I’m a big fan of Rohloff Speedhubs. They should last you a life time and ironically, I’ve had two. Hubs, not lifetimes. Both were on bikes that were stolen.
Owning a Rohloff Speedhub is like buying membership to a club, but this club has a specific type of member and unfortunately, new technologies in bike manufacture, means some members, including me are growing out of the brand.
Compatibility issues have always been the number one reason why you might not be able to buy one of these amazing feits of engineering. Well, maybe joint with cost. c£1000 for hub with disc brake attachment options. Rohloff produce a number of versions to facilitate the fitment of aSpeedhub to many different bikes. Any roadbike or touring bike should facilitate the fitting without a problem and until recently, most hardtail mountain bikes and full suspension bikes too.
Sadly, with the evolution of the disc brake mount from IS (international standard) to “post mount”, frames with this method of disc fitting are no longer compatible with the “Dogbone” attachment Rohloff make available for full suspension bikes that is critical to the function of the hub. Even if a new Dogbone was made to be compatible with a postmount disc (the disc rotor would have to be 140mm or less to function with a new adapter anyway), Rohloff hubs are no longer compatible with the new wider spacing of new full suspension frames.
The widest Speedhub axle is 135mm threaded or QR. I’ve heard of people modifying axles to fit downhill bikes before (not sure if this is true), but the hub is totally uncompatible with the 135mm Maxle thru axle design and especially incompatible with the new 142mm standard that I’m running on my Rocky Mountain Slayer 70. Indeed, I challenge you to find any modern mid/long travel all mountain bike that still runs a 135mm QR axle.
I asked UK importer Ison-Distribution – who in-turn forwarded my query to Rohloff AG directly in Germany – if a new plan is a-foot to offer modern axle types. Their response was completely valid and understandable, yet sadly Rohloff remain a small company who can’t afford the radical re-tooling, marketing and R&D involved in building a new Speedhub compatible with modern frame standards, especiallyu as the mountain bike market remains such a small part of their business. Rohloff’s response hints that unless the mountain bike industy settles on a true standard (142mm is new and may not be what all brands settle on), Rohloff will not consider making the hub compatible in these formats.
I’m sad that I will not own another Rohloff in the forseeable future. My style of riding demands one, but my style of bike will not allow one.
The SPEEDHUB cannot be cheaply adapted to accommodate an axle of wider or longer dimensions. A different axle diameter or length will involve numerous internal components being completely redesigned and produced on a small scale for what is an incredibly small percentage of our customer base. We would love to offer solutions but alas, this will not be possible until the market settles on a standard for these dimensions.
The Speedbone issue is unfortunately a similar issue but one which goes hand-in-hand with that mentioned above as most frames with the new axle dimensions also incorporate the Postmount brake style.
The Postmount itself causes issues because the only standardized face is the caliper mount itself. A new adapter for torque support over this face would result in e.g. a 180mm disc being required as opposed to the normal 160mm – because the adapter would cause the caliper to be mounted further from the axle. Now, generally this isn’t such a problem and we could develop a solution. Unfortunately however, the true issue why we do not offer such a solution is the dropout itself and not the brake mount type.
The axleplates of the SPEEDHUB require a plan surface of 40mm diameter around the axle (see owners manual – page 29). These Postmount frames no longer need to remain flush up to the brake mount (as was with the IS standard) and the increasing majority of designs tend to no longer offer this necessary 40mm flush area. New Speedbone or not, we are unable to get around this problem.
The result of both issues you inquired about is that a small company such as the Rohloff AG is simply unable to recuperate the R&D, logistic and marketing costs on such a small scale development. As a small manufacturer are forced to focus our limited resources on our most profitable market sectors and to date, MTBs equate to just a small percentage of our customer base. Developments specifically for the MTB market are therefore understandably slow in bearing fruit.
We are continuously investigating all possibilities in these areas but I (personally) do not see any cost effective solutions in the near future.