Author Topic: Andy Blance's Nomad Mk2 Load and Packing Recommendations  (Read 9178 times)

Danneaux

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Andy Blance's Nomad Mk2 Load and Packing Recommendations
« on: August 21, 2012, 04:45:18 AM »
Hi All!

Before shipping my Nomad Mk2 to me, Thorn cycles designer and "test pilot" Andy Blance very kindly loaded my bike with the maximum weight I would expect to carry on my solo, self-supported extended desert transits...and then test rode it, sending a full report on what he carried where, and how he fared. He also posted a video of the tests, filmed by Thorn staffer Cath Colenso from a van driven by Robin Thorn himself. Robin passed the link for the video from their Facebook page on to me, and authorized me to share it with you. Here, go see for yourselves how the new bike handles under load, on downhill bumpy lanes with Andy at the helm at high speed (45mph/72kph): http://www.facebook.com/Touringbikes

What an incredible effort to benefit us all!

Andy and I are nearly identical in height and weight, and I am average on both for my age (52yrs, 5'11"/180cm, 172lb/78kg), so these figures and results might be taken as a benchmark for comparison by others. For reference, my Nomad Mk2 is size 590M, equipped with my preferred 44cm drop handlebars.

In further correspondence with me, Andy also detailed the lesser loads he and Fiona carry on less extreme tours. I came up with graphics to represent each load scheme as attachments.

While his recommendations appear deep in another thread, I believe they are useful enough to also standalone as a sticky topic so we can all benefit from his load schemes and recommendations. Though these recommendations are specific to the Nomad Mk2, there is something in them for everyone. This topic might logically have appeared in the "Luggage" board, but a similar thread started by Stutho some years ago is already sticky under the "Thorn General" board, and this seems like a nice companion piece, so here it is:

--------------------------------

[Copied from deep within another thread...]

Hi All!

Andy kindly gave permission to post his email to me verbatim, detailing his testing strategy for the Nomad Mk2 and detailing how much he carried on his test runs as well as how it was arranged. I found his packing scheme to be very useful. I have converted it to graphic form to keep in my handlebar bag for reference so I can duplicate his success on those occasions when I must carry a maximum load. I'll post that graphic later, but for now, I think Andy's description says it best in the man's own words...

Quote
Hi Dan,

How are you?

I have just come back from testing your Nomad Mk2 590M.

Robin drove the van behind me, whilst Cath took some video footage.

I let the bike roll down a moderately tricky and fairly bumpy descent, at various speeds.

I had 63.25Kg of load in total, including the actual bags themselves, this comprised of:-

3Kg in the bar bag.

10Kg in each front pannier.

2.5Kg in the 3 bottle cages.

7.75Kg mounted transversely in 2 dry bags, on the top of the rear carrier.

And 15Kg in each rear pannier.

This is more than I’d like to cycle with! And certainly more load than I’d wish to control with 44cm drop bars!

However, the bike behaved itself and I reached 42 miles per hour. As you will be able to see, when Robin sends you the link to the video, I was able to ride the bike “no hands” with my arms out like wings. I was able to tap the bars to promote a wobble and the bike corrected itself almost instantly. If I ever needed to carry a huge quantity of water, I’d feel confident that I could control the machine with an even greater load…it certainly wouldn’t be my idea of a fun day out though!

We also took footage of my second run, this time with the amount of luggage that I say the Nomad is nice to pedal with…”just” 10Kg at the front and we removed 10Kg from the rear panniers…so 43.25Kg in total.

You can see me cornering quite hard and deliberately hitting bumps without my hands on the bars. I also hit the bars fairly hard several times, whilst riding no hands in excess of 44mph and I also shook the bike…try as I may, there was no way that I could make the bike wobble. It handled superbly and it would have been great fun to carve some lines out of a technical hairpin descent.

I must admit to having been slightly nervous but now I have a warm glow of pride…I’m sure you’ll be very pleased with the way this machine behaves…we should be able to send it off tomorrow and I will make certain that it is very well packaged!

Best regards,

Andy  B.

Andy Blance
Designer
Thorn Cycles Ltd

Andy the Designer has occasionally been referred to as "Andy the Test Pilot" and that surely held true in his load-testing my Nomad; what a nice job he did for all of us! The load figures and placement should come in really handy whenever large loads are to be carried, as these are proven-in-practice.

Best,

Dan.
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[Followed by...]

Hi All!

Thorn Cycles' designer, Andy Blance, has expanded on his earlier views with some load schemes and suggested weights for touring – this time for typical European and Alpine touring with less than the Nomad's maximum capacity. He has kindly given his consent to share his comments for the benefit of the Forum.

Since loads – and how they are packed – directly affect a bike's stability, I think it is helpful to include his recommendations in this same thread. Unlike my more specialized requirements, the greater number of cyclists will likely tour with lesser loads, just as I do when in more populated areas. When I toured Europe for 5 weeks, I carried 25kg...there was simply no need to carry such enormous back-stocks of food and water I require in the wilderness.

Quote
Hi Dan,

Thanks for your email. Fiona and I are more than happy for you to publish our recommendations for loading bikes for touring in Europe, where supplies and services can usually be found every day.

Like you, we really enjoy many different types of cycle touring. We especially like to be at altitude in wilderness and we certainly agree that it is the quantities of food and water which are necessary that produces such extreme loads! The bonus is that these loads reduce…often on an hourly basis!

...I know when Fi and I go cycle camping in Europe, we very occasionally carry as much as 32.5Kg.

We carry either a bar bag or a saddle bag depending upon the type of tour we are planning.

Bar bag set up…ideal for really long tours.  Includes plenty of appropriate clothes for cultural activities.

We aim to carry as little as possible in our bar bags…phone, camera, binoculars, passport, glasses, wallet and bean bag for use as a camera support…this also line the bottom of the bag. Total 1.75Kg

We carry 2 x litre coke or sprite bottles of water in the seat tube and under down tube cages and 1 x 0.75l bottle of drink in the down tube cage Total 2.75Kg.

We carry alternative shoes some provisions and clothes we won’t use during the ride in the front bags. Total 6Kg

We use a large, transversely mounted dry bag with our share of the tent, air mattress and sleeping bags. Total 5Kg

Our rear panniers carry our share of heavier tools and spares,  food, cooker, yet more clothes and hopefully, some wine! Total 17Kg

Grand total 32.5Kg

- - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Saddle bag set up…ideal for serious cycle tours in the Alps. Includes one set of lightweight smart casual clothes, to prevent us from feeling self-conscious, should we decide to stay at a hotel and go out for a meal.

We carry 2 x litre coke or sprite bottles of water in the seat tube and under down tube cages and 1 x 0.75l bottle of drink in the down tube cage Total 2.75Kg.

We carry alternative shoes some provisions and clothes we won’t use during the ride in the front bags. Total 4.25Kg

We use a large saddle bag with a warm layer, waterproofs, snacks, simple tools inc. tubes and a document bag with passport and extra cash .We have all the things we are likely to need for the day’s cycling in our saddlebags. We also carry phone, camera, binoculars, glasses and wallet in the pockets of the saddlebag. If we wish, we can leave all the other kit at a hotel or in the tent and go for a day ride, without having to extensively re-pack. Total 5Kg

Our rear panniers carry our share of heavier tools and spares, food, cooker, tent, sleeping mats, sleeping bags, yet more clothes inc. down jacket, which doubles as a pillow and hopefully, some wine! Total 14Kg

Grand total 26Kg. This is the set up you can see Fiona and me using in the Nomad brochure on pages 3 and 15. There is no need to carry too much food but we always carry a whole day’s rations in addition to what we plan to eat that day. When the bikes are set up like this, I believe that they will out handle any racing bike or mountain bike!

Best regards,

Andy B.

Something that really caught my eye as useful and appealing is Andy and Fiona's inclusion of clothing and footwear appropriate to off-bike use and for attending cultural events. If the bike is used for a "balanced holiday" of touring, one doesn't always wish to look like a cyclist off the bike! Touring is *supposed* to be fun; not all wish to Adventure Tour in the most extreme of climates and locales, and even for those who do, the variety of an occasional break in routine is welcome. And nearly everyone will agree...carrying less weight is a whole lot more fun. Besides, a bike designed to handle maximum loads provides an extra margin of security at something less than maximum carriage.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - -

[Followed by...]

Hi All!

Attached below are the loads and placements Andy Blance used in testing my Nomad. I used his metric (Kg) figures directly, and then rounded the poundage conversions to the nearest whole pound in each case. Because of that, the pounds won't exactly equal the kilograms if you add up the totals. Go with Andy's figures in Kg as most accurate to avoid rounding errors.

Since I find it helps to visualize things graphically, I made these little diagrams to carry in my handlebar bag so I can match Andy's loading scheme when I must carry greater weights (i.e. during my actual desert crossings, when I must carry extra weight in water and food to sustain me).

Please note the difference in weights and placement for the two schemes ("Maximum" and "Nice to pedal"). Those diagrams are followed by two more, showing how Andy and Fiona distribute the two kinds of loads described above -- a bar-bag setup for European touring and a saddlebag setup for touring the Alps.

Best,

Dan.
« Last Edit: August 21, 2012, 06:06:58 AM by Danneaux »

NZPeterG

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Re: Andy Blance's Nomad Mk2 Load and Packing Recommendations
« Reply #1 on: August 21, 2012, 09:48:43 AM »
Hi Dan
Do you have an E.T.A on your new Nomad?

Pete...
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richie thornger

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Re: Andy Blance's Nomad Mk2 Load and Packing Recommendations
« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2012, 01:15:31 PM »
I emailed Andy after seeing this post.
He confirmed that this data transfers over to us Nomad MK 1.5 owners as well :)
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Matt2matt2002

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Re: Andy Blance's Nomad Mk2 Load and Packing Recommendations
« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2012, 01:31:15 PM »
Great stuff. I will spend ages looking at all the info. many thanx
Hoever the files do not open on my computer. Any chance you can re format them or something?
Cheers
Matt
Never drink and drive. You may hit a bump  and spill your drink

Matt2matt2002

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Re: Andy Blance's Nomad Mk2 Load and Packing Recommendations
« Reply #4 on: August 21, 2012, 01:56:17 PM »
Great stuff. I will spend ages looking at all the info. many thanx
Hoever the files do not open on my computer. Any chance you can re format them or something?
Cheers
Matt

So sorry - files do open of course. I was pressing the wrong button.
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Matt2matt2002

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Re: Andy Blance's Nomad Mk2 Load and Packing Recommendations
« Reply #5 on: June 11, 2013, 03:43:36 PM »
I have a Raven Tour.
Anyone done charts similar to the ones here for the Nomad?
If not, what percentage weight should I knock off?
Matt
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Andybg

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Re: Andy Blance's Nomad Mk2 Load and Packing Recommendations
« Reply #6 on: June 11, 2013, 04:52:13 PM »
Hi Matt

The Tour you have was rated at 40kg to the Nomad's 50kg (this is based on brochure max load carrying)

if you are looking at maxing out on loads I would start with these figures minus 20% but that would only be a rough starting place as all bikes (and all sizes) are likely to handle differently and be most comfortable with a different distribution of weight.

Max load is a very ify subject to quantify as it all depends on how you ride, where you ride, how smoothly you ride and what characteristics you are happy to put up with. I have riden your Tour with 40 plus kg on it and apart from being a bit touchy at the front the bike handled well.

How much weight are you planning on needing for your big tour?

Andy



Danneaux

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Re: Andy Blance's Nomad Mk2 Load and Packing Recommendations
« Reply #7 on: June 11, 2013, 05:09:58 PM »
Hi Matt!

Perhaps the closest we have is the "sticky" topic originated by Stutho here: http://www.thorncycles.co.uk/forums/index.php?topic=1208.0 but it is not as detailed as Andy Blance's direct recommendations based on his own experience with specific weights in specific places.

The current brochure for the new Thorn Raven comes the closest. Remember, the new Raven is an "all-rounder" revision to the line that falls between the old lightweight Raven Sport Tour and the old more load-oriented Raven Tour it replaces. Same frame as the Sherpa Mk3 (except for the drivetrain-related bits), its tubing sizes are keyed to frame sizes for an overall more comfortable ride. The result is a bike that can carry more weight than the old RST (but is a bit less sprightly) and a bit less weight than the old RT (but feels a bit more sprightly). Essentially, two models have been collapsed into one that is more versatile than either was before, but performs a bit less well at the margins of speed vs. carrying capacity. One doesn't give up much at either end and gains versatility in the middle range of use.

The weight chart/load chart appears in the Summer 2013 (new) Raven brochure here: http://www.sjscycles.com/thornpdf/ThornRavenTourBroHiRes.pdf , page 11. You'd certainly be alright following it with your older Raven Tour, I'd think (it would be "too much" to maintain good handling for an RST). It is not as specific as the Nomad load recommendations and packing scheme Andy kindly provided me, but it does divide the weight wrt HB bag, weight on the rear only vs in F/R panniers, and takes frame-mounted water bottles into account.

There is brief mention of weight placement and limits on the old Raven Tour/Raven Sport Tour in the older combined brochures; Summer 2011 is an example: http://web.archive.org/web/20111005124744/http://www.sjscycles.com/thornpdf/ThornRavenTourBroHiRes.pdf , pg. 8, where the difference in carrying capacity of the RST/RT is described. On that page, Andy writes...
Quote
You could load 12kg on the front of the RT and put 28kg on the back and the bike will cope.

You could carry 22kg on the back (with no load on the front) and the bike will also be fine...obviously it won't handle as well as if some weight is also carried at the front but it will feel safe and secure.

The RT is at its absolute best with 5 to 6kg on the front and 15-18kg on back.

The key thing to keep in mind, (old) Raven Tour/(new) Raven vs Nomad Mk2 is the Nomad has a more robust, larger-diameter rear triangle (seat- and chainstays) that is longer and a longer wheelbase to keep more of the load within the wheelbase of the bike. To extrapolate to the old Raven Tour, you'd need to adjust loads downward accordingly, but I think the general placement schemes would still apply, keeping in mind the lesser carrying capacity to preserve good handling. The Nomad Mk2 remains the Heavy Lifter of the Thorn product line.

I hope this helps, Matt. One thing I will add that many (including myself) sometimes forget: Remember, "weight" includes the weight of contents and the bags that carry them. For some of Thorn's lighter models, the weight of the bags can be a significant part of the payload. For example, the Mercury is listed in the current brochure ( http://www.sjscycles.com/thornpdf/ThornMercuryHiRes.pdf ), pg. 16, as carrying as much as 11kg on the fork (so long as one chooses fork option #6); a pair of Ortlieb SPort Packer panniers are listed as weighing 1.68kg/pr empty.

Best,

Dan.

Danneaux

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Re: Andy Blance's Nomad Mk2 Load and Packing Recommendations
« Reply #8 on: June 11, 2013, 05:34:21 PM »
Quote
...all bikes (and all sizes) are likely to handle differently and be most comfortable with a different distribution of weight.
That's a terrifically good point, Andy, and one that has long fascinated me.

Even with identical tube sizes, frames will differ in size and geometry and wheelbase, and there's also the matter of rider weight as well, and how it is carried (rider position and preferred back angle). If tube sizes are held constant, the shorter/smaller frame will always be stiffer, as well. I think riding style and even pedal cadence might well make a difference to overall handling of a loaded bicycle. Don't forget tire width, profile, and pressures will play a role also.

Because of this, I don't think any single recommendation will work in all circumstances, but weight ratings are a good starting point and are very useful guidelines for reference.

All the best,

Dan.