A Bike Journey RSS Feed A Bike Journey on Twitter Follow us on Facebook
Kit Review: Rohloff Speedhub 500/14 CC 14 Speed Gear Hub
Our Rating: 9/10
Rohloff Speedhub 500/14 CC 14 speed gear hub

Purchased August 2008 (came with bicycle)

Rohloff Speed hub
The Rohloff is an internal hub which sits in the rear wheel. It has 14 gears with the same gear range of a 27 speed derailler gear system and is operated by a twist shifter. The advantage over a derailleur is that the Rohloff is virtually maintenance free, requires minimal fine tuning, can change gears whilst stationary, has no lateral chain movement, is as efficient as a perfectly clean derailleur system and allows for a much stronger rear wheel.
We agonised over the decision to pay out for the Rohloff but now looking back over the last 10,000km are so glad we did. On remote trips where you are away from facilities, the robust and maintenance free solution of the Rohloff is extremely beneficial.

Of course you can get by without the Rohloff and many do but you will have more tinkering, more changing of parts and be more exposed to break downs and potentially expensive shipments if your are remote. There is of course the question of what to do if the internal mechanism of the Rohloff fails? For a non Rohloff technician there is nothing you can do except ask for a replacement. Luckily this is virtually unheard of as the hub has been meticulously engineered by high quality German engineers.

When shifting under pressure there can be some gear slippage, so it is advisable to change gears when the pedals are vertical. There is also some noise in gear 5-7 which we got use to but some may find offputting however a misaligned derailleur would make the equivalent noise. Shifting gears while stationary is really handy, especially when at the bottom of a sudden hill, or when a group of Indian school children decide to fiddle with your gears. We love the fact that every time we get on our bikes the Rohloff gears operate like they did on the very first day we rode our bikes and no matter what terrain we ride through they continue to perform.

As the Rohloff gear system is fitted within the central sphere of the wheel the back wheel spokes can be fitted symmetrically on both sides allowing for full wheel dishing, which leads to a stronger wheel so you can thunder down those potholed roads without a care in the world. The sprocket is reversable so we plan to do our first reversal at the 17,000km mark giving us another lease of life before the next replacement is required.

The manual provided is very comprehensive and the spares required for even a long tour are minimal.

  • Minimal maintenance
  • Durable
  • No need for fine tuning
  • Long service life
  • Eliminates dangly-prone-to-being-knocked-back derailleur
  • Simplified bike setup
  • Reduced wear and tear on chain (15,000km and going strong on 1 chain)
  • Stronger rear wheel
  • Can change gears whilst stationary
  • Comprehensive product manual and customer support
  • Some noise in gears 5-7
  • Big up front investment (but over time you save on spares and maintenance)
  • Some expertise required to change certain parts, not a familiar job for all bike mechanics
  • Some gear slippage may occer when shifting under pressure
Reviewed On
28th February 2011
Comment by frank stevens on Monday, April 11, 2011  11:53 AM  

what is the gear ratio? mine is the rear cluster 34-11 front is 52-38 which I can get up just about any hill and "boogy" along the flat areas in top gear when suitable.

Comment by frank on Monday, November 11, 2013  12:58 AM  

I think conventional derailer is still better for Rohloff is expensive not only at first,but service later on is equally costly.

Comment by phil on Wednesday, March 5, 2014  10:22 AM  

Had one now 3 years. A triumph of engineering. The noise mentioned fades away substantially as the gears mating-faces become polished with use. The gearchanges are instant, no chain graunching as it climbes crudely over a cluster. Click - you're in. Oil-change simple and quick. Since fitting it my rides have become more pleasurable with the experience of so clever and successful a design. In comparison a derailleur is strictly bush-league, a cheap-n-nasty piece of nonsense. Bernhard Rohloff should be lauded as a revolutionary genius.

Comment by david black on Tuesday, March 25, 2014  3:53 AM  

which brand sell bicycles with the rohloff internal gear.

Comment by Claus Jepsen on Wednesday, April 23, 2014  6:50 AM  

Hi Which oil are you using. I have read that Castrol Magnatec 5-40 should be great,because the price of the original oil is crazy. Claus

Comment by Guy on Monday, June 16, 2014  2:56 PM  

Hi Claus, We are using the standard Rohloff Speedhub oil that comes with the Rohloff. Have never tried anything else as it is recommended by Rohloff. The oil is about $10 for one change, not too bad if you only do a few a year. I guess it depends how much you ride. Guy

Comment by David Renwick on Friday, August 1, 2014  11:41 PM  

Are the hubs strong enough to withstand weeks/months of steep uphill with big loads?

Comment by Guy on Saturday, August 2, 2014  6:02 AM  

Hi David, We carried up to 45kgs and did many a steep hill with this weight for over a year, we had no problems what so ever. Having strong rims and well built wheels certainly plays its part. Guy


Email (optional, will not be published)

Website (optional)




Travelling Two

Going Slowly

Rolling Tales

Big Africa Cycle