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
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.
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. 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 Matson
New York City Recumbent Supply
The Innovation Works, Inc.
copyright 2014 Robert Matson

Customer blog: Brian Nice. Really cool stuff

I’ve just remotely met this fellow, Brian Nice, for whom a handful of us are trying to find a trike.  It seems he’s a good candidate for some of the cool adaptations that Hase Bikes is so good at.

Brian is an athlete with a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and is keeping an incredibly interesting and inspiring blog about his experiences and, well, the world.  All that aside, to my eyes, he’s a talented artist and photographer.  Really cool stuff.  Go Brian.  Go.

And this project:

Have fun, stay healthy, go out and make a difference,
Robert Matson
New York City Recumbent Supply
The Innovation Works, Inc.
copyright 2014 Robert Matson

Hase Pino. Four thumbs up.

The new Hase Pino semi-recumbent tandem arrived in the shop the other day. On Saturday I had the chance to take it out for a test ride.  My friend and I treated ourselves to a casual 65-mile hilly ride from my place near the Brooklyn Museum of Art up to the Alpine Picnic Area at the north end of the NJ section of the Palisades Park.

Wish I had a photo, but you can’t really take a picture of yourself riding a bike.

Neat bike.  I’ve ridden a fair number of tandems and there are several points that make this one stand out.
– Both captain and stoker have a great view of the surroundings; there is no “obstructed view seat.” This is a wonderful feature.
– Stoker has an semi-independent pedaling system, so he/she can rest when desired.
– Bike is easy to handle by the captain.  I anticipated needing to take some time to master the handling, but it felt very natural from the get-go.  No learning curve at all, not even to take tight U-Turns.
– Very stiff frame, steering system, drivetrain and wheelset.  Everything felt tight and responsive.
– It’s easy to pick up this big bike with one hand and maneuver it down stairs and through doorways.
– Handlebars can be positioned for comfort. The position I carefully chose when we started began to feel uncomfortable at about mile 30 or so.  It was a simple and effective process to reposition the bars to achieve a more comfortable hand position.
– High quality drivetrain.  The rear derailer is great; no comments there.  The front derailer shifts better than I anticipated while pedaling.  I like to lighten up my pedaling force when I shift a front derailer.  On a tandem it can be hard to coordinate that with the stoker.  I was pleasantly surprised that the front derailer shifted just fine, even with the stoker still pedaling normally.
– Front recumbent seat is nice.
– Nice rack.
– Nice brakes.

Nothing is perfect….
– As a longtime bent rider I’ve become spoiled by comfortable seats.  If this was my bike, I’d change the captain’s “stock” seat.  No surprise there.  It’s not bad, but I’d change it for a Brooks saddle or an ISM noseless saddle.  Still, it’s a standard frame-type seat and it’ll never be as comfortable as a recumbent seat.
– The stock “handlebars” for the stoker are good quality but are merely bar-ends and, as such, are rather minimal. Larger bars would be nice.
– I’d carry a Camelback-style water bladder if this was my usual ride, instead of relying on a frame-mounted water bottle.  While there are threaded bolt holes in the frame for mounting a water bottle, it’ll take some practice to feel comfortable grabbing a bottle from this location.  Even after 65 miles I still found it tricky.  You’ll also need a seat-mounted bladder system for the stoker, but that’s normal for a bent-type seat like this one.
– If you want a mirror, a helmet-mounted mirror works best.  I installed a handlebar-mounted mirror, but it was unhelpful.
– The stock bell on the captain’s handlebars is too quiet.  I’d like something louder for the city.  That’s no big deal and isn’t worth mentioning, really.  The challenge is where would you install a loud bell that isn’t directly next to the stoker’s ear?  So, a quiet bell is useless, but a loud bell unusable.  Tough one.
– The captain’s stock handgrips became uncomfortable after a half-day of riding in spite of all my adjustments.  I’d install Hase’s optional Ergo handgrips and, in addition, install an ergonomic grip like those from Ergon.
– It might be only me, but I could not figure out how to pedal in a standing position (as captain).  There isn’t enough knee room.  There’s a nice photo on the Hase website of a guy pedaling a Pino in a standing position, but I can’t imagine how he pulled that off.  I had to stay in the saddle.
– I was disappointed by the stock front light since I expected something better.  I immediately replaced it with a B&M IQ Fly.  (Manufacturers sometimes need to change components like lights.)

Have fun and stay healthy,
Robert Matson
New York City Recumbent Supply
The Innovation Works, Inc.
copyright 2012 Robert Matson

Aligning Avid Code hydraulic disk brakes on the Hase Pino

Is it me? Or is it the bike?

Sometimes, when you’re struggling to fine-tune a system, it’s hard to figure out where the fault lies.  In this case, I’d been struggling for — I won’t say how long — to align the disk brakes on a Hase Pino tandem that’s new to my shop.  No matter what I did, how often I repeated my efforts with slight variations, or how hard I stared at the darn thing, I just couldn’t get the disk brake pads and get rid of the scraping between the front wheel disc brake rotor and the brake pads.  It made no sense.  Is this an Avid issue?  A Hase issue?  A moi issue?  It got to the point where I simply lost all patience and went and rode it anyway, scraping and all.  I grabbed the nearest friend and we rode for a half-dozen miles just to see how the bike handled.  (That Pino is very cool, by the way. Wow.)  However, being concerned about vapor lock, we kept it to a reasonably slow speed.

Now, all that slow speed stuff is over.

If you have a Hase Pino with Avid Code hydraulic disk brakes that you just can’t align, look for this, among the other typical things to check.

On the front wheel, if you have fenders, the hydraulic hose has to go around a clamp holding the front fender.  On my build the hose went around the left-side clamp on the wheel side and there is contact between the hose and the clamp.  It turns out that there is enough horizontal pressure in that contact to prevent the calipers from floating freely while the bolts of the
Caliper Positioning System™ (“CPS”)  were loose.  This thwarted the CPS from aligning the calipers correctly to the rotor.

If you have the same problem on your Hase Pino, do this: first, unfasten the left hand front fender mount so the hose can move freely.  Then proceed as per the directions in the manual.  It aligns as designed.

Arrow pointing out the culprit.

I didn’t have a free pass on the rear wheel either.  The disk rotor was rubbing a lot less than the front rotor, but, still, more than it should.  (I like it not to rub at all.)  I checked and, sure enough, there was a culprit: a hose clamp that pulled the caliper a little out of alignment when the CPS bolts were loose.  I unfastened it, followed standard procedure, and voila the caliper aligned as it should.

Hard-to-see arrow, in middle left of photo, pointing at culprit.

Long and short, so was it the bike? The brakes? The mechanic? I suppose it was the human, once again, for I was the only element that had the capacity to look at the problem differently and change my approach.

Have fun and stay healthy, and go find a friend for a ride,

Robert Matson
New York City Recumbent Supply
The Innovation Works, Inc.
copyright 2012 Robert Matson