Author Topic: Rohloff wears out  (Read 332 times)

one arm bandit

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 45
Rohloff wears out
« on: October 26, 2018, 06:27:46 PM »
Thought you guys would be interested in a current thread from that well known bastion of truth.... Facebook.
From the Bicycle Touring & Bikepacking group. 3 posts by the same guy. Make of what you will

I have toured extensively on the rohloff. Unloaded it was fine. But on a heavy loaded bike they wore out too quickly. Went through three in a row. That is why they have a weight limit. Went to pinion gearbox and had zero issues in 32k miles and the same belt. Replacement belt is still in my panniers not used yet. My brother is at 37k with the same story and no belt wear out either yet.

They refused my second and third hub replacement and blamed weight limit. Something they used to mention on website, but no longer have it on there.

my bike and I were over the recommended weight limit. I agree. At the time I carried too much weight. I now ride much much lighter.

mickeg

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1544
Re: Rohloff wears out
« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2018, 07:50:24 PM »
I never heard of a weight limit, other than the ratio of chainring to sprocket size limit based on weight.

If he travels that many miles on a bike that puts more weight on the rear wheel than a typical tandem, maybe he needs to re-think how he is doing his bike touring. 

I have never used a through axle bike, if that is a stronger axle design then perhaps that would be a better option.  I remember in the old freewheel days (with 120 or 126 mm hub spacing) that I would bend cheaper axles and I have seen broken axles on such hubs.

Or perhaps he was breaking flanges at the spoke holes and concluded that it was a weight problem when it might have been a wheel build problem?

David Simpson

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 440
Re: Rohloff wears out
« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2018, 10:41:12 PM »
The quoted Facebook posts are quite thin on details. I'm curious about what exactly broke on the Rohloff hubs. And to break three in a row? Did the same problem happen to all three hubs?

There is a reference to a weight limit on the Rohloff website, which has now been removed. I don't recall any such limit, except in regards to the gear ratio (mentioned by George above). Does anyone recall such a limit?

Interestingly, he mentions that he has had no problems with the Pinion gearbox, but he also admits that he now rides "much lighter".

- DaveS

one arm bandit

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 45
Re: Rohloff wears out
« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2018, 10:59:54 PM »
More from OP

Myself and bike at highest weight was 300lbs. The problem was that I was in extremely steep mountains and am quite strong rider. I was sure that other parts of the bike would give out first, but the internals failed. I did go through many brake pads as well. The belt drive was fine though. I have since lowered total weight to 200lbs. And switched to pinion gearbox without any problems.

another poster replied
Interesting. I'm 265lbs (bike+gear+body) before I add food and water to my bike, but was into the mid 400s when I travelled from Europe-Australia on a tandem with my ex-girlfriend. And I practically find the hilliest, roughest terrain possible!

mickeg

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1544
Re: Rohloff wears out
« Reply #4 on: October 27, 2018, 12:01:38 AM »
I am around 180 pounds, Nomad is about 40, my load in Iceland was probably 100 pounds at the start (including water) when I had two weeks worth of food loaded on the bike.   So I probably had 320 pounds on the wheels on my Nomad.

I have known people that refuse to accept that some mechanical devices should not be treated harshly.  Some people like to shove hard on the pedals when they shift, will suddenly shove hard on the pedals to start from a stop, etc.  Maybe he was one of them.  I think there is more to it than we are hearing.  I do not have a facebook account.  (Or twitter or linked in or any other purely social media accounts, I do not count this site, Crazy Guy or Bikeforums.net as social media.)  So, I might be missing something.

My second bike as a kid had a Sturmey Archer 3 speed hub, so I learned early on that you do not pedal or pedal only lightly when you shift.  When I went to the old non-ramped/pinned derailleur systems of the 60s and 70s, that training to only pedal lightly when shifting proved to be useful.  And I still shift that way.

A friend of mine got upset when his dynohub stopped working.  He complained that it was supposed to be waterproof, so he saw nothing wrong with pushing his bike across a stream that was waist deep in water.  Sometimes you don't get the full story right away and sometimes you never get it.


il padrone

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1244
Re: Rohloff wears out
« Reply #5 on: November 18, 2018, 06:24:20 AM »
A couple of friends of mine (both of whom may well have tipped the scales at over 100 kg body weight, plus gear) have managed to crack the hub shell flange. In each case I believe they were replaced by Rohloff under warranty. This involved a crack near one or more of the spoke-holes in the flange and is something that (if you are aware of it as a risk) may be aided with the use of a reinforced shell, or perhaps different spoke patterns.

http://www.pardo.net/bike/pic/fail-001/FAIL-141.html

« Last Edit: November 18, 2018, 06:31:01 AM by il padrone »

il padrone

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1244
Re: Rohloff wears out
« Reply #6 on: November 18, 2018, 06:29:10 AM »
The internals of a Rohloff are simply not going to fail; not without a great deal of rough shifting and a good measure of wilful neglect. My hub is currently up to 42,000 kms with nothing more than an oil change done every  5,000 kms.

bobs

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 570
Re: Rohloff wears out
« Reply #7 on: November 18, 2018, 09:35:19 AM »
If I bought something and it failed and the manufacturer said it was my fault I might reluctantly buy another, but there is no way I would buy a third. There is usually another side to the story.

Bob

Andre Jute

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3143
Re: Rohloff wears out
« Reply #8 on: November 18, 2018, 09:51:47 AM »
A couple of friends of mine (both of whom may well have tipped the scales at over 100 kg body weight, plus gear) have managed to crack the hub shell flange. In each case I believe they were replaced by Rohloff under warranty. This involved a crack near one or more of the spoke-holes in the flange and is something that (if you are aware of it as a risk) may be aided with the use of a reinforced shell, or perhaps different spoke patterns.

http://www.pardo.net/bike/pic/fail-001/FAIL-141.html



Rohloff is quite particular about how the hub is spoked into the rim; there's a clear section of instructions in the handbook. The flanges were strengthened a few years ago, and suddenly we heard no more or very little about broken flanges, so on any Rohloff of a certain age they may be weaker than on newer Rohloffs.

I don't either remember any universal weight limit. It is possible that what is being discussed on Facebook is exceeding the stated transmission ratio for a particular weight. That would fall outside the warranty, which is for a bike operated within and explicitly declared specification.

mickeg

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1544
Re: Rohloff wears out
« Reply #9 on: November 18, 2018, 04:46:59 PM »
If I was aware of the strengthening bands you can put around the shell flanges when i bought my Rohloff, I would have bought them.  After all, I was buying the hub to put on a Nomad, a heavy duty bike to carry a load.  And that is why I bought a 36 spoke instead of a 32 spoke hub, for the extra strength to carry a load.  But I was unaware of the rings.  Or, they might not have yet been available when I bought my hub in spring 2013? 
https://www.rohloff.de/en/company/news/news/flange-support-rings/

Until I read the above, I was unaware that the rings were now standard equipment and included when you buy a new hub.  I thought that they were only recommended for tandems and other heavy duty uses.

It makes me a bit more nervous about my hub now that Rohloff has recognized that the flanges were weak enough that they now state that older hubs should be retrofitted when wheels are rebuilt.

Even though I built up my own wheels and therefore could spend several hours removing spokes to install the rings, since I have had 5 trouble free years so far I am not inclined to buy the rings.  Considering that Rohloff now considers the rings to be an integral part of the hub, I think they should send out a free set of rings to owners of older hubs upon request.  If they sent me a set of rings for free, I would take the time to install them.

Andre Jute

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3143
Re: Rohloff wears out
« Reply #10 on: November 19, 2018, 12:55:07 AM »
Even though I built up my own wheels and therefore could spend several hours removing spokes to install the rings, since I have had 5 trouble free years so far I am not inclined to buy the rings.  Considering that Rohloff now considers the rings to be an integral part of the hub, I think they should send out a free set of rings to owners of older hubs upon request.  If they sent me a set of rings for free, I would take the time to install them.

Even for free strengthening rings I'm not rebuilding my fabulous Utopia-built wheels (more specifically not having it done, because I have no hope of matching such finely tensioned computer-built wheels); the wheels, built to carry 170kg of gear over and above the weight of the bike, are too good to mess with. My Rolloff is over ten years old, is bright ali on which a crack will instantly be seen, and shows zero sign of flange-stress though it often carries heavy shopping and painting gear (though less than a really loaded tourer, I think -- long-distance water really weighs). Seems to me that George's and my Rolloffs are proven survivors.

The same logic also makes me wonder how much the quality of the wheel build influences the longevity of the flanges.

mickeg

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1544
Re: Rohloff wears out
« Reply #11 on: November 19, 2018, 06:30:46 PM »
...
The same logic also makes me wonder how much the quality of the wheel build influences the longevity of the flanges.

I am sure some of it does.  If some spokes are too tight, ... they are too tight.

Bike shops own spoke tension gauges, no home mechanic owns one.  I am of the home mechanic variety, but I did take the wheel to a shop to have the spoke tension checked and I then made a few adjustments at the shop as I did not have them tight enough.

I used straight gauge spokes because I was unable to source the length I needed in a butted spoke.  I usually use a 2.0/1.7/2.0 spoke (Wheelsmith DB14) but could not find anyone selling the length I needed so I bought 2.0 straight gauge.  The straight gauge offer slightly less shock absorption, so in that regard mine are slightly less desirable.

I can see why after 10 years you would not want to have the wheel rebuilt, but in my case it would be easy enough for me to undo the nipples on half the spokes so I could slip the rings on while the other half of the spokes stay on the wheel.  And if I did one flange at a time, it should be pretty easy to keep the wheel well trued.  My time is free and I have the skill to do the work.

If I order something from Europe where adding the rings does not increase the shipping cost, I might consider it.  But shipping costs for a few small items from Europe to USA can be considerable.

When I was in Iceland I was on a very cobbley road and the front wheel threw a rock into the back wheel and it apparently jammed in between the frame and a spoke, put a big ding in the spoke.  I thought nothing of it at the time, I felt a jerk and heard something that was not right from the impact.  I did not stop to inspect it, the bike kept rolling fine.  As the day progressed, I started having a bit of brake rub in one spot, but kept riding to the campground.  It was a very long day so I decided to take the the next day off.  The next day, I looked at the wheel to get rid of the brake rub and that was when I found that one spoke was loose with a big dent in it.  Initially I thought about it for a few minutes, I was thinking that the spoke nipple threads had probably been stripped.  I really did not want to take the time to pull off the rim tape, install a new spoke, etc.  So, I tried to just tighten up the nipple and in a few minutes the wheel was perfect again.  I have no idea how I got so lucky that I did not have to replace the spoke or nipple, but the wheel trued up fine.  Since I got home I have seen no reason to replace the spoke either, it is still on the wheel.

In the photo you can see the bent spoke before I trued up the wheel, the hub is behind the spoke so it is easy to see the bend.  This is when I should have had the shell crack, but it did not.  That was over two years ago, so maybe I do not have a reason to worry?  But I would really hate to have the shell crack later, so that is why I would consider adding the rings if they were provided.

Andre Jute

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3143
Re: Rohloff wears out
« Reply #12 on: Today at 01:45:53 AM »
That's a PANIC-NOW size ding in the spoke, George. Seems to me that the ease with which you fixed it apparently permanently demonstrates a) that the hours you spent building your own wheels (and not forgetting your early experience in a bike shop) and b) whatever cash sum you spent having the bike shop check the spoke tension on the original build -- were well spent.

I did look into the Park spoke tension meter once, with the intention of building a set of wheels from scratch just to see how it is done. The meter was about $75 at the discounters; that one worked like a swing-arm bar torque wrench; there was also a dial gauge tensiometer available but it was several hundred dollars, a bit stiff for a tool I would use only once. But I decided against buying a tensiometer for a few reasons, including that I already had another pair of superb wheels (Bontrager prototypes built by the boss), and with only a spoke wrench in hand I had retensioned and trued the badly-built factory wheels on my Gazelle Toulouse over a period of several weeks by simply patiently making tiny adjustments on only one spoke per day in the scheduled break on my daily rides until the wheels rode right and sounded evenly tensioned by the spoke-pinging method.

mickeg

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1544
Re: Rohloff wears out
« Reply #13 on: Today at 02:13:07 AM »
That's a PANIC-NOW size ding in the spoke, George. Seems to me that the ease with which you fixed it apparently permanently demonstrates a) that the hours you spent building your own wheels (and not forgetting your early experience in a bike shop) and b) whatever cash sum you spent having the bike shop check the spoke tension on the original build -- were well spent.

I did look into the Park spoke tension meter once, with the intention of building a set of wheels from scratch just to see how it is done. The meter was about $75 at the discounters; that one worked like a swing-arm bar torque wrench; there was also a dial gauge tensiometer available but it was several hundred dollars, a bit stiff for a tool I would use only once. But I decided against buying a tensiometer for a few reasons, including that I already had another pair of superb wheels (Bontrager prototypes built by the boss), and with only a spoke wrench in hand I had retensioned and trued the badly-built factory wheels on my Gazelle Toulouse over a period of several weeks by simply patiently making tiny adjustments on only one spoke per day in the scheduled break on my daily rides until the wheels rode right and sounded evenly tensioned by the spoke-pinging method.

A friend of mine volunteers time as a mechanic at a bicycle charity.  And I have donated stuff to the charity too.  So, he checked the tension at no cost for me.

One spoke a day is pretty slow.  I will often adjust two or three or four spokes at one time, but once the wheel is pretty good I might only make one eighth of a nipple adjustment (45 degrees) at a time when I am getting almost done.

I carry a spoke wrench on bike tours.  My Iceland trip was the first trip I did where I disassembled the bike and packed it in the S&S backpack case.  When I reassembled it, both wheels needed a bit of a tweak to get them straight again.

I also carry spokes on a bike tour, so if I needed to replace a few, I had what I needed.