Author Topic: Sad news...  (Read 5318 times)

Danneaux

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Sad news...
« on: May 27, 2023, 06:13:20 pm »
Rohloff-related Facebook groups are reporting the sad passing of Bernhard Rohloff, "father" of our beloved Speedhubs.

His family and "family" of employees must all be gutted and the magnitude of his loss will ripple through the entire industry.

Condolences to his loved ones and a final thanks to him for providing such joy to those of us who have used and enjoyed his inventions.

Godspeed, Bernie.

Best, Dan.

rafiki

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Re: Sad news...
« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2023, 07:00:37 pm »
Hear hear.
Brian.

Matt2matt2002

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Re: Sad news...
« Reply #2 on: May 27, 2023, 09:01:50 pm »
I just woke up here in Thailand to this sad news .

Thoughts añd love to his family

Matt
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Mike Ayling

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Re: Sad news...
« Reply #3 on: May 27, 2023, 10:07:30 pm »
A great product from a great man.

Condolences to his loved ones.

Andre Jute

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Re: Sad news...
« Reply #4 on: May 27, 2023, 11:39:27 pm »
Rohloff was a great engineer. He made the lives of cyclists so much more convenient.

Now let us praise famous men. -- Ecclesiastes

mickeg

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Re: Sad news...
« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2023, 12:21:07 am »
Dan, thanks for the notice.

Pasted from Wikipedia:
The Rohloff Speedhub is an epicyclic internal hub gear for bicycles, developed and patented by Rohloff AG. It has been manufactured and marketed by that company since 1998.
So, that means sometime this year there should be a 25th anniversary.


JohnR

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Re: Sad news...
« Reply #6 on: May 28, 2023, 06:55:11 pm »
Pasted from Wikipedia:
The Rohloff Speedhub is an epicyclic internal hub gear for bicycles, developed and patented by Rohloff AG. It has been manufactured and marketed by that company since 1998.
So, that means sometime this year there should be a 25th anniversary.
Rohloff says that the hub was launched in 1997 https://www.rohloff.de/en/company/rohloff-ag so it seems we missed the 25th anniversary party but Herr Rohloff didn't. Anyway, he was remarkably ingenious in being able to both design and build that amazing gearbox.

Moronic

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Re: Sad news...
« Reply #7 on: May 29, 2023, 09:33:43 am »
A brief wikipedia entry gives February 1950 as the late Mr Rohloff's birthdate, so he made it to 73. Which sadly is not all that far.

Amazing contribution to cyclists. And I think I read somewhere that he never advertised the hub - talk about product-driven marketing.  :D

Also an amazing example of too good to be true - as in, it can't be as good as they say, so what they say must be false.

The hubs, as we know, are extremely heavy, rob a lot of energy, produce a lot of drag that leaves you watching helplessly as your mates disappear on descents, and are almost impossible to get parts for or repair when they break down on tour.

I know a keen gravel rider from the generation after mine who wouldn't have a Rohloff because of the high risk of being stranded if something went wrong.

Yet the inventor and manufacturer persevered, found fans in Andy Blance and others, and operated a successful family-owned company. Must have been a remarkable character. I wonder what the future holds for his firm.
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Matt2matt2002

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Re: Sad news...
« Reply #8 on: May 29, 2023, 01:29:05 pm »
Hi Moronic
Funny you should ask about the future of the Rohloff firm.
I have no idea, however.....
A few days ago I met my first touring cyclist here in Thailand.
Phil from Switzerland.
We were headed in opposite directions so just had half an hour to chat about what lay ahead for each of us.
He was around 40 I think. And had cycled that long route from top to bottom of the Americas.
Pan something or other.
As well as lots of Asian countries.
Riding a Surly something.
I pointed out my Rohloff and mentioned the reliability and countries it's taken me to
He knew the Thorn brand as well and Rohloff.

He then told me he was using a Rohloff on his Pan American tour and when he arrived in Canada had a problem with it.
Sorry, he didn't elaborate.
However.......
He said he'd phoned the company to complain about the lack of part availability in Canada and.....
spoke to Miss Rohloff.
He indicated that she was in charge.

Long story, sorry. But perhaps the company really is a family business and will carry on owner by family members.

I think he was using the hub on a recumbent.

Nice guy. Didn't rant and rave about it. More observed that their customer service isn't world wide, as he was lead to believe.

Anyway, I thought I'd mention it.

Cheers from Surat Thani, Southern Thailand at 30°+.

Matt
Never drink and drive. You may hit a bump  and spill your drink

WorldTourer

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Re: Sad news...
« Reply #9 on: May 29, 2023, 01:35:50 pm »
The hubs, as we know, are extremely heavy, rob a lot of energy, produce a lot of drag that leaves you watching helplessly as your mates disappear on descents, and are almost impossible to get parts for or repair when they break down on tour.

I know a keen gravel rider from the generation after mine who wouldn't have a Rohloff because of the high risk of being stranded if something went wrong.

Rohloff’s warranty service is legendary, and that is why their hubs have historically been seen as good bets for e.g. Trans-African tours. Even if replacement parts aren’t right at hand in the very unlikely event of failure, they had you covered with DHL regardless of how remote the country was.

As for “rob a lot of energy, produce a lot of drag”, this is well documented as a small number and is unlikely to be a factor outside of lycra-clad speed-demon scenes. What stops Rohloff riders from being able to keep up on downhills, is that Rohloff riders tend to install – because they can – much lower gearing that their friends on derailleur setups.

I admit feeling some trepidation about the future of Rohloff AG when Pinion has stolen their marketing thunder with their gearbox that sits in the bike’s center. When I rode the Baja Divide last season, I got a few comments along the lines of “You still have a Rohloff? Everyone’s riding Pinions now.”

mickeg

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Re: Sad news...
« Reply #10 on: May 29, 2023, 04:57:24 pm »
... their customer service isn't world wide, as he was lead to believe.
...

When I bought my Rohloff, I had no expectations for great warranty service.  I am in USA where Rohloff hubs are extremely rare.  I have never seen another Rohloff in my community other than my own, so I know with certainty that I would not get any bike shop support.  There is a former Rohloff employee in my community that I have talked to, but I do not know which shop he works for now.

In my research before I bought the Nomad Mk II in 2013, I found the most common complaint was flange cracks.  When they came out with the flange support rings, I added them to my hub.

And the second most common comment was that they had to send the hub back for adjusting shim thickness.  The shim comments suggested that if work was going to be needed, it likely was in the first few thousand miles of hub usage.  I built up my Nomad Mk II shortly before I rode the GAP and C&O (a popular touring route in USA) and decided to bring my Sherpa (derailleur bike) instead of my Nomad because I wanted my Nomad to get more wear before I had to rely on it for a tour away from home.

My point, I was willing to take the risk.  I have seen lots of derailleur drive train problems that could not easily be fixed too.


mickeg

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Re: Sad news...
« Reply #11 on: May 29, 2023, 05:09:21 pm »
...
I admit feeling some trepidation about the future of Rohloff AG when Pinion has stolen their marketing thunder with their gearbox that sits in the bike’s center. When I rode the Baja Divide last season, I got a few comments along the lines of “You still have a Rohloff? Everyone’s riding Pinions now.”

I think that the Pinion advantage of less unsprung weight for the rear on a suspension bike makes the Pinion a much better option for a full suspension mountain bike. 

But for touring, I would prefer Rohloff over Pinion.  For one thing, I prefer a chain over a belt because I use a smaller chainring for lower gear range when I go on a tour than I do for riding near home.  It is easy to remove or add a few links when I change chainrings.

It is my understanding that Pinion has more drag than a Rohloff.

Belt on a Rohloff has more drag than a chain.

And, it is my understanding that the drag on a Rohloff bike is reduced quite a bit if you have an eccentric bottom bracket for chain adjustment, the spring loaded jockey wheel(s) of a chain tensioner add drag that you do not have with an eccentric.  My Nomad Mk II does not have the jockey wheel drag.

WorldTourer

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Re: Sad news...
« Reply #12 on: May 29, 2023, 05:51:12 pm »
But for touring, I would prefer Rohloff over Pinion.  For one thing, I prefer a chain over a belt because I use a smaller chainring for lower gear range when I go on a tour than I do for riding near home.  It is easy to remove or add a few links when I change chainrings.

You can run a chain on a Pinion. They are not belt-only drivetrains.

JohnR

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Re: Sad news...
« Reply #13 on: May 29, 2023, 06:39:07 pm »
Kindernay is the direct challenger to Rohloff and has some useful improvements such as the gearbox being easily removable from the shell. Pinion needs a bike to be designed around the gearbox and can't be retro-fitted.

I recall that a derailleur drivetrain in excellent condition can be more efficient than the Rohloff hub which, in turn, is more efficient than a worn and mucky derailleur drivetrain.

John Saxby

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Re: Sad news...
« Reply #14 on: May 29, 2023, 07:12:23 pm »
Quote
Amazing contribution to cyclists.

I'm with you there, Ian:  Herr Rohloff's design and product has greatly improved my Life On Two Wheels.

As for the Speedhub's limitations, it's horses for courses, I guess:  The first really good bike I bought was a nice ti-framed light touring Eclipse, purchased in 2002/03.   My frustration with the gearing (it had a T105 grupo) reached a figurative tipping point 3/4 of the way up the Foymount hill (12%) in the Madawaska Hills NW of Ottawa in late summer 2013, when I just could not get bottom gear on my 12-36 rear cog-mit-24T low front ring.

Too much is enuf, sez I, and when I got home I followed up on a ref I'd heard to Rohloff hubs, and that in turn led me to Thorn Cycles and this forum.  The rest is a much more cheerful and relaxed history of the last eight or nine years :)

I finally did sort out the gearing on the Eclipse, in 2018-19.  I then enjoyed a couple of years of trouble-free day rides before selling the bike last year to part-finance my Mercury.

On the ref above to Rohloff service in Canada:

I've had only some slightly-less-than-routine issues to deal with (unable to remove my Raven's rear sprocket in order to flip same, in 2017.)  But, Alan Wu of Spoke Wrench Cycles in Toronto was able to sort that out with no difficulty at all. Here's his contact info https://www.spokewrench.com/