The Golden Wrench

A blog about bicycle repair and maintenance by the mechanics at Freewheel Bike.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Rohloff Internally Geared Hub Service

Today I'll be showing everyone how to change the oil on a Rohloff Speedhub. I've been riding mine since June and have put about 500 miles on it so far. Rohloff recommends an oil change annually or every 3000 miles. Since this hub may see winter duty it's a great time for the initial oil change.
No matter which configuration of the Speedhub your bike has, you can leave the wheel installed. If you're using disc brakes now would be the time to remove your rear brake pads. With a little care the pads may be left installed and a clean rag placed over the caliper to catch stray drops of oil. Tools/Supplies
  • Rohloff oil change kit
  • 3mm hex key
  • 8mm box wrench (optional--for EX box when unmounted)
  • spray cleaner
  • rags or cotton swabs
Clean the rim and hub shell, especially around the drain screw, to prevent debris from entering the hub. The Speedhub should always have 25ml of oil inside to run as smoothly as possible. I will be adding oil and then removing the used oil and replacing it. Rohloff has a cleaning oil and "all-season" oil produced specifically for the Speedhub--nothing else should be used. The cleaning oil, at a lower viscosity, acts as a solvent to thin the all-season oil and remove any contaminants from within the hub. Draw 25ml of cleaning oil into the syringe fitted with the tube and drain plug. Rotate the wheel so that the drain screw faces upwards. With a 3mm allen key remove the drain screw from the hub and carefully thread the syringe into the hub. Slowly inject all oil into the hub, remove syringe and replace the drain screw.
To fully rinse the old oil from the hub you can spin the cranks or go run a short errand with the cleaning oil inside the hub. If you're doing all this in the shop you can spin the cranks for a few minutes at a decent cadence and switch between gears 3-5. Have a snack or relax for a few minutes to let the used oil settle inside the hub. Again, rotate the wheel so the drain screw is facing upwards, remove the screw and install the empty syringe. Rotate the wheel so the syringe faces downwards and slowly draw as much oil as possible from the hub. You won't be able to remove all 50ml from the hub because some will always stick to the gears. I managed to draw out ~35ml and you should expect about that much. Rotate the wheel so the syringe faces upwards, remove it and dispose of the spent oil. Usually, you'd fill the hub with 25ml of all-season oil, but for cold weather you can mix the oils without worry. I'll be using the maximum 1/1 ratio of cleaning to all-season oil. Draw 25ml oil into the syringe and mount to the hub. Fill the hub, but take care to equalize the pressure within the hub. You may notice more resistance on the syringe with the last bit of oil. The plunger may spring back--take your time with the oil and allow the plunger to naturally return to "zero". Once the syringe is empty you may draw a little air from the hub to prevent pressurization. Replace the drain screw. Don't forget to replace your brake pads.
All done!