2021–2022 Riese & Müller Homage

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Again the size issue: I think the Size declarations of the Homage are a little bit missleading. Instead of S,M,L Riese & Müller should use M, L, XL.

If you look for a similair bike, which fits better for smaller persons, there is just one alternative due to my opinion. The Conway Cairon SUV FS. Unfortunately in 2022 Conway reduced the line up of this type to two models. And even if you choose the better one (5.7) there are some bitter pills, you have to swallow:
  • Brakes: Tektro...probably weaker than Magura at the Homage, since this brake got 2 pistons also at the front wheel (Magura 4 pistons front, 2 pistons rear). Also spare parts could be a problem.
  • Suspension: My first impression was "Yeah, Fox!" But if you read the specs you will find out the built in fork and spring element are of the entry level category. No match e. g. with the Marzocchi fork at my homage. And also the Aion should be better.
  • Gear shift: Shimano Deore, but not XT, just the cheaper "poser" variant.
  • Light: Contec? ... never heard before, but wait, if you look into the Impressum Conway and Contec belong both to Hermann Hartje KG, hence it's the same (German) company . But let's look at the components in more detail. Front light, the weaker 80 lux model (there is also a 120 lux model), no high beam, overall not better than my BUMM at my recumbent without motor. Positive, the backlight has got an brake indicator, although for me it's not clear how it works (directly/indirectly..I don't see a cable at the Tektro brakes). For an e-bike the front light is absolute entry level 😭, given that Conway is a serious bike producer (let's put aside the offer you can find e. g. at a hardware store).
  • ...
I didn't check every component, but now you can better understand, what I meant with "there never arises the feeling of a compromise" at the Homage. And that also explains the pricing difference. You get what you pay.

For me the Cairon FS wouldn't be a serious option. Front light not acceptable. No Rohloff/belt drive option. Entry level suspension. But a rider, who doesn't use the bike so often as I do (also at night), maybe has got another view onto the weaknesses of that bike. And Conway offers a wider size range for that bike (4 variants). What's difficult to estimate (at least for me), is the robustness and effectiveness of the rear suspension frame construction, which is more complicated than at the Homage.
 
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Add to your wish list:
  • increased pedal ground clearance,
  • availability in a smaller size – current 49 cm frame is 'just right' for me.
My understanding is that R&M have canvassed their dealers regarding a smaller Homage.
There is another way to increase ground cleareance. Replace the cranks by smaller ones (e. g. 165 cm). This is a serious option for E-Mountanbikers to avoid "touchdowns" on rough ground. There are even 135cm cranks.
 
Add to your wish list:
  • increased pedal ground clearance,
  • availability in a smaller size – current 49 cm frame is 'just right' for me.
My understanding is that R&M have canvassed their dealers regarding a smaller Homage.
Low ground clearance is my #1 complaint with my homage. Actually, it is my only complaint! :) I have investigaged shorter cranks, but haven't tried any yet.
 
It's worth investigating the PSI and rebound settings on your rear shock before committing to shorter cranks.

A good rule-of-thumb is (your weight in lbs)+10 = your shock PSI with the rebound being set based on that PSI (see attached.)

If you do need to add a lot of air, put it in 20psi at a time, close the valve, depress the rear end of the bike completely 8-10times and repeat until you've reached the desired PSI. Putting too much in at once will give you a false reading.
 

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Low ground clearance is my #1 complaint with my homage. Actually, it is my only complaint! :) I have investigaged shorter cranks, but haven't tried any yet.

I have installed 160mm cranks on my Homage, and enjoy the change.
Greater cornering clearance without grounding out a pedal is just one benefit.

Shorter cranks also allow you to maintain a higher cadence with less effort, AND reduces the total range of motion of your leg joints (less bending at hips and knees).
The change has meant less knee pain for me, which is a good thing.

Also, IMHO, the stock R&M 170mm crank arms are poorly designed.
There is unnecessary material past the threaded hole that the pedals mount into.
This reduces the clearance to the ground even further.
Switching to the 160mm cranks gained me at least 15mm of clearance.
 
Gee, I swapped out my stock 170mm for 175mm on my SC2 as that is what my long legs want and have used for over 30 years. I don't pedal through the corners so a long - term habit saves me there.
 
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I have installed 160mm cranks on my Homage, and enjoy the change.
Greater cornering clearance without grounding out a pedal is just one benefit.

Shorter cranks also allow you to maintain a higher cadence with less effort, AND reduces the total range of motion of your leg joints (less bending at hips and knees).
The change has meant less knee pain for me, which is a good thing.

Also, IMHO, the stock R&M 170mm crank arms are poorly designed.
There is unnecessary material past the threaded hole that the pedals mount into.
This reduces the clearance to the ground even further.
Switching to the 160mm cranks gained me at least 15mm of clearance.
Excellent observations. I already had several ground contacts with the cranks due to the length of the cranks. Replacing the cranks by shorter ones would reduce this risk significantly. The only reason I hesitate, is the impact on the saddle heigth. Did you lift the saddle by 10mm when you replaced the cranks?
 
I am interested in 160mm cranks replacements in the UK. Is there a specification and are they easy to replace on the Homage?
 
Excellent observations. I already had several ground contacts with the cranks due to the length of the cranks. Replacing the cranks by shorter ones would reduce this risk significantly. The only reason I hesitate, is the impact on the saddle heigth. Did you lift the saddle by 10mm when you replaced the cranks?

Yes, you do need to adjust your saddle height up to compensate to keep from over-extending your knees.

However, I have also fitted an aftermarket OneUp V2 120mm dropper post in place of the X-Fusion Manic 70mm dropper that R&M supplies with the Homage.
It is also adjustable to shorten the drop by 10mm or 20mm with insert keys which are included with the post.

10mm higher saddle with an extra 50mm of dropper travel results in a net lowering of 40mm of the saddle in the low position.
I can now put both feel flat on the ground without sliding off of the saddle when I stop!!!
:cool:

IMHO, 70mm of drop is just not enough to be useful with the bottom bracket height of the Homage.

OneUp Components - Dropper Post V2
1638739501966.png
 
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I am interested in 160mm cranks replacements in the UK. Is there a specification and are they easy to replace on the Homage?

The crank arms are very easy to replace, as long as you have self-extracting crank bolts or the proper crank-arm puller tool.
(In the comparison photos below, you can see the self-extracting crank bolts I am using on my bike.)

Bosch Gen-4 motor crank shafts use an industry standardized ISIS spline, with a M15 center thread for the securing bolt.
(for the FSA cranks I own, the outer caps for the self-extracting crank screws are a M22 thread size. Other brands may be different.)

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Here are photos of the stock R&M 170mm crank arm alongside the 160mm & 155mm sets that I have bought and tried on my 2021 Homage.
You can see from the photo of the backside of the arms that R&M is simply painting their name onto FSA brand cranks.
In the case of my bike, the stock cranks are the CK-745/IS model in 170mm.

Three Crank Sizes - Front.jpg


Three Crank Sizes - Backside.jpg


The 170mm stock R&M cranks are FSA model CK-745/IS cranks in forged 6061-T6 aluminum, and are offered in only three lengths: 165/170/175mm.
My 160mm cranks are FSA model CK-761/IS/wider, which are listed as also being forged and offered in four lengths of: 160/165/170/175mm.
The 155mm cranks are FSA model CK-220/IS, which are listed as diecast aluminum and offered in five lengths of: 155/160/165/170/175mm.

Looking at the way the pedal mounting holes are positioned on each crank arm above, it appears that FSA uses a single size of arm casting/forging for at least 2-3 different crank lengths, and just adjusts the distance the pedal hole is drilled for each model.
Which would explain why the stock crank arms look like they are longer than they need to be, the same forging can also be drilled for the 175mm part number.
I also find it curious that the two models of FSA cranks I have bought in different lengths both have the E-spec symbol cast or forged into the arms, but not on the ones supplied to R&M.

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For fit and ergonomics, the relevant Q-factor measurements on the three sizes/models pictured are:
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The measurement from the rear of the crank mounting flange to the face where the pedals thread against:
(Outer Width or "Crank Q-Factor" as shown in the illustration)
CK-745/IS (stock)= 39.2mm
CK-761/IS/wider = 39.8mm
CK-220/IS = 31.9mm

1638773880084.png


The measurement from the rear face of the crank mounting flange to the rear face at the outer end of the crank arms (for chainstay clearance):
(Inner Width or "Crank Chainstay Clearance Width")
CK-745/IS (stock)= 25.8mm
CK-761/IS/wider = 26.5mm
CK-220/IS = 18.4mm

You can see that the CK-220/IS cranks have a noticeably narrower Q-factor than the stock or 761 model.

On my particular 2021 Dual-Battery Homage, the narrower Q-factor CK-220/IS cranks DO just barely clear both the rear swingarm chainstays as well as the rubber battery covers.
For my bike, I did need to loosen the lower battery mount on one side and push it hard towards the centerline of the frame to give the required clearance because there was some light rubbing on the rubber battery cover when first installed.

I do not have any photos of the clearance at the battery covers, but here is evidence of them not hitting the chainstays. (YMMV)
155mm cranks installed -01.jpg 155mm cranks installed -02.jpg

If shopping for other brands or models of cranks, I would suggest a minimum of 19mm as the measurement of the "Crank Q-Factor" (shown in the illustration above) for 155mm (and MAYBE 160mm) crank arms.
For up to 175mm cranks, 25-26mm should give you plenty of clearance.

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Of course, as always with any tech stuff involving machines designed and built by fallible human beings, YMMV.
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Shorter cranks also allow you to maintain a higher cadence with less effort, AND reduces the total range of motion of your leg joints (less bending at hips and knees).
The change has meant less knee pain for me, which is a good thing.
This is why I had 155mm cranks put on my Nevo. Fully worth it from that angle. My knees definitely feel the difference. Clearance was really icing on the cake by that point.

Excellent observations. I already had several ground contacts with the cranks due to the length of the cranks. Replacing the cranks by shorter ones would reduce this risk significantly. The only reason I hesitate, is the impact on the saddle heigth. Did you lift the saddle by 10mm when you replaced the cranks?
You should as saddle height is supposed to be adjusted relative to the pedal so that your leg is straight when the pedal is at the point furthest away from the saddle, which will change when you swap the cranks to a different length.
 
Thanks to BMW for the tech stuff. Do I have self-extracting crank bolts in a 2021 dual battery Homage (Bosch gen2 low speed)?
I would need a youtube video or more process description to have the confidence to do this myself + implications for dropper post adjustment when raising the saddle.

Surely reducing the crank from 170mm to 160mm reduces the distance the pedal travels in a single cadence from 1068mm to 1005mm (6%). Doesn't this feel like being in a higher gear? The same movement in the legs per second but harder work.
 
Thanks to BMW for the tech stuff. Do I have self-extracting crank bolts in a 2021 dual battery Homage (Bosch gen2 low speed)?
I would need a youtube video or more process description to have the confidence to do this myself + implications for dropper post adjustment when raising the saddle.

Surely reducing the crank from 170mm to 160mm reduces the distance the pedal travels in a single cadence from 1068mm to 1005mm (6%). Doesn't this feel like being in a higher gear? The same movement in the legs per second but harder work.

My 2021 Homage did not come with self-extracting bolts, but it was easy to order a set from Amazon and swap them out.
(I also happen to have a Park Tool crank extractor with the ISIS adapter, but I travel with my bike, and don't want to carry it along all the time.)
Honestly, the self-extracting bolts cost me less than what the special tool did.
If shopping for a self-extracting bolt set, just be sure that you get one with a M15 bolt thread to fit onto the Bosch Gen-4 ISIS spindle, and a M22 cap thread to fit FSA cranks.

When reinstalling the crank arms be sure to tighten the center bolt to the correct specified torque.

Here is a PDF file of the FSA Crank and BB installation instructions:
http://www.sjscycles.com/Instructions/FSA/FSA_Gimondi__Single_Chainset.pdf

If I do not have the original documentation with the torque specs, there are a couple of resources I have bookmarked online to help give guidance.
Park Tools "How To" page on torque with common specs at the end of the page
Fastenal Torque Tension Reference Guide PDF (in-lb/ft-lb units)
And there are many other places to search for typical torque values online if you cannot find the specific installation instructions for your items.

In this case, page #52 of my R&M Owner's Manual has a comprehensive list of torque values for the bike, including the crank arm bolt spec, which is:
50-60 Nm / 440-530 in-lbf

Also, make sure that the cranks are installed 180-degrees apart on the spindle, otherwise pedaling will feel weird....
;) 🤣

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If all of that sounds too complicated for you, any LBS shop should be willing to swap out the crank set in just a few minutes.

When I bought my 160mm cranks I actually had them shipped to me on holiday, and I had not yet bought the set of self-extracting bolts.
The LBS shop I walked in to with the new cranks in hand did not want to charge me for the service.
I had to practically force them to take $10, and told them to buy a drink for themselves if they didn't want to put it into the till...

Shameless plug for those good people @ Wheelie Fun Bike Shop, in Powell Ohio!!!
http://wheeliefunbikes.com/

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As far as pedaling effort (quite subjective):
Yes, reducing crank arm length does reduce the distance your foot travels during each crank revolution (in addition to reducing the range of motion of your leg joints).

I suppose that if you are someone who grinds away at 50-60rpm cadence you might feel a difference in the force required at the pedals, but quite honestly at the 80-90rpm cadence that I normally keep it actually feels easier to keep my cadence going with less pressure in my joints.

YMMV
 
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Yes, you do need to adjust your saddle height up to compensate to keep from over-extending your knees.

However, I have also fitted an aftermarket OneUp V2 120mm dropper post in place of the X-Fusion Manic 70mm dropper that R&M supplies with the Homage.
It is also adjustable to shorten the drop by 10mm or 20mm with insert keys which are included with the post.

10mm higher saddle with an extra 50mm of dropper travel results in a net lowering of 40mm of the saddle in the low position.
I can now put both feel flat on the ground without sliding off of the saddle when I stop!!!
:cool:

IMHO, 70mm of drop is just not enough to be useful with the bottom bracket height of the Homage.

OneUp Components - Dropper Post V2
View attachment 108682
Regarding the cranks I finally decided to replace them, since again I had crank contact on the short trail section I have to pass on my way home yesterday. There are appropriate cranks from E*THIRTEEN where I have the choice between 160mm and 165mm. Anyway the effect on the ground clearance should be significant. If you take into account the superfluous material below the mounting hole for the pedals I will win almost 10mm even with the 165mm variant.

As to the dropper post you arrived at the same conclusion as I did. 70 cm are okay but not perfect. In my case 100 mm is the maximum since I got just 34mm scope (or 39mm after replacement of the cranks). Since the OneUp can be adusted to 100mm it's an appropriate alternative to the original X-Fusion. Another option is the SDG Tellis droper post 34,9mm/100mm, which is my current favourite. Price is similair to the OneUp, reviews seem to be a little bit better.
 
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Regarding the cranks I finally decided to replace them, since again I had crank contact on the short trail section I have to pass on my way home yesterday. There are appropriate cranks from E*THIRTEEN where I have the choice between 160mm and 165mm. Anyway the effect on the ground clearance should be significant. If you take into account the superfluous material below the mounting hole for the pedals I will win almost 10mm even with the 165mm variant.

As to the dropper post you arrived at the same conclusion as I did. 70 cm are okay but not perfect. In my case 100 mm is the maximum since I got just 34mm scope (or 39mm after replacement of the cranks). Since the OneUp can be adusted to 100mm it's an appropriate alternative to the original X-Fusion. Another option is the SDG Tellis droper post 34,9mm/100mm, which is my current favourite. Price is similair to the OneUp, reviews seem to be a little bit better.

Which dropper post will fit/work for you depends strongly on what your seat height setting is.
In the spreadsheet chart attached, there are some other possible dropper posts to consider if you have not already purchased the Tellis.

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For me, I seem to have a fairly short inseam for my height.
So my seat height measurement from the top of the pedal to the top surface of the saddle is: 865mm
The seat post "Stack Height" is the distance the post sticks out of the frame to the middle of the seat rails in the clamp.
With the stock saddle, 160mm crank arms, and 865mm seat height to the pedals, my measured stack height is: 170mm

For my needs, any dropper post will need to have an extended stack length of 170mm or less from the bottom of the post collar to the center of the frame rails.
So, I can immediately rule out any posts/lengths where the slammed stack length of the post is over 170mm.

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A second consideration is how far into the frame the post needs to be inserted to achieve your desired seat height.
If the post is inserted too deeply into the frame, the cable coming out of the bottom of the dropper could interfere with the rear shock which is directly below the seat tube.

On the small 49cm frame of my 2021 R&M Homage, I have measured the maximum possible post insertion depth as 235mm to the stop screw installed in the bottom of the seat tube.
However, that is only going to be possible with a standard (non-dropper) post.
When you take into account the space that the cable is going to need to bend to the side in order to clear the shock, the actual usable maximum insertion depth of an internally routed dropper post is only going to be around 210-220mm.

The length of the seat tube may be different on the medium and large frames, so do not take this as gospel without checking for yourself.

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This chart shows the relevant dimension for several dropper posts which are available in 39.4mm diameter to fit the frame without shims.
I personally chose the OneUp V2 120mm (w/adjustable stroke) based on fit, drop range, and availability.
I really wanted to buy the PNW Loam post in 125mm (adjustable stroke) but there simply were none available to buy when I was doing this.

Based on your own saddle height, seat tube length, & stack height measurements you may be able to fit ones other than the models I have highlighted in green, or you may be limited to one of the 100 mm droppers if your seat is much lower than mine.
YMMV

1638904791631.png


One important thing to note for both the OneUp and the SDG dropper posts is that they have the head of the cable routed through the bottom of the post, rather than having the head of the cable routed through the lever as the X-Fusion does.
Since I did not order a new lever, and the OneUp does not come with one, I did need to grind/sand the cable clamp barrel on the loose end of the cable to be a bit narrower in order to have it fit into the OneUp actuator without binding. I needed to take off about 1mm on each end of the cable clamp barrel, and ensured that it was still wide enough to work with the original X-Fusion if I ever put it back in. The new post now works just fine with the original cable, jacket, and lever.

IIRC, the SDG posts come with a lever and cable, so you should be able to simply mount the included top-clamping lever and snake the cable through the existing cable jacket to ease installation.
 
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Thanks for this detailed presentation.

I just measured the current stack length of the original post at my bike (the x-fusion is not fully inserted): Almost 160mm, after crank replacement 5mm more. Hence a stack length of 155mm at full insertion as given in your table shouldn't be a problem should it?

One advantage of the SDG is the simple installation, which is emphasised in various reviews. As I understood the installation instruction I can keep the hose, lever and cable will be replaced.
 
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Finally I arrived at the same decision as BMWzenRider and puchased the OneUp V2. Why did I change my mind?

I found a special offer for the OneUp V2 variant I need (169 €), hence the pricing difference is neglectable. Also relevant for my decision was the fact that OnUp has reacted to the complaints about the reliability of the actuator in serveral reviews by improving the actuator construction. At last SDG has one shortcoming I didn't mention yet. The accessability of the front screw for the saddle adjustment is poor because SDG didn't give that screw an ankled position as other manufacturers do. This disadvantage is mentioned in several reviews.

In contrast to BMWzenRider I will combine the new dropper post with the Wolf Tooth Remote light Action for Magura MT. That way I can improve usability again and I must also admit, that I'm not keen on modifying the original X-Fusion-Lever.
 
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Finally I arrived at the same decision as BMWzenRider and puchased the OneUp V2. Why did I change my mind?

I found a special offer for the OneUp V2 variant I need (169 €), hence the pricing difference is neglectable. Also relevant for my decision was the fact that OnUp has reacted to the complaints about the reliability of the actuator in serveral reviews by improving the actuator construction. At last SDG has one shortcoming I didn't mention yet. The accessability of the front screw for the saddle adjustment is poor because SDG didn't give that screw an ankled position as other manufacturers do. This disadvantage is mentioned in several reviews.

In contrast to BMWzenRider I will combine the new dropper post with the Wolf Tooth Remote light Action for Magura MT. That way I can improve usability again and I must also admit, that I'm not keen on modifying the original X-Fusion-Lever.

I think that you will appreciate the extra dropper travel as well.
More is always better, right?
;)
 
I think that you will appreciate the extra dropper travel as well.
More is always better, right?
No. Not always.

Raising the Saddle too High:
If the 'standard' 70mm brings a rider up to the correct pedalling position from the lowest seat post setting, then 150mm, 175mm, 200mm, et cetera will lift them too high.

Shorter Riders:
My guess is that around 30% of men and 40% of women will find that the 49cm Homage's 'lowerable saddle' is too high in its raised position.

Put differently, those who are short might need to order their Homage with the standard (non-dropper) post that won't raise them so high that they cannot reach the pedals.

Tyres:
Although there is scant clearance between the rear mudguard and tyre, a wider (and therefore 'higher' – I wonder) tyre might increase ground clearance. I have 65–584 Schwalbe Johnny Watts on my 2021 Homage Touring.

Pressure:
My preferred tyre pressure (2.5 bar) and rear shock pressure (12 bar) are quite high (I'm ~70kg). So far as ground clearance is concerned, the former is probably in the realm of 'marginal gains'; the latter perhaps of greater significance.
 
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