If you need to know how to change the oil in a Rohloff Speedhub, you might be pleased to know it really isn't that hard. If I can do it, anybody can do it!
Rohloff Oil Change
When I bought my new expedition bicycle, I knew that sooner or later the question of how to change the oil in a Rohloff speedhub would arise. I expected this to be a somewhat complicated process, but as it turned out, it was in fact relatively simple.
As a result, I decided to add it to my collection of bicycle touring tips. Below, is a step by step guide on changing the oil in a Rohloff hub using the Rohloff speedhub oil change kit.
At the end of this guide, I have also included the excellent Rohloff YouTube video which I have to say is extremely impressive.
First of all, it is important to understand that a Rohloff speedhub is a sealed unit, where the gears or cogs are housed inside a metal casing. Changing gears is done by using a twist grip, and as they are non overlapping and sequential gears, fourteen unique gear settings are available to the cyclist.
With the vulnerable parts concealed, Rohloff hubs make a good choice for touring cyclists and even some mountain bikers. However, just because it is a sealed unit, does not mean that no servicing is required.
It is recommended that cyclists change the oil in a Rohloff hub at least once a year, or every five thousand kilometres, whichever comes first.
This also means that if you are planning a long distance bike tour with a Rohloff equipped touring bike, you'll want to carry at least one Rohloff oil change kit with you at all times. Outside of Europe, you might want to carry two.
Rohloff Oil Change Kit
As with any maintenance job, before beginning, it is important to have all the required parts and tools to hand. In this instance it is the Rohloff Oil Change Kit 8410, and a 3mm Allen Key.
The oil change kit (which cost about £17.00 in 2020, and in 2023 costs somewhere in the region of £21.99), comprises of a syringe, filler tube, cleaning oil, speedhub oil, and an oil drain screw as shown below.
Note: There is a cheaper kit available which contains just the cleaner fluid, oil, and oil drain screw. There's also bigger versions of 250ml speedhub oil and cleaner, as well as an almost industrial sized 1 litre version. For your first time though, you'll want the Rohloff oil change kit that contains the syringe, as you'll need it if and when you buy the bigger versions.
How to Change the Oil in a Rohloff Speedhub
How to change the oil in a Rohloff speedhub is a three stage process, which involves rinsing, extracting and refilling. The process takes about twenty minutes, and that includes a 15 minute break in the middle. It really is that simple!
Rinsing the Rohloff hub
1. The Rohloff hub has a drain screw in it, and the first thing to do, is to turn the wheel so that this is facing upwards. Using the Allen Key, remove the drain screw and keep it to one side, as this will be needed later.
2. Secondly, attach the filler tube to the syringe. When that is done, open up the cleaning oil bottle, and then use the syringe to suck up the contents.
3. Once that is done, screw the end of the filler tube into the open speedhub drain, and then inject the contents of the syringe into the hub. Wait a few seconds, and then withdraw approximately 25 millilitres of air back into the syringe in order to balance out the air pressure in the speedhub.
4. Unscrew the filler tube, and screw back in the old drain screw. It is at this point that the rinsing process can begin, so rotate the cranks for about three minutes or take it for a quick ride. The guide says alternate between gears 3 and five, although I would assume that using all the gears is the best option. Having a bicycle workstand makes this a pretty easy process.
Extracting the cleaning fluid and old oil
5. Remove the drain screw again, and screw back in the filler tube. Rotate the wheel 180 degrees so that the filler tube and syringe are hanging downwards, and leave it his way for about fifteen minutes in order for the oil to gather at the bottom of the hub.
6. When the fifteen minutes is up, slowly extract the contents of the speedhub into the syringe (which may measure anywhere between 25ml and 50 ml), and then unscrew the filler tube. The contents of the syringe will not be needed again, and they can be injected into the empty bottle.
7. Although the syringe is empty, there will still be some residue, and this can be gotten rid of by pumping it a dozen or so times onto an old rag or kitchen towel.
Refilling Rohloff Hub with oil
8. Fill the syringe up with speedhub oil via the filler tube.
9. Turn the wheel back 180 degrees so that the drain is at the top, and screw in the filler tube. Once this is done, inject the contents into the Rohloff speedhub. Wait a few seconds, and withdraw 25ML of air in order to balance out the air pressure.
10. Remove the filler tube, screw in the new drain screw with the Allen Key and turn the cranks a few times.
11. Well done!! The job is complete. Enjoy your next bike tour!
If you would like to watch a video on how to change the oil in a Rohloff Hub, then look at the one below.
- Why Choose a Rohloff Hub for Bicycle Touring
- Touring bike accessories and gear
- Best Bike Tool Kit
- My bike tours around the world
- Touring bike reviews
- City Bike Hire Schemes
- Bike Touring Blogs
- Meet the Cyclists Bike Touring interviews and blogs