Rohloff E-14, Gear Freewheeling

Dionigi

Well-Known Member
I’m not sure if I have ever felt as unsafe on a bicycle as I do on my Bosch Performance CX/Rohloff E-14 ebike.

A little history: For the first 400 miles the E-14 powertrain worked well, although stiff. Since then there had been a series of malfunctions that has brought to the surface the warts of a first generation electronic control system partnered with a 25 year old gearbox design. A gearbox that was originally designed for an unassisted pedal powered touring bicycle.

The major issue is gear freewheeling. By freewheeling I mean when engaged in any gear then shifting down one gear the pedals spin with no power and no gear engagement. An incredible feeling of helplessness on the road.

There are other minor issues that add to an insecurity in the system, like if you roll the bike backward unpowered the system will power up. But only in the lower 7 gears and not in the top 7 gears.

From what I can see this is Rohloff’s first venture into electronics and it looks like they hired a freshly minted EE out of Strasbourg State Polytechnic to design the control system. This type of electromechanical interface failure was common in the 1970s but unacceptable today.

Bosch and Reise and Müller should have known better. The bottom line is the Rohloff E-14 and Bosch Performance motor is a stopgap for future electric bicycle power and control systems. And I should have known better.

On the positive side I have a very proactive and responsive bike shop dealer and 8 months to have these issues resolved. Hopefully it is just a mechanical failed Rohloff Speed Hub and the electronics can be stabilized by firmware.
 
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PBVideo

New Member
I experienced some of these same issues, and firmware updates have addressed many of my problems with the E-14 over the last 6 months. My biggest obstacle when I took delivery of my Delite E-14 was learning how to adapt to the E-14's limitations when trying to shift along with the very weak firmware that wasn't quite ready for primetime. For me, I find that my aggressive shifting often times fails (frustrating for me) due to applying too much power to the pedals and not being patient. I have to remind myself often that the system isn't "automatic" shifting system, but rather a simple motor that replaces the manual crank. That said, I understand about the "unsafe" feeling as it took quite some time for R&M to figure out how to work with the CX to "cut power" to the motor so the system can smoothly shift (and for me to get comfortable with the system). I'm feeling much better about the E-14 after some of the latest updates and practice over the past 1200 miles. After having a Nuvinci system, I can honestly say the Rohloff E-14 works much better for my riding.

Let's hope Rohloff and R&M keep working on making the system even better!
 

Dionigi

Well-Known Member
Agree it is a learning process and I understand the system limitations and felt comfortable with gear shifting at appropriate times. But this hub has failed. I recalibrated the hub a few times with some success but the problem continues to grow. I have both the latest firmware for the hub and motor. One possible source of the hub issue is belt tension. I took the bike in for a tuneup at an authorized Riese and Müller dealer and they thighten the belt and changed the eMTB power mode to Sport. After this the problems started. Everyone talks about this hub lasting 300,000km but this is a marketing bullet point, if you look at touring bike forums there are numerous issues with the Rohloff not staying in gear.
 

GregTR

New Member
The only two issues I have experienced in my first 1,000 miles so far was:
1) non-shift due to pedal pressure. Even though the motor assist is cut back automatically I can put enough manual power on the powertrain to not allow the shift to occur. This is a learning curve thing coming from conventional derailleurs, however it would not be any different with a manual shifter either. I'm starting to get better at it.
2) getting stuck in a high/wrong gear at stops if the stop is not long enough for the auto reset to kick in. This has happened quite often where I'd be stuck in mid-shift due to stopping just long enough to initiate the auto down shift sequence but not long enough for it to complete. I am more active about shifting down on my own and rely less on the auto downshift feature in traffic where I could start moving at a moment's notice.

Overall I find the E-14 to be a really solid and fantastic system, I have not experienced any freewheeling or other issues with it.
 

Alaskan

Well-Known Member
No issues here but I was riding a manually shifted Rohloff before riding the E14. As such I already had well developed muscle memory doing a momentary pause in my pedal effort between shifts. I noticed the first ride on the e14 that the engineered 180 ms pause in motor power did not do the full job needed to create a smooth and near silent shift from gear to gear. I immediately brought my experience to bear and resumed a momentary slacking of effort at the high/low pedal position when shifting. After that the E14 has been smooth as silk and without issue. Any excess noise or skipping has been caused by being over eager on the pedals and pushing before the shift has been completed. It is a subtle timing thing that Rohloffs need whether shifted manually or with the e14. I have also experienced what GregTR indicated with not waiting long enough at a stop for the auto-downshift to complete. No freewheel issues to date.
 

Alaskan

Well-Known Member
So if you were going to be ordering a new R & M bike today, would you buy the Rohloff E-14 hub?
Absolutely, without a doubt. All my bikes in the future will have a Rohloff and a belt drive. That combo is truly the gold standard of gear range, low maintenance, power efficiency and durability, well worth the extra cost There is a gentle learning curve when it comes to shifting smoothly, especially while climbing. That quickly becomes muscle memory and needs little or no attention after a few good rides.
 

Afren

Active Member
No, because you never know what gear you're in unless you happen to be on the 3rd screen of Kiox (the most useful screen) and are changing gear in which case you have only 3 seconds to see the gear you're riding in. Having 14 gears at your disposal is absolutely great but not being able to easily see what gear you're riding in is a bummer.
 

Alaskan

Well-Known Member
Get your bike with the Intuvia display rather than the Kiox. You can set the gear to be on the main screen in with the info button on the Intuvia. The kiox may get better over time but many have complained on this forum that it is not well implemented yet. If you want a more informative, customizable, color screen with bluetooth, wifi and gps mapping, the Nyon display can be fitted on the Intuvia mount quite easily. There;s a ton of info on this forum about how to set up and use the Nyon. If you are set on the kiox, I would double check and make sure that you cannot get into the setting and have the present gear remain on the main display. If it can't then that is yet another reason not to get the kiox.
 

Afren

Active Member
Get your bike with the Intuvia display rather than the Kiox. You can set the gear to be on the main screen in with the info button on the Intuvia. The kiox may get better over time but many have complained on this forum that it is not well implemented yet. If you want a more informative, customizable, color screen with bluetooth, wifi and gps mapping, the Nyon display can be fitted on the Intuvia mount quite easily. There;s a ton of info on this forum about how to set up and use the Nyon. If you are set on the kiox, I would double check and make sure that you cannot get into the setting and have the present gear remain on the main display. If it can't then that is yet another reason not to get the kiox.
I have Kiox on mine. Are you saying that I can retrofit Nyon display?
 

Alaskan

Well-Known Member
The Nyon retrofit is easier with an Intuvia as they both use the same handlebar mount. The Kiox has a special stem that I think is likely too wide to accommodate the Intuvia mount. To retrofit where there is already a Kiox installed, would require a new stem and an intuvia mount wired down thru the tube in into the motor. I replaced the stem on my Homage with an Ergotec Swell Ahead adjustable stem. It is made by the same company that makes the stem that comes standard on the Homage and is a step up in strength rating. Being able to adjust the stem angle is very useful. It is certainly something that an be done but frankly Riese & Muller might balk at stem replacement and it could cause warranty issues. They really fussy that way. @David Berry has a Homage with Rolhoff e14 and a Kiox. He has been a rather outspoken critic of the Kiox on this forum. He could probably be helpful on this.

20190731_155335.jpg
 

Afren

Active Member
The Nyon retrofit is easier with an Intuvia as they both use the same handlebar mount. The Kiox has a special stem that I think is likely too wide to accommodate the Intuvia mount. To retrofit where there is already a Kiox installed, would require a new stem and an intuvia mount wired down thru the tube in into the motor. I replaced the stem on my Homage with an Ergotec Swell Ahead adjustable stem. It is made by the same company that makes the stem that comes standard on the Homage and is a step up in strength rating. Being able to adjust the stem angle is very useful. It is certainly something that an be done but frankly Riese & Muller might balk at stem replacement and it could cause warranty issues. They really fussy that way. @David Berry has a Homage with Rolhoff e14 and a Kiox. He has been a rather outspoken critic of the Kiox on this forum. He could probably be helpful on this.

View attachment 36810
I found the stem which came with the bike, open chest style, very uncomfortae so I replaced it within the first few days of purchasing the bike.
 

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PLH KY

New Member
Thank you all for your input. My LBS is trying become a dealer for R&M. I plan to get my Homage ordered Thursday, hopefully. My dealer has been trying to get the R&M sales rep for the US for three weeks now. The R&M rep was on vacation and then my dealer was gone to the National Cannondale meeting. My dealer has been in business since 1973, and has a good, very profitable store. They have been a Bosh service center for several years with 4 full time mechanics. R&M would be proud to have them as a dealer.

So I plan to order a Homage GX Rohloff HS, my finial decisions with the configuration are which display and frame size.

I am 5’9” or 69” tall. The frame recommendations for the 49cm is 64” to70” and for the 54 cm is 69” to 74”.
Seems I fall in the top of one or the bottom of the other. So if any of you that have a Homage have some input I would love to hear from you.

I do like the Kiox display a lot. I believe that I can live with the gear display being only on that one page. I think that issue that is the only negative, not not a huge one. I can go with the Intuvia but who knows possibly they will have an update or an new and improved display down the road. I will just have to do a bit more research over the next few days. I just think that as nice as this bike is set up it should have as nice a display as possiable.

I Really appreciate everyone’s thoughts.
 

sfnorton

New Member
I can't speak to the Rohloff/E14 with the CX motor, but I do have the Rohloff/E14 with a Performance Speed motor. Fantastic riding experience. No freewheeling as you describe. All 14 gears are very useful. I've used the lowest gear to ride up impossibly steep hills and the highest gear lets you apply pedal power even while barreling downhill at 35mph. The gear range is perfect. I've not had any major issues with the e14 and I'm getting really good at shifting in all conditions as long as I think ahead a bit...the same as with a normal road or mountain bike. The Kiox is totally fine too. The current gear IS indicated on the main screen. Some say the small font is hard to read but I have no problem with it. I prefer my phone for all cycle metering parameters, navigation, music, communications, etc. so I'm happy to have the tiny Kiox option since it saves handlebar real estate. I ditched the Kiox mount stem as well for an adjustable one, but there are aftermarket options for mounting the Kiox. I'm using one made by Cube/Acid. Works great. I do dislike the reduction gear on the current Bosch motors though. So hard to pedal when the motor reaches it's limit. The new motor will be so much better, I'm sure, just for the lack of the reduction gear drag if nothing else.
 

Afren

Active Member
Apologies, I misunderstood the term "stem". Here in Europe, we sometimes misguidedly refer to a handlebar
as "stem". What I meant to say was that shortly after purchasing the bike, I changed the handlebar (too wide for my liking) but not the stem.
 

David Roy

Well-Known Member
I just completed 1000 miles on my R&M ebike equipped with the Bosch CX motor and the Rohloff hub. Both the Bosch mid drive and hub shifting were new experiences. I got the bike about a month ago. For the past 50 years all my bikes were equipped with some type of derailleur shifting including my first ebike, a Magnum hub drive.

As expected both the mid drive and the Rohloff took some getting used to but I expected and looked forward to trying something new. I spent the first couple hundred miles just riding and experimenting with settings and techniques. Learning to shift smoothly was a challenge but I eventually got the timing right. Now when I press the shift button I’m usually rewarded with a quick “snick” and a small change in torque. Based on the generous comments of @Alaskan and @ DavidBerry I ordered my bike with the Intuvia display and found having the large current gear number always on display extremely helpful during the learning process.

Back to the question of if I would recommend the Rohloff hub. The answer is yes if you bike a lot and want a clean, reliable, low maintenance solution. Probably not so much if you enjoy tinkering with your own gear, swapping out and/or fixing chains, cassettes and derailleurs and having more control of your bike and ride characteristics.

For me the answer was easy. I’ve reached a point where I enjoy riding my bike more than maintaining it. I also get a kick out of learning something new. So far it’s been lots of fun and very rewarding.
 
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