ASK RIDE – Which crank for a Rohloff equipped cyclo cross?

My question relates to finding an appropriate crankset with a 40 tooth chain ring to use with a Rohloff Hub at the rear. So basically a single speed set up!

A mate in Germany rides his MTB with a Rohloff Hub set up because the gears are kept clean, good changing under load or torque and the single speed set up mean the chain lasts longer and overall its mechanically less to worry about.

My ‘project x’ is to set up a cyclo-cross frame (I believe the phenomena will take off in Australia) but rather than bend derailleur’s or clean gears everyday, the Rohloff set up is more durable and reliable.

I have been advised by my mate in Germany that I need a 40 tooth chain ring with the standard 16 tooth rear sprocket on the Rohloff Hub. So I have two questions: first, what is a suitable crankset that can fit a 40 tooth chain ring (something stiff and strong) and second, what is the lowest gear that will give me? Would it be as low as a 34 x 25 on a compact crank set for a road bike.

Cheers – Craig  (Tanunda SA)


Sounds like quite the project you’ve got for yourself. Firstly, you should consider the type of frame you will be using and the configuration of the dropouts. If they are horizontal then you will not need any tensioner but if the frame is a standard vertical set-up then you could play around with ‘magic gear’ (perfect chain tension without the need for any tension system). What you will probably want to do is keep the front derailleur on the bike to stop the chain from falling off.

Any road crankset or mountain bike crankset will be able to do the job. There are fewer options for a 40-tooth chainring so possibly consider a 42-tooth to make servicing easier. The Rohloff has a huge range of options which can be configured to your needs. Maria from Rohloff has provided the following information about your enquiry:

“All hubs come with a 16 T sprocket, but we have 17, 15 and 13T sprockets as well.

A 40T chainring and a 16T sprocket is = Chainrings 24/32/44 , cassette 12-34.

The Rohloff retrofit hub kit is designed to use the existing middle chainring position which can be anything between 36 to 44T.”

Good luck Alex Malone

Journalist, RIDE Cycling Review

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