Move over R-M, there is a new sheriff in town !

Ravi Kempaiah

Well-Known Member
I always admired the meticulous engineering of Kalle Nicolai, a master craftsman in Germany and his company Nicolai.
Around late 2017, they partnered with HNF Heisenberg and started this brand HNF- Nicolai.

I really believe that Kalle Nicolai is more of a true engineer and less of a businessman at heart. As a result, his bikes are not well known compared to R-M or Canyon.

For those interested in reading about Kalle Nicolai: https://enduro-mtb.com/en/nicolai-factory-visit/

Their new bike XF3 is very well-engineered and has some amazing features. What I really like is their attention to detail like the linkage design, heavy duty bearings, strong frame.
  1. Full suspension with Gate Belt drive

  2. Bosch Gen 4 CX paired with Rohloff E-14 hub

  3. 1125 Whr battery

  4. MTB-grade suspension, fenders, lights and rack for utility
Read more about this model here: https://bikerumor.com/2020/09/21/hn...like-monster-full-suspension-commuter-e-bike/


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reed scott

Well-Known Member
I like the concept. Don't care for the rear triangle. Looks weak. Otherwise it looks incredibly rugged and techy. Look at those little bitty crank arms.
 

Johnny

Well-Known Member
Looks fine but I don't think it is a very special design. It is more like they took a mid suspension design added batteries on top and front tube.



I think ebikes need a better integrated and simpler rear suspension design.
 
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Akrotiri

Well-Known Member
looks great and will probably perform great too but the Trek Powerfly 9 equipped is half the price and comes with Treks excellent after sales customer service.
Bulls also has a new model to compete in this unique class.

Not sure why everyone touts the rohloff hub as maintenance free because I've read horror stories recently on this forum of people completely unable to get their broken down rohloff serviced during the pandemic lockdowns. The problem with the rohloff is that there are so few certified techs who can fix it and in these uncertain times relying literally on one person who can fix your bike is a deal breaker for many.
 

Ravi Kempaiah

Well-Known Member
I've read horror stories recently on this forum of people completely unable

Not a lot of people, just one or two members who are more vocal than others.


problem with the rohloff is that there are so few certified techs who can fix it

It was a simple oil leak that can be fixed by many and all it needs is a simple gasket. Oil is supposed to leak in very small quantities to allow for thermal expansion and temperature changes.

If you purchased a Toyota car and one of the hose was leaking ... and the Toyota dealer says ... "oh, this part is made by Denso and I need to send it to them for service and let's wait for 3 weeks" ... you would think it is ridiculous. Because R-M has no US-based personnel, it has to rely on other people for small stuff like this. If you had spare parts in hand, it would not be such a big deal. I also owned a few R-M bikes and still have the Delite Rohloff HS in my garage. For the money they charge, I have thought it is a daylight robbery but I let it go because I know an industry like the E-bike industry is more dysfunctional than Kardashians family.
You will see this if you go deep enough. There is no standardization of any kind, for bikes that are mostly imported from China, there is no R&D at all. Mildly engineered bikes cost more than a used Prius. It is what it is.

Treks excellent after sales customer service

If we use the same logic, the number of failed hubs on Trek Allant+ 9S is a disgrace for a company like the Trek but they have many service points all over the US compared to some of these EU brands.

Coming back to your question:

Rohloff is a product that is extremely well-engineered and has gained reputation based on several thousands of users all over the world. If I were tour around the US, I would without a shadow of doubt, use Rohloff+ Gates setup.
 
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Over50

Well-Known Member
I always admired the meticulous engineering of Kalle Nicolai, a master craftsman in Germany and his company Nicolai.
Around late 2017, they partnered with HNF Heisenberg and started this brand HNF- Nicolai.

I really believe that Kalle Nicolai is more of a true engineer and less of a businessman at heart. As a result, his bikes are not well known compared to R-M or Canyon.

So many great German brands. Where do you think Rotwild fits into the the list? Groundbreakers? Copiers? Average?
 

Johnny

Well-Known Member
Trek Powerfly 9 equipped is half the price

Not really half the price, it is 6K to begin with if you add another battery goes over 7K and this is witout rohloff which usually adds another 1.5-2k. Still I think Rail 9 is one of Trek's good offerings.

Treks excellent after sales customer service

And I would expect excellent service if am paying 2 times the price to begin with.

Rohloff seems great and Ravi is right about bike manufacturer being responsible about the component to begin with.

My problem with rohloff though is that it is hard for most lbs's to work on them. An easier to service hub with less gears and better price can sell a lot.

If you purchased a Toyota car and one of the hose was leaking ... and the Toyota dealer says ... "oh, this part is made by Denso and I need to send it to them for service and let's wait for 3 weeks" ... you would think it is ridiculous.

Funny you mentioned this. I don't know about Toyota but for Nissan this actually happens. Their earlier 3.7 liter motors can develop a gasket leak because they used a paper one instead of a more durable one which would have costed $10 more. If you are out of warranty it is a bummer, they will simply quote you 3-4K to change a frigging gasket ($50-100 in parts rest is labor) since the whole thing has to be taken apart.
 

Akrotiri

Well-Known Member
Not a lot of people, just one or two members who are more vocal than others.

Ok granted but those one or two people were told that the oil leak is normal. How much oil is supposed to leak to allow for thermal expansion is what seems to be the issue in those cases.


It was a simple oil leak that can be fixed by many and all it needs is a simple gasket. Oil is supposed to leak in very small quantities to allow for thermal expansion and temperature changes.

If you purchased a Toyota car and one of the hose was leaking ... and the Toyota dealer says ... "oh, this part is made by Denso and I need to send it to them for service and let's wait for 3 weeks" ... you would think it is ridiculous. Because R-M has no US-based personnel, it has to rely on other people for small stuff like this. If you had spare parts in hand, it would not be such a big deal. I also owned a few R-M bikes and still have the Delite Rohloff HS in my garage. For the money they charge, I have thought it is a daylight robbery but I let it go because I know an industry like the E-bike industry is more dysfunctional than Kardashians family.
You will see this if you go deep enough. There is no standardization of any kind, for bikes that are mostly imported from China, there is no R&D at all. Mildly engineered bikes cost more than a used Prius. It is what it is.

Fair enough agreed.

If we use the same logic, the number of failed hubs on Trek Allant+ 9S is a disgrace for a company like the Trek but they have many service points all over the US compared to some of these EU brands.
Correct me if I'm wrong but the failed hubs on the 9s aren't bontrager. It's a third party hub from another company that isn't owned by Trek.
Coming back to your question:

Rohloff is a product that is extremely well-engineered and has gained reputation based on several thousands of users all over the world. If I were tour around the US, I would without a shadow of doubt, use Rohloff+ Gates setup.
I'm sure it's well-engineered and has earned it's following but I disagree about it needing zero maintenance. It clearly does need maintenance periodically such as oil changes and when it does one better hope the lone certified technician within a 1500mile radius that can work on it isn't on vacation or lockdown.
 
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Akrotiri

Well-Known Member
Not really half the price, it is 6K to begin with if you add another battery goes over 7K and this is witout rohloff which usually adds another 1.5-2k. Still I think Rail 9 is one of Trek's good offerings.



And I would expect excellent service if am paying 2 times the price to begin with.

Rohloff seems great and Ravi is right about bike manufacturer being responsible about the component to begin with.

My problem with rohloff though is that it is hard for most lbs's to work on them. An easier to service hub with less gears and better price can sell a lot.



Funny you mentioned this. I don't know about Toyota but for Nissan this actually happens. Their earlier 3.7 liter motors can develop a gasket leak because they used a paper one instead of a more durable one which would have costed $10 more. If you are out of warranty it is a bummer, they will simply quote you 3-4K to change a frigging gasket ($50-100 in parts rest is labor) since the whole thing has to be taken apart.
Exactly what i'm saying. At some point the rohloffs will need to be worked on and it is very difficult to find an lbs to do so and when they do they have one employee that can. So rohloff owners are at the mercy of that one guy who is qualified to work on it.
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
I could never grab the idea of monster e-bikes. Not good off-road, bad in the city. Heavy. The only reason to own such e-bike is what the German say about BMW:

Zu imponieren.

:)
 

Ravi Kempaiah

Well-Known Member
At some point the rohloffs will need to be worked on and it is very difficult to find an lbs to do so and when they do they have one employee that can.

I am not sure where you found this information. I invested quite a bit of money into buying Rohloff hubs after testing it for a few thousand miles, talking to the folks in Germany and assessing the feasibility of service options.

There are quite a few mechanics around the country that can service the Rohloff hub. In the US alone, I have located at least 20 competent bike shops that can handle this efficiently. Let me give you an example:

Just in one case, one of the forum members was not advised well and he had to send his hub to a repair facility in California for a simple fix and they took a lot of time in fixing the oil leak but in an ideal case, his shop could have worked with nearby shop called Aaron's bike shop in Seattle who are experts in Internal gear hub repair and servicing.


They not only service Rohloff but a wide variety of IGHs.

See the link below: http://www.rideyourbike.com/rohloff.shtml

A little bit of guidance in the right direction goes a long way in resolving seemingly 'complex' problems.
I know 2 shops in Chicago, 3-4 in California and so on...

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Mr. Coffee

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
A Demented Corner of the North Cascades
I'm sure it's well-engineered and has earned it's following but I disagree about it needing zero maintenance. It clearly does need maintenance periodically such as oil changes and when it does one better hope the lone certified technician within a 1500mile radius that can work on it isn't on vacation or lockdown.

Jeez.

My lbs is literally nine miles from my front door. They had no problem replacing the hub oil and I have them do it once a year whether the hub needs it or not. Hub oil replacement is not a difficult evolution at all and most bike shops will have no problem doing it -- it does not require a certified technician.

I give them (my lbs) about ten days warning to order the kit and they email me when it arrives, and I drop the bike off and am typically riding the next day.

[Going from 10,000km to 10,000mi this year and the bike is still going strong]

I personally know people who have Rohloff hubs with 100k miles on them, all they've ever done to the hub is change the oil and rebuild wheels around it when the wheels wore out.
 

Mr. Coffee

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
A Demented Corner of the North Cascades
Ebikes or normal bikes?

Normal acoustic bikes.

My own suspicion about Rohloff problems for e-bikes reported here and elsewhere is that several things are going on:
  1. Early teething problems with E-14. I tried a couple of bikes with E-14 when it first came out and I do not regret avoiding the upgrade. I suspect that is about 90 percent of the failures. Early E-14 shifted like potato.
  2. This is more speculative but I am suspicious of the belt tensioning devices you need on an FS bike. I suspect (but do not know) that these devices could intermittently transmit very high lateral forces to the hub as the frame flexes.
  3. There is a small probability that there was a defective batch of Rohloff hubs distributed to R&M.
 

Johnny

Well-Known Member
This is more speculative but I am suspicious of the belt tensioning devices you need on an FS bike. I suspect (but do not know) that these devices could intermittently transmit very high lateral forces to the hub as the frame flexes.

I don't think a tensioner can create such a force however addition of a mid drive can.

Rohloff feels a bit overengineered. Do you think 2x7 gears is necessary? I always felt like 7-8 gears with a wide range would have been better.
 

Akrotiri

Well-Known Member
I am not sure where you found this information. I invested quite a bit of money into buying Rohloff hubs after testing it for a few thousand miles, talking to the folks in Germany and assessing the feasibility of service options.

There are quite a few mechanics around the country that can service the Rohloff hub. In the US alone, I have located at least 20 competent bike shops that can handle this efficiently. Let me give you an example:

Just in one case, one of the forum members was not advised well and he had to send his hub to a repair facility in California for a simple fix and they took a lot of time in fixing the oil leak but in an ideal case, his shop could have worked with nearby shop called Aaron's bike shop in Seattle who are experts in Internal gear hub repair and servicing.


They not only service Rohloff but a wide variety of IGHs.

See the link below: http://www.rideyourbike.com/rohloff.shtml

A little bit of guidance in the right direction goes a long way in resolving seemingly 'complex' problems.
I know 2 shops in Chicago, 3-4 in California and so on...

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Any information I got about the ease of maintenance regarding the rohloff hub is from EBR members and their complaints or reviews of it. 20 certified shops in a country of 330 million isn't a lot imo. Not sure what the amount/ ratio is here in the EU, perhaps higher but not by much I presume. I'm on my second e-bike and only got started in this wonderful hobby since Oct 2019 so I'm still learning. Which is basically a reason I'm a member of EBR. I know you're one of the most experienced cyclists on this forum so I guess I learned something today about the rohloff.

That being said I also read here on EBR that the e14 rohloff doesn't allow the rider to to pedal without a bluetooth/internet/battery power connection unlike the traditional mechanical rohloff or traditional derailleur, is that true or not because I'm not sure obviously.
 
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Alaskan

Well-Known Member
Just in one case, one of the forum members was not advised well and he had to send his hub to a repair facility in California for a simple fix and they took a lot of time in fixing the oil leak but in an ideal case, his shop could have worked with nearby shop called Aaron's bike shop in Seattle who are experts in Internal gear hub repair and servicing.

If I am that one case then this is not an accurate summary of the situation.

I had a local bike shop who had an experienced Rohloff guy in the shop who did the first routine oil change. Several months later I was swapping tires and pulled the rear skewer to remove the rear wheel. The skewer was dripping oil and upon inspection the E14 mech was covered with oil as well. There is an interior seal that failed and the breather is apparantly inside the core of the hub where the skewer passes through.

Most importantly the center half of my rear brake rotor was starting to get oil on it. Fortunately the oil had not spun outward yet to get on the actual braking surface of the rotor. It was about an inch away from causing the rear brakes to fail. This was far beyond the normal "misting'' oil due to normal respiration of the hub seal to equalize for atmospheric pressure.

The bike was still on warranty, so the Riese & Muller dealer was bound to have the wheel shipped to what was, at that time, Rohloff's sole authorized warranty service center in Richmond California.

I have had Aaron's work on my other Rohloff equipped bike for service. However, in this case, If I had taken the bike to Aaron's I would have voided my warranty. I am sure he would have been able to fix the bike for me but the loss of warranty on a bike that was less than one year old was not a good option.

I was not ill advised by anyone. This was an unusual failure in a Rohloff hub. The repair was done by the book due to warranty procedure and resulted in a ridiculous wait due to an unresponsive and sluggish service center. Also this hub went into the shop a full six weeks before covid started slowing supply chains.
 
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Alaskan

Well-Known Member
I don't think a tensioner can create such a force however addition of a mid drive can.

Rohloff feels a bit overengineered. Do you think 2x7 gears is necessary? I always felt like 7-8 gears with a wide range would have been better.
On an ebike fewer gears can make more sense as the motor assist makes each gear effective in a broader range of cadence. Rohloff hubs were designed to be rugged, durable, trouble free and suitable for long range trekking bikes that would be loaded with gear and ridden over a wide range of surfaces and topography. As such more gears give the rider the ability to dial in more narrow and comfortable cadence. They work great on an ebike but they were not designed for them.
 

Alaskan

Well-Known Member
That being said I also read here on EBR that the e14 rohloff doesn't allow the rider to to pedal without a bluetooth/internet/battery power connection unlike the traditional mechanical rohloff or traditional derailleur, is that true or not because I'm not sure obviously.
the E14 ties into the Bosch system connecting with cables to the can bus internal wiring harness and does not rely on any bluetooth or wireless connection. There is a phone app that allows you to update the firmware on the E14 mech through bluetooth. but that is a once every year or so thing. I found the E14 to be rock solid reliable on two bikes for over 6,000 miles.