Rohloffs conversion complete

I’ve spent most of the last two days upgrading the Moose and the Troll (the Halfords ‘Limit’ bikes) and now both have a Rohloff in their back wheel. The results are very pleasing indeed. Especially so as I’ve wanted to do the upgrade for a few years now and the results are exactly as I expected.

I’ll post a few pictures of the conversion soon. It isn’t a difficult job, if you can swap and adjust derailleur gears then should be able to install a Rohloff wheel into your new bike.

More Rohloffs? Yes, no, yes, no, yes, no, oh go on then.

In 2008 we bought our VSF T400 Rohloff touring bikes. After a couple of years struggling with cheap bikes with cheap components we were fairly sure we knew what we wanted. Hub gears, hub dynamo with good lighting, wider tyres and a steel frame. For a while we considered upgrading the Moose and the Troll with Rohloffs and hub dynamos. This would have been around EUR 700 cheaper than buying the VSFs. Damae liked the idea of new bikes so we ended up getting the VSFs. It turned out to be a very good idea and we spent a long summer touring round souther Norway on our new steeds.

After the summer holiday Damae started a new job and started cycling to work on her old touring bike. I bought and fitted a new front wheel with a Shimano hub dynamo and upgraded her lights. It served her well for two years pootling between Utrecht and Nieuwegein. I ended up adding a Shimano hub dynamo to the Troll and it carried on working too, just as well as it ever had.

The problem was that the summer cycling round Norway with a Rohloff had made us realise how much we disliked derailleur gears. Over the next couple of years we kept revisiting the idea of ugrading the Moose and Troll to hub gears. I investigated SRAM S7s, Shimano Nexus 8s, the fragile Sturmey Archer 8 speed, Dual Drives, SRAM iMotion 9 speed hubs and so on. All of them had disadvantages and all of them weighed as much as a Rohloff. None of them had the range of gears we needed without using double chainwheels. Plus none of them would give us the low gears we wanted unless we ignored the manufacturers recommendations for chainwheel to sprocket ratios.

The issue came to a head when we realised that Damae’s rear wheel had a soon to be terminal case of rim wear. The Moose made it through to the end of her last year working in Holland, and without any resolution to the problem we took the bikes with us to Norway.

Here, we carried on wondering if we should splurge out on some Rohloffs for our old bikes. Most people would say that this was madness. There’s no point upgrading a EUR 330 bike with a Rohloff. But then again, the VSF T400 Rohloff is based on a EUR 700 derailleur bike, yet that is a great bike. Also we still like the way the Moose and the Troll handle and they are comfortable.

It was time to bite the bullet. The choice was either we upgrade the Moose and the Troll or just chuck them away. Without a pair of Rohloffs in their back wheels we’d never use them again. They could be useful as town bikes or winter bikes with studded tyres on all the time or as spare bikes when we have visitors. We decided to go for it. So tonight I ordered some built wheels from Roseversand. Maybe to celebrate our first year in Norway, maybe to reward the old bikes that gave us a love of cycle touring.

It will make an interesting comparison: the Moose and Troll upgraded as I first suggested vs our VSF T400 bikes.

Revenge is sweet but not fattening

I bumped into this collection of short stories, about Spike the Bike. I suspect many commuting cyclists will have fantasised about this type of revenge after a thoughtless or a deliberate act of intimidation by a motorist.

If you don’t get why cyclists might feel like this then search on youtube for something like ‘cyclist dangerous driver’. A motorised vehicle can easily be used as a lethal weapon and sadly, all too often is.

Site upgrade

This blog runs on WordPress on the server. I’ve just upgraded to the latest version. So far all seems to have gone fine. I used the WP-DB-Backup plugin to create a backup of my database first. This plugin seems to do what it says on the tin. I say, ‘seems to’ because I haven’t needed to restore the database from the back up file it produced. As ever, YMMV.

But my thanks to all those at WordPress for creating and updating this software and all those creating useful plugins for WordPress.

16 speed Brompton – update

A little good news: the Brompton and the Nexus hub have been re-united in Gol. The only problem is that I am not in Gol. I had to travel back to Holland for a few days to pick up my van and the remains of our stuff.

If all goes well then I should be back home in Norway next weekend. I hope to be able to find some time to start building the back wheel soon.

16 speed Brompton: Part 4

Well there is good news and bad news and good news and good news.

The good news is that my spokes and front mech have arrived from SJS Cycles.

The bad news is that in three weeks time we’ll be emigrating to Norway. I can’t justify taking the time to build a wheel.

The good news is that I haven’t got the time to go anywhere with my Brompton so I won’t be chomping at the bit wanting to build my wheel.

The last bit of good news it that there are plenty of dark winter nights in Gol for me to fill with exciting projects.

Watch this space.

16 speed Brompton: Part 3

I’m still waiting for some spokes from the UK to do the wheel build. SJS Cycles have assured me that they should get them from their suppliers next week. So hopefully not much longer to wait. The question is when will I have time to build the wheel? In a month we will be packing up for our emigration to Norway and I have loads of work to do on the van still.

In the meantime, here is a link to a Shimano Alfine conversion done in the UK. These pictures show how you can avoid the gear change cable fouling the front wheel hook when it clips onto the rear fork during folding.

That’s a neat solution.