Rohloff 8201 Grip Shifter Replacement

My Surly Pugsley’s grip shifter (part of Rohloff 8200 shift assembly) has been difficult to turn since I installed it 3 years ago. I thought the problem was mostly in the gearbox, but after attaching an 8mm wrench to the gearbox I found that the required moment turn the Pugsley wasn’t that much more than what was required to spin my Big Dummy’s Rohloff gearbox, which shifts like butter. I’ve been tolerating the general performance since I installed the grip shifter on the Pugsley, but the last couple months performance declined and more energy was required to turn the shifter until it ultimately failed last week. Seems the blame lies in two areas, the shifter’s design and its cable housing, the latter may be rusting and getting a bit salty.

The grip shifter’s failure seems to be two issues; one was that its internal shifter stop tore through and the second issue is that the rubber o-ring fighter shifter revolutions and needed lubrication. I called Propel in NYC and Send It Bikes in NV hoping for an extra replacement 8201 grip, but neither has gotten back to me with available stock from Rohloff – Propel quoted $130 ditch the 8200 and switch over to Rohloff’s newer 8190 shifter and shift assembly. I’m stubborn and don’t want to let go of my existing 8200 just yet, so I paid $7 US for a new part design. The part is designed by an engineer, DEHUUK_DESIGN, who allows end users to print a replacement grip on a 3d printer. Sweet! As my good friend Joe has told me in the past: “Engineers will save the world.”

Below are a few notes on the new part’s design, I’ll update this post later as my experience with it continues:

1. DEHUUK_DESIGN’s design is Rohloff 8201 grip shifter, which is part of a Rohloff 8200 shifter assembly. I printed the design at the University of Minnesota (thanks, Liam!) using an i3 MK3S that was fed black PLA filament through a 0.4 mm nozzle. The quality looks great after its supports easily peel off and cable races cleaned up with electronics tweezers paired with a gentle prying motion. Water soluble supports may make this process easier, but it’s not terrible as-is.

2. The DEHUUK_DESIGN replacement grip, between the numbers and the first cable race, is missing a third race that would contain a rubber o-ring I mentioned above. The missing third race is unlikely a deal-breaker, but this is where the parts design begins to diverge from Rohloff’s design. It may be a good divergence, since the lack of an o-ring is one less item to fail; however, dust and dirt may encounter less resistance making it to the grip shifter’s other races. Below is a picture that shows the new grip (top) missing the third race and the old grip (bottom):

3. The above picture shows DEHUUK_DESIGN’s part a bit shorter than the old grip shifter, this is because someone at the U’s makerspace lab stopped the printer before the job finished, argh… I will try to reprint the grip shifter again later.

I dry installed the shortened part on my Pugsley and it seems to fit great, but I have yet to install the cables and turn it under force. Expect more updates here…

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