Customization when ordering

#1
Hi,

I'm contemplating buying a new bike: a Homage GT vario HS, with kiox and double batteries.
The only thing that really bothers me about it, is the shifter.

Riese & Muller offer H-sync on only one bike as far as I can tell (the culture).
All other bikes with "Vario" (enviolo N380) transmission are hand shifted.
They don't even offer the normal Harmony electronic shifting.

I fail to understand how a lower specced bike (the culture) can have automatic shifting,
but my 7000 euro dreambike can not.

Worst part is that there is no way at all to add this afterwards, H-sync needs to be configured in the Bosch motor.
Only Bosch, or Riese & Muller can do this apparently, not the LBS.


On to the question at hand:
As each Riese & Muller bike is made to order,
and as they do offer H-sync (albeit on another bike),
would it be possible to ask them to add it as an option to my bike?
Do they even take custom orders into consideration?
 
#2
No, they do not. I contacted R&M about having the culture's handlebars and stem fitted to a Homage, and R&M rep told me:


To not make things to complicated we therefore have to also reduce options. In the past we had things like different tyre options, different handle bar options, different stem option. But at the end they where hardly used by our customers and mainly caused even longer lead times. So we let go of this system.
unfortunately we can only offer the bikes as described on our website.
Everything else has to be done via the dealers.
Which is to say, if it's not a customizable option on the website, then they won't do it for you.

I found it a bit obnoxious a $7,500 "custom ordered" bike cannot be ordered with a pair of handlebars that must certainly be at the facility where the bikes are built.
 
Last edited:

Alaskan

Well-Known Member
#3
My experience (I have my third R&M bike on order as I write this) is that Riese & Muller makes no exceptions and will not do anything that is not officially in the current year's catalog. I have heard of absolutely no one being able to change this.

Having had a Nevo Nuvinci and now an 2018 Homage Rohloff HS with chain and manual shifter, the bike I have on order is the same as what you are contemplating except it has the Rohloff with E14 shifter. My wife and I will each have our own Homage with Rohloff. She rode the Nevo Nuvinci GH which was a very nice bike but a total mismatch with my Homage HS Rofloff.

My experience with the Nuvinci (now Vario) paired with the CX drive and belt drive is that it is a very nice round town bike, easy to shift but not nearly the gear range of the Rohloff. With the High Speed version, you want good low gears to be a good hill climber, especially considering the HS version does not have the high torque of the CX. You also want a much higher top gear ration to make full and efficient use of the high speed capabilities of the class 3 motor. I live in a fairly hilly part of the world so I am getting down and dirty in 2nd or 3rd gear to get up 15% grades. I am in 12th gear on the flats at 80 rpm cadence doing 24 mph routinely and using 14th gear on the down hills doing 90 rpms at 35 mph. That used to seem too fast for me but the "control technology" of the Homage with its well tuned, full suspension keeps the tires in contact with the road, making it so much more sure footed, in the turns, riding on the bumps and braking.

I would strongly recommend you consider getting the Rohloff. I know it is an expensive step up over the Vario but the Rohloff is such a better match up with the high speed Bosch, it gets you the electronic shifting, it is so much more durable, the company seems more stable and, bottom line, it delivers considerably more power to the drive wheel with less wattage loss from higher transmission efficiency. There is almost a 10% loss of wattage between Rohloff and Nuvinci https://www.cyclingabout.com/speed-difference-testing-gearbox-systems/

I have not ridden a high speed bike with the Vario but I strongly suspect I would not be happy with it having gotten accustomed to the Rohloff. Feel free to open up a private conversation here so we can exchange phone numbers and I can share my experiences and thoughts further.
 
#4
I would love to buy the better Rohloff, buy it is not available in europe in a HS version.
It is on other bikes though, such as the supercharger and delite...
When I change the site to en-us, I see it is listed there for the homage too.

Why they do these things, I also don't understand...
 
#5
Had a lengthy conversation with LBS, and we came to a solution.
I ordered the Homage GT Vario HS, but with some modifications:

Retrofit of the Harmony automatic shifting, but without the bulky twist handle.
Just 3 small buttons (comparable in size to the E14 shifter).

Different gearing right away; we don't have any decent hills anyway.
That way less pedal speed to reach 45 kph.

Fitment of droppr seatpost, so that the saddle is easily lowered for my wife.


With these adjustments, I feel good about the purchase, and the only thing that H-sync would add on top of this, is that we wouldn't even need the 3 small buttons.
Thonking about it, I feel like having those buttons will be even better than using the kiox to change the cadence.

Bike should arrive in week 11-12, can't wait!
 

Alaskan

Well-Known Member
#6
Sounds like you have a great local bike shop to work with. I will be eager to hear your impressions once you have had a chance to ride the new bike. It sounds like it will be a solid bike.
 
#7
Thanks, I too was pleasantly surprised, especially about the prices.
Price of the bike itself was fixed, riese-muller doesn't allow dealers to give discounts (or so he says).
But I got the kiox upgrade for free, and a bikehelmet (Abus hyban plus) for free.

Also the upgrades are more than reasonably priced.
For example, the full kit for harmony upgrade costs 399 euros plus shipping.
He quoted me 400 euros, and that's including the installation.

I've got a good feeling about him, seems very humble and knowledgeable!
 
#8
Retrofit of the Harmony automatic shifting, but without the bulky twist handle.
Just 3 small buttons (comparable in size to the E14 shifter).!
I am super surprised a R&M dealer would accept to add a Harmony on the stock Nuvinci. This is very interesting... I have not found one in the US that would do it.
I would love to hear more about the use of the Harmony system on that bike when you get it.
 

Mr. Coffee

Well-Known Member
#9
I am rather surprised that nobody in the e-bike world is attempting to build built-to-order e-bikes. There are plenty of very high-end custom bike makers that seem to have more business than they know what to do with, so you can't say there isn't a market for a bike (or e-bike) that might cost $10k or more.

Dreaming of an e-bike version of a Stinner Refugio.
 
#10
I am super surprised a R&M dealer would accept to add a Harmony on the stock Nuvinci. This is very interesting... I have not found one in the US that would do it.
I would love to hear more about the use of the Harmony system on that bike when you get it.
He hadn't done it on the homage yet, but has succesfully done the upgrade on other R&M bikes, including the supercharger.
Will post pictures when I get it.
 

Chris Nolte

Well-Known Member
#12
I'm very interested to see how this retrofit works. To my understanding, it won't work on the Homage, but maybe this has changed. You won't be able to program it into the Bosch system, but you can still use the manual electronic controller. The other challenge with this is once a dealer fits a non-stock part they become the manufacturer of the bike taking on all responsibility and liability. It's a tricky thing, especially in a very litigious place like the US.

I hope the retrofit works and I look forward to hearing more about it.
 
#13
Hi Chris,

why would it not work on the homage? The system getting retrofitted is the Harmony, not the H-sync.
So there will be no integration with the bosch system at all.
I opted for the smaller, 3 button remote in favor of the bigger electronic shifter which normally comes with the Harmony kit.
The 3 buttons each refer to a (dealer programmable) cadence, which is more than enough for me.

Regarding liability:
I don't know how things work in the USA, and am not too sure how it works here in Belgium too, to be honest.
But the bike dealer is an official R&M dealer, and a certified Bosch expert.
Since he has done this modification before, I'm assuming he knows the legal repercussions, if any.
 
#14
Someone had mentioned not enough space on the rear hub to insert the controller, so it will be interesting to know if that is real or not :)
I think the liability is not a real issue. First in the US, by law, they would have to prove that the addition is responsible for the problem, and in any case, it would be easy to remove the addition before making a claim.
 

Chris Nolte

Well-Known Member
#15
It was my understanding the interface won’t work with the rear dropout spacing. That’s what I was told. If it works I will have some excited customers as some have been waiting for this option. I’m not afraid to admit I might have been wrong or perhaps had some incorrect information.

For the liability and warranty, it’s a tricky topic, but basically once we modify the bike we take responsibility as R&M certifies and tests the bike as they built it and they don’t want to be liable if someone gets hurt or the bike breaks as a result of a modification. Technically car companies work the same way although I believe some laws changed around this making only the modified parts warranty void. In this case Enviolo would still warranty the hub though since they do support the install.

I’m not a lawyer and fortunately I haven’t found it necessary to contract with one on this matter, but it is something that we have been looking at a lot lately. As a dealer I think I have more to worry about here in the states than the EU regarding these laws, but I could be wrong on that.

As a consumer knowing what I know I would think it might be an upgrade worth considering provided it does work properly and the shop doing the install stands behind their work. I look forward to seeing how it works out.
 
#16
Someone had mentioned not enough space on the rear hub to insert the controller, so it will be interesting to know if that is real or not :)
The technical manual for these hubs shows the detail drawings for each size dropout (135, 142, 148 mm)
When it comes to width, there is no difference between the manual shifter or the electronic shifter.
Only possibility for it not to fit would be another interference between the controller body and the rear triangle.
But given the fact that the controller has no need to be perfectly level, and can be rotated in any way you like, I find this highly unlikely.