Upgraded and hot-rodded our 2017 Riese & Muller Humage (GT Nuvinci)

bombadero

Active Member
My wife and I have a 2017 R&M Homage, originally the GT Nuvinci variant, and I recently built a new wheel and replaced the drivetrain and have also upgraded a number of other components over recent years and added a tuning chip, so I thought I would post about it in case anyone is interested in doing something similar with a used or older R&M bike, or any other older e-bike with a Bosch Gen 2 CX Performance Line motor and/or an Enviolo Nuvinci N360 IGH. Photos of the finished build are at the end of this post.

So first a little background. We have had this bike for 5 years and collectively we (although mostly it's down to me) have put it through hell. I have definitely pushed it to its limits and beyond on many, many cargo runs on the extremely hilly streets of San Francisco. The most egregious were probably trying to haul 300 pounds of lumber, including a couple of heavy 4x8' sheets of plywood, and on another occasion 245 pounds of plate steel, on a Surly Ted trailer up the hill to our house. On those particular trips, the Bosch motor wasn't quite powerful enough for the task and I had to engage in some pretty strenuous pushing, on foot, in certain sections. However, I always made it home on the bike, and impressively, while I find the Bosch system a little underpowered these days, it never complained or broke down. As I have written elsewhere, we also have a 2007 HP Velotechnik Scorpion FS 20 that my spouse uses sometimes owing to disability and also for running our dog, which I had retrofitted around the same time. And about two years ago I also built a DIY e-bike from Grin components as a more powerful bike tractor for my particular hauling needs while still keeping it on an e-bike.

The R&M was pretty expensive when we got it, as R&M's are. However, after starting to work from home around 2018, and especially after the pandemic, my spouse rode it less and less, and as of early 2020, I had my bike tractor, Bruce the Moose, for running errands. Practical biking is most of the biking I do, so I just didn't have a need to ride the R&M very often. As a dual hub motor, AWD bike that produces something like 162 Nm maximum torque, Bruce is much better at any given hauling task.

This year has been a luckless year for me with Bruce, however. In December of 2021, I had an accident in which I tacoed the rear wheel and had to perform a rim swap. One of my XT90 connectors took mechanical damage in the crash, unbeknownst to me, leading to an arc fault a few rides later that fried my Cycle Analyst and torque sensor. I ordered new ones, and had the additional bad luck of receiving both a lemon torque sensor and a lemon Cycle Analyst. I actually haven't replaced the latter yet, which is still producing really bizarre regenerative braking numbers. Then more recently I braked suddenly on a ride to Sausalito from about 25 MPH, and apparently I had not threadlocked my front disc rotor bolts. As a result, 4 bolts had backed out, meaning all of the braking force in this stop was being held by two bolts, and two or three of the mounting shoulders on the motor casing broke. I RMA'ed it to Grin to replace the cover plate, got it back and starting building the wheel back up, only to find that the technician had misaligned the plate, introducing a 15 degree or so twist to all of my spokes, so I RMA'ed it again, this time free of charge, in order for them to do it correctly. Then I had a skid stop recently (a pattern seems to be developing), in which my rear wheel locked up, which is a common way to stop suddenly on a bicycle. Well apparently that isn't a good idea on a geared hub motor with regenerative braking, because after that stop, now my other motor, the GMAC 10T on the rear of that bike, makes a horrible noise while spinning. I'm currently in the process of trying to troubleshoot that.

So I've found myself needing to rely on the Homage a lot in between all of these repairs as a back-up bike (perhaps one of the fanciest of back-up e-bikes one could own). However, that bike had come to annoy not just myself, but also my spouse for a couple of reasons. In a nutshell, the first was the Bosch CX motor, and the second was the Nuvinci drivetrain.

I have found the Bosch system to be bomb-proof, as I previously stated. However, it is also self-repair-proof as a closed, proprietary system only available on OEM bikes. I had previously looked into re-celling the two 500 Wh Bosch batteries we own, and was annoyed to find that to avoid bricking the BMS on those batteries, you need to wire it in parallel with a benchtop power supply. I am skilled enough now that I will probably do that in the future, but it's still unnecessarily complicated and irksome. I've also just become accustomed to the power, acceleration and torque dual hub motors afford, and going back to a 250W system, however nominal that may be, feels a little lackluster. And lastly, and related to the previous point, I have become habituated to faster than 20 MPH speeds on an e-bike. It used to seem quite fast, but with 5 years of riding experience, it now seems quite sedate. I've found that the 30-35 MPH top-speed range of Bruce is the ideal speed to get sh*t done in an efficient manner and provide more than sufficient ability to manuever around all kinds of traffic. When you are limited to 20, I've found one often finds oneself 'stuck' behind other kinds of traffic because you don't have the speed or acceleration to pass safely, like a motorcycle for instance, would be able to do. There is nothing worse than suddently being stuck between two vehicles at speed.

Then there is the Nuvinci. The Nuvinci N360, in theory, has a range of gear ratios ranging from a factor of 0.5 to 1.8 multiplied times the rear cog. 1.8 divided by 0.5 is 3.6, or 360%, hence the name of the hub, N360. So with, for instance, a 16T rear cog, which we had, that gives you the equivalent of an 8T high gear, and roughly a 29T low gear. About two years ago though, the bike mysteriously got slower and slower, by which I mean the pedals would spin out at lower and lower speeds. At first it wasn't too bad, just a single MPH, but eventually it got so bad it was spinning out at 14 MPH. After a lot of research--watching numerous videos, reading technical manuals from Enviolo--I discovered the culprit. It turns out that there are two rings just outside the hub, but covered by the carrier assembly for the cables, that need to be perfectly aligned in order to calibrate the overdrive on the hub. If they are out of sync, you will shift the entire gear range of the hub down. The overdrive point is the maximum gear ratio, so any other position will only result in lower ratios. So I fixed that, which put the bike back at its usual 20 MPH, but even that maximum speed of a class I e-bike still seemed lackluster. Even my spouse felt this way. They are disabled, so they aren't a particularly strong rider and don't ride the bike as hard as I do, but they too had simply become habituated to that speed.

There is one other very annoying issue with the Nuvinci that breaks the illusion of being low-maintenance. I have had to replace the overdrive cable 3 or 4 times, because it has a tendency to fall out of its guide track. This invariably causes the cable to fray in short order, even when I used tougher Yokozuna cables, liberally greased, and it's impossible to fish the cable out once this happens, so it has to be replaced. This isn't particularly hard, but it is fidgety and a little time consuming, as the cable has to be cut to a precise length, otherwise the gear ratios will again be negatively affected by a too-slack cable, and it also necessitates removing the rear wheel and re-calibrating the overdrive again.

So the first thing I did was to install a Speedbox tuning chip after watching countless videos, mostly by Brits, of Speedbox-tuned bikes, many of them R&M's, hitting or breaking 30 MPH. I took into account the N360's gear ratios, now that I had confirmed restoration of its previous top speed of 20 MPH, and also the conversion factor of the Bosch motor, which is 2.5, and entered these values into a bike calculator online, which predicted similar speeds. Unfortunately, after installing the Speedbox, I was only able to increase the speed by a measly single MPH to 21, 22 if I really cranked. So it seems that N360's advertised ratios are overstated, at least in a 5-year-old hub. I suspect that they are not as maintenance free as advertised and there is some sort of gear wear or something internal causing their reliability to degrade over time. Entering these speeds into a bike calculator again, it seems as if that hub is now producing a range of ratios that is much narrower.

So my next trick was to upgrade the cog on the Bosch to a 22T. Because of the ratio of 2.5 on the Bosch, that is equivalent to a 55T chainring, which is fairly insane. This did increase the top speed to about 24 MPH, 26 at a really hard crank. It also made it very, very difficult to climb anything over an 8% grade while carrying any sort of cargo weight. I found that on a tough grade I frequently climb, I now had to tack back and forth with the Nuvinci cranked all the way down and the Bosch cranked up to Turbo mode to make the climb. Previously I could do it in the 2nd or 3rd assist level at nearly, but not actually, the lowest gear ratio.

So I went back to the calculator and weighed my options. I briefly considered other hubs, but most of them only have 3 or so fixed speeds and are oftentimes intended as a replacement for a front chainring. I considered a Rohloff, but that seemed like an expensive investment in a 5-year-old bike completely out of warranty. I had also seen in multiple YouTube videos from experienced touring bikers and bikepackers that IGH's in general, the Rohloff included, aren't especially great at hill climbing compared to cassettes and rear derailleurs. However, most of these people consider the trade-off in durability and lack of required maintenance to be acceptable, which is fair as they are riding tens of thousands of miles or kilometers in a relatively short span. Our bike has roughly 3,600 miles on it after 5 years, so we don't really need that level of durability. I never seriously considered it, because it is an OEM-only component and is mid-drive mounted, but I was even briefly enamored as well of the Pinion Gearbox and the P-line model's ridiculous 600% gear range.

What I settled on at about a third or a quarter the cost of a Rohloff was a SRAM GX Eagle lunar-edition cassette (10T-52T), the matching derailleur from the groupset, and a Microshift bar-end shifter with the adapter to make it a thumbie. With a range of 520%, it is only 6% behind the highest ranged Rohloffs, which have a range of 526%, for a fraction of the cost. It is true that over time I will have to replace the cassette a few times, and may eventually catch up to the Rohloff in cost, but I'm fine with that, because given the amount of mileage we ride, that cost will have been spread out over decades for that to happen.

I'm pleased to say that I finished the install recently, after building a new rear wheel with a Velocity Dually 650B, 36H rim (had to special order) and a Hope Tech Pro 4 rear hub with Sapim Strong black spokes and Sapim 12mm brass nipples, laced in a 3-cross pattern. I kept the old wheel and shifter to have a back-up transmission just in case anything goes wrong. I completed the install with a KMC EPT 12-speed e-bike chain, and upgraded the tires from Schwalbe Super Moto-X's to Schwalbe Hurricanes. It now has a pleasingly fast top speed around 30 MPH. It can technically go faster--according to a bike calculator it should top out at 41--but because of that insane front cog on the Bosch, I actually can't access anything higher than maybe 4th gear on flats. I can only access 1-3 going downhill, which I actually find kind of nice, as 30 MPH is plenty fast on flats, and it's actually kind of nice being able to shift higher and still have pedal resistance when traveling downhill, as it is easier to control a bicycle while pedaling than while coasting. On most bikes, you'll spin out coasting downhill rather quickly. That said, I have ordered a 20T and an 18T to experiment with, which would be equivalent to a 50T and 45T respectively, as I've found the lower gears still a little tougher than I would like. That said, even with a 55T-equivalent monster Bosch cog in the front, it's already better at climbing than the N360 was with the same cog, which bodes well. That same stretch of grade is once again climbable in a straight line, although I do still have to use Turbo and be in 10th-12th gear depending on which section of that grade I am on. I also had to trim a bit more of my rear fender out of the way on the drive side, more than an inch, because the chain angle is so extreme on the 52T rear sprocket that chain slap while pedaling was causing the chain to grind the fender rather unpleasantly. Smaller cogs should paradoxically allow me to bike even faster on flats by unlocking higher gears, with the trade-off that I won't have as much downhill pedal resistance.

Otherwise, she runs phenomenally well now... feels like a brand new bike. The patina of scratches and wear on the frame and Bosch components gives away her true age, but the bike is a high-range beast now. Since it's a Bosch though, it's still a very refined beast, unlike Bruce. Acceleration never feels jerky or rough, because the amperage and the assistance algorithm are the same. All the tuning chip does is remove the speed limit for assistance so you can unlock the higher gear ratios of a drivetrain. While climbing, there is no risk of any issues, as you are by definition doing less than 20 MPH just owing to gearing, so the bike isn't doing anything it would not do ordinarily. At higher speeds, it is of course providing assistance when it normally would not, but by definition this is on flats or downhill, which means torque is low. I have not noticed any problems with overheating or anything like that. The Hurricane tires also seem to be a big upgrade over the Super Moto-X's, which come highly regarded in reviews, but in my own experience in 5 years of riding on them, seem to be overhyped. I've probably had 3 or 4 wipeouts on the Super Moto-X's, once on wet leaves, once on slick asphalt, and once on loose scree. They're not necessarily designed for those surfaces, but in each case I was moving in a straight line around 10 MPH. The Hurricanes on the other hand are, as far as my own hearing is concerned, completely silent, and feel extremely responsive on recent rides. Despite being the same width as the Super Moto-X's, you can feel the road surface with much more definition. I found the Super Moto-X's to have a bit of a spongy feel, a bit like wearing mittens, whereas the Hurricanes feel like form-fitting gloves. They also corner supremely well, do great on wet asphalt, and are supposed to have much better off-road grip, which I haven't tested just yet. I was surprised to find how much more nimble they make me on the bike today in street traffic on Valencia Street. I had to perform a number of sudden dodges, and each one felt much crisper, cleaner and faster than they would have been on the Super Moto-X's. Can't speak highly enough of these tires. Time will tell, but if they display the same Schwalbe toughness I have witnessed already in Super Moto-X's, Marathons, Marathon Pluses, Marathon GT 365's and Pick-ups, I have no doubt they will be just as durable.

I'd like to try the Johnny Watts 365's at some point, which are supposed to be even better all-rounder tires.

I have also been really surprised at both how much lighter, and simultaneously stronger, the new wheel feels without that N360 hub in there. I did not realize how much noticeable weight a larger IGH adds over a conventional hub.

So other changes I made earlier over the past couple of years include:

  • Upgrading to Ergon Bioleder GP1 grips. The original rubber Ergon's got fairly shredded after a few years of rough use. I applied some Sno-seal to the new ones to protect them from wet conditions, and they don't show any of the signs of wear the rubber grips would show after a couple of years.
  • Upgraded from Shimano hydraulic brakes to Magura MT5 E-stops.
  • Changed rotors and pads to Trickstuff. They are expensive, but magical. They more than pay for themselves in durability, longevity, the braking power they add and silence. They are the only rotors and pads I have had that require no bedding whatsoever, and only produce noise if the alignment is off or they are wet or dirty. None of the squealing you get from most rotors and pads after they are first installed before bedding in. The pads wear much more slowly, and the rotors much, much more slowly--I'm still over 2mm on the rotors after a couple of years of hill riding.
  • Upgraded the seatpost to a PNW Bachelor.
  • Added a Spurcycle bell and a Juiced Bikes horn/bike alarm.
  • Changed the saddle to a Selle Royal Float unisex saddle that is comfortable for both of us despite different anatomy.
Photos:

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The finished bike.
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A couple angles of the new wheel and drivetrain.
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Cockpit.
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Hurricanes.
 
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bombadero

Active Member
So I switched to a 20T in the front and the results are interesting. I was wrong about it unlocking even faster speeds by allowing me to access the higher gears on the flats. Well, it allows me to do that more easily now, but she tops out around 31 or 32 MPH now depending on the cadence, which I'm not complaining about. It's still kind of difficult to get to the highest gears on flats, you have to treat it more like a car with a manual transmission, shifting up underway as you gain speed and shifting down approaching lights. That will probably mean more rapid wear, but it is definitely a more enjoyable experience I feel. I'm already over the ability to instantly shift that an IGH offers, TBH, because that is more than offset by the other benefits. I still have a couple of high gears that work best on a slight downhill, I tested those on a street with a bit of a dip in it near our house the other day, and still hit 37 MPH and managed to quickly catch up to a Tesla X that was almost a block away after hard acceleration.

Hill climbing was more predictable, it is much easier to climb steep hills on just about any terrain now, as the entire range is shifted lower with the equivalent of a 50T on the front as opposed to a 55T equivalent. It's still rideable by the SO, which is important. I really can't be happier with how much more manueverable it is with a lighter and stronger rear wheel. No offense to anyone else with a Nuvinci N360, we had it on this bike for nearly 5 years, but it really is night and day.

The Hurricane tires are also a massive improvement over the Super Moto-X tires, again I'm really blown away by how stark the difference is. We like to ride around the dirt tracks at Golden Gate Park, which are honestly pretty great for a public park in the middle of an urban environment. It isn't Whistler or Moab or anything, but there are some light technical areas, low dirt jumps people have built up on their own, tree branches and roots ocassionally, and a pretty diverse mix of sand, dirt, mud, gravel, scree, hardpack, you name it, so in addition to being a lot of fun, it's also a great place to test off-road bike components. I always thought I was just unskilled and bad at riding in the sand, but with these tires I discovered the new (to me) super power of being able to ride in fairly deep sand. They stick on the corners on every surface including wet pavement, have low rolling resistance on roads, are nimble in quick road manuevers, handle hard braking with a minimum of skid, and they're just as durable as the Super Moto X's... I'm just really amazed by these tires. And the Johnny Watts 365's are supposed to be even better! Hard to believe.

So it's not quite a mountain bike, but in the weird sort of hybrid space the Homage inhabits, I've definitely pushed it much more in the mountain and gravel direction, which I think, ironically, probably makes it a better touring or bikepacking bike, which is supposedly what it was designed for by R&M. I'm not really an experienced mountain/downhill/trail rider myself, but if you are, this bike would do in a pinch, whereas before it was actually kind of dangerous on certain surfaces. I really think it is the perfect all-rounder bike now, as it does amazingly well in urban conditions, whether hauling cargo or groceries or zipping around town, but also eats up mud-encrusted, lumpy hills, and rides confidently through deep sand, over exposed roots and scree. If you have a 3- or 4- or 5-year-old Homage with a Nuvinci and you like or need to do all of these things, this set of upgrades comes highly recommended by myself at least.

It's really fun rambling and zipping around the city with the 22T installed, and it's pretty easy to swap the cogs out--I don't really even need to do anything to the chain, as chain-wrap isn't appreciably different--so I might just swap the 22 back in there from time to time for fun. But honestly, the 20T is kind of the sweet spot for me. If you threw an 18T in there it might top out around 25MPH, but the hill climbing would be pretty amazing with a low gear ratio around 0.87. For me, however, the current ratio of 0.96 is working really well and I like being able to hit 30 MPH 'dry' and keep ahead of the car traffic off the light. There's a light near our house I often start from, again with a slight downhill grade, and I hit 40 MPH today, keeping up with a motorcycle, and was able to maintain 25 MPH up the slight uphill grade leading up to the next light. I had a heavy grocery haul yesterday, and the effect was that it basically reverted the bike to a Class I e-bike, as I was topping out around 20 on flats. If you crank around 80 or 90 RPMs with no weight, it settles right into 28 MPH, perfect California Class III speed.

I will say it requires a little more athleticism than the Nuvinci drivetrain. However, as I said the SO can still ride it, as the gear range is so massive on a 12-speed 10/52T cassette. They just shift down a few gears from where I usually like to ride. They don't tend to do the big cargo hauls that I do, so they still have plenty of hill climbing range on our steep hills here in SF. My daily rider still needs to be fixed, and is still more powerful, but I'm really pleased to have a back-up bike that is this capable now.
 

bombadero

Active Member
Okay, last update on this bike mod. Yesterday I took the dog in her trailer to do some reactivity training and visit the dog park in GGP without the SO. On solo rides, I tend to ride more aggressively, and I found the hard limit of the Hurricanes. As I mentioned before, GGP has a lot of off-road trails, and I tried a few new trails I hadn't been on before with downhills and a lot of roots and scree. Having the dog trailer with a 60 lb. dog in it, plus roadside tools, spare battery and large water bottles for me and the dog, means I was towing probably around 110 lbs. I almost wiped out several times headed down these trails, because the tires don't grip enough on these surfaces moving downhill, while the wheels are also locking up under the heavy braking required, which turns the trailer into a 110 lb. ram pushing you from behind, which, with locked wheels, wants to push the bike over. So I had to walk some sections. That said, backtracking the same sections uphill, no problems. Like I said before, this transmission coupled with these tires eats rotty, knotty, lumpy, muddy hills for lunch. With no trailer and better trail skills, a lot of these sections would be fine downhill with these tires... the solution is the downhill rider's solution of sending it. If you aren't braking, you're probably fine on these surfaces. However, there are a lot of people randomly hiking these trails as it is an urban park, even if it's the largest one in the continental US, so in the event you did need to brake suddenly, you would be screwed. The brush is pretty dense, and these were steep, windy trails, so it would be easy to miss someone until it was too late.

Not that this is any indictment of the Hurricanes--I still think they are the best all-rounder tires I have ever ridden on, and they perform exactly as Schwalbe bills them, in fact substantially better. They just aren't full-blown mountain tires, and they aren't marketed that way. As I said though, again, amazing in the sand, even if you hit the sand at speed from a harder surface. That move used to almost knock me over on the Super Moto-X's. I should mention this is without airing the tires down at all--they're at around 30-35 PSI right now. But they ride like 5-10 PSI fatties in the sand. And of course, amazing on roads, wet roads, mud, gravel, hard pack, roots, et cetera. I also rode over some damp leaves, a notoriously slick surface, with no issues. I still highly recommend them, and I'm also still very curious about the Johnny Watts 365's, which are supposed to have better off-road grip but the same durability and rolling resistance. If I ever try those out, I'll post findings here.

There is a comparison chart on this page for the Johhny Watts on Schwalbe's site under the Best Use section. You can see the Smart Sams are just slightly behind the Johhny Watts for off-road capability. Note there are even better versions of the Smart Sams and Johnny Watts called Smart Sam Plus and Johnny Watts 365. Also note that the Hurricanes are not considered suitable at all for soft conditions, while I have found them quite capable in mud, sand and wet, lumpy grass.
 
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Alaskan

Well-Known Member
Terrific and creative job modifying a great bike. I owned a 2018 Homage HS Rohloff and ended up Jonesing for a chain and derailleur set up. The eagle 12 is a brilliant solution. I have a Shimano 12speed on my Trek Allant 99.9s with the 1--51 tooth cassette and ended up installing a Sram AXfS wireless derailleur. If I were you I would put that on my wish list. I have not touched that derailleur in two years and over 3500 miles. Hurricanes are the perfect tire for that bike. Nice front fork upgrade too!

If you want to get way more life out of your new drive train, develop the habit of taking pressure off your pedals when you shift gears. It is easiest to do this when the pedals are high and low as you are already putting the least torque into the cranks already. You will notice shifting becomes quieter and smoother which translates into less wear on the chain and cogs and can double the life of those parts.
I also put custom walnut and wenge wooden fenders on my Homage, really solid and quite pretty. They were custom made by Woody's fenders. I still have them but have sold the bike. If you are interested PM me. They will fit perfectly.

Way to get a whole new life out of your bike!

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bombadero

Active Member
Terrific and creative job modifying a great bike. I owned a 2018 Homage HS Rohloff and ended up Jonesing for a chain and derailleur set up. The eagle 12 is a brilliant solution. I have a Shimano 12speed on my Trek Allant 99.9s with the 1--51 tooth cassette and ended up installing a Sram AXfS wireless derailleur. If I were you I would put that on my wish list. I have not touched that derailleur in two years and over 3500 miles. Hurricanes are the perfect tire for that bike. Nice front fork upgrade too!

If you want to get way more life out of your new drive train, develop the habit of taking pressure off your pedals when you shift gears. It is easiest to do this when the pedals are high and low as you are already putting the least torque into the cranks already. You will notice shifting becomes quieter and smoother which translates into less wear on the chain and cogs and can double the life of those parts.
I also put custom walnut and wenge wooden fenders on my Homage, really solid and quite pretty. They were custom made by Woody's fenders. I still have them but have sold the bike. If you are interested PM me. They will fit perfectly.

Way to get a whole new life out of your bike!

The fork is actually stock, it was a factory upgrade when we originally bought it, and it's a great fork. We don't ride it hard enough, or often enough, to need to service it yet, even after 5 years of use; the bike has about 3,700 miles on it.

Thanks for the shifting tips; I don't know if we'll put an automatic derailleur on that bike, but I've run the numbers and a similar setup would actually expand the gear range on the SO's recumbent trike from an already respectable 522% to a gobsmacking 605%, with better climbing ability and faster top speed like the bike in this post, while also getting rid of the front detailleur (which is notoriously difficult to tune on the trike due to the chain slop in a triple-length chain), so I'm thinking of going with the Eagle there as well when I upgrade the whole trike from its current GSD-based factory system to a DIY-based system in the future. GSD is out of business and my spouse is disabled and could use little more oomph, although the GSD system is honestly very good. They gave Bosch a run for their money with better acceleration, regenerative braking and equal levels of durability, it's really a shame they failed. The irony is that at the time everybody thought mid-drives were making hub motors obsolete, but hub motors have actually made a huge comeback since then because they have better acceleration, don't require specialized frames, are cheaper, and can incorporate regenerative braking, which is impossible for mid-drives.

I've always wanted a set of Woody's and even contacted him once about a set for my fully DIY e-bike, nicknamed Bruce, which I didn't end up getting... I just ordered a new set of SKS Bluemels 75U for the Homage though, because the rear fender has finally had it. Our rear geometry is slightly different as well. Those Woody's do look awfully nice though. I'm curious, did you have any frame rubbing from the fender stays when the rear shock is compressed? That was a problem for me, after I had to replace the original, stock aluminum stays when they failed, with standard stays. It looks like he did an amazing job bending the stays in so they don't rub the frame.

Funny you mention the Shimano 12-speed--I don't have that one, but have a very similar Shimano 11-speed cassette (11-50T) on Bruce, and successfully paired it with a 3-ring crankset. I didn't expect it to work, but it shifts cleaner than any bike I've ever owned, and it just worked after installation without any tuning, which has never happened for me, before or since. I was thinking of going Eagle on that bike too, but ran the numbers and realized that because I managed to get a 3x11 transmission to work properly, Bruce already has an insane range of 838%. That said, since SRAM cassettes and Shimano cranksets are compatible, if I managed to get an Eagle cassette and derailleur to work, it would increase to an even more insane 960%!!! I might have to try that some day just because it's possible.
 

Alaskan

Well-Known Member
I had the same Fox suspension fork and shock on my Homage. It was ordered as a factory upgrade over the Suntour which was standard.
I mounted the fenders myself and did some custom bending to make sure the stay cleared at all times.
 

steve mercier

Well-Known Member
Nice bike and an interesting history ! I found that a 21 cog up front suits me best on my Gen 2 cx motor on my 2019 Charger GT tour with an 11-42 , 11 spd cassette. At the time I bought it they had a Nuvinci in stock as well as my 11 speed. The store had changed hands and were clearing them both out as they were no longer an R+M dealer. I could have my choice and both were the same price but I took the cassette because I was afraid of the unknown in the Nuvinci. With this setup I can still climb pretty much anything and the ( de-limited ) top speed matches my leg strength. I go through cassettes , chains and front rings like water though ( the Charger has 37,000 km on it now), and always wondered if I made the right choice , but reading your story I know that I ( like you ) cannot abide a slow bike ( I installed a Bikespeed RS after reading Alaskan had done it ) so frequent replacement of these 3 parts are the price I must pay. I bought the tools and have learned to do this work myself now. One thing I would like to mention in regards to 11 speeds ,12 speeds etc.. is this. In the Spring I picked up a used bike with the same gen 2 CX motor which came with a 9 speed cassette. On this bike I tried using a MUCH cheaper cassette ( try $31.49 cdn for an 11-40 Sunrace instead of $139.99 Deore XT 11-42 ! ) I am here to testify that the 9 speed (even with a cheaper Shimano derailleur ) shifts smoother , climbs just as well and goes faster than the bike with the Deore XT 11 speed. Also 9 speed chains are markedly cheaper (and possibly slightly longer wearing ) than their 11 speed equivalents. Of course part of the reason this bike goes faster must be attributed to the tire difference ( new bike has 1.75 " Marathon Plus tires on it while the Charger has Marathon MTB 2.35". Nevertheless I have become a big big fan of 9 speeds. In fact I would not hesitate to change the Charger over to a 9 speed when it comes time to replace the derailleur. Cheerio folks.
 
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