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Recently, my Rohloff-geared bicycle started to make a regular clicking sound with a ratchety feeling associated with it. Besides a click, I feel a small resistance transmitted through the pedals. This is the same click that I always feel (have been from the start) when I'm stationary, put weight on the pedals, and change gears. But now I get it at a regular interval when riding; it happens every couple of turns of the pedals. I think it's coming from my Rohloff hub. My hub is a bit more than 3 years old, and I've done 12000 km with it. My last oil change was less than 2 months ago. The only component I have replaced since the bicycle was new was the bottom bracket, which failed last winter so which is now new.

I would bring it along the bikestore for a specialist to have a look at it, but the nearest specialist is 1600 km (1000 mi) away, shipping the bicycle back and forth would cost hundreds of euros. I'm slightly worried that, if it is related to the hub, I might be damaging it by continuing to ride on it. At my last oil change I spilt a little bit of oil, but I'm pretty sure most of the oil went in, so the oil should be sufficient. Should I do another oil change, just to be sure and just to see if it gets rid of the clicking sound? Or is it more likely to be caused by another factor?

Possibly related questions here, here.

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I'm wondering if it's a cable adjustment problem. –  Daniel R Hicks Jul 18 '12 at 16:05
    
I did tighten the chain recently by pulling back the rear wheel a bit. –  gerrit Jul 18 '12 at 16:12
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The chain can be too tight, leading to symptoms similar to what you describe. Or you might have upset the cable adjustment. –  Daniel R Hicks Jul 18 '12 at 17:25
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2 Answers 2

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I had the same sort of clicking with my Rohloff two years ago over many months. Eventually the chain broke when I was in the wilds. I fixed the chain with a spare link and never heard a click again. It appears that a chain link was cracked for all that time without me noticing and the hub was blameless.

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I have a Rohloff and have sent some emails to the factory due to severe oil spill (had to replace the seals, successfully). From what they have told me, the 25ml of oil is more than double the necessary amount for the hub to work fine, since the oil is very sticky and it distributes inside the hub. Even the unavoidable oil "sweating" should be considered normal, they say.

Recently, I hosted a rider which had a very heavy bike, with 40.000+ on the bike, going to Patagonia (South America). He ultimately LOCKED the hub, being only able to push the bike, not pedal forward or backwards. Rohloff replaced the hub for free, but he had to travel to the capital 1600km away to receive the package :o(

I doubt very much that lack/excess of oil is the problem. I agree with what folks are saying about the chain/sprocket (either too tight or otherwise defective, with a frozen link, or a bent chainring tooth).

What I suggest you is to isolate the drivetrain from the problem: be sure the chainring, chain, sprocket and chaintensioner (if any) are not generating the click.

If not so, write to Rohloff describing your problem as thoroughly as possible, they are VERY supportive.

The not-so-good news is that Rohloff, besides being a marvel of engineering indeed, is not as nearly as bomb-proof as a lot of fanboys tend to propagate, if it is used hard for a long time, some part replacements are unavoidable.

And even with Rohloff, some defects can appear, and the exact building of the hub has changed over the years to avoid common patterns of failure detected.

Unfortunately, it is not possible to be sure if the hub is defective or not, at least via this site, but I hope this helps. Any question in the comments, and I'll be ready to answer.

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