13 November 2012

Rohloff-Equipped Rivendell Sam Hillborne

We built this Rivendell Sam Hillborne up for a local customer in Redwood City, CA.  He had originally purchased the frame from Rivendell with the intention of building it up with a conventional drivetrain but later decided he wanted to use a Rohloff SPEEDHUB 500/14.  He came to us for the Rohloff hub, rims, spokes and a wheel building lesson and later came back for a Schmidt dynamo front hub.  After building his first wheels, he then came back to have us check them over and assemble the bike.

Rivendell markets the Sam Hillborne as a value-oriented all-around/do-everything road bike.  Like all Rivendell frames, it is built out of steel.  It has clearance for 40mm tires so you can take it on dirt roads more comfortably.  Rack and fender mounts allow it to be set up for regular commuting or running errands.  As built, the bike is set up with tall, swept-back bars for a very comfortable, upright riding position.  The rest of the parts are all top quality items from companies that we work with regularly, selected for performance and durability.

This project shows a good example of an aftermarket Rohloff conversion.  The Rivendell frames have no Rohloff-specific features nor disc brake mounts that the SPEEDHUB 500/14 axle could be anchored to.  A torque arm is connected to the left chainstay to handle the output torque of the SPEEDHUB 500/14, a Rohloff chain tensioner is used to keep the chain in place, and the shift cables are zip-tied to the frame.

The cables follow our preferred routing: down the down tube, under the bottom bracket shell, and along the left chain stay.  However, with the torque arm in place below the left chain stay, the external shift mechanism cannot be positioned below the dropout due to interference between these two components.  In this situation, the cable routing is often changed to follow the top tube, then down the seat stay with the external shift mechanism located above and behind the dropout. As with the Spot Acme conversion we did earlier in the year, the top tube cable routing option would have resulted in interference issues, this time with the rack, so we looped the cables down and under the torque arm.  A re-usable zip-tie is used to tether the cables to the torque arm and still allow for easy wheel removal.

Build details
  • Frame: Rivendell Sam Hillborne steel
  • Fork: Rivendell Sam Hillborne steel
  • Stem: Nitto
  • Handlebar: Nitto Albatross
  • Shifter: Rohloff
  • Grips: ESI
  • Seatpost: Nitto
  • Saddle: Brooks B17
  • Front Hub: Schmidt SON Delux
  • Rear hub: Rohloff SPEEDHUB 500/14
  • Spokes: Sapim Race
  • Nipples: Sapim Brass
  • Rims: Velocity Dyad
  • Tires: Schwalbe Big Apple
  • Skewers: Shimano
  • Cranks: White Indsutries VBC
  • Bottom Bracket: Phil Wood
  • Chainring: White Industries VBC
  • Chain Tensioner: Rohloff
  • Brakes and Levers: Tektro
  • Pedals: MKS Grip King
  • Racks: Nitto

04 November 2012

Rohloff-Equipped Carver Full Suspension Fat Bike

This fat bike was built by Carver Bikes for one of our customers in Marin, CA.  He was looking for a new bike that offered the ultimate in plushness and traction.  Having ridden Rohloff-equipped full suspension 26" and 29" wheeled bikes for many years, he figured a full-suspension fat bike would be even better, but finding a bike that met this description proved to be challenging.  We've seen an increase in fat bike wheel builds over the past few years as these ultra-wide-tire bikes have transitioned from being used only as snow bikes to year-round trail bikes.  These bikes have almost all been rigid, as suspension fork availability has not followed the increase in popularity.

There are currently no cross country forks available in the US that offer the needed tire clearance.  People have built one-offs with the now out-of-production Maverick SC32 fork or the also out-of-production aluminum Cannondale Lefty forks with removable crowns.  The one in-production option, the German:A Flame Wide fork (or the custom version made for Sandman), are not currently available in the US.  As a result of a lack of suspension fork availability, frame builders have not brought any suspension frames to market. So, Carver Bikes to the rescue!

After a long search for someone to build a full-suspension fat bike, the customer found Carver Bikes in Maine, who are willing to build just about anything one can dream up.  They decided to build the bike around a Risse Racing Trixxy downhill fork, which had the tire clearance for the wide tires and was modified to 100mm/4" of travel to prevent the tire from scraping the crown at bottom out.  After several revisions and a long wait, the bike finally became a reality.

The frame is nearly all titanium, save for the bearings and pivot hardware.  It uses a 4-bar suspension system similar to what is used by Specialized, Ellsworth, Titus, etc.  The non-drive side dropout is Rohloff-specific as is the cable routing.  Tire clearance is built around the 3.8" wide Surly Nate model with a 135mm spaced symmetric rear end for the Rohloff SPEEDHUB 500/14.  The wide chain line of the SPEEDHUB 500/14 allows for a symmetric rear end, which maintains the dish-less wheel build that the hubs normally offer.

The Rohloff SPEEDHUB 500/14 offers a great drivetrain choice for fat bikes, whether used on snow, sand, or trail.  All the gear changing components are housed in the rear hub with an oil bath that keeps the gears and bearings well lubricated and cannot get packed up with snow or mud.  Since the chain never moves from the single front and rear sprockets, it cannot fall off during a shift.  The shifting mechanism also won't freeze in the extremely cold temperatures that snow bikes see, though a thinner cleaning/hub oil mixture is recommended to maintain consistent shifting.  In addition, an internal gear hub allows the rider to change gears without pedaling, which enables a rider to get started again after stalling out.  The ability to shift after getting bogged down in the sand was the inspiration for Mr. Rohloff to design the SPEEDHUB 500/14 over a decade ago.  These features make the SPEEDHUB 500/14 an ideal setup for the unique terrain and riding applications that fat bikes can handle.

 Build details:
  • Frame: Carver Custom Titanium Full Suspension
  • Fork: Risse Racing Trixxy
  • Headset: Chris King NoThreadset
  • Stem: Thomson Elite
  • Handlebar: Race Face Turbine
  • Shifter: Rohloff
  • Grips: Ergon GP1
  • Seatpost: Salsa Shaft
  • Saddle: Selle Italia SLR
  • Front Hub: Risse Racing Front Disc Hub
  • Rear hub: Rohloff SPEEDHUB 500/14
  • Spokes: Sapim Race
  • Nipples: Sapim Brass
  • Rims: Surly Rolling Darryl
  • Tires: Surly Nate
  • Rear Skewer: Salsa
  • Cranks: Surly Mr. Whirly
  • Bottom Bracket: Surly
  • Chainring: Surly
  • Brakes and Levers: Avid Elixr
  • Rotors:Avid/Rohloff
  • Chain Tensioner: Rohloff