Cycling Around the World


Rohloff and Belt vs Deore XT and Chain

Posted by Stephen Peel - Cycling Around the World on March 21, 2017 at 2:25 AM

Rohloff and Belt vs Deore XT and Chain

I took a drive with my youngest daughter Chloe up to Leeds to CycleSense, a bike shop that deals with Koga bikes. It was an 80 mile drive out but worth it. Dave - the owner - checked out my requirements and based on my height and size, we worked out what we felt would be the best bike for me.


The Koga Worldtraveler Signature and quite a large frame in forest green. Trouble is, after we talked through the specs and the pros and cons of the Rohloff 14 speed hub and Gates belt drive, I came away feeling confident I had the right bike at £4100. But, when I actually got home after my daughter and I went for lunch, I started to really think about the fact that for what appears roughly £1500 extra over a Deore XT setup, I started to question whether or not the hub would be a good idea.


Don't get me wrong, there would be no question if all I was doing was taking off for a few weeks or months every now and then on a cycle tour somewhere, where I could just call my trip short if I was having a few problems with the bike, get home and get it sorted. But because I am planning to be away for years, passing through some countries with really tight visa restrictions, and with calling my trip short and returning home not an option, I'm rethinking the idea of the hub and belt.


Also, it turns out that according to Dave, the hub is only under warranty for 2 years, meaning if it goes pear shaped 2 years into my cycle, I'm screwed and will have to fork out another grand or more for a new hub. Fixing punctures and taking the wheel on and off is a concern to me too, as I like cycling along the coast and have had as many as 3 punctures in one day due to shards of seashells going through the tires on my Giant Escape 2. The thought of having to tension and mess around with the belt on the hub every day - if I'm unlucky - would spoil my fun, and I'm told sand a grit and seashells could shred a belt or send it out.


You can't carry a spare belt either in a pannier, as they come in the position they are meant to be fitted in, as you can't bend or twist or fold a belt. And so, if I were to just be taking the odd tour from time to time, I wouldn't have to think like this, but to be away for what could be many years, its far too greater risk.


The bike also comes with disk brakes, and I'm no longer happy about that either and will likely replace them with just simple cantilever breaks. The bike will be ordered once this house has completed and not before, so I have a little bit of time to change my mind again. 

July 4 2017, and had the bike for a few days now. After a few clunky rides, I realised that I had to actually pause for a split second to change gears, as changing under load was not good. In fact, trying to change under load in the middle range, would lock it up, like I had hit a wall, so easing off and pausing for that very slight time it takes to turn the gear shift, is all it takes. Changing gears while not turning the pedals is the only way, and it's nice to be able to do this from a stopped position. I'm getting used to it, and will keep updating.

Categories: Bikes and Equipment

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Reply Stephen Peel
3:24 PM on November 4, 2017 
3 Months in and the gearing is knackered, that's all I need to say about that. Don't do it, stick to standard gearing for a tour, I was warned by other tourers and didn't listen.
Reply Stephen Peel - Cycling Around the World
4:44 AM on March 23, 2017 
OK, I'm back to thinking that I will leave the setup as is. I will take it as a part of the adventure :). There are so many good points with regard to the hub and belt, and the disk brakes in the wet downhill with a loaded bike for instance. I'm not going to have to worry too much until I reach India and Asia, then will be back in Australia, New Zealand and the US where I will no doubt be able to get support for the bike.