The day of the derailleurs!

Derailleur hanger #1...

Derailleur hanger #1…

I haven’t had a derailleur problem in over 15yrs+ so it came as a bit of a shock to damage two of them in 50m of trail. First up John tweaked his hanger and derailleur after a small crash. We stopped and he replaced the hanger with a spare he had and bent his derailleur back into shape.

It was a beautiful day So chilling out in the sunshine while he fixed his machine was no big deal.

50m later....WTF?

50m later….WTF?

Literally 50m down the trail I rode over a large flat rock that flipped up and pushed my derailleur into my spokes. Ripped the hanger off and wrapped the chain around the back of the cassette. Hanger destroyed, derailleur bent, but thankfully spokes/wheel not damaged. The Bike Gods had some mercy. πŸ˜‰

Working on the Nomad...

Working on the Nomad…

The good news is I had a spare derailleur hanger in my pack. The bad news is it was for my Pivot Mach 6 not the Nomad! πŸ˜‰ We were at the top of the mountain I just pulled the chain and derailleur off and I coasted down to truck.

This is the first major mechanical I have ever had on the Nomad that shut down a ride so I can’t really complain. I’ll be installing a new derailleur, chain and a new-ish crank from Sharon’s Pivot [she put a new crank on it and gave me the take off.].

I’ll put the Nomad away for the summer riding season and bring it back stronger than ever next fall.

Better this hanger than my frame...

Better this hanger than my frame…

Seb Kamp…

Lots of talking in this video, but if you stay the course there is some great Jedi Master wisdom worth your time and some classic Santa Cruz Nomad riding action. πŸ™‚

Thanks Mr. Melo for the link to this video.

Santa Cruz Nomad Forever!

My Santa Cruz Nomad...

My Santa Cruz Nomad…

After a 5 month arm injury and then a 5 week cold from hell I finally got back on a mountain bike this weekend. Yup that’s 6 months of almost zero trail riding. 😦

On the plus side I got to ride my lovely red Santa Cruz Nomad that came home with me from Bow Cycle in Calgary way back in Feb 2009. So that’s 6 years of pretty regular use including 4.5 years of PNW 12 months a year riding with lots of mud and grit.

The most amazing things I can report about this bike are:

  1. suspension is tight and works like new
  2. cranks/BB, headset, shock, fork and brakes are still original
  3. Riding this bike compared to 2014 uber bikes I still feel the Nomad is a contender
  4. the Nomad has needed very little maintenance

If I couldn’t have afforded a new mountain bike I would not be held back due to riding a 6 yr old design nor would it need a lot of wrenching to keep it rolling. That’s awesome! πŸ™‚

With 27.5 & 29er wheel sizes being all the rage how do the 26″ wheels stack up? I’ll be honest I love bigger wheels. I own a 27.5 bike and a 29er. The Nomad on “normal” 2.3″ rubber is not as efficient rolling throughΒ our very rocky and very rooty techy trails as the bigger wheel bikes. Having said that throw some 2.4″ [really closer to a 2.5″ tire] Continental Trail Kings on the bike on some wide Velocity Blunt 35 rims and you get a lot of that efficiency back with a tall 26er tire. You also get amazing traction and a super plush ride even for a 6″ travel bike.

If I couldn’t get a big 26er tire I liked as much as the Trail King I’d get rid of the Nomad. With them I think I may well keep this bike forever!

It rides so well and takes so little maintenance it’s really hard for me to justify doing anything other than keeping it as my winter bike and a back up to my newer rig.

...Bottom Half

…Bottom Half

In a society that’s drowning in disposable consumer crap it’s nice to own something that not only has stood the test of time, but keeps blowing my mind every time I use it.

Thanks Santa Cruz and Bow Cycle. You guys know what’s really important in a mountain bike. My life is better because of both of you. πŸ™‚

 

Back in the saddle...

Back in the saddle…

X-Fusion Hilo Dropper Seatpost

X-Fusion HiLio 125 dropper installed...

X-Fusion HiLio 125 dropper installed…

My long suffering and neglected KS dropper post stopped working reliably recently. It lives on my winter mountain bike a Santa Cruz Nomad. I’m so used to dropper posts now I can’t imagine futzing with a non-adjustable post, but I didn’t want to spend a lot of $$ on a winter bike. My Nomad’s post is the same diameter as my main bike so $$ spent on this post also give me a spare post for my Pivot Mach 6 which is nice on road trips so I can just do a swap and keep riding.

Living in Canada and having weak dollars in the bank buying from the US is a bad deal right now. A quality post like a Rock Shox Reverb is ~$400+ locally and more than I wanted to spend.

HiLo with a WTB saddle...

HiLo with a WTB saddle…

Hunting around I found X-Fusion HiLO dropper posts 100mm /125mm height being sold at MEC for $199CDN and $219CDN respectively. They seem like a quality product and the Canadian X-Fusion distributor is located in Victoria so that’s a bonus for me. MEC ships them free in Canada so if you need a moderately priced dropper that doesn’t suck with a Canadian source I thought I’d mention it.

I got a 125mm/30.9mm unit which weighed 635g including cable/remote lever.

Installation was fairly easy except that to replace the cable you have to pull the saddle and top of the post’s clamp completely off the dropper which is a PITA for a quick cable swap. On the plus side the hidden cable location and activation mechanism seems like it will be protected for wetness and debris better than my old KS unit. Cable activated droppers are easier to work with and service when you need to maintain them, but a hydraulic dropper requires less maintenance once installed.

The remote lever is similar to the design on my older Crank Brothers Joplin posts with easy 360 degree activation that can be mounted anywhere on the bar. The cable allows the hydraulic mechanism in the dropper to raise the post and your body weight to lower it. It can be left at any height with its adjustment range. The speed at which it comes back up is on the slow side. I haven’t figured out if I can adjust the speed in any way.

I like that the seat is locked in place when you don’t mess with the remote so you can lift your bike by the seat in any position.

I really like the X-Fusion remote lever...

I really like the X-Fusion remote lever…

I’ve had great luck with dropper posts [CB Joplin and KS posts] given that they were reputed to be unreliable and I ride in harsh conditions a lot so I expect good things from the X-Fusion, but only time will tell.

Night Riding…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Moist…

It’s that time of year in Canada when night riding is a necessity if you want to get out on the trails regularly. It’s dark as you go to work and dark again when you leave. Bike light technology has evolved to a point where everyone can rock 1000 lumens+ at a reasonable cost so getting a crew out in the dark isn’t as hard as it used to be.

Now that my arm is back to pain free I can’t say no to a ride because it’s cold, dark and wet. I am feeling the long time I spent off the bike in terms of slow speeds and harder perceived efforts. That’s fine as long as I can get my normal fitness back for the spring when riding picks up steam on Vancouver Island. In the meantime I can sympathize with folks that suck wind at the back of the pack and at least the darkness hides my tears. πŸ˜‰

Some wet Hombres...

Some wet Hombres…

I’m really glad I switched back to the old bike when I look at how gnarly it is getting with so much mud flung up onto the drivetrain and suspension. The extra weight isn’t so welcome, but I keep telling myself it’s helping get fitter faster!

Those 1100 gram 2.4″ Conti Trail Kings ain’t light, but they do a good job of gripping the wet rocks and roots. Not to mention chew threw the snow we will hopefully get for a day or two before things warm up.

The Nomad may be old, but it still rocks! πŸ™‚

 

Wolftooth 42T Cog + Shimano Zee Derailleur…

WT 42T cog mounted up...

WT 42T cog mounted up…

I was curious how the Wolftooth 42T GC cog would work – particularly with the shortcage Shimano Zee derailleur on my Santa Cruz Nomad.

I gave it a shot and it works just fine. I’ve got dozens of successfully rides in so far.

Enough capacity to climb up onto the 42T cog...

Enough capacity to climb up onto the 42T cog…

I removed the 15T cog as I use the bigger cogs much more than the smaller ones. I was going to ditch the 13T cog, but it mates with the 11T cog to generate the correct spacing so I left it.

and take up the slack in the small cog...

and take up the slack in the small cog…

What I used:

  • 42T WT GC
  • SRAM PG 1070 cassette
  • SRAM chain PC 1031
  • Shimano Zee derailleur and shifter
  • Race Face 30T NW ring
  • stock B tension screw [works fine]
  • longer B tension screw that came with cog [works a bit better]
Wolftooth 42T GC cog before install...

Wolftooth 42T GC cog before install…

The shifting is not as good as either a stock 10 spd or stock 11 speed setup, but it’s just fine. If you are a really picky shifting snob you may find it too clunky for your tastes, but if you are just happy that it shifts up and down reliably you’ll enjoy it.

Gratuitous SC Nomad shot...

Gratuitous SC Nomad shot…

Since I installed my 42T WT cog a few months ago they have come out with a couple new options:

  • 40T cog for those that want a smaller jump at the low end
  • 16T cog to allow for better shifting down in the smaller cogs

I haven’t tried either of these.