Friday, December 23, 2022

Friday News And Views

SunTour S-1 Rear Derailleur. (Image courtesy of Disraeli Gears)
 Really Old Rear Derailleur Idea Gets Resurrected - Again!

Bicycle technology is a strange soup made up of really smart ideas cooked up in the late 19th/early 20th Centuries and reinvented as "new" ideas decades later. Today I have a fun one that popped up because Rene Herse came out with a "Nivex" rear derailleur recently, a design manufactured around 1935. Then it was infamously resurrected by SunTour in the early 1990's

The new RH remake looks to be made of a CNC'ed aluminum, although their site gives little information on it. The piece is manufactured partially in the USA and Taiwan. The derailleur necessitates the use of a chain stay braze-on to mount it, and a special shifter that pulls a continuous cable is also part of the system, but not included in the $729.00 price for the rear derailleur. 

Comments: I've worked on several of the SunTour examples. They were indexed at the derailleur for seven speed cassettes and free wheels, usually. This rear derailleur from RH will be friction, so it could work with many different speed systems. Its main benefit is that it remains tucked up and out of the way from trail debris and it is less likely to be bent, or cause a bent hangar due to its more robust, low profile mount. 

The Nivex rear derailleur. (Image courtesy of Rene Herse)

This particular RH example is, in my opinion, inferior to the SunTour model in that it relies on a CNC type manufacturing design which, in my experience and observation, is not as robust a way to manufacture a thing like a rear derailleur as the stamped metal construction that most S-1 rear derailleurs employed. RH says the Nivex (The name is derived from one of the original makers of this design in the early 20th Century) is rebuildable and spares will be available. Yep! That's what the 1990's CNC rear derailleurs had going for them as well. That doesn't help when you grenade a rear derailleur in the middle of nowhere. (I blew two 1990's examples up, so I know about that) 

Then there is the price tag. Considering that you may have to modify your steel frame (aluminum and carbon frame owners probably aren't going with this, but you could) and that you need a shifter to match up, this is going to send your little weirdo rear derailleur experiment over the 1K mark easily. Hmm..... Why?

You could just as easily do an old friction shifter and an old 1990's XT rear derailleur for peanuts and not have to mod a frame. Same experience, less cabbage. You decide.....

The route for the 2009 Guitar Ted Death Ride Invitational
Asking For A Friend:

Recently a reader of this blog asked about the 2009 route for the Guitar Ted Death Ride Invitational which I spoke about in detail in this post recently. the request was whether or not there were cues or a gpx file for the route. 

Upon further inspection, I found 2/3rds of the original route, but what happened to the rest is a mystery. No matter, because I can recreate that with little problems. However; I also would modify the route to reflect the way that we did it in 2014/15 instead.

The reason being is that when the route starts out of Backbone State Park, the options for over nights and resupply make a lot more sense. Starting in the State Park allows you the option of camping there, and Backbone State Park is a very nice venue to start from, with amenities for showers, camping, cabin rentals, and stuff to do for support/family members that are not riding, if that is the case for you. 

It also puts you in Elkader around lunchtime, (if you start bright and early, as you should), and that village has several lunch options. Resupply towns fall in good places as well. You'd have Wadena, Volga, (admittedly not much there) and Elgin. Plus Garber, and just off course, Edgewood, although by that time you'd be so close to coming back through Strawberry Point you may as well stay the course. 

So, anyway... Any interest in me doing up the route again, making it available in gpx and in cue sheet forms? Let me know. I probably would do this on a free will donation basis, just so you know. Merry Christmas!

Velo Orange's eccentric bottom bracket.

Velo Orange Teases New EBB Option:

Sometimes you just have to simplify, but if that means going single speed for you, it may not be an option with your particular bike. Some companies in the past have recognized this fault of some frames to have any way to tension a chain for single speed use and have offered eccentric bottom brackets, or in the case of the ENO hub, an eccentric rear hub. 

Velo Orange sent out an email to its subscribers to their newsletter last Monday showing, amongst other future offerings, an eccentric bottom bracket. It works by utilizing outboard cups which are then set up with a pair of offset bearings. This allows for a 24mm spindled crank set, (typically Shimano), to be adjusted to tension a chain even if your bicycle has vertical drop outs or a rear through axle set up.  

I used a similar idea that was offered by Wheels Manufacturing to set up my Twin Six Standard Rando v2 as a single speed, only thing being that my bike had a PF-30 shell. The Velo Orange offering will work with a threaded BSA bottom bracket shell in 68mm or 73mm widths. So, for instance, I could get this and set up my Gen I Fargo as a single speed, or- I could use that bottom bracket to allow for a single speed bail-out option should I have a rear derailleur failure. 

This bottom bracket that VO is offering looks to be adjusted via the hexagonal shaped outer casing using a large wrench, I would assume. There seems to be what looks like a grub screw there which I would imagine sets the tension so the eccentric stays where you adjust it. No price has been revealed, but VO says that they expect these in for sale in late February, early March. 

Scott Bikes Debuts Solace eGravel Bike:

Scott bikes introduced a new electrified bicycle yesterday for gravel riding/racing called the Solace. Featuring a sleek, integrated motor and battery, the bike weighs in with zero accessories at 26.5lbs. It has great geometry, and it is claimed that it's new mid-motor has almost zero drag, so that if you had to go without the electrical assistance, it wouldn't feel draggy. It has a generous weight limitation of approximately 262lbs including rider and gear.

Comments: First, a question- Aren't electrified bicycles supposed to "get people who cannot/normally would not ride out riding? Aren't these bicycles supposedly here to improve the cycling experience for those who could not participate well, or at all, without electrification? 

Your answer to those questions should inform your opinion of this new bike. I would argue that this new Scott Solace does none of the things those questions seek to answer. 

First off, it costs over ten thousand dollars. Nuff said there, I think.

Secondly, its range for assistance, which admittedly can vary due to terrain, rider weight, etc, is very limited. One reviewer I read said that at 82K rider weight, he was only able to get twenty-seven miles before he ran out of battery, and that was with 900Ft of elevation gain. (!!!) 

Finally, the bike weighs over 26 pounds. Great for an electrified bike, but it is obvious that most of the time you are riding it won't be that sort of bike, especially if you like your rides to go for a few hours at a crack. So, spending 10k+ for that? 


That's a wrap for this week. MERRY CHRISTMAS!


Phillip Cowan said...

Someone has uploaded a route on RWGPS titled GTDRIv4. Comparing the route map to your 2009 route they appear to be one and the same. Is this correct? I'm mostly an out the back door kind of tourist but three or four times a season me and a group of friends will put together road trips. This one would be great because it's less than a days drive from the western Chicago burbs where I'm at. I can't speak for everyone but I would be willing to donate to the cause for a clean GPX file with your stamp of approval.Sounds great.

Guitar Ted said...

@Phillip Cowan - That looks like it is the complete route for that year. As I said though, it is not the ideal way around that loop. I would much rather have folks start from Backbone State Park near Strawberry Point. Also- Bixby State Preserve no longer has a viable road through that area. I've heard tell it has been blocked off from the North side, so I would need to do a reroute around that.

Otherwise, the rest is good. Unless there have been other changes I am unaware of, which, is not out of the question. So, for those reasons I need to make a trip up there to recon and reconfigure those parts of the route that might need changes. Then I would put the route out with suggestions on stops, overnights, etc.

For instance, I could see what resupply options exist currently in Volga, Wadena, and Elgin. The Echo Valley State Park bit could be optional as a half-way point to stop and camp, making this route a pretty doable bikepacking route for two days.

That's my idea here for the route.

Unknown said...

The RH Nivex shifter is available in 11s Shimano
or friction. The Nivex is not liking shifting
a sprung derailer, it shifts like a Cyclo,
no return spring, shifts like buttah....

Guitar Ted said...

@Unknown - I've had a few friction shift bikes, (and run one regularly yet now). In my experience, they shift super-smoothly. But then again, your "butter" may be different than mine, right? One thing is for certain, what I use cost a heck of a lot less money.