Rohloff! Gesundheit!

The Co-Motion Divide Rohloff, off the hook and back on the trail.

I peeled my snout from the grindstone in order to take a short ride yesterday, and I’m glad I did, because the wind cranked up to 11 last night and it’s still there today.

Also, and too, rain. Which is nice. But that doesn’t mean I’m gonna go ride in it.

Unzip over to Voler to join the team! Use the Secret Code (OLDGUYS15) to get 15% off your purchase. And no, goddamnit, for the last time, it does not come with fries!

Especially since I finally succumbed to the siren song of Non-Drowsy Claritin-D 12 Hour. God damn. I think I lost five pounds blowing my nose this morning. Must be all that grindstone dust.

Anyway, I’d hauled the Co-Motion Divide down to Two Wheel Drive a while back over a leaky Rohloff hub and thought I’d give ’er a whirl now that alles ist besser. It’s far too nice a bike for me but I rode it anyway. You can’t stop me!

It needs some more love — better tires, and a little hammer time for the rear Avid BB7 caliper, which insists on dragging its fixed pad.

A smart fella would go to TRP Spyres. But as you know, I will never be smart.

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24 Responses to “Rohloff! Gesundheit!”

  1. Pat O'Brien Says:

    Spyre and Spyke are the bomb. And the Spyre SL (cross model) has the mud covers that keep the gook out of the pads. That’s what I have on the Double Cross. Go ahead, you and the Co-Motion deserve it.

  2. canamsteve Says:

    Leaky Rohloff? I thought they were supposed to leak. I know it sounds wrong, but they are not like a car engine which pumps oil around to lube various bits – I was told that the only “important” oil in a Rohloff was the film that sticks to all the moving surfaces and they know that the excess (what is the total – 25ml or so?) will find its way out (esp. if you lay it down on the non-drive side).

    The Rohloff “oil change” is really just a replenishment

    I have a similar setup (A Carver with a Rohloff belt drive) but as it has S&S couplers, it really *does* Divide 🙂

  3. mooremediaone Says:

    Hi Patrick, I think that CoMotion is my fav of all your bikes.

    I too, have a leaky Rohloff (Soma Wolverine) – especially when I lie the bike down in the back of my 4Runner.

    I reduced the recommended amount of oil, to half to see if that would help – but not really. I carry rags in my bike bag.

    Other than that, pushing 20k miles and works fine.

  4. Patrick O'Grady Says:

    The leakage is apparently part of the charm, as with VW Bug heaters that don’t heat and pretty much everything in the Vanagon Syncro.

    “Yeah, they do that.”

    I don’t think it helped that I hung the beast from the rear wheel. That got messy. Like me, it stays on the ground now.

  5. Pat O'Brien Says:

    Let me get this straight in my tiny gray cells. The hub is made in Germany, costs well over $1K, and leaks oil. No thanks. I would take a Schlumpf crank and Shimano hub instead for that kind of coin.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      The Rohloff is not unlike the Irish. You must use the proper lubricant with your Irishman, and it will periodically leak out and thus must be topped off, generally every 15 minutes or so. You will need a professional mixologist and someone else’s money.

      Overfill your Irishman and you get a leak of another type altogether.

      And blown gaskets are all too common, especially during discussion of matters religious and/or political.

  6. khal spencer Says:

    From my experience with BMW motorcycles, one deals with expensive flaws as a fringe benefit. But CoMo makes nice bikes, at least based on our tandem.

  7. David Rees Says:

    The Rohloff hub is a very nice piece, a mostly well engineered unit that does it’s job very well. But, the engineering falls short: the SOB leaks. That doesn’t cut it. British Leyland found that out many years ago with their engines and gearboxes that dripped oil – all the time. Somewhere along the line that became part of the “charm” of the owning the car, but it killed them in the marketplace – at least in the US. It’s not “charm”, it’s an oil spot on the garage floor.

    • Hurben Says:

      I remember reading an article about Triumph motorcycles in the 70’s, the conclusion was that the British should never be trusted with anything more viscous than window putty

    • larryatcycleitalia Says:

      Ya gotta wonder why they didn’t come up with a low-drag seal of some sort to keep the oil inside. But what do I know? Reminds me of a pair of Mavic wheels a client had a few years back – he borrowed some tools to take the rear hub apart and spray some lube into it. He said ya gotta do it every 1500 miles. Seems like some backyard engineering to me. But what do I know?

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      I recall somebody quipping that if we could only get an auto that was a joint effort between the Germans (mechanicals) and Japanese (electronics) the thing would run forever, like “The Simpsons.”

      • larryatcycleitalia Says:

        I used to think that too, but my in-laws experiences with German cars now makes me wonder. In addition to their many electrical woes Dad’s BMW had a camshaft go flat and last week he was pouring oil into his Mercedes and wondering why the “check oil” light would not go out.
        Ironically, our ancient Mitsubishi was killed by an electrical relay going dead….a $600 part I wasn’t keen to invest in to keep a 25 year old car running a few more months before we escaped to Italy.

    • Pat O'Brien Says:

      I used to keep a cookie baking pan under my ’67 Triumph Bonneville. Between oil leaks and Lucas electrics, I didn’t keep that bike very long.

  8. canamsteve Says:

    Like I said – they are essentially designed to leak. The oil fill is an “overfill” to make sure all the special Germaness inside gets a film of lube (prevents rust) and the rest does nuthin’. There is a seal, just not a very good one.

    The proof of the pudding is in the riding, and you can Google all you want, but you won’t find too many Rohloff failure stories. Thorn cycles has a good forum and this report may be of interest

    Click to access ThornLivingWithARohloff.pdf

    I have two Rohloffs (one on a US bike and one on a UK bike) and both have been trouble free (and me being 1/4 Scottish, both were purchased used). Just don’t lay them down on the non-drive side for any length of time – esp the disc-brake models

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      The guys at Two Wheel Drive said they could order up new gaskets — apparently some sort of paper product? — but they would have to come from Deutschland in a locked aluminum case accompanied by a Ph.D. in ze mechanistical engineering from Technische Universität München, ja.

      Here’s a tale from a dude who services his own Rohloff hub.

      • canamsteve Says:

        The Torx screws are a special type of chocolate as well

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        Fucking Torx screws. I got a review bike not long ago that was all Torx, all the time. I was expecting the usual M5 and it was Torx, Torx and more Torx.

        I think the first time I saw those sonsabitches was in the Mac SE. I’m all like, “Th’ fuck? I got a flathead and a Philips and a hammer. I’m’a use the hammer.”

        • larryatcycleitalia Says:

          You’re far from the only one that hates those things! Probably worse is the inconsistency – for the same purpose you find a 5 mm hex, then a T20 Torx the next time, then a T25, sometimes on the same damn assembly! The final insult is when you can’t see down inside to determine what the f–king thing is so you keep jamming various things in (at the risk of ruining the fastener) until you end up with the correct one.

        • Herb from Michigan Says:

          This is so far off topic I’m sure I’ll be asked never to post again but all this hub talk got me thinking about my old nemesis. Regina free wheels. Those bastards had the sweetest sound but when they locked up on you all hell broke loose. Derailleurs torn off, chains mangled, And good luck getting them off the hub. Many a two prong freewheel tool was busted and I think that’s how I learned to swear like a sailor with a stinging jellyfish down his shorts. You old timers might also remember the early versions of recessed, hex key seat binder bolts which snapped in half if you even looked at them across the room.

        • Patrick O'Grady Says:

          O, indeed. Who among us has not known the joy of snapping a seat-post binder bolt during a midride adjustment? That long ride back to the rancheroo with knees clipping your chin in DUI BMX mode gives a fella plenty of time to rehearse his sailor’s chantey (Cog sugga mudda fugga sunna beachen, etc.).

  9. khal spencer Says:

    If you live in New Mexico, call Gov. Lujan-Grisham and ask her to veto this “get the fuck off the road” bill.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      I sent ’er a note the other day after J-Buntz stomped on it with both Sidis. A nice robot replied. “Beep, click, whir,” it exclaimed. “Your message has been forwarded for review. Clang, honk, tweet.”

      And now we have this from the Journal. We’re not the only ones pitching a bitch. My man Stephen Newhall has chimed in as well.

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