The ‚Rohloff AG‘, originally Rohloff GmbH‘, was founded in Kassel by Barbara and Bernhard Rohloff back in 1986.
It was clear from the very beginning that Rohloff products were not only constructed with extraordinary quality, but also designed to function over a remarkably long life span. Sustainable - the word goes a long way to describe the characteristic of our products. The SPEEDHUB 500/14 premium gear hub is another perfect example of this identifying characteristic, retaining its position and upholding its reputation as the benchmark bicycle IGH, in a world of fast moving bicycle developments.
A bicycle IGH, capable of fulfilling nearly all demands of the modern cyclist.
A short journey back in time…
Rohloff was run from a small back yard premises in Kassel for the initial 8 years of the company existence. The company objective back then was merely the production and distribution of the now legendary S-L-T 99 bicycle derailleur chain. This chain quickly established a place for itself on the market thanks to its outstanding shift attributes and durability. Its market solidified its reputation so well, that the renowned Italian bicycle component manufacturer, ‘Campagnolo’, took the plunge to join us in 1989. The time between 1989 & 1993 saw an era where every Campagnolo transmission groupset was supplied, complete with a Rohloff chain. This financial support enabled us to complete one of our best constructions ever made – our fully automated chain production machine, lovingly christened “The Green Monster”. This machine was now able to produce 100,000 chains per year with a simple 3 shift production plan. The quality of the chains produced on the Green Monster proved themselves time and time again, climaxing with the 1990 Tour de France win of Greg Lamond.
Development never stood still and Rohloff continued to develop further ingenious products to enrich the cycle trade. 1989 saw the release of the ‚Cash 8’ adapter. This simple device enabled Campagnolo cassettes to be mounted on Shimano hubs. The following years also saw the introduction of the Rohloff-Revolver, Caliber and HG-IG-Check transmission tools as well as the automatic chain lubrication system, ‘Lubmatic’ in 1993 – a revolutionary innovation back in its day. The final piece of the puzzle was then introduced in 1994, the fast biodegradable chain lubricant – ‘Oil of Rohloff’. This year also then saw the end of the Campagnolo/Rohloff relationship and Rohloff was once again alone to focus on their own direction.
Onward and upward…
The end of a relationship doesn’t have to be painful. Sometimes the change brings with it new energy which is exactly what we experienced. This new energy was the very thing that lead to the official global release of the SPEEDHUB 500/14 gear hub at the 1997 IFMA show in Cologne and with it, our internet debut at www.rohloff.de.
Thousands of customers, and competitor eyes, fixed with astonishment. The SPEEDHUB 500/14 was presented live for the first time at the Eurobike show in Friedrichshafen back in 1997. Simultaneously, the Rohloff Inc. was founded in the US to provide support to all potential SPEEDHDUB users on that side of the pond. This was the turning point for Rohloff which saw the company grow from strength to strength. The first generation SPEEDHUB units were supplied to the waiting customers in early 1998 and two years after, Rohloff won the coveted innovations prize for region of Kassel. This point in time saw the foundation of another branch of the franchise – ‚Rohloff Australia‘.
The start of a new era: 2004 saw the ‚Rohloff GmbH‘ transition to the ‚Rohloff AG‘ and we move into a larger, purpose designed facility just outside Kassel in Fuldatal-Ihringshausen. Step by Step, the company grows and matures. 40,000 SPEEDHUBs sold in 2005, 60,000 units in 2006, leading to a proud moment in where Bernhard Rohloff built the 100,000th SPEEDHUB unit live on our booth at the Eurobike Show.
For wheelers and dealers
2009 was the year that saw us connect with our valued customers and partners the most. The SPEEDHUB presented its most appealing feature with our »Wanted-campaign«. 55 SPEEDHUB users, who had each acquired a mileage of over 60,000kms on one hub, were awarded in Fuldatal for their loyalty and achievements. The long and the not-so-long stories from the Wanted campaign can all be read in accompanying book to campaign – ‘Rohloff Stories’. 2009 was also the year we introduced our B2B Shop to support dealers with the identification of component article numbers, to speed and ease the order process and also to process product orders 24/7.
Athletic and timely
13 years old and still as fast as ever! The year 2010 saw the introduction of the SPEEDHUB-Championship-Race series in Altenberg and the introduction of a new twist shifter and ‘Revolver 3‘ chain riveting tool just one year later. Its hard to believe that the Rohloff AG at this point, has more than 25 years of athletic experience behind it!
Constantly up to date: - 2014 saw the introduction of the Rohloff SPEEDHUB XL for Fatbikes and shortly after in 2017, the A12 axle system enabling us to proudly quote compatibility with frames for all thru-axle systems available at that time.
So, what does the future hold for the Rohloff AG? Watch this space!