Over 50's Charger GX HS Rohloff chronicles

Over50

Well-Known Member
Well yes, I did make this purchase. I alluded to this in my Charger chronicles. You all know that after a year+ of commuting under my belt I decided that Nuvinci wasn't really my cup of tea (or 'cup of e' as someone else on this forum puts it). The Nuvinci is really a fine hub and I'd definitely buy one for my wife or for a more leisure oriented bike - or even for a Class 1 commuter bike. But at time of purchase I didn't know what I didn't know. Which, for one, is that at 51 (52 now) I still had a lot more gas in the tank and once I got into better shape I wanted a more active ride and a wider gear range to give me a bit more speed while keeping a reasonable cadence. The Nuvinci left me longing for just one extra gear - an overdrive. I first inquired about switching the bike to an Alfine 11 and that didn't pan out. Then I inquired about switching to the Rohloff. Now that was possible but complex (meaning uncertain outcome) and coincidentally, I learned that Propel had a medium frame Rohloff HS in stock.

So after some discussion with Chris@Propel I decided to make the purchase. He was really flexible about letting me take it with no batteries or one battery or two (it is set up for two). I ended up going the one battery route which made the total price of the bike much more reasonable. I'll slap on one of my 400 WH batteries from the Terns when I need that extra range. For when I don't need the range, I ordered a battery bag to take up that space. Chris was also very flexible in timing knowing that I needed to sell my Charger in order to make space for the GX. He was willing to hold the bike per my needs but fortunately I have a buyer for the Charger. So if all goes well, the Charger goes out the door this weekend and the GX comes in the door around the same time. I'm a happy Propel customer.

I think the Rohloff will give me the gear range I desire. I strongly considered the New Charger but all of my other e-bikes are traditional drivetrains which means I'm cleaning a drivetrain like every Sunday night. So the Rohloff seemed a good replacement for the Nuvinci/belt combination: one low maintenance bike for another low maintenance bike. Apart from the commuting, maybe I'll get some longer trips on this bike. I've mapped out a 50 mile Sunday ride for starters. Hope to get to that soon. Once the bike is here, and I've added a few touches like pedals and a bottle mount, I'll post some pictures.
 

Over50

Well-Known Member
Day 1 with the Charger GX HS Rohloff. Bike arrived yesterday in a semi-truck. Although box was clearly marked for orientation, the freight company had stored it on its end. But thankfully Propel packs these things really well. Stout, reinforced box with lots of stuff inside to prevent the bike from moving around.

My LBS recently started a mobile service. I scheduled them for this morning. Even though the bikes are shipped with little setup needed, I wanted them to check brakes and rotors, wheel true etc. With adding pedals, configuring the cockpit and giving the bike a thorough inspection, it was money well spent (about $60). They also helped me get the exact same fore/aft saddle position and saddle height as with the other R&M.

So I only put 8 miles on it but I'm going out this evening for short jaunt. Extremely hot here today. The bike and the Rohloff in particular exceeded all of my expectations. The shifting is extremely crisp. The Rohloff, as Court commented in his review, is noisy. And the noise is different in different gears. Some are noisier than others (some are about silent). They say it takes 300 miles or so to break-in.

The ride is great for my style of riding. I was sure I wouldn't like the ST Thudbuster after being a BodyFloat rider for 2 years now. But combined with the Brooks saddle, it was nice and firm (I ride with padded cycle underwear) but with just enough give. I treated the saddle last night with saddle soap although the Brooks manual says to "only use Brooks Proofide". I set the suspension fork fairly firm with about 85 psi, 1/2 locked and in the middle of the rebound settings. I like the ride position and prefer these wider bars. I had Propel switch the tires to the Super Moto X. This set has reflective sidewall stripes whereas I think my other bikes have totally black tires (hence I put reflective spoke tape on those bikes). I wasn't pushing it today in the 8 miles but I could easily hit 21-22 in Eco without spinning fast (and with some headwind).

A few pictures follow. For the cockpit I added a water bottle mount from Problem Solvers (have the same on my Haibike), a Bontrager water bottle cage, Ergotec mirror, Spurcycle bell. And I've still got plenty of room to mount my supplemental lights for commuting. I might see if the front rack will come in handy as a camera mount. The bike is pictured here with the battery bag rather than a second battery mounted. The bag is small but does fit my toolkit and keys. It would also fit some money, credit cards etc but definitely not a phone. I can easily throw on a second Powerpack if I need the range. Also pictured is my guard cat. Although she's lounging again when she should be on guard.

Only day 1 with the bike but really blown away by how it rides.GX_Day1_A.JPGGX_Day1_C.JPGGX_Day1_D.JPGGX_Day1_E.JPGGX_Package1.JPG
 

Mr. Coffee

Well-Known Member
Nice bike.

For the seat I am using neatsfoot oil on the bottom and sno-seal on the top.

The Rohloff is pretty sweet, isn't it? I have noticed that if you are pedaling at low cadence the gears can feel a little draggy.

You can probably get one of these GoPro handlebar mounts to attach the camera to the rack. As an added bonus a lot of removable bike lights can also use a GoPro type mount.
 

Over50

Well-Known Member
Nice bike.

For the seat I am using neatsfoot oil on the bottom and sno-seal on the top.

The Rohloff is pretty sweet, isn't it? I have noticed that if you are pedaling at low cadence the gears can feel a little draggy.

You can probably get one of these GoPro handlebar mounts to attach the camera to the rack. As an added bonus a lot of removable bike lights can also use a GoPro type mount.
I'll pick up some Proofide or the neatsfoot oil on Amazon. The saddle soap seemed to work well on top but was hard to rub in under the saddle rails. I'm not worried about transfer because I never ride in street clothes - I either wear commuter pants or mountain bike shorts.

Rohloff is very nice indeed. More than once I have shifted in the wrong direction and that causes a lot of noise. The hub definitely lets you know when you're in the wrong gear (along with the Bosch shift indicator). Your's is probably well broken in by now.

When I bought my Garmin Virb I bought several mounts. None worked on the Charger (old Charger) because of the steep bend in the handlebars. I ended up using a chest mount/harness.
 

Over50

Well-Known Member
This bike might destroy all my hard earned effort to get in shape. I've trained myself to do large parts of my commuting in Eco for range conservation. But my first ever commute today on the GX Rohloff (or on any dual battery bike). Without range anxiety, it is just too seductive to ride mostly in Tour.

A hot and muggy day for my first commute. I used a PP 500 and a PP 400 both charged to about 80%. The initial range estimation in Eco was 91 miles. I rode about 75% Tour for 36 miles and my ending/remaining range estimation was 57 miles. The range estimator was pretty accurate.

Yes! I have the gear range I desired which the Nuvinci did not provide. Without hills, I am only using 4 gears on the Rohloff - gears 8 through 12. On my longest stretch without stop lights (through a park with a bike lane), I cruised about 23-24 mph in 12th gear (of 14 total) and a comfortable cadence in Tour mode. Similarly with the Nuvinci Charger, I would cruise this same stretch about 23 mph in Tour mode. The difference is the cadence (faster with the Nuvinci) and the fact that I was maxed out on gear range on the Nuvinci. Today I did not feel the need for gears 13 and 14 but it makes me feel good to know I still have Sport and Turbo modes and 2 more gears if I desire more speed. My max speed was around 26 mph in Sport in gear 12. I only used Sport mode twice for two very short stretches where I needed to make a green light.

Its only 1 ride so obviously I need an average to make a good comparison but here are some recent rough figures:

Haibike XDuro (Class 1) over 3 commutes mostly Eco:
avg dist 35.7 miles, avg time 2 hrs 35 minutes, avg spd 15.1, top spd 24

R&M Charger Nuvinci (Class 3) over 3 commutes 60/40 Tour/Eco: avg dist 34.7 miles, avg time 2 hrs 16 minutes, avg spd 15.3, top spd 24.7

Tern Vektron (Class 1) 1 commute:
dist 35.5 miles, time 2 hrs 33 minutes, avg spd 13.9, top spd 20.5

R&M Charger Rohloff (Class 3) 1 commute 70/30 Tour/Eco:
dist 35.8 miles, time 2 hrs 16 minutes, avg spd 15.8, top spd 26

I locked the bike in front of an office 2 blocks from mine. This office has armed security that periodically around the perimeter (and there are cameras by the bike racks). I got lucky, no one messed with the bike. It is really a really striking bike with 2 batteries and it just screams "steal me!". There is 1 bike on the rack - or rather 1 frame on the rack still u-locked - that has been stripped of parts and wheels. Shows what happens if you leave your bike past normal working hours.
 

DanRichman

Member
Your cat does not appear very impressed with the bike. Perhaps taking him/her on a ride would be in order? :)

I'm eagerly awaiting the Supercharger GX Rohloff HS that R&M offered me at the same price as the Charger GX Rohloff HS I had ordered. They said the last batch of Charger frames was substandard (according to my dealer) and then made me that offer, along with free air freight. Who could say no to that? Though there are pros and cons to the substitution, which I would be happy to delve into if anyone enjoys obsessing over these things as much as I do.

I look forward to your ongoing account.
 

Alaskan

Well-Known Member
TodayI went for my first longer ride on my Homage Rohloff HS with Fox suspension that arrived on Thursday, 25 miles out on a good country road with a wide shoulder.

My experience is similar that of Over 50's. What is different about the Homage is that the first thing you just have to notice is how smooth the ride is.You hear this bike going over bumps and ruts but barely feel it. Thfull Fox Float suspension masks what is really a highly responsive, nimble , even athletic bike that is ready to run with the least bit it of urging. That quickness and agility is camouflaged by the super smooth ride but as i ride this bike I come more and more to appreciate what the combo of the performance Speed unit by Bosch combined with the incredible gear range of the Rohloff makes possible in terms of performance...precisely just what I had hoped for.

When the E14 becomes available in a retrofit this bike may end up with a an upgrade. Till then I am going to have lots of fun riding it just as it is.
 

Over50

Well-Known Member
Your cat does not appear very impressed with the bike...I'm eagerly awaiting the...They said the last batch of Charger frames was substandard (according to my dealer) and then made me that offer, along with free air freight....
The cat is impressed with very little. Tuna, chipmunks, birds get her attention. My bikes not so much. She's supposed to be guard cat on duty protecting the bikes when I have them outside but she usually falls asleep on the job or wanders off lured away by chipmunks.

Substandard frames on a fast, heavy e-bike is a scary thought. Glad those were discovered and didn't end up in the hands of customers.
 

Over50

Well-Known Member
I'm up to 4 commutes now on the GX so a little better data to compare to the commutes on the other bikes (posted above). Avg distance about 36.4 miles in 2:22 at 15.4 Avg mph. Some days have been slower than others due to construction and taking some pedestrian walkways. I posted after 1 or 2 commutes that I hadn't taken the Rohloff past 12th gear where I was cruising in Tour mode at about 23-24 mph. Today I pushed it up to Sport and 13th gear to cruise at around 25. About the same cadence effort (Tour at 23-24 in 12th gear vs Sport at 25 mph in 13th gear). I still haven't used gear 14. I probably need to go find some hills and try gears 1-7. Can their be any ill effects to an IGH of never using a certain portion of the gear range? Particularly during the break-in period?
 

rudym

Member
I'm up to 4 commutes now on the GX so a little better data to compare to the commutes on the other bikes (posted above). Avg distance about 36.4 miles in 2:22 at 15.4 Avg mph. Some days have been slower than others due to construction and taking some pedestrian walkways. I posted after 1 or 2 commutes that I hadn't taken the Rohloff past 12th gear where I was cruising in Tour mode at about 23-24 mph. Today I pushed it up to Sport and 13th gear to cruise at around 25. About the same cadence effort (Tour at 23-24 in 12th gear vs Sport at 25 mph in 13th gear). I still haven't used gear 14. I probably need to go find some hills and try gears 1-7. Can their be any ill effects to an IGH of never using a certain portion of the gear range? Particularly during the break-in period?
Since I am just now wanting to add a riese and muller to my stable - your thread and purchase is timely. I was having trouble deciding between the nuvinci and the rohloff but reading your words makes me think that a supercharger HS with a nuvinci will leave me unsatisfied since I haul butt in turbo all the time. I have a trek super commuter 8 s and it is quite harsh at 26 mph with no suspension. I have considered a front shock and thudbuster/bodyflow seat post but feel like I am getting ready to turn my super commuter 8s into a bastard child.
 
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Over50

Well-Known Member
Since I am just now wanting to add a riese and muller to my stable ...I haul butt in turbo all the time...
It is just my opinion but after having spent time on both I wouldn't go back to the Nuvinci (for a longer distance commuter bike). I'd consider Nuvinci for more casual riding and I think my wife would love it because she is not too deft at changing gears. If I was going to buy my wife another bike today I think I would get her the R&M Tinker with Nuvinci.

Definitely for maintaining higher speeds I think the Rohloff is the better route. But even with that, it takes some work to maintain a steady 25 mph. As I posted, I could do this in Sport mode and 13th gear but I was working. Turbo and 14th gear is something I haven't tried. If you're using Sport and Turbo modes a lot then definitely you want to go dual battery (an option you don't have with the SuperCommuter). But I guess the Supercharger is dual battery by design. The main selling point for the Charger GX for me was the Rohloff but I'm finding the dual battery to be a luxury that is spoiling me rotten (and so glad I made the choice to buy the GX).
 

Mr. Coffee

Well-Known Member
Just to jump in, at 800 miles (I've been riding less and backpacking more the last couple of weeks) the Rohloff has broken in nicely and shifts much more smoothly and quietly, and the Brooks saddle is also becoming very comfortable.

On gearing and cycle transmissions, if you are in hilly country (either short steep hills or long gradual ones) you need a shifting range somewhere over 500 percent. The NuVinci isn't quite there. Although I think the 18-speed Pinon and exotic mountain triples with a 700 percent or higher shifting range are massive overkill. Most of us can't even stay upright on a bicycle for very long at speeds below 4mph and very few of us have the tree-trunk thighs required to propel a heavy bike unassisted at 30+mph.
 

Over50

Well-Known Member
Today was the first commute with a single battery. And that with a forecast of substantial headwinds on the return trip. I wanted to test the ability to complete the commute with one battery but it meant going back to my conservative (Eco) riding ways. Good conditions overall. 70F at the morning departure with slight tail wind. Fully charged 500 WH battery. Riding 75% Eco and 25% Tour very roughly. I was 11.5 miles in when I slipped from 5 bars to 4 on the battery (estimating 55 miles of range in those optimal conditions). By contrast my best with the slower Class 1 Haibike was about 13.5 miles in (different battery so realize not a good comparison).

Coming home the headwind was sustained about 10 mph gusting to 20 mph. I had to stay mostly in Eco as I was burning through that battery pretty quickly. I probably did 6 of 20 miles in Tour mode including the last 4. I finished 36.1 miles total with about 1.5 bars remaining and estimated range in Eco of 16 miles.

And those crazy roadies! About 1/3rd of the way into the return I spied a roadie quite a distance out in front of me. The headwind was vicious and I had to stay in Eco so I very slowly gained ground on him. And, per the usual, he was running the stop signs and lights. And I was thinking "how does he do it" because every time I reached the intersection where he just ran a stop sign or light I had traffic and had to slow or stop. Well at one red light his luck ran out (or almost ran out). He ran the red and there was an SUV coming and it was a crisis averted by a hair. The galling thing is the roadie yelled at the SUV driver (to which the driver laid on his horn). But it was clearly the cyclist running the red light. After that maybe he was shaken because he seemed to slow down and I closed the gap over another mile or so. I was behind him anywhere from 200 feet to a quarter of a mile for almost 5 miles and he never knew I was there. He had no mirror. Reaching the home stretch and about to turn residential I was pretty close to him when he finally turned and saw me. He turned on the burners which meant he was back to running stop signs at even faster speeds. It took me another mile to close the gap again and at that point our paths diverged. I'd say its the closest I've come yet to seeing a cyclist run over and I've seen some close calls on my commutes.

Last week I also pulled up behind a woman on a road bike. Full lycra gear and decals galore. I was behind her at a stop light. At the next intersection she was clearly going to run the light and it is one that crosses a freeway service drive and is mostly blind because of bushes. I know it well and even if I have green light I am very cautious there. I thought "this might not end well". Sure enough there was a truck coming and she had to brake hard and then kind of clumsily came out of her clips and almost fell over. She got a good glare from the truck driver. Another crisis narrowly averted.
 

Over50

Well-Known Member
I took a chance and ordered the Racktime Heda panniers from Bike24 in Germany. They showed up last week. As expected the Racktime mount slides right in and latches. I purchased the separate locking mechanism and it seems to be sturdy enough to prevent a quick snatch and grab at the supermarket. I wouldn't necessarily trust it to keep my bags secure unattended all day but for the quick stops will prove very handy to have. The lower velcro strap mount is what I was most worried about. But they do fit well on the Charger GX rack and there are a couple of places for the lower velcro retention strap to grab.

The bags are light and made of a thin material. Good city commuter bags for fair weather but not sure how they would hold up touring. Spacious with an inner pocket and rain cover. In the pics, I mounted the bags and then put the R&M bungee back in place over the bag handle. Admittedly I probably didn't select the best color bags Racktime_Heda1.JPGRacktime_Heda2.JPGRacktime_Heda3.JPGRacktime_Heda4.JPGto match the black Charger.
 

microfoundry

New Member
Thanks for sharing the pics... I like the color of the bags in contrast to your bike. And the straps are a good match to your saddle, it's hard to beat the look and feel of a Brooks...
 

rudym

Member
Here's a shot with the bags loaded. I commuted with them today and left the bags on the bike at the bike rack. As usual checking my bike about 10 times during the day. No one messed with the bags. Just one day though. And guard cat is on duty.
The cat seems to match the new panniers quite nicely.
 

Over50

Well-Known Member
@Alaskan or @Mr. Coffee - I was wondering if you've made any adjustments to your chain tension yet. @Alaskan I can't recall if you have Rohloff with the chain or just belt drives. I'm just hitting 500 miles on my GX Rohloff (took awhile riding 4 different bikes) and at about 300 miles I removed my Hebie Chainglider. Not because it was bothering me or anything but because I wanted to inspect my chain thoroughly. So the last 200 miles I've left it off and I'm undecided as to putting it back on. I've done 2 light chain cleanings and I noticed that after 100 miles the chain was a lot cleaner than 100 miles on my traditional drive-train Haibike. Not sure if that is because the chain isn't jumping cogs all the time? Anyway, I know how to measure chain stretch but I was wondering about tension for the Rohloff and if you've had to make any tension adjustments to your bike and if so, at approximately how many miles?
 

Mr. Coffee

Well-Known Member
No, I haven't needed to make adjustments to the chain tension.

The chain glider is awful and really just got in the way. Given that I need to clean and lubricate the chain every 150 or so miles with or without it the chain glider is just a liability.
 
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