Why the Rohloff Speedhub is (secretly) inferior

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Mick F
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Re: Why the Rohloff Speedhub is (secretly) inferior

Postby Mick F » 4 Nov 2019, 11:27am

I met a chap walking with his bike once. I stopped to lend a hand/advice/help.
He had an eBike, with the motor on the cranks, and a Shimano Nexus 8sp on the rear. His Nexus had packed up - no drive - so therefore he had to walk.

As it happens, we chatted for a while and he had another three miles to get home. Some of his route home was downhill, so he could freewheel but much of it was uphill too. Heavy bike! :shock:
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Re: Why the Rohloff Speedhub is (secretly) inferior

Postby amediasatex » 4 Nov 2019, 11:47am

The utility cyclist wrote:I already did the calculation based on a 10 speed derailleur system (at todays live market prices) earlier in the thread, there's absolutely no doubt that just a Rohloff hub alone (never mind chains etc) is not far shy of double the cost over 100k miles,


forgive me if I missed the post but all I can find is where you said:

The utility cyclist wrote:£540 even in todays market can get you 100,000 miles fairly comfortably


But I can't find your breakdown of how you came to that cost?

I can't get anywhere near this using what I think are fairly conservative assumptions of longevity.

Cassette (Tiagra 10 speed) - Most places listing these at £25-29.99, but assume you foudn a great deal an can get them for £15
Chain (Tiagra 10 speed) - £11 seems to be the nominal selling price at the moment

Assuming a Tiagra compact double:

Inner Chainring - £12
Outer Charinring - £25

Assuming a third party triple using Spa's very affordable rings

Inner Chainring - £12
Middle Chainring - £19
Outer Chainring - £27

Tiagra rear derailleur - £22
Tiagra front derailleur - £19
Tiagra 10 speed drop bar STI - £119 <-- best price I could find
OR
Tiagra 10 speed flat bar shifters - £65

Now, I'm going to leave out the cost of cranks as you need them for a Rohloff too, (which means you get the first set of chainrings for free int his estimate!)

So, making some conservative assumptions on longevity, over 100,000 miles of mixed riding in all weathers.

Cassette lasting 5000 miles: 20x £15 = £300 (this should be £500 based on the £25 selling prices I can find)
Chain lasting 2500 miles: 40x £11 = £440

Chainrings wear at different rates, lets be generous and say an outer can go 30,000 miles, a middle 20,000 and inner 15,000? sound reasonable? Remember I've irnogred the first set as they came on the chainset that I've not included. There's some leeway either way here between double and triple depending on how you use them.

Double:
Outer: 2x £25 = £50
Inner: 4x £12 = £48
total = £98

Triple:
Outer: 2x £25 = £50
Middle: 4x £19 = £76
Inner: 5x £12 = £60
total = £182

Assume the mechs and shifters last the full 100,000

£160 for drop bar or £106 for flat bar

So here's the breakdown so far

Double Drop bar - £300 + £440 + £160 + £98 = £998
Double Flat bar - £300 + £440 + £106 + £98 = £944

Triple Drop bar - £300 + £440 + £160 + £182 = £1082
Triple Flat bar - £300 + £440 + £106 + £182 = £1028


So a Rohloff is going to cost you in chains, sprockets and chainrings too, but they last longer, say 4 Chainrings and 8 sprockets?

Chainrings, lets use big ones, 3x £25 = £75 (remember the first one is not counter in either setup as it's on the cranks already and we're looking at the delta)
Sprockets, 8 x £20 = £160

Chains, well IGH chains can last ages, but lets be pessimistic and say they only last twice as long as a derailleur chain

Chain, 20x £11 = £220

Rohloff retails for £1125, but can be had for as little as £830, but lets say £1000 average?

So here's the breakdown so far

£1000 + £220 + £160 + £75 = £1455

So on the face of it that's ~50% more than the 10 speed setup over the same mileage, but that's assuming your mechs and shifters make it to 100,000 which they might not. It's also ignoring that once your're 100,000 miles is up the Rohloff will then do another 100,000 with the only ongoing costs being (fewer consumables) where as the derailleur setup will not only be costing more in consumables, it'll probably need most of the other parts replacing too, so as time goes on the Rohloff is a lot cheaper.

The other elephant in the room is that the above prices are all worked out using Shimano's cheapest 10 speed parts, any deviation to posher kit is going to push the cost upwards, and all prices were based on current lowest selling prices online, LBS prices and time may also push those prices up considerably. There's some saving to me made dropping to 8 speed, but surprisingly, not much!

I've also been fairly optimistc with the mileages I think, loaded touring can kill chains, cassettes and chainrings quicker than the above figures, especially when not maintained well where as an IGH will require less maintenance and worn parts will still function.

All of the above is obviously based on assumptions and the figures could vary, in either direction, and this is a discussion NOT an argument so if anyone wants to dispute or offer adjustments then please feel free to do so, but please show your workings and don't just quote a £ value, it's useful for people to see how others have arrived at their outcomes

PS. In case it's relevant I do NOT own a Rohloff
Last edited by amediasatex on 4 Nov 2019, 11:51am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Why the Rohloff Speedhub is (secretly) inferior

Postby amediasatex » 4 Nov 2019, 11:48am

Mick F wrote:no drive - so therefore he had to walk.


You mean just like any normal hub where a freewheel packs in?
this is not a problem unique to IGH.

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Re: Why the Rohloff Speedhub is (secretly) inferior

Postby Brucey » 4 Nov 2019, 12:35pm

Mick F wrote:I met a chap walking with his bike once. I stopped to lend a hand/advice/help.
He had an eBike, with the motor on the cranks, and a Shimano Nexus 8sp on the rear. His Nexus had packed up - no drive - so therefore he had to walk.

As it happens, we chatted for a while and he had another three miles to get home. Some of his route home was downhill, so he could freewheel but much of it was uphill too. Heavy bike! :shock:


FWIW the most likely cause of 'no drive in the hub' is that the sprocket was knackered; specifically the three lugs on a 3/32" sprocket are usually offset to the outside and are only just engaging with the driver. It doesn't take much wear to cause the sprocket to spin uselessly on the driver, often accompanied by a clunking sound. The cure is to use a 1/8" sprocket and chain; the sprocket will engage with the driver properly and there is unlikely to be a recurrence. Second best cure is to use a 3/32" sprocket with the drive lugs set to the inside of the sprocket not the outside (may require a different chainline).
This fault happens on enthusiastically ridden human powered bikes, but happens much sooner on e-bikes that drive through the chain to the hub gear.

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Re: Why the Rohloff Speedhub is (secretly) inferior

Postby Mick F » 4 Nov 2019, 12:47pm

amediasatex wrote:
Mick F wrote:no drive - so therefore he had to walk.


You mean just like any normal hub where a freewheel packs in?
this is not a problem unique to IGH.
No, not unique of course.

If a derailleur packs in, the drive is still there. If a hub gear packs in, you have nothing.
Mick F. Cornwall

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Re: Why the Rohloff Speedhub is (secretly) inferior

Postby reohn2 » 4 Nov 2019, 2:01pm

Mick F wrote:I met a chap walking with his bike once. I stopped to lend a hand/advice/help.
He had an eBike, with the motor on the cranks, and a Shimano Nexus 8sp on the rear. His Nexus had packed up - no drive - so therefore he had to walk.

As it happens, we chatted for a while and he had another three miles to get home. Some of his route home was downhill, so he could freewheel but much of it was uphill too. Heavy bike! :shock:

The same can be said of any bike,whether that be an e-bike or not,IGH or deraileur

EDIT,posted before reading other replies to your post.
Last edited by reohn2 on 4 Nov 2019, 2:20pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Why the Rohloff Speedhub is (secretly) inferior

Postby reohn2 » 4 Nov 2019, 2:15pm

Amediasatex
You forgot the cost of Shimano rear hubs,my XT M756 are £50 pop,say two per 100k miles?
I think your chain and cassette costs are slightly pessimistic for tarmac touring though in the harsh conditions of off road expedition type touring would be about right IMO.

Edit; regarding STI's and mechs,you be very lucky indeed to get them to last 100k miles,especially 10sp STI's,of course you could go with bar end levers @ around £65 but even they wouldn't last 100k miles IMO.
Last edited by reohn2 on 4 Nov 2019, 2:26pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Why the Rohloff Speedhub is (secretly) inferior

Postby reohn2 » 4 Nov 2019, 2:19pm

geocycle wrote:I think we have an equation where Hassle = magnitude x frequency. With a robust derailleur system you can expect a lot of minor tweaks to be needed to keep you on the road but it is usually possible to bodge or repair. With a rohloff you are likely to encounter very few if any problems, but if something catastrophic should occur it could result in being holed up for a couple of weeks waiting for a part. It depends on the specific journey and the mentality of the rider as to which is the best approach.

I can't argue with that.
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Re: Why the Rohloff Speedhub is (secretly) inferior

Postby meandros » 4 Nov 2019, 2:23pm

reohn2 wrote:
geocycle wrote:I think we have an equation where Hassle = magnitude x frequency. With a robust derailleur system you can expect a lot of minor tweaks to be needed to keep you on the road but it is usually possible to bodge or repair. With a rohloff you are likely to encounter very few if any problems, but if something catastrophic should occur it could result in being holed up for a couple of weeks waiting for a part. It depends on the specific journey and the mentality of the rider as to which is the best approach.

I can't argue with that.


BINGO!

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Re: Why the Rohloff Speedhub is (secretly) inferior

Postby reohn2 » 4 Nov 2019, 2:32pm

meandros wrote:
reohn2 wrote:
geocycle wrote:I think we have an equation where Hassle = magnitude x frequency. With a robust derailleur system you can expect a lot of minor tweaks to be needed to keep you on the road but it is usually possible to bodge or repair. With a rohloff you are likely to encounter very few if any problems, but if something catastrophic should occur it could result in being holed up for a couple of weeks waiting for a part. It depends on the specific journey and the mentality of the rider as to which is the best approach.

I can't argue with that.


BINGO!

?????
It's not bingo at all it's simply this,it depends on the conditions you choose to use your deraileur or Rohloff in.I think you'll find that horses for courses is a good analogy with the tougher the course the more likely the Rohloff offers better performance.
Why do you think,in spite of their initial cost,so many extended expedition tourists use Rohloff?
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Re: Why the Rohloff Speedhub is (secretly) inferior

Postby amediasatex » 4 Nov 2019, 2:34pm

reohn2 wrote:Amediasatex
You forgot the cost of Shimano rear hubs,my XT M756 are £50 pop,say two per 100k miles?
I think your chain and cassette costs are slightly pessimistic for tarmac touring though in the harsh conditions of off road expedition type touring would be about right IMO.

Edit; regarding STI's and mechs,you be very lucky indeed to get them to last 100k miles,especially 10sp STI's,of course you could go with bar end levers @ around £65 but even they wouldn't last 100k miles IMO.


I deliberately left the cost of the rear hub out of it, partly to avoid people arguing over the cost, and partly to favour the derailleur setup in assuming you already have a hub, in the overall cost even a £50 hub is a tiny % of the lifetime cost, but you are right to highlight it.

Chain and cassette longevity will be the biggest variable open to debate I’m sure, it might be pessimistic for a well maintained tarmac tourer in good weather, and overly optimistic for an overland tourer used in poor conditions. Perhaps I should do a best and worst case option?

Likewise the longevity of the shifters and mechs, I was being optimistic ;-) It’s also worth re-stating Bruceys’ point though that a pile of worn out shifters and mechs (at whatever mileage) are essentially worth £0, where as a Rohloff has residual value and will at some point break even with its initial purchase cost and then only need consumables.

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Re: Why the Rohloff Speedhub is (secretly) inferior

Postby reohn2 » 4 Nov 2019, 2:39pm

amediasatex wrote:
reohn2 wrote:Amediasatex
You forgot the cost of Shimano rear hubs,my XT M756 are £50 pop,say two per 100k miles?
I think your chain and cassette costs are slightly pessimistic for tarmac touring though in the harsh conditions of off road expedition type touring would be about right IMO.

Edit; regarding STI's and mechs,you be very lucky indeed to get them to last 100k miles,especially 10sp STI's,of course you could go with bar end levers @ around £65 but even they wouldn't last 100k miles IMO.


I deliberately left the cost of the rear hub out of it, partly to avoid people arguing over the cost. It partly to favour the derailleur costing and in the overall cost even a £50 hub is a tiny % of the lifetime cost, but you are right to highlight it.

Chain and cassette longevity will be the biggest variable open to debate I’m sure, it might be pessimistic for a well maintained tarmac tourer in good weather, and overly optimistic for an overland tourer used in poor conditions. Perhaps I should do a best and worst case option?

Likewise the longevity of the shifters, I was being optimistic ;-) it’s also worth re-stating Bruceys’ point though that a pile of worn out shifters and mechs (at whatever mileage) are essentially worth £0, where as a Rohloff has residual value and will at some point break even with its initial purchase cost and then only need consumables.


I think we're in agreement,especially in that the Rohloff at 100K miles will still have a lot of life left in it,whereas the deraileur equipped bike is making more junk as it goes and is total junk at 100k.
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Re: Why the Rohloff Speedhub is (secretly) inferior

Postby amediasatex » 4 Nov 2019, 2:58pm

As above, here's an adjusted best and worse case for cassette and chain and impact on the lifetime cost, (no adjustment to chainrings)

Best case (unrealistic?)
Cassette lasting ~15000 miles: 7x £15 = £105 (this should be £172 based on the £25 selling prices I can find)
Chain lasting 5000 miles: 20x £11 = £220
total = £325

Worst case (I've seen worse than this in real life on both my own bikes and others)
Cassette lasting 3000 miles: 33x £15 = £495 (this should be £825 based on the £25 selling prices I can find)
Chain lasting 1500 miles: 66x £11 = £726
total = £1221

Best case overall adjustment
Double Drop bar - £325 + £160 + £98 = £583
Double Flat bar - £325 + £106 + £98 = £529

Triple Drop bar - £325 + £160 + £182 = £667
Triple Flat bar - £325 + £106 + £182 = £613

Worst case overall adjustment
Double Drop bar - £1221 + £160 + £98 = £1479
Double Flat bar - £1221 + £106 + £98 = £1425

Triple Drop bar - £1221 + £160 + £182 = £1563
Triple Flat bar - £1221 + £106 + £182 = £1509


So that gets closer to the ~£540 value The Utility Cyclist came up with, but I think that really is under perfect perfect conditions and achieving mileages that are not realistic in the real world for anything but a meticulously maintained summer bike using the *cheapest components possible.

It does highlight how consumable cost is the biggest contributing factor, as well as the most variable. I'd like to highlight the chains specifically, 2000 miles is very much a 'real world' longevity based on what I see through workshops and club riders, and when that equates to 50-60 chains over 100,000 miles and many chains costing significantly more than quoted above it's easy to see how that adds up, you could blow more than the cost of the Rohloff hub on chains alone if you had a penchant for posh chains.

*as in online bargains, not cheap tat. Any revision of those prices would only be upwards as RRP and even 'normal' selling price is above the quoted figures. If you're buying 10 cassettes and 20 odd chains it doesn't take much increase per item to significantly affect the lifetime cost.

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Re: Why the Rohloff Speedhub is (secretly) inferior

Postby The utility cyclist » 4 Nov 2019, 4:44pm

PH wrote:
The utility cyclist wrote:That's just a simple indisputable fact.

I dispute it and having run and paid the bills on several derailleur systems and a Rohloffs I'm better qualified to know.

Dispute it all you like, I just totted up the costs to include a shed load of chains, a lot of cassettes, replacement rear derailleurs with a couple of pairs of jockey wheels thrown in if you like, a second front derailleur, replacement rings and replacement STIs (though you're unlikely to need more than one left side IME.
What makes you think you''re more qualified or are you disputing the costs of the goods from retailers? having totted not far shy of 200,000 miles myself using varying machines over 30+ years I'm equally qualified thanks. I know how much a Rohloff hub on its own costs and for 100k of derailleur system cycling, it's cheaper, significantly so and that's at current prices for 10 speed, even cheaper if you go to 9 or 8 speed triples.

I've already said that I don't have a problem with Rohloff, people buy it for their own requirements, and if they see it real or otherwise as better VfM, fits their needs more that doesn't impinge me whatsoever, I really don't care what you spend your money on. The actual fact of the matter is that over the 100,000 mile supposed lifespan of a Rohloff (AIUI) from the basic calculations of use from components in my personal experience and the actual cost in today's prices, a 10 speed system is cheaper, and by several hundred pounds without having the huge upfront outlay.
I didn't include any of the rohloiff additional costs other than the hub and yes maintenance costs can vary but the actual base cost of a hub v a derailleur system it's cheaper for the latter.

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Re: Why the Rohloff Speedhub is (secretly) inferior

Postby amediasatex » 4 Nov 2019, 5:00pm

The utility cyclist wrote:Dispute it all you like, I just totted up the costs.... and for 100k of derailleur system cycling, it's cheaper, significantly so and that's at current prices for 10 speed, even cheaper if you go to 9 or 8 speed triples.

from the basic calculations of use from components in my personal experience and the actual cost in today's prices, a 10 speed system is cheaper, and by several hundred pounds without having the huge upfront outlay.


That's twice now you've done that, once with a single stated figure, and once just with 'cheaper', can you please show your workings? It is useful for readers to see how you've come to your figures and outcomes.

I've tried up thread to give a rough breakdown including both best and worst case mileage scenarios, and I'm significantly off your figures for some reason. I'd just like to know why that is, is it a significantly cheaper source of parts or difference in your mileage/longevity estimates?

Thanks in advance.
Last edited by amediasatex on 4 Nov 2019, 5:02pm, edited 1 time in total.