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. 😉

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! 😉 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…

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! 🙂

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 through 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. 🙂

 

Back in the saddle...

Back in the saddle…

Night Riding…

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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. 😉

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! 🙂

 

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.

Appreciating the Nomads…

My trusty Nomad...

My trusty Nomad…

Although we are enjoying our new state of the art wonder bikes I can’t help, but appreciate how well our Santa Cruz Nomad’s compare despite being 2008 designs that were only updated this very month. That’s 6yrs for a product cycle which seems almost unbelievable in today’s non-stop “new and improved” world.

The main downside with the Nomads is their weight which is largely due to the workman level parts they are built with and the big tires we love rolling on.

Surprisingly that weight is also a plus when it comes to stability and sure-footedness. It’s harder to knock a heavy bike off its line once it starts rolling.

Even our cat loves a Nomad...

Even our cat loves a Nomad…

At one point I was pretty sure we’d sell the Nomads, but now I’m thinking they are pretty special and should be kept – maybe even pimped a bit.

Santa Cruz’s VPP suspension seems to resist our wet winter weather really well so I can see us switching back to the Nomads in September and taking the opportunity to overhaul the new bikes. Then swap back in the spring and overhaul the Nomads.

In the summer speed, agility and efficiency for long rides is important.

In the winter stability, traction and low maintenance win the day.

Nomad 30T Ring + New Chain

Bach guard and 30T ring...

Bash guard and 30T ring…

It’s been a year since I overhauled my Santa Cruz Nomad‘s drivetrain. This is the mountain bike that sees the most action by far in my fleet and I’m not just talking summertime rockstar rides. This is a year round workhorse that sees a lot of abuse.

Chewed up...

Chewed up…

The chain was still within tolerance, but the single ring was chewed up pretty good. The cassette looked fine so I decided a new chain and ring were in order.

Race Face 32T ring...

Race Face 32T ring…

One downside to running a single ring setup is that this ring takes all the wear and tear. Given how much riding we do in the wet a year from a chainring is okay by me. Thanks for all the hard work Raceface ring!

Andersen’s Machine 30T BCD 104 chainring…

Andersen’s Machine 30T BCD 104 chainring…

My current low gear of 32T x 36T is great most of the time, but we’ve been climbing some killer hills lately with guys that are very fit who are using wide range gearing. I can almost keep up, but I thought this was a good opportunity to put the 30T ring I got from Andersen’s Machine back on the Nomad. It’s paid for and that might be the little bit extra help I need to keep up with these fast riders.

New SRAM PC1031 chain...

New SRAM PC1031 chain…

I buy whatever is the cheapest SRAM chain that falls to hand when I need to overhaul my bike. 10 speed chains aren’t as cheap as the 8 and 9 speed chains I use, but It’s well worth keeping your bike running well if you ride regularly.

Shimano Zee derailleur...

Shimano Zee derailleur…

My Zee derailleur keeps on trucking with no maintenance. Perfect shifts and a quiet drivetrain are great and the cost is quite modest.

MRP chain guide...

MRP chain guide…

I decided to ditch the MRP chain guide I’ve been using the last year. It’s been perfect so this is more just to try something new than any needed upgrade. I had a Straitline bash guard that I got when my Nomad was brand new that I put back on. I only realized recently that Straitline is a company out in Sidney BC that manufactures its parts right here on Vancouver Island.

A little local pride never hurts. 😉

I’m hopefully that the Zee derailleur’s clutch plus my bashguard is enough to keep the chain in place. We’ll see what happens. If not I’ll put the MRP guide back on.

Bling!!!

Bling!!!

The Kona Wah Wah pedals that have been used on various bikes for years finally wore out. I will track down a rebuild kit and get them rolling again, but in the meantime I decided some gratuitous bling was in order. I love my Nomad lots so a pair of red Spank Spike pedals found their way onto my cranks. They are thin which is handy given how many rocks I have to ride through and the look slick! 🙂

Me and my Nomad last ride...

Me and my Nomad last ride…

Time to wear out some bike parts!