The Rohloff Speedhub is a very reliable and high quality bit of kit, offering 14 speeds over a huge 526% range, more than nearly any other standard transmission. They last a while, too: Rohloff have documented hubs lasting for over 300,000km of riding which is more than most of us will get through in a lifetime. It’s not been a particularly common sight on e-bikes up until now but that might be set to change with Rohloff’s new E-14 system which brings electronic shifting to the hub, and integration into the Bosch e-bike system.
“More and more people are turning to the E-bike rather than car, scooter or bus for their daily commute. These customers demand an equal level of quality and reliability if this trend is to become established”, said Werner Schiller, MD of Rohloff. “We at Rohloff have, with our SPEEDHUB 500/14, proved over the past 20 years that it is entirely possible to construct a durable, reliable and low maintenance bicycle transmission. The new electronic gear mech ‘E-14’ perfectly complements the indestructible mechanical gear-unit.”
So how does the new system work? Rohloff’s standard shifter for the Speedhub is a twist shifter, that takes a big spin of the wrist to move from one end of the range to the other. Indexing happens inside the hub, rather than at the shifter, with a cable loop running from the hub to the shifter and back. The E-14 system replaces the shifter with a sleek three-button remote, and there’s a box that adds on to the hub that takes care of the shifting. Both are connected to the Bosch CAN-bus wiring, which provides power for the shifting and allows the remote to communicate with the hub.
Hitting the plus and minus buttons on the remote will, not surprisingly, move the gear up and down. If you hold down the button it will shift the hub three gears at a time until you let go, meaning that you can move from one end of the hub’s range to the other in less than three seconds. The hub also has an auto-downshift function, so if you stop at a junction the Speedhub will be in a nice low ratio for an easy start. All of Bosch’s displays that are compatible with eShift will also be able to display the gear that the hub is currently in.
Rohloff hubs aren’t cheap to begin with, so the E-14 system is going to be a premium product, but we’re looking forward to trying it out, hopefully at the upcoming Eurobike Show at the end of August.