Saturday, April 02, 2016

Nil's bike - Tour Aotearoa 2016

 Like me, Nils van der Heide lives in Wellington, and yet I only met him once before the 2016 Tour Aotearoa. His bike was a bit different to most, and he had obviously spent a lot of time getting Jonty at Revolution Bicycles to build it up. It was a very sound machine. Nils shares some pix and a bit of background to it.



The day I heard about the Tour Aotearoa over a year ago I thought: “this is me”. An amazing opportunity to explore New Zealand, and what a great way to do it by bike. I had been looking at the Kiwi Brevet for a couple of years now but time wise could never commit to any of them. This would be my first adventure of this kind.

I soon worked out that cycling 3000km on my full suspension Yeti would be a long way. A bit silly really as 3000km is a long way regardless. However this is where the idea started to build my own bike from scratch. A unique chance to build a "go anywhere, do almost anything” kind of bike that would not be fast and work well. Furthermore I wanted it to be  aesthetically pleasing as I work as a designer.

After doing some research online I soon worked out that a bike suitable for the Great Divide Ride would most likely be suitable for the Tour Aotearoa (TA). This is where inspiration for certain ideas started. Since I am extremely pleased with the geometry of my full-suspension Yeti SB95 I decided to turn Yeti's rigid carbon ARC frame into my starting point. The next question was front suspension or not. I decided to go rigid as it is lighter, there are fewer parts that can break (= less maintenance), and would cater well for 80% of the terrain.

The next thing to decide on was the cockpit. I had been intrigued by the Salsa Woodchipper bars for some time now and thought they would be the way to go for my bike. I liked the idea of dirt drops but it turned into a big time consuming effort to find brake levers and shifters that would work with the Shimano XT Dyna-sys derailleurs for my 2x10 setup. I ended up with a set of Gevenalle GX shifters. They are probably one of the most notable parts on my bike. They’re like a funky old set of thumb shifters mounted onto Tektro brake levers. The shifters take a bit to get used to but they work flawless. Another advantage is that you can run them indexed as well as friction. Furthermore I used a Fred Bar to mount my aero bars onto. I read good things about them as they put you a bit more upright while riding in the aero bars. This proved very useful on 10+ hour days in the saddle.

It was amazing to see the bike come together and it’s even more fun to ride. A big shout out goes to Jonty from Revolution Cycles, Oli at Roadworks, Zeph at Cognitive Cycle Works and Kashi at Yeti NZ for all their help. The bike really inspires me to ride just about anywhere. Drop bars and fat tyres go a long way, they are an awesome combo. I did end up swapping the Woodchipper bars for the Cowchipper. The biggest difference is that the Cowchipper allows me to ride off road tracks in my drops. My hands are too small for the Woodchipper and were sliding down going over rough terrain.

To date I have done about 5000km’s on my “one of a kind” Yeti, including the Tour Aotearoa. It has proven to be a great brevet bike for this type of terrain. I would love to take it over to the States one day and ride the Great Divide Ride on it too. Here’s to adventure…!

FRAME: 2015 Yeti ARC Carbon - size medium
FORK: Enve Mountain Fork 29" – tapered steerer, 15 mm through
• PAINTWORK: Custom painted in Yeti turquoise by Guy 
HEADSET: Chris King
HANDLEBAR: Salsa Cowchipper – 44cm wide model
BAR TAPE: Specialized Roubaix Tape plus Bar Phat gel pads
STEM: Thomson Elite x4 stem – 0 degree rise, 70mm extension
BRAKE LEVERS plus SHIFT LEVERS: Gevenalle GX – Compatible with Shimano Dyna-Sys Deraileurs
BRAKES: Avid BB-7 front and rear with sintered pads
BRAKE ROTORS: Shimano XT 160mm front and rear
AERO BARS: Profile Design T3+ Carbon
AERO BAR ACCESSORY: Fred Bar by Siren Bicycles and homemade gps and bike light mount
CABLE ACCESSORY: Jagwire compact adjusters
FRONT DERAILLEUR: Shimano XT direct mount 2×10
REAR DERAILLEUR: Shimano XT – medium cage
CRANKSET: Shimano XT 2x10
BOTTOM BRACKET: Enduro XD15 threaded
CHAINRINGS: Shimano XT 28t - 38t
CASSETTE: Shimano XT – 11- 36
CHAIN: Shimano XT SilTech 10 spd 
PEDALS: Shimano XTR Trail
SADDLE: Specialized Phenom Expert
HUBS: DT Swiss 240’s – front 15x100 & rear 12x142 6 bolt 
RIMS: Light bicycle 29” carbon rims – 30 mm wide and tubeless ready
SPOKES: DT competition
SEALANT: Stans- about 100ml per tire
TIRES:  Schwalbe Thunder Burt SnakeSkin 29×2.1 
WATER BOTTLE MOUNTTrevor’s unique double cage mount
WATER CAGES: Specialized side mount

Tour Aotearoa, a 3000km dirt brevet from Cape Reinga to Bluff