Load 75, Rohloff vs Vario vs Touring model

Jfung11

New Member
Region
USA
Hi, I recently test rode the load 75 and fell in love with it and have decided to move forward with ordering one.
I was able to test ride the Touring and the Rohloff. I did not get to try the Vario model, but did try the urban arrow with the same enviolo shifter and loved the ease of how it shifted.
We were riding up the steep hills of San Francisco, and it was noticeably more effort to go up the hill with the UA.
Wondering if anyone has experience with load 75 Vario on steep hills, and if it takes more effort than the touring model.
To note: I found the touring model to be easy to climb the hills, but do not want to deal with the chain and cassette maintenance, which is why I’m leaning towards the Vario. The Rohloff was amazing, but not sure about going up to that price point. Appreciate any insight.
 

Onimaru

Active Member
Region
USA
The Rohloff is by far the better of the 2 IGH options for steep hills. It does have its own risk (can be a huge pain if they need serviced).

I would expect the Vario to perform the same as the Urban Arrow.
 
We did have 2 Rohloff Super Delite’s and subsequently have Vario Homages. The gearing range of the Vario is roughly equivalent of the Rohloff from gear 3 to somewhere between 13 and 14, it’s a perfectly adequate range, a hill requiring gear 1 or 2 on the Rohloff is seriously steep ! The Rohloff is very easy to use, its more efficient than the Vario on paper, though in practice the difference is very slight.

However the Rohloff can be problematic if it goes wrong….we had some initial issues with both bikes , this was resolved by our excellent dealer Edemo in the UK ( fault on assembly by R&M) but we experienced quite a few instances of the Bosch motor not’ seeing’ the Rohloff, but restarting the bike motor solved the problem on each occasion, until it didn’t in August last year. It was originally thought that a failure of the communications module between motor and gearbox was the problem but unfortunately it proved more problematic….the bike was finally fixed at the end of March, that’s a long time !

Now the support from Edemo in the UK was as always brilliant but Rohloff and their agents not so good… I understand that the situation has since improved for service in the UK, but much as I love the operation of the Rohloff the problems that may arise exceed the benefits. I bought a Tern HSD with Enviolo (Vario) Automatiq mid tail cargo bike as a spare in September last year to keep riding and Edemo subsequently provided a loaner when the nature of the delays became apparent. The Tern is very nice and I find it great for shopping trips and we will soon be adding a dog trailer ! ( We have the trailer in the house without the wheels on and our dog is getting used to it, he’s gone in of his own accord and slept in it, so we are hopeful )

We have since switched to Homage Vario‘s, partially because of the concern that a future Rohloff breakdown would be an expensive nightmare if it was to occur in the future, both cost and the delays. The Vario works very well indeed and I would highly recommend it.
 

RainyRider

New Member
Region
USA
I vote Touring- the new Linkglide system has great ratio range and should theoretically be pretty durable.
Rohloff if you really hate upkeep and/or if you're not comfortable with downshifting before stops. Gosh the upcharge is steep though.
I hate the Enviolo. Terrible efficiency (~85% instead of 95%), narrow range, finicky to use (subjective), extra cost...

The gear range of the Vario is noticbly narrow compared to the Touring and Rohloff models. Here in Seattle it's a push to get at 75 Vario up the hills with a decent amount of cargo.
How does the freewheel noise compare across the 3? Is it quieter with the belt systems?
 

JVBulman

Active Member
Region
USA
I vote Touring- the new Linkglide system has great ratio range and should theoretically be pretty durable.
Rohloff if you really hate upkeep and/or if you're not comfortable with downshifting before stops. Gosh the upcharge is steep though.
I hate the Enviolo. Terrible efficiency (~85% instead of 95%), narrow range, finicky to use (subjective), extra cost...


How does the freewheel noise compare across the 3? Is it quieter with the belt systems?
They're all audibly loud. The Rohloff sometimes spooks new owners because it sounds different in different gears. Belt vs chain has no effect on the FW noise as the noise comes from the pauls/rachets in the hub.
 
I vote Touring- the new Linkglide system has great ratio range and should theoretically be pretty durable.
Rohloff if you really hate upkeep and/or if you're not comfortable with downshifting before stops. Gosh the upcharge is steep though.
I hate the Enviolo. Terrible efficiency (~85% instead of 95%), narrow range, finicky to use (subjective), extra cost...


How does the freewheel noise compare across the 3? Is it quieter with the belt systems?
 
Interesting comments, I’d strongly advise the OP to test all the options.

There is no doubt the Vario appears weaker on the specs but it really is great to ride, the gearing control is intuitive and the most pleasant by far and the difference in specs are so small when you come to ride a bike on a day to day basis.
 

sammcneill

Active Member
Region
New Zealand
Some different perspectives from me for what it's worth.

I ride four bikes regularly:

  1. R&M SuperCharger 2 HS with vario and belt drive
    1. This is my main eBike
  2. Specialized Turbo Levo 2022 Brose 2.2 motor and 1x12 chain/derailleur config
    1. New and my first eMTB
  3. Cannondale Synapse road bike Ultegra everything and 2x11 chain/derailleur config
  4. Wahoo Kickr Bike with belt drive but electronic digital shifting simulating different cassette configs
    1. Yes, it's a stationary bike for training and Zwifting, but belt + digital simulation represent a different config
I love all those bikes, but the gear shifting I enjoy least is the Vario for three reasons:

  1. The grip shifter is slow to get through. To go from lowest to highest gear setting you'd need to 1.5x full "rotations" and given the power of the HS motor, your legs are often spinning at too high a cadence during a fast start. I'm "old school" and always shift down at lights etc so to find I need to do a full rotation of wrist, but readjust and twist again to get into highest gear is a pain. Compared to a traditional click to shift gear change it's not great.
  2. Whilst the concept of variable gear resistance is interesting, rarely does it add tremendous value when you're comparing it to a wide gear set on a chain/cassette setup. a 2x11 will give the average rider more than enough choice to find just the right gear to ride in.
  3. My biggest frustration: on a HS model, there is not enough top end gear resistance to keep cadence acceptable to push the 45kph speed limit. I don't think you should need a cadence of 100rpm+ to maintain 45Kph on these bikes, but with a vario you definitely do. Means I rarely get that full "top speed" I'd like.
Do I like the zero maintenance of belt drive and quiet riding of Vario? absolutely. Is it perfect? Not really. On my eMTB with the brose 2.2 I can accelerate faster with quicker gear changes even though it's not a HS motor. The ultimate is probably hte digitally simulated changing with a traditional roadbike shifters on the Wahoo Kickr Bike, combined with the belt drive it's quiet and fast!

12 months ago I'd like to have upgrade to a Rohloff but reading this forum I'm wary now and probably stick with what I've got!

Perhaps a mid motor Pinion gear box is the future!
 

Jay Kay

Well-Known Member
For the load, go Rohloff or touring. Vario is a great system, but I am guessing not the best for a cargo bike, especially with a load on.