Nevo GX Rohloff as touring bike

Dionigi

Well-Known Member
#1
One of the great bike touring adventures of the world is riding along the California coast. Here in Santa Cruz we see an endless parade of Americans and Europeans fulfilling their dream of riding from San Fransisco down the central coast, passing through rugged and majestic Big Sur on their way south to San Luis Obispo. Almost all are under 40 and riding either lightly packed road bikes or true touring bikes with front and rear matching panniers. 90% of the bikes have drop handlebars and gear for the endless amount of ascent.
So it seems silly for a 70 year old couple with step-through electric bikes to join the fold. Well, we did and loved every minute. To clarify, our trek was abbreviated. It was a 100 mile round trip between Santa Cruz and Monterey with 2000 feet of ascent, but still the sense of adventure was present.


The Gear
Our bikes were 2019 Riese and Müller Nevo; one had dual batteries and the second one carried a second battery in a trunk bag. Lynn, who is 80 pounds lighter than me, carried her 7 pound spare battery and I carried the 27 pound panniers loaded with 2 battery chargers, change of clothing, rain gear and a signed copy of One Hundred Years of Solitude. So I was the mule and Lynn was the trailblazer. Our Google navigation directions were channeled into the Sena helmet speakers, making every turn well known in advance. The bikes were flawless, the hard tail design provided the most effect transfer of power on paved surfaces and the upright riding position, although a wind catcher, was the most comfortable.

The Proper Attire
This might not be our strong point, with my stout Calabrian form a spandex outfit would contour oddly. Luckily, there was a 50% discount at the Santa Cruz Patagonia outlet, so I opted for green climbing pants to clash wonderfully with my discounted orange jacket. Lynn, not wanting to buy Patagonia, even at a 50% discount, opted for her Zumba outfit paired with a purple puffy jacket. We were noticed!

What We Saw on Our Way to Monterey
For the southern route from Santa Cruz to Monterey we headed into the hills toward the Elkhorn Slough. The route was through rolling hills surrounded by farm fields. The hill climbing did its job by raising our heart rate to our target numbers.

The Acknowledgment
On these back roads there is a continues flow of trekker traffic in both directions. So who do you acknowledge with a simple hand gesture? As the senior tourer riding in the relaxed upright position, shouldn’t we be acknowledged? It doesn’t work that way. In fact, I’m not sure what’s the proper protocol other than some primal feeling similar to two dogs meeting for the first time.
The farmers’ fields dropped us into the town of Marina and the Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail. This 18 mile trail parallels the blue skied framed seascapes of Monterey Bay. After 50 miles in four hours we made it to our destination.


Accommodations
The image of riding down California Highway 1 on a Tout Terrain Silkroad touring bike and then stopping at dusk to build a fire and pitch a tent on a remote central coast beach is not lost with age. But checking into a Hyatt and sitting in front of a remote controlled simulated fireplace after an overpriced mediocre dinner also has its merits. A hot shower, king sized bed and countless USB ports is priceless.

What We Saw on Our Way back to Santa Cruz
On Monday morning we started our return to Santa Cruz, this time electing to go against the Google bike path and follow the coast line while zigging slightly inland past the agriculture processing plants and endless fields of strawberries, artichokes and brussel sprouts. This is the heart of the nation’s produce production. This is the land of John Steinbeck. The field hands are no longer from Oklahoma, but from our southern neighbors. The work is still backbreaking and the workers are still trying to better their lives. The workers at this level, I guess, will always be demonized by those not bending over in the hot sun. After the sobering fields we find ourself in Moss Landing at Phil’s Fish Eatery. Back on the road after lunch, the only possible route takes us onto the shoulder of Highway 1 for a 2 mile interval, again zigging in and out of the farmers’ fields.


The Confrontation
On the final leg of our 100 mile odyssey, we were stopped at a traffic light on Soquel Ave when we noticed, in our massive Busch and Müller mirrors, 3 German kids came towards us (I say German but they could have been any generic northern European). Their road bikes were laden with touring gear. But to our surprise, they aggressively jockeyed in front of us. Big Mistake. The traffic signal was on our last climb to our home, our turf, our hood.
Yes, it was a true age and culture confrontation. The one German (maybe Dane) looked at me like a 30 year old looks at a 70 year old in a competitive contemptuous situation. The challenge was on.
As the light turned green, the Germans (could be Swedes, no they’re too passive) stood on their clipless pedals and swayed and grunted to build their ascent. I, by contrast, squatted into my Mary Poppins position and put the bike in turbo. The NorEuros ate my dust. At the hill's crest my legs flew into a victory split (split might be an exaggeration).


On Tuesday, after a good night’s sleep, we returned to our non-touring lives. Our bikes transformed back to errand-running, grandchildren visiting, transports.
 

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bradl

New Member
#6
A very enjoyable read. Thank you for sharing the story and the pictures!

How do you (or Lynn) feel about carrying the extra battery on longer trips vs dual-battery. I'm really torn on dual-battery as I *believe* I would rarely need it (and, shamefully, the aesthetics). Was a spare battery easy to obtain?
 

Dionigi

Well-Known Member
#7
A very enjoyable read. Thank you for sharing the story and the pictures!

How do you (or Lynn) feel about carrying the extra battery on longer trips vs dual-battery. I'm really torn on dual-battery as I *believe* I would rarely need it (and, shamefully, the aesthetics). Was a spare battery easy to obtain?
That's a good question that we also spent time addressing. The piggybacked power pack battery on the dual battery system is not very attractive. The model with the enclosed power tube battery, minus the dual battery, has an elegant look, unfortunately carrying a second power-tube battery would not be practical. The power tube is just too long to fit in a trunk bag. Lynn choose the Nevo Vario 26" model and then purchased a 400 whr power pack-battery from Propel for $500. The second battery fits nicely in an Ortlieb trunk bag and the bicycle has a much cleaner look. Both systems worked well on the trip to Monterey. On our return trip, of 47 miles, the dual battery system had three bars (a not very accurate system of measurement on the Intuvia) and Lynn had one bar left and never used the second battery. On more hill terrain both systems work great and allow the use of higher power levels without having battery anxiety.
 

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Mr. Coffee

Well-Known Member
#8
... On our return trip, of 47 miles, the dual battery system had three bars (a not very accurate system of measurement on the Intuvia) and Lynn had one bar left and never used the second battery.
Yes, I find the distance remaining display on the Intuvia gives you a better and more finely-grained feel for how much battery you have left than the 5-bar system or probably even a straight-up percentage display. And yes, it does have its quirks and the estimated distance can change disconcertingly with terrain changes.

Have you had any trouble with hotels and storing your bikes in your room? And how helpful have hotels been with respect to allowing you to use a hose to wash your bike after a day's ride?
 
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Alaskan

Well-Known Member
#9
Great write up Dennis. It is looking suspiciously green around those parts with flooded fields and all. curious to see what your bike looks like all kitted out. Hers is a gem.
 

Dionigi

Well-Known Member
#10
Great write up Dennis. It is looking suspiciously green around those parts with flooded fields and all. curious to see what your bike looks like all kitted out. Hers is a gem.
Yes, the fields are water saturated, all those years of drought and now the rolling hills look like Ireland. The forecast looks great giving us a month to accuminate as many rides as possible. We joined the local bike club which had two to three rides per week in our class (retired persons with rides averaging 30 miles and less than 2000’ ascent). They also seem curious and welcome ebikes.
How is your recovery for the open door run-in?
 
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Dionigi

Well-Known Member
#11
Yes, I find the distance remaining display on the Intuvia gives you a better and more finely-grained feel for how much battery you have left than the 5-bar system or probably even a straight-up percentage display. And yes, it does have its quirks and the estimated distance can change disconcertingly with terrain changes.

Have you had any trouble with hotels and storing your bikes in your room? And how helpful have hotels been with respect to allowing you to use a hose to wash your bike after a day's ride?
We called ahead and asked if the bikes could be put in out room. The room assigned was quite spacious so it worked out well. We brought our own “rags” and wiped down the bikes in the parking lot before bringing them into the room.
 

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#12
I am 76 and wife is 73; I just bought a Homage for my wife but it is too heavy. It may end up being my bike. I am thinking about getting her a 26 inch Nevo like your wife has. My wife is 5ft 6.5inches and I think it might fit her and she could handle it better than the bigger Homage. It is at least 10 - 15 lbs lighter. From your wife's experience, do you (or any one else) have any thoughts on this. She has been riding a converted (Bionx) rivendell ehomer hilsen with 26 inch wheels.
 

Dionigi

Well-Known Member
#13
The 26” Nevo is a very agile bike, as compared to the Nevo GH or GX, and it seems lighter than both. Lynn is 5”5.5”, the seat post is about 2” exposed below the suspension part of the post, making a nice handlebar reach. I have to lift both bikes onto a bike rack and the weight difference is noticeable. We have had nothing but positive experiences with the 26” Nevo and although the size the bike for persons 5’ to 5’5” I feel it would fit a person with a larger torso up to 5’9”.
 
#14
Mr Dionigi, thank you for your thoughtful and helpful reply. We live in KC with the closest dealer in Denver -- 600 miles away. In the meantime, today we looked at a Gazelle Arroyo C8 HMB Elite medium frame -- 27 inch wheels -- the dealer is 2 miles away. It is much lighter than the Culture (I mistakenly said Homage) with an upright seating position which she likes.

Your response makes the 26 inch wheel Nevo very tempting. Might it be more nimble and responsive and easier to handle (safer) than the Gazelle with the larger wheels? Does your wife sit almost up right on the Nevo in a comfortable "all day" position without sore shoulders and neck? If so, we might just go ahead an order the 26 inch Nevo. Thoughts? Much thanks . . . Jack
 

Dionigi

Well-Known Member
#15
Mr Dionigi, thank you for your thoughtful and helpful reply. We live in KC with the closest dealer in Denver -- 600 miles away. In the meantime, today we looked at a Gazelle Arroyo C8 HMB Elite medium frame -- 27 inch wheels -- the dealer is 2 miles away. It is much lighter than the Culture (I mistakenly said Homage) with an upright seating position which she likes.

Your response makes the 26 inch wheel Nevo very tempting. Might it be more nimble and responsive and easier to handle (safer) than the Gazelle with the larger wheels? Does your wife sit almost up right on the Nevo in a comfortable "all day" position without sore shoulders and neck? If so, we might just go ahead an order the 26 inch Nevo. Thoughts? Much thanks . . . Jack
The best solution is to test ride the 26” Nevo. We typically ride 30 to 50 miles in a day, in an upright riding position, without any upper body discomfort. I’m not familiar with the Gazelle but the smaller 26” wheels does make it easier to have your feet on the ground quicker when needed.