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Rohloff cables explained
Andy Blance Nov 2005


The replacement of the internal gear wire in a Rohloff hub is not particularly tricky, once the instructions have been read and understood. Having said that, I would much rather change the cable at home in the dry, under good lighting conditions, with my reading glasses, cable cutters and cup of tea available, I would much rather change it when I am under no
pressure, than change it halfway up a mountain in a storm during the night!

Whilst it may not be difficult to replace in ideal circumstances, the cable is unusual being 0.9mm which makes it rather difficult to obtain "in the field". It is essential to carry some with you on tour. We identified the need to carry some 0.9mm cable before we launched the Ravens, so we supply every new Rohloff bike with the appropriate service items.

I have not broken a Rohloff cable (and it is my intention to try and ensure that I never do!) but I have been told that the twist grip becoming much more difficult to turn is an indication that a cable breakage is imminent... my advise is therefore to investigate the cause of such occurrences immediately!

But prevention is much better than cure, so why not consider maintaining the cable in the same way that you would the cam belt in your car? I.e. change it at regular intervals, the intervals being shorter than the service life of the component. I would suggest that because our cycles have such a perfect line of entry of the cable into the hub, the cable should fail at
the upper end of Rohloff's 10,000-30,000Km projected service life... so 20,000Km service intervals should see very few, if any, of our customers with broken cables. To those poor unfortunate individuals who always seem to have bad luck with mechanical things, I would say that, even if you changed it at 10,000km (i.e. every other oil change) it would require but a fraction of your time spent in maintenance compared to a derailleur system. For the tourist there are two alternative strategies to consider;
[1] Opting for the (more expensive and heavier) version with the external gear box... this uses conventional 1.1mm gear cable and conventional (brake) outer casing all the way through and in the (unlikely) event of one of these breaking, disconnect the external box and a simple turn of an 8mm spanner will engage whichever gear you wish, enabling you to continue on to a
suitable repair facility.
[2] Carry a complete axle ring assembly and a good quality T20 Torx driver; this allows the replacement of the cables in less time than it would take to repair a puncture and pump up a tyre. You then have 10,000Km minimum to find a suitable time and place to perfect the technique to replace the 0.9mm cable in your old axle ring assembly before you could possibly need it again. The axle ring assembly costs 40.00 GBP available from our on-line store (our part Number #10358) it weighs 64g and comes complete with cables installed and cut to precisely the correct length, rubber gaiters fitted and QR fittings attached.

Thorn Cycles Ltd, 91-93 St John Street, Bridgwater, Somerset, TA6 5HX, England
Company no: 4121096, incorporated in England.

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