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Rohloff Hub Gear

bike gear ratios

The Rohloff company produces the Speedhub 500/14 gear hub, which was first introduced at trade fairs in 1996 and 1997. For whom the legendary gearshift is suitable, how it is operated and set up and how well it works in the e-bike, we explain here.

What is a Rohloff Hub Gear?

The Rohloff Speedhub 500/14 was designed to serve as an alternative to derailleur gears for MTB, trekking and city bikes. It is a 14-speed high-performance gear hub for all types of bicycles and, thanks to its modular structure, can be used as the basis for a wide variety of designs in all common bike standards. A Rohloff stands for high efficiency and is valued for its outstanding quality. The encapsulated gear hub works almost maintenance-free, is extremely reliable and robust, and it is also a real eye-catcher.

Who should use the Rohluff Hub Gear?

A Rohloff hub gear is suitable for quality-conscious cyclists who want or even need maximum reliability with practically no maintenance. Due to the robust and fully encapsulated construction, the Rohloff likes to be used on bikes with high loads. These can be cargo bikes or touring bikes, for example, but it also masters the use in any kind of e-bike, fat bike, mountain bike and not least on everyday bikes. Since it fits in almost every frame, it can also be easily retrofitted. Over the years the Rohloff gear hub has developed into a real fan base.

How is the Rohloff hub gear operated?

The 14 gears can be selected conveniently either manually or electrically from the handlebars. The mechanical version is operated using the twist grip with exact locking points, the electrical version is also operated using the thumb button from the handlebar. Common to all hub gears is the wear-free construction, whose reliable function lasts well beyond an entire bike life, whereby the Rohloff is qualitatively beyond any doubt. The mechanical design of a Rohloff – three planetary gears running in an oil bath – is a masterpiece of filigree engineering and in a class of its own when it comes to reliability and robustness.

Advantages & Disadvantages of the Rohloff

AdvantagesDisadvantages
huge ratio of 526%heavier than other gears
highest efficiency of all gear hubsmore expensive to buy than conventional circuits
almost maintenance-free drive
very easy to operate using the rotary handle or button
fully encapsulated and wear-free construction
minimal follow-up costs due to low maintenance requirements
individual configuration possible depending on the purpose
in e-bikes perfect interaction with Bosch motors
can be used in any bike type

Rohloff gear in E-Bikes

The Rohloff gear hub works perfectly with the electric motors from Bosch. The combination of Rohloff and Bosch results in simplified operation and additional convenience features. The gear display and control via the Bosch displays are just a few examples of the advantages of this combination. Technically, the drive and transmission harmonize smoothly with each other, which results in smooth riding behavior. The harmonious weight distribution on e-bikes with a mid-drive-engine also supports the numerous advantages. Incidentally, the Rohloff Speedhub 500/14 is the only gear hub that is approved for use in high-performance S-Pedelecs.

Pinion, Rohloff, Enviolo NuVinci and Alfine in comparison

With Pinion, Rohloff, Enviolo NuVinci and Alfine there are different gear shifts for the bicycle. You can read about how the individual manufacturers compare in the following comparison.

 PinionRohloffEnviolo NuVinciAlfine
Gear Ratio636%526%380%307 – 409%
Gears1814Stepless gears8 or 11
Guarantee5 Years2 Years2 Years2 Years
Weight1.8 – 2.7 kg1.7 kg2.45 kg1.7 kg
UpgradeabilityRequires special frameCan be used with almost any frame due to individual configurationCompatible with 135x10mmFits in any frame with a rear triangle with the dimensions 10x135mm. This is almost every trekking or city bike frame
Use in e-bikesWorks with hub motors. Automatic shifting is not possible. The transmission also does not communicate with the electronics of the engine / display.Works with mid motors. The hub gear is intelligently integrated in combination with Bosch motors. Recommended gear shifts are displayed, in standstill the gear is automatically shifts to an easy gear to start offWorks with mid-drive motors. You can set the preferred cadence, which is then always kept constant by automatic shifting processes.Works with mid motors. In connection with the Shimano Steps motor you can also switch automatically.
MaintenanceAlmost maintenance-free. An oil change is recommended only every 10,000 km or once a year.Almost maintenance-free. An oil change is recommended only every 5,000 km or once a year.Maintenance freeMaintenance-free, sometimes shifting cables have to be adjusted on the mechanical version
HandleRotary handleStanding, rollingRotary handle“Rapid Fire” thumb shifter, in the electronic version shift button on the handlebar
ShiftingStanding or rolling and under partial load. In faster gears under full load.While standing, rolling and under partial load.While standing, rolling and under loadWhile standing, rolling and under load
EfficiencySince there are only two gear stages, a Pinion transmission is more efficient than a derailleur. The efficiency is somewhat below a RohloffOffers the highest efficiency of all hub gearsThe increased friction results in a slight loss of performance compared to derailleur gearsSlightly less than Rohloff Speedhub
Costsstarting from $700starting from $1000starting from $350starting from $150