Sunday, 18 April 2010

Nomad Fully Loaded!

I went for my first ride today with the Nomad fully loaded! After spending an hour fitting the racks and panniers, I spent another hour fettling the setup to eliminate all the annoying rattles...

Nomad with nearly all of the Canada luggage

Then I loaded up! The contents of my panniers were 20 volumes of the beautifully illustrated TimeLife Books: "Voyage Through The Universe". Each volume weighed a very healthy 800g. I also strapped my tent to the rack top for good measure. I weighed the bike and it came to 40kg! Hopefully, this is representative of my 'riding weight' as it's matched to the Draft Kit List I made a while back.

I attempted to wheel the bike out of my house. I could hardly lift it over the front step it was so heavy! (I only weigh 68kg and I have a typical 'racing snake' build; strong legs, strong core, pathetic upper body strength). With some trepidation, I climbed aboard and wobbled off down the road...

Ortlieb Roller Plus panniers front and back...

To be fair, it didn't take very long to get used to the new handling characteristics. The Nomad was designed specifically for this task and it was still a very stable bike to ride even loaded up like this. Apart from the slower steering, which made me watch the road a little more carefully to plan ahead for pothole avoidance (you can't really 'flick' the steering to avoid things at close range), it was pretty much the same as when unloaded: rock solid and undramatic.

I was slower climbing hills, of course, but I was repeatedly amazed at the mechanical advanatge of bicycle gearing which allowed me to pedal to the top of each hill, with moderate effort, a bike I could hardly lift off the ground! I might have been slower up the hills, but the extra ballast provided faster downhills in compensation! I was especially impressed with the stopping power of the Shimano XTR V-Brake / Swissstop Blue pad / Rigida CSS rim combination. The braking was immense, reliable and dependable.

...and a 22L compression dry sac containing my tent

I wrote a post (It's Harder Riding a Touring Bike) in which I calculated some travelling speeds for my Seven racing bike, the Nomad unloaded and the Nomad loaded for my estimated average sustainable power output. I predicted that I could ride the Nomad (40kg version) at about 21 km/h average. No fibbing, my average for the 70 klicks trip today (reasonable pace on rural roads with some rolling hills but nothing steep or nasty) was 20.8 km/h. I love it when a plan comes together.

All in all, an excellent first test ride fully loaded! The Nomad was great. I'm going to ride to my sister's house next weekend. This will be a four day trip and my first mini-tour!


Across Canada Trails said...

Have a great Trip!
May the wind be at your back all the way across.

Sam Vekemans
Across Canada Trails
Victoria, BC

(I've now subscribed to your blog feed & will re tweet your progress)

Stuart said...

Bike looks great Shaun, sounds like your as impressed as I was with her riding loaded up.

I knocked together a click stand from some old shortened tent poles, it seems to work quite well. Not quite as flash as the real thing though!

What sort of bag are you using to put your panniers in for the flight? I'm trying to find a cheap holdall that will take 4 panniers and my tent, any ideas?

Shaun said...

Hi Stu
Good idea with the DIY click-stand!

I'm just using one of those large checked laundry bags. Less than £5, easy to find. Maybe add a strap and tape for security. Can be chucked on arrival or folded up and taken with you for reuse. Mine weighs about 200g and folds to the size of a paperback book.