Completing the Milan Rohloff installation

The other day I finished the install/fitting of the wheel itself, and created some new CF pieces to help close off the gaps around the rear wheel, insure luggage doesn’t get tangled up in the spokes, and they should keep rain and dirt from coming into the interior.

The 3 lengths of Wippermann Connex chain I ordered arrived on my birthday 🙂 . Along with the chain was a collection of new chainrings, and the spring for the tensioner.

My WAW has a Rohloff hub and has 34-42-52 tooth chainrings, so I knew I could go with at least an 18 tooth variance; the Rohloff tensioner would be able to handle the chain slack.

I did some calculations using Sheldon Brown’s internal gear calculator , and the difference was so minor on the low end that I chose to install a 35 vs. a 34 tooth for the smaller chainring. This would allow me to go to at least a 53 on the larger chainring, but I first tried the 35-54 combination, and the tensioner handles that fine! With this set up, a 90 RPM cadence will give me a low speed of 5.2 mph/ 8.4 kph, and high speed of 42.4 mph/ 68.3 kph.

I installed the new chain. Peter White Cycles carries Wippermann (Connex) chain, so I’m giving this brand of chain a try. I ordered 3 lengths, and it was exactly the right amount of chain, but I should have ordered 4 lengths just in case I needed a few more links.

I cut pieces of shirt seams into short strips, and use the old chain to drag the strips through the chain tubes to clean the chain tubes. I also attached a new chain to the tail end and dragged the new chain through.

Peter White did caution me though, that the pins can’t be pressed back in with Connex chain; you cannot successfully add links by driving a pin back in, you can only remove links. Add links by using one of their master links. It’s an interesting master link design, very easy to get apart, they don’t really snap in place like the master links I’m accustomed to, I will see how they perform. Because I’m using the Rohloff and only 2 chainrings in the front, I went with 8 speed uncoated chain. They offer a couple grades of chain: uncoated, nickel plating, stainless steel and nickel plated, etc.

I’ve been pleased with the Chain L oil I’ve been using; it seems to perform very well, it’s quiet running, and of course the chain is out of the weather so it stays cleaner, less concern about weather corrosion.

Before I installed the new chain I replaced the tensioner spring (the new one arrived in the package with the chainrings); I’ll keep the older tensioner for parts; you never know when things might be needed;)

Ready for a couple variations! Spécialités TA brand.
I ended up with 35/53 (top right and bottom right). And I also installed 3 lengths of new chain.

I think I’m all set now; I’ve got the Rohloff hub and wheel in place, a new tire (tire threads showing!…), new chain, new chainrings, new Rohloff shifter, removed the rear derailleur and it’s twist shifter….. wait….. do I really want to keep using that twist shifter for the front derailleur?

A post on came to mind, regarding the benefits of using friction shifters in velomobiles…. I didn’t like the thought of a bar end shifter sticking out to the side of the tiller, but I really prefer the ability to move that front derailleur a little left or right, when the chain gets an annoying rubbing going on.

So I rummaged around and found a Shimano bar end shifter in my bicycle parts bin; I have a small roll of cable housing and fortunately had one more very long shifter cable in my tool bag (note to self: order more cables and housing). Hostel Shoppe sells cables that are 2.7m long, perfect for velomobiles. And as I recall if you order them bulk (6 or more?), they are far cheaper per cable.

But for some reason I couldn’t fit the bar end shifter into the tiller handle. No obvious dents or gouges in the metal. I had to spend about an hour with a couple different files, grinding wheel in the Dremel, and finally the best tool was a small sanding cylinder attachment in the Dremel. (I also used a 1″ wide belt sander to buff down the expanding sections of the shifter).

I finally got the shifter installed, installed a new foam grip found in my parts bin, and threaded new cable and housing to the front derailleur. The cable housing was about 3″ too short to re-use.

Shimano bar-end shifter for the front DR, Rohloff selector on the right.

I finally got to take the Milan for a very short ride up the street to check everything out; it’s 96 F outside right now, so certainly not enticing me into a longer ride! Everything seems fine, except the front derailleur needed to be moved down on the derailleur arm; it was still set to work with the 60 tooth. Looking forward to a nice cooler and longer ride so I can fully check this out!

It may look too close, but there is the proper spacing between the idler wheel and the cog.
This is with chain on the 35 tooth chainring . Ideally I’ll be spending more time in the 54 tooth!
The new chainrings installed; they will never be this clean again!
These are the old chainrings; look closely at that larger chainring. Every 6th tooth is
cut down in height, I assume for picking up the chain better.
I’ll miss that outer chain keeper though; it’s part of the ring itself.

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