Van Nicholas : Tuareg

650b – 27.5″ 1*11 setup

Updated : Version 2018


Following my last posts concerning the Van Nicholas Tuareg frame build, this is my latest post with all modifications as there have been quite a few

2018 : My retirement year and so I have a little more time on my hands, also I’m going to do the Roc d’Azur again in Fréjus , south of France in October so I need to get some serious training in.

Basically the modifications from my older posts are going to a one * eleven setup, changing my Magura fork to a 2018 RockShox, and also adding a dropper seat post (Ok so I’m a ‘scaredy’ cat when riding down hill)

–For complete build details :

Van NicholasFrame : Van Nicholas Tuareg Ti, weight 1.76 kilos
Fork : Rockshox RL SID 100mm, weight 1, 57 kilos
Wheels : Handbuilt NoTubes Crest, Duke King Kong Hubs, with CxRay sapin spokes & DT prolock hexa nipples, weight 1.38 kilos the pair
Seat post : Dropper ROCKSHOX REVERB Remote Matchmaker left
Brakes : Hope Tech X2, 160cm front, 160cm back with Hope matchmakers. Sadly no more matchmakers from Hope as they don’t make them for the tech X2 and the XTR shifter version 2018
Gears : Cassette XT M800 11 speed. Shimano XTR M9000 Shadow Plus Rear Derailleur and Shimano XTR SL-M9000-I Rapidfire back shifter
Drive train : SRAM XO with a X-Sync Direct Mount 6mm Offset 11V 32 chainring. Chain XTR
Components : Race Face stem and handlebars, Chris King headset, XTR pedals
Tyres : Front : Maxxis Icon (changed from a Hutchison Cobra) . Back : Maxxis Crossmark
Saddle Brooks Ti C3

Total weight with pedals 11.20 kilos

2018 : So have done a couple of hundred kilometres so far on this new setup. Riding 1 * 11 is fun, going kill my legs when I do the Roc, but here where I live its just fine.

RockShow RL SID version 2018

RockShox RL SID version 2018



Van Nicholas Tuareg 650b – 27.5″

It’s finished – 26/05/2013

Following my last post concerning the Van Nicholas Tuareg frame build, this is just is a quick post with just the finished bike and list of components without going into all the details

For complete build details :


Build finally finished 26/05/2013

Frame : Van Nicholas Tuareg Ti, weight 1.76 kilos

Fork : Magura TS8 R100, weight 1, 57 kilos (update June 2014 : fitted with new stanchions that give  more clearance for the tyres and the new 15mm axle)

Wheels : Handbuilt NoTubes Crest, Duke King Kong Hubs, with CxRay sapin spokes & DT prolock hexa nipples, weight  1.38 kilos the pair

Brakes : Hope Tech X2, 180cm front, 160cm back with Hope matchmakers

Gears : 10 speed, XTR : derailleur and shifters

Drive train : Sram XO 26/39 and Sram cassette XG1099, chain XTR

Components : Race Face seat post, stem and handlebars, Chris King headset, XTR pedals

Tyres : Front : Rocket Ron, Back : Rubena Scylla

Saddle : Italia SLR flow 160 gms

Total  weight with pedals 10,44 kilos

March / April : Have been operated on for a hernia inguinal I’m unable to do any sport for some weeks, so tests and observations to come later and some slight modifs will be made once I can ride again.

First ride : Photo – only 13km just to test if all OK and am not up to a real ride yet. (handlbars, rear dérailleur & saddle changed since)

Update : Have now managed to get a couple of rides on the bike, can I really notice anything different from the 26″ version, I’m not really sure, I feel its faster on the flats, (but then the wheels are so so smooth) I’ve managed to do some technical downs, that I normally do on foot (the bike or in my mind / head ? that is the question)

August 2014 : Have sadly ridden very little this year, as got knocked of my road bike in January, as this took some time to heal, then with the bad weather, and other lousy excuses, biking has sadly taken a back seat, all being well will be riding again in the 2014 edition of the Roc d’Azur, for some serious MTBing

DSCN1624 DSCN1615 DSCN1612 DSCN1613

Van Nicholas Tuareg 650b – 27.5″ Ti Frame

Here we are in 2013 and at last I have something to write about

………Psssss if you don’t want to read all my blah blah and just want to see the finished setup, jump to

and if you want the very latest update – 2018

Otherwise please read on and enjoy

Last year my favourite mountain bike of all times a Van Nicholas Tuareg frame broke (, the frame cracked and so I ended my biking year riding only my road bikes, luckily for me it was a shitty end of year weather wise and so didn’t worry me to much, except that I missed doing the Roc d’Azur, France’s (and probably Europe’s) biggest and best mountain bikes race.

As Van Nicholas Ti frames carry a life time guarantee, I got in touch with Van Nicholas to see about getting the frame changed, this was in october 2012. My Tuareg frame was a 26″model and for the coming year 2013 they have gone over to the 27.5″ or if you prefer 650b new style frames, in which I think that they are right in doing so, but this meant that they had no frames left in stock and that I would have to wait untill 2013 to receive a new frame, as the Tuareg was and still is one of the best Hard Tail Ti frames around (especially now that it’s taken the 27.5 direction) I decided to wait for the new frame to arrive (though I didn’t really have a choice), even though this meant losing months of mountain bike riding and incurring new costs for the new components that would have to be bought.

Tuareg frame25 February 2013 : The frame has arrived, like my last one its good, nice welding, this one seems stronger than the older version, the drops at the back are smaller and seems thicker, The triangle behind the seat post has an extra piece welded to the post giving it extra strength, It weighs in at 1.76kilos

Impatient to get my frame and get some MTBing done, I’ve started buying the new equipment before the frame arrived, why ? because my existing components forks, wheels and headset will not fit the 27.5″ as they are for a 26″ frame, also to save some time, as soon as I get the frame I can build it up. This I knew when I accepted the offer for the exchange and am happy with (my wife, less  so) to buy new components.

Having received the frame, here are some technical details that are not shown on the Van Nicholas web site, the 17.5″ version is 1.76 kilos, it has a tapered headset, top 44 mm, bottom 49 mm, the bottom bracket is a press fit 89.5 mm and not 68 mm as shown on their site. The seat post is also a different size than their web site shows, it’s a 30.9 mm and not a 31.6 mm.

Continue reading

Van Nicholas Titanium Tuareg 26″

UPDATE March 2013 this bike has now been replaced by still a Van Nicholas Tuareg but version 2013 650b


While I was at the Roc d’Azur in October 2010, I looked at a couple of titanium frames with thoughts of upgrading my ‘hardtail’ Lapierre Pro Race : why ?

The Rocky Mountain :  I still really haven’t found any other ‘full susser’ bike that is as good as, or without going overboard with the wallet, so for the moment that will probably stay my full susser for yet another year to come.

The Lapierre I’m more than happy with but as usual I have itchy fingers to build or modify my bikes with the new year coming, and more the Lapierre than the Rocky.

During the Roc I had looked at the Sobre Ti frame, which is a very nice and not to expensive, about 1200€ but its fitted for 120mm forks, and I’m running 100mm and don’t feel the need to run more than 100mm.

I also looked some other frames such as the Skyde, but at around the 1800€ mark, this was just to expensive.

This week while I was looking at the site as I was almost ready to order the Pompino frame that for my new singlespeed when I saw a promo for a Ti frame from the company Van Nicholas, 43% reduction from about 1520 € down to 880€. Frame version 2010, that’s why is was going cheap as the 2011 version is slightly different.

The model Van Nicholas Tuareg Frame was to be good to be true, a full XC frame, almost identical sizing as my Pro Race 300, I checked with friends the name is known in the Ti bike frame building industry, its made in China (as so many framers these days, including recently built Rocky Mountain) which is a shame, but boy what a beauty it is :

Certain parts on the frame is just a work of art … you can see the quality of the welding and metal work in the pictures below

If all goes well everything all except the BB and the Ahead set from the Lapierre will fit, the BB I have a brand new spare XTR lying around, so that’s no problem, the rest should be good, I will just change the stem from a 100mm to a 90mm as the Tuareg is a tiny bit longer. and I need to buy a new Ahead set.

So I’m waiting for the delivery so that I can start working on it, this plus a new singlespeed that I building up, boy am I busy ……

Update : Received the frame today 07/12/2010, boy is it nice, time to get it home and start work on it, stripping the Lapierre and building it up, nearly all XTR pieces. Am going to order the Van Nicholas Ti seat post today, I’ve ordered a Deus 90mm stem rather than the 100mm from the Lapierre, Now need some seriously sexy wheels to go with it rather than the XT’s, am thinking about some American Classics MTB 26, or some ZTR NoTubes Crest rims on Hope pro II hubs, but not sure yet.

I’ve started building up the frame :
so far, BB*, XTR Cranks, XTR front and back Derailleur fitted , Chris King and Hope seat clamp, TI seat stem

*Notice the two 2.5mm spacers on the drive side and one the left side as the frame is 68mm wide

Deus 90mm stem received, Weight 135 grams

Van Nicholas Ti Seat Post , I’ve rarely seen a seat post as sexy as this, Weight 264 gms, diameter 31.6mm. Update : my first rides :  the tube keeps slipping down the frame, (I sent it back and changed it for a Race Face XC carbon SL, the same as on my Rocky)

Wheels : These have arrived, I finally decided on ZTR Crest rims on Hope Pro hubs, need to fit them with Stan’s no tube tape and some tubeless ready tyres, these wheels are very light, the back weighs in at 840 gms and the front at 720  gms, after riding these wheels, one thing I noticed, in undoing the plastic valve cap,  (I wanted to adjust the tyre pressure) the valve core stayed with the cap, instant deflation, so you have to be careful with these valves, when unscrewing the valve cap, I think I’ll not bothering fitting caps.

Fork : A brand new grey Fox 32 RLC Fit 100mm has arrived, the grey version goes just perfectly with the Ti colour.

Tyres_1 : I’ve finally received the Stans No Tubes rim tape so I tried fitting  fitting a Maxis Larsen tubeless (my favourite tire) and a Nobby Nics Tubeless to the above wheels with no success or rather very difficult as they were both a pain in the ass to fit, the Nobby Ni’s even blew of the rim in the middle of the night splattering white latex liquid everywhere.

Tyres_2 : Have received Swalbes tubeless ready tires, these were a different matter to the tubless tyres, both fitted nice and easily, just like a tubeless tyre en a tubeless rim, both ‘popped correctly’ when pumping them up. Nobby Nics, tubeless ready version DD 590 gms, Racing Ralph, Tubeless ready version DD 585 gms Update : better weather now, I changed tyres to a Rocket Ron 2.25 front and an Racing Rralph 2.25 rear, version DD, both Tubeless ready, saved even more weight with the RR front 🙂

Brakes : I’ve bought and fitted Hope Tech X2 brakes, these are rather sexy, machined CNC alu, with braided hoses, instead of plastic ones, 6mm diameter rather than the standard 5mm. this actually created a slight problem, the TI frame has for me one design error, the brakes lugs are not cut, in other words you have to thread the hoses rather than ty-rapping it, (this also means that I had to take the brakes apart to thread the hoses) as the lugs internal diameter is 5mm ish, I was unable to tread the hoses as they are to large, so I got out the Dremel, cut the lugs so that I could open them slightly and thread the hose. Both rotors are the floating Hope Saw rotors.

Now I have braided hoses that are light grey in colour and brakes that look and feel really nice, also unlike the Shimano brakes, I was able to shorten the hoses without having to purge the brakes, nice, very nice indeed.

Shifters : I’ve dropped the Shimano Dual Control and gone back to ‘normal’ shifters as one day I’ll go to a 10 speed set up, and Dual Controls don’t work with 10 speed setups, shame as I’ve used these for a long time, in fact they are still on my Rocky Mountain setup for the moment. I’ve fitted Hope matchmaker brackets to fit the shifters directly on the brakes, making the handlebars less cluttered.

Remark : all the threads on this frame, the BB or for fixing the back derailleur are very clean, the BB I was able the screw both sides fully in by hand. I’ve built a few bikes in my time, these have to be the cleanest threads that I’ve seen yet.

Update : 11 February 2011, did a 40km ride, home to work and back again, the Van Nicholas is the same size as my Lapierre Pro Race 300, and apart from the brakes and the wheels the rest is an all XTR setup, it rode quite differently, it absorbs more vibrations than the Lapierre Alu frame, as it was the first outing on it, I took it slowly, stopping to adjust brakes, saddle hight etc, but it does ride more comfortable, will be able to test it better in the next couple of weeks.

I managed to get two more rides done this weekend. I  have one problem the seat stem keeps slipping down, no matter how I tighten the Hope seat clamp. So I’ve ordered the Van Nicholas Ti seat clamp and just in case I’ve ordered a Race Face carbon seat stem (also lighter than the Ti post), both should arrive soon and one or both of the options should solve this problem. Update : The Ti seat clamp arrived, even with it fitted the seat post still kept slipping when riding, and no much how I tightened it, So I changed it for a Race Face Next carbon SL, the problem went away, the seat post no longer slips down, also as I changed the saddle to a Selle Italia SLR which is lighter than the Flite, the bike now weighs in at 10.45kgs (I’m going to send the seat post back to Van Nicholas, as I believe that it must be slightly undersized)

Apart from that all is fine, its lighter than the Lapierre, it’s fast, and at the same time more ‘supple’, I’m having a little problem adapting to shifters, I’ve been riding Dual Controls to long …

Update : Mi Avril, between the Singlespeed and the Van Nicholas, I have clocked up over 1300 km so far, its going to be a good year.

All off road riding has been done on the this bike (The Rocky is sitting in the garage ..) I’m riding faster and feeling better.

I’ve just order and awaiting some new pedals, The new XTR M980 as the Time pedals are rather used and I’d like to try the new XTR’s to see what they are like. Update : pedals arrived and fitted, nice, the shoes sit better on them and there is less float, I feel the difference in the back leg coming up with the pedal stroke, clipping in is not quite as good, but this should get better as the shoes wear in to the pedals, unclipping is fine, need to adjust it though to make it a little harder, this is easily done with a allen key.

Update 08/08/2011 : I’ve decided to go 2 * 10, the XTR crank set has already arrived 28/40, and the rest has been ordered, if all goes well I can try it next weekend, I’m sure I’m going to have ‘fun….’ on the hills  and that I going to miss my 22 / 32 but hell, why not.

So far so good 🙂


Update : When its finished its never finished, My crank set was becoming worn and was starting to have problems with chain suck, So rather than just changing the crank set or rings I decided to go for a 2 * 10 set up, I bought a XTR 28/40 XTR crankset up, with a XTR front dérailleur, XT back dérailleur and XT Cassette 11/36 (need the big 36 to go with the 28 ring ) and some nice new XTR shifters (note : I had to take of the Hope matchmakers and the won’t fit the 10 speed shifters)

Problem straight away, when fitting the cranks I came up against the famous Q Factor (which I’d never heard of before), the Q Factor means how close the crank set will be to the frame and the cranks were only about 1mm from the back stay, this was not good, as I could see that under pressure the crank could touch the stay and damage it.

I found out that the Q factor for the XTR Trail version had an extra 3 mm on it (69mm against 66mm), the same Q factor as the 9 speed XTR but as I had already bought this one and didn’t want the trail version I decided to do some DIY  on the crank and f**k the guarantee. It seem OK so maybe Shimano could take note and modify their cranks as I’ve seen on the forum, other people coming up with the problem)

So what I did is grind about 2mm from the back of the crank when it was nearest to the back stay, 2 mm less (thickness) and for about 15mm long where the axle of the pedal is screwed in, I’m sure that this will not affect the crank strength as they are so thick anyway, you can see for yourselves with the photos, I know have a clearance that is OK I can even fit a chain stay protector on without it being touched by the crank.

For info I’ve fitted a horrible XT 11/36 cassette, it’s so big (I’ve always used a 11/32, so the 11/36 seems so big … most of my friends run a 11/34 but not me ……) but I will need the 36 as with the 28 front  ring its going to be hard work on the hills, before I was running a 22/32/42 crankset and now  it’s  a 28/40, this means that the 28/36 will give me the equivalent of a 22/28 (before it was 22/32) so I missing a couple of pignons, I just hope that I can hack it, otherwise I’ll be walking more and more on the steep sections. 🙂 gears calc come from

Update September 2012 : In a few weeks time I’m going down south to do the Roc d’Aur, Europe’s biggest MTB meeting, Normally I do with the Rocky Mountain with a 3 * 9 setup, but I’ve just sold this and so I’m going to do it with the Van Nicholas.

My only concern is the 2 * 10 Cranks running a 28/40 setup, here were I live its fine, rarely needing a higher gear, but with the Roc this will not be the case as there are a lot of high and hard climbs to de done.

So I’ve just bought some  Sram 2 * 10 XO 26/39 cranks, with the back 36 cog this should be enough to get me up the most of the climbs, and the nice things about the cranks is  the Q factor, its perfect so no need to grind anything down so that it fits.

It’s finished …  again 10.7 kilos

Update November 2012 : While starting the Roc d’Azur this year October in the south of France, the very first day, a friend with whom I was riding said to me while we were taking a break, hey look your frame looks ‘funny’ around the seat post … so we looked a little closer and saw that the frame was fracturing around and slightly above the seat tube welding.

So back to the car ‘riding standing’ up for most of the ride, to take a real look at the frame … It was almost completely fractured  as you can see in the photos, in fact luckily for me I ride with a 400mm seat post and over 145mm are inside the tubing as it was my seat post that was keeping the frame intact and possibly saving me from a nasty accident.

A week later and back home (I finished the Roc d’Azur with my old Rocky Mountain that I had sold to a friend a couple of weeks ago) I contacted Planet-X, On One bikes who were great, they confirmed that was a problem covered by the guarantee, which was fairly obvious, I think that it’s just due to a default in the Titan, as it’s not even the weld that had fractured, and they sent me a transporter to pick up the frame once I had stripped it completely down, compliments here to On One as I live in France and they paid for the transport, which is normally for me to pay and it was done two days after my phone call and confirmation par mail, fast …..

This was almost three weeks ago, I’m now still awaiting to see what Van Nicholas are going to do, as they can either repair the frame (I doubt and hope that is it not repairable) or change it for a new Tuareg frame, this will show how good the Van Nicholas guarantee is … for the moment I’m a little worried as they don’t seem to be as rapid as On One was when I contacted them …

Update December : Van Nicholas have finally come back to me, they have agreed to change my frame as its covered by the guarantee, The  only ‘hic’ is that the new version is a 650b only, I don’t mind this as I feel that it is the way to go for hard tails, leaving the 29ers for the full sussers, I will of course have to change my wheels, head set as it’s a conical and of course my fork, but that I don’t mind.

This frame should arrive end of January, so lets wait and see, it will give me time to buy the new gear and an excuse to start a new page in this blog of mine.

So for the moment I’m riding around on my Singlespeed or my new Cannondale road bike, when the weather permits.

Rocky Mountain Element 70 version ‘Tribal’ – SOLD

2008 : At last after weeks of waiting all the pieces have been received and added


This is for me at least the best bike around, I have built it up from scratch putting about the best parts available on it, it rides like a dream, XC is just great , it handles really well, even downhill is just great.

Frame : Rocky Mountain Element 70 version ‘Tribal’ 18″
Forks : Fox 32 RLC 100mm
Front Derailleur : Shimano XTR, Rear Derailleur : Shimano XTR
Shifters & Levers : Shimano XTR Dual control
Bottom Bracket & Chainset : Shimano XTR
Headset : Chris King
Stem : Race Face Deus 90mm XC, Handlebars : Race Face Next 630mm XC carbon
Seatpost : Race Face Next SL XC carbon
Front Brake : Shimano XTR 180mm Disc, Rear Brake : Shimano XTR 160mm Disc
Wheels : Shimano XTR Wheelset 2008
Saddle : Fizik Gobi, Pedals : Time Atac carbon
Weight : 12 Kilos

Update 2009, nothing changed as this is really the “bee’s knees”, it’s a brilliant ride, perfect for XC riding which I prefer, everything is just right with the bike 🙂

I have tried many other bikes, none handle and feel like this one

For the moment I’m running Maxxis Ignitor USB 2.10 Ignitor UST for the front tyre and Maxxis Larsen TT USB  2.10 at the back, am testing the Maxxis Crosmark Crossmark UST on the Lapierre as the front tyre and will see which I shall use this summer season

Update, after 18 months riding I decided to change the bearings on the pivots, there are 6 bearings to be changed, I basically did this for fun but realised that it had  to be done as one was dead and others were damaged, note that I never use a power washer to wash the bike just a garden hose.

2 *  Rockey’s reference 6901RS

4 * Rocky’s reference 6001LB

I ordered the replacements from



To change the bearings its quite easy but you need the tools to take of the pedal set to get to the bottom bearings

To take out the bearings you need to dismantle all of the back section so that you can lay flat the pieces (very important, other wise bye bye frame ….), firstly to ‘wallop” out the old bearings and secondly to place the new ones, I used a flat piece of iron with a heavy rubber mallet to get them in, attention they must be laying flat again , and finally to sink them in complety I used a socket set that was that same diameter as the bearings so that I didn’t damage them, you most not hit the rubber part

At the back of the frame where the carbon bars join the bottom bars are IGUS bushings these I have not replaced but I cleaned them up, do not oil/ grease them

When you take the bolts out to dismantle the bike be careful that you don’t lose the conical washers and be careful when you put them back later that they go back on the right way (smaller side to the bearing)


All in all this was not to difficult, it took me an afternoon, about 4 of the bearings out of 6 were used with one completely dead, so it had to be done, the bearings cost me about 100 dollars so not to expensive, and while I had the pedal set of I changed it for a new one as it was becoming worn and of course changed the chain, cassette, dérailleur and all cables as well

Have changed the saddle to a Selle Italia SLR the same as on the Lapierre, I find it as comfortable but a little easier to slide of the saddle when I need to my bottom right back over the rear wheel 🙂 as it now winter the front tyre is now a Maxxis Medusa and the back is Maxxis Larsen (winter or summer this is a fine tyre)

Update :

Have just changed the Igus bearings which I had a hard time getting, they are easy to change and though I found them in France eventually the easiest place to get them would have been from it’s a Germain site but they speak English and have load of info photos for Rocky bikes and spare parts.

Now I have to take the bike back to the shop as I have a creaking sound coming from the bike when applying the brakes and it seems to come from the carbon back stay, update : the creaking sound was caused by the back XTR brake, I changed brakes and no sound, I then placed the brake on my second bike, it started creaking as well, strange, how a brake can make a frame creak and why I do not know, the brake is now lying around in the garage I replaced it with a new one, all is well again.

Update December 2010 : Its been snowing here a lot, actually managed to get out for a couple of hours in 15 – 25cm of snow, hard work but super fun :

Update February 2011 : Except for the saddle, I’m now using a  Selle Italia SLR, nothing has been changed on this bike, most of my MTB rides are done on it, though I have a feeling that I might be using more the Van Nicholas this year, but this has to be seen. The bike is still as good as when I first set it up, almost three years now, I’ve never kept a bike so long, but it rides just the way I want it to. It weighs in at 12.15kgs, with a Maxxis Avantage front tyre and a Maxxis Ignitor back tyre because of the mud and bad winter we have had here. Once the winter finally goes away, it will be back to a Larsen at the back.

Update Juin 2011 : I sent back my back Fox Float RP23 for a service as I haven’t touched it since 2008, it came back with new seals and fresh oil, the difference was unbelievable, far smoother, more responsive, which was just perfect as I went away for a 3 day MTB ride with over 185km and 4000m dénivilé, and a rather tough going ground, so having a better rear suspension was just fine. The service cost me 110€.

I’ve also changed tires lately, I’m now running Schwalbes tires (as I use them on my Van Nicholas with its ZTR Crest rims) a Rocket Run 2.10 up front and a Racing Ralph 2.10 on the back, although I feel that The Rocket is rather fragile, as it doesn’t have a DD version, its been doing well.

Handling is fine and I took them out for 4 days in the Drome, mostly rocks, and stones all the time, no pinches, no flats 🙂 The racing Ralph is the DD version is tougher, the only problem with this tyre is if you brake to hard, it can break loose, but normally will grip again as the sides treads  are quite high, also the Racing Ralph does not like mud, it slips all over the place , so in winter it will be changed

Update September 2011 : Have just sold my XTR dual controls, its a shame as they were the best shifters I have ever had, but as my other bike is now running a 2 * 10 set up I sometimes mix up when changing gears, up / down rather than push / pull. So I’ve ordered the same set up as the Van Nicholas, XTR shifters and Hope Tech X2 brakes, and will have them fitted in time for the Roc d’Azur 2011 early october

Update November 2011 : I’ve been lazy and not updated this post for a while, XTR  shifters added, Hope Tech X2 brakes added (these are just brill.) am still running a 3 * 9 setup 22/32/42 – 11/32 which is just fine, I’ll not go 2*10 on the Rocky as I tend to use this bike where its hilly and I need the extra gears. I miss the dual controls, but am getting used to shifters again.

I used the Rocky on this year’s Roc d’Azur in October ( as in the previous years, clocked over 300km in 5 trips and over 6500m ascent / descent and as usual it was just fine : )

Update September 2012 : After many years of good service, have just sold the Rocky to a friend, now riding only the Van Nicholas