Converting a deraileur bike to use a Rohloff hub

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Brucey
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Re: Converting a deraileur bike to use a Rohloff hub

Postby Brucey » 20 Dec 2020, 3:39pm

Billy007 wrote:

I take it you are having a dig at me ….
.. how dare you be so rude to infer that this is madness, …
... Not very friendly or welcoming is it? I would suggest you are quite mad, mad as fruit loop...…
.. This is a crazy idea and suspect NO ONE would ever do this unless they have rocks in their head. …
...This is madness......


uh, rightho, Mr Pot... :roll:
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slowster
Posts: 1934
Joined: 7 Jul 2017, 10:37am

Re: Converting a deraileur bike to use a Rohloff hub

Postby slowster » 20 Dec 2020, 3:44pm

The right frame for a Rohloff is whatever frame you like as long as it has 135mm OLN. I suspect that a lot of people who want the frame to be made specifically to be Rohloff compatible with an EBB or sliding/adjustable drop outs and cable mounts conflate the relatively high up front cost of the Rohloff with a dream bike or superbike. You can have a bike that is designed for a Rohloff, but it is certainly not essential.

I think when it was first developed all Rohloffs initially had to use the bolt on torque reaction arm, bolt on cable stops and most likely a chain tensioner. It's only with increasing sales that Rohloff has introduced all the various options that have allowed the torque reaction arm to be dispensed with on many frames.

The Rohloff is simply a very good hub gear, and that's all it is. It suits some people and uses very well, but not everyone and not all uses. I think some people get carried away with the Rohloff and lose the plot, either seeking a bike that is perfect in every respect or trying to improve what they think is wrong with the Rohloff. There are a few very expensive aftermarket shifter options for the Rohloff for people who want thumb shifters (Cinq5) or drop bar brifters (Gebla Rohbox), and from what I've read they are all inferior in engineering design/performance to the simple but reliable Rohloff twist shifter. I've seen it commented before that German engineers tend to design things to be used in a certain way, and it's usually best to use it that way, rather than try to use it differently or modify it, and I think that applies to the Rohloff.

As for whether your bike needs a chain tensioner, has an EBB or sliding drop outs, or has disc brakes mounted on the seat stay vs the chain stay etc., i.e. all things which can vary which particular components you need to use a Rohloff on your frame, that's just detail. What Tiberius posted on the thread to which 531Colin linked above describes it very well:

I had a Surly Troll/Rohloff....still got the Troll, Rohloff transplanted elsewhere, and I agree with all of that.

I built it up from scratch and decided on the solid axel hub (I've never really liked QRs anyway) and it all performed very well. I even added a Surly Tugnut to the drive side, a bit 'belt and braces' but I found that it helped with wheel alignment.

I know exactly what is going through 531colin's head as I went through a similar dilema when I transplanted the Rohloff into a Van Nicholas Amazon Cross. All OM2/Monkeybone/Chain tensioner/Disc brake - I was gobsmacked when it all slid together and worked perfectly (I knew that it SHOULD, but...... :roll: ) On it's maiden voyage I got a flat in the rear five miles from home. Wheel out, new tube, wheel straight back in no problem. Getting everything to line up in one go sounds tricky, but it really isn't that difficult.

Brucey wrote:FWIW I like my peace and quiet; this means a chainglider is not an option; IME they are noisy things.

I don't notice the noise, possibly because I am mostly riding the bike off-road, and for me (for my off-road use) the benefits of the Chainglider far outweigh the disadvantages. From time to time I've brushed off mud that has dried on the Chainglider which would otherwise have ended up on - and in - the chain. I don't keep a record of my mileages, but on that bike I think the KMC Z610 3/32" chain has probably done something over 2,000 miles on mostly gritty or muddy tracks in summer and winter. I lubricated the chain for the first time this winter last week, and I've just measured the chain wear using your Unequivocal Guide to Chain Wear Method - the result was 5.02".

mercalia
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Re: Converting a deraileur bike to use a Rohloff hub

Postby mercalia » 20 Dec 2020, 4:45pm

whats my interest in all this? well I used to have 2 bikes before one was vandalised. my cycle use has changed over the last few years doing fewer miles and using trains to get to some where interesting. Ans pondered about using local buses to cross the country, joining gaps up with the bike. I had thought of a Rohloff Brompton( there is a guy in Scotland that does them) but the price is too high @approx £3000. And I would also like a bike with almost no maitenance or running costs hence some kind of hub gear. I had thought of the shimano hubs but I understand they aint reliable. Instead of spending £3000 use that money for trains

Brucey
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Re: Converting a deraileur bike to use a Rohloff hub

Postby Brucey » 20 Dec 2020, 5:12pm

mercalia wrote:whats my interest in all this? well I used to have 2 bikes...…….. I had thought of a Rohloff Brompton( there is a guy in Scotland that does them) but the price is too high @approx £3000. And I would also like a bike with almost no maitenance or running costs hence some kind of hub gear. I had thought of the shimano hubs but I understand they aint reliable...


Well the Alfine 8 is pretty reliable, and its main shortcoming (for touring) is that it doesn't have the wider range of 11s, 14s gears. Also the gear intervals are somewhat larger too. Both issues can be addressed by using more than one chainring and having a spring loaded tensioner, but this does take away from the inherent simplicity of the whole affair. It of course can be fitted to a 135mm OLN frame and is a fairly inexpensive way of dipping your toes into murky IGH water.

Any transmission is always a compromise; low maintenance is never 'no maintenance'; whichever way you cut it, you will be doing something rather than nothing, just the content and frequency of the work will vary, is all.

BTW the same approach as many use with derailleur gears (i.e. change the chain when it is worn by about 0.5% and get many chain's worth of use from the sprocket/chainring) works very well with an IGH too, but few take this approach; the 'low maintenance' route can mean that the chain wears almost to 1% before there are clear signs of wear, and by then it is probably too late to fit a new chain on the same sprockets.

FWIW if you buy cheap chains and bin them after about 1000 miles, probably the new chain would work on the same chainring and sprocket, and probably you wouldn't ever have to bother cleaning the chain, or worry about protecting it in use, either.

cheers
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Cyril Haearn
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Re: Converting a deraileur bike to use a Rohloff hub

Postby Cyril Haearn » 20 Dec 2020, 5:35pm

Surely one might hire or borrow a cycle fitted with the r-thing to find out if one might like it, no need to buy
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Brucey
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Re: Converting a deraileur bike to use a Rohloff hub

Postby Brucey » 20 Dec 2020, 6:58pm

Cyril Haearn wrote:Surely one might hire or borrow a cycle fitted with the r-thing to find out if one might like it, no need to buy


on short acquaintance you may just find that anything different from normal is simply something that you are not yet used to. Beyond that it may be difficult to draw really good conclusions; first impressions are often misleading. I find that I appreciate the more subtle virtues of any given setup (or decide that it annoys me like having a stone inside my shoe), only after extended use.

Buy used stuff just to try is one of the great things about bikes; if you don't like it you can always move it along again, often at little or no loss.

cheers
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Des49
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Re: Converting a deraileur bike to use a Rohloff hub

Postby Des49 » 22 Dec 2020, 9:12am

What the OP is trying to do makes complete sense to me and really should be straightforward.

My Rohloff was bought secondhand some time ago, probably well over 20 yrs ago, it is a 4 digit serial no., disc version with the external box.

It just fitted straight onto my old 26" MTB, there were no complications. The frame has vertical dropouts and canti-brakes. A couple of stainless jubilee clips allowed the reaction arm q/r to clamp onto the chainstay. Had run it on a Specialized Stumpjumper MTB previously which had sloping dropouts, until that frame broke.

I do have to use a chain tensioner which is a shame. It complicates things and I find the jockey wheels don't last that long, plus I really would love to fit a chaincase. I even raced the bike off road with this set up for a while, then the chain tensioner is more of a pain, clogging up with debris and wearing out in a few rides.

Wheel changes are not tricky, pop off the torque arm q/r pin, leave the gear in position 14 before un-screwing the control box, then brakes and q/r as normal. A bit of a fiddle to hold back the chain tensioner, but same with a rear mech too.

Great to continue using an old frame in this way. I love the riding position of my Roberts White Spider, yes it was built for racing with 3x7 gears, but have used it for years now like this for general purpose cycling and laden touring. No point using a more modern frame, what advantage would that give me? Maybe if/when the frame breaks I will be forced to look at something else which allows use without a tensioner and can have a case fitted.

One disadvantage - I am aware that the bike may be more of an attraction to thieves just on account of the Rohloff hub.

Will try and find time for a few pics later if you want.

slowster
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Re: Converting a deraileur bike to use a Rohloff hub

Postby slowster » 22 Dec 2020, 10:44pm

Brucey wrote:FWIW I like my peace and quiet; this means a chainglider is not an option; IME they are noisy things.

I was riding on tarmac today and I could not detect any noise above the sound of the Rohloff itself. On reflection whenever I have noticed a noise from the Chainglider, it's been because:

1. The two halves of the main front part were not properly clipped together. The last time that happened I could tell something was not quite right by the noise of the Chainglider rubbing on the chain or chainring, but what was wrong was not obvious until I looked closely and found that a couple of the small thin lugs were not properly seated in the corresponding holes on the other half. Once I had squeezed the two halves together to seat the lugs in the holes, the noise disappeared.

or

2. The rear part of the Chainglider was not in its optimum position. The rear section slides onto the front part, which has a series of vertical ridges on the side to keep the rear section in the same position relative to the front part. The ridges allow the rear section to be slid forwards and backwards in ~3mm increments.

The key point is that it's possible to 'rotate' the rear part around the rear sprocket within a range of probably 20-30 degrees by varying how far forward it is engaged on the top run of the enclosed chain vs. the bottom run. What I found was that on my bike there is an optimum position for the rear part of the Chainglider. When it was not in that position it was noisy (not a rubbing sound as might come from around the chainring, but more of a chattering sound). That has prompted me to mark off on the top and bottom of the front of the Chainglider how far the rear part needs to be pushed on to be in the optimum position, in order to avoid the need to find it each time by trial and error whenever I remove the rear wheel.

I would not have found that optimum position but for some warnings on the internet about a risk of the rear part of the Chainglider being in contact with the Rohloff hub shell and wearing a groove in the aluminium. There is a warning about this issue on Rohloff's website, but it's only in German (here). I think that the problem was historic and specific to a previous version of the rear part of the Chainglider for the Rohloff, and Hebie re-designed the rear part to prevent the problem occurring. Neverthless it made me very cautious when fitting the Chainglider and consequently I took some time to ensure that the gap between the Chainglider and the uppermost part of the hub was as large as I could get it, and I happily found that that position also was the quietest (probably because that position minimises the contact of the rear part with the chain).

I think the rear part of the Chainglider is also likely to touch the inside face of the drop out/seat stay on some frames, and because I was concerned about the plastic rubbing away the paint, I cut away a very small part of the rear section and have also put some helicopter tape on the frame at that point.

grufty
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Re: Converting a deraileur bike to use a Rohloff hub

Postby grufty » 23 Dec 2020, 7:39am

I believe Kinetics does an 8spd Sturmey Archer kit for a Brompton which needs little alteration to the bike . I seem to recall bottom gear is direct drive, but others will know better the pros and cons.
FWIW Mrs Grufty commuted with hers by bus for some years. We have since reduced the gearing on our 30 yr old SA AWs..

Des49
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Re: Converting a deraileur bike to use a Rohloff hub

Postby Des49 » 3 Jan 2021, 3:52pm

As mentioned a week ago, here are a couple of pics of my set-up. All straightforward, just had to bend the tip of the torque arm inwards so it aligned with the clamp on the LH chainstay. A bit of a juggle to find the best gear box/cable routing, otherwise the gear change can get stiff.

Have always had to use a tensioner, despite trying to find a chainring/sprocket combination that worked without. Need to change the chain imminently, so will have a go with a half link, and see if this works. If it does will try a Hebie changlider.
Image Attachments
Rohloff NDS.jpg
Rohloff tensioner.jpg

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asinus
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Re: Converting a deraileur bike to use a Rohloff hub

Postby asinus » 5 Jan 2021, 10:29am

The advice I'd give is download the manual to find out what you need for your frame to take a Rohloff - and go for it. I had a second-hand hub with a disc, which needed a bit of work to fit into the frame (a late 80s Super Galaxy - see pic).
IMG_20190113_135827.jpg
It's a bit nervy if you have to work on such an expensive bit of kit, but the manual, which is excellent, makes it straightforward. If you're buying a new hub you should be able to get the bits needed to fit it your frame (e.g. depending on whether the frame has disc mounts in the right place, or whether you'll need a long reaction arm).Like Des49, I had to bend the reaction arm in a bit - but made a virtue of necessity by securing the arm with an additional nut outside the one fastening the clip to the chainstay - so the clip isn't disturbed if I have to remove the wheel. For me, it's been well worth it.

Brucey
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Re: Converting a deraileur bike to use a Rohloff hub

Postby Brucey » 5 Jan 2021, 12:03pm

grufty wrote:I believe Kinetics does an 8spd Sturmey Archer kit for a Brompton which needs little alteration to the bike . I seem to recall bottom gear is direct drive, but others will know better the pros and cons.
FWIW Mrs Grufty commuted with hers by bus for some years. We have since reduced the gearing on our 30 yr old SA AWs..


I don't really rate the SA 8s hub for large wheelers, but I was pleasantly surprised by the way a Brompton rides with the SA 8s hub fitted.

cheers
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colin54
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Re: Converting a deraileur bike to use a Rohloff hub

Postby colin54 » 5 Jan 2021, 12:59pm

Nice job asinus, lovely.
Perhaps one of the advantages of having a chain tensioner might be that it doesn't scream 'expensive Rohloff fitted', when viewed from a distance by the one of the light fingered community.

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asinus
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Re: Converting a deraileur bike to use a Rohloff hub

Postby asinus » 5 Jan 2021, 3:40pm

Thanks. Actually, I doubt whether many of the light-fingered community would want to nick a Rohloff as they wouldn't recognize it if it hit them on the head - unless they thought something so bulky was an electric motor . . . but I'd hate to lose it.

rotavator
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Re: Converting a deraileur bike to use a Rohloff hub

Postby rotavator » 5 Jan 2021, 4:12pm

asinus wrote:Thanks. Actually, I doubt whether many of the light-fingered community would want to nick a Rohloff as they wouldn't recognize it if it hit them on the head - unless they thought something so bulky was an electric motor . . . but I'd hate to lose it.


Yes, they will probably think the hub gear is a motor and the bike is well worth nicking. I have had some surreal conversations with random cyclists that I have met because they won't accept or understand that it is a hub gear not a motor, so they keep asking me about the battery size, range, power etc.