Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Dyno hub finally mounted

Not my permanent solution. I think I'll be building a front rack to incorporate a mount for the E6, but you know how it is when you've got something that can go on your bike just sitting there, not on yet. Can't wait. I had to try it out. I went for a short spin last night and the 3W E6 with the Shimano DH-3N72 is a great combination. I opted to run just the front light off the generator hub. That way I could get a 3W up front instead of a 2.3W, and I think that it would be hard to find a rear light as effective as the Superflash. With the great battery life of the superflash, I don't mind carrying one spare set of batteries for my rear light on extended trips. Good front lighting is far more difficult to achive with batteries on long rides. My first impression is that I do need to mount the light in a different location. The light pattern is very square (which is a good thing - there seems to be little "wasted light" with this pattern) but I think for it to be effective, it needs to be a little farther from the ground.

Based on my short test run I'm very impressed with the light output and this will certainly be the only front light needed. I may mount a front flasher to help in heavy traffic or city riding, but for out on the highway and as a light to see where I am going, this is the solution.

I spaced the light out from the fork with a 20mm chain right bolt and a small washer to protect the paint. It holds it out from the fork blade just enough so the housing of the light doesn't touch the fork blade. Again, not the final mounting solution, but it did satisfy my need to try this light and dyno-hub out.


Vik said...

Looks good - enjoy the hub & light....=-)

BTW - is your rear rack tilted backwards or is that just the angle the photo was taken from?

Jerome said...

Thanks Vik.

Good eye. That rack is quite titled. It was one off of the Miyata and it's non-adjustable.

Why is it on there? I was asked to make a list of items I would like for Christmas (apperantly I'm hard to buy for) and I've got a rack on that list. Until Christmas comes, I'm not supposed to buy anything that was on my list.

I figured it'll do the trick until I either get a Surly nice rack or something like that. I might also build my own rack but only after I get a front one done.


Vik said...

Don't get a Surly rack - there are way better options out there. I have a front Surly rack that sits in my parts bin while I use other racks.

OMM Red Rocks or Tubus Cargo are much better racks for the same or less $$$.

Jerome said...

Thanks for the tip. I had never heard anything bad about Surly racks before. Are they just not well made?

I do want something a litte more traditional looking. Something like OMM wouldn't go with the look I want this bike to have. I've looked at Tubus and they do have some nice options. I was also thinking Nitto. Just because I like Nitto. Maybe I'll jump on a few forums and see what I can find out about different racks.


Vik said...

OMM Red Rocks is a traditional rack:


I like it 'cause it's light, strong, works great with my panniers and has a nice platform for strapping stuff to. It's also made in the USA by a small 2 man company - really nice guys.

The Surly rack is ugly, overbuilt [and not in a good way] and for it's weight/capacity it just is not a slick solution compared to what else is out there. Kind of like a huge SUV that never leaves the pavement. I really wanted to like it as I am generally speaking a Surly fan, but I could not.

One of the Japanese riders that stayed with me this summer had a Nitto front rack and it was a POS. A really nice looking POS, but it had already caused him to crash once when a pannier went into the front wheel. He had it all jury-rigged to keep it going and one of his first questions was if he could get a decent touring rack in Calgary. Nitto makes some nice stuff, but I'm not stoked about their racks after that experience.

I can show you the OMM Red Rocks, a Tubus Cargo and a Surly Nice front rack when you come by with the hub.

John Speare said...

What are you looking to carry on your front rack? It seems the best placement for a light is right at the top of the wheel -- but as far front as you can.

With the stock front forks on your LHT, I don't think you'd want to go with a front rack that puts the load over the front wheel (like the small nitto m-12 for example).

One of my favorite racks is the MEC lowrider. I used it for a couple years and just about any bike with any kind of trail will handle it fine.
The beauty of this rack (aside from its high value, low cost, simple design) is that you can fashion a light on it with a piece of aluminum stock really easily.
I can't find a pic of my rack with the light mounted, but you can clearly see the piece of aluminum stock sticking out on the rack in this picture.
That pic also shows the optimal place for a light in my opinion: right at about 1 o'clock on the front wheel. That light is a Bisy, which is the old $35 version of the E6 that PJW used to sell.

I agree with Vik on the surly racks. If you're going rear rack and you're regularly carrying less than 40 lbs (with the occasional 40+ load), I can't understand why anyone wouldn't get the Tubus Fly. It's like the perfect bike component.

Jerome said...

Hey John, Thanks for your info.

I'm not planning on hauling too much up front. Maybe a small bag for lunch and a rain shell or something. Actually a major reason for wanting a front rack is simply to have a good mount for my light. I'm thinking that I might just end up building my own. Probably tig welding it, because that's what I know to do best and that's what I have access to at work.

I certainly appreciate your input on the light location.

I had lunch with Vik yesterday and whilel we were hanging at his place talking bikes, he showed be a surly nice front rack. I agree with the opinions that you gents, and now myself, share. Just built way beefy, but in a non-elegent/industrial kind of way.

I really like the idea of a porteur style rack, but are you saying that the stock LHT fork does not have enough rake to handle heavy loads? I'm asking because I don't know. I'm currently reading through the Paterek frame building manual, but I'm still very much a newbie when it comes to bicycle frame geometries for various applications.

BTW, your blogs is by far one of my favorites! You do a fine job and what you post bears incredible interest for me. Thanks for doing it!


John Speare said...

Jerome: thanks for the nice words.

As for putting a porteur rack on the LHT -- you could do it and you would get used to how the bike handles. It's just not ideal. The LHT, with the high trail is optimized to carry loads in the rear. For front loads, you'll want to carry them on low-riders.

I've not read the Paterek manual, but I'd be really surprised if you were to find much on how to optimize frame geometry for carrying a load above the front wheel. For the most part, it appears that it's just not well-understood. Bicycle Quarterly has spent a bunch of time on this over the last couple years and it's just a fascinating revelation to me (along with supple tires -- these two discoveries have changed cycling for me in a huge way in the last couple years...)

The basics are: steepish head angles (72-74) with a fair bit of rake (65 or so). Most porteurs do well with about 40 mm of trail. The guys at Bike Quarterly did a bunch of testing and found that 40mm was the general sweet spot. 50-60 or so is awful. (I tried my RB-t, with a trail of 55 with a small front rack and the handling was amazingly awful). 60+ trail (which is where your LHT falls) works, but is not ideal. I've run front racks on an Atlantis, which is geometrically, the same bike as the LHT. If I loaded the entire Atlantis down with rear panniers, crap on top of the rear rack, and low riders and stuff on top of the front (nitto campee) rack, then it was great. But, if I just put a load up front, on top of the front rack, the bike fell into turns in a way that I had to constantly wrestle.

On my bikes that are optimized for a front rack (I have two) -- I can put 20 pound of crap on the front rack and ride no hands from about 8 mph and faster. And riding without a load is just wonderful. I've grown to prefer the way a low-trail bike handles.

I had an old 80's mountain bike with tons of trail and a really slack head tube. I ran a giant wald delivery basket on it for a year. I carried lots of heavy stuff in it. When I finally built up a bike that was optimized for handling a front load I was amazed at the difference in handling. But the point, is that for a year I ran the mountain bike with a giant front load and did fine. (Unlike the mid-trail RB-T -- which was nearly unridable).

So, that's the long winded answer: you can put a porteur rack on your LHT, and you'll get used to the handling, but -- if you want to turn your LHT into a porteur, I'd just get a new front fork, raked to about 65mm, and build up a rack for it. Find Jeff Lyon (frame builder in Oregon) and ask him if he has any Kogswell forks left, he'll rake it for you and put canti posts on it and even barrel braze-ons for a rack for somewhere in the neighborhood of $150 or so.

Sorry for the long ass answer. I get carried away with this stuff.

Jerome said...

Hey John,

Thanks so much for your valuable information. I quite enjoy long winded answers when they pretain to cycling questions.

I do really need to decide what I'll be using my LHT for and see how I want to dedicate setting it up. Obviously it'd be a real good touring rig, but I don't really do any touring. I did buy it as a commuting machine. My commute right now is 26 miles each way, so I wanted something comfortable, and stable if I loaded up the Panneirs. As a touring bike, the porteur obviously might not be the first choice, but for commuting, and S24Os and such, I think it would do the job nicely. It also gives the bike a little more “everyday” usefulness and would make it all the more practical for errands and such.

I think I might start out by building a little front rack (similar to a little nitto) or maybe even go with something like a mini-porteur. I guess that’s the nice this if you’re making your own, you can get exactly what you want.

Again, thanks so much for your input. It is most appreciated.


Vik said...

Hey Jeremy,

I mounted a milk crate to my front rack on the LHT for a while. It was very useful, but the front end geometry was wrong. As long as I kept a firm grip on the bars I could make it work, but I felt like a crash was only one slip of my attention away so I got ride of it.

The LHT carries a rear load well and carries a load balanced in panniers well. It just doesn't seem to be much fun with a high front load.

I do carry stuff on top off my front rack - especially on tour, but always balance out against a rear load.

I had considered getting a Kogswell PR and trying out the different forks they are/were offering for it as the PR rack is a very useful mode of carrying stuff, but as John points out BQ's excellent tests [well worth getting those issues] about front end geometry clearly demonstrate the impact of swapping out forks.

You could get a second fork for your LHT setup for use with a PR rack and then use the stock one for touring. I don't recall anyone doing that, but it would be a cool project.

safe riding,