Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Easy Rohloff Sprocket Removal

I was reminded by Vik's post, referencing this forum post, that it was time to check I could still remove my Rohloff Speedhub Sprocket. I had planned to release the sprocket every 2500 km to avoid any future trouble. I'm at 2700 km now and 4 winter months riding done, so I'm about on schedule!

The Rohloff Speedhub Sprocket can be difficult to remove
(if you leave it on too long)

Rohloff sprockets have some notoriety for becoming struck on tight, partly because Rohloff have specified a threaded sprocket in preference to a splined sprocket and lock-ring arrangement, but mostly because people leave the sprocket on far too long before trying to remove it. I wasn't expecting any problem removing my sprocket at this stage and that's how it turned out. It unscrewed easily.

Removing the sprocket: Fix the sprocket removal tool with the quick release nut,
arrange the spanner and chainwhip
and push down on the chainwhip (NOT the spanner)

When I received my Nomad, I took most of it apart to be satisfied that everything had been prepared properly. (I'm not a very trusting person). To Thorn's credit, everything was fine. When I reassembled the bike I used my preferred copper based anti-seize preparation on most of the threaded components. Of course, I removed and refitted the Rohloff sprocket during this process as well.

Use an anti-seize preparation when refitting

Therefore, for today's quick operation, I had a Rohloff sprocket that was fitted using an anti-seize preparation and it had only been on the hub for 4 months and 2700 km. That's why it could be removed so easily.

I do quite a lot of bike maintenance and I think most tasks are pretty easy with the right tools and preparation. Maintenance only becomes difficult when you leave it too long. Then you have to resort to long levers, hammers and grunting a lot. By regularly removing and refitting torqued threaded components, you can save yourself a lot of headaches.

I've a comment regarding the positioning of the chainwhip in the forum post referred to at the top. (I also use a Park Tool SR-2). It has the chainwhip in the 10 position and the chain wrapped around the sprocket with a tie-wrap for extra security. I prefer the SR-2 chainwhip in the 8 or 9 position because more chain links are naturally engaged and then the tie-wrap isn't necessarily needed. There is still enough leverage in this position.

 More links engaged in the 8 position for about the same leverage

Incidently, in the Rohloff video on sprocket removal, the chainwhip is attached 'upside down'. I tried this with the SR-2, but it won't grip that way at all. This suggests the best positioning may well depend on the chainwhip make and it's characteristics.

The moral of the story here? Regularly remove your Rohloff Speedhub Sprocket and reassemble with an anti-seize preparation and you won't have any trouble. It should only take 10 mins and will ensure the sprocket always unscrews easily. While you're at it, how about extending this regime to include the pedals, cranks, bottom bracket and EBB as well...


Maverick said...

Hey Shaun,

I've stumbled across your blog while researching the Nomad.

I see your route takes you all the way up to Prince George, but if for whatever the reason you have a change of plans, I live in Vernon BC, just north of Kelowna, and I would be happy to offer a place for you to stay if you pass through.

I've cycled across Canada, and have done many routes through the U.S. and around Mexico as well.

Throw an email my way sometime, or if you have any route questions...


Maverick said... by the way :P