Why the Rohloff Speedhub is (secretly) inferior

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Ivor Tingting
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Re: Why the Rohloff Speedhub is (secretly) inferior

Postby Ivor Tingting » 26 Oct 2019, 6:50pm

rualexander wrote:
meandros wrote:.....The thing is, though, the service costs to replace that for a Rohloff would probably be just about as "cheap" as getting a new A11 hub alltogether...


Any Rohloff hub shell failures which I have read about have had the shells replaced free of charge.
A new Alfine 11 hub costs around £250.


I believe that is the case although I have not come across owners who have experienced failures themselves. Obviously failures have happened as Rohloff now supply compression rings to be fitted before the hub is built into a wheel. I think the problem may have affected older hubs and where the wheel was not built correctly according to Rolloff's advice. Maybe Brucey can enlighten although he is probably sick to death as this issue does the rounds fairly frequently. Must be that time of year again. I know SJS stand by their wheel builds for Rohloff hubs. I shouldn't think Mr Shimano is quite so supportive if owners have failures with their Nexus or Alfine hubs.
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pete75
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Re: Why the Rohloff Speedhub is (secretly) inferior

Postby pete75 » 27 Oct 2019, 9:30am

And are Rohloff so expensive if bought as part of new bike rather than on their own? In 2016 I bought a new, Rohloff equipped VSF TX-400 from a bike shop in Germany. It has a stell frame and was equipped with Schmidt Son Dynohub, high end b&M lights, Tubus carriers front and rear , Marathon mondial tyres, ergon bar end grips, Rigida Andra rims, Magura hydraulic brakes etc. It was £1360. It even came with a pump. A similar specced derailleur or Al-fine equipped bike might only have been a couple of hundred less if that.

thelawnet
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Re: Why the Rohloff Speedhub is (secretly) inferior

Postby thelawnet » 27 Oct 2019, 9:47am

tx-400 RRP is €2500

you must have got an extremely good deal

PH
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Re: Why the Rohloff Speedhub is (secretly) inferior

Postby PH » 27 Oct 2019, 10:49am

It isn't easy to work out how much the Rohloff adds to the price of a bike, it's not often you see otherwise identical bikes, the Rohloff versions tend to be better equipped all round. I was lucky and bought mine shortly after Thorn started heavily promoting them, the bike wasn't that much more than the price of a hub! When you consider cost, it's also worth looking at resale value, I bought a second hub secondhand, it was seven years old, I knew it's history which was a fair mileage and well looked after, and paid a fair price around 50% of the original. Anyone want to put a value on an seven year old well used derailleur system? It's not the most sensible of arguments anyway, if it does what you want that's where the value is.
The Shimano hubs, particularly the 8 speed, are incredible value. On a German website I recently spotted an Alfine built into a reasonable rim for £167 :shock: If it has the gear range and spacing you want and you don't mind the extra maintenance it's impossible to beat, but if it doesn't meet your needs why would you even consider it?

PH
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Re: Why the Rohloff Speedhub is (secretly) inferior

Postby PH » 27 Oct 2019, 11:18am

Ivor Tingting wrote: I know SJS stand by their wheel builds for Rohloff hubs.

My first replacement hub shell was supplied by Rohloff, but they wouldn't do so for free after the second because of the change in wheel size (Fair enough, it's in the handbook) SJS did it out of goodwill even though it wasn't changed by them, otherwise the cost (three years ago) would have been around £125.
SJS have deviated from Rohloff's wheel building recommendations, they believe they can do it better. I don't know (Or care) if they're right and they're an easy company to criticise for such attitudes. I quite like companies with strong opinions, even more so when they back them up and if you have a Rohloff and wheel builds from them the warranty is ten years rather than the manufacturers five.

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Cunobelin
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Re: Why the Rohloff Speedhub is (secretly) inferior

Postby Cunobelin » 27 Oct 2019, 1:21pm

I have two recumbent trikes, two Thorn Ravens, and a Birdy with Rohlofff - no trouble ever.

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Tigerbiten
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Re: Why the Rohloff Speedhub is (secretly) inferior

Postby Tigerbiten » 27 Oct 2019, 1:50pm

I had mine for ~5 years on my bent trike before I had any trouble with it.
One of the screws with hold the dogbone/ex-box adapter in place had lost its head. The shank left in the hole then fretted it's way in and started to jam one of the gear clusters.
This made it very hard to shift between 2-3-4 and 9-10-11.
So probably not a common failure mode ..... :D
I sent it to SJS with all the paperwork needed and got it back repaired a week later.
I don't know if I paid anything more than the cost of swapping to a new 21t sprocket and splined carrier.

Used in conjunction with a Schlumpf HSD, it gives me easy shifting over a very wide range of gears.

Luck ......... :D

steelframe
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Re: Why the Rohloff Speedhub is (secretly) inferior

Postby steelframe » 27 Oct 2019, 2:40pm

I am also convinced by the Rohloff hub and run several of them, dating from early 2000s until relatively recent, each w/o any issues. It is no doubt expensive but on the other hand I do not see any alternative that would deliver the same value in terms of gear range, low maintenance, usability and bomb-proofness. So a direct comparison is a bit pointless - what worth is it if a Shimano hub is cheaper but has a totally different set of features that do not fit my needs?

I do own a bike with a Nexus 8 premium and one with an Alfine 11 as well, so I can directly compare those hubs with the Rohloff and can clearly say that the Rohloff is lightyears ahead for my taste. Which is not important if you do not need the features of the Rohloff.

Regarding the statements of the OP there's in my eyes so much wrong that I would not even know where to start to criticize and there would probably be no ending as well, so I just don't go into detail and just state: full disagreement in almost every aspect. :roll: :wink:

One interesting thought experiment is if the Rohloff is overpriced. One can think about that but comparing it to any Shimano product would be plainly misleading for the simple reason that Shimano is a company with about 12.000 employees that is producing in Asia (including China) in huge numbers at low labor cost whereas Rohloff is a family run relatively small business with a little bit over 30 employees that produces in Germany in small numbers at high labor cost. The revenue of Shimano in 2019 will be about 360.000.000.000 Yen which equals about 3 billion Euros with roughly about 20% of that being operative profits according to Shimano's fact sheet (https://www.shimano.com/jp/img/pdf/fact ... 190630.pdf) - that would make more or less about 600.000.000€ in profits. Rohloff on the other hand made about 450.000€ in operative profits in 2017 according to the German company house (https://www.unternehmensregister.de/). I would assume that apart from the regional cost structure economics of scale do have a massive effect on the price of the final product as has the quality. Not even counting in that end-user-prices differ massively from OEM pricing and that again depends from the amount you buy.

Maybe, if Shimano produced the Rohloff hub in huge numbers, it could be 20, 30, or even 40% cheaper - just that they don't. And that there is no market for 100.000s of Rohloff hubs a year. Which makes this calculation a little bit pointless. The more as for mass production there is a probability that Shimano would cut corners qualitywise at some point to enable lower cost.

meandros
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Re: Why the Rohloff Speedhub is (secretly) inferior

Postby meandros » 28 Oct 2019, 1:59am

Brucey wrote:Nothing is perfect and nothing lasts for ever; when it comes to bike parts it is arguably a question of choosing your poison. I don't know how you can maintain the fiction of '100% reliablity in A11' when you have had hubshells break. It doesn't make sense.


That's not what I'm saying, Brucey. What I am saying is every Shimano IGH that came thru my shop has been fixed, no matter the state or defect it came with. Now, I've dealt with a couple Alfines that had seen the carrier 3 destroyed and those hubs were working like nothing happened once I replaced that part. Now, for this rohloffff I can't get a pos driver to save my life which makes the whole hub scrap.

pete75
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Why I wrongly think the Rohloff Speedhub is (secretly) inferior

Postby pete75 » 28 Oct 2019, 8:14am

There we are, thread title corrected.

brynpoeth
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Re: Why the Rohloff Speedhub is (secretly) inferior

Postby brynpoeth » 28 Oct 2019, 8:20am

It costs x more than an Alfine 11
Is it x times better?!
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Mick F
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Re: Why the Rohloff Speedhub is (secretly) inferior

Postby Mick F » 28 Oct 2019, 8:32am

brynpoeth wrote:It costs x more than an Alfine 11
Is it x times better?!

Better question is why buy a Rohloff at all.

If you're going to that expense - circa £900 to £1000 - you could buy all sorts of other gearing systems and replace the parts as they wear out, and still be quids in.
Mick F. Cornwall

ElCani
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Re: Why the Rohloff Speedhub is (secretly) inferior

Postby ElCani » 28 Oct 2019, 9:10am

Mick F wrote:
brynpoeth wrote:It costs x more than an Alfine 11
Is it x times better?!

Better question is why buy a Rohloff at all.

If you're going to that expense - circa £900 to £1000 - you could buy all sorts of other gearing systems and replace the parts as they wear out, and still be quids in.


Presumably a large part of the reason is to avoid the hassle of doing that.

geocycle
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Re: Why the Rohloff Speedhub is (secretly) inferior

Postby geocycle » 28 Oct 2019, 9:41am

Mick F wrote:
brynpoeth wrote:It costs x more than an Alfine 11
Is it x times better?!

Better question is why buy a Rohloff at all.

If you're going to that expense - circa £900 to £1000 - you could buy all sorts of other gearing systems and replace the parts as they wear out, and still be quids in.


Maybe. I bought my complete bike in 2006 for £1200. If I sold it tomorrow I'd want at least £1000. Even with inflation that's not a bad return. Most other systems have next to no resale value. There are also maintenance calculations some have attempted which suggest there's often a saving in the long term.

reohn2
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Re: Why the Rohloff Speedhub is (secretly) inferior

Postby reohn2 » 28 Oct 2019, 9:51am

Mick F wrote:
brynpoeth wrote:It costs x more than an Alfine 11
Is it x times better?!

Better question is why buy a Rohloff at all.

If you're going to that expense - circa £900 to £1000 - you could buy all sorts of other gearing systems and replace the parts as they wear out, and still be quids in.

I think you'd be on a loser there.
TBH I think for extended touring use put to it's full potential a Rohloff beats any deraileur system for cost and low maintenance,factor into that unpaved roads in all weather conditions or MTBing and the deraileur doesn't stand a chance
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