Rohloff SPEEDHUB 500/14: Review

The Rohloff Speedhub is an internal gear hub (IGH) with 14 equally spaced gears in a sealed housing. Unlike a conventional rear derailleur system, which has exposed gears, the Rohloff hub is completely sealed. The hub holds a small amount (approx. 25ml) of special viscosity oil, maintaining continuous lubrication. Also, unlike conventional derailleur systems which use opposing spring/cable tension to actuate shifting, the Rohloff hub uses a dual wire loop to pull the gears up or down via a gripshift on the handlebar. Shifting takes place internally along the hub axle, with teeth engaging different gear ratios to the drive of the axle. The range is a phenomenal 526%, roughly 25% greater than the new 11-speed IGH. In terms of gear inches, a proper chainring/cog combination would give 19.0-99.6″ (700 x 35c tire / 175mm crank arm). Slightly lower gearing of 18.4-96.5″ can be achieved with a 46/19T combination. This is similar in range to a mountain triple crank with 12-32 cassette.

There are several benefits of the Rohloff Speedhub over a conventional geared drivetrain with derailleurs:

– completely sealed (impervious to the elements)
– much easier to maintain than derailleurs (straight chainline, longer chainlife)
– more reliable and durable (Speedhubs with 90k+ miles and no failures)
– shifting gears at a standstill or while pedaling (while pedaling, back off pedal momentarily to shift)
– 526% mountain bike gear range for any terrain
– Much more efficient shifting in inclement weather

Unlike other internal gear hubs, the Rohloff Speedhub is more efficient, more reliable, has a wider gear range, is rated for higher loads (ie, tandem, aggressive off-road, loaded touring) and is the only IGH available with a quick release skewer. It sets the standard for all internal gear hubs. To date, with more than 10 years on the market, there has never been a Rohloff hub worn out to the point of retirement in the field. Sounds a little like the old Maytag commercials…

The Rohloff hub will be part of a custom build that will be showcased in the near future on Velo Bike Parts.

For more details on the Speedhub, please contact your local Rohloff distributor:

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