Project Bike: Rouleur Nella Neve – Winter Randonneur

December 10, 2012

in Bike Design, Seen on my commute

I’m working on an all-season randonneur bike.  The latest Seven rando in a 2012 project series.  This might be the last rando project bike completed before the end of this year – we have less than three weeks remaining in the ’12.  Mind you, this is not a customer bike – we’re likely to do a number of customer randos in the last couple weeks of 2012.  This winter bike is an internal project to test a couple ideas that we wouldn’t wish on any paying customer.

For me, here’s what comes to mind  when I’m working on this design.  Hence the name Nella Neve.

Highlights of this Nella-Wheeler include:

  • Accommodate tires from 23c up to 2.3″ 29er.  Ideally designed around 33c tires.
  • Race-worthy geometry, handling, and performance.  ‘Cause I ride so fast…
  • Big fenders for optimized protection in the wettest and snowiest of days.  No ice buildup on theses beauts.
  • Disc brakes for icy weather and easy wheel swap.
  • Hot swapping studded tires for 28c tires depending on the weather

Oh, and this is a speed project.  We started today and we’ll have it riding on Friday.  I’m trying to get this winter bike rolling before the next snow or black ice day.  Dan V. is helping pull all the components together.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Brian Hidy December 18, 2012 at 3:56 pm

What no Di2 Alfine? I honestly have no idea how Alfine (or other internally geared hub) is in the winter. I suggested Di2 because of your ‘wouldn’t wish on any paying customer’ comment. Just curious how much better a Gates center belt with an internally geared hub would be in the snow and ice than a chain in your neck of the woods (and mine near Syracuse, NY.)

Rob December 18, 2012 at 9:26 pm

Brian: I look forward to riding the new Alfine kit; I’m hoping to in January. I couldn’t wait to build up the bike any longer. If I didn’t get it riding last week we would have had a foot of snow; since I got it rolling we probably won’t get any snow.

I really like internal gear systems and the Gates belt set up. One of the bikes I ride regularly has the Gates CenterTrack belt. I’ve ridden Alfine 8 and Rolhoff a fair amount. For this bike I ended up using a chain drive because I like the control and flexibility they provide. Swapping flat and drop bars is important on this bike – and just messing around with some other ideas; the classic gearing system allows for easier mods, maybe. The 11 Alfine Di2 might be a great solution when it’s available. Actually it would have been cool to set up the bike with Ultegra Di2 in the meantime. I haven’t set up a flat bar Di2 system yet but I’ve seen some “aftermarket” systems that look good.

I’m also hoping for a not too icy winter – like last year – so chain and cassette might work okay. I’ve ridden this system for so long I’m used to the inherent issues – or I ignore them. Gates is certainly not a perfect system; I’ve seen the belts get worn in sandy and wet conditions. Internal gears definitely solve a lot of winter issues. Maybe I’ll set it up that way next.

Thanks for the note and the ideas! – Rob V.