Rohloff Test, Part 2

RHubfull

After putting the German bike supply system to the test in https://starostneradost.wordpress.com/2013/08/17/rohloff-test/, I had a bike which was pretty good, and I felt proud of it. However, the grating noise and vibration emanating from the Rohloff Speedhub in the lower 7 gears proved unnerving in the long run, even with me using the steel frame, plus the hub started to lose oil at an alarming rate. Rohloff say that oil loss isn´t a problem as long as the oil is “changed” every 5.000 km, but the rate was alarming for my cellar floor, and that was enough for me.

I then thought I´d just try and ring the makers, because a former neighbour of ours, who also rides a Rohloff, said that this is possible. And it was: No wait, no expensive premium service phone number, but straightforward talking to a chap who had a lot of knowledge about his hubs. Wait till November, he said, then send in the hub via a cycle shop, and we´ll fix it, possibly for free. I couldn´t believe it. Also the wheel was to be sent complete, no spoking to be unpicked, even the tire was to stay on.

RPaperwork

Some of the colourful paperwork which accompanies a Speedhub

So right at the beginning of November I packed a big parcel, printed out a form from the Rohloff website, took both to our LBS, whence the parcel was collected and to where it was returned within ten days.

It really was free, shipping, repair and oil change, and after fitting the wheel to my bike, I must say that the improvement is fantastic. Hardly any vibrations any more, no grating but rather a much healthier and softer whirring noise, and far less drag in the intermediate gear. And no oil leaks.

RCleanOiltight

Clean and oiltight – the hub after its return

Of course it can be said that the hub now is in a condition that it should have been in from the start, but then how many firms would accept a warranty for a six year-year-old product? A Speedhub costs a lot of money, however besides the undoubtable and tangible high quality of the product it seems that customer service like Rohloff´s is invaluable.

The 130 page handbook which comes with every hub is another proof of this: There is much more info in it than a normal cyclist can use; i.e it will not leave you in the lurch, ever. It´s not 130 pages because it is in two dozen languages like manuals for Chinese consumer electronic goods, but because it´s crammed with info.

RHandbRitzel

It starts with comparably little things like the description of a sprocket change, but also includes a spoke length table for all imaginable rims.

RHandbookSpokes

This handbook is absolutely unnecessary, and that´s what makes is another example of exemplary customer service.

You get what you pay for.

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2 Comments

  1. Posted November 17, 2013 at 9:37 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I’m anxious to hear what you think of the ride quality and efficiency of the gearing.

  2. Posted November 18, 2013 at 5:48 pm | Permalink | Reply

    It is great now. Looking at points like encapsulated mech (dirt, bike falling over), hub geared bikes of course are hard to beat. I have already found out that for me the effect of more power being lost the higher the output, like Jan Heine recently found out, just doesn´t materialize, my guess is simply because I´m not a strong enough rider.

    Also I always with any gear I use take power off completely for a split second when I change gears, even with my relatively modern Campag nine speeds, and the Rohloff rewards this with extremely smooth changes, even into or out of intermediate.

    In our moderately hilly area the gear range is perfectly sufficient; I hardly ever reach either first or fourteenth. I use the Rohloff mostly for trips into neighbouring towns for shopping (i.e. I lugged home 63 long playing vinyl records from a flea market on Saturday), so I often carry a lot of weight on the rack, but still I hardly ever reach the limits of the hub.

    After the service at Rohloffs I can now also imagine trying the bike out on longer runs like a century, and I certainly will give this a try next season. Of course the bike isn´t a randonneur, my Ellis Briggs still feels faster and more nimble, so I´ll wait and see what happens.

One Trackback

  1. By Rohloff Update « starostneradost on November 1, 2014 at 5:53 pm

    […] cases like this, (see https://starostneradost.wordpress.com/2013/08/17/rohloff-test/ and https://starostneradost.wordpress.com/2013/11/17/rohloff-test-part-2/) the less one has to say the better – and there is not much to say. Rohloff themselves don´t […]

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