For those interested in what actually happened:
I'm back in the UK as the noise returned after I cycled through Spain and into Southern France. I contacted all involved and was not offered any assistance in getting the bike back or even the wheel back on it's own. Rohloff informed me that even if I sent the wheel back to them, all they would do is put more grease in it to keep the noise down so they may as well send me some grease. I still felt there was more to it than just lobbing grease into it, so sought professional advice as the noise wasn't just some light ticking or clicking, it could be heard from the other side of a busy road.
The advice given to me independently was that I had to return the bike to the dealer while it was still under warranty, as now there could be safety issues with grease getting onto the belt and the grinding noise was not what I was expecting from this bike. As I was offered no assistance in getting the bike back or taking it into a dealership or bike shop nearest me, I was left with no choice but to return to the UK with the bike to get it sorted.
Turns out it was more than noise and there was considerable wear involved. There is apparently an issue with the marriage of the new splined carrier / components and the Gates carbon belt drive.
After phone calls and emails, Rohloff felt that to better suit my needs, my bike would be fitted with a chain drive to the Rohloff hub instead of the belt. The bike has now been fitted with sprockets / cogs / to carry a heavy duty chain. The main hub unit is intact and had been serviced with oil change. The issue was with the parts that connected to the main hub unit and not the unit itself.
Rohloff and Gates Carbon Drive are working on a permanent solution to the marriage of parts with regard to the belt, but as yet none is available other than a temporary fix with a thick grease. It is believed that this issue might only appear in less then 1% of hub and chain setups.
I had a feeling it was more than just a case of applying a thick grease from the start, and it's not often I'm wrong when I get a gut feeling. Between Rohloff and Cyclesense, the bike has now been converted to the chain drive and hub, with extra spare rear sprocket, rear carrier and clip, front sprocket, being supplied too.
Also Cyclesense is fitting a new bottom bracket to give me peace of mind, as I expressed that the BB might need a looking at too, not that I thought there was anything wrong with it, just that while other things were being looked at. New Schwalbe tyres and tubes, tools to help me carry out sprocket changes myself, service and spare hub oil change kit, as well as a chainglider to help keep some oil of my legs.
All in all I feel we have settled on a good setup and I'm really pleased that it is Cyclesense that is carrying out the work and I'm looking forward to collecting the bike this week.
I will be returning to the point I left off in Marseille Southern France. Despite the issues with the bike, I am really looking forward to getting back on it and continuing my world cycle. The date I will be returning is 1st March 2018. It has been an amazing experience on the tour. Through the UK to Portsmouth, St-Milo in France to San Sebastian in Spain. Then over the Basque Country hills and mountains to Madrid, Madrid to Valencia, then I followed the coast of Spain up and through to Marseille. A total of 3300 km's.
It was really tough at times. Lonely, hard work on my body and mind, but amazing too. I met some wonderful people and experienced things that I never expected. For this first time cycle tourer, I'm really proud of my achievement thus far.
I had originally planned my tour so that I would have been clear of Europe before the worst of the winter weather set in, but due to my having to return, I missed my window. I will now be spending Christmas with my daughters and loved ones and I'm looking forward to it. I will be timing my return with the hope that I will have missed the worst of winter and will be heading into Spring.
My route has slightly changed, and instead of following the coast of Italy from France, I will be crossing to Sardinia and up into Corsica from there, before Livorno on mainland Italy. Then it's down the coast through......... oh who knows
We will see how I feel at the time.
Of course I'm sad about the return, but fingers crossed you lot that this new setup get's me a heck of a lot farther than the last setup. I still haven't given the bike a name, but I have a few in mind. https://www.facebook.com/StephenPeelAdventureTravel/http://www.stephenpeel.co.uk/