Next chapter...What's this?!?
The Tubus Cargo Evo rack arrived at REI today, and after mounting, it didn't look right. I discovered in fine print on the packaging...they had mis-filled my order at the warehouse
The rack I received is the one intended to fit even a "29er", a bike running really fat MTB tires on 700C rims and/or 26" bikes, the latter leaving an awful
lot of clearance above the rear fender. It is ridiculously tall on Sherpa with fenders and 26x2.0 Duremes, and because of the height, I cannot fit the previous load atop the rack because it won't clear the Ortlieb underseat tool bag. Despite the published specs saying there is a 13mm/.5in difference in height, the sticker on the hardware package with this rack claims a "+2cm" designation, more than .75in. The lower model would still clear the rear fender by quite a lot...and I'm running pretty generous fender clearances.
Since the rack is now mounted to the bike, I will go ahead and test-ride it and see if it fixes the handling problem. I have placed a new order for yet another of the proper size, it will arrive in a week (another week!
More delay...), and hopefully the order will be filled correctly and all will be well.Observations; "Evo" does indeed mean "developed further"
Meantime, I have some observations about the new-for-2012 Tubus Cargo Evo in my possession...1)
It is not made in Germany or the Eurozone, but in Taiwan, according to the plastic bag that contained it.2)
The little plastic tube end plugs...all mine were missing but one. They're poor-quality plastic and a little undersized. They must have fallen out in handling at some point before ever reaching me.3)
Unlike earlier Tubii, this model is not brazed, but TiG-welded. I think this may be a good thing. It always concerned me the brazed side joints on early Tubus racks weren't coped or mitered in any way. By welding, the steel is actually melted together. Sure doesn't look as neat, however.4)
The finish is incredibly fragile, at least compared to the Surly. One single fitting
of the pannier hooks left permanent marks. If it matters to someone, the finish is well toward the glossy side of satin, rather than matte.5)
The tube diameters are the same as the Surly at 10mm, but the 11mm Ortlieb hook adapters rattle noticeably compared to the Surly. Leaves a lot of room for anti-scratch wrapping. No protective "foil" tapes were included as in the past. This point is made in the instructions.6)
The mounting instructions on Tubus' website are labeled a "Preliminary Version!". And is! Even the instructions that arrived with the rack shows fastener types that do not match what came in the package, and the designations are "off".7)
Unlike their earlier racks, Tubus chose to use Torx bolts to hold the mounting rods and hardware at the front of the rack. Though the instructions designate them as T25, they are really T20...an odd size not many cyclists would already carry. The remainder of the mounting bolts are stainless allen bolts (though the instructions designate all-Torx). The Nylock-style nuts weren't very grippy; I'll use Loctite if I keep the rack. I'll also probably substitute stainless hex-head bolts for their ease of use and greater head-torque rating.8 )
The stainless steel mounting hardware was really crudely machined with lots of tool marks and no cleanup. I found this out when I slid one eyebolt over the black-anodized forward mounting strut...and left behind a trail of silver scratches through the anodizing. I had to go to work on the second one with my jeweler's and riffler files to get it to fit at all.9)
Tubus' new "3-D" lower mounting bracket is not stamped as has been reported on the 'Net. Instead, it appears to be an investment casting. The mounting hole would accept a 6mm bolt. Unfortunately, the well for the bolt precludes use of a hex-head bolt (no socket wall clearance), and there is no room for a flat washer beneath the bolt head. Some small-diameter washers were included in the mounting kit, but remained unaddressed in the instructions. I'll bet I know what they're for. [EDIT: Yep; the small washers can be stacked under the lower 5mm allenhead bolt to adjust the effective length of the bolt so it doesn't foul top-gear on the cassette].10)
Unlike the earlier flat, stamped-steel lower mounting plate, the 3-D mounts do not include a mounting eyelet for fender stays. Unfortunately, the rear rack struts come almost exactly over my upper fender stays for the rear fender, causing interference with the rack and pannier hooks as well as noise (the fender stays rattle against the rack struts). Tubus offer a small stainless steel bracket that attaches between the rack's taillight bracket and the rear fender, obviating the need for the upper fender stays. Yes, I will need that accessory bracket. I'm guessing most Thorn owners running SKS 55mm fenders and this Tubus rack would need the bracket also.The Surly Nice Rack (Rear) has to be the problem
Before fitting the Tubus Cargo Evo rack today, I removed the Surly Nice Rack (Rear). This just has to be the source or at least a major cause of the wobbles. Not only is the rack an untriangulated 3-sided box with squashed-tube mounting brackets with the narrow dimension inline with the frame and offering no resistance to lateral movement...the front two mounting stays cannot be made to stay tight
. I know they were tight to spec when I installed the rack, and I used blue Loctite to secure the grub screws. Off the bike, these forward mounting stays are so loose they wobble 5mm each way when I shake the rack. Worse, they don't stay tight. It appears there is not enough captured area in the radius of the mounting spacers to prevent the brackets from moving sideways. Yes, they were secured to Sherpa's mounting bosses, but even so, when the rack wobbled, the stays moved as well because of their thin, narrow mounting points. This would surely (Surly?) explain the origin of the wobble and why it progressively worsened throughout my testing. It wasn't present in earlier test rides with even more weight overall.
The good news is that -- even in a size too large/tall -- the Tubus Cargo Evo is worlds more stable and I really can't move it more than a mm or so in toto with lateral hand pressure at the extreme end of the last bag-stabilizer strut, which is not itself directly load-bearing.Uh-oh; the Rack Search continues
Trying my Ortlieb BikePacker Plus bags on the Tubus Cargo Evo did point up some differences in dimensions compared to the Surly, causing some problems; these may cause me to consider the Tubus Logo Evo instead:
The top deck on the Cargo Evo is considerably narrower than the Surly (114mm/4.5in Cargo Evo vs 160mm/6.3in). Unlike Ortlieb's Roller bags that end essentially at the top of the stiffener (plus the roll), the Packer bags have a drawstring and overcap closure, which allows them to stand well proud of the rack-top -- 11.4cm/4.5in when full. As a result, the Packers leave a valley between the two caps. If one carries a dry sack crosswise atop the rear rack (as I do; it holds my sleeping bag and pad, silk liner and air pillow), that valley has to be filled to make the dry sack stable in carry. With the Surly's wider rack, I was able to better fill the valley with my 10l MSR Dromedary water bag and a little 3/8" closed-cell foam sit-pad that also protected the rack and load from each other and the pannier hooks. The narrower top of the Cargo Evo doesn't allow for this very well. I can use the Dromedary filled with water or air as a spacer of sorts, but it is really too wide. Similarly, I can put the tent lengthwise on the rack to fill the valley, but it is too tall, making a fulcrum for the drysack to pivot on. Logo Evo's differ'nt. Way. And maybe better for my needs
The Logo has a second set of pannier-hook mounting rails situated 58mm/2.3in below the rack-top. Although the Logo Evo's top deck is even narrower than the Cargo Evo (85mm/3.3in at the front, 99mm/3.9in at the rear in a wedge shape vs the Cargo Evo's 114mm/4.5in parallel), I think putting the bags and their extended caps lower would allow me to use the caps to effectively extend the rack-top, giving a more stable platform for my rack-top load. The panniers and everything atop them would ride 58mm/2.3in lower, lowering the center of gravity and giving needed clearance beneath the Ortlieb underseat tool bag to get the rack-top load farther forward. The downside? The panniers would have to ride exactly 12.7mm/.5in further rearward to give the same heel clearance. Sounds like a fair trade for more stability and less risk of sway/shimmy. An added benefit? The Logo Evo is rated to clear 65mm fenders and 60mm tires vs the Cargo Evo's rating of 55mm fenders and 50mm tires. It should solve the problem of fender stay-rack interference I have now.
On the downside, I expect the Logo Evo to work miserably with my rack-top pack for day rides. Maybe I can put a stiffener in the bottom of the rack-pack and tie the front to the seatpost to aid stability. The Logo Evo's platform is really too narrow to support such a bag very well. I'll have to deal with that later. Right now, the priority is to make Sherpa expedition-worthy.So...now what?
I guess the thing to do is to send for a Logo Evo and give it a try as well. Now I know the finish can be scarred by a single mounting of the bags, I will wrap it with tape first and if it doesn't work, off to eBay it goes. It is a little sobering to think I will have USD$400 in racks charged to my card until I figure this out, but I'm getting desperate. Time is my biggest factor. I have arranged my work and appointments for this window in time, and if I have much more delay, it will affect the kind/length of trip I can take (and the four+ months' planning that went into it). Much more delay will also put me into really torrid weather, and that has serious implications for desert travel. Ground temps of 134F/57C are hard to deal with. In midsummer 2010, I ran into air temps of 125F/52C while climbing Fort Rock and it was pretty enervating. Yeah, better to send for a bunch of racks and try them in a short timeframe than miss my departure date by too much. I can always sell the unwanted the racks after I return.Making the best of the meantime
Meantime, I'll try the too-big Cargo Evo that is now on the bike to see how it works. The shorter, properly-sized one has got to be even stiffer, so if I get good results with reducing or stopping the wobbles with this one, I'll know I'm on the right track.Any more ideas on this, "the latest"?
Any thoughts or experiences from those owning a Logo Classic or Logo Evo are most welcome also; many thanks in advance. Andre, don't you own a similarly designed Cosmo? Nighttime now, but pics in tomorrow's daylight if I can manage it.