Rohloff Santa Cruz Nomad?

6 04 2010

Rohloff wheel from my Surly Big Dummy...

If you read this blog regularly you’ll know:

  1. I love a good IGH [Rohloff/Alfine, etc]
  2. I love my Santa Cruz Nomad
  3. I’m not a weight weenie

So it shouldn’t shock you that I was pondering mounting a Rohloff in my Nomad frame for a super clean chainline, easy all weather shifting and shifting while coasting.  I have a Rohloff wheel in my Surly Big Dummy built up using a Mavic 321EN all mountain/enduro rim which would be a good match for the Nomad.  I got as far as pulling the wheel from my Big Dummy and stripping off the Schwalbe Marathon XR tire [still in great shape! after two years of cargo biking].

Although I’m not a weight weenie the heftiness of the Rohloff wheel was disturbing.  So I decided I might as well weigh it to see how heavy it really was.  The answer = 6.2lbs [Rohloff, spokes, 160mm disc rotor and cog].  I wanted to borrow Kurt’s Nomad for my GF to use this weekend and offered to fix a flat he had in exchange for the loan.  When I had his rear wheel in hand with tire/tube off I was shocked by how light it felt compared to the Rohloff.  His wheel [Mavic 321XM, DT hub, cassette and 160mm disc rotor] = 3.6lbs.

If we were talking a touring bike or a commuter I couldn’t care less about 2.6lbs.  The trouble is on a long travel full suspension mountain bike the rear wheel has to do a ton of up and down at high speed.  The extra 2.6lbs will be something like 60% of the weight of my Nomad’s rear wheel with tire/tube.  That’s a significant difference and a performance issue that I don’t think I can live with.

I’ve seen some custom mountain bikes with Rohloffs built into the main frame and a simple cog/fixed gear wheel in the rear to drive the bike.  That’s a smart solution to keeping the Rohloff’s weight suspended.  Not one that will work for me though.

Probably for the best…my Big Dummy loves that Rohloff and on a cargo bike 2.6lbs extra IGH weight just makes the bike more sexy!…=-)~



5 responses

6 04 2010
Mike Reyher

You know that was a bad idea before you ever started weighing things. I have a Rohloff and what I learned early on was that it’s not like other gears. It’s more like a single speed with more than than one ratio (if that makes any sense). A Rohloff on a Nomad? No, man!

6 04 2010

Well if the weight wasn’t so high ..say less than 1lb more than the existing wheel I think a Rohloff’d Nomad would rock…low maintenance, no chain slap, shift while coasting, etc…

People do use Rohloffs and Alfine’s on their FS bikes, but I’m just not convinced the cons out weigh the pros.

I do think with the advent of the Hammerschmidt the door is open for a lightweight 4-6 speed IGH for the back end of MTBs that could be light and working with the HS achieve a wide gear range with no downsides [other than cost!].

7 04 2010
Hammerschmidt « The Lazy Randonneur

[…] My last post I talked about the idea of putting a Rohloff in my Santa Cruz Nomad.  That idea has stalled because of the performance issues associated with adding a significant amount of unsprung weight to the rear wheel.  Another thought is to add a Hammerschmidt 2 speed BB to the Nomad and swap in a short cage rear derailleur. […]

25 08 2010

I have a Nomad with a Hammerschitt and its awesome. XTR and sort cage X9 on the back.

Expensive and weighty but maintenance free and super reliable 🙂

25 08 2010

@ Roger – so do I!


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