Register | Login
Attackpoint AR - performance and training tools for adventure athletes

Discussion: Rohloff / Pinion

in: Adventure Racing; Gear & Toys

Oct 13, 2017 1:32 AM # 
I would like to hear about your experiences with one or both of these alternatives to derailleurs/cassettes. Weight differences? Range of gears? Reliability? Belt drive vs chain? Things you wish you had known before you spent a very significant chunk of money......
Oct 13, 2017 11:34 AM # 
There’s a fair bit of info here from a Pinion user
Oct 13, 2017 11:34 AM # 
I don’t have either, but I’ve ridden Rohloff bikes a few time. The first thing I noticed is that it takes a bit of a mental adjustment to stop applying power before shifting. As a result I didn’t think I liked the shifting for a while, but I did manage to get past that and decide I quite liked the shifting, though I would expect to forget to ease of struggling up a steep hill for a while.

The thing I haven’t quite wrapped my head around is the equal spacing between gears. The range is huge, but I’m so used to the tight spacing on the high end of a derailleur that the gap in the top 2-3 gears feels to big. Instead of sneaking in a bit more power it feels like a commitment to a jump that is more than I have left in my tank. Maybe I just need to be stronger, and maybe I’d get used to when to take that bigger gear and when to up the cadence instead of shifting up. This is the one thing keeping me from committing to one, though I may upgrade my fat bike to Rohloff a couple of winters from now. In the snow I haven’t cared about the close gear ratios on the top.
Oct 13, 2017 11:36 AM # 
Here’s a relevant bit from the first link:
The Pinion guys sell the gearbox as a great device to replace derailleurs on high-end mountain bikes to justify the extra weight. It's true that the lack of a rear derailleur hanging in the breeze is attractive. Unfortunately for Pinion, as I mentioned, it really isn't very suitable for mountain biking, by virtue of its inability to shift down under load alone.

The few Pinion gearboxes out there that have been mounted onto high-end MTBs haven't left a terribly good impression on reviewers for that reason. For utility cyclists and for us recumbentists though - particularly for velo owners - it's an attractive proposition. But I'm afraid Pinion won't sell very many to us, nor will they sell very many to utility cyclists at that price point, sadly.
Oct 13, 2017 1:22 PM # 
Mr Wonderful:
We briefly chatted with a rohloff equipped El Mariachi owner at WT - perhaps one of the readers knows who I'm talking about. He seemed to like it. There was at least one derailleur sheared off by the small, unseen boulders in the water pits during the race, although that doesn't make me likely to switch since the hub is more than my bike.
Oct 13, 2017 1:51 PM # 
if you have the opportunity to ride a Rohloff, def do it. especially to practice carrying it. it's really heavy!!

of course a heavy, functioning bike is better than a light, broken bike. just another place in AR for risk vs. reward.
Oct 13, 2017 2:22 PM # 
Former Attackpointer Andrew Cameron used to ride a Rohloff for everything from expedition AR to the Tour d'Afrique, and he swore by it.
Oct 13, 2017 8:04 PM # 
He's a pottymouth
Oct 13, 2017 9:02 PM # 
Yeah that dude at WT was committed.
Oct 14, 2017 12:19 PM # 
I think AndyCam bought his Rohloff just after Tour d‘Afrique where he destroyed 2 bikes and watched the Rohloff-equipped riders with envy. Once he got on the Rohloff there was no turning back. Los Dobos also has one.

From what I hear It’s the kind of part you take off one worn out bike and put on the next, and it keeps going, with very little maintenance.

If you have a hardtail you can use a drive belt rather than a chain, so no oiling or mess either. It would be a dream combo for a winter fatbike.

The hub is heavy, but you can skip some other bits so it’s not as bad compared with a 3x or 2x system with the same range. If you go 1x you’d need an Eagle for similar range with a lot less weight but less robust.

I was interested to see if the Pinion would be better still, but it’s even heavier and not transferrable from one bike to another, with very few dealers who can fix it.
Oct 15, 2017 1:16 PM # 
Thanks, everyone!
Veinbuster, I really appreciate your description of what "evenly spaced gears" means in the real world.
Silkychrome.....Unfortunately, I am all to familiar with the pain of busted, lighweight Warbird.....

I have had a somewhat vintage Raleigh internal hub three speed since I was a teenager. I am accustomed to the required *pause* in pedalling while shifting, which is acceptable for riding around town, but may not be that agreeable when tackling some mean hills on some knarly single track. And yes, the backend of that bike weighs a LOT (only noticible though when I need to lift it), and a 14 speed Rohloff won't be any lighter. I guess some things don't change.

Now to find a Rohloff to test drive. If this is the route to follow, I'd better be $ure.
Oct 16, 2017 1:51 PM # 
A little late to the conversation, but I rode a Moots YBB with Rohloff for about 4 or 5 years for AR.

That thing is indestructible, or damn close to it. Obviously, the titanium frame is pretty bomb proof but the Rohloff was just as much so. The frame was designed for Rohloff, so that made everything play really nicely together. Gear range was good for me, although were I still riding it I might change out the front chainring to give me a little more on the lower end. I thought shifting at a stop would totally be a novelty, but it it's actually pretty handy.

I adapted to the slightly different shifting mechanics really quickly and never really had any problems with that.

The biggest con by FAR with the bike is weight. Without bottles, bags or any gear, it comes in at just under 30 lbs. I now race on a Cannondale F29 that comes in at 19 pounds or so. BUT I've already sent that frame off once to be repaired, and it's showing signs of AR wear and tear for sure.

Whether riding uphill, pushing uphill or even worse, bike whacking uphill carrying the bike, that extra 11 lbs started to wear on me after a while.

There's also some loss of energy going through the planetary gear system but I can't say I noticed that, likely because the weight was way more significant.

Only other real issue I had was riding without gloves and really sweaty hands. Grip shifters are a big fail in those conditions.

So yeah, the Rohloff is SUPER nice for AR, but you gotta be willing to take the weight. (Granted, you don't need to slap it on a Ti frame, but it's still heavy.)

This discussion thread is closed.