This is my newist fat-bike love! A custom Schlick Tatanka with a 14-speed Rohloff Speedhub. I knew from the start that I would not use a belt on this bike or ever run a rim wider than a 65mm in the rear and never use a tire larger than a 3.8 Husker Du so I was able to go with a standard, symmetrical 135mm rear end and a 73mm BB shell. The Rohloff’s 54mm chain line makes this possible whereas other IGH hubs have too narrow a chainline and rely on an offset frame to make a fatty work even with a 65mm/HuDu combo.
The real benefit of the Rohloff is the 526% range over the 14 speeds. This equates to, basically, the same range as a 3×9 MTB set up. Added plusses are no duplicated gears and very even spacing between the gears. Check this comparison of the Rohloff with a 3×9 MTB drivetrain using a 24/32/44 front and a 12-34 rear. Note that the comparison chart shows a 40t front. I went with a 34t front and a 16t rear cog to bias the range down a bit for fatbiking.
I’ve been riding this bike for about two months and have a couple of hundred miles on it. All in the winter here in Wisconsin. BTW, this is not a typical Wiscionsin winter. Well at least not for a generation. The past 15-plus winters have been more like whimpers as far as cold weather goes, Not so this one. Several rides have been below 0 with a couple memorable rides on the frozen ice mounds of Lake Michigan at -10F to -15F and a -40F wind chill all with nary a hiccup in the Rohloff’s performance. Add to that the, at this point, 12th snowiest winter in 200 years and the makings for a great fatbike season are at hand!
I talked to Neil at Cycle Monkey, the US Distributor for Rohloff, about really cold weather and, while I’ve had no problems in the several below 0 rides I’ve done, Neil explained the following:
The oil inside the hub should be changed in extreme cold temps. The stock oil will thicken, shifting will become slow, and the hub will freewheel during this time. Using a blend of 50/50 cleaning oil and hub oil will work in most conditions. If it is cold enough that this is still too thick, use a higher percentage of cleaning oil up to 100% in the coldest conditions. Don’t forget to switch back to standard all season oil when the warm weather comes around or the thinner oil will seep past the hub seals. Other than this, the hub should be good to go in all weather.
Lest you think having a Rohloff means your bike will be heavy, this one come in right about 28 pounds with no concerted effort to make it light but the nice folks at the Hayes Bicycle Group did donate the Answer ProTaper Carbon SL Handlebar which, at 200g, sure did help shave a few ounces off while being a very good feeling handlebar.
- Custom Medium Schlick Tatanka Frame
- White Brothers (Now MRP) Snowpack 450mm Fork
- Rohloff Speedhub Rear Wheel laced to a Marge Lite
- Paul Component Engineering Front Hub laced to a Rolling Darryl
- 45NRTH Escalator Tires Lightly studded
- Magura MT-4 Brakes
- Answer ProTaper Carbon SL Handlebar
- Thomson Stem and Seatbinder
- Vintage Dean Ti Seatpost (you know my favorite bike because my current bestie has this seat post on it!)
- WTB Valcon or SDG Duster
- Revelate Tangle Framebag
Is there anything I’d change about this particular fat-bike? About all I can think of is that I’d like to try a trigger shifting system for the Rohloff if and when one becomes available. Not sure I’d like it more but I am willing to try!