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Thread: Nitto Campee

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    Nitto Campee

    Hey guys, I'm planning on doing my first, long tour soon. My bike doesn't have racks, I decided to pick up Nitto Campee racks (700c version). They look great but there's one problem: when I pedal, the back of my feet hit the rear racks! I'm trying to figure out why; here are some of my thoughts (I'm a bicycle newb, so bear with me):

    1. Do I pedal wrong? I push down on the pedals with the balls of my feet. I find that if I move my foot forward and pedal with the middle of my foot, I don't hit the racks.

    2. Is my bike too small? The frame size is 530mm. I'm 5'10''.

    3. Did I install the rack wrong?

    4. Do I need shorter cranks?

    Thanks!
    Last edited by nouveau.ukiyo; 03-16-12 at 04:03 AM.

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    Pictures:




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    Seem like a design flaw in the rack. The lower part of the rear rack sticks out too far and is too forward. You might get a little more clearance by mounting further back on the fender braze-on.

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    Thanks for replaying pexio!

    Mounting it further back might give me an extra 2 cm; not enough I'm afraid.

    Nitto has been making this same frame for over 30 years I believe; it's renowned, especially where I live (Japan), so I doubt there is a design flaw...

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    Senior Member kuso's Avatar
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    I would start by mounting it on the rear eyelets. It might only be 2 cm but it may also change the angle at which it sits. Also, I would install toe clips to make your foot position constant.

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    What length are the chain stays? They look kind of short.

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    I have that rack as well, same problem on short chainstay bikes, no problem on longer chainstay bikes...

    the design is a copy of older french designs, and is a great design, but the original racks were generally made for custom frames. Im sure the chainstays were longer to accommodate, the nitto bolt on option cannot control the bike it is used on.

    try moving it to the rear braze on as others have suggested.

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    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    piling on, some... You fit them on a fairly short chainstay 'Cross' like frame,
    not a long stay touring frame..

    best to go shop for a proper touring frame builder.. to do it the right-way er, or
    the riteway needs a different rear rack, panniers packed higher and rearward more.

    front of bag should be over the rear hub axle..

    Is my bike too small? The frame size is 530mm. I'm 5'10''.
    I'd say Yes.. Im 5'9" and my touring bike is a 58, my road bike is a 56.

    but since you have a short stem on a small bike with a shorter top tube ,
    the bigger frame will also be longer, and that may create reach problems .

    That makes a made to measure frameset for your long distance
    days in the saddle a reasonable investment..
    as a once in a lifetime purchase.
    Last edited by fietsbob; 03-16-12 at 11:47 AM.

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    Senior Member simplygib's Avatar
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    I tour on a converted mountain bike with relatively short chain stays, and that rack would never work for me. With rack and panniers mounted, I have nothing to obstruct pedaling that is forward of the axle.



    Your frame may or may not be too small. The seat post measurement is just one measurement. All 53cm frames are not created equally. It depends on lots of other factors as well - top tube length, head tube angle, etc. Also, two people the exact same height might not both feel comfortable on the same frame size. Variations in torso, arm and inseam length factor in. Bottom line - is it comfortable to ride? Are you too "stretched out" or not enough? How are your leg angles in relation to pedal positions? Have a professional fit done, or do it yourself. Everything you need to know is online. You might find this video helpful if you want to make your own adjustments.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    to do it the right-way er, or
    the riteway needs a different rear rack, panniers packed higher and rearward more.

    front of bag should be over the rear hub axle...
    wrong.

    lower weight = better*.
    weight between axles = better (this weight placement is the main benefit to long chainstays, not pannier-heel clearance, as so many often repeat) I have clown feet and I can clear my 54L carradice panniers on any bike with 43cm+ chainstays... however, it requires moving the panniers back, and this leads to:
    weight behind rear axle = tail wagging dog feeling, light front end, difficult steering, troubles climbing straight on narrow roads with no shoulder and traffic...

    OP, see if you can clear the racks on the second eyelet, and barring that, unbolt the rear lowriders and set your panniers up on the upper rails. The mounts will have to be very close and centred, since there are the little posts on the bottom of the upper rail tubes, but it works. less ideal because the weight is higher.

    *and please don't cite that 30 year old jim blackburn article as proof that higher weight is better in the rear, that is simply rubbish. Lower mass=lower center of gravity, full stop. If your bike's rear end is too short, then, yes, moving weight up will also allow you to move it forward (between the axles!) to improve handling.

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    Not sure how a bigger frame would buy the OP more heel clearance since the chainstay length is usually fixed across all of a given model's available frame sizes. For example, the LHT chainstay length is 460mm on all of its wheel and frame sizes.

    OP, a quick google search suggests that you're not the first (or likely last) person to have Campee/heel issues. This from Velo-Orange:

    I don't understand those Campee racks. (I had bought a rear some time back through my uncle, who lives in Osaka.) Well, dumb idea: the heel clearance wasn't even close to workable when those side carrier things were installed. You'd need a bike with mile-long chainstays. Furthermore, the rack sits up well proud of the wheel, even w/700c wheels, which looks ridiculous compared to a real constructeur-type rack. I like Nitto products as well as the rest of us, but I just don't think those are a good design.

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    Senior Member simplygib's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by positron View Post
    wrong.

    lower weight = better*.
    weight between axles = better (this weight placement is the main benefit to long chainstays, not pannier-heel clearance, as so many often repeat) I have clown feet and I can clear my 54L carradice panniers on any bike with 43cm+ chainstays... however, it requires moving the panniers back, and this leads to:
    weight behind rear axle = tail wagging dog feeling, light front end, difficult steering, troubles climbing straight on narrow roads with no shoulder and traffic...

    OP, see if you can clear the racks on the second eyelet, and barring that, unbolt the rear lowriders and set your panniers up on the upper rails. The mounts will have to be very close and centred, since there are the little posts on the bottom of the upper rail tubes, but it works. less ideal because the weight is higher.

    *and please don't cite that 30 year old jim blackburn article as proof that higher weight is better in the rear, that is simply rubbish. Lower mass=lower center of gravity, full stop. If your bike's rear end is too short, then, yes, moving weight up will also allow you to move it forward (between the axles!) to improve handling.
    Yes, lower CG and having weight centered between axles is great when you can actually pedal with it that way. But mounting rear panniers behind the axle does not have to lead to the problems described, at least not to a degree that would be uncomfortable and/or dangerous. I could see it happening with little to no weight in front, but with properly mounted front panniers and a decent weight distribution, a light front end and tail wagging are non issues for me.

    This weight-lightening effect on the front axle due to mounting rear panniers aft of the rear axle can be calculated using formulas for simple levers. As it turns out, if I have 30 pounds of gear and rear panniers with mass centered 4 inches aft of the rear axle, this lightens my front axle by about 4.35 pounds as opposed to having that same setup mounted two inches in front of the axle. Calculations follow. Someone correct my math if there's a problem with it - it's been a loooooooong time since I was in school.

    Ok, so my panniers are mounted so that the mass is centered 4 inches behind my rear axle, and those rear panniers and the gear in them weigh 30 pounds. Further, my wheelbase is 41.5 inches. Essentially what we have is a simple first-order lever, where the fulcrum is my rear axle. What effect does that thirty pounds have at my front axle?

    The ratio is a/b, where a is the distance from the fulcrum to the center of mass of my rear panniers, and b is the distance from the fulcrum to the other end of the lever, my front axle. So b is the wheelbase. In this case a = 4 inches, b = 41.5 inches, and a/b = 4/41.5 = ~0.0964.

    The weight reduction at the front axle can be calculated by multiplying the ratio times the force (weight) at the end of a, so 0.0964 x 30 = ~2.9 pounds.

    So.....by mounting my panniers so the 30 pounds are centered 4 inches behind the rear axle, my front axle weight is 2.9 pounds lighter than it would have been had the 30 pounds been centered directly over the rear axle. If, however, that mass was centered a little forward of the rear axle, that difference would be greater.

    So let's assume that, if possible, it would have been mounted so the mass was centered 2 inches in front of the rear axle, essentially forming a second-order lever. The ratio is now 2/41.5 = ~0.0482. So if I multiply that by the 30 pounds I get an added weight of 0.0482 x 30 = ~1.45 pounds at the front axle.

    So the weight difference at the front axle between mounting the rear panniers four inches aft, as opposed to two inches forward of the rear axle, is 1.45 + 2.9 = 4.35 pounds or so. If I take a few heavier things out of the rear panniers and move them to the front, I can easily mitigate the lever effect and the "light front end" problem, if it really was a problem to begin with.

    Regarding tail wagging, sometimes the difficulty in keeping a loaded bike going in a straight line has more to do with the position of the front panniers than the rear. This can happen when they're mounted too far forward of the steering axis, causing gravity to pull the handlebars to one side or the other depending on which way the bike is leaning. The rider must correct for these forces, and if the center of mass is off far enough it can be very difficult to not over correct, leading to the dreaded wag. Mounting the front panniers to, as closely as possible, center the weight at the steering axis will do a lot to improve steering.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nouveau.ukiyo View Post
    Hey guys, I'm planning on doing my first, long tour soon. My bike doesn't have racks, I decided to pick up Nitto Campee racks (700c version). They look great but there's one problem: when I pedal, the back of my feet hit the rear racks! I'm trying to figure out why; here are some of my thoughts (I'm a bicycle newb, so bear with me):

    1. Do I pedal wrong? I push down on the pedals with the balls of my feet. I find that if I move my foot forward and pedal with the middle of my foot, I don't hit the racks.

    2. Is my bike too small? The frame size is 530mm. I'm 5'10''.

    3. Did I install the rack wrong?

    4. Do I need shorter cranks?

    Thanks!
    There is more than one design of Nitto Campee rear rack. Here is one of mine:



    https://plus.google.com/photos/11183...CKfXoLCPjdy_ew

    with which you would not have the problem you mention. I know these racks are now in the $200 neighborhood but you might want to switch - you can sell the larger one - in order to have the rack farther back. See where the rack attachment point at the rear dropout is located? Also, just by my standards, yes, that bike is too small for a person who is 5'10'.

    Good luck

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    Thanks to everyone for your advice. It seems like I made a poor decision by purchasing these racks. They look nice and I live in Japan, so I thought 'why not'?

    I also regret buying this frame. A bought it a year ago off the internet in Japan. At the time, I knew very little about cycling (and still do); the website stated that this frame comes in 2 sizes, 510 and 530cm, the latter being recommended for my height. When I finally received it, it seemed a lot smaller than my previous bike. I recently lowered the seat; it used to be way above the handle bars. I've also raised the handle bars as high as possible. Anyway, this bike works well for what I do with it; trips around town and the occasional long ride.

    I quit my job and intend to return stateside soon, but before that I wish to tour around Japan (and hopefully beyond). I was hoping to use this bike for my journey. It's a steel frame and advertised as a 'touring model', but based on experience and your comments, it doesn't seem to be well suited for long term touring. I'm really bummed out because I was working hard to upgrade it; I got these Nitto racks, Honjo fenders and a Brooks saddle. I also intend to get Ortlieb pannier bags and wider tires (35x622).

    Anyway, what do you think? Should I stick with this frame or get something else? I intend to do at 1.5 month journey from Yokohama (near Tokyo) to Seoul, Korea and perhaps beyond.
    Last edited by nouveau.ukiyo; 03-17-12 at 09:30 AM.

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    I would stick with that frame if it is comfortable to you after adjusting it properly - seat height, seat fore/aft position, handlebar height, stem length/angle, etc. If it is comfortable to ride after doing all that then there is no reason to get rid of it. You said you had the handlebars all the way up - are they high enough now? If not, you can still get them higher by buying a different stem - one with a steeper angle, and longer or shorter depending on your comfort level. The only reason to give up on that frame is if it is impossible to adjust it to the point where riding it is comfortable for you. Another thing to look at - the double chainring up front. For loaded touring I would want a triple to achieve lower gear ratios for hills, but I'm no spring chicken and have knees that are somewhat tentative. Some people tour on doubles with little trouble, apparently.

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    Hey guys, I moved the rack as far back as I could. I'm afraid it still doesn't give me enough clearance for my feet:









    I also found a diagram of the bike geometry. All measurements are in mm. The chain stay is 410mm:



    I also found this picture from 2 years ago. Apparently, they were selling this frame with the Nitto Campees! Given the issues I've had, I really can't believe this:



    Anyway, it seems that I can't use the bike with the pannier bag attachments, so I've removed them. I'll probably keep the front ones on for my planned trip. The rear rack is kinda small without the pannier attachments; I plan on getting Ortlieb Backroller bags and I'm wondering if they'll be too big for this rack as it it:


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    Senior Member Chris Pringle's Avatar
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    If you're planning on leaving Asia soon to come back to the States, try to get the most of out of that bike and sell it just before you leave. In your situation, I would only use the front rack with Ortlieb panniers, just as you're intending to do now. For the rear rack, you may want to consider a trunk bag such as one sold by Topeak, but there are many others to choose from. The Topeak trunk bags have incorporated side panniers which might work perfectly for your rear rack (w/o the low-riders), as they don't hang too low. BTW, it might be a good idea to keep the saddle and both racks and bring them back to the U.S. They're pricey here and on a touring bike with the right chainstay length, the rear rack would look/work really sweet. Nitto enjoys the reputation of making excellent products.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nouveau.ukiyo View Post
    I'd use try it with the Backrollers on the front, and a large stuff sack strapped to the top of the rear rack. It's my preferred touring arrangement; I've found it handles the best (at least on the small number of bikes I've tried it on.)

    Also, level out the rear platform, it just looks wrong like that.

  19. #19
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    One of your pictures in #16, is mostly a grey panel it never completely loaded ..
    before the incomplete image was posted..

    Tubus Logo rack + Ortlieb bags combine to offer a rear ward shift of the bags on the rack.

    The top hooks on the bags are in a slot, so can be shifted forward,
    pushing the bag back.

    there are some hardware bits to allow the racks themselves to be shifted back a bit,
    for mounting.

    You could fabricate a steel piece, bolted to both eyelets on the frame,
    so it won't pivot like would just on one , and the 3rd hole
    will be the distance required to shift the whole rack further back ..

    But really you likely should have a 57cm frame, with 18"/46cm chainstays..
    Last edited by fietsbob; 03-19-12 at 11:47 AM.

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    good choice to drop that support piece on the back rack, that was going to be my suggestion, in addition to running front panniers on the back, and getting a second set for the front if you are absolutely convinced you need them. if you need still more space get a handlebar bag and for even more space a toptube bag. that should be enough room to overpack to such an extent that you'll have to send some stuff home after a couple of days . have fun.

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    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    410mm is on the short side. Most of my dedicated touring bikes have stays in the 450mm range. When I tour I use a variety of bags depending on the length of the tour, but irregardless I usually load 60/40 with the heavier weight up front. I don't know if a Ortlieb back roller will work on the front or not, I have a full set and run large on the rear, lightly loaded and smaller ones on the front with the heavy stuff in them.

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    Thanks again everyone for your help!

    I did some more searching online; traditionally, touring bikes have long chain stays, as waahonc mentioned. I read elsewhere that in order to use Nitto Campees, your bike should have at least 430-440mm chain stays. Now I know lol. I wish online retailers posted this information...

    I was hoping to tour with this bike, then take it back to the states; but is it worth it? Is it expensive to ship a bike from Japan to the US? Or take it as oversize luggage on my flight home? It's not the greatest bike; made in China and rusting despite being a year old (see this thread: http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...-Sprocket-rust ).

  23. #23
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    I think, accompanied, as checked luggage, is less than un accompanied Air Freight,
    though it's possible the Air Freight was to be on the same flight..

  24. #24
    Senior Member simplygib's Avatar
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    In your photo with the shoe on the pedal, that shoe is probably back too far, not that it would resolve your problem. My shoes ride about an inch further forward than that (ball of my foot directly over center of pedal).

    Maybe consider buying an inexpensive rear rack for your tour, for example something similar to this one.

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    use the bike as is with the nitto rear rack and the bottom supports removed.

    I know for a fact (cause Ive done it) that if you set the ortlieb mounts close together in the center-ish of the pannier rail you can mount them on the upper part of that rear rack, between the support struts. Ortleib mounting rails also are able to be 'rotated' to angle fore or aft to get the bag out of the way of your heels...

    The rear nitto is small, but it is plenty strong enough to hold the panniers in this configuration. Having the mounts on the bags so close together is not ideal, but for a 1-2 month tour around Japan will work just fine and youll be good to go without buying more stuff.

    When you leave Japan, sell that bike and maybe the rear rack. I would keep the front rack, I love mine and have used it in various configurations on multiple bikes over the years. Those racks are now 200+ bucks in the US, so maybe cart both back and sell them stateside if you can get more $$ in the US.

    FWIW, I ended up using the rear campee on a bike with 47 cm (trek 620) chainstays and loved it with the lowriders on that frame. YMMV.

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