Rohloff Internally Geared Hubs run in an oil bath. The only regular maintenance that needs to be done is to change the hub oil every 3,000 miles or once a year. If you ride in harsh and/or wet conditions you should stick to that schedule, or you can change it more frequently. Since our winters last almost 7 months, I make a point to change the oil in the Spring time regardless of the number of miles since the last change.
The first step is to remove the oil drain screw and add cleaning oil to the hub with a syringe.
Then you need to circulate the cleaning oil in the hub to loosen old oil. You can do this by turning the cranks with the bike in a bike stand for 5 minutes. Or you can simply take it for a ride. Given we were having one of the most glorious Spring days of the year so far, it was a no brainer. I took it for a ride.
After circulating the cleaning oil, you need to drain all of the old SPEEDHUB oil and cleaning oil you added. You achieve this by threading in the oil change tube and letting it drain overnight.
The oil is black in color. This means it was definitely time to change the hub oil. Grey colored oil is good. Black is not so good. The hub is so tightly sealed it is quite difficult to get the oil to drain since air needs to displace the draining oil. Air needs to get in through the oil change tube. I think it would be good to have two drain holes. One to drain the oil and the other one on the opposite side of the hub to let air in. Then you wouldn’t have to let it drain all night. It would come out all at once.
Tomorrow I’ll add new SPEEDHUB oil with the syringe and oil change tube, replace the oil drain screw and the job will be done. This is so much easier than doing maintenance on Shimano Nexus or Alfine hubs. I’ve done both. It requires totally dismantling the hub and pulling all the “guts” out of the hub shell. It’s not bad once you’ve done it a few times. But simply changing the hub oil on a Rohloff is incredibly easy in comparison. You don’t even need to remove the wheel from the bike. I don’t miss the Shimano IGH days.