried it around to my back gate!

It also arrived in the only part of the day which was dry and sunny- someone Up There obviously approved :lol:

Unboxed it, turned the handlebars around, had an initial look over it but not yet put the pedals on (had lots of work to finish off before going to a client site tomorrow, fun will have to wait until weekend). Looks tidy enough, brakes seem to be set up OK and have a decent bit of bite, obviously it's had a bit of TLC and there is plenty life left on the Marathon Plus tyres. The dark green colour suits it. A little multi-way bike spanner and pair of allen keys is a thoughtful addition to the package as it means someone without any bike tools could get going straight away.

I ordered a bottle dynamo and light from Rose Bikes yesterday, so anticipate a happy weekend installing that to make it a routine use steed- with the prices of dynamo lights at Rose, it's cheaper than reasonable battery lights, and a bottle dynamo is a low-cost alternative which doesn't require replacing the hub/wheel (tyres already have a dynamo track). Plus I've not played with a bottle dynamo yet :D . I have a frame lock somewhere that I will dig out for it too- yes I am making it as close to a Dutch utility bike in practicality terms.

Other tweaking can wait, if I find I need lower gears I think I have enough bits around the place to change the chainring at low/no cost, and seeing it has square taper cranks (and obviously a new BB fitted) was pleasing.

Overall, first impressions good- more updates after I've ridden it for a bit.

TPO


welcome to the wonderful world of bottles - but you shouldnt mention it on the same thread as Brucey

ThePinkOne
Posts: 215
Joined: 12 Jul 2007, 9:21pm

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

Postby ThePinkOne » 9 Mar 2019, 6:11pm

:D :D :D

I took the Elephant for its first ride out today (after I put the pedals on, put more air in the tyres and attached the front carrier). Just a little potter to the allotment a couple of miles away.

It was a little odd at first as it is a very different riding position to what I'm used to, but once I got the hang of the "potter" technique, it was fine.

I picked a load of winter salad greens out the polytunnel and harvested some purple sprouting broccoli, it was great just to pop the pickings boxes in the front tray and set off. Unlike when I tried a basket on handlebars of a "normal" bike, things DON'T jump out of the Elephant front carrier, maybe because it attached to the head-tube not handlebars?

The brakes have been set up well and the gear change is smooth and works in all gears. Having the twin-leg stand is useful at the allotment as I can park it by where I am harvesting. The handling with the smaller front wheel and front rack fixed to the head tube works better than I expected- just need a slightly different method of manoevreing around the veg beds. In an ideal world I'd maybe like a slightly lower set of gears, but equally with no top-tube and a low BB I can easily hop off the Elephant to walk up the couple of uphill steep bits (one in each direction). The bike also pushes well- maybe that seems an odd "good point" but for this sort of bike it's a good thing IMO.

It did need a big of bike tetris to work out a posiiton where it fits in the bike shed with the front rack on, but that is sorted now.

Verdict: for local pottering (short distances, normal clothes, no magic plastic hat) it's ideal. There's a lot to be said for an old-fashioned "doing useful stuff" bike.

TPO

Brucey
Posts: 35525
Joined: 4 Jan 2012, 6:25pm

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

Postby Brucey » 10 Mar 2019, 7:31am

ThePinkOne wrote:…. Unlike when I tried a basket on handlebars of a "normal" bike, things DON'T jump out of the Elephant front carrier, maybe because it attached to the head-tube not handlebars?

………………. In an ideal world I'd maybe like a slightly lower set of gears......


Many baskets/mountings are somewhat springy, so do tend to bounce the contents around somewhat. The front tyre makes a big difference too (puncture proof tyres have more inbuilt damping, so stuff bounces around less).


You can fit a larger rear sprocket to lower the gear ratios with two caveats

1) you may find you don't have a gear that you really like for pedalling on the flat any more and/or
2) if the tensioner folds back on itself (when the chain wears or unships at the front) it will hit a larger rear sprocket for sure

On the latter point it occurs to me that you could fit a 'stopper bracket' eg to the rear dropout so that the tensioner couldn't come to grief.

cheers
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Ivor Tingting
Posts: 844
Joined: 10 Mar 2009, 9:57pm

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

Postby Ivor Tingting » 13 Mar 2019, 2:22pm

Brucey wrote:re belt drive on Rohloff: For the last few years Rohloff have been fitting their new style driver which makes life easier for the average user; it allows easy replacement of the chain drive sprocket which is now fitted with a spline. This replaces a unique (multi-start) screw thread arrangement for the sprocket. It turns out that the splined arrangement doesn't like a lot of preload on the chain/belt; the sprocket starts to orbit around on the driver, at first by a small amount (determined by the clearance between the parts) and as time goes on by an increasing amount and making a lot of noise too. (BTW the same thing often happens with belt drive sprockets fitted to other IGHs with the conventional three-lug fitment.) Problems are pretty much guaranteed with belt drive because belt drive requires a fair amount of preload.

This has caused plenty of grief to owners and was soon a known problem but it didn't stop folk being sold expensive machines which were bound to give trouble:

https://www.cyclechat.net/threads/cycling-around-the-world-sadly-had-to-return-for-major-repairs.227214/

I'm sure that belt drive suits some folk but I would not choose one myself; chains and sprockets are readily available, cheap, and don't fail often and/or without due warning. If they do fail they are easy to repair.

One of the reasons for buying a rohloff is that it is an efficient transmission. However if you fit a belt drive to one, you have thrown this advantage (and plenty more besides) away.

[Belt manufacturers will produce data which suggests that their belts are efficient. However this data is generated under constant torque conditions, may or may not include a representative preload, and isn't representative of what happens when you ride a bike; the torque varies wildly during pedalling and each time it does the belt stretches slightly and then relaxes again, in a way that doesn't conserve energy. Motorcycles are also available with a choice of belt or chain drive and they too are similarly somewhat 'pulsey'; dynamometer tests suggest that you could be losing tens of percent with a belt drive. ]

To anyone that doesn't care about efficiency, and has never seen one break and/or had to deal with the consequences, belt drives may seem like a really good idea. However if you have seen a belt drive fail or give trouble for some stupid reason that you wouldn't expect, you might think otherwise.

cheers


So is this why pretty much all cars are now fitted with Gates or similar timing belts? Chains are so old school. And the only motorbikes I know that used belts and still do are Harleys. Pretty much every other bike manufacturer uses chains except BMW and Triumph with shaft drive on some of their top end bikes such as the 1200 and 1250 GS and Tiger 1200.
"Zat is ze reel prowoking qwestion Mr Paxman." - Peer Steinbruck, German Finance Minister 31/03/2009.

Brucey
Posts: 35525
Joined: 4 Jan 2012, 6:25pm

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

Postby Brucey » 13 Mar 2019, 2:34pm

timing belts are a special case; they don't have to transmit that much torque (on average), they don't see much in the way of shock loads, and they can be fairly wide (about three times as wide as a chain to do the same job) without any trouble. Even so they often don't last as long as the manufacturers would like them to, and plenty of engine manufacturers have swung back the other way towards chains again.

cheers
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~