At the beginning of September 2012, and after nearly 54,000 km of service, I finally realised that there could be something more seriously wrong with my Rohloff Speedhub. Thinking that it could be the movable bearing inside the hub "being strained" as they say in the manual, I had tried hitting the axle pegs with a rubber mallet to align the inner and outer races of the bearing, but this didn't seem to solve the problem. My local Rohloff shop expert tried the same thing, and thought that they may have solved it, but it was not to be. They added that maybe the seals should be replaced if the problem persisted.
Not wanting to pay for a seal replacement if that wasn't a problem, I contacted Rohloff Germany with the short movie below. As always, they responded immediately and said that a seal replacement would not solve the problem. They put me on to Rohloff Australia. I've had a few dealings now with Paul of Rohloff Australia and it never ceases to amaze me at the speed at which he responds to queries. This guy never seems to sleep and is always happy to help. Anyway, he suggested that I send to hub to him so that he could check it out.
A couple of days later he sends me the photo below! My good old trusty Speedhub fully disassembled! And he explains to me that the problem is that in the top left hand corner of the photo, you can see a broken nylon washer (or parts of it). Next to that are three springs; well, that should in fact be four springs! One is missing! I reckon its probably been ground to dust from continued use! He noted that he had never seen this sort of problem before and will be shipping the internals back to Rohloff Germany for a further autopsy.
He tells me that his solution to the problem is to exchange the internal gear unit for a new one, and that he will replace the main housing bearings and seals, and then get it in the mail the next day. All this, and no charge to me! Can you believe this? The hub is five and a half years old and well outside the Rohloff warranty, but this is the way these guys stand behind their product.
This kind of service is truly amazing and almost unexpected, and I want to place on record my thanks to both Rohloff Germany (Stewart S)and Rohloff Australia (Paul M) for their great service. You have one truly happy customer here and I cannot recommend these hubs highly enough.
Postscript: My understanding is that Rohloff state that it's highly unlikely that a hub will fail to such an extent that it becomes unrideable while on a tour. I've probably been riding on this hub with this problem for many kilometres, and although it was starting to be noticeable, the hub was still a long way from being unrideable. These hubs are amazing and I cannot recommend them highly enough, and the after-sales service has just proved itself to be equally amazing.
To avoid any confusion, although the drive train shown in the video below is a Gates Carbon Drive system, the hub was used with a conventional chain drive for its entire life! In no way do I want to imply that a Gates Carbon Drive drivetrain caused the problem.
Click on Photo to see full size version.