Rohloff speedhub - good idea or stick to KISS?

undermanager Posts: 42
edited July 2019 in Road buying advice
I’m considering a used bike at a good price with a Speedhub. I’ve never had one before, always derailleurs, which I can set-up, repair and maintain no problem. I can’t help thinking that though they sound great, you’d be in deep poo if something went wrong in the wrong country on your world tour. I have no idea how it affects basic things like chain, changing a tyre, what spares you need to carry, servicing, changing a broken gear cable, special tools needed and other noddy stuff.

Good idea cos I’m overthinking the problems or keep to the tried and tested Keep It Simple Stupid principle?


  • mercia_man
    mercia_man Posts: 1,431
    I had one on a Thorn tandem. No issues. Totally reliable. Really easy shifting. Only maintenance I ever did was to change the oil after initial running in - a simple job. Never had to change a cable or fix a puncture. Mine had the quick release cable box so taking wheel out would have been simple. No special tools needed apart from oil change kit available from SJS.

    The disadvantage is extra drag in the drivetrain in the bottom seven gears. There were a couple of gears on mine (I think fifth and seventh) which sounded a bit louder, like winding up a clock, which increased my gut feeling that we were having to pedal harder. But overall, a great set-up if you want a trouble and maintenance free gear system and are not bothered with saving every extra gram and every extra watt of power.
  • ugo.santalucia
    ugo.santalucia Posts: 28,301
    Only made in 135 mm, so if you have a standard road bike, you can't fit one... they are heavy and ideal to cover many miles without worrying about cleaning, oiling or maintaining... heavy though
    left the forum March 2023
  • It’s interesting, that they seem to have had a marketing label of ‘bulletproof’ and ‘good for 100 000 kms’ well and truly stuck to them for years. Yet when you start digging, there are enough comments online of tales of woe to make you wonder exactly what you would do if in Iran or Pakistan or crossing China and had a problem.

    I’m starting to lean towards KISS I think.
  • fenix
    fenix Posts: 5,437
    Are you doing a world tour ? I'd just look what those round the world cyclists use in that case.
  • Thanks for the comments but already done, with three quarters of this database using derailleurs!

    Next year, I hope to set off across Europe, Turkey, Georgia, Azer, Iran, Pakistan etc. I've done a lot of 1000+ km hikes in the past and only a few cycle tours, Iceland etc but if I don't go round the world on a bike soon, my body won't be able to. It's more or less now or never. As for equipment, my current bikes aren't suitable so need to get something a bit more up to the job. I have always leaned towards KISS and a minimalist approach + credit card. The Roulhoff hub isn't something I'd particularly considered until a bike came up recently at a good price, but I would prefer to be able to fix or get fixed anything that breaks, and dump and replace anything that dies without too much of a financial hit! I think I know what the answer to my original post is now. As an (retired) engineer, the 'bulletproof' marketing I kept reading made me pretty cynical to start with, but the more I looked into real experiences by tourers, the more I realised it seemed only about 85% justified - not much good if it's you in Iran!!