Bernhard Felix Rohloff Bernhard Felix Rohloff, co-founder of his eponymous company and inventor of the Rohloff Speedhub, died on May 19 after a battle with Parkinson’s disease, the company announced in a statement last week. The German bike technologist was 73-years-old.
Born in the town of Lengenfeld and raised in Kessel, Rohloff worked in machine engineering, with stints at German locomotive manufacturer Henschel und Thyssen and Mercedes-Benz, where he helped develop automotive driveshafts.
Rohloff started his company, Rohloff GmbH, in 1986 after he and his wife Barbara developed the high-end SLT 99 bicycle chain . By 1990, the SLT 99 was generating annual revenues equivalent to €1 million. Video player poster image A derailleur-destroying trip to the beach that spurred innovation
In 1994, while attending the Tour de France, Bernhard and Barbara took their bikes on the beach and, after the sand rendered their derailleurs useless, Bernhard began to develop an internally geared hub . Related Story 5 Ways You’re Wrecking Your Drivetrain
After a few years of experimentation, development, and design, Rohloff announced the Speedhub 500/14 at a 1996 trade show in Germany. In 1998, the company took the Speedhub 500/14 to market.
Featuring fourteen equally spaced, sequential, non-overlapping gear ratios, all operated by a single twistgrip shifting mechanism, the Speedhub 500/14 was a revolution in bicycle componentry. Related Story 6 Gearing Mistakes You’re Probably Making
Given its weight—at the time, it was around 100 grams heavier than a comparable cassette and rear derailleur—and the fact that it cost […]