Riese & Müller : Reliability & Support

Mike TowpathTraveler

Well-Known Member
Having read this entire thread, my thoughts are with Mr Berry in getting his R&M repaired, and soon.

I just looked over the Cycle Monkey page on retrofitting an E14 shift system and got to thinking how we are going down this slippery slope of cutting edge technology stopping us in our tracks when these issues are going to come up. In the case of this system, this proprietary system eases the torque applied when pedaling to make an upshift or downshift with an eye to saving the drive gears from shock loading. Understandable when we are looking at a motor that could be putting out 500w of power at the time of the shift.

All carefully analyzed by the Bosch and Rohloff engineers to where one shift is completed in a mind boggling 200 millieseconds! Of course, the one aspect not carefully analyzed by the engineers was making things so complicated that only a qualified dealer specialist can troubleshoot and make the repairs, not the bicyclist alongside some road. And when that qualified dealer specialist with specific Bosch/Rohloff Factory Training goes on vacation, well..............

This is the road these manufacturers are taking us down, with their e-shift systems, sealed internal geared hubs and anti-lock brake system that can only be opened up and repaired by competent, qualified authority.

To think, not long ago, a derailleur and internal gear hub drive system on a bike was activated by something so rudimentary and old-school, called a steel cable!
 

dblhelix

Well-Known Member
Having read this entire thread, my thoughts are with Mr Berry in getting his R&M repaired, and soon.

I just looked over the Cycle Monkey page on retrofitting an E14 shift system and got to thinking how we are going down this slippery slope of cutting edge technology stopping us in our tracks when these issues are going to come up. In the case of this system, this proprietary system eases the torque applied when pedaling to make an upshift or downshift with an eye to saving the drive gears from shock loading. Understandable when we are looking at a motor that could be putting out 500w of power at the time of the shift.

All carefully analyzed by the Bosch and Rohloff engineers to where one shift is completed in a mind boggling 200 millieseconds! Of course, the one aspect not carefully analyzed by the engineers was making things so complicated that only a qualified dealer specialist can troubleshoot and make the repairs, not the bicyclist alongside some road. And when that qualified dealer specialist with specific Bosch/Rohloff Factory Training goes on vacation, well..............

This is the road these manufacturers are taking us down, with their e-shift systems, sealed internal geared hubs and anti-lock brake system that can only be opened up and repaired by competent, qualified authority.

To think, not long ago, a derailleur and internal gear hub drive system on a bike was activated by something so rudimentary and old-school, called a steel cable!
The feeling of helplessness during the virus epidemic will bring about pro-resiliency, anti-monopolist changes. OEM repair monopolies will hopefully be out-of-fashion.
 
Is R&M's 'legendary engineering' overrated?

My first ebike, a Kalkhoff proudly advertised as German engineering at its best, failed a little after one month. By 'failed' I do not mean it had a mechanical problem that needed fixing, I mean broke down in a way that was never resolved, a disaster so bad that, after spending around 20% of this expensive ebike's cost in repairs, I wrote it off. A 100% loss; actually 120%.

My second ebike, a Trek with a tiny peel-off Made in China sticker, has had the odd hiccup but has done the Trek brand proud. If there is one thing better than Trek's products, it is their support. I trust Trek and would buy another of their ebikes if only they made one to suit my real or imagined requirements.

My third ebike, a current model R&M Homage, would surely be my dream ebike. It's almost exactly what I want and, more seriously, what I need.

Riese & Müller – not just the company but its founders Markus and Heiko – have clearly put more than a quarter century of experience into the Homage and its siblings, the Delite and Charger. Brilliant designs but…
  1. Are Riese & Müller ebikes reliable?
  2. When 'things go wrong' will they be fixed promptly and properly?
My experience relating to these two essentially complementary issues – reliability and support – is No.

I must stress that I am not referring to wear-and-tear problems such as the issue with my Gates belt drive; such things happen and I accept them. What concerns me, and I hope this will be the focus of this thread, are problems that are clearly ongoing, probably unfixable.

Regrettably, I am beginning to wonder whether the Homage, unable to be ridden because of electrical problems, will have to be junked as was my first ebike. The Kalkhoff lasted one month; the Homage one year.

Perhaps, R&M should not export their ebikes outside Germany, or the EU, until they have an adequate service structure in place. Maybe they, with Bosch and Rohloff, should monitor customer experience rather than rely on dealer feedback.

So, is the 'legendary engineering' of Riese & Müller ebikes to be quietly set aside – myth rather than legend?
As a UK based long distance cyclist i switched to my first e-bike last May, and based my purchase on something that would stand up to long road use, give me long daily battery usage, and a Rohloff gear hub , i opted for the R&M Supercharger GX , and completed tours of Holland and Germany , and some of the national parks in the UK . The first thing one should have is good information, to make an informed choice, as you can appreciate, i researched this web site, to include Youtube and other sources and based on the positive feedback i received approached my local dealer in York UK who were outstanding, they even have a try before you buy in place. Now for the bad points , the pannier rack paint is not as good as something like a Tubus rack , however R&M sent my dealer some very expensive tuff foil tape to protect the area that had rubbed off , work completed no problems , i did write to R&M re: constructive feedback , i note that the new 2020 model , the rack is different . As for the bicycle i am now into my second year and subject to lock down restrictions will tour Croatia , with the full knowledge that my supercharger is well up to the challenge and that i have an excellent dealer who will fully support me .
 

webcurl

Active Member
i did write to R&M re: constructive feedback , i note that the new 2020 model , the rack is different . As for the bicycle i am now into my second year and subject to lock down restrictions will tour Croatia , with the full knowledge that my supercharger is well up to the challenge and that i have an excellent dealer who will fully support me .
Did your rear rack break, get replaced, have you re-enforced it or just plain don't carry much weight on it?
Curious as i have a SC GX too and have heard about several breaking (fixed in the SC2).
The paint on mine is fragile just about everywhere on the whole bike :(
 
A Superdelite (warm silver matt) I just ordered is available for pickup at my local bike shop and I was informed the paint is chipped in certain places, what should I do? Small chips but it will only get worse. Has anyone successfully color-matched this color? Does R&M have a touch-up sku? $11K is Rolls Royce pricing for an e-bike and I expected it to arrive pristine, regardless of how much I mess up the finish while riding in the future.
 

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Alaskan

Well-Known Member
A Superdelite (warm silver matt) I just ordered is available for pickup at my local bike shop and I was informed the paint is chipped in certain places, what should I do? Small chips but it will only get worse. Has anyone successfully color-matched this color? Does R&M have a touch-up sku? $11K is Rolls Royce pricing for an e-bike and I expected it to arrive pristine, regardless of how much I mess up the finish while riding in the future.
On my 2019 Homage, the midnight blue metallic paint chips way too easily. First I tried to get some touch up paint from R&M. No luck. Then I asked for the color code. Sorry. All I can do is go to a good automotive paint supply shop and have them do a laser color match and the buy a full quart of paint...enought to repaint 2 or three frames. Apparently Riese & Muller aesthtic standards fall well short of their technical specs.

I would not accept the bike till that paint damage is properly remedied.
 

Alaskan

Well-Known Member
they agreed to try and get the color code from R&M and have a touch-up kit made, is that good enough? $11K!
Unless you are a good painter, that will result in a fix limited by your skill level with sanding and application of multiple coats. Whether that is acceptable to you is your call depending on how particular you are and how good you are as a painter... And whether you are willing to do the work
 

Bruiser

New Member
This is an interesting thread. I am doing my preliminary research into the purchase of an Ebike The Riese and Muller was definitely on my list. Looks like I may have saved myself a lot of money by giving the rohloff hub versions the big miss. The Derailleur versions are a lot cheaper, and it would appear, likely to be more reliable. On a like for like basis is an R And M that much dearer than a similarly specced Trek, Avanti or Specialised?
 
This is an interesting thread. I am doing my preliminary research into the purchase of an Ebike The Riese and Muller was definitely on my list. Looks like I may have saved myself a lot of money by giving the rohloff hub versions the big miss. The Derailleur versions are a lot cheaper, and it would appear, likely to be more reliable. On a like for like basis is an R And M that much dearer than a similarly specced Trek, Avanti or Specialised?
I note your comment on the reliability of the of the Rohloff Hub , i have used the HUB for many years and have toured long distances without any problems , note if you check out some of the Youtube posts their are some folks who have travelled the planet crossing some desolate and unforgiving terrain on the way and swear by them , last year i switched to e-bikes and have the R&M supercharger GX with the Rohloff GX with the Rohloff e-14 and gates carbon drive belt , in the world of touring their is in my mind nothing out there than can match this bike when it comes to robustness and durability more so the dual batteries that will give you greater distance between charges , as for your question comparing bikes, for me the first question in my mind is " what do i want to do with my new bike" i made my choice based on the fact that i needed a long distance touring bike capable of going on rough terrain and one that would carry all my kit .
 

Bruiser

New Member
I note your comment on the reliability of the of the Rohloff Hub , i have used the HUB for many years and have toured long distances without any problems , note if you check out some of the Youtube posts their are some folks who have travelled the planet crossing some desolate and unforgiving terrain on the way and swear by them , last year i switched to e-bikes and have the R&M supercharger GX with the Rohloff GX with the Rohloff e-14 and gates carbon drive belt , in the world of touring their is in my mind nothing out there than can match this bike when it comes to robustness and durability more so the dual batteries that will give you greater distance between charges , as for your question comparing bikes, for me the first question in my mind is " what do i want to do with my new bike" i made my choice based on the fact that i needed a long distance touring bike capable of going on rough terrain and one that would carry all my kit .

I have always liked the idea of a Rohloff hub. I think in a conventional touring bike it would be excellent. My concern would be around the reliability of the electronic shifting. I suspect the people posting here are having problems with the shifting, rather than the mechanics of the hub. The problem for me is I live in country Western Australia and the nearest R and M dealer is 3500 km away. So I need to be cautious about buying a product that is beyond the training of local mechanics to repair. Hence my comment about choosing the derailleur equipped versions. In our town they sell a lot of Bosch equipped ebikes, so I am sure that side of it is of less concern.

l still find the Supercharger 2 quite appealing because of the integrate dual batteries, front and rear racks with integrated lights. If I was to get one I would go for the GT Touring version. I also like the idea of the similarly specced Charger 3 with the battery upgrade to 1125 watts. From memory they both come Deore XT rear derailleurs. l am very confident I can service a chain drive bike with a derailleur.
 

steve mercier

Well-Known Member
Virus or no virus, my view is that the R&M business model suffers a lag when it comes to customer service. One dealer is not necessarily aware of what is happening at another dealership. Will a leak at a dealership necessarily warrant a message to R&M? No. So if you have a handful of dealers taking that attitude, R&M can remain blissfully unaware for a very long time.

Vetting service partners is Rohloff’s responsibility, but the buck stops with R&M. If you own a Mercedes-Benz and take it to your Eurocar dealer bc of transmission problems, would you consider the following acceptable:

1. Blame Daimler, AG!
2. Our Daimler service partner is taking time. Come back next month for another round of this.
3. Your transmission is back, but now has a new problem!

The difference in attitudes here may come down to why you purchased the bike n the first place. In my case, the Rohloff-belt combo was crucial, E-14 less so. For 2019, E-14 was a package deal on most models. I am not an owner for the weak paint job, inflexible and cheap rack or the sheer weight of the bike. So if your central motivation is jeopardized, you might question your choice at this point.

Id like to see R&M set up a channel for customers to submit problem reports independent of dealers. It doesn’t mean taking action on individual bikes — that can remain as-is — but it does mean taking some responsibility for multiple occurrences or tickets that are open too long. I’d call it protecting the brand. Another thing I’d like to see is a public database of the PDFs one has to request through the dealer.
That reminds me of a German car I owned decades ago. When I took it to the service department with it's myriad of early problems the technician told me I was driving the car all wrong. After that we only bought Japanese cars and we all lived happily ever after ...the end.
 

steve mercier

Well-Known Member
I have always liked the idea of a Rohloff hub. I think in a conventional touring bike it would be excellent. My concern would be around the reliability of the electronic shifting. I suspect the people posting here are having problems with the shifting, rather than the mechanics of the hub. The problem for me is I live in country Western Australia and the nearest R and M dealer is 3500 km away. So I need to be cautious about buying a product that is beyond the training of local mechanics to repair. Hence my comment about choosing the derailleur equipped versions. In our town they sell a lot of Bosch equipped ebikes, so I am sure that side of it is of less concern.

l still find the Supercharger 2 quite appealing because of the integrate dual batteries, front and rear racks with integrated lights. If I was to get one I would go for the GT Touring version. I also like the idea of the similarly specced Charger 3 with the battery upgrade to 1125 watts. From memory they both come Deore XT rear derailleurs. l am very confident I can service a chain drive bike with a derailleur.
The Deore XT is an excellent performer. I have never wished for anything else!
 

dblhelix

Well-Known Member
This is an interesting thread. I am doing my preliminary research into the purchase of an Ebike The Riese and Muller was definitely on my list. Looks like I may have saved myself a lot of money by giving the rohloff hub versions the big miss. The Derailleur versions are a lot cheaper, and it would appear, likely to be more reliable. On a like for like basis is an R And M that much dearer than a similarly specced Trek, Avanti or Specialised?
There’s a lot for you to consider. What gets lost is that most of the Rohloff discussion here has concerned lack of service options in North America and Australia.

Most of the “long lifetime” reports on YT/bike forums are for hubs on traditional non-electric touring bikes. You’ll find just as many reports of oil seals/bearing service or severe leaking. If a Rohloff is well-suited for your needs, discuss the service path with your dealer. It’s been on the order of Several months here in the US. I believe in Europe the hub is sent directly to Rohloff with much faster turnaround times.

My view is that we don’t have a lot of data yet for reliability, either hub on ebike or with E14. The real issue, however, is if you happen to be unfortunate, how long are you without the bike? What commitment has Rohloff made to service and repair in your country? Any knowledge at the dealer level?

Finally, I would ask myself, do I really need this hub? I do a lot of touring, and it would be a welcome addition to my regular bike. I do own a Rohloff on a R&M but I also own a Tern with derailleur which has ably climbed all hills out there. The motor really helps a lot in this regard. Prior to ebikes, the Rohloff hub was a niche product. For ebike sales, my impression is the belt is driving the hub decision which takes you to two options: a hub with a wide gearing range (Rohloff) vs less-so (Envolio).

My decision would be based on (1) an honest assessment of my needs (2) belt vs chain (3) service options should something go wrong. Note that this assumes that cost is not an issue. I rarely base my decisions on YouTube product validators who would probably get top-notch service if they needed it.
 

Bruiser

New Member
There’s a lot for you to consider. What gets lost is that most of the Rohloff discussion here has concerned lack of service options in North America and Australia.

Most of the “long lifetime” reports on YT/bike forums are for hubs on traditional non-electric touring bikes. You’ll find just as many reports of oil seals/bearing service or severe leaking. If a Rohloff is well-suited for your needs, discuss the service path with your dealer. It’s been on the order of Several months here in the US. I believe in Europe the hub is sent directly to Rohloff with much faster turnaround times.

My view is that we don’t have a lot of data yet for reliability, either hub on ebike or with E14. The real issue, however, is if you happen to be unfortunate, how long are you without the bike? What commitment has Rohloff made to service and repair in your country? Any knowledge at the dealer level?

Finally, I would ask myself, do I really need this hub? I do a lot of touring, and it would be a welcome addition to my regular bike. I do own a Rohloff on a R&M but I also own a Tern with derailleur which has ably climbed all hills out there. The motor really helps a lot in this regard. Prior to ebikes, the Rohloff hub was a niche product. For ebike sales, my impression is the belt is driving the hub decision which takes you to two options: a hub with a wide gearing range (Rohloff) vs less-so (Envolio).

My decision would be based on (1) an honest assessment of my needs (2) belt vs chain (3) service options should something go wrong. Note that this assumes that cost is not an issue. I rarely base my decisions on YouTube product validators who would probably get top-notch service if they needed it.

As a risk management exercise I really think the derailleur is a better option for me. Maintaining a chain driven derailleur drive train is actually very straightforward. I do my own bike maintenance already. I am quite capable of replacing chainrings, chains, cassettes and cables. In the scheme of things they aren’t really all that expensive. Certainly not compared to changing the chain and sprockets on a motorcycle.

Given my distance from a R and M, dealer, I am better off choosing simplicity over electronic sophistication. I am not likely to do multi day tours. If there was a failure of the Rohloff hub or electronic shifter, I would have to send it away and the freight turnaround time in and of itself at least a fortnight from where I live. That wouldnt include any time it would take to actually fix the problem. So the risk for me really wouldnt be worth the performance reward of the Rohloff hub.
 

steve mercier

Well-Known Member
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