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?...you 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.