Rohloff touring bikes

Discussion in 'Bikes and Buying Advice - What Bike?' started by Flying_Monkey, 18 May 2019 at 02:58.

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  1. Flying_Monkey

    Flying_Monkey Toll Collector on the Road to Nowhere

    A few years ago, it seemed as though Rohloff speedhubs would be everywhere but they seem to be still a niche gear choice. But I still want a steel Rohloff-equipped on and off-road touring / bikepacking bike, that I can also use for commuting, including in our cold and icy winters here in Ontario.

    I've done my research, but I wanted to ask you knowledgeable folks if I'm missing anything. So far as I can see, 1. this is going to be expensive; and 2. there are not many commercial choices; and 3. the best choices are in Britain.

    So my best choices appear to be:

    1. Thorn Raven or Nomad - upside: Thorn have been doing this for longer than most and they seem to know what they are doing, relatively good value (around £3000 for what I'd want), and the Nomad can be built up with S&S couplings as a standard option; downside: aesthetics.

    2. Shand Tam Rohloff - upside: better looking than Thorn's options, S&S couplings available; downside: more expensive.

    3. Sven Explorer Rohloff - upside: beautiful, best frameset; downside: the most expensive off-the-peg option by far (well over £4000).

    4. Rotor Komet Rohloff - upside: excellent value (only just over £2000), highly customizable; downside: based in Germany.

    5. Surly Troll or Ogre - upside: maybe cheaper (although it's not actually a great time to buy American from Canada right now); downside: not as Rohloff-specific- the frames will take Rohloff but they aren't specifically built for them, and it's not even offered as an obvious option on the website.

    5. Salsa Fargo - upsides and downsides are much the same as for Surly.

    6. Custom - upside: will be exactly what I want, local production; more expensive than everything except maybe the Sven; I'd probably go with an Ontario maker like True North.

    I have also come across a few Rohloff-compatible frames like Intec's, but while I have built up bikes before, I feel rather less confident of taking up the challenge of putting a Rohloff-based bike together, and I don't know of any bike shops around where I am that know anything about Rohloff either.

    So, opionions and any other options to add to my list, please!
     
    Last edited: 20 May 2019 at 12:47
  2. geocycle

    geocycle Über Member

    I’ve been using a Thorn raven since 2006. Best bike I’ve ever had and would not be without it. Done about 35000 miles. Recently I bought a derailleur audax bike which is fine for a different riding experience but reminded me why I prefer the rohloff. Take a look at the Thorn forum as there are several Canadian contributors. The nomad is a tank of a bike and I’d only contemplate one if crossing deserts. It is the ultimate heavy expedition bike. The raven range is a heavy duty tourer in anyone else’s range. I use the now discontinued raven sport frame as I rarely carry very heavy loads, if I was to replace it I would go for the mercury.
     
    Flying_Monkey likes this.
  3. I have a Thorn Nomad and have toured on it over the last six years. It’s heavy and slower than my Surly Disk Trucker but it’s the most comfortable bike I own. Apart from keeping the chain lubed and changing the hub oil once a year, it’s been pretty maintenance free. Increasingly it has also become my number one bike, given the state of the roads round here.

    I’ve always enjoyed dealing with Thorn. They are friendly, helpful and will pull out all the stops when needed.

    111726D9-BDCF-4093-951C-CEED8F70E67D.jpeg

    Here it is - I’m just off out for a quick (?) 27 miler
     
    Flying_Monkey likes this.
  4. hoopdriver

    hoopdriver Veteran

    Location:
    East Sussex
    I have a 20 year old Thorn eXp (not Rohloff) which has been all over the world - it must have well over 80,000 miles on it - and is still as solid as a rock, used constantly - again just this morning. Thorn does indeed make brilliant bikes and are very helpful and responsive.
     
  5. Just found a picture of it on tour:

    tZMMz5yRQdS5m4ZwoaDmcg_thumb_214d.jpg
     
  6. Crackle

    Crackle Squatter

    Purely on personal preference, no experience of any, the Shand gets my vote and Jenny Graham did break the world record on a Shand.
     
    Flying_Monkey likes this.
  7. hoopdriver

    hoopdriver Veteran

    Location:
    East Sussex
    To me touring is never about hurrying or breaking world records - simply seeing the countryside at a human pace. And so record breaking would not be a strong selling point with me.
     
  8. Afnug

    Afnug I'll Sithee

    I had an Orange P7 MTB with a Rohloff, the frame was constructed with track dropouts to allow for adjustment, it was a bit rear end heavy to for the technical bits, but great for fireroads etc and of course no mud clogging and never in the wrong gear at the bottom of a surprise rise, I sold it to a guy who led MTB rides in North Wales.

    The P7 frame was just the same construction except for the dropouts as a normal P7 so only rack mounts, none of the many extras found on touring frames.

    You need a frame with adjustable dropouts or eccentric BB to allow adjustment so you could spec your own at a price, as per your option 6, there are Chinese frame builders who will custom build a Ti frame from your drawings, so there may be a Chinese steel builder who would do the same.

    http://www.waltlytitanium.com/

    Of the one's you have listed I like the Shand.
     
  9. Crackle

    Crackle Squatter

    No you miss the point. It's about reliability over X miles, not speed, though she did need the BB replacing.
     
  10. hoopdriver

    hoopdriver Veteran

    Location:
    East Sussex
    A touring bike should have reliability as a matter of course
     
    Surly Bruce likes this.
  11. Spoked Wheels

    Spoked Wheels Guru

    Location:
    Bournemouth
    I own a Surley Ogre large (20") frameset which I bought with the idea of fitting a Rohloff hub gear sometime in the future. It's a very comfortable bike which at the moment is built with Shimano Deore 3x9 gear system, 700c wheels with 50mm tyres, fenders, racks, etc. It weights just under 15kg. It's a better spec than you can buy directly from Surly and also lighter.
    I'm happy enough with the gear system and if I wanted to change it I would go for a Pinnion Gear bike instead of the Rohloff now. It's a similar idea but I find the weight distribution on the bike is much better.

    Here is a video that shows two different bikes with Pinnion gear



    I also own a Van Nicholas Ti road bike so out of the two bikes I'd be tempted to go for the Van Nicholas, the other one looks great too.
     
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  12. Heltor Chasca

    Heltor Chasca Out-Riding the Black Dog

    Surly Troll from me.

    I have two other Surly bikes (Big Dummy And Disc Trucker) I just don’t like the aesthetics of the Ogre’s seat tube. I have seen Rohloff upgrades. That would be in my top three N+1 bikes anyway.
     
  13. Bonefish Blues

    Bonefish Blues Banging donk

    Location:
    52 Festive Road
  14. deptfordmarmoset

    deptfordmarmoset Full time tea drinker

    Location:
    Armonmy Way
    My brother, who lives on the other side of Canada, also went for the ''Trohloff'' option. If I remember correctly, he had it built by a shop in California. I remember him having issues with disk brakes and tyres but I can't remember a single grumble about the Rohloff.
     
    Surly Bruce and Heltor Chasca like this.
  15. Cycleops

    Cycleops Guru

    Location:
    Accra, Ghana
    If you're buying from the UK you save the VAT which neatly pays for courier but how much would import duty be?
     
    Flying_Monkey likes this.
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