Rohloff speedhub.

I was thinking about using a speed hub on a bike I’d be bikerafting with, and I just got in touch with Rohloff about using the speedhub with a packrafting setup. Basically river+speedhub=bad idea.

Here’s their message:

"the SPEEDHUB cannot every be 100% completely sealed as the hub breathes through the specially designed seals in order to balance internal air pressure. If completely submerged, the outer pressure (water) will be greater than the internal pressure (air) and thus water will penetrate the system.

This water will contaminate the oil forming an emulsion which will cause sliding elements within the hub to move at reduced speeds. This could lead to complete drive loss for short periods directly following an oil change. If the hub should ever be completely submerged, then a oil change should be completed immediately to ensure that any penetrated moisture is rinsed back out of the unit.

If left with water inside for longer periods, there is a chance that (and we fortunately do not yet know why) the internal nylon components could swell, erasing the internal play required to function properly. This will lead to excessive friction and could eventually cause the SPEEDHUB to block completely.

Basically, try to avoid submerging the SPEEDHUB in water and if unavoidable, change the oil immediately following the incident.
I hope this information helps. Have a nice day."

Thought I’d pass this information along.

Good info. Manufacturers tend to be conservative on official recommendations, and I wonder how much of this is CYA on their part. Does make sense on the pressure differential though.

I’m building up a Rohloff wheel for this exact purpose – though submersion hasn’t previously been an issue for me with bikerafting. Will try to report back after some experimentation.

Good info. Thanks for sharing.

Rohloff DO NOT LIKE to be submerged under water!

Have a look at the NuVinci hub, not sure if it can be submerged but there’s no internal air pressure as it’s oil or hydraulic fluid.
It’s heavier than a Rohloff but pretty strong.

l’m new to pack rafting

but have extensive bikepacking experience (

have something like 30,000 miles on my speed hub

with plenty of river and salt water imersion thrown in
(just did a trip riding the coast in baja, with alot of racing breaking waves on the beach)

l once contacted rohloff in the context of the RTS trip about sea kayaking for aproximatly a month
with my wheels straped to the boat

they said
“probably fine… change the oil”

cuz l was in the middel of nowhere
l deconstructed the wheel and stowed the hub inside plastick bags inside a drybag inside the kayak
(took about 3 weeks to get between assessable parts of panama and columbia)

imho my experience you should be fine pack rafting with speed hub equiped bike

or just go single speed (dingle is even better)
or if it is a fat bike double dingle (2 gears on each wheel)
thats howl roll… for this sort of expedition