1. The Sealed Gear Unit
Rohloff gears are hidden away, protected by the safe confines of a sealed aluminium hub shell. That makes a Rohloff hub extremely resilient against mud, grit, dust, snow and sand, and as a result, quite hard wearing.
2. The Sturdiness
Rohloff drivetrains have less parts susceptible to external damage. There are no exposed derailleurs, delicate hangers, brittle cassettes or spring-loaded shifters that can fail.
3. The Wide Gear Range
The 526% gear range provides plenty of gears to get up and over all kinds of terrain. With a Rohloff hub, you’ll be able to climb at 4km/h or motor along at 45km/h. I recommend setting the external gear ratio (chainring and cog) to something around 2:1 for mountainous terrain and between 2.5:1 to 3:1 for flatter terrain. The minimum ratio that Rohloff allow is 1.9:1 (eg. 32/17, 30,16 etc) – these ratios equate to a lower gear than almost any conventional drivetrain!
4. The Maintenance-Free Design (Almost)
Rohloff hubs should get you through a minimum of 100,000km riding before failure; many people have been known to cover far more. The only maintenance that you need to complete is an oil change every 5000km. This job is quick and easy, I can do it in about 10-15 minutes including waiting for the oil to drain from the hub.
5. The Minimal Drivetrain Cleaning Required
Getting the brushes between your cassette teeth, derailleur pulleys and chainrings is time-consuming and annoying. You can avoid almost all of this nuisance with a Rohloff drivetrain (ok, you still need to clean a singlespeed chain, but it’s much easier).
6. The Ability To Shift Your Gears Without Pedalling
You can change gears without pedalling – a particularly handy feature for a loaded touring bike. For example, you can pick your gear before you take off at the traffic lights, or select the appropriate gear for starting on an incline.
7. The Ability To Change Many Gears At Once
You can change multiple gears in one go with a Rohloff hub; the limitation is the amount of movement you have in your wrist. I can change about eight gears at once, of which I’ve had to do under rapid deceleration! That’s sandy roads for you…
8. The Equally Spaced Gear Ratios
There is a constant 13.6% ratio change between every gear, making gear changes very predictable. Other internally geared hubs offer inconsistent ratio changes to compensate for their lack of gear range.
9. The Instant Gear Changes With No Chance Of Gear Skipping
As soon as you change the gear at the shifter, the hub is instantly engaged in the next gear and ready to go – there’s no dilly-dallying around here! With the gearbox being ‘indexed’, there’s no chance of a gear slipping either.
10. The Straight Chain Line
The chain line on a Rohloff drivetrain is perfectly straight, resulting in less chain wear. This equates to a longer chain life; I know people who’ve toured well over 20,000km with a single chain.
11. The Zero-Dish Wheel Build
Rohloff hub flanges are both the same height and are spaced equally from the frame on both sides. This results in even tension across every spoke which, in turn, build a stronger wheel.
12. The Efficiency
According to independent testing, Rohloff hubs are just as efficient as a derailleur drivetrain at transferring the power from your pedals to your rear wheel (~95% efficiency). In the mud, they would presumedly be even more efficient!
13. The Simple Shifter
Rohloff hubs use a dual cable system which requires both cables to either be pushing or pulling. Unlike a conventional trigger shifter, there are no springs or moving parts, eliminating it from potential failure. Once a Rohloff shifter is set up, the cables never have to be adjusted as the gear indexing occurs inside the hub.
14. The Shorter Spokes
Rohloff hubs have a bigger shell, resulting in shorter spokes and therefore a stronger wheel for any given wheel size. Wheel strength is key for touring, as the rear wheel often takes such a heavy beating.
15. The Chain Can’t Fall Off
Given the singlespeed drivetrain, you should never experience dropped chains, chain skip or chain slap on your chainstay. All the benefits of singlespeed life but with 14 gears!