So, if we are to know the negative points of a Rohloff, those issues that Rohloff lovers never mention, we are to purchase a year's worth of back issues of Bike Quarterly? The three negatives I see in this discussion are cost, weight, and peculiarities of the frame. The initial cost is certainly known up front, and I specifically mentioned two points where ongoing cost are an issue in my experience. Weight is a big issue for racing, but I don't race. I have a Trek 520 with a Tubus rack, a heavy-duty stand, SKS fenders, etc. Mine is certainly not a light weight bike. Many touring bikes value rugged construction over light weight. The hub works well on my bike without any frame modifications, so I can't imagine what the peculiarities of the frame are.
Pardon me for beating a dead horse; I'm off from work and it's raining outside, so I dug up BQ's mini-review. Heine's points are noted below, with a bit of my discussion.
Weight, about a pound and a half over derailer based weight (hub, cassette, and derailer). Previously mentioned. Like Old Guy, I don't notice the extra weight of a full water bottle.
"Gritty feel" Heine noted in 7th gear (and lower?), supposedly because of the extra gears. Old Guy, any comments on this one?
Need for a longer pause when shifting from 8th to 7th gear. This is also noted in the Thorn designer's review at http://www.sheldonbrown.com/harris/rohloff-impressions.html Even with STI and Ergo shifters, I try to avoid those double-shifts between chainrings, to which I think this is analogous.
OGNH, as you noted some people have had problems with the rear cable guide installation. I believe Thorn, among others, sometimes add a braze-on to the frame. This is the frame mod I mentioned. You've also got the problem of how to put a shifter onto drop bars.
As to your other previous point, $25 (now $30) for an oil change kit is a whole lot cheaper after 25,000 miles than the new $60 cassette I had to install the other week after only about 15,000 miles. I wouldn't consider that a disadvantage to the Rohloff in that context. Also, since you son't have the lateral displacement of a derailer, do you get a longer chain life with the Rohloff than the 1,500-2,500 most people get with derailers? Or even the 5,000 miles Pete gets? Those are getting expensive, especially as the chains get thinner; it looks like $15 chains have gone the way of the dinosaur (I almost said $2/gallon gas!).
I didn't see it previously mentioned in this discussion, but you don't have to worry about the fragility of a derailer system with a hub gear. A rider on a tour with me dealt with poor shifting for two days after his bike was knocked over, until his shop at home could take a derailer hanger off a show room bike and FedEx it to him. I'd guess a couple incidents like that would start to eat into the price difference of the gear hub.
After all that cheerleading, the next $1,500 I spend on a bike is still likely to go into a custom bike without the Rohloff hub. Sure looks nice, though.