Author Topic: Catskills Nomad  (Read 44205 times)

JimK

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Catskills Nomad
« on: November 25, 2010, 08:12:18 PM »
This is right about 42 1'39.40"N  74 8'50.43"W :



The little break to snap a photo helped me catch my breath, too. I have the 38x16 gearing but still these hills are too much for me. The Kryptonite New York u-Lock is most of the weight in my panniers.

Bit by bit I am tweaking the set-up & the bike is getting more and more comfortable. I need to get the nose of the saddle up still another few mm. Then to get the grips rotated optimally.

Sure I spun out the high gear going down the other side. Very scary fast though - no need to go any faster than that! As soon as the road started to level out & I felt like pushing ahead a bit, I could pedal. The high gear is fine & if I had more range I'd add it at the low end! But maybe the range will have to come from my leg muscles!

Jim

julk

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Re: Catskills Nomad
« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2010, 09:01:17 PM »
Looking good!

Cedric

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Re: Catskills Nomad
« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2010, 09:30:31 PM »
Thanks for sharing!

Nice countruside!  :)

JimK

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Re: Catskills Nomad
« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2010, 10:37:29 PM »
Here's an action shot!



One thing I have noticed is that I can ride the Nomad no-hands quite easily. None of my other bikes let me do that. It's odd, because I have had other bikes that I could ride no-hands for miles.

Here's a little bicycle background:

http://interdependentscience.blogspot.com/2010/10/few-decades-of-bicycles.html

Jim

JimK

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Re: Catskills Nomad
« Reply #4 on: November 26, 2010, 01:56:40 AM »
Here was my clever idea of the last hour or two. Or at least it seems clever to me. Maybe I destroyed my bike with all my cleverness?

This whole threadless headset business is new to me. How much should I tighten that top bolt?

Out on my bike today, stopped at a crossroad, I started playing around & then it occurred to me - here is a good test of play in the headset bearings:

Grab the handlebars and apply the front brake. Rock the bike forwards and backwards. That really stresses the bottom head bearing. If it's loose, it'll move around and knock.

So: tight that top headset nut, just until that knocking stops.

Actually I am too scared to overtighten so I have a tiny bit of play left. But that was practically a full turn beyond where I had it before my clever idea!

Certainly I can still turn the handlebars freely, so I didn't overdo too horribly severely.

Well, it's all a learning process! I get to experience the consequences of my actions!

JIm
 

julk

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Re: Catskills Nomad
« Reply #5 on: November 26, 2010, 10:40:35 AM »
Jim,
That is the way I adjust my headset, except I take out that tiny bit of play you have left in.
As it gets close I turn the bolt smaller and smaller amounts.
I also turn the wheel at right angles and rock back and forth, just in case the tiny bit of play is in the brake bosses rather than the headset bearings.
The ultimate test is lift the bike up by the top tube and check that the handlebars still turn freely with no binding of the bearings.
Julian.

john28july

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Re: Catskills Nomad
« Reply #6 on: November 26, 2010, 11:02:38 AM »
Jim,
That is the way I adjust my headset, except I take out that tiny bit of play you have left in.
As it gets close I turn the bolt smaller and smaller amounts.
I also turn the wheel at right angles and rock back and forth, just in case the tiny bit of play is in the brake bosses rather than the headset bearings.
The ultimate test is lift the bike up by the top tube and check that the handlebars still turn freely with no binding of the bearings.
Julian.

Hello
It is very difficult to tighten this type of headset too much! Just tighten until no movement-simply.
John

Cedric

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Re: Catskills Nomad
« Reply #7 on: November 26, 2010, 04:44:22 PM »
Here's an action shot!
Jim

Jim,

Looking at your position on the bike it seemed to me that it is a little small for you, isn't it?

In another post I read that one guy said SJSC too conservative on sizes.

Is it 540L? And how tall are you? if it is not a secret.

RGDS,

Cedric

JimK

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Re: Catskills Nomad
« Reply #8 on: November 26, 2010, 05:11:39 PM »
The bike is a size 565L. I am 1.8 m tall in bare feet, with an 85 cm standover in bike shoes. I also sent the Thorn folk some measurements from the Trek 520 I've been riding the last ten or fifteen years.

So far I would say the bike is very comfortable for me. It feels very close to what I asked for - probably they picked a stem of the right length, but anyway it feels good. After I got the handlebars to a good height, I have been tweaking the seat. Now that seems just right too. Except it is a new Brooks! I have a B17 on my old Trek - I guess I didn't realize that the break-in period is not just a myth! Anyway, I am resting nicely on my sit bones and not sliding forward or backward, so that is what I want.

I took my new bike to the grocery store this morning & came back with maybe 15 pounds of food. Lots of short but steep ups and downs along the way. Really nice to be able to shift like 5 or 8 steps on the Rohloff so quickly and easily!

Jim

Cedric

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Re: Catskills Nomad
« Reply #9 on: November 26, 2010, 10:43:18 PM »
Thanks for answering, Jim!  :)

Anyway, CONGRATULATIONS! I'm happy for you!

Is it worth to import such a bike into US? I mean to compare with any other local producers I know only Bruce Gordon and Co-Motion).

RGDS,

Cedric

jags

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Re: Catskills Nomad
« Reply #10 on: November 26, 2010, 11:14:20 PM »
like the action shot very cool ;)
well done on your new bike many years of happy cycling.

JimK

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Re: Catskills Nomad
« Reply #11 on: November 27, 2010, 12:30:18 AM »
Is it worth to import such a bike into US? I mean to compare with any other local producers I know only Bruce Gordon and Co-Motion).

Embarrassing to admit but I did remarkably little shopping before spending all that money. I was pretty far along toward importing a Koga World Traveler but the USA distributor seems to be splitting from Koga - maybe they have worked out a deal by now, but anyway the uncertainty got me looking around more. I did glance at the Co-Motion Pangea but that seems to be a good chunk more money.

It's a curious puzzle, how to make an optimum choice when my criteria are highly uncertain. I play through a variety of scenarios and I guess it's like fuzzy logic from there. Mostly my ideas are around utility cycling, i.e. using the bike to transport myself to various places I might want to go, or to transport smallish things like books and food. Maybe I want to go to a yoga seminar in Michigan which is  probably a two week ride or so.

This sort of bike is so far outside the usual market that is blown by gales of fashion. I guess I am a believer in dissensus:

http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.com/2010/11/no-time-for-lullabies.html

Maybe sometimes it might be smart to be crazy!

Jim

Andre Jute

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Re: Catskills Nomad
« Reply #12 on: November 27, 2010, 01:03:14 AM »
Jim,
Looking at your position on the bike it seemed to me that it is a little small for you, isn't it?

When I bought my Trek Smover (on my netsite, the one with the Cyber Nexus automatic groupset), I spoke to quite a few dealers in the Benelux, trying to find one who would ship it to me. There were two sizes 55 and 61cm, effective. Normally I take a 58cm bike. The consensus of opinion was to choose the smaller one, 'for the control'. I did, and after a bit of trouble getting the handlebars up above the seat, because I like to sit upright, it fitted me very comfortably. This is an extremely nippy bike, in and out of the traffic like quicksilver but you need to pay attention on the fast curvy downhills if the road is rough. When I got a Utopia Kranich, the idea was different. Their official  line is that you buy the size frame which give you the pedal-seat distance with the minimum seat tub extension, and then adjust the length and angle of the stem to bring the handlebars into the right position. It works brilliantly, but its definitely a different paradigm, resulting in a bigger 59cm bike under me. My local bike mechanic, a very old chappie, took one look at it and said, 'That's how a bike should be sized.' It's anyway a different sort of bike to the Trek, with a huge wheelbase, but it feels noticeably more stable, though the turn-in is slower and on the same fast curvy downhills at the more sporting Trek's speeds it takes up more of the road because it wants to understeer, so that you have to pay attention for a different reason, that you don't drift over into the next lane. Oddly enough, on the flat and straight and sweeping bends  of main roads the Utopia with its fat tyres is faster and much more fun than the Trek which under those 'ideal' circumstances draws attention to itself by demanding constant small corrections. I do have another bike which at a first glance is nearer the Trek, a Gazelle Toulouse in 58cm, but it's geometry is much more relaxed than the Trek's, and it has the same restful behaviour on the road as the Utopia despite having the same sort of tyres in the same size (Marathon Plus).

If you have a choice between two sizes in the Thorn range, Cedric, you should consider your roads and your riding style before you make the choice. Also which tyres you will use most of the time. If it were me, if I was going to use the bike for relaxed day rides, I'd definitely choose fat tyres, maybe even balloons, and the longer wheelbase. Even fast touring on narrower tyres would be more restful on the longer wheelbase. But if I were talking fast exercise rides on hilly lanes like mine, with either tyre I'd take the shorter wheelbase for the super-responsive handling. (That's different from the Kranich I now use for exercise rides, but the Kranich was intended as an all-round utility bike and just grew to be an all-round favourite for its comfort, whereas now we're talking about a fun bike for a presumably younger, faster man.) Others may have different opinions.

On the roads Jim K are showing -- gee, he wasn't joking about it being hilly! -- that bike under him looks like the sporting choice, though I'd personally move the bars up, and move the grips back by fitting North Road bars, to give a more upright posture for better visibility and steering control. Meeting a big car or a truck at speed on such narrow road can be fraught.

Like Julian says, that action shot is very cool indeed.

Andre Jute
Visit Jute on Bicycles at
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Andre Jute

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Re: Catskills Nomad
« Reply #13 on: November 27, 2010, 01:13:44 AM »
This whole threadless headset business is new to me. How much should I tighten that top bolt?

The idea is that you tighten the bolt until the steering starts to stiffen up, then back off an eighth of a turn. There should be no knocking, for sure, and no perceptible looseless at the crown race either. Press down hard on the bars with the front brake held, hold your finger at the bottom of the head tube overlapping the collar of the lower bearing, and you should feel no movement at all when you rock the bike. Whenever I get a new bike, I take it along to my bike mechanic for an opinion on whether I set up the headset right; an experienced man can tell instantly by feel. -- Andre Jute

JimK

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Re: Catskills Nomad
« Reply #14 on: November 27, 2010, 02:49:30 AM »
The idea is that you tighten the bolt until the steering starts to stiffen up, then back off an eighth of a turn. There should be no knocking, for sure, and no perceptible looseless at the crown race either. Press down hard on the bars with the front brake held, hold your finger at the bottom of the head tube overlapping the collar of the lower bearing, and you should feel no movement at all when you rock the bike.

I like the "finger at the bottom" idea. Julian had brought up the point that a little knocking could come from the brakes rather than the headset. The finger trick ought to be a good way to distinguish between these.

Ah, the plot thickens. At this point I have things tight enough that the steering is starting to stiffen. Holding the front of the bike up, the wheel doesn't really flop right over. There is some asymmetry - if I set the bars turned a bit right, it'll flop over the rest of the way - ha, and knock my crown-mounted headlight off center! But if I set the bars over to the left, they won't flop the rest of the way.

And yet - rocking the bike back and forth with the front brake engaged, if I put my finger down at that bottom race, I can feel some movement, some play in the bearings.

At this point I figure I have probably split the difference - there isn't much play in the bearings, and the steering has only stiffened up a little.

Plus, the thing does seem to evolve as I ride it - I can imagine some of the bearing races are getting more snugly seated in the head tube or wherever. I am riding around with my Allen wrenches and rechecking every five or ten miles!

A new bike - it is a project!

Thanks for all the tips!

Jim