Rohloff Speed hubs on E-bikes (Mechanical and E-14) - Discussion

Ebiker33

Well-Known Member
Failures with excellent products is actually a rarity, let me give you an example in another industry, I knew the owner of a pressure washer company and I asked him what the failure rate of his products was and it was like1% for motors and 2% for pumps over five years and most of the time it was because the end user never changed the oil on time or some other thing, but they covered it anyways. But there was one component he told me almost never failed, and that was the Honda GX engine with low oil shut down. In 5 years of building thousands of machines only 2 ever failed, only 2, I don't know what the percentage was but it was microscopic.
He said the low oil shut down saved the engine 99% of the time, made it really hard to burn it out. And Honda makes really good top end engines. And I can tell you from selling pressure washers it's the pumps that almost always go now on these guys. I have seen them literally exploded from poor quality internal parts. Vendors started tricking consumers by putting the blue or different red downgraded Honda engines with the cheapest pump possible, never lasted.

It seems with Rohloff oil changing can trigger leaks later, that would make me very nervous, but I am sure companies like WW would stand behind any issue's anybody ever encountered, Pushkar has said he has had no problems yet, but then again they are all pretty new.

R & M also comes with an Enviolo speed hub has anybody heard anything about these ?
 

Ravi Kempaiah

Well-Known Member
Hi Ravi

Thought I’d add my 2 cents to this thread. and in anticipation of your pending meeting with Rohloff. I think your earlier comment on data is key. What is the failure rate, globally?

in my experience with manufacturing companies, they all got religion in the 90’s with Statistical Process Control (SPC) and ISO Compliance. I can argue the flaws in ISO, but it did help to adopt tools for quality management. Back then, companies would be required to track quality and defect rates, sometimes also generating histograms that showed most common failures.

An ISO 9003 certificate meant that you did QC checks on finished parts or products. A 9001 certificate meant you had measurements in place for process control. It was expected in my industry (chemical, plastics, packaging) to share the data with major customers. ISO compliance was not perfect, and it could be gamed, but every manufacturer had to get on board. This standard was especially dominant in the EU. Germany probably the largest adoption rate. They wanted to promote German engineering and ISO compliance was the method.

ISO had its time, it evolved from 9000 to 14000 standards, and still exists. Other manufacturing quality measurement programs became popular like GE’s Black Belt and Six Sigma, House of Quality (HOQ), Overall Asset Effectiveness (OAE), no doubt there’s others. The key is whether they choose to incorporate customer returns in the data collection. Internally focused companies tend to avoid including returns. Customer focussed cultures willingly include it.

so... I would be very surprised if Rohloff didn’t have the data you seek and help resolve this thread. It’s very easy for them to provide product failure and return data and list it by root cause. If you ask for this information, it will explain a lot about their quality promotion (arrogance?). It could be sorted by week, month, quarter, year, ship to country, by shift, and so on.

As bike builders, You and @pushkar are well within your rights to ask for this data. My guess is they will only share under a non disclosure agreement. Not sharing it with you at all would be most telling.

Good luck with the meetings.

Nobody likes to hear that their failure was the 0.01% of all sold. But it does happen.

Thank you for your insightful comments.

I agree with you that ISO system had its loop holes and frankly, I have not any experienced any issues with Rohloff hubs I have tested.
Rohloff hubs are purchased by people who know bike-stuff and are eager to use higher-quality components.

I also had discussions with few other IGH vendors. In a market that is growing, no one would like to lose market share. In the end, it is all business for these companies.
Rohloff is very actively working with several E-bike manufacturers. I am placing a small order this coming week and will update here once it arrives.
 

Deacon Blues

Well-Known Member
Failures with excellent products is actually a rarity, let me give you an example in another industry, I knew the owner of a pressure washer company and I asked him what the failure rate of his products was and it was like1% for motors and 2% for pumps over five years and most of the time it was because the end user never changed the oil on time or some other thing, but they covered it anyways. But there was one component he told me almost never failed, and that was the Honda GX engine with low oil shut down. In 5 years of building thousands of machines only 2 ever failed, only 2, I don't know what the percentage was but it was microscopic.
He said the low oil shut down saved the engine 99% of the time, made it really hard to burn it out. And Honda makes really good top end engines. And I can tell you from selling pressure washers it's the pumps that almost always go now on these guys. I have seen them literally exploded from poor quality internal parts. Vendors started tricking consumers by putting the blue or different red downgraded Honda engines with the cheapest pump possible, never lasted.

It seems with Rohloff oil changing can trigger leaks later, that would make me very nervous, but I am sure companies like WW would stand behind any issue's anybody ever encountered, Pushkar has said he has had no problems yet, but then again they are all pretty new.

R & M also comes with an Enviolo speed hub has anybody heard anything about these ?

I'm not sure using a Honda engine as an example is fair. I had a Honda self propelled lawn mower that I used for 15 years. The body finally rusted out, but the engine was still going strong. I ended up giving the motor to my nephew and he installed it in a go cart.
It's probably still going strong. :cool:
 
Less than a year ago, Rohloff Australia created a FB post which, after all is said and done, ascribes “leaks“ to owner hypochondria. They say that they installed two allegedly leaky hubs and no leaks! I’ll leave a link below so you can enjoy the arrogance. Fortunately, a number of users in AUS pushed back to inform that reports of leaking hubs are legion.

My situation is much like Trevor’s. The hub leaks a sufficient volume of oil that if I were to take on an any distance trip, I’d also have pack Rohloff oil. Not acceptable. It also bathes the E14 every time - unacceptable.

I think the key point (see image) is in the frustration of “I’m not paying to send it back for another seal fix.” The dealer is off the hook after two years. If you plan on keeping the bike beyond the two year mark, you’re the one doing the shipping and trying to get the damn thing repaired. And the “maintenance-free” hype is clearly BS.
Hi read your post, and my supercharger gx which i have from new June 2019 suddenly leaked oil out, from the area all over e-14 so i did some research and have read everything their is out there on the subject, example temperature, pressure, the bike being on a stand etc etc, did a complete oil change, even put in 18ml , thought that i had cured it, two weeks later i have oil all over the floor , e-14 and the gates belt , its still under warranty , so down to R&M and Rohloff to sort out now , i have had Rohloff gear hubs for years, and never had this problem, even wrote to R&M and asked them if they had more problems with the e-14/gates bikes , just got a print out of the Rohloff oil leak information , note we in the UK are unable to purchase the oil seal repair kit , the work has to be done by Rohloff partners or by themselves , your thoughts would be appreciated .
 

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Alaskan

Well-Known Member
I am across the pond and 2500 miles west of the UK in Washington state on the water, with weather much like yours. I'm way out of position to offer any insight on who or where in England. I might be the author of one of the stories you have read here. Hopefully your Rohloff service experience will be better than mine. Some dealers in the US are talking about having one or two laced up wheels ready as loaners if the repair turnaround looks to be lengthy...a good idea IMO.

The fix is not a big deal so long as you get the kind of support from the shop with getting the job done. Please let us know, how it goes, what was the identified culprit, how long did it take, etc.
 

webcurl

Well-Known Member
Could any of these leaks have anything to do with the servo/stepper motor of the E14 changing the gears, possibly faster or in a more "jerky"/shunt fashion than the manual shift/external gear mech?
Swishing the fluid around inside at a higher rate, maybe more pressure on the seal(s)?
In conjunction with higher average temperatures in the US/Australia compared to Europe?
 
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Alaskan

Well-Known Member
Could any of these leaks have anything to do with the servo/stepper motor of the E14 changing the gears, possibly faster or in a more "jerky"/shunt fashion than the manual shift/external gear mech?
Swishing the fluid around inside at a higher rate, maybe more pressure on the seal(s)?
In conjunction with higher average temperatures in the US/Australia compared to Europe?
Possibly on the E14 but up here on the Salish Sea just 50 miles south of Vancouver, we have nearly the same weather as the Netherlands, Denmark or the UK.
 

Ravi Kempaiah

Well-Known Member
Hi read your post, and my supercharger gx which i have from new June 2019 suddenly leaked oil out, from the area all over e-14 so i did some research and have read everything their is out there on the subject, example temperature, pressure, the bike being on a stand etc etc, did a complete oil change, even put in 18ml , thought that i had cured it, two weeks later i have oil all over the floor , e-14 and the gates belt , its still under warranty , so down to R&M and Rohloff to sort out now , i have had Rohloff gear hubs for years, and never had this problem, even wrote to R&M and asked them if they had more problems with the e-14/gates bikes , just got a print out of the Rohloff oil leak information , note we in the UK are unable to purchase the oil seal repair kit , the work has to be done by Rohloff partners or by themselves , your thoughts would be appreciated .

If you are unable to get any response sooner, just send me a message. I am happy to talk to Rohloff on your behalf and see how to to resolve this. I have five brand new E-14 hubs and will ensure folks don't go through any of this ordeal.

BTW, it might be worth looking at this article: https://thelazyrando.wordpress.com/2013/05/09/replacing-rohloff-hub-oil-seals/

With the tool described here, it looks super easy to change the seal. I hope your shop gets this resolved quick.
 
My hub is going back via R&M to Rohloff under warranty outside of warranty i would have to send it to a Rohloff authorised and qualified outlet as i mentioned the seal repair kit is unavailable for purchase in the UK , I find that hard to fathom as the repairs do not look hard at all , as for the other things like sprockets and oil change they let you do , note if the Rohloff is well outside of warranty they still wont let you do that seal change , the shop where i purchased my bike are brilliant and have said that they will do the Rohloff training course the next time they hold one
 

Ebiker33

Well-Known Member
If you are unable to get any response sooner, just send me a message. I am happy to talk to Rohloff on your behalf and see how to to resolve this. I have five brand new E-14 hubs and will ensure folks don't go through any of this ordeal.

BTW, it might be worth looking at this article: https://thelazyrando.wordpress.com/2013/05/09/replacing-rohloff-hub-oil-seals/

With the tool described here, it looks super easy to change the seal. I hope your shop gets this resolved quick.

So if blown seals are causing the leaks, isn't that an issue Rohloff should address, what is causing this; too much oil, too much heat, too much pressure, poor quality seals ?
 

Ravi Kempaiah

Well-Known Member
blow seal issue is with the E-14, not the mechanical 14?

The hub and gears are identical in both cases. The difference between the E-14 and mechanical is the shifting mechanism that sits outside the hub shell.
So the seals are same for both variants. The article linked above is with a mechanical shifter. In fact Alaskan's wife has a E-14 unit that is running fine. So, am not sure if it is the shifter issue.
My hunch is that these hubs go in the sliding dropout and if one end was few mm offset compared to the other, it might have accelerated wear on one side leading to blown seal. But, it just my hunch. My hub is running fine at ~3000 miles.

1601428705706.png


1601428769712.png
 

CityExplorer

Well-Known Member
The hub and gears are identical in both cases. The difference between the E-14 and mechanical is the shifting mechanism that sits outside the hub shell.
So the seals are same for both variants. The article linked above is with a mechanical shifter. In fact Alaskan's wife has a E-14 unit that is running fine. So, am not sure if it is the shifter issue.
My hunch is that these hubs go in the sliding dropout and if one end was few mm offset compared to the other, it might have accelerated wear on one side leading to blown seal. But, it just my hunch. My hub is running fine at ~3000 miles.

...
That's a good/plausible theory. Something is up, too many reports...
 

Ebiker33

Well-Known Member
As per usual though, you don't hear from the thousands of people that don't have problems.

Yes but what is causing the leak issue with those that do ?
Your can replace the IGH under warranty, but it doesn't answer the larger question, it just kicks the can down the road.
I posted many possible variables in a previous comment. If all the ones on Watt Wagons for example have been good with no issues, then perhaps there are other variables from other Ebike companies we don't know about. Maybe there was just a bad batch, and they predate WW launch, maybe Rohloff knows but won't say.
In any event it makes me not want to buy one, given the negative possibilities of oil leakage.
But I have noticed that Pushkar at Watt Wagon figures it's time to offer the Kindernah IGH to allow people nervous about it, to perhaps pick a better product.
If he is doing it and hasn't had any problems with the original on his Eibkes.....he must be acting on the totality of all the input he is receiving in the industry.
 

webcurl

Well-Known Member
In any event it makes me not want to buy one, given the negative possibilities of oil leakage.
But I have noticed that Pushkar at Watt Wagon figures it's time to offer the Kindernah IGH to allow people nervous about it, to perhaps pick a better product.
If he is doing it and hasn't had any problems with the original on his Eibkes.....he must be acting on the totality of all the input he is receiving in the industry.
There's possibilities of oil leakage on all IGH's & Pinion, there's no hard stats though.
R&M produces around 300 ebikes/day (Rohloff an unknown percentage but my guess would be 10+/day), Wattwagons/day?
Do you know of any experiences, good or bad with Kindernay? And what is the support like in the US for Kindernay?
I'm not trying to defend Rohloff, just trying to bring some perspective.
 
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