Rohloff or Roll On, You Decide

After about 30,000 uncounted kilometers, Pandemic The Magic bicycle is suffering a cough due to cold, a pesky hiccup of sorts that persists with a hypochondriac’s insistence that something is not quite right.  

In 2009, my first magic bicycle tour began when I left SJS cycles in England on a thorn raven touring bicycle.   I was equipped with full set of top of the line Shimano components, sexy steel forks and my Rohloff internal gear system. Rolling with full amazement that only a baby’s first steps to bicycle touring can muster, we headed out the bike shop door.

Fast forward, 16 countries, 2 and ½ years and about 30,000km’s later, I am now still on my first bicycle tour and many lessons away from Europe. I am in India having just pedaled the Himalaya.  How’s the Rohloff rolling these days? might wonder.  Wobble I do, on a possible warn bearing, through Kashmir, Manali to Leh highway and Spiti Valley of N. India.  My Rohloff began wobbling in the Taklamakan desert, China with increasing retaliation about 4000km ago, instead of rolling with the same steady flawless confidence it has always shown.  I contacted Rohloff, a company notorious for great service and support of bicycle tourists like me on the road. True to form, Rohloff responded immediately and will be replacing the bearing and warn sprocket at no cost, a 2 day repair plus shipping. 

Rohloff’s sturdy internal 14 gear system and longevity means the wheel wobble will not prevent me from pedaling forward through Pakistan, Iran and closer to Europe, where the entire wheel will be shipped back to Germany for the repair at no cost under an amazing lifetime warranty. I have met cycle tourists who over the course of a 4 year continuous bicycle tour had to replace their cassette, derailleur and entire gear unit not once but 3 times. Sure my wheel at the start costs a little more but after all this time of flawless gears while pedaling, one repair at the cost of 38 euros for shipping seems like quite the bargain. Rohloff or Roll on, you decide.


Friedel said...

There are certainly benefits to the Rohloff, though we're still derailleur fans. I'd argue that the cost of your repair is a little more than 38 euros because you had to wait around so long while getting the Rohloff fixed - fine if you were planning a break anyway but potentially quite annoying in different circumstances. Also, if you were outside of Europe then customs delays or fees may have been a problem, and the cost of shipping the hub for repair in the first place. On our 48,000km trip, we had to replace our derailleurs once (the 2nd derailleur is still good enough to have quite a bit more use). Other parts like the cassette also were replaced once but we could get this done in an afternoon at any bike shop the world over.

sandancer said...

Rohloff's Rock !!

Loretta Henderson said...

I really appreciate the comment Friedel, it is one of those debatable topics that goes half dozen one way and six the other, if you know what I mean. 3 day express shipping from Greece, Cyprus and 2 express return from Germany. I will update when it is in my hands the exact wait time.

Anonymous said...

I love the Rohloff... Flawless gear changing, no dished wheel giving a stronger wheel and perfect chain alignment, no derailier to get damaged, no surplus gears, THE FUTURE :0)... Phil Somerville UK

Friedel said...

I agree that there's no perfect solution. Depending on your personal tastes and the situation, either can be good.

Haven't you been waiting at least 2 weeks now, though? I thought you sent Mr. Rohloff back at the end of December? Hope you get him back soon!

Loretta Henderson said...

Yes, it is now the 21st and I am still waiting. I can't wait to get back on tour. Turns out instead of using express mail Rohloff Germany send it back to me slow mail. My new tent from USA got here in 5 days. I got Rohloff to them in 4 days Rohloff has been in transit for 10 days from Germany and still not here. The post office here in EU Greece/Cyprus said it could off been here in 1 and 1/2 days if it was send express. Not cool, not happy.

Nigel Francis said...

Just recently returned from cycling the south island of NZ and up through Tasmania. The whole time I'm dreaming of a Thorn Raven and Rohloff. My home built bike got me round OK, with a few niggles. But had to change the cog, chain, and chainrings in Nelson. Not cheap there! With the cost of the original drive gear and new I'm over half way to a Rohloff!

So on my return I cycled from Bournemouth to Thorn's in Bridgwater. What a cool display room at the back of SJS. Pure bicycle touring heaven.

Save up now for my Thorn Raven Rohloff :-)

Skalatitude..."When humans and nature are living in harmony there is magic and beauty everywhere"
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