Author Topic: rohloff - personal experience - unreliable  (Read 6791 times)

sambaman

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rohloff - personal experience - unreliable
« on: July 29, 2004, 06:31:58 PM »
I would be interested to know whether other rohloff users have come across these "features":

- Firstly, progressive stiffness of rotation of gear changer until it is almost frozen. This happened to me between km 90 and 120 of a 200km audax event. Background detail - hub purchased in june 2002, total 2000 km, oil changes using rohloff summer oil. My weight is 82kg. Hub is built with a 406 wheel for a bike friday airllama.

The audax event had a series of sharp climbs - by the time I called it a day (basically I was having to use both hands with great difficulty to change gears) i had climbed about 1500m over 120kms.

I can't figure out what caused this problem. After the event I examined the hub but couldn't see any outward problem. There was no oil loss. Curiously, on a test ride the next day and on all subsequent short (!) rides, the stiffness in the gear shifter did not and has not reappeared. With this alone, I can't trust the hub for distance events.

- Secondly, in changes amongst the lower gears (particularly between 3 and 7) I have experienced a loss of resistance for about one  and a half revolutions of the cranks. I.e. the pedals just spin with a complete loss of forward propulsion until the gearing appears to bite again.

This is obviously quite disconcerting. To make it worse, the "spinning" does not occur consistently. Some rides it happens, others everything works ok. After this I would not trust a heavy load and the risk of face-planting with this hub.

Once again, after checking cable tension, etc, I can't see anything outwardly amiss. BTW - this is not the classic transition problem between the two gear hemispheres - I am aware of that and it not a problem for me.

I am based in brazil so the cost of sending the "failure-free" hub back for servicing  does not make sense economically. Given the failures in performance I shouldn't really be bothering to persevere with the hub but as other posters have pointed out, when the rohloff works it is sweet.

I thought that others may be interested in my experience before looking into using the hub. I am sure rohloff provides great service but i would definitely like to know from a source other than rohloff whether the performance of my hub is an isolated case.

Basic verdict from my point of view - expensive curiousity that is great when it works but which is not proving itself to be 100% reliable - there it is of questionable use for anything other than a short (but flashy) shopping trip.

If I am missing something obvious then please tell me - If I have been a berk, so be it but I would like to trust the rohloff hub again.

cheers

sambaman
 

Pedaldog

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Re: rohloff - personal experience - unreliable
« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2004, 08:50:45 PM »
First nopn postove comment I've heard about them!
I hope it IS an odd case but I'm sorry that you're having a bad time with it.
Would Rohloff not be willing to compensate for the postage as you could make a big publicity difference to their chances in that area?
 

Michael Falk

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Re: rohloff - personal experience - unreliable
« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2004, 06:44:01 AM »
I agree with Pedaldog. I assume that you have emailed Rohloff to try & sort out the problem.

They appear to be a rather proud company, so it appears that if your problem is legitimate that they shall try to sort out the problem with no further cost to you (as should be the case with the warranty).

If you bought the bike from Thorn then they would be likely to help out.

Good luck! & if they are not helpful make a big fuss on forums like this, Cycling Plus, MTBR & anywhere else!

Michael
 

marcg

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Re: rohloff - personal experience - unreliable
« Reply #3 on: July 30, 2004, 06:50:51 AM »
I read about someone with an identical problem to the one which you describe.  I'm afraid I can't remember where I saw it but some diligent searching will probably turn it up.  The problem turned out to be in the gear changer on the handlebars and not the hub.  I would certain start by taking the changer off and see if there is any problem there.  Or disconnect the cables from it and see if it is still seized or if it then turns easily.  If it is still stiff, then you know the problem is with the changer.
 

sothach

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Re: rohloff - personal experience - unreliable
« Reply #4 on: July 30, 2004, 10:38:02 AM »
It sounds a bit like the problem described in the Enduro brochure http://www.sjscycles.com/pdfFiles/ThornRavenEnduro04Web.pdf
in the "things I don't like..." section (added-to since the original Raven brochure, I think).   They say that its a problem of the cable in the hub (and a reason to go with the external box), and you notice it by increasing difficulties in shifting.
 

Andrew

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Re: rohloff - personal experience - unreliable
« Reply #5 on: July 30, 2004, 11:32:34 AM »
Hi Sambaman,


"progressive stiffness of rotation of gear changer until it is almost
frozen"


THE PROBLEM IS NOT THE TWISTGRIP...IT IS THE CABLES...MORE SPECIFICALLY IT
IS THE INNER SLEEVE.


From our experience the only problem that could occur with the twist grip
is if the inner gear cable sleeve is fitted incorrectly (then the symptoms
are as you describe).
The inner gear cable sleeve, supplied by Rohloff, has a flared end; this
MUST not be removed and HAS to be fitted at the twist grip end. This flared
end stops the inner gear cable sleeve from being sucked into the shifter,
which will make gear change stiff... or impossible! For the replacement of
cables without using the genuine Rohloff cables, we suggest you use Shimano
SLR outer brake cable... this has the inner sleeve bonded in place. If you
can not obtain this then you must use a very small washer or bead to prevent
the inner sleeve from being sucked into the shifter.


"the pedals just spin with a complete loss of forward propulsion until the
gearing appears to bite again"...


THE PROBLEM IS NOT WITH THE HUB...YOU ARE DESCRIBING THE SYMPTOMS OF CHAIN
SLIP...
The only way the cranks can "spin freely" is if the chain slips.
This is always a potential problem when using the ROHLOFF CHAIN TENSIONER,
OR INDEED, ANY DERAILLEUR SYSTEM. It will always happen when the chain and
sprocket(s) wear or are dirty. A chain tensioner (or derailleur) can not stop
the chain jumping or slipping if it really wants to. We foresaw this
potential problem and therefore we designed Thorn frames with an eccentric
bottom bracket for chain adjustment. The Rohloff hub is a superb piece of
kit, they have never had an internal failure, but to get all the many
advantages from it; it should be fitted into a frame that has been correctly
and thoughtfully designed for the purpose. With our frames you can get every
last bit of wear out of the transmission...this is potentially 5 times as
many Km than with a derailleur, then you flip the sprocket and chainring,
add a new chain and wear our the other side! (In fact, unlike any derailleur
system, a properly designed, Rohloff-specific frame will allow you to
replace just the chain whenever you like, should you (for example) leave
your chain to rust up)

You don't mention if you fitted the hub to the Bike Friday yourself, if it
was fitted by a bike shop it would be well worth getting these points
examined, perhaps the tensioner has not been fitted as well as it could have
been...but (to repeat) YOU WILL NEVER GET ALL THE BENEFITS OF ROHLOFF
WITHOUT A ROHLOFF-SPECIFIC FRAME.
An eccentric BB is a much better solution
than track, or sliding dropouts.

Hope this is of some help to you.


OHUI

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Re: rohloff - personal experience - unreliable
« Reply #6 on: July 30, 2004, 02:33:04 PM »
I've had no problems with the hub or shifter or any of the cables at all - 2500k so far in about 3 months. Its been used in some pretty foul conditions too. I've not experienced any discernible change in the system at all. The bike gets cleaned thoroughly but gently including the transmission, where possible, about once a fortnight.
All unhelpful I know but a bit of positive feedback.
 

sambaman

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Re: rohloff - personal experience - unreliable
« Reply #7 on: August 07, 2004, 10:17:14 PM »
Thanks to you all for your replies, especially Andrew whose inner cable comment is useful.

In answer to some specific questions.

- the rohloff was not fitted by me as an after-sale improvement , BF did it as part of my order. Please understand that at first everything worked ok. In fact more than ok - perfect. The problem appeared over the course of 50k in an audax - both the stiffness and the slip although the slip appeared more recently.

- I have raised this with Rohloff in the US and I have received a reply which I will copy to this posting. It doesnt hit all the points that Andrew kindly made but it raises a couple of new points.

- next stop is the workshop to do a good overhaul and check the cable fitting, the tensioner and the chainline alignment. I will post an update on what I find. I am hoping that the slip is not down to a defect in the hub which would be a royal pain.

good job I have another 3 bikes to ride! Perhaps I can use this as a legitimate excuse with the wife to buy another bike - perhaps a thorn audax.......

The replies to my posting were much appreciated.

Obrigado e ciao!
 

sambaman

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Re: rohloff - personal experience - unreliable
« Reply #8 on: August 10, 2004, 10:08:17 PM »
This is the reply that I received from Rohloff USA. I am in the process of putting together pics of my cabling. As mentioned before, I am going to look closely at the chainline and chain tensioner in case there is something there that is cause chain slippage. If the problem is internal then it's a real pain.


Hi Warren,

I'm sorry to hear about the problems you are experiencing. Let me try and
answer them below in your message.

Please send me a picture of the cable routing and the serial number of your
hub.

Thomas



-----Original Message-----
From: @.com
[mailto:@.com]
Sent: Thursday, July 29, 2004 1:13 PM
To: usa@rohloff.de
Subject: feedback on rohloff hub in a BikeFriday airllama

Hi Thomas

since this last email two things have happened with my rohloff hub that are
troubling.

Firstly, during a 200k audax event I experienced a increased friction in the
gear change control. The friction became so bad that I had to drop out at
120k as I was having to use 2 hands to changes gears and even then it was
next to impossible. The day after the event I checked the hub closely. I
could not see anything wrong. Oil level was ok (I have only used rohloff
oil) and the cables were adjusted.  When I rode the bike that day the
stiffness had totally disappeared. That said I don't really have confidence
that the "freezing" will not appear again and I don't really want to have to
go through another 120k ride only to find more frustration.

A: FREEZING OF THE SHIFTING MECHANISM IS VIRTUALLY ALLWAYS CAUSED BY
PROBLEMS WITH THE CABLE ROUTING, BE IT THE SHIFTER, THE LINERS, THE CABLES
OR THE CABLE PULLEY IN THE AXLE RING OR THE SHIFTING BOX. IT MAY BE HELPFUL
FOR ME TO SEE A PICTURE OF THE CABLE ROUTING.
 

Secondly, and perhaps more seriously, I am increasingly coming across a loss
of pedal resistance (i.e. the cranks just spin) when changing up and down
between gears 3 and 7. Luckily I haven't been cycling with load so I haven't
done  a face plant. The other feature is that this spinning only happens
intermittently. Sometimes the gears engage without a problem. The
intermittent nature of the problem makes it impossible to relax.

A: THIS IS DEFINETELY A MAJOR PROBLEM. THE ONLY THING YOU CAN DO IS TO DO A
THOROUGH OIL CHANGE. IF THAT DOES NOT WORK YOU HAVE TO SEND THE WHEEL BACK
TO US SO THAT WE CAN EXCHANGE THE PART THAT DOES NOT WORK PROPERLY.


I would be interested to know if there is something obvious that I have
missed. Some form of cable adjustment? Not sure if that could be the case as
I can definitely feel he click of the gear change even when I experience
loss of pedal resistance. As I mentioned in my previous emails from 2002,
the hub is great when it works but these two problems have really dented my
confidence in the hub. If a friend asked me about the hub, I couldn't really
recommend it without some serious reservations.

I don't think  that I have unusual rider characterstics (84 kgs body weight)
or riding technique (no loaded touring, riding for 35 years in all). I have
followed to the best of my ability the maintenance guidelines and I have
only used rohloff oil (summer weight).

A: THE ONLY REASON, I CAN THINK OF AT LEAST, FOR THE PROBLEM YOU ARE
EXPERIENCING IS A RING INSIDE THE HUB THAT HAS BEEN INSTALLED INCORRECTLY
WHICH CAUSES IT TO WEAR WHILE THERE IS NO WEAR ON IT UNDER NORMAL
CONDITIONS. ON NEWER HUBS THE PROBLEM HAS BEEN ADDRESSED AND SOLVED.


I am based in brazil so I recognise that I have to do my own minor servicing
and that as a practical matter the cost of sending the hub back for repairs
is uneconomic (when the hub is returned I would have to pay 88% import
duty). I would very much like to fix these problems and to find out if I am
doing something wrong. If I can't do that then it looks like I will have to
write off the rohloff as an expensive curiousity - good for a flashy ride to
the local cafe but not reliable enough for serious endurance/distance work.

A: IF THE OIL CHANGE DOES NOT ELIMATE THE PROBLEM, THEN THE HUB MUST BE
REPAIRED HERE IN THE US OR IN GERMANY. IMPORT DUTY OF 88% IS NOT THAT MUCH
IF THE VALUE OF THE PRODUCT IS ONLY US$ 10-50. I'M WELL AWARE OF THE FACT
THAT IT IS MORE HONOROUS FOR YOU TO HAVE THE HUB SERVICED BUT I'M SURE THAT
IT IS WELL WORTH IT.

Kind regards