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  1. #1
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    Rohloff for cross?

    Seems like chains are the number one mechanical problem for cyclocross, before even tire problems. For example, Trebon and Bessette each had chain problems this weekend:
    http://www.cyclingnews.com/cross.php...southampton071

    Why not use a Rohloff internal gear hub? You'd have a nice, straight chainline, could use a small chainring with a bashguard and have almost zero chance of dropping the chain, you wouldn't have to use one of those skinny 9-speed or 10-speed chains, etc.

    The weight penalty would be minor IIRC.

    People gripe about the big pricetag for the hub, but compared with a high-end gruppo it's downright reasonable.

    Am I missing something here?

    [P.S. Sponsorship would obviously be an issue.]

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by pretender
    Seems like chains are the number one mechanical problem for cyclocross, before even tire problems. For example, Trebon and Bessette each had chain problems this weekend:
    http://www.cyclingnews.com/cross.php...southampton071

    Why not use a Rohloff internal gear hub? You'd have a nice, straight chainline, could use a small chainring with a bashguard and have almost zero chance of dropping the chain, you wouldn't have to use one of those skinny 9-speed or 10-speed chains, etc.

    The weight penalty would be minor IIRC.

    People gripe about the big pricetag for the hub, but compared with a high-end gruppo it's downright reasonable.

    Am I missing something here?

    [P.S. Sponsorship would obviously be an issue.]
    1700+ grams for a rear hub is a significant weight penalty. Sure you don't need derailleurs, etc., but the Speedhub bike is still going to be heavier.

    Twist shifter is not as easy to use on a cross bike as brifters.

    Don't really need the wide gear range for cross racing.

    Tires are important for cross racing. Few people are going to be able to afford multiple Speedhub rear wheels. So probably you would have to have one clincher wheelset, and swap tires for training and racing, etc.

    The Speedhub is an attractive option for a do-everything bike--commuting, touring, trail riding, etc.--but has limitations for cross racing.

  3. #3
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    >> 1700+ grams for a rear hub is a significant weight penalty. Sure you don't need derailleurs, etc., but the Speedhub bike is still going to be heavier.

    If you factor in everything being replaced, the weight penalty isn't that great.

    >> Twist shifter is not as easy to use on a cross bike as brifters.

    Twist shifter can go anywhere on the bike. And there is nothing preventing the shifting from being brifterized.

    >> Don't really need the wide gear range for cross racing.

    This is not an argument against the Rohloff.

    >> Tires are important for cross racing. Few people are going to be able to afford multiple Speedhub rear wheels.

    People, pros especially, have big buck pit bikes. Price of a Rohloff is much less than a dura ace gruppo.

  4. #4
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    How do you "brifterize" a Rohloff? This is the primary strike against it for cross, with weight a close second.

    Yeah, a Rohloff hub costs as much as a WHOLE DA GROUP. This doesn't address the fact that most serious racers will need at least a tubular and clincher wheelset: that's the price of a DA group for each rear wheel right?

    I think it's safe to say that no pro would choose this setup just because of weight alone. The additional costs and ergonomical challenges render it well outside the realm of consideration for the rest of us.
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  5. #5
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    Go custom, baby!

    Quote Originally Posted by wunlap togo
    How do you "brifterize" a Rohloff? This is the primary strike against it for cross, with weight a close second.
    I think there's a thread on mtbr.com that mentions this. There was a Mooney shown at the NAHMBS that featured custom brifters by Joel Evett that used a thumbwheel mounted on the inboard side of the hoods; since Rohloff indexing is in the hub, not the shifter, and uses a continuous cable, it has been speculated that this system can be mated to a Rohloff system.

    Ah, found the pic:

    http://www.cyclingnews.com/tech/2007..._front_shifter
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  6. #6
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    RE that thumbwheel brifter at NAHBS, the little blurbs I could find about it noted the extremely light shifting it had. Shifting a Rohloff at it's best could never be described as light and once you get a little mud around the shifter mech, the shifting feel decreases rapidly. I have one on my 29er and while I think it's an incredible piece of engineering, it doesn't seem well suited to CX racing. Wheel changes would be slow. You're essentially concentrating the entire weight of your kit into the rear hub and then adding another pound...it makes for an ill balanced bike. After a year and a half, the shifting on mine is still very finicky with any power applied to the pedals. It just doesn't shift as smoothly as a cassette and derailleur.

    I haven't had any problems with mine, but I'm also not crazy about it. Next year it's coming off my MTB and will be going on a commuter where I think it will live for a long long time.

  7. #7
    cy1
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    What about rear flats in Races?

    How would you handle rear flats in a race situation? Spare bikes? Spare wheels and a slow wheel change? Either would be espensive.

  8. #8
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    The best part would be to see someone using a Rohloff running 1/2 a lap with that pig of a lap after the owner flatted after the pits, let alone see what the solution would be upon re-entering the pits.

    Until the internal gear stuff is way more refined than it is today, it will remain in DH blackbox development situations and the non-racing world of the commuter. That is, of course, ignoring how brilliantly derailleurs can work, and how far they can still probably come (and still remain a fraction of the cost and hassle).

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