Monday, May 31, 2010

Rohloff bits arrive

The new axle plate makes mounting the wheel a lot easier.  Will wait until I sort out the disk before making the dropouts 10mm. When I narrow the dropouts, I'll add a bit more metal for the torque plate to press against. 

Friday, May 28, 2010

Waiting for parts.

My hopes of being quickly mobile failed. The Monkeys to the rescue. Called and spoke with Nic. They'll make up the hoses to length, bleed em, and have it all in the post next week.Love those guys!  Rohloff Australia are sending a new axle plate and disk rotor. With luck enough gear will arrive next week to let me pedal around the cane paddocks. Until then, having to content myself with sitting on the seat, and dreaming of the road ahead.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Yuba Mundo Arrives

Due to a one thing and another, and Ben and I exchanging emails all of last week, and my frame didn't leave the shop until Friday 21st May. Fedex estimated a delivery date of 31st. I was hopeful, but thought it might take longer, but checked their tracking site almost hourly :)

This morning it surprised me. While I was thinking it was just leaving Sydney, it arrived. How is that possible - from USA to the middle of no where so quick. Four days!!! I order stuff in Australia, and it takes longer than that. Needless to say, I'm very happy right now.

I wasted no time unpacking and starting assembly. Thanks heaps Ben. It was well wrapped and padded in the box. It was so exciting unwrapping each item and finding what was there. I can't say enough good things about Ben at Yuba.

Rather than fill up this blog with pictures, see all the pics I took here

Finally it was unwrapped and on the floor. Initial impression - its solid. Just what I ordered. I'm happy with the  finish - it is what it is. A good value, cargo bike frame. For the record, there were no scratches on the paint before I started. But as this is going to get a work out touring, I'll be buying some touch up paint at some point. I also assembled with the help of grease. My reasoning is this is a metal frame, its going to spend pretty much all its life outside, a bit of grease on parts will help slow any rust down. The insides of the frame will also get a squirt of something oily also.

First order was getting wide loaders on. Then start to transfer other components from my MTB to it. Wide loaders just went on without any problems. Just slide on and tighten up the bolts.

Then things got interesting. Some things I thought would be a problem, weren't. Others that I thought would be no problem at all - are.

For the problems - at the moment two standing out:

I had planned on using my existing front hydraulic brake, and was leaning towards just using v-brakes on the back to get rolling. But the front hose hose is too short, and its going to need a ton of spacers and longer bolts to fit the caliper. That blew the option of getting it ridable. Time to either get a new front brake, or find spacers and a longer hose. Thinking about it now, I was probably overly optimistic thinking I could use my existing front brake - it was for a very special fork setup, and I did want to raise the handle bars on that bike anyway - so of course the brake hose would be too short!

Next was the Rohloff.  I ordered the axle adapters as the Mundo dropouts are 14mm and the Rohloff axles are 10mm. After taking a drill to the adapters, they fit the axle.

Time to drop the wheel in. I had thought that I'd just drop the wheel in, make an clamp to hold the torsion arm, and be done. This isn't to be. Using the torsion arm and external gear mech on this frame, it is not going to work. Both parts need to be below the frame and so don't fit together.

The dropouts are 7mm steel plate. Looking from the rear with the wheel out, the left hand dropout is flush with the tubing the forms the frame. The right hand side is mounted about the middle of the tubing. This means that there is only the width of the dropout, before the tube bulges out. On the other side of the tube is the disk mount.

After a lot playing with different angles on the axle plate I have, I think that either the OEM axle plate will just work, or the OEM2 axle plate will work with some help. Not 100% certain just yet. I need to find dimensions for the Rohloff drop outs to see how they compare to what metal is available on the Mundo. The Mundo dropouts are long with lots of thick steel - so the OEM is probably going to be the best bet.

I will be taking a welder to the frame though what ever happens. With lots of putting the back wheel in, and taking it back out again, the axle adapters got annoying real fast. They are small, round, and both want to drop off when your not expecting it, and roll away. The other thing that bugged me about them is that the drop out is 7mm thick, but the axle adapters are 4mm wide. I'd like to get a bit more axle in the dropout.

More installing tomorrow. 

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Decisions , decisions

I'm not the best packer,  and decided that I wanted more space than just the two rear panniers. Space to carry extra water so I can spend more days out of town. And not have to hunt for space to chuck in some road side fruit or veges, or a few books.  I've got to have space!

Okay, I'm also a hoarder and manage to pick up all sorts of things from the side of the road on the basis that they may be Useful at some point. The danger with more space is that it gives me more space to keep stuff that really should have been left where it was on the side of the road. So far up the coast I had to ditch stuff several times after picking up items that I thought would be useful. But roadside stuff is so good value when its free :)

I've spent a lot of time hunting about reading reviews and travel blogs, and weighing up what I want to do - and the pros and cons of panniers , trailers (single or double wheel and even four wheeled using 20" or 26" wheels), and long bikes (Xtracycle, Surly Big Dummy, Yuba Mundo)

Panniers - my rear panniers are large, my MTB frame is short, so there wasn't room there to do anything. For front panniers, I'd need to work out an attachment.  I also wanted to raise the handle bars - and decided the best way was to change the front fork. The current fork was made for me before disk brakes were common and is short. Changing the fork to a Surly Instigator fork would give me a minimum of 4cm and up to 10cm of rise. Surlys fork doesn't have pannier mounts, and in any case I wanted the panniers to be mounted higher.  (I'd had problems with low hanging panniers on deeply rutted dirt roads.) Front panniers would stop the front wheel lift tendency when riding up hill with the back rack is loaded.  So this was an option.

Ruled out multi wheel trailers - their not for single track. Can't imagine riding with one down some of the dirt roads I've been on.

Wasn't that happy with single wheel trailers. The mounting might have been a problem - the back dropout is crowded enough on the left with the rack, mudguards, Rohloff gear mech and torsion arm. Wasn't happy with stationary handling either. There often isn't a tree handy, and its tricky enough balancing the bike with panniers against the plastic road posts. The Extrawheel trailer did look good though.

Long bikes all had oodles of space and generous weight limits.  One down side was its more of a change. You can leave a trailer or panniers behind - but you can't leave the tail end of your bike behind.

I liked the idea of the Xtracycle - but some reviewers reported frame flex with larger loads.  I'm not sure of the longevity of my existing aluminium MTB with the Xtracycle loaded up on it. And I'd still need to raise the front end.

Big Dummy looked promising  - some reviews reported flex on this with the heavier loads on this also. Besides the frame and fork, you also need to either build or buy a Xtracycle kit to carry any load, you can't carry anything on the Big Dummy without some racks mounted on it. This pushes up the frames base weight (and price).

Google and you'll find that there are plenty of people that use the Xtracycle and Big Dummy for touring.

Yuba Mundo: The frame is ready to carry load - tie panniers on or sit gear on the rack. And it looks super strong. All reviewers reported it as 100% rock solid, even when loaded to the max or more. However, the most common downside to some people was the weight.  (Note the Mundo has been on a diet from V1 to the current V3 model).

Compared to the Surly Big Dummy, the Mundo V3 is slightly heavier. But only slightly.

Mundo       :  frame and fork 10.5kg, with the sideloaders 12kg.
Big Dummy:  frame and fork   7.1kg      with wideloaders  10.76kg
Difference:       difference of    3.4kg, or   with sideloaders   1.24kg.

But wait! That 3.4kg for frame and fork compare isn't the fully story. Actually to compare frame and fork - I think you need to add the Xtracycle Pannier Kit or the Cargo Van Kit to the Big Dummy frame to be a valid compare. To allow you to carry something on the Big Dummy. Both kits are aluminium and weigh in at 3.175kg - so the Mundo is only a 225grams heavier for an all steel frame at the just frame and fork stage.

Compared to the Big Dummy, the weight isn't an issue.

The Muno is steel, with the sideloaders being CrMo.
The Big Dummy is CrMo, with the wideloaders being aluminium.

I know planes are made out of aluminium, and my current MTB is aluminium, but, I do like steel.

After a few emails to the owner Benjamin Sarrazin at, and a quick call I ordered a Yuba Mundo.

Now to wait until it arrives.