Author Topic: Suss fork on Nomad Mk2 for extending touring (South America) - experiences?  (Read 8607 times)

StuntPilot

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Re: Suss fork on Nomad Mk2 for extending touring (South America) - experiences?
« Reply #45 on: December 15, 2013, 12:42:53 PM »
The reason I hunted high and low for the Magura Odur suspension fork (now discontinued) was because I watched the videos from Tom Allen. He and a mate cycled across Mongolia and that was the fork Tom Allen used. I have mentioned his exploits on other threads. You will find other suspension fork discussions elsewhere on this and other forums.

http://tomsbiketrip.com/adventures/mongolia-2010/

Another reason was that if you have a reliable fork then there would be no need to carry spares, and only do any repairs/service after returning home.

I am with Pete. In fact I would probably only carry spare fork seals with the Odur. I think your Menja forks will last the distance without them anyway!

il padrone is on the mark re. load balancing. I would always use front and back panniers even with suspension forks. On my North Sea Cycle Route tour this summer, I tried the bike fully loaded, and rear loaded only. Without weight on the front, the ride was much more unstable, particularly on rough tracks. Note that Tom Allen did not use front panniers across Mongolia, and used a trailer instead. I am not in the trailer club (yet!).

On my way back up through England a couple came up to me in a small market town in Linconshire. The first thing he said was that he was happy to see bags on the front and back of the bike. It transpired he and his wife had spent three and a half years cycling round the world over all sorts of rough terrain. They said they could not have done it with only bags on the back referring too to stability issues when no front bags were used. They were not fans of trailers. I bowed to their superior wisdom and experience!

As for rack tubing and protection, read this topic for more information ...

http://www.thorncycles.co.uk/forums/index.php?topic=4290.0

cycling4chapatis

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Re: Suss fork on Nomad Mk2 for extending touring (South America) - experiences?
« Reply #46 on: December 16, 2013, 10:52:44 AM »
Hi all,

thanks for all the input - and stopping me from being a cycling cycle-spares shop!

So the consensus would be the seals set (pretty light) and a bit of the fork lube mentioned above? Extra tools are only one extra Torx bit and a 28mm socket, not too wild shared between two...

cycling4chapatis

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Hi there,

after nearly ten months of deliberation, we're nearly off to South America! Just a trip to Somerset to pick up our two Nomads, a last hit on the bank card and we're off - huzzah!

Considering all the very kind  and helpful input I've had here, I'll try to summarise we're all this has lead to  for the next person contemplating something similar.

Started this thread contemplating a suspension fork on our Nomads. Why? We tried escaping the one (I kid you not!) paved raod from Nairobi to South Africa for a couple of days, just to find our bikes, gear and ourselves being taken to pieces by the African backcountry roads (not single trail - there was motor vehicles on this, busses and all). Several thousands k's later on the said paved road with constant too close for comfort encounters of the motorised kind, we swore to get off-road capable bikes next time (nothing like turning  around and seeing a till then alive full-size adult goat - hit by the passing 100kmh car - narrowly flying past my partner). So there.

Questions that came out of this were:
- reliability, spares, tools, etc?
- luggage/rack/pannier management

Reliability:
Well, I can't tell you yet (will update once I reliably can), but I'm optimistic about the Magura Menja. Quality enough, not too complicated. Posted somewhere above about the German lady riding around the world A SECOND time with one, so should be ok. And then Tom's biketrip Magura Odur experience. And endless online photo/video evidence of people touring with sus forks and little to no reports of drama.

Pumps:
yes, with an air-sprung fork (yes, I know, coil sprung more fail-proof, but then I like the idea of being to adjust spring rate with different weights, more to that below) you need an extra sus-pump. Between the two of us we would have anyway taken two pumps for the tyres. We got ourselves the Topeak Shock'n Roll dual use pump and one extra sus-pump, so three pumps all up (one tyres only, one forks only, one both). Extra weight minimal.

Spares:
I had a helpful exchange with the UK Magura tech-support guy. These are the spares that I ordered from him:

32mm Seal Kit $25
Rebound Adjuster $20
Rebound Bolt $25
Set of O-rings $8
Stendec Easyglide Fork Grease 150g Tub $12

Magura Suspension Blood 2 (comes in enourmous bottles 500ml, will only take 60ml) $15 (ordered separetely - can't be shipped out of the UK)

Nothing too major in terms of both $$ and weight.

Brakes:
Ah yes, originally I was determined to find a V-brake sus fork, but that's just difficult to combine with a good quality fork. Gave up, instead going with Avid BB7 cable operated disc brakes. They come with 'organic' pads (less squeeky, but less durable), taking 4 sets (i.e. one for each wheel we have) of metallic sintered pads (more squeeky, more durable). Before you lambast me with more disapproval, I reckon they'll be as reliable as V-brake brakes. Bent rotors I hear you say? Bend them back (youtube instructions to the rescue)! Less wear on the rim must be a bonus.

Sus forks for tall people:
I'm, 6'3"/ 190cm, so without considering the sus fork I'd be between a 590L and the next size up (620L I believe). With the sus fork the issue comes that the 690L head tube is too long for standard sus fork steerers. UK Magura guy confirmed that there is an XL version with a 300mm steerer in existence, but the one of it is hidden away somewhere in the German bush. Besides this, Thorn recommended me going with an 590L to get enough stand over clearance, so that 'soft parts' and top tube can remain friends in an emergency hop off the saddle (keeping in mind that without rider weight the fork will lift the bike a few cms). Yet taller folk - good luck!

Tools:
These are the 'extra' tools required to be on the safe side (mentioned by the UK Magura guy):

- 6 and 8mm AK (besides the Thorn recommended 2,3,4 and 5mm)
- Torx bits T7, T8 and T25
- 28mm socket

No dramas either.

So after all these technical details sorted, the next challenge was where to put all of our luggage, keeping in mind both handling and excessive wear on the rear wheel/ tyre. I'll save you endless details, but here just a quick time-lapse of thoughts with final conclusion:

1. Front racks as per usual with Ortlieb Front rollers...
Ditched that idea when I realised the Tubus Swing is out of production (I presume because sus fork crowns are too diverging in design these days).

2. Just bottle cages on the forks // handle bar bag // Ortlieb back rollers // 31l Ortlieb rack bag, copying the Andy&Fiona Thorn pdf photos...
That was my plan for most of the run. Volume wise this should have been ok (we've toured a little bit, fairly frugal with stuff and 2 people = half-sized tent, stove, pot, tools, etc. etc.), but I kept being concerned about putting all that weight at the back. While the Nomad is definitely capable of that, it would lead to very imbalanced wear of the rear vs. front tyre, not to mention risking spokes breaking...but my plan was to simply keep weight down and live with it.
Then I researched the *** out of how to get bottle cages onto the sus fork (like in the Thorn pdfs...). Found several recommended here, not quite so cheap options (compared to just putting bladder on the back)...Tubus rack attachments, Monkii clips/ cages, BikeBuddy... Finally ended up emailing Thorn /Andy Blance to find out how they got their profile design cages mounted on the fork - drum roll: super-glue and agricultural strength zip ties, believe it or not. Being left confused between expensive options (relative to their practical use that is) and DIY I fled into the idea of ditching the bottle cage idea and just minimising luggage at the back and locating bladder/water weight as close to the saddle or low as possible. Something was still nagging though as Andy mentioned that a little weight on the fork was beneficial to handling up very steep (25% - his words) inclines.
Then some unsuspecting work day I got chatting to a co-worker who does those nutty no-sleep-500km-running,cycling,climbing,etc adventure races about all this and he recommed the ex-"Freeload" now Thule Pack'n Pedal rack system. I'd came past that yonks ago, but wasn't quite convinced at the time. Mentioned co-worker said that he had one for years, done several 1000k's offroad and loaded with it and once even dinked (carried) a team mate on one for several hours. Being an experienced single-trail tourer he said that having a few kgs of weight on the front fork helped it a)stay on the ground, b) stop the front from skidding out under in tight turns and c) make the bike in general handle better (assuming the same weight distributed now partially forward). I was indeed a bit concerned about the handling, especially for my partner. A loaded bike gets close to her body weight, so I was concerned the bike would have the tendency to rise up horsey-style if going up a step corner. So hearing from a guy who manages to run&cycle for several days without sleeping...well, I'll let you judge that, but I was fairly convinced. Researched the rack some more, seems to be used a bit, though mostly in the bikepacking (few day trip) world, but then it seems pretty robust. Co-worker said the ratchet-strap system is very secure and the fork body only suffers minor surface scuffing. Thule give a 5year warranty on it btw.

Ok, after that stream of consciousness, the too-long-didn't-read summary:
- getting  a pair of Thule Pack'n Pedal racks (I admit the name is a bit naff), sticking them on the front forks
- hanging our Ortlieb front rollers off them (with four rather than two hooks and with aquarium tubing to match the rack tubing/ hook diameters + cinch cords)
- I'll carry a 31l Ortlieb rack bag (tent+food), my partner a 20l dry bag(sleeping bag - Feather Friends Penguin),
- Ortlieb handlebar bag on the Thorn accessory bar
- standard Ortlieb rear rollers


My sincerest thank you to all you helping me nut this out!!! Especially Dan, what a legend you are! :-)

Cheerio,
c4c



Danneaux

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Hi c4c!

What a helpful summary you've offered; bound to be of great help to those following who wish to take an extended tour with sus-forks. We'e not had much firsthand information on this, so your efforts are much appreciated.

Hoping all works well for you -- it is an innovative approach, but with proven components, so all should be fine. If possible, please let us know from time to time how you're faring, or a check-in After so we can all offer encouragement and/or cheer you onward.

Congratulations on nearly concluding the long and careful prep and all best wishes for a wonderful journey and time on the road (and off-road!). May many happy adventures roll beneath your wheels.

All the best,

Dan.

cycling4chapatis_returns

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Re: Suss fork on Nomad Mk2 for extending touring (South America) - experiences?
« Reply #49 on: November 04, 2017, 05:03:16 PM »
Hi all,

been meaning to repsond to this for a while - here we go.

We did 9months from Guatemala to Bolivia with our two Nomads, 9000k's, 140 000 vertical metres of cycling uphill, lots of coffee, incredible part of the world.

Bikes performed marvelously, only things that didn't make it back in one piece was my lady's bike's rear rim (cracked, I'm guessing not from on the road bumps, but when it gets rolled fully loaded off a curb - dunkg it goes) and the little suspension locking levers on the handle-bar - they didn't survive the saltwater spray exposure on the stretch from Panama to Colombia (I used a lot of tape, tarp, oil to keep them protected, but there's only so much you can do on a sail boat. I think there's a more serious ferry running these days - or fly).

Good thing to figure out before is the various compression rings inside the steerer tube. I inserted them the wrong way during install at home (I didn't realise), then thought I'd lost them on the route and hunted for replacements in Costa Rica...to no avail, before realising my mistake. A lot easier to figure out at home, but then again, that was a pretty busy period as well.

Main point - minimise the stuff you take - hills become much more friendly. Minimise again.

So to respond to the items I listed before the trip:

Reliability of suspension fork:
Despite the dust, the bumps, the salt water - no problem at all. I was quite zealous wiping off dust and re-greasing once a week for the whole trip, but I think they would have survived the same without. Magura - great stuff. Main take-home: a little suspension fork grease goes a long way.
But that said, with the 2inch+ tyres, we could have done the same trip without suspension forks. If I would buy again, I would opt without suspension fork, but if you've got the cash, it can be nice, but certainly not necessary - on a loaded touring bike you'll never nail down a hill that fast anyway.

Pumps:
Main take-homes - you don't need that many pumps (one main and one samller backup are plenty between two), make your main one one that can be pinned against the floor with a foot, 2inch tyres with the mini handheld is an absurd workout. Lezyne makes good ones like that. And finally - check how much pressure your fork actually needs. My wife only needed 50psi, me somewhere 70-80psi depending on load - both easily attainable with a tyre-pump, no need for the higher pressure dedicated suspension pumps (we had too many pumps, sent them home). Check at home - then buy, check again before you leave.

Spares:

32mm Seal Kit  - didn't use it, but it's tiny.
Rebound Adjuster - didn't use it, but it's tiny.
Rebound Bolt - didn't use it, but it's tiny.
Set of O-rings - didn't use it, but it's tiny.
Stendec Easyglide Fork Grease 150g Tub - I think I used 10g in 9months tops. Only take a small amount.

Magura Suspension Blood 2 - took 60ml, but shoul have left it all at home. In an emergency there are plenty MTB shops in all main cities all along central and south america.

Take home - don't regret the spares, as getting them would have been impossible, but cut down on the bulk items.


Brakes:
Avid BB7 cable/operated - great stuff, no regrets. The Magura Menjas could have taken V-brakes if needed. Take a few pads, but in Costa Rica, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolvia you could get hold of spares without too much trouble. On dry stretches on tarmac they last a long time, but with rain & dust they get eaten mcuh faster, so difficult to guess milage. Practice alignment (it's not that hard) and replacement at home - the first time will otherwise be on some dusty decent with light running out in the border nomands land just before Peru - and you'll curse yourself.

Do not take hydraulic breaks. Maintenance is not that hard, but you will have to carry heavy liquid replacement stash. Motorbike brake liquid which you can get everywhere is typically 1 grade lower, i.e. it can't handle the brake temperature you get on a loaded touring bike. Friends on the road had to walk their (admittedly tandem bike) down several 2000m descents in Peru because their brakes blew out and they couldn't get oil that could handle it. Don't do it, cables work just fine.

Sus forks for tall people:
I'm, 6'3"/ 190cm, so without considering the sus fork I'd be between a 590L and the next size up (620L I believe). With the sus fork the issue comes that the 690L head tube is too long for standard sus fork steerers. UK Magura guy confirmed that there is an XL version with a 300mm steerer in existence, but the one of it is hidden away somewhere in the German bush. Besides this, Thorn recommended me going with an 590L to get enough stand over clearance, so that 'soft parts' and top tube can remain friends in an emergency hop off the saddle (keeping in mind that without rider weight the fork will lift the bike a few cms). Yet taller folk - good luck!

- this sizing worked great!


Thule Pack'n Pedal racks:
They worked a treat - rock-solid, didn't slip at all on the suspension fork.

We had the 'classic' 2 small front rollers and a handle bar bag on the Thorn t-extension each. Worked fine. But - not rattle proof. The basic problem is that the glass-fiber plastic the Ortlieb mounts are made of, definitely start eating racks, no matter what they are made of. I used small ratchet straps to pull back&front pannier tight plus some extra cords to stop the handle-bar bag from jumping. All a bit of a pain, especially if you had to take bags off&on in hotel staircases, etc.

The back arangement (2 Ortlieb rollers, a main rack bag on the top) is fine. All it needs is a good amount of padding tape placed on at home and one ratcheting strap for each item to keep it snug against the rack.

For the front I will change to a more bike-packing type set-up. Same front-racks, but not using Ortlieb rollers, but some normal outdoor water-proof top-roll&clip type back bags, preferably sausage shaped (I'd say 1ft/30cm tall, circumferance that you could just get 2 hands around each) and place them parallel to the fork arms on each side with straps. And then use the top-platform for something handlebar-bag-esque, i.e. removable for a quick shop, but not the handle-bar bags, they just rattle too much off-road.

Ah and water - 1 10l bladder is enough. The one time you need more, you can really just strap some bottles on. And water-purification - over-rated. Take one packet of non-iodine pills for an emergency, but leave Steripen or pumps at home - we managed 9 months off the beaten path just fine. Stomach bugs will come to you no matter what.

And electronics - that's a curse. We had 1 smartphone with off-line maps and one simple digital camara. And a small, foldable solar panel. For the most part, charging batteries on the grid willl get you b. The less junk you have, the less hassle. As soon as laptop, tablet, gopro and slr take over your life - you are screwed. You'll be wondering some mountain village searching for wifi, stressing about uploading your youtube video, the video editing backlog (1min edited requires 1h of work),  stressing that the GB's of mindless gopro footage of you cycling through somewhere boring have filled your TB harddrive...don't do it to yourself. The number of macbook drones we saw on our travels, slaves to their devices and online upload commitments that missed the beauty around them - too absurd to comprehend. Really.

Happy cycling,
C4C


mickeg

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Re: Suss fork on Nomad Mk2 for extending touring (South America) - experiences?
« Reply #50 on: November 04, 2017, 11:23:47 PM »
Thanks for posting. 

Regarding pannier hooks eating racks, I do not know what diameter tubing your rack is. I use the Tubus Logo rack on my Thorns for touring and I think that is 10mm tubing.  I put some clear PVC tubing over my rack tube and used electrical tape to secure it to the rack. 

I am in USA where most stuff is sold using inches instead of mm or cm for dimensions, the PVC tubing is 1/2 inch outside diameter, 3/8 inch inside diameter.

I did not use the little inserts on the Ortlieb hooks, the PVC tubing and a bit of electrical tape wrapped around it make the hooks fit just right.

On the front I use the Tubus Ergo rack, I used the same PVC tubing on that rack too.