|Ollie on a headland|
|Testing the easy range of the 'hoff up a steep pinch|
The obvious solution to this is to run a single speed-un appealing given the low range required, or ideally an internally geared hub, which till a few months ago was as rare as unicorn tears. As a long time user of the Rohloff hub for off-road riding, I dropped a line to the wizards in Germany and encouraged them to develop something appropriately bomb proof, but they didn’t let on that something was already in development.
Imagine my surprise then when the truly monstrous Rohloff XL was announced in 170mm spacing which would drop right into my Fatty. Through some exceptional fortune my offer of testing services was accepted and after a protracted wheel build I was rolling and ready for an ill-fated Snowy Mountains adventure.
Since the Snowys, the hub has started to bed in, and I’ve taken it on some great sandy adventures where the ability to just pedal without fear of drivetrain disobedience has cranked up the fun factor. Most recently I headed out with Brad and Chad of Hurt fame, to map a route from Woy Woy to Newcastle for their new Fat Hurt route.
|Brad tells us a story|
|Fat riders on the roll|
|Organ rattling stairs|
|Fat bikes even go okay in the forest|
|Where the magic happens|
A common complaint against the Rohloff is the heft, but in the fat bike application where a single tube can weigh as much as an entire 29er wheelset, the increase in weight is barely noticeable and it never ceases to amaze me how it positively responds to poorly timed shifts.
As for durability, Chad who we rode with towards Newcastle is running a Rohloff on his Surly Moonlander, and if the state of his frame is anything to go by it hasn’t seen a great deal of love. His favored riding shoes are jandals (or pluggers), and the reason for this is obvious when you see Chad huffy toss his bike into the sea to circumvent an untraversable waterway. Rust pinholes and a hobo-chic patina on the frame have me fearing for the steel frame’s life, but the Rohloff just keeps on ticking.
Thanks to Brad for the photos!