Do Rohloff hub gears make cyclists lazy?

I have now been riding with a 14 speed Rohloff hub for 2 and a 1/2 months and so feel able to respond to the question:

Do Rohloff hub gears make cyclists lazy?

with a resounding: Yes

I confess my Rohloff makes me lazy in two ways

First, it does not need any maintenance, cleaning, adjustment. I have not touched it so far in 2.5 months and well over 1,000 miles. I like this kind of laziness.

Second, using a Rohloff takes away some of the motivation and challenges of a┬áderailleur system. I don’t set targets in the same way. For example with the Rohloff I don’t approach a hill and aim to get to the top in the middle ring. Instead you just keep changing down a gear whenever you feel like it, no feelings of failure and guilt because there is no obvious point where any special change is needed. Again this leads me to laziness as I just go comfortably up hills without drama.

So I believe my Rohloff (especially when coupled with a Gates Carbon Belt drive) does make a lazier cyclist.

and I love it ­čÖé

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  1. I agree that a cyclist with a Rohloff hub will take hills in his/her stride but not that they are maintenance free.

    Two summers ago I cycled to the Mediterranean with a chap who had a Rohloff. Yes, the carbon-frame brigade were amazed when he cycled up Mont Ventoux. But for the second half of the trip, from the Auvergne onwards, he was fettling every evening with the cables.

    And I understand that a replacement set of cables are expensive, and not as widely available, as conventional gear cables.

    • Ian,

      Just been googling this. Seems the recommended option (By Thorn who make and sell a lot of Rohloff bikes) is to use ordinary brake outers matched with gear cable inners. You don’t need the compression accuracy of a gear outer and they say the brake outers last longer and fail more reliably.
      Some older Rohloff’s used liners in the cable outer and it seems these could get caught in the shifter.
      Anyway you can leave a lot of slack in the cables because the indexing is at the hub.
      Some people recommend fitting a Middleburn cable oiler if using the bike off road a lot to keep the cables running smoothly.
      Hope this helps.

      • Ah, right. My “expertise” is limited to observing a room-mate on three weeks pedalling across France. I’ve got a friend here in Northamptonshire with a Rohloff. He says he fiddles a bit with it – and complains about the expense. I’be not actually witnessed this. I’ll tell him about the cable advice you’ve found. Thanks.

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