How to choose between the Vendetta and Silvio?

On Sat, May 28, 2016 at 7:53 PM, David W D____ <dwd——@me.com> wrote:

Robert,

Hope this email finds you healthy and busy but with enough time to ride now that the weather is warm.

I am finally going to order a new ride. I really enjoyed the Silvio last summer, but I have been having second thoughts about the S30 vs the V20.

Do you have any insight into how to distinguish the two to determine which would be the better ride for me. As you know I am very interested in speed. I worry however that the 20 degree incline of the Vendetta will become uncomfortable on long rides. Any thoughts?

Further I was wondering if you had any suggestions about requesting special equipment on the bike. For example, I find I like the disk brakes on my Quest. Would you suggest having disk brakes on the model I order? Are the various components on the bikes, wheels, shifters, etc. the best choices I could make? Any suggestions?

David

 

~ ~ ~

Hi David!

Great to hear from you.  How are you?
Sorry to be slow to reply.  I took a short vacation and went backpacking for three days in the Catskills over the holiday weekend.
For me, the Vendetta’s (V20) 20 deg. incline isn’t uncomfortable.  It’s more like you’re tucked into a luge/race car.  Visibility of the street from about 0′ to 20′ is slightly limited on the V20 compared to the Silvio due to the low seat angle — the pedals and handlebars may be in your field of view.  The main thing is that it is insanely aero and fast.
For me, the Silvio’s more inclined seat position makes it more compatible for riding with standard frame riders.  Also, I (personally) can see the street well, even at 0′ in front of me, so the 0′ – 20′ street visibility is less an issue.  It’s slower than the Vendetta, but it’s still extremely aero and fast.
I’d say if your priority is speed, there’s nothing like the Vendetta (V20).  It’s unbelievable; it has no equal.
Maybe a way to decide is to weigh comfort (Silvio) vs. speed (Vendetta).  Which is more important to you?
As for special equipment, I’m strongly of the opinion that it is best to go with the manufacturer’s standard components and their wheels, etc.  The price including their build and installation is a bargain; it’s great equipment; and you’re assured that it will work as they intend.  Their rim brakes are good.
I sincerely hope this helps!
Remember to use the code I gave you to get your $100 discount!
Best wishes,
Robert

Cruzbike as mountain bike

View from a Cruzbike during a mountain bike trip in Colorado.

View from a Cruzbike during a mountain bike camping trip in Colorado.

 

A Cruzbike friend in Boulder, Colorado recently went on her first bike camping trip.  She had asked for advice about packing and mounting panniers on a Quest and I sent her my bike touring packing list and blog post about using Radical Design panniers.

I followed up to ask how it went.  It turned out the route consisted of single track, not much pavement, steep ups and downs, and generally a roller coaster of a dirt ride.  She decided to take her Cruzbike Sofrider, but it sounds like she could’ve taken her Quest 26 if it had more appropriate tires.

She sent me this note and photos.  I thought it was a great story about how a 26″-wheeled Cruzbike handles off-road riding.

# # #

She writes:

I ended up choosing the Sofrider because the route was mostly dirt – just a bit of pavement climbing at the beginning. There were some very challenging segments. When I say very challenging, I mean mountain bike material – very narrow rocky/rooty tracks through the woods up and down mountains. That part was not what I’d hoped for at all, but I made it through! Also at the end, there was a long 14% grade descent which terrified me. So, I braked hard. I also blew my rear tube, had to learn to change/patch it on the side of the road. ADVENTURES. Perhaps a bit of a “death march”* by the end, but I’m glad I did it and wouldn’t have been prepared without your advice. [*There’s a tradition at Cruzbike that we go for “death marches” every morning of the bike conventions. So far, Jim and Maria Parker have gone easy on us and I’ve been able to keep up.]

 

LUPA-20150731_173334

Check out the Cruzbike on a bus rack!

Here are the few photos I took on my phone! We rode the bus out of Boulder to Nederland the first evening, biked/climbed (literally scaled a mountain side pushing/carrying my loaded Sofrider) to our campsite which we reached at sunset then biked back all the way down to Boulder the next day.

LUPA-20150731_193941

All the important stuff: sleeping bag, water reservoir, change of shoes….

As for the mountain bike trails, I think the Sofrider sans 20 lbs of load could have faired even better. The problem I ran into was front wheel slip climbing on very steep, loosely packed surfaces.

A more experienced/daring rider could have done more than I did  out there – I tend to play it VERY safe especially when speed is in the mix. I’d rather test my limits climbing than descending any day. On the pavement, no one could keep up with me on the climbs!

# # #

Have fun, think fast,

Robert

What flag for a Cruzbike Quest? Thicker seat padding?

What flag for a Cruzbike Quest?  Photo by Tom Page, "MadGeographer" More work here: https://www.flickr.com/people/73422480@N00
On Thursday, July 30, 2015, F— M—- wrote:

Do you have a recommendation for a flag for the Quest?  I am feeling more confident and would like to venture out on the road.

Also I find the padding of the seat is not the greatest.  Any suggestions?  I have made a pad out of an old Yoga mat which has helped greatly.

– FM

 

Hi F—,

Flag: I’m assuming you mean a safety flag and not, like, an American flag?

If you mean a safety flag, I personally don’t ride with a flag, so I can’t suggest a solution that I believe in.  And I rarely sell flags except to trike riders, where it seems there is more clearly a safety advantage.

If you mean a country flag, I suggest the stars and stripes, man!

My own approach, if I’m looking to be noticed on the road, instead of a flag I wear a high-viz lime green helmet (Bell and Lazer make models) and usually high-viz clothing — a shirt or a highway worker’s high-viz safety vest/jacket and/or a high-viz “Buff” neck gaiter.  (Check out these high-viz reflective buffs.)  For high-viz gear, here’s a link, though I don’t know these guys.

 

Seat padding.

It seems that different riders have different experiences with the seat padding on the Quest (and other recumbents).  For me, the standard padding is fine but I know others have wanted something firmer or thicker.

Yours is actually one of the better solutions I’ve heard because the yoga mat is probably closed-core foam rubber, which should be durable.  I’d maybe glue the old yoga mat together permanently and then cut it to shape, or search on-line for closed core foam sleeping pads that I could cut to shape.  Here’s a pad made by Alps Mountaineering.  Alps generally makes good stuff.  If I was to do it properly, I’d also buy some velcro and attach it to the seat.  I have one customer who likes using computer packing foam under the back of his seat.  There’s no “official” solution for this one from Cruzbike.

 

Recently, a customer sent me this helpful note regarding the seat foam:

Robert,

Maybe helpful info concerning your blog entry:
“Cruzbike Quest: Flag? Seat Padding?”

On the Cruzbike forum at
“Silvio 2 seat”
http://www.cruzbike.com/forum/threads/silvio-2-seat.7380/

There is a strong recommendation down near the bottom for Wondergel https://wondergel.com/ for about $100 – $130.

I added my 2 cents, $40 actually, for a wheelchair foam cushion, cut to fit, which works OK for me. Much better than the extreme torture, my experience anyway, of the standard Silvio seat cushion.

I got the wheelchair foam cushion from Robert Jacobson Surgical Pharmacy, across the street from Northern Westchester Hospital in Mt. Kisco, NY. A medical supply company like this has a wider selection than a regular pharmacy.

A Google search or Amazon search will show a lot to choose from too. I suppose that any one would do. There are a lot of gel cushions to avoid, because one needs to cut to a smaller diameter.
Regards,
Jim L—

 

Have fun and stay healthy,

Robert

————

Robert Matson
New York City Recumbent Supply
The Innovation Works, Inc.
copyright 2015 Robert Matson

Cruzbike: new jerseys and sale on Quest

For the month of June only, take $100-off your new Quest.
This is a cool bike.  Get one, if just for kicks.  I expect these to sell out quickly.

New Cruzbike Jerseys
They’re very nice and feature their new logo.

See the email announcement here:
http://us1.campaign-archive1.com/?u=d220aa789bdee9b5ed0705623&id=c131a0077d&e=56bc681e79

Have fun and keep cruisin’,
Robert
————
Robert Matson
New York City Recumbent Supply
The Innovation Works, Inc.
copyright 2015 Robert Matson

News from Cruzbike: more records set by Vendetta riders

In May, team Cruzbike set three new course records, one UMCA record and took the 12-hour UMCA National Championship titles for both men and women on Cruzbike Vendettas. Join us and the whole Cruzbike community congratulating these awesome racers: Larry Oslund, Maria Parker, Ben Tomblin and Lief Zimmerman.

The links below may get broken at some point, but for now they’re good.

At Calvin’s Challenge

Course Record: Overall Female
257 miles (in 12 hours)
Rider: Maria Parker
Bike: Cruzbike Vendetta
Team: 3000 Miles to a Cure
Blog entry: http://cruzbike.com/maria-and-larry-go-calvins

First Place: Men
UMCA 12-hour National Champion
264 miles (in 12 hours)
Rider: Larry Oslund
Bike: Cruzbike Vendetta
Team: 3000 Miles to a Cure
Blog entry: http://cruzbike.com/maria-and-larry-go-calvins

First Place: Women
UMCA 12-hour National Champion
257 miles (in 12 hours)
Rider: Maria Parker
Bike: Cruzbike Vendetta
Team: 3000 Miles to a Cure
Blog entry: http://cruzbike.com/maria-and-larry-go-calvins

UMCA Washington State North South

Time: 12:28:00
Rider: Lief Zimmerman
Bike: Cruzbike Vendetta
Team: 3000 Miles to a Cure
Blog entry: http://blief.zwise.net/?p=2649&fb_ref=Default

Assault on Mt. Mitchell


Course Record
Recumbent Male
6:23:42
Rider: Ben Tomblin

Bike: Cruzbike Vendetta
Team: 3000 Miles to a Cure
Blog entry: http://cruzbike.com/ben-tomblin-sets-new-recumbent-record-assault-mt.-mitchell

Course Record

Recumbent Female
6:58:57
Rider: Maria Parker

Bike: Cruzbike Vendetta

Blog entry: http://cruzbike.com/ben-tomblin-sets-new-recumbent-record-assault-mt.-mitchell

Have fun and stay healthy,
Robert
————
Robert Matson
New York City Recumbent Supply
The Innovation Works, Inc.
copyright 2015 Robert Matson

Cruzbikes climb steep hills.

Cruzbikes climb steep hills.

Frequently, people ask me about the limit, in terms of grade of incline, that a Cruzbike recumbent bike can climb up a steep hill.  I personally have ridden a CB Silvio up short 25% grade sections and recently, during a New York Cycle Club ride, I climbed a fairly long, steep hill with grades ranging between 20-25%.  Skill and finesse are required to prevent the front drive-wheel from slipping, but the technique* can be mastered by most Cruzbike riders.  (*Consistent, slow, steady pressure on the pedals while leaning forward over the handlebars.)

Here in New York City, since few of us carry clinometers, it is useful to refer to a specific hill and incline that many cyclists know in order to explain how steep a Cruzbike can climb.  My hill of choice is the incline on the West Side Hudson River Bikepath, north of the George Washington Bridge, at that place where the path S-curves inland, up and away from the river and begins following right next to the highway.  It’s an ugly stretch.  While the hill isn’t long, three things make it hard: it’s crazily steep, it’s very narrow, it curves tightly at the steepest section, and — four things — there’s a traffic barrier in the middle of the narrow bike path that you have to squeeze past.  Cyclists tend to think it’s barely climbable on any bike, let alone on a recumbent bike.

I’ve climbed this hill on a Cruzbike Quest 20 when the asphalt was slick due to a drizzling rain.  And I did not put down a foot.  So, I can say with total confidence that this hill is climbable on a Cruzbike.  In addition, I point to this example as one of the reasons I like Cruzbikes for extended long rides where you don’t have the privilege of choosing your route to avoid the hills.

Several months ago, I was having a conversation with a customer about how the Cruzbike climbs.  This guy now owns a Cruzbike Silvio in addition to a Volae Team rear-wheel-drive recumbent bike he bought from me several years ago.  We were talking about this hill so we’d have a common reference point.  He went out later and measured the hill with a clinometer app that he has on his smart phone.  Here is his note.

L___b

10/22/14

Robert,

Recall that you told me that on your Cruzbike you were able to climb that steep climb on the bike trail by George Washington bridge. I’ve never been able to climb it on my Volae.

Last weekend I measured that hill with my phone clinometer.

The bottom 20 feet or so are at an 18% grade.
The next 20 feet or so are at a 20% grade.
The next 20 feet or so are at a 12% grade.
The top 10 feet or so are at a 21% grade, going around a sharp left hand turn to the flat crest of the hill, and I measured on the outside of the turn where the bike would be.

Now you know exactly what you climbed.

Even though I ran the App calibration sequence, which is a 2-step process turning the phone 180 degrees to cancel out the phone being thicker at the camera end, I found that the app still measured 2 degrees different on the hill depending on which end of the phone was uphill. I measured both ways and averaged to get the numbers above.

This App from plaincode is the only free clinometer App I have found that has an option (still free) to measure in percent grade (after one-time setup in the configuration dialog to switch from degrees to percent) the way cycling people like to do. Plaincode makes their money on paid upgrades for advanced features.

This app is available on Apple, Android, and Windows phones and tablets. Website with links to each of the three App stores: http://www.plaincode.com/products/clinometer/

My ride was a 90-mile round trip from Yorktown Heights to Stinky Cheese on 20th street and back. Their Caveman Blue is beyond way out there. Just enough daylight for it at my all-day, 11 mph rate.

Regards,
J__ L____

(By the way, this same customer set up his Cruzbike Silvio with a Rohloff Speedhub.  I’ll post a note about that sometime in the near future.)

Have fun, stay healthy, and go enjoy yourself on some steep hills,
Robert

————

Robert Matson
New York City Recumbent Supply
The Innovation Works, Inc.
copyright 2015 Robert Matson

Extended customer review of a Cruzbike Quest

———- Original Message ———-

Subject: on-line review
From: “O__ G___
To: “Robert Matson”
——————————————

[Ed. note: this customer wrote an extended review of his experience testing, buying and learning to ride a Cruzbike Quest. I’ve reprinted only an excerpt here, but it’s a useful review for those who want to weed out the real-life experiences of Cruzbike riders from the hype.]

“….I made an appointment with Robert (NYC Recumbent Supply, link below) for a lesson. He starts me out on a Cruzbike Quest, one of those MBB bikes. Mind you, I was prepared for a challenge. I’d read about the learning curve, and was ready for some difficulty. An hour and a half later, white knuckled, the beginnings of blisters on my hands from a death grip on the handlebars, and buzzing on adrenaline from 90 minutes of “OMG doesn’t riding a bike since you were six years old count for anything?” and I’m still riding on the edge between control and wipeout. I felt like a beginner. But you can’t really fall on a recumbent. When you lose your balance the leg on the side your falling towards instinctively goes out to catch yourself. I lost my balance many times, only at low speed, never crashed. During the lesson Robert also let me try a conventional rear wheel drive bent….”

Have fun and stay healthy,
Robert

————

Robert Matson
New York City Recumbent Supply
The Innovation Works, Inc.
copyright 2015 Robert Matson

Cruzbike heavy duty rack modifications

Here’s the rack.

A customer called me the other day about getting some Radical Design panniers. He had made some modifications to the Cruzbike Heavy Duty rack on his Quest 20. Talking to him, I became very curious about the mods because it sounded like he was solving a problem I too had observed: no place to anchor pannier bags on the side of the heavy duty rack and no way to ensure the Rad. Design bags wouldn’t touch the rear wheel.

His name is Tor Matson (no relation to me, as far as I know). Here are his notes and photos. He’s happy to make the rack for others if you wish.

Hey Robert, here you go…  Here’s my rack, and a shot of my plush air shock, to boot…

This little aluminum rod bit is what makes it all happen; it’s relieved to fit the CB HD rack. Does require drilling and tapping of the rack. I could make these bits if there’s interest…

Here’s the kludge bit. Having the quick-release option is nice, as you can just slide the rack out of the tube, but the hose clamps aren’t so nice. Could TIG some aluminum tube onto the CB rack for a cleaner look, or fab up a better tube-and-clamp system. This is a beta test mule, function only!

Slipped some tubing over the pannier rack, and got a really secure mount. Solid and rattle-free!

I asked him if I could post the photos and his contact info. in case anyone else wants to order one.
Here was his reply:

Bueno! Post it if you like; I could make those pieces if anybody wants one, but I’m happy to just share the idea; it’s pretty simple to fab and is kind of a custom fit thing anyway, but happy to help if I can… If there’s demand, I could make a batch, not totally sure about the tolerances between racks… Mine took a bit of fitting to be perfect…
Cheers,
Tor Matson
Email him at “maryselapierre [AT] gmail”
You’ll need to add the extension, etc. to that e-mail address.

Have fun and ride like the wind,
Robert

————

Robert Matson
New York City Recumbent Supply
The Innovation Works, Inc.
copyright 2015 Robert Matson

Sebring 2015: Maria Parker sets new record on a Cruzbike Vendetta to win the 12-hour race.

Maria Parker set a new female record for the 12-hour race at Sebring, riding a Cruzbike Vendetta.  A good number of the Cruzbike crew were present at the race, and I heard from an authoritative source, who was present at the race, but who I will not name, that the diamond frame riders were seriously pissed.  The DF peloton refused to ride cooperatively with the recumbent riders during the race, one of them told a recumbent rider during the race that they “don’t want [you] here,” and, at the award ceremony, the actual trophy was handed to the top-finishing diamond frame female rider, instead of Maria, who was the female rider who rode the greatest number of miles. Wait, what’s that?  Whoever rides the greatest number of miles wins, right?

Maria has a nice blog entry about the day here.  True to her good character, she makes no mention of the unsportsmanlike conduct of the standard frame riders.

Jim Parker won the 100 mile race in 4 hours, 14 minutes on a CB Vendetta.  He wrote an enjoyable blog entry about the Florida HPRA race, which occurred in the days before Sebring.

Charlie Ollinger, riding a Vendetta, broke course records in the 200 meter (36.725 mph) and 1 km (31.129 mph) velodrome events that had previously been set by Mike Mowett on a Morciglio M1 lowracer. Charlie also won the 50-lap velodrome event — apparently — “easily.”

Interesting side note: a Bachetta rider, who lost the race, bought a Vendetta after the race.

Other fun little tidbit is that another Cruzbike contender, Daryl Hanger, raced his recently acquired Sofrider in the Stock category and scored 7th overall in points out of 15. I love it. The Sofrider is NOT built for speed, but as someone who rides one for city commuting, I have to say I’m not astonished to hear this. I continue to think it’s one of the fastest, low cost recumbents available today.

Daryl Hanger
Daryl Hanger shows what a Cruzbike Sofrider can do.

Have fun and stay healthy,
Robert
————
Robert Matson
New York City Recumbent Supply
The Innovation Works, Inc.
copyright 2013 Robert Matson

Recumbent Cycle Convention: brief notes

The most important note first:

Creating safe roads for cyclists is as important as building and selling bikes.
The town of St. Charles and the surrounding area — where the show was held — has wonderful bike trails and paths and I was able to enjoy them with the Cruzbike team on the morning of the second day of the show.
But I didn’t see any bicycle advocacy organizations represented at the show.  It is vital that each of us, as cyclists and industry workers, are involved in advocacy.  We each play an important role in expanding opportunities to bicycle safely in the USA.  We can’t simply be bike lane users.  We must also be bike lane builders.
Here’s something you can do, starting today.  It’s fun and you’ll meet people who may become lifelong friends.  Dedicate just 4 hours per month — 48 hours in the year — volunteering for your local bicycle advocacy organization or otherwise engaged in bicycle advocacy.  That small amount of time will help save lives — not to mention the planet.  It will help save the life of somebody with a name, and a mom and dad.  That “somebody” might be you or someone close to you.  Toss this aside and you’re tossing aside someone’s life.

If you don’t have a local bicycle advocacy organization, then join Bikes Belong, a.k.a., PeopleForBikes and give them the equivalent of 48 hours/year of your income.  Want to do more?  Run for your local community board or city council.

Thank you to Charles Coyne, Coyne Publishing and the RCC Team for producing this show.
Visit them here http://www.rtrmag.com/
Charles Coyne and his crew do an amazing job of producing RCC.  It’s is incredible that they are able to do so much.  All the workers were friendly and professional.  The show was well-organized and well-attended.  He had nearly all the top manufacturers there.  Also, on the above note of advocacy, Charles and his group are a great example of people working hard to promote bicycling with no eye — as far as I can tell — to personal gain.  If anything, it seems to me he’s putting himself at significant financial risk to put on this show.  Thank you, Charles and team.
Cruzbike
The new Silvio and Vendettas are very impressive on many fronts – performance, adjustability, weight, features, capacity to work with wide range of drivetrains.   Both bikes share many of the same qualities.   I rode both and put in about 20 mi. on the Vendetta during the Cruzbike morning ride.  Both models are better than ever and they’ve shaved 16 oz. off both frames, in part by making the new seat in full carbon fiber.  I initially wondered if I’d like the new front boom and drive-triangle, shared by the V and S, but it’s excellent: stiff, highly adjustable, light, clean appearance.  The new Vendetta’s paint is a metallic red.  The white Silvio looks good too.  All in all, the new designs are winners.There’s a very interesting spec effecting drivetrain options, but it’s not published so I don’t want to spill the beans in case something changes.  In short, it’s great news and it looks like there’ll be more versatility than in the past.

The Cruzbike booth was popular and, often, nearly all the bikes were out on the test track.  I’ve already sold several Silvios so I anticipate the current run to sell out, maybe by end of winter.  Go and get yours now.

HP Velotechnik
Nothing but top marks for HP Velotechnik.  New Gekko fx 26 is perfect.  The new Scorpion “Plus,” perfect.  The new “adaptive” pedals and accessories are easy to use and well-made.  The new seats, fine.
I’m at a loss for words when writing about the brand and the models, because there’s nothing more to say.  They are the gold standard.  There are no surprises.  They simply continue to prove they are probably the most professional and reliable recumbent manufacturer in the market.
HP Velot. was one of the most popular booths at the show.  No surprise there either.Hase

They’re continuing their tradition of being one of the foremost manufacturers of adaptive cycles.  They are clearly entirely dedicated to producing the highest quality machines.  Again, I don’t know what to say: they’re great.  They too had one of the most popular booths at the show.
Patterson Transmission (from FSA)
Superb new internal gear system to replace front chain rings and rear wheel 3-speed hub gears.  Inexpensive, quiet, works well.  Only time will tell how durable it is over thousands of miles, but I liked what I saw and may well install one on one of my own bikes over the winter to use and abuse it.
http://pattersonbike.com/reviews/Bent Rider On-line

Also one of the most popular booths at the show.  Bryan Ball seemed to be in high spirits and told me they sold out of their merchandise by the afternoon of the first “public” day of the show.
Go build a bike lane,
Robert
————
Robert Matson
New York City Recumbent Supply
The Innovation Works, Inc.
copyright 2014 Robert Matson