Understanding the Different Types of Rohloff Hub

Alee May 29, 2014 5

The Rohloff comes in a bunch of different combinations to suit different bikes, different budgets and different needs. I personally found it pretty overwhelming when purchasing my first Rohloff, so I’ll do my best to explain to you what everything means and why some features are better than others.

Oh, and if you need more convincing about why you should use a Rohloff hub, HERE is 15 reasons!

There Are Two Axle Types

Be careful when selecting the axle type, as you cannot perform a parts change to the other axle down later on. We recommend using the CC hollow axle in most cases.

CC – Hollow axle. You are able to quickly remove your wheel with a QR skewer. This is what we use and recommend to make wheel removal easy and to avoid having to carry a spanner.

TS – Threaded axle. A threaded axle is useful in frames which employ horizontal dropouts. The threaded axle has a much stronger grip in the dropouts and hence will not allow the hub to slide about.

There Are Two Types of Gear Mech

Internal Gear Mechs and External Gear Mechs

There are three main advantages to the External Mech:

  • The cables are much more sealed from the elements, allowing them to last longer;
  • Disconnecting the cables is less fiddley, and;
  • If your cables do sieze, you can change your gears with an 8mm spanner.

The only disadvantage to the external mech is the additional cost (~$100 USD). We think the external mech is worth the extra cost, as it requires less maintenance and makes wheel removal a breeze.

There Are Three Types of Axle Plates

Axle plates are necessary to fasten internally geared hubs to a bicycle frame.

The three axle plates available with Rohloff hubs are:

  • OEM plate (for frames with Rohloff dropouts);
  • OEM2 plate (for frames which have disc brake mounts or a support bolt); and
  • Standard plate (or Torque Arm plate, for bikes which require the use of a torque arm).

The neatest solution is to use a frame with Rohloff dropouts and the OEM plate, like us. If you don’t have Rohloff dropouts you can use the Standard plate (with torque arm) for non-disc compatible frames, or the OEM2 plate for disc brake compatible frames.

The Monkeybone is a really neat IS disc brake adapter which integrates a support point for the OEM2 plate to mount. Your frame must have an International Standard (IS) disc brake interface on the seatstay, and your disc brake caliper must have a Postmount interface.

The Speedbone can fit onto an International Standard (IS) disc brake interface and becomes a support point for the OEM2 plate to sit.

There Are Two Types of Hub Cap

Non-Disc and Disc.

The disc brake hub cap obviously allows you to fit a disc brake rotor. Hubcaps can be interchanged if you decide later on that you want disc brakes, however we recommend starting out with a disc hub cap to avoid that hassle down the road. Disc hub caps add ~$30 USD to the cost.

Rohloff have codes for many of the above features

OEM – This code refers to the OEM axle plate for those using frames with Rohloff specific dropouts.

OEM2 – This code refers to the OEM2 axle plate for those with disc brake compatible frames.

DB – This indicates the Rohloff has a disc brake hub cap. The DB model automatically uses the external gear mech, as the internal gear mech isn’t compatible with disc brakes.

EX – This refers to the use of an external gear mech.

T – This setup is intended for tandems, however the hub isn’t fundamentally different, it is just sent out with longer gear cables.

XL – This hub shell is designed specially for ‘fat bikes’. It is 170mm wide; 35mm wider than the standard size and is available in both CC and TS axles.

Hub code examples

Rohloff Speedhub 500/14 CC —– QR axle, non-disc, internal mech, torque arm plate.

Rohloff Speedhub 500/14 TS OEM —– Threaded axle, non-disc, internal mech, Rohloff dropout required.

Rohloff Speedhub 500/14 CC DB —– QR axle, disc (and therefore external mech), disc mount plate.

Rohloff Speedhub 500/14 CC DB OEM —– QR axle, disc (and therefore external mech), Rohloff dropout required.

Rohloff Speedhub 500/14 CC EX —– QR axle, non-disc, external mech, torque arm plate.

Rohloff Speedhub 500/14 TS EX OEM2 —– Threaded axle, non-disc, external mech, disc mount plate.

See if you can notice the difference between the following Rohloff hubs:


The Rohloff is available in three anodised finishes: Black, Silver and Red

Spokes Holes

The Rohloff is able to be built with either 32 or 36 spokes. Although a 32h Rohloff hub is still quite strong given the short spokes, we would recommend using a 36h hub for a bicycle touring application.

Our other resources on Rohloff hubs include:

15 Reasons to Tour with a Rohloff Hub

18 Ways to Run a Rohloff Shifter with Road Drop Handlebars

How to Build a Strong Rohloff Wheel

Rohloff Oil Change Instructions and How to Service

Everything You Ever Need to Know About Rohloff Hubs (Coming Soon!)



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  • olee22

    Great summary, thank you!

    I hoped that over the years the price of the Rohloff hubs will drop, but they are still very expensive. If I look at the bikes in your recommendation list, when a bike is upgraded with a Rohloff, it costs 1000 Euro more.

    I have a Shimano 8 speed internal hub on one of my bikes, and on many hills I have to get off. For my next touring bike, I definitely want more range, but I’m hesitant to go back to dérailleur, but the cost of the Rohloff keeps me back. Also in your article about budget bikes, you recommend saving on gears, among others.

    Do you think the advantages of the Rohloff really worth that high price difference on a bike tour?
    Or is this “luxury” terrain?
    Above how many km per year would you invest in a Rohloff?

    • http://www.cyclingabout.com/ Alee Denham

      For the most part, Rohloffs are a luxury item. The only people who could genuinely regard them as good value are tourers who are doing big trips every year, or perhaps a cross continental trip or two. But put it this way, I haven’t met anyone who has been disappointed with their Rohloff purchase! Even cyclists who don’t do huge kilometres can enjoy the precision and maintenance-free nature of a Rohloff.

  • David Folch

    Don’t forget to update that excellent writing with the Rohloff XL and its 170mm OLD… :-)

    • http://www.cyclingabout.com/ Alee Denham

      Ah, yes! That got made official after I wrote this. 😉

      • David DirtySixer

        It does not change much, except that the XL hub is only available in 32 holes (no 36 holes option available)… We do adapters to get 36 and 48 holes if needed… :-)