This is a very interesting (and long running) thread.
If I were to read it as a person with no experience I think I'd be perfectly on the fence!
I guess that there really is no substitute for personal experience just as it would also seem that one style of underwear does not fit all. That last part is a true shame because it is only bike shopping that I enjoy for hours at a stretch.
I had (Until last week) a derailleur bike as well as my Moulton TSR14. That is what the dealer called it after we put the rohloff on the bike that started life as a well designed TSR 27. The wisdom of this surgery, time will tell, but I have scratched my Rohloff itch in fine style I think. I was not particularly a fan of the Rohloff at the beginning at all. I've just ordered a Thorn Nomad, rather than a more reasonably affordable Sherpa, and I don't really need the luggage rating. I think that illustrates my feelings on the Rohloff - BEST underwear EVER!
As I mentioned I did not care for the Rohloff very much before ordering it. My journey to that decision rested on the fact that while I am a highly experienced, but out of shape cyclist (who took a twenty year break due to a wife who went cycling with me ONCE - up to the first part of the FIRST hill only) my girlfriend is scared of cycling. Very scared and intimidated. She is eager to go but only on the terms that she is comfortable on. That would be a walmart bike with NO gears and NO complicated brake levers. Step through only and one stops (I think they could) by pedaling backwards.
So I plotted.
I bought the moulton because it seems to be a finely crafted bicycle just as is the Nomad, though for a completely different type of riding. It IS a marvelous bike btw. It is step through so I got a grudging ok on that point. I brow beat the poor lady with graphic possibilities until she relented on the brakes. Actually it was in explaining that she only had to use one that did the trick. Next came the explanation of how to change gears. Now she was not going to bother coming with me. Would I still get sandwiches made, laundry laundered and shorts picked out? I was worried.
I could see that changing gears with a derailleur was a step too far for her. I'd sooner get her to skydive. That is when I went to Mr Rohloff. It is straight forward. Turn a thingamadoodad which is right under your natural hand position. One way for hills going up - the other for going down. End of complicated explanation! It WORKED!!!!!! Now there is a Rohloff advantage I'd not head of. Bring us you timid, your weak - your freaked out. Yeah. Don't laugh. This was serious ... without it I could not have called up SJS cycles and spoke those wonderful words - I'll take "that one"! Do you see how much that hub has done for me?
My own progression towards the light has consisted of little things. The grass paths I used to like cycling on years ago took my deraileur off once and bent them on a regular basis. My Moulton is not made for the same ventures but when my Nomad arrives - It is a small thing perhaps to have peace of mind - but significant just the same. My top gears are utterly silent and the whir of the lower gears is kind of comforting as well. I think of it like the exhaust grumble of a fine muscle-car.
I never would have guessed that it is nice not to have to change down two or three gears before you stop. I was so used to doing that all these years but yet it is nice to have the freedom to just turn that dial anytime you want. Yeah! I don't know how long lived this setup will be. It certainly is a kludge on the moulton. It works well but I'd hate to have to fiddle around on a long tour with no eccentric bottom bracket. You see the thorn bikes are at one extreme end of the bicycling spectrum. Although there are drivetrain choices, every Thorn appears to have the same engineering mandate - to be as strong and maintenance happy as is possible. Right? Well if that is the case - does the Rohloff, despite some small issues, no complete the Thorn gestalt? I believe it does.
The Rohloff, to my way of thinking, completes the Thorn ethos, and like the last piece of a marvelous puzzle - Needs to be fitted in. After all, what is a Thorn if not the ultimate?
Now if the above is overly dramatic ... remember .... it was penned by one suffering through the "waiting for my Thorn" fever. You've all been there ... haven't cha?