Rohloff Dropbar Shifter

RS_outdoor_3.JPG Several people had asked me if I meant a Hubbub adapter when I said that I’d seen a dropbar shifter for a Rohloff internally-geared hub. But what I saw was this item from Mittelmeyer, a German company. I’ve seen two examples in person, but I have to say that I didn’t care for them myself. The shift effort was high and the knurled aluminium grip is really aggressive, but they were brand-new when I touched them. Maybe they’d break in somewhat. Also, I didn’t install them, so I can’t say if I might have been able to set them up in a manner more satisfactory. Anyone else tried these?

Note in the picture that they set the bike up with foam sleeve grips (similar to Grab-On), which masks the bulk of the shifter. The Mittelmeyer shifter is kinda klunky, but all the same it does shift.



7 Comments

Hmmm…hadn’t seen that one. It looks rather inelegant. 

I figured y’all knew about the Hubbub!

There’s a split handlebar option out there, too.  I think I read about that on Vik’s Big Dummy…yep, here it is:

http://viksbigdummy.blogspot.com/2008/10/rohloff-shifer-on-drop-bar.html

Must be just me, the critic, but have never understood why a hub that expensive connects to your bike with a shifter that lame. The engineering to develop a wonder of industrial design stops at the cable.

@ Ghost

I’ve already installed a few Hubbubs for customers.  But I’ll make my own on a lathe before I pay for Hubbub for myself.  In fact, Bike Hugger has a project going with a Nexus, and I was figuring that I would be making my own version for the Nexus shifter.  But another solution has appeared. More later.

@Byron

Since “industrial design” is more or less aesthetics blended with user-ability, I would think that industrial design had little to do with the hub as well.  The hub is big chunk of metal requires either purpose-built dropouts or awkward adapters.  But key in the requirements for the shifter is the need to spool 2 cables in a “pull-pull” configuaration since the Rohloff, unlike SRAM, Sturmey-Archer, and Shimano internally-geared hubs (as well as all popular derailleur systems), does not have a spring to return it to a “normal” gear.  Further, the amount of cable that needs to be reeled is large compared to other systems, so a smaller diameter twist shifter would require more degrees of rotation for shifting.  So in my opinion, there is little to be done about the shifter aesthetics.  I can’t see getting away from some sort of twist shifter for the Rohloff.  14 gears, no derailleurs, and clunky shifter…you’ll take the bad with the good.

Unless maybe someone develops an electronic or hydraulic shifter for Rohloff.  Oh yeah, there’ll be HUGE market for that and I’m sure that investors are standing around with buckets of money to throw at development.

@Mark,

[Industrial Design](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Industrial_design) is form/function and is historically attributed to Bauhaus and most recently driven by companies like Apple with their iPod, even the George Foreman grill, or [Coasting](http://bikehugger.com/2008/03/someone_actually_riding_a_trek.htm); while a commercial failure, a study in design [by Ideo](http://www.ideo.com/). [Civia](http://bikehugger.com/tag/civia) has had much more success with their efforts at a city bike. The term is often overused, but *is the connection between product and the user*. For example, we spent much more time than many would think on a product, as simple as [a bag clip](http://clip-n-seal.com/) and considering now what other products to bring to market.

And you’re right, the Rohloff has little to do with industrial design and that’s the problem . . . as I said, connected to a chunk of precision-CNC-machined metal is a crappy shifter with various odd *nub* mounts. As if it was either an afterthought, or Rohloff is really good at machining and not so much the shifting part. You can bet millions went into the industrial design of Dura-Ace, Campy, and SRAM. SRAM didn’t develop the best hoods in the business without thinking a lot about how someone holds a hood. Here’s an analogy—I’ve got a great surround-brown toaster. It browns toast at 4 key-points—360 degress of browing, but it’s got this crappy lever that I’ve got to bang on to plunge the toast down. The engineering that went into the browning stopped at the plunge lever and it affects the quality of the product and the user experience.


Another question, how does Rohloff connect to Alfine? You’ve built those up.

If you mean, Rohloff compare to Alfine, it’s much the same as comparing Rohloff to Nexus inter-8 hubs, since Alfine is most definitely an evolution of that hub.  Other than aesthetics and apparently a different cable-pull ratio (preventing intercompatibility of shifters), the main differences are such:

Alfine hub: meant for vertical dropouts (though may require a chain tensioner if not some sliding dropout), only 8 speed,  underbar shifter, Centerlock disc mount.

Nexus (inter-8): meant for horizontal (but adaptable for vertical), twist or underbar shifters, rim or roller brake

Personally, I like the Nexus’ twistshifter but the Alfine has a disc mount.  Of course, both of them have other components associated with the hub/shifter, but the Alfine has more of a gruppo.  Of all these items, the one I’d most like to have is the Alfine front generator hub, since I could use that for my Bianchi dropbar mtb since it mounts a Centerlock disc.  Maybe not as low drag as a Son, but cheaper and Centerlock.

In all honesty, I don’t lust to own an internally-geared bike for myself.  The ergonomics of road STI or DoubleTap are superior and then there’s weight.  They also really slow wheel changes.  I suppose there is something inherently appealing about doing away with those mechanical derailleurs and excess cogs, but I instinctually see an internally-geared bike as more complex than a derailleur’ed bike, not less.

@Mark,

What I meant was haven’t you built up Civias with Rohloff hubs? What was the Rohloff shifting mechanism on a Civia?

@Byron

Oh, yeah. It just had the standard Rohloff twist-shifter mounted on the flatbar. Nothing unique or unusual about that set-up, other than the trying to find grips that can match right and left.  The lock-on grips made for twist shifters actually fit better with SRAM shifters than the Rohloff, but it’s just a small thing that maybe others wouldn’t notice. So the half-grip on the right combined with the shifter grip is not quite the same length as the left full grip. 

I don’t know of any stock variations available for the Rohloff shifter.  I’ve set-up about 6-9 rigs with those hub/shifters, and they’ve all had the same shifter.

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