What is a Rohloff Speed Hub, you ask?
It is, it turns out, a large and fairly heavy internally geared hub for the back wheel of the bicycle I'm building (putting together, not welding, since Dean asked). It has 14 gears with over a 500% gear range--something of an engineering marvel.
So I've got the hubs for the front and rear wheels and I just picked up the rims this weekend. Now I'm waiting for the truing stand, spokes, and nipples. Both wheels will be 32 spoke (that is the only number the Rohloff will do) with a double crossing pattern. These will be the first wheels I've ever built, so I'm a little nervous. The good thing is that with the Rohloff there is no rear cog set so there is very little dish in the rear wheel and both sides of the wheel have the same length spokes--kind of like a front wheel. I am going to be running hydraulic disc brakes, so there will be some dish and difference in the spoke tension. I haven't quite figured out the exact numbers yet.
This evening I finished installing the cranks after removing the inner chainrings and double checking the chainline (had to rearrange the spacers on the bottom bracket). Measured in millimeters, I'm not sure how exact this needs to be. Plus with the long wheel base and extra long chain I'll be using I think it may be less important. The Rohloff hub has a chainline of 54 mm. As near as I can tell with the grade school ruler I was using, the front crank chainline is either 54 or 55 mm. At this point I think it is as close as I care to get it but will watch it closely once I have the wheels on and can get a sense of the chain tension.
I also mounted the rear chain tensioner, the front chain guide, and the torque bolt which fixes the axle plate of the Rohloff in place. This probably doesn't mean much to many of you reading this, but you'll just have to humor me (I read many of heylucy's craft tips and don't complain :)). This is the first time I've done most of these things so I'm sort of savoring it all and trying to learn as much as I can. It's pretty fun using all kinds of tools. I love specialized tools that work well. I've got some new torque wrenches and allen wrenches as well as a star wrench set that made everything nice and easy, no frustration. It's kind of nice to grease things and get everything nice and neat.
Hopefully later this week I'll get a stem and skewers at the bike shop, and the handlebars and pedals I ordered will come in the mail so I can get the steering mechanism set up. I keep reminding myself that I'm not in a huge hurry to finish this project, I just want to make sure I do things correctly and end up with a well tuned machine. Plus I think with the sort of unconventional drive train, extended frame length, hydraulic brakes, and wheel building I'm biting off quite a bit for my first time and should allow myself plenty of time to take it all in.
Enough about the bike for now. I'll have to include an update of our week in Seattle next time. My experience is easy--work 9 hours, find dinner, watch some Olympics, read a little, sleep. The highlight for me is making it to Thai Tom's in the U district twice. Yum.