Author Topic: NEW BIKE for all purpose + off-road and road touring travel.  (Read 12013 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

NEW BIKE for all purpose + off-road and road touring travel.
« on: December 19, 2009, 12:57:05 pm »
Hello,

I am in the market for a new bicycle and am finding myself nearing a conclusion: 29er moots ybb with some customization. Given that I would be spending a pretty penny I am hoping to get some suggestions and feedback regarding my thoughts.

Here are my general biking habits: daily commuting (I might just use my crap bike for this), mountain biking 2x/week (primarily XC), small offroad overnights (e.g., being out from Friday night/Saturday morning  – Sunday evening 1x/month), less common extended tours (1 week – 2 months; 1-3x/year), mixed offroad/road travel biking (e.g, Great divide, Bulgaria, la ruta, Australia, etc.). Lastly, I hope to bring my dog (~35 lbs) with me on some of these trips, especially the small offroad overnights. I plan to do this with a modified bob Ibex trailor and a leash/springer like setup. I have done a few overnights with a previous dog and really enjoyed them but have never donw extended tours with a dog which I would hope to do. For some inspiration see: http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?o=RrzKj&doc_id=3618&v=G5&term=squirrel&context=all

I am 6’3” 180 lbs.

So here is what I was thinking: Moots 29er ybb with: 1) slider drop-offs, 2) a rohloff hub, and 3 ) s and s couplers. See http://www.moots.com/?#/product/bicycles/29er_mtb/mooto-x_ybb/

I would like to go with the s and s couplers for travel purposes (at least once a year this bike would go to Bulgaria with me, and I would also like to take it whenever I travel in the states and would like to do some pure mountain bike destination travel (e.g., la ruta).

I am interested in the rohloff for several reasons: 1) reduced maintenance, 2) easier for muddy, etc. conditions.

Concerns regarding the rohloff hub: 1) increased weight, 2) bike weight balance, 3) slight internal friction. My thoughts are that for my purposes none of these concerns outweigh the benefits.  I am not obsessed with racing and times (I really enjoy endurance rides and biking/camping), though I do really enjoy going fast. Will I be feeling the weight for my riding purposes? Overall, it seems that most people have really liked the Rohloff, except for a few weight concerned folk – anyone out there using the rohloff for touring? I also like that shifting could be accomplished when not peddling. The reduced maintenance and functional simplicity (certainly not mechanically!) is really appealing to me. From reading reviews this thing seems to be very reliable with the suggested maintenance. See some discussion of issues here: http://www.moots.com/index.php/forum/viewthread/646/

Concerns regarding S and S couplers: I have never ridden a bike with s and s couplers and I guess I have concerns about bike stability despite reading many reviews talking about how great they are – should I be worried about bike stability? Should I have other concerns about these?

Concerns regarding the slider drop outs: in a couple of places I have read about these breaking – should I be concerned? E.g., http://www.moots.com/index.php/forum/viewthread/1087/
See also someone with this build: http://bikingbakke.blogspot.com/2007/01/moots-mootox-review.html

Are there any other frames/options you would recommend I consider – given my travel plans and my appreciation of reduced maintenance I am leaning away from full suspension though bikes like the Turner Sultan, Niner RIP9 and Fisher HiFi/Superfly seem awesome!

Given my interests it really seems to me that the Moots YBB setup would uniquely match my riding. Does anyone see anything that I am not considering or have any input on this?

Cross posted to mtbr and moots forums.

Thank you.

Ryan


Offline whittierider

Re: NEW BIKE for all purpose + off-road and road touring travel.
« Reply #1 on: December 19, 2009, 02:34:51 pm »
There is no one bike that does everything well.  A bike that can take the rough trails will be very inefficient on the road, and even skinny-tired road bikes can handle dirt roads just fine if the dirt is hard-packed.  If you really must try to do it all though, your selection would probably be a decent compromise.

I'm not sure how much benefit you'll have to the Rohloff hub.  You still have a chain, and that requires a little maintenance, and you still have shifters that have to be kept in adjustment.  My road bikes' rear derailleurs themselves require absolutely zero maintenance.  The Rohloff hub is a beautiful piece of mechanical design, but if you're not riding in snow or in a lot of mud, I see no benefit.

You cannot feel S&S couplers.  They are not only completely stable, but they actually make a frame slightly stiffer.  Any anticipated slop is eliminated by design.  The only downside to them is the added cost and, if it's even an issue, the slight added weight.
« Last Edit: December 19, 2009, 02:36:40 pm by whittierider »

Offline aggie

Re: NEW BIKE for all purpose + off-road and road touring travel.
« Reply #2 on: December 19, 2009, 03:29:21 pm »
I own a Mootour will S&S couples and love it.  I don't even know the couples are there until I need to break the bike down.  The only downside (besides a little extra weight) is they are not sealed.  Before I put on fenders I rode through a rain storm.  About 4 oz of water accumulated in the down tube due to the wheel spray working its way into the tube.  At least ti won't rust.  It also will only take a 32 mm tire at the max.  Since I don't ride off road with it that is ok.  I also pull a BOB trailer with no problems.  I put panniers on to ride to the local stores near home. 

I'm using a carbon cross fork with cantilevered brakes and it does occasionally develop "chatter".  It can be very disconcerting when braking to a stop.  You may want to take a look at disk brakes that are cabled (Not hydraulic). 

I also had a problem with the wheels the bike shop built for me.  They are 32 hole and I must have broken 10 spokes in a year.  I've had it rebuilt twice and I hope the last time solved the issue.  My next set will be at least 36 hole.

The nice thing about Moots (and other custom bikes) is that you can get exactly what you want and the fit is such that it will help eliminate fitting issues that lead to aches and pains.

Re: NEW BIKE for all purpose + off-road and road touring travel.
« Reply #3 on: December 19, 2009, 05:25:52 pm »
Thank you for the responses.

whittierrider: I certainly agree with you that no one bike does it all well.   

I guess here is my thought process with this bike. My main interest is offroad XC whole weekend trips. I am figuring that a bike that could handle this would also be an excellent bike for travel touring (offroad and paved) and a decent bike for mountain bike destination travel and general overall function (e.g., commuting, mountain biking when visiting my parents and family). I like the titanium frame material (though I am certainly open to other frame constructions), and the softtail enhancing comfort some and not being overly complicated.

I could see myself in the future possibly getting a full suspension bike for more intense mountain biking and a road bike, and then this bike becoming my dedicated commute/travel/touring rig. Though if I go with this moots option additional bikes would both certainly be a long way off due to cost! I am also not sure I would find it necessary.
With this additional information do you still think that frame, etc. sounds like a decent idea or is there anything else you think I may wish to consider? I would definitely want front suspension and 29” wheels.

I very much appreciate your information regarding the Rohloff and it has me rethinking this option even further (this option is the one I am questioning the most due to cost/usefulness). I guess maintenance-wise I was thinking that it would reduce my time and the frequency of cleaning out the cassette and chainring (I know a small reduction but one of my least favorite activities). It does seem it would be very nice for muddy and snow rides, which I do but may not do frequently enough to justify.

Aggie: the mootour seems like a great bike! If I wasn’t as in to offroad stuff I would definitely be considering that thing! Thank you for the heads up about the water in the downtube – that is news to me and a tad bit disappointing as I do like to ride in all weather.

How long have you had your mootour and is there anything you dislike about it? Where all have you taken it?

Thanks for the mechanical disc brake suggestion as well – that is the direction I was leaning – thinking avid bb7s. Any others you think might be good options?

I have never had a custom or boutique bike, or even a new bike for that matter, and the customized fit is very appealing! Picking out a new bike and getting exactly what I want is quite exciting!

Anyone else have any thoughts on the Rohloff vs tradition derailleur setup?

Offline whittierider

Re: NEW BIKE for all purpose + off-road and road touring travel.
« Reply #4 on: December 19, 2009, 10:14:47 pm »
Quote
I'm using a carbon cross fork with cantilevered brakes and it does occasionally develop "chatter".  It can be very disconcerting when braking to a stop.  You may want to take a look at disk brakes that are cabled (Not hydraulic).
Aggie, will V or mini-V brakes fit it?  Our tandem has mini-V brakes, and they are perfectly smooth and powerful enough that I can even lock up the front with a single finger on the lever, wet or dry.  One could hardly ask for more.

Quote
The only downside (besides a little extra weight) is they are not sealed.  Before I put on fenders I rode through a rain storm.  About 4 oz of water accumulated in the down tube due to the wheel spray working its way into the tube.
I suspect the leakage of S&S couplers could be remedied by putting something like heavy automotive wheel-bearing grease or maybe beeswax in the joints when you assemble them.  The collars will cover the goop so you don't get it on you if you brush against the outside after assembly.

Quote
I am figuring that a bike that could handle this would also be an excellent bike for travel touring (offroad and paved)
Riding an MTB on the road is kind of like driving a farm tractor on the road.  If the farm tractor is what you need, then a limited amount of riding it on the road is sometimes appropriate.

Quote
I guess maintenance-wise I was thinking that it would reduce my time and the frequency of cleaning out the cassette and chainring (I know a small reduction but one of my least favorite activities).
wheels_replace_horses, for chain lube I use a home concoction of paraffin & graphite which makes the chain last 20,000 miles and never needs cleaning.  Ever.  You can handle it without getting your hands dirty, and sand and other road dirt won't stick to it and work their way into the joints to do the grinding work that makes conventionally lubed chains last only a few thousand miles..  A commercial product you could try that might work similarly would be White Lightning Shedding Formula.  I haven't used it myself.  The chain won't last as long without the graphite, but the drivetrain should stay clean.  With my lube method, the only cleaning I do on the cassette is to pull a rag between the cogs once in awhile to dust between there; but there is absolutely no buildup of grime.

Quote
thinking avid bb7s
I was on the T@H tandem forum for years; and although most disc brakes are definitely not up to tandem duty, the Avid BB ones got the best comments from users.

Quote
I have never had a custom or boutique bike, or even a new bike for that matter, and the customized fit is very appealing!  Picking out a new bike and getting exactly what I want is quite exciting!
You would have to have quite an unusual body to not be able to get a good fit from stock frames.  That's not to say you shouldn't change out various parts-- I do-- but even at 6'3" I doubt that the frame itself needs to be custom.  A frame builder on another forum I'm on says that for 90% of the customers he built frames for, the only thing that a stock bike couldn't fit was their ego.  Otherwise of course you can get different lengths and rise of stem, lengths of crankarms, width, reach, and drop of bars, type of seat, and even reversible seat posts, plus of course customize things that don't have to do with fit, like shifters, gearing, etc..  If the frame itself is custom, you don't get to test-ride it before putting the money down, and if you ever need to use the warranty, it will take a long time.  I would encourage you to go with a major manufacturer with a nationwide dealer network and a good customer-service reputation.

Offline aggie

Re: NEW BIKE for all purpose + off-road and road touring travel.
« Reply #5 on: December 20, 2009, 11:40:11 am »
Haven't quite figured out the quote thing so I answer each in turn.

I've had the Mootour for a year and a half and used it to pull a trailer across the Southern Tier.  I've also ridden it on the Nevada portion of the Western Express.  The use of fenders has all but eliminated water entering around the S&S down tube coupling.  They also keep quite a bit of road grime off me and the bike.  I do wish it was able to handle a tire larger than 32 mm.

I agree with whittierider on custom bikes.  Most will be able to get a good fit on stock frames.  For me though, I couldn't eliminate some lower back pain and sciatica issues.  With the custom I was able to get a shorter top tube and when combined with a more upright stem it just about eliminated the problem.  I did use a bike shop that "guaranteed" the fit.  If it didn't fit they would take it back or order another.  It does take 2 to 3 months to get the bike after you order it.

I'm looking at some different brakes but there was an article on Velonews that discussed the problem.  It seems the fork flexes just enough to cause the cable to tighten which then causes the brake to put more force on the wheel.   This adds more flex until the brake is so tight that it slips and then grabs repeatedly which causes the "chatter".  I haven't heard it being a problem with metal forks so maybe that is one solution. 

Offline whittierider

Re: NEW BIKE for all purpose + off-road and road touring travel.
« Reply #6 on: December 20, 2009, 04:11:36 pm »
Quote
Haven't quite figured out the quote thing so I answer each in turn.
Code: [Select]
Start each quote with [quote] and end it with [/quote].  Note that only the ending one has the slash.
(I used the "code" directives here so [quote] and [/quote] would remain visible instead of doing their usual jobs.)

Re: NEW BIKE for all purpose + off-road and road touring travel.
« Reply #7 on: December 22, 2009, 03:20:37 pm »
Quote
I suspect the leakage of S&S couplers could be remedied by putting something like heavy automotive wheel-bearing grease or maybe beeswax in the joints when you assemble them.  The collars will cover the goop so you don't get it on you if you brush against the outside after assembly.

Seems like a reasonable plan.

Quote
wheels_replace_horses, for chain lube I use a home concoction of paraffin & graphite which makes the chain last 20,000 miles and never needs cleaning.  Ever.  You can handle it without getting your hands dirty, and sand and other road dirt won't stick to it and work their way into the joints to do the grinding work that makes conventionally lubed chains last only a few thousand miles..  A commercial product you could try that might work similarly would be White Lightning Shedding Formula.  I haven't used it myself.  The chain won't last as long without the graphite, but the drivetrain should stay clean.  With my lube method, the only cleaning I do on the cassette is to pull a rag between the cogs once in awhile to dust between there; but there is absolutely no buildup of grime.

Thank you for this info - what is the paraffin/graphite ratio? And what kind of paraffin - meaning kerosene? I am amazed with the no grime buildup - I will have to give this a go.. Thank you for all of the excellent advice.


Thank you both for your advice regarding customization etc. - I would imagine an XL or L would suite me fine.

Offline whittierider

Re: NEW BIKE for all purpose + off-road and road touring travel.
« Reply #8 on: December 22, 2009, 04:51:40 pm »
Quote
Thank you for this info - what is the paraffin/graphite ratio?  And what kind of paraffin - meaning kerosene?
You have mai (PM).  I might post the method here at a later date.  It's easy, but a detailed description with lots of pictures makes for an awfully long post.

I forgot that in England kerosene is called "paraffin."  Here in the U.S., paraffin is the stuff most candles are made of.  At room temperature, it's hard and slippery and nothing sticks to it.

Offline Trek950

Re: NEW BIKE for all purpose + off-road and road touring travel.
« Reply #9 on: January 20, 2010, 02:35:34 pm »
I have Rohloff on my expedition tourer and it is a wonderful piece of kit.  The only downside is the slightly limited gear range, but that is a very minor niggle compared to having an almost maintenance free, bullet proof drive train.  Santos now offer a belt drive Rohloff which is a superb system.  For something like the GDMBR I would only use Rohloff, for trans Am I would be happy with either system.
Also, some people have commented that the gap between gears on a Rohloff is too great in the higher gears.  For me this has only been an issue when very tired.

S&S couplers are every bit as good as they are made out to be as long as you keep them tight.

Re: NEW BIKE for all purpose + off-road and road touring travel.
« Reply #10 on: January 22, 2010, 08:55:10 am »
I have Rohloff on my expedition tourer and it is a wonderful piece of kit.  The only downside is the slightly limited gear range, but that is a very minor niggle compared to having an almost maintenance free, bullet proof drive train.  Santos now offer a belt drive Rohloff which is a superb system.  For something like the GDMBR I would only use Rohloff, for trans Am I would be happy with either system.
Also, some people have commented that the gap between gears on a Rohloff is too great in the higher gears.  For me this has only been an issue when very tired.

S&S couplers are every bit as good as they are made out to be as long as you keep them tight.

Tanks for all the great input. It is tough plunking down such cash without the ability to try out so I am very nervous and trying to get as much info as I can about it.

Offline Tourista829

Re: NEW BIKE for all purpose + off-road and road touring travel.
« Reply #11 on: January 22, 2010, 04:33:34 pm »
I hope you are still in the market for a bike, if not the website suggested, will be a good reference source for the Rohloff. Since you asked for recommendations, I will suggest the following bike. I know you may want to purchase a bike, on the U.S. side of the pond and you may be set on 29er wheel format, but you should go to www.thorncycles.co.uk. They have a bike called the Raven Tour, Sport Tour and my favorite Raven Expedition equipped with a Rohloff EX rear hub. I know they come with a 26" wheel but is more compatible worldwide. They stock more than a dozen frame sizes with short and long top tubes, 4 colors, and if you look at the options page, (especially on the Raven Expedition) you can semi custom the bike to your own needs. Upgrades are very reasonable. My girlfriend purchased their Audax MK3 and loves it! Her bike "may" be featured, in the next issue of Adventure Cycling Magazines Touring Bike Guide.
(We are hopeful)

You should write to Andy Blance, chief designer at SJScycles/Thorn. Although he and his girlfriend are currently touring in SA, he would be a great person to talk to, especially about your concerns on the Rohloff hub. In their web site, they have a section about Rohloff that you should review. They even discuss maintenance issues and upgrades. I don't know what you want to spend and Moots is a very good choice, but you won't find a better company to deal with. A bike like this is an investment, it will give you years of pleasure. Below, is an example of an interview with Andy about the Rohloff hub. You may have to go to the website to see it. If I were purchasing an expedition bike it would be this. (it will accomplish 80% of your needs)

Thorn Rohloff interview (250 KB) click here
An interview about Rohloff with Thorn's designer and test pilot AndyB.

Regarding the S&S couplers, I would not worry about rigidity. It may save you $200 each way with airline baggage charges & yes Ryan, the above bike can be ordered with them.

Like you, we were scared to purchase a bike without a test ride. We purchased two bikes sight unseen, and they have been perfect!
 
Good Luck :)
Bob Tampa, Fl.

Re: NEW BIKE for all purpose + off-road and road touring travel.
« Reply #12 on: January 29, 2010, 05:12:28 pm »
Tourista,

Thank you very much for the info.

I was completely unaware of Thorn Cycles - it looks like a great company, particularly for off road touring bikes - I was very impressed! It is really neat to see a company using the Rohloff so heavily.

I do however, feel pretty sold ona 29er - being a bit taller and all I just like the feel of them much more.

However, I think my girlfriend may be really into them.

I also foudn the Rohloff info posted at Thorn to be very helpful.

Thanks.