After a motorcycling accident many years ago, I tried to get back on my Cannondale Killer-V but my body just wouldn't take it. After looking for alternative rides I discovered the recumbent format and started soaking up info from Bentrideronline.com This led to the purchase of a 03' Bacchetta Giro, still hankered for a long wheel base and brought home the RANS Stratus "for the wifey" a month later after clearing out the Can o'ale and her new and still unused GT mtb. I never thought I would be able to have a chance to ride off-road again, but thought this pavement thing was pretty cool and at least let me get out and break a sweat.
Yours truly with a 03' Giro on the left, with some East Bay Recumbent folks...Zach Kaplan on the trike, and a rider with a Burley Hepcat, and another with a EZ Racer Tour Easy.
2003 Blue Trance RANS Stratus LWB, shown here a few years later with a 2006 RANS Stratus XP, and RANS V3 prototype I custom built and called the V3GT.
Here is the setup that took me up to 62mph down Kirker Pass in Concord...just a silly speed...on a bicycle. This is the same setup I did the Bay in a Day double century with, even though after doing 5 centuries on a Force 5 XP. When it came down to it I knew I would be better off with the lower bottom bracket, and easy handling especially when I would hit nutritional/physical/emotional/mind-f walls. I took a spill getting around traffic near the Presidio got leg suck on my right leg, raspberring my right knee at 160mi...but the show must go one. So the medics slathered on some Neosporin at the next stop a few miles ahead and we motored on.
Got the Giro up Mt. Diablo a few times, the longest time was all the way from Brentwood and back...est. 70mi with +2,800ft of up, shown here with a buddies Lighting P-38. I have a 700C rear wheel with a disc brake rotor but no caliper (for cosmetics and further roadie confusion :), and a hardshell seat. Did 2,300 miles on the Giro w/o a single flat...bless those Kenda Kwest. That included my first century ride the Riverbank out of Lodi into the Sierra foothills...a little warm out there and some steep climbing, but hey you are on a bent so just relax, spin and enjoy the ride.
Got the aerodynamic bug bite after spending too much time on the go fast sections of BROL and did some coro-plast harvesting after an election re-"cycling" eh, and put this splitter tail fairing together in about 4 hours with an Exacto and some 3M 77 adhesive spray...no tape, or zip-ties. The Giro had already taken me up to 48mph on a descent near home, not sure why I wanted to go any faster but I guess it was the 140mph motorcycle days calling me back. This setup let me do my fastest metric century, 60mi in 3.5hrs with stops...guess my bent legs were also in.
A used 2003 Bacchetta Strada followed, that I had to convert to 700c's with a rear Paul MotoLite V-brake set and front BB7, and brought over the carbon hard-shell from the Giro. Those are Paul Components MotoLite rear v-brakes, that let you slide the pads up to meet the rim either 26in, 650c, or 700c. A little less rolling resistance with those big wheels, but also a little less confidence in traffic at stops with slippery cycling shoes.
At the top of Mt. Tamalpais with friend Mark on his new Volae Sport
Of course once you are in this deep you might as well go all the way...and added a body sock from Melanie at Free Form Fashions in Santa Cruz CA. And of course got a aero disc cover.
Next came a 650c RANS Force 5 XP from the Interbike Demo day. Got to meet Randy Schlitter of RANS, and the first 2005 crank forward line-up. This photo shows my buddies Optima Baron low racer. This triangulated design was surely a stiff ride, and a solid climber with out any vertical compliance, but also rough ride on not so perfect roads. The 43" wheel base of the F5 (vs. 48" on the large framed Strada, and std. Giro) also made for quick handling but more nervous handling, and more target steering...so do look at the adjacent scenery or "cycling wildlife" for too long, or you will have a much closer look if you are not paying attention.
At Trinity Lake in Norcal
Bigfoot even jumped out and said wtf was that thing, when we blasted by at 50mph on that descent. "Lil Bud" Maurice with our rides.
Paying homage to the handi-capped folks in our lives
Which also was the inspiration for our Handi-bent sock design, after hearing several loving comments from stubborn roadies. Apparently the carbon nano-tubes penetrate those skinny seats over time and effect brain and spinal function, with all the crazy comments they come up with. Our sock showed a handi-enabled cyclist on a "dual big" high racer recumbent with a TT helmet. Might have to order more of these.
After 3 years and 4 recumbents several metrics and centuries and one double century (The Bay in a Day...210mi 8,900ft of up), and a couple discussions with Randy while at Interbike regarding these his new fangled crank forward designs, I decided to jump into the business, not only to find a cheaper to feed my new addiction but also more justifiable on the domestic home front ;) Had to make sure these thing worked amongst the diamond frame riding public, so I smuggled a RANS Zenetik Pro into the Lake Arrowhead triathlon...sprint distance...and went in stone cold with no training other then recreational and commute cycling. Also sport a yellow Spin sock that got plenty of good comments.
19lb RANS Zenetik Pro.
Took our demo Cruz to Lake Trinity for a camping trip, en route to my long home delivery to a customer in Crescent City...a little dust no extra charge eh :)
Had to buy a ATOC Draftmaster to keep the shiny new Spin Van clean inside and to maintain stability on the domestic home front...and it's deductible right.
Perry an environmental studies professor at Humbolt State Univ. was thrilled.
Home deliveries are a blast, and usually include a ride, lunch and possibly cold beer.
Who needs Fedex when you have a Cessna 182 to collect your bike.
RANS Stratus XP about to return to it's namesake in the high altitude stratus clouds.
The early 2005 crank forwards...all steel Made in the U.S.A., not including the alloy Zenetik, a Fusion, Dynamik with a front shock, and rigid Dynamik.
Modified Dynamik with 700c discs.
A favorite shot
A 2006 RANS Zenetik Tour with Deep V bars like the Fusion, with Mt. Diablo in the background.
Randy testing a raw alloy Dynamik in these factory prototype shots
Here is a 2008 Dynamik Pro...finally I was able to get dirty again, just missed mountain biking so much.
Our first Spin Cyclz customer group ride.
Stock bikes just were not cutting it, with regards to creativity so customs starts to flow from the Spin Labs. "Petra 1.0" a raw alloy Zenetik frame with flipped Nitto Northroad bars, Ultegra widgets, and Vuelta wheels. Leo illustrating the extreme crank forward power position.
Petra 1.0 on a late night build session at the Brentwood Spin Shed.
Petra 1.0 on a Mt. Diablo assult.
Yup we work on old school bikes to from time to time, had to my buddy Leo happy bringing his 84' Hutchinson into a new school setup.
Here is "Sonia" a RANS Street, but with 700c disc's, Nitto Mustache bars and Dura Ace bar end shifters. She was originally configured for Stephen from Tasmania who wanted to ride cross country, but it was a touch too large for him and he ended up with a custom 700c Disco Fusion.
First century on a crank forward, the Marin Century, 100mi with 8,800ft if I recall correctly, completed on "Petra 2.0"...product testing will work you sometimes eh.
Blue Disco Fusion, with 700c disc wheels (warning even a 25mm front tire require filing the fork for clearance), but a 23mm might clear.
"Tavia" a RANS Dynamik, before installing a front Rock Shox...shown here on the Bayview trail at China Camp in Marin county.
Tavia's origin build up, with Nitto Northroad bars, Shimano XT Shadow RD and 11-34T, Sugino crank, MKS lite touring pedals and cork Grips...yup we had just returned from a trip to Rivendell Bicycle Works for a positive influence.
Geoff's Disco Cruz, with Avid BB7's, Schwable Marathon Racers, and Velocity Tharacian Disc wheels.
This San Jose CA customer owns a Penny Farthing high wheeler bike, so I tried to accomodate him with some B-37 double bend bars and a taller riding position for a similar riding feel.
Fusion with Velocity Tharacian disc's less rotors, for a bent rider in Sacramento CA.
Had to put a few shake down miles on her though...
"Crystal" a raw alloy RANS Zenetik frame set with 700c Velocity disc, setup for commuting with Nitto Northroads...
"V3GT" on a Napa metric...this was a steel V3 prototype that I scored from Randy for a song. This is my favorite bent geometry, as it's offers quick handling, and high speed stability with good visibility and neck spinablillity in traffic etc.
Chasing Karta P. on a Furnace Creek 508 training run, on a custom RANS V3Ti...just over the hill you pop out above Bodega Bay.
Peter stoked with his Cruzbike Silvio, which we swapped all the parts from his Lemond Tourlamet from in about 3-4hrs of wrenching.
Peter a few months later on a Cruzbike Quest with RANS RAC bags.
Cruzbike Silvio vs. a RANS Enduro high racer. The Silvio is the shortest wheelbase, lowest seat height, biggest wheeled high racer on the market, with reasonable ergo's for commutes or weekend warriors. The bb height is better for many, and not as aggressive as traditional stick bikes...read less toe numbness, and easier starting and stopping as your pavement to pedal engagement time is less.
The Enduro looks huge when compared to the svelte Silvio...
A neural surgeon got me to order a Cruzbike Sofrider, and configure it as a dual 700c with a rear caliper brake and front disc. I intially only planned on sticking with the sexy Cruzbike Sivlio, but I mean when a brain surgeon comes along orders a funky looking bike with a frame that looks like something from Walmart...fortunately I listened. Actually this the frame was purpose built, and is pretty much bullet proof. Now the Sofrider is my goto bike for just about any occasion, especially for off-road riding.
We were both pleased with how it turned out.
First Cruzbike Sofrider mtb outing...this is only a test.
Look ma...no hands
...mini ride report from this outing 'Great ride yesterday through Redwood Regional Park, with Sofrider with mtb tires. Just a couple mod's to make the bike even more capable: more knobby front tire (the tire I used though smooth and quite on the pavement with the continuous center thread would slip on s grade under power...so a mega knobby 26X2.25" is in order", toe clips, disc brakes (wish the Softie's rear swingarm had a disc tab!), 12-36T cassette, and a neoprene chainguard...chipped up the chainstay a bit.. Going to try a Quest 559 next with 406 knobbies on Velocity wheels. Already has disc brakes, so may just install a mtb crank set for ultimate climbing advantage. I was truly amazed at how capable the Sofrider was off road...just like sailing through the woods on a tanning bed. Got it up to 30+mph on the downgrades (needed discs!!!), and the trick is to keep your back pinned to the top of the seat to keep more weight on the rear shock. Even had the rear wheel brake steering/skidding controllable under sharp turns at moderate speeds. On the steep technical downhills never felt worried, as your center of gravity is much lower...cant go over the bars eh. Surprisingly it is a very competent a hugely comfy mtb right out of the box." I was going to ramble on about the Cruzbike Softrider mtb riding a bit, but will save that for next time...but here is a preview.
The Softrider is already a very capable mtb, but these widgets will improve traction, braking, and protect the chainstay eh.