that’s not my name


A little something for the young people to listen to this evening while the rest of us break out our slippers, cuddle up in front of the fire and settle down for a story from the archives of:

Ω What I’ve been reading Wednesdays Ω
(or whatever day it happens to be when I’m posting this)

Recently, I paid a visit to the rather excellent Northern Walker blog to read about recent developments with the only other Surly Troll I know of in Northern England. I’m assured there are loads of others but I’ve certainly never seen one… now I come to mention it, despite us living relatively close to each other and frequenting the same bike shop on an all too regular basis, I never even seen this one in the flesh err… steel.

But I digress.

Originally christened ‘Tango’, the Northern Walker’s Troll has recently been treated to a whole load of new shiny including the eye-wateringly expensive but (according to what I’ve read) the-very-best-money-can-buy 14 speed Rolhoff internal gear hub. Behold: ‘The Trolloff’.

Dutifully obeying the n + 1 equation, next up on the Northern Walker shopping list (after some suitably distracting shiny for the missus, no doubt) will be a Surly ECR with the considerably cheaper Shimano Alfine internal gear hub. You can read more about how to pronounce ‘Alfine’ and various musings on said hub here.

During such musings, I somehow decided it would be a good idea to buy a set of spare wheels from our freaklishly tall friend and we arranged a secret rendezvous somewhere in t’ North whilst I was on punishment duty selling delicious cakes to the masses from the incredibly excellent Karen’s Baking Room.

You of course know me as Jimmy Phoenix of lifeinthecyclelane fame but I’m sorry to say my real name is much less interesting… I am known in some circles as ‘The Drizzle Monkey’ (don’t ask) and at work I’m all too often referred to as ‘Slave Boy’ (no really, don’t ask)… but whatever my name actually is, what I did to our friend who so kindly came all the way down to deliver some obscenely cheap wheels to me is simply unforgivable.

Yep, I overcharged him for cake. Massively.

Later that same day, I knowingly sold non-gluten free, sugar laden cake to a celiac and a diabetic.

I also talked an impressionable young lady into buying a whole load more cake than she wanted or needed. And convinced her she was getting a killer deal. Which she wasn’t.

I am SO going to hell.

Anyhoo… all this talk of new shiny has gotten me all itchy and that vacuum in the workshop which I abhor so really needs to be filled. Soon.

Until yesterday, my PayPal balance was really quite healthy and then, in a moment of sheer indulgence last night, I blew the lot on (almost) all of the parts I’m going to need for my next bike build:

  • Shimano Alfine 8 speed internal gear hub built into a 700c wheel and small parts kit
  • Shimano Alfine dynamo disc hub built into a 700c wheel
  • 160mm rear and 203mm front Shimano centre lock brake discs
  • Shimano Alfine 39t chainset and 20t rear cog
  • Jtek bar end shifter

Lying around in the workshop I have:

  • Cane Creek SCR-5 & crosstop brake levers
  • On One Midge bars
  • Avid BB5 road disc brake calipers
  • Brooks saddle
  • Schwalbe spiked winter tyres
  • Various other bits and bobs

All of which will be bolted onto an army green 29er steel frame with rigid fork, more braze ons than you can shake a stick at, horizontal dropouts and dedicated BOB / Surly trailer mounts…

Oh yes I did.

I’ve got my name on what I’m reliably told is the last 18″ Army Green Surly Ogre in the UK.

There are only 2 problems:

  1. It’s currently built up as a demo bike in the bike shop, and
  2. Because of my recent splurging, I have plenty of boxes of bits on the way but insufficient ‘spare’ money to buy the sodding frameset!

I suppose I’ll just have to get out there and sell my body more cake.

In any event, before too long I shall be inviting you to behold ‘The Roadgre’.

See what I did there?


Is this thing on?

10 thoughts on “that’s not my name

  1. Rohloff… expensive but good, I’m still happy with mine and I would recommend one second hand to halve the cost. Neither of mine were new.

    I wouldn’t touch anything less than the Alfine 11 personally, since dismantling to grease the hub isn’t an option for the normal person and a lot of places won’t touch internal hubs. Alfine 11 is oil bath.

    Nothing beats the Rohloff or a new top end derailleur setup (until it starts to wear or go out of index) for that matter.

    Maybe you should be in a sales job.

    I’ve spent very little on cycling recently, buying only a couple of spares and some clothing. I have a nasty desire for a road bike, but I know my budget won’t stretch that far unless I parted with bluebell, which would be the worst decision I could make.

    If you worked in a bike shop part time then you’d get a discount, build bikes and fulfill that addiction you have without losing a penny.

    Have fun with the project and please post the build so we can enjoy the turmoil and tribulations.

      • Yuck, the Shimano gear changing mechanism, makes me cross just thinking about it.

        That’s another place where the Rohloff wins hands down. But I’m sure you already know that.

      • I’m hoping it won’t be too bad. I had to splurge on a posh Jtek bar end shifter all the way from the states though, I couldn’t face living with flat bars and a regular old trigger shifter. Or, even worse, a twist grip! *shudder*

  2. Hi,

    The cake is completely excellent and worth every penny 🙂 Will be in the market for more at some point… missing the chocolate-covered ginger stuff.

    Liking the sound of the Ogre build very much.

    On the subject of hubs, I had chats with two folk about them this week in stinky old London. One on a commuter and one riding a fully pimped bikepacking 29er The latter was running pretty low ratios through an 11 speed unit (32 20 if memory serves) and both were delighted with their hubs (one 12 months in, the other six I think).

    Still, there seems to be plenty of problems listed on the web. Could this have a been a dodgy first batch?

    My Rohloff is starting to free up with 300 miles on it. As I said when I saw you, I find the hub is ‘draggy’ when freewheeling. The Troll is slower as a result, and I pedal more. The hub tends to be a bit noisier under load (i.e. uphill and we have plenty around here) but is pretty much silent on the flat-ish in 8-14. As others have reported, more noise in 1-7, particularly 7.

    Having the weight of the hub out back does make a difference too I think. The bike feels more planted and stable, less nimble perhaps. It’s a better mutli-road tourer as a result, but it has given me pause for (more) thought before I pull the trigger on the ECR drivetrain.

    • Yeah, I’ve read plenty of horror stories too. Most seem to be a result of abuse though… no doubt trying to shift while it’s under heavy load and lack of proper servicing.

      Tim – how are your Rohloffs? Does the dragging disappear once it’s worn in?

      It’ll be interesting to see how well the Alfine shifts under moderate load, it does appear to be the hub of choice for off-road rigs. Personally, I don’t mind derailleurs off road… sure, they get clogged with crap and I’ve had a front mech freeze up on me in the winter but you can certainly reply on them shifting when you need it, no matter how hard you’re leaning on the pedals.

      If you’re desperate for cake, you can find us at the Urban Market in Manchester this Saturday (23rd November) just behind Harvey Nicks. On Sunday we’re over in Whitefield so probably a bit of a trek for you. Next time we’re over in your neck of the woods is Saturday 30th November at the Glossop Holly & Ivy Festival (3-7pm). Come on down and watch the switching on of the lights!

      • My Rohloffs are lovely, the main one I use is probably a teenager now, i think it needs new seals or something because it’s drags the chain a fair bit in freewheel. But I don’t freewheel often, so it’s fine. Yes, noisy gears at the low end is due to the planets rotating inside.
        A lot of drag people think they have is the noise playing tricks and the slight extra weight of the hoff.
        I hear a lot about a difference after 1000 miles, but I’ve not had a hub cross the boundary and I’m sure it’s just a 1000 miles before you get used to it. ChAnging gear at the right part of the stroke and not under too much tension helps too.

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