Saturday, August 13, 2016

Nihola updates

Change comes slowly in the Nihola world, and the mother company often says nothing about the changes it does make, so its my solemn duty to comment on it when I happen to notice from my remote perch.  When I spotted an unusual example while on a Nihola-spotting vacation on Ærø, I ran right over to take a picture.


So, this is by the look of things a pretty newly manufactured specimen and has some features I've never seen before:
  • Mechanism to prevent axle movement, which is often a problem in my experience
  • Huge massive roller brake, apparently from the factory but I can't really know that, possibly the optimal choice for rear brake in relatively flat areas
  • A different version of Nexus 8 (SG-C6000-8R), which might be a simple re-skin of the existing SG-8R31 but anyway is a hub I haven't seen standing around before
A few more things of note:
  • The new crank-mounted electric motor
  • The very-low stepthrough frame (difficult to see above)
  • Apparent contact between the shift cable and the chain... appears that they used 7L-7R gray-black anti-rotation washers while I used 5L-5R brown-yellow on mine, which I actually got from the Nihola store in Copenhagen... also looks they switched left for right in order to make it sort of work
They used a regular brake lever for the roller brake, which is a bit of a missed opportunity I think, because a roller brake should have the right cable pull for the locking brake lever.

Also I think that its not too much to ask that the versions of Nexus 8 that come with superior bearings be used, for example the SG-C6010-8R.  Its a lot of hardware being pushed around by a pretty modest hub as sold.

9 comments:

  1. For those of us stuck in the stone ages of earlier models, have you ever come up with a workaround for the rear wheel sliding forward?

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    1. I think those are standard parts in some markets, I tried to buy some when I was in Amsterdam but they were small and I actually forgot them on the counter of the shop. :) If you can find out where to buy them, they should install onto any Nihola... probably.

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    2. Surly makes a chain tensioner for front facing horizontal dropouts called the "hurdy gurdy". The nihola's dropouts look stamped rather than cast so they may not play as nicely with the tensioner, but I'm going to check it out. Will let you know if I gain any insights.

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    3. Yeah Surly might be a good bet because they will be intended for a steel frame, perhaps a thinner dropout, more similar to Nihola I imagine. Its interesting that Danish bike culture (or retail culture) basically excludes this component.

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  3. Ray, thanks so much for this tremendously useful blog! We're about to buy our first Nihola and hope to have lots of on- and off-road adventures with kids + dog in a quite hilly part of Denmark. So you're a great inspiration.

    Any advice for bike configuration? We're getting the electrical assist, would you still recommend a custom 22-24 tooth rear sprocket? And I've seen you recommend both the coaster/foot brake as the safest option, but also the free-wheel for better maneuverability. Which should we go with? Any tips would be much appreciated!

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    1. At one point they were saying the el-motor was not available with the footbrake, so maybe the choice is made for you. Being able to roll the pedals back is handy if you're stuck, though the footbrake is great for escorting kids with one hand. Gearing with the el-motor should probably not be so low as with leg power alone, but I might choose 22 teeth. Maybe even their standard sprocket is fine, but then you wouldn't get any use out of the top gears (over 25 km/hr).

      The motor is under the crank (last I checked) so that will slightly limit how insane you can be. The battery over the rear tire will give traction but probably also effect balance if you have no weight in the box.

      I'm happy to hear that you liked the blog, and I wish you luck!

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  4. Thanks for the tips! They switched motor model recently, so it is now mounted in the rear axle. And only comes with derailleur gears (7 gears), so no foot brake.

    I don't know if you've ever tried one with el-motor, but would you have a gut preference for a 8-internal-gears "manual drive" or a 7-external-gears electrical assist?

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    1. Hmm, well I would do 8 speeds with foot brake again if I had a re-do chance, even though I'm not totally satisfied with Nexus 8. I think electric costs too much up front, and will just another thing to break as it ages. It makes it harder to escort small children on their own bikes. It steals simplicity from the experience of riding. At the same time, electric doesn't appear to solve a problem that I had. So my choice on the subject is clear, but I could see that others might benefit. I have several times heard men cite wives as the reason to go electric, certainly a lighter person will be effected more quickly by a heavier bike. Electric would also boost the range that a casual rider could manage, maybe replace a car. I guess thats about all I can add to that.

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