Nimbus Shadow Handle first impressions

Handle came yesterday, here’s my first impressions.

Firstly, some thanks are due to Roger- I’d previously ordered a KH handle some time ago, listed as ‘in stock’ on the site, but which wasn’t actually there, so, Roger promised me a good deal on the new Nimbus handle when it came out- thanks Roger :slight_smile:

Due to me having a KH 29-er, a shim was necessary in addition to the handle and seat post.

Putting it together was actually quite straigthtforward- one minor niggle was that the quick releases for the bar ends required a different size allen key to the 2 I already need for the KH (bearing holders and seat clamp).

Luckily, being a unicyclist, I’m accustomed to collecting large numbers of different sized tools to tackle the huge variety of different bolt/nut sizes that seem to multiply with each new model :slight_smile:

First ride was with the handle uncut, so it stuck out quite a distance.

I’m not used to riding with handles of this length- previously I’ve had a Reeder(short muni handle) then the old nimbus handle, which I stopped using cos it felt overly heavy and cumbersome.

The new nimbus shadow handle is much lighter and also has the option of just using the front handle part- this is what I did as I felt no need at this point for the rear facing handle.

I used the upward curved bar with the curve pointing up.

Unfortunately, i now experienced a thing which I thought was down to the handle, but which, after spending almost 2 hours trying to sort it out, turned out to be nothing to do with the handle.

It was a creaking noise- as the only change I’d made was to install the new handle, I (wrongly) assumed that the creaking was coming from there.

I’m very sensitive when it comes to unnecessary noise- for me unicycling rides are about enjoyment, simplicity and peace- this creaking that was happening with every pedal push was annoying even on the noisey roads- when I went off-road it was intolerable.

Getting home I decided to approach the problem scientifically cos I really liked the handle and was desperate to try and get rid of the noise, cos, otherwise, I wouldn’t be able to actually use it on rides.

After two hours of taking the handle off, adjusting/tightening various bolts, by the end of which I’d actually dissected the entire saddle and stripped out the steel strenghening plates which KH handles have inside (Roger had said on the phone that this was an option as the shadow handle attaches to the out handle bolts- not the four seat post bolts).

I wouldn’t otherwise have stripped out the steel plate, but did so to see if it was causing the noise.

Having tried everything possible with the handle and finding the noise still was there when riding, I gave up, and prepared to switch over to the old (non-handle) set-up cos I was stressed and needed a ride to chill out :slight_smile:

As a last resort I again tightened up the bearing holder bolts (I’d done this at the start but perhaps not tight enough) and the noise promptly dissapeared!

The noise was nothing to do with the handle- I felt pretty stupid having spent 2 hours messing around with the seat: I guess that I just assumed it couldn’t really be the bearing holders as the noise only happened when I put the seat on, I’m always relectant to over-tighten the bearing holders as it could damge the bearings, and I just assumed it must be the new handle.

Still, it meant that I’d lightened the seat a bit by taking out the (now unnecessary) steel plate.

To celebrate I decided to go for another ride- this time I cut just under 3" off the handle.

That gave me a handle length that I felt more comfortable and the scope to adjust it a bit longer if I later decide I’ve cut it too short.

Being so unused to handles, there’s perhaps a limit to how much I can say on it- I’m okay riding with one-hand on the handle- putting both hands on at the same time tends to result in me swerving and having to remove one.

Except, for some reason, on uphill bits, where, towards the end of the ride, I started to feel comfortable with both hands on.

I think it’ll be a few more rides before I start to be really able to use the handle for anything useful, like leverage etc.

I do recall that when I did use the old nimbus handle, i felt the most useful thing was that it gave a real sense of extra security when riding on roads, as having a hand on the handle gave both extra sensitivity to ‘feeling’ road bumps etc, but also some extra leeway when it came to making emergency corrections.

So I’ll assume that those same positives will also manifest with the shadow handle after a few more rides with it.

As Ive recently not been doing loads of riding, today’s rides were with 150 cranks (on a 29-er) and I’m pretty sure the handle will be of more relevance when I switch back to 125’s.

I much prefer the shadow to the old nimbus, but can’t offer opinions on comaparisons with other handles, as I’ve not used them.

It’s interesting that adjustment is by having two handle bars, one straight, one curved (can be used upwards or downwards), rather than having some kind of continuous adjustment device- I guess it does have the advantage of strength as there’s no extra device to go wrong/break.

One minor negative might be that (unless I’ve missed something), that unlike the KH seat post where the seat angle can be easily adjusted for tilt, the Shadow has a bolt which can only be accessed by unbolting the seat?

However, in all the time I’ve had the KH, once I’d selected the seat tilt angle, I’ve never altered it since.

The big positive for me is that the Shadow is very light, especially if you just use the front bar, plus the way it attaches means the KH saddle steel seat plate can be shed making it even lighter.

Lightness is important for me cos I’m so at ease riding without a seat- it always seems a shame to have a big heavy handle.

I can’t comment on durability, having only had it one day, however Roger seems very confident from the tests he’s done, and, just looking at the design, it certainly seems like it should be very durable.

All in all, after the first two rides, i think the handle is very good.

Thanks for the review.

Do you have any close-up photos of your new handle?

What did you use to cut the handle? Got a pipe cutter in that toolbox of yours or did you use a hacksaw? Clean cut? I was thinking of cutting 3" off mine (when it gets here on Monday). After your 2nd ride, do you feel like 3" was enough, too much, or just right. Was it just rediculiously long without it?

Thanks for the great review. Glad you started this thread. Hopefully, we can get everyone to share pictures of their various configurations here.

No- may get round to it over next few days.

I used a pipe cutter, then I had to file round the edges of the cut to get it to go in the holder again.

I’ll probably cut more off soon- with the first cut I erred on the side of caution as it’s easy to cut more off, but there’s not much to be done if too much is cut.

Had a quick ride today and felt that I’d prefer it a bit shorter for the kind of riding I tend to do, which is mainly short (around an hour) over varied terrain, mainly road, including steep hills- maybe with the handle just sticking out a couple of inches from the front of the seat.

Then again, I’ve noticed that most of the handles used for long distance tend to be longer than that?

Uncut, I did feel that it was too long- also, maybe cos I’m not used to riding with a handle, I found it a bit disconcerting to have the thing waving about way in front; did wonder what it must have looked like to passers-by :slight_smile:

A couple of positve points I forgot to mention-

  1. it looks pretty cool- i much prefer the black colour to the previous nimbus colour (blue) and the whole set-up does look like a sturdy mountain bike set-up

  2. it’s easily removable which means you can switch between handle and handle-free riding

also inspired me to go out and get a cycle computer, now I’ve got something to attach it to

Here’s 4 photos of my new handle after cutting off approx 3" yesterday, then a further 1" today

handle in extended position

handle in current riding position

close ups off the cog-like interface twixt seatpost top and the horizontal handle-part which bolts to the saddle (via the front and back saddle handle bolts, not the usual four central seat bolts) and also constitutes the front and rear tubes which house the handle pipes

Today’s ride started with cranks in 150mm position- Sheffield was in a heat-wave and, leaving just after midday, the sun was burning down like an oven: my priority today was to not over-do things in the heat, so, I avoided the ‘monster hills’ I’d been riding yesterday and cruised down towards the town center.

It’s impossible to avoid hills entirely in Sheffield, but, to give an idea of what I mean by monster hills, here’s an example on video.

This time I found myself better able, more of the time, to put both hands on the handle- it’s still not of much use to me to ride like that as, due to lack of skill, I’m unable to actually use the handle (i.e. pull up on it for extra force on hills, or, push down on it to take weight off seat)- I’m sure that will come in time.

Felt totally comfortable using it with the left hand alone for extra stability on uphills etc, and, i also made an effort to use the right hand alone, which worked quite well (I guess my left hand is more natural cos I spent several years riding with the Reeder muni handle, which only works with one hand).

Having reached town feeling reasonable fresh despite the heat, I decided to experiment a little and sample the handle with the cranks in 125mm position.

Having switched the cranks I have an ingenius realisation that, rather than the usual hit-and-miss seat height adjustments, instead I could simply shift the seat the same amount as the difference between the two crank pedal holes (approx 15mm).

Pleased at this realisation I shifted the height and tightened up the 2 clamp bolts, then realised that I’d put the seat down 15mm, when it should have been up 15mm.

Another lesson learnt :slight_smile: Preparing to mount I anticpated the “pendulum” effect that usually requires several hundred yards of riding to acclimatise up, however, on this occasion, a few yards sufficed.

Though the adjustment was quick, as i was leaving town, the journey was pretty much all upwards, not the afformentioned ‘monster hills’, but, on the 125’s, perhaps also tired from the first half of the ride, I was finding the ride harder, and, less enjoyable.

Probably, with more skill, the handle would have come in useful here, but, at my current level, all I could use it for was a place to rest my (mainly left) hand- which, as I’ve mentioned before, I find useful in terms of providing extra security and for ‘feeling’ the road surface: still, I look forward to the day I can also use it for pushing up on etc.

Crawling up the longish hill that approached home I decided to try to settle the question of which crank length is best for climbing longish hills when tired and, stopped to switch cranks length again.

After carefully working out roughly how far I’d have to shift the seat down and, this time, remembering to shift it the right way, I realised that I’d long ago cut the post to the exact length that, with the post fully down and cranks in 150mm position, the post would butt up against the bottom of the seat post tube :slight_smile:

Launching off, the cranks felt monsterously long, but, when I pointed the unicycle up the hill, I quickly felt the advantage- on this steepness of hill, with 125’s, it’s essential to stand up on the pedals most of the time, with 150’s, it’s more about sitting down and spinning the cranks- it felt easier.

In fact, it was so nice I detoured left into the park for a bit off mild off-roading.

For me, I think the main advantage off 125’s is that it probably means less saddle soreness on longish rides- however, I like the freedom of the 150’s, which make it possible to climb the ‘monster hills’ even when tired and, are suitable for climbing up/over grass bankings and the kind of mild muni that are part of urban sheffield.

Much credit to the KH dual-hole cranks that make it so much easier to switch lengths around.

Sorry I can’t offer a higher level of comment on the handle- sheer lack of skill/experience with handles of this type mean I can’t, at this time, actually use it for much of what it is meant for.

However, from a beginer’s POV, the handle is well-designed, looks good, is light and easily to remove/replace.

It also, by the way it attaches directly to the seat post top and effectively forms a stable base on which the saddle sits, removes the need for the usual handle stiffeners (I destroyed several metal seat bases previously using the Reeder handle, and, eventually had to switch to a carbon fibre seat base).

I think a useful option would be if it’s possible to buy extra front/rear handle parts as, I can imagine I may want to cut the post back even further, till it’s literally coming out the front of the seat (like the old GB4’s)- which would be good for the kind of shorter (approx 1 hr) urban riding i do (mainly roads, but with steep hills and random bits of off-roading) with 150 cranks.

Whereas, if I go on longer, flatter, road rides with 125’s, I wonder if I’d tend towards the much longer handles that I see on touring unis? In which case it might be useful to be able to buy another handle part.

That said, i reckon that there’s a good 3" of forward/backward adjustment with the shadow.

getting my handle by the end of the week hopefully, turning 21 on wednesday!! :smiley: = new stuff. Anyway, I’ll put my review here when I get it. Hopefully I can provide some more insight. Right now I’m pretty happy with the pi bar, but this thing looks like it’s going to be awesome for long distances.

Er, yes, I’d say that’s pretty steep!

Thanks for this review, Dave. Very helpful.

i don’t remember who it was that did it, but they used some sort of bracket to put a bike seat on the old T7 handle, but further back, would that work with this new handle?

yea, that same attachment should work with the new handle, but now you have that single bolt clamp holding the bar in place, I don’t know how well it would hold up. depends on how far you had the seat back.

I don’t think it will. The brackets that hold the bars bolt directly into the seat base at a distance that is probably to great for a regular bike seat.

So, from all I can deduce from pics and reports, the angle of the seat and handle are fixed in relation to each other, right?

I see that the whole seat/handle package will tilt on that gear-looking seat-post, but the seat is fixed un-adjustably to the handle, right? The curved and/or straight "T"s allow various different handle/seat positions, of course, as does the slidey function.

I think you’re right, I see the only P.I.T.A. being the inability to tweak the angle of the system without taking the seat off first.

but once you set it that’s no big deal, besides that, it’s WAY more sturdy looking than the old T7 : )

Yes, the handle is fixed to the seat, at a fixed angle- so the height of the handlebars is varied through three possibilities i.e.

  1. using the straight bar
  2. using the curved bar pointing upwards
  3. using the curved bar pointing downwards

I’ve only used option 2 up to now, but the next thing I’m going to do is cut down the straight bar to the same length as the curved one, then try it on a ride.

Cool, I’ll be getting mine in a couple of days. I’ll write a review then. I think I am going to leave the bar at the stock length as I wish I had more length with my KH bar…we’ll see

My wife listened patiently to why I “needed” one, and then proceeded to not say “no”. I order mine tomorrow.

:d yay!

got mine today, suddenly my unicycle feels like a bike n.n I’ve been wanting to try a long setup like this for a while. A few things that are probably obvious, it’s more flexy than other handlebars, but not nearly as much as I thought it would be, and, it makes the saddle MUCH more rigid. this makes up for the older velo seatbase on the addict saddle. I’m going with the straight bar for now, I tried the curved bar, and it seemed well enough, but this feels like it would be more comfortable for longer distances, you’re a little more leaned over. the handle itself is a little wider than the pi bar or the T7 which I was pleasantly surprised with.

I really like the standard length pushed all the way in, and as you can see, I’m pretty short. I plan to use the back bar for luggage, we’ll see how that goes, I’ll give some more updates on that later. Bartape is soon to come.

oh, one more thing, if you like the bars wider, or just don’t want to cut the handle down immediately, I found that putting the bar ends on facing toward you works pretty well too.

here are a few more pictures:

Good point. I’ll try that before I do any cutting (when mine arrives).

One other thing, is there any reason at all for the middle 4 bolts and nuts? Can the seat be trimmed of that much more weight by their removal?