17 December 2013

Independent Fabrication Rohloff-Equipped Custom Touring Bike

Matte black Independent Fabrication "Independence" frame
customized with S&S couplers and Rohloff-specific cable routing.

Independent Fabrication is known for building beautiful, eye-catching bikes and this matte black touring frame, although understated, is no exception. We built this custom “Independence” model for a customer who lives in Thailand and has done plenty of off road touring throughout Southeast Asia on his trusty mountain bike. Although his old bike had served him admirably, he had been dreaming up the ultimate touring bike based around the Rohloff SPEEDHUB 500/14 for years. He wanted his new ride to last him for the rest of his life, so the SPEEDHUB was the perfect shifting system for his needs.

Initially this customer had been interested in a Surly Troll frame, which is a very popular model for off road touring. However, he wanted S&S couplers to make the bike easier to travel with. That would have required us to send the frame to a frame builder for modifications and then to a powder coater to have it repainted. After considering his options, he decided to go with a custom frame to get all the features he wanted in one complete package.

Sliding dropouts make for easy chain tensioning.

10 December 2013

Twenty2 Cycles Belt Drive Rohloff 29+

This eye-catching Twenty2 Cycles 29+ is custom-built for adventure touring but is also well suited for fast singletrack.
This gorgeous Twenty2 Cycles frame is the latest in a handful of builds we have put together using the new “29+” platform. These bikes use three inch wide 29er tires mounted to 50mm rims, which provide ample float and traction like a fatbike, yet roll fast like a standard 29er. The “29+” bike designation was invented by Surly Bikes with their release of the Krampus model last year, and it has proven popular for bikepacking as well as fast singletrack riding.

Our customer for this bike had owned a Rohloff hub for years, and it has been serving him reliably on his Surly Long Haul Trucker touring bike. When he decided he was ready to start exploring off road, he knew a Rohloff was in the cards for a new mountain bike build as well.

02 December 2013

Rohloff-Equipped Soulcraft Road Bike

Custom Soulcraft frame in sea-foam green.

We built up this custom Soulcraft for a customer who had a very specific road bike in mind. He had searched in vain for a production frame to suit his needs, but couldn't find anything available on the market. After deciding that a custom frame would be his best option, he contacted Soulcraft, a local Northern California framebuilder, to make his dream bike a reality. With his one-of-a-kind frame in hand, he came to us to build up the rest of the bike around the Rohloff gearing system.

Our customer was looking for a comfortable yet nimble road bike that he could take on all-day rides without straining his neck, back, or shoulders. He requested a taller headtube on the frame to give him a slightly more upright seating position, yet he still wanted it to have a quick-handling ride quality like a traditional road bike. He also knew that he wanted to use a Rohloff SPEEDHUB 500/14, so the frame was made specially for the hub – braze-ons for Rohloff cable routing, no derailleur hanger, and a sliding dropout with a bolt for an axle plate to secure the hub's axle in place.

Rohloff SPEEDHUB 500/14 with Rohloff-specific dropout design.

Because our customer likes to go for long road rides, he knew the Rohloff SPEEDHUB would work well for his riding style. The internally housed mechanics of the shift system are extremely durable and only need to be serviced with a new oil bath once a year. Long rides normally take you miles away from any bike shop, so a reliable shift system is a priority for endurance riding. Knowing he did not want to be stuck mid-ride on a desolate country road with derailleur problems, our customer figured the SPEEDHUB was the perfect hub for his needs.

We have long believed a wheelset truly “makes” the ride. Wheels play a large part in the ride quality and general feel of any bike. Much like a custom frame is tuned for a given rider, custom wheels can be tuned the same way. For the wheels on this bike, we used Velocity’s A23 road rims because the wider footprint allows the tire to spread out more, providing more comfort, control, and traction. We used White Industries’ American-made MI5 front hub and the SPEEDHUB on the rear. The polished silver color of the rims and hubs matched perfectly, making for quite a shiny, vintage-looking wheelset.

White Industries is another local company we have come to trust. They have been making parts in Northern California for nearly 40 years, and have a reputation for very precisely machined components. For these reasons, we chose a White Industries crankset, bottom bracket, and chainwheel for the Soulcraft.

Nitto Classic handlebars.

Finally, we set up the cockpit. We chose Nitto’s classically shaped drop bars, paired them with a Nitto stem, and mounted the Rohloff shifter on the end of the bar with a Hubbub adapter. Lastly, we wrapped the bars in tan Deda tape to compliment the Gilles Berthoud leather saddle.

This custom frame was a joy to build, and we were excited about the Rohloff-specific features designed into the frame. We expect our customer will enjoy this no-frills, durable road bike for years to come. Contact us to discuss whether a Rohloff-equipped road bike is in your future.

Build Details:

•  Frame: Soulcraft custom steel road
•  Fork: Soulcraft steel
•  Headset: Chris King NoThreadset
•  Stem: Nitto UI85EX
•  Handlebar: Nitto Classic
•  Shifter: Rohloff
•  Bar Tape: Deda
•  Seatpost: Paul Component Engineering Tall and Handsome
•  Saddle: Gilles Berthoud leather
•  Front Hub: White Industries MI5
•  Rear hub: Rohloff SPEEDHUB 500/14
•  Spokes: Sapim Laser
•  Nipples: Sapim brass
•  Rims: Velocity A23
•  Tires: Schwalbe Durano Plus
•  Cranks: White Industries VBC Road
•  Bottom Bracket: Phil Wood Stainless
•  Chainring: White Industries VBC
•  Pedals: Shimano Ultegra
•  Chain: Wipperman 8sX
•  Brakes: Shimano Dura-Ace
•  Levers: Shimano R600

25 November 2013

Surly Krampus 29+ Commuting/Mountain Bike with Rohloff SPEEDHUB 500/14and Gates Belt Drive

Surly Krampus with belt drive and a Rohloff.
It’s not often that we’re asked to build the ideal bike for someone commuting in Siberia. We dreamed up this build for a customer of ours who is a British expatriate working in the snowy climate of central Russia. He intends to do a mix of snow, dirt, and paved riding in sub-freezing temperatures and wanted a dependable bike that could handle a range of conditions but still feel speedy. He ruled out a full fat bike and opted for the more versatile “29+” platform, a tire/rim designation that Surly invented to provide the float and traction of a fatbike, but the fast rollover of a 29er mountain bike. Once we agreed on the type of bike, we set to work planning out the build specifications.

Rohloff SPEEDHUB 500/14, belt drive splitter,
and Gates Carbon Drive belt system

19 November 2013

Surly Troll Touring Bike with S&S Couplers, Rohloff SPEEDHUB 500/14,Gates Belt Drive

S&S couplers, a belt drive splitter, and a forest green paint job make this Surly Troll one of a kind.

This modified Surly Troll frame was put together for a customer who lives in Southern California, but spends a fair amount of time in the rural East Coast every year. He wanted a versatile full-sized bike that he could easily pack up to take on an airplane and was sturdy and reliable enough to know he could jump on at any time for a ride. Based on his requirements, we set to work creating the ultimate go-anywhere travel bike.

Gates Carbon Drive belt and Rohloff SPEEDHUB.

11 November 2013

Custom Independent Fabrication Belt Drive Rohloff Commuter

Custom Independent Fabrication commuter frame built using a blend of road and mountain geometry.
This titanium Independent Fabrication frame was custom-built for a customer looking for his dream commuter bike. He wanted a good looking bike that he could use to comfortably explore the East Coast bike paths and city streets near his home. Above all, he wanted his custom ride to be reliable, so he could jump on the bike any time and not have to worry whether it would shift properly or need any adjustments.

Because our customer was looking for an elegant, handcrafted titanium bike, we recommended New England based frame builder Independent Fabrication. They specialize in custom frames, so we worked out a design with them that uses a mix of mountain bike and road bike geometry for a fast, fun, and comfortable commuter.  After we nailed down the geometry, Independent Fabrication built up the frame with a belt drive splitter, Rohloff cable guides, low mount disc dropouts, and an eccentric bottom bracket to tighten the belt, then finished it with a shot-peened treatment.

The frame was custom-made with a belt drive splitter.

05 November 2013

Surly Moonlander Fat Bike with Rohloff SPEEDHUB 500/14 and Gates BeltDrive

At nearly 5 inches wide, the Surly Moonlander's tires are designed
 to have maximum float and traction to ride through snow, sand, or deep mud.
Just in time for winter, we built this Surly Moonlander for a customer who recently moved to the snowy state of Minnesota. He wanted a bike that could tackle the frosty bike paths and snowbanks of the Midwest in winter but that he could also take on some singletrack and dirt expeditions when the weather warmed up. After discussing a few options for an all-seasons bike, we settled on the Moonlander as the most versatile bike to handle all the conditions he planned to ride through.

The Moonlander uses 4.8” tires on 100mm rims, offering the largest tire footprint currently available on any bike. The tires can be run at pressures as low as 1 P.S.I., which enables the bike to float over snow, sand, rocks, roots, or deep mud. Essentially, this bike is meant to power over any surface imaginable and has earned a reputation as a true all-terrain bike.

Rohloff SPEEDUB 500/14 and Gates Carbon drivetrain.

30 October 2013

ICE Trike with Rohloff Hub and Schlumpf Gearing System

The Inspired Cycle Engineering Sprint FS trike.
At Cycle Monkey, we build a fair number of wheels for recumbents using the Rohloff SPEEDHUB and also outfit many recumbents with Schlumpf gearing systems. Recumbent trike and bike riders have an affinity for the Rohloff SPEEDHUB 500/14 and Schlumpf Innovations Speed Drive because of the large gear range and durability of these systems. As a result, this gearing combination has become a common upgrade for owners of high-end trikes.

We built the rear wheel and installed a Schlumpf speed drive on this Inspired Cycle Engineering (ICE) tricycle for a local trike shop, Bay Trail Trikes, to offer as a demo for their customers. The Sprint is ICE’s mid-height riding position model and features a folding chassis for easier storage and transportation as well as dual suspension for better cornering and comfort. It allows for a relaxed yet aerodynamic seating position that falls between ICE’s touring and race models. Bay Trail Trikes has been a Rohloff/Schlumpf gearing advocate for years, and they figured the Sprint was a perfect model to build up for their customers to test ride.

Rohloff SPEEDHUB 500/14 built to a Velocity AeroHeat rim

18 October 2013

(Review) Monkey Rides: Tyler’s Surly Krampus 29+ Mountain Bike With Rohloff SPEEDHUB 500/14 and Gates Belt Drive

Tyler's Krampus set up for aggressive trail riding. 
Tyler, one of the newest Monkeys on our team, was an early adopter of Surly’s Krampus, a new style of bike Surly introduced last year that they call “29 +.” The three inch wide tires on 50mm wide 29 inch rims provide the float and traction of a fatbike, but the speed and maneuverability of a 29er mountain bike. Tyler loves his Krampus, but wanted a Rohloff SPEEDHUB and a Gates carbon belt drive to clean up the drivetrain and simplify the ride. His aim was straightforward - create a streamlined, aggressive all-around trailbike.

First off, we sent off the sparkle green frame (Surly calls the color “moonlit swamp”) to get a small splitter installed on the seatstay so we could fit a belt drive through the frame. The frame came back a few days later (along with some other belt drive modification projects you’ll see soon) and we set to work.
We sent off the Krampus to get a small belt drive splitter installed in the frame.

10 October 2013

Rodriguez MakeShift Tandem with a Rohloff SPEEDHUB

Rodriguez Bicycles' Makeshift Rohloff-specific tandem
Rodriguez Bicycles is one of our biggest Rohloff advocates and customers. The Seattle-based framebuilder makes a variety of tandems, travel/coupler bikes and custom frames, and they often use the Rohloff SPEEDHUB 500/14 on their commuter, touring and tandem bikes due to the low maintenance factor of the shift system. In fact, after installing SPEEDHUBs on a number of custom frames, they decided to create a Rohloff-specific model called the MakeShift. Check out a gallery of their MakeShift bikes here.

Rodriguez recently built a MakeShift tandem using a Rohloff hub they ordered from us, and when it was done they sent the photos to us to use for one of our bike features. This tandem was put together for a couple who already owned a Rodriguez tandem and had plenty of experience riding as a team, but wanted a new lower-maintenance ride for their daily commuting needs. The SPEEDHUB was a perfect choice for their criteria.

The Rohloff SPEEDHUB is a perfect drivetrain for a tandem.
The frame has a number of innovative features that really bring to light Rodriguez’s attention to detail. The dropouts are machined to allow the SPEEDHUB’s axle plate to stay in place. Braze-ons on the chainstay are specific to the Rohloff’s cable routing. A mount custom-made by Rodriguez allows the twist shifter to be installed on the fork’s steerer tube rather than the end of the handlebars.

Rodriguez's custom-made Rohloff shifter mount.
Because tandems carry the weight of two riders, their components must be very strong and durable. Normal derailleur systems have inherent weak points that can be stressed to their limit with two riders cranking on the pedals. The SPEEDHUB eliminates the weak points of a derailleur by housing the mechanics of the shift system inside the rear hub shell. For a tandem, there is really no better choice than the SPEEDHUB.

The heavy weight factor also requires tandems to have strong braking systems to make it safely down big hills. This bike has a standard set of cantilever brakes controlled by the front rider, but also a large 203mm disc “drag brake” controlled by a bar-end lever on the rear rider’s handlebars. While the lever looks like a typical bar-end shifter, it’s actually a secondary brake for going down big hills.

Avid BB7 brakes and a large 203mm rotor.
We work with Rodriguez very frequently, and they're often a good match for customers looking for a quality custom frame. They’re built to order, made in the USA, and they have short lead times and reasonable prices. Call us to see if a Rohloff-equipped Rodriguez is right for you!

Build details:
  • Frame: Rodriguez Makeshift Tandem
  • Fork: Rodriguez
  • Headset: Chris King
  • Stem: KORE
  • Handlebar: FSA
  • Shifter: Rohloff
  • Bar Tape: Deda
  • Seatpost: Thompson front, Cane Creek Thudbuster rear
  • Saddle: Specialized front, Specialized women's specific rear
  • Seat Clamp: integrated
  • Front Hub: White Industries
  • Rear hub: Rohloff SPEEDHUB 500/14
  • Spokes: Sapim
  • Nipples: Sapim
  • Rims: Velocity Chukker rear, Velocity Deep V front
  • Tires: Serfas Seca
  • Cranks: Sugino
  • Bottom Bracket: Bushnell Eccentric
  • Chainring: Sugino
  • Pedals: Speedplay Frogs
  • Chain: SRAM PC
  • Brakes: Avid BB7 Road rear, Cantilever front and rear
  • Levers: Cane Creek Drop V front, Cane Creek Ergo Stoke 

02 October 2013

Rohloff-Outfitted Novara Randonee Touring Bike

The Novara Randonee is a heavy duty steel touring rig.
The Novara Randonee is a touring bike through and through – a sturdy steel frame with relaxed geometry to carry heavy loads, a durable 36 spoke wheelset, and plenty of braze-ons for water bottles, racks, and fenders. A local Bay Area customer came to us with this bike that he had ridden hard right off the shelf and loved, minus one factor – the derailleurs. He was tired of paying to have the shift system tuned up and was constantly worried about being on a long ride and having to deal with a damaged derailleur or dropped chain. After deciding a Rohloff SPEEDHUB 500/14 was the perfect drivetrain for him, he contacted us and we set to work.

We laced up the SPEEDHUB to Mavic’s A319 rims, which are made specifically for heavy road use and allow for tires up to 50mm. We kept the stock front wheel - Mavic A319 rims laced to a Shimano Deore LX hub - which is a solid value option.

The Rohloff SPEEDHUB 500/14 and Rohloff chain tensioner.
Touring is an ideal application for the SPEEDHUB. Bike tours often cover thousands of miles in remote areas, where it may be hard to find a bike shop or spare parts to fix any mechanical problems. In fact, the record for continuous SPEEDHUB use is over 125,000 miles without any service other than the annual oil bath change. SPEEDHUBs also allow you to change gears while the bike is standing still. On a loaded touring bike that takes a while to get up to speed to shift, this makes stopping and starting with heavy loads much more manageable.

Because the frame has vertical dropouts and the wheel position can’t be adjusted, chain tension has to be accomplished with a separate chain tensioner bolted to the derailleur hanger. A torque arm was also needed to secure the hub’s axle in place. Using a chain tensioner and torque arm allows the Rohloff to be installed on most any bike with a vertical dropout. Lastly, we mounted the Rohloff grip shifter on the end of the bars, much like a traditional barend lever shifter.

Whether you’re a seasoned bike tour veteran or you’re looking to go on your first long trip, you can’t go wrong with the Rohloff SPEEDHUB. The strength, gear range, and dependability of the SPEEDHUB are unmatched for this type of riding. Contact us to do a Rohloff conversion on your touring bike or build up a new bike from scratch!

Build Details:

·  Frame: Novara Randonee
·  Fork: Novara Steel
·  Headset: Cane Creek
·  Stem: Kalloy adjustable
·  Handlebar: Ritchey
·  Shifter: Rohloff
·  Bartape: Deda
·  Seatpost: Kalloy Uno
·  Saddle: Brooks Flyer
·  Seat Clamp: Single bolt
·  Front Hub: Shimano Deore LX
·  Rear hub: Rohloff SPEEDHUB 500/14
·  Spokes: Sapim
·  Nipples: Sapim brass
·  Rims: Mavic A319
·  Tires: Vittoria Randonneur
·  Cranks: Shimano Deore LX 44
·  Bottom Bracket: Shimano
·  Chainring: Shimano 44t
·  Rear Sprocket: Rohloff
·  Chain Tensioner: Rohloff
·  Chain: Wipperman 800
·  Brake Levers: TRP RRL Alloy
·  Brakes: Shimano R550 Cantilever
·  Extras: Racks, fenders, bell