I'm bent with RANS Rocket, now what?

Discussion in 'Recumbent bicycles' started by Lord Nerd On Hi, May 18, 2003.

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  1. I was looking into recumbents last year but eventually life and the weather shut down the plan. Now
    that the cold and snow has finally retreated up here in Vermont I made sure that I'd be bent even
    before the summer begins. I went to a bike swap, sold my mountain bike and picked up a RANS Rocket.
    I'm not positive which year it is, but it's red so it's not the latest model.

    Ever since then I've made sure to use it at least once a day and it's just been a fatastic ride!
    It's like being a kid again and discovering bike riding for the first time. None of the hand, taint,
    and neck pain, just all the fun. It's also been warmly recieved by everyone I encounter. Eyes follow
    me, people smile, kids chase after me, cars honk and yell as they pass by. Good stuff!

    But onto my question, now what? What I mean is what kinds of upgrades do people suggest for the
    Rocket? Here are some of the things I'm wondering about: While the knee bumping on the handlebars is
    minimal it would be great to eliminate it all together.

    What kind of peddals do people use? Regular clips or shoeclips? I notice that when I hit a hard bump
    I can lose a pedal for a second. I'm not that fond of shoeclips but if there are good reasons to use
    them then I'd like to hear about
    it.

    Gearing? I have noticed on steep hills that even when I'm in the best gear for the job I'm still
    mashing the pedals a bit so what would I need to get to get even better hill riding?

    Other helpful items/widgets? I'm getting an extension wire for my cyclocomputer and rear rack since
    I'll be using this for commuting. Anything else that people recomend?

    ==
    remove the crap to email
     
    Tags:


  2. Brian Hughes

    Brian Hughes Guest

    "Lord Nerd on High" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...

    I'm not
    > positive which year it is, but it's red so it's not the latest model.
    >

    To figure out the year, look at the serial number under the bottom bracket. The first two numbers
    are the month and the next two numbers are the year it was built.

    > But onto my question, now what?

    Most people (but not all) go with some type of clipless pedal. I didn't for a while (I used Power
    Grips) but now that use clipless, I doubt I will go back. Although power grips are much much better
    than a straight platform pedal IMHO; so if you don't like clipless--I recommend power grips.

    >
    > Other helpful items/widgets? I'm getting an extension wire for my cyclocomputer and rear rack
    > since I'll be using this for commuting.
    Anything
    > else that people recomend?

    Well I'm not sure what your budget is, but if you're looking for a nice bag to help you commute,
    check out the Angletech Aerotrunk. www.angletechcycles.com/accessories/aerotrunk.htm It's what I use
    for my V-Rex or Tailwind when I commute. Once you get by a little sticker shock, you will find it is
    a great bag with all the room you will ever need.

    Brian
     
  3. Baronn1

    Baronn1 Guest

    Clipless pedals are highly recommended. Remember when your foot popped off the pedal? Imagine the
    consequences if your toe had dropped all the way to the pavement, and the bike continued forward.
    This is called "leg suck", and is better read about than experienced.

    "Lord Nerd on High" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > I was looking into recumbents last year but eventually life and the
    weather
    > shut down the plan. Now that the cold and snow has finally retreated up
    here
    > in Vermont I made sure that I'd be bent even before the summer begins. I
    went
    > to a bike swap, sold my mountain bike and picked up a RANS Rocket. I'm
    not
    > positive which year it is, but it's red so it's not the latest model.
    >
    > Ever since then I've made sure to use it at least once a day and it's just
    been
    > a fatastic ride! It's like being a kid again and discovering bike riding
    for
    > the first time. None of the hand, taint, and neck pain, just all the fun. It's also been warmly
    > recieved by everyone I encounter. Eyes follow me,
    people
    > smile, kids chase after me, cars honk and yell as they pass by. Good
    stuff!
    >
    > But onto my question, now what? What I mean is what kinds of upgrades do people suggest for the
    > Rocket? Here are some of the things I'm wondering about: While the knee bumping on the handlebars
    > is minimal it would be great to eliminate it all together.
    >
    > What kind of peddals do people use? Regular clips or shoeclips? I notice
    that
    > when I hit a hard bump I can lose a pedal for a second. I'm not that fond
    of
    > shoeclips but if there are good reasons to use them then I'd like to hear
    about
    > it.
    >
    > Gearing? I have noticed on steep hills that even when I'm in the best
    gear for
    > the job I'm still mashing the pedals a bit so what would I need to get to
    get
    > even better hill riding?
    >
    > Other helpful items/widgets? I'm getting an extension wire for my cyclocomputer and rear rack
    > since I'll be using this for commuting.
    Anything
    > else that people recomend?
    >
    >
    > ==
    > remove the crap to email
     
  4. Bruce

    Bruce Guest

    Lord Nerd on High wrote:
    > Now that the cold and snow has finally retreated up here in Vermont ...

    Yeah, it seemed like it was never going to end this year, didn't it? Where in Vermont are you? I'm
    in Huntington.

    > ... what kinds of upgrades do people suggest for the Rocket? ...

    #1 Rocket upgrade for Vermont -- Gearing.

    > Gearing? I have noticed on steep hills that even when I'm in the best gear for the job I'm still
    > mashing the pedals a bit so what would I need to get to get even better hill riding?

    One option is to replace the stock shimano speed cassette (11-28 teeth, IIRC) with the shimano M-750
    speed 11-34 tooth cassette, a set of 9 speed shifters to match whatever derailleur is on the bike,
    and a speed chain. Roughly $200 for everything. This will make most of the hills manageable. I just
    did this upgrade on my Rocket, and I love it.

    You can also swap the cranks for something which allows a smaller chain ring, but this option pretty
    much guarantees you'll be giving up that big 63 tooth chain ring which allows you to exceed 50 mph
    on the downhills. That may not be an issue for you. It is for me :)

    There's a limit to how much you can gear it down and still maintain your balance. I was
    experimenting with this today, coincidentally. I was able to ride up a steep hill at 2.3 mph. I was
    wobbly, and would not have felt comfortable doing this in traffic. With practice, I would probably
    get more stable. Spinning a normal cadence, I would be going up that hill at about 5.5 mph, so
    swapping the cranks and chain rings for something smaller does seem to be a viable option, even with
    the 11-34 cassette installed.

    Hope this helps!

    Bruce
     
  5. bruce <[email protected]> wrote:
    : One option is to replace the stock shimano speed cassette (11-28 teeth, IIRC) with the shimano
    : M-750 speed 11-34 tooth cassette, a set of 9 speed shifters to match whatever derailleur is on the
    : bike, and a speed chain. Roughly $200 for everything. This will make most of the hills manageable.
    : I just did this upgrade on my Rocket, and I love it.

    Just changing the rear cassette could be cheaper - save the money for your next bent :)

    If you want expensive for hills, you could use a trike with a sophisticated internal gear hub. But
    if you ride and ride and ride your bent with a grin on your face, before long you won't need this :)

    --
    Risto Varanka | http://www.helsinki.fi/~rvaranka/hpv/hpv.html varis at no spam please iki fi
     
  6. B. Sanders

    B. Sanders Guest

    "Lord Nerd on High" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > I was looking into recumbents last year but eventually life and the
    weather
    > shut down the plan. Now that the cold and snow has finally retreated up
    here
    > in Vermont I made sure that I'd be bent even before the summer begins. I
    went
    > to a bike swap, sold my mountain bike and picked up a RANS Rocket. I'm
    not
    > positive which year it is, but it's red so it's not the latest model.
    >
    > Ever since then I've made sure to use it at least once a day and it's just
    been
    > a fatastic ride! It's like being a kid again and discovering bike riding
    for
    > the first time. None of the hand, taint, and neck pain, just all the fun. It's also been warmly
    > recieved by everyone I encounter. Eyes follow me,
    people
    > smile, kids chase after me, cars honk and yell as they pass by. Good
    stuff!

    This is why we all love recumbents. As some of us have said "don't ride a recumbent if you want to
    go unnoticed!"

    > But onto my question, now what? What I mean is what kinds of upgrades do people suggest for the
    > Rocket? Here are some of the things I'm wondering about: While the knee bumping on the handlebars
    > is minimal it would be great to eliminate it all together.

    Easily done: Raise your steerer, or tilt it back toward you a bit. Does your Rocket have the
    "Flip-It" stem? (Can you flip the bars forward, or are they coming straight up out of the headtube?)
    If you don't have the Flip-It stem, that would be a great upgrade.

    > What kind of peddals do people use? Regular clips or shoeclips? I notice
    that
    > when I hit a hard bump I can lose a pedal for a second. I'm not that fond
    of
    > shoeclips but if there are good reasons to use them then I'd like to hear
    about
    > it.

    I recommend a set of BeBop clipless pedals and shoes. www.cambriabike.com carries them for a tad
    over $100/pr. Best recumbent pedals on the planet. Clip-in on the BeBops is foolproof, unlike SPD
    style pedals. Most shoes are BeBop compatible (all road shoes with SPD 2-hole drilling are BeBop
    compatible).

    Why BeBops and not SPD's or EggBeaters? With SWB recumbents like the Rocket, you want to get clipped
    in quickly, and you want to let your feet "float" so you can swivel your heels out of the way in
    sharp turns. BeBops have the largest free-float range on the market and by far the easiest clip-in,
    making them the obvious choice. They're also very durable and lightweight, so no worries.

    For shoes, I recommend Diadora for overall value; but there are many brands to choose from.
    Everyones feet are different, so you need to try them yourself. Mountain bike shoes with soft rubber
    knobs are good because you can grip the pavement when you're waiting at a stoplight. Hard plastic
    soles can be unsafe (if you lose grip and fall, which has happened to me).

    > Gearing? I have noticed on steep hills that even when I'm in the best
    gear for
    > the job I'm still mashing the pedals a bit so what would I need to get to
    get
    > even better hill riding?

    Switch to an 12-34 cassette. You might need to add a few links to the chain - not sure.

    > Other helpful items/widgets? I'm getting an extension wire for my cyclocomputer and rear rack
    > since I'll be using this for commuting.
    Anything
    > else that people recomend?

    Fenders. The RANS fenders are very nice.

    Congratulations on your choice of recumbents. I have a RANS Rocket, and I love it. It's my 4th
    recumbent, FWIW, and I'm amazed at its versatility, fun factor, speed and handling. Just a
    great bike.

    -Barry
     
  7. Seth Jayson

    Seth Jayson Guest

    FENDERS! are highly Underrated in my opinion. I love the fenders on my rocket. Really changes your
    attitude about biking to work in so-so weather.
    W/o fenders <whiiine> "oooh, i might get all dirty..." </whine>

    With Fenders: <grin> "cool, I can ride despite the puddles."

    Sj.

    (Note: no closing tag necessary on the grin...)
     
  8. Just Zis Guy

    Just Zis Guy Guest

    On 19 May 2003 08:39:19 -0700, [email protected] (Seth Jayson) wrote:

    >FENDERS! are highly Underrated in my opinion.

    Yup. Makes the difference between a summer bike and a year-round bike for me.

    Guy
    ===
    ** WARNING ** This posting may contain traces of irony. http://www.chapmancentral.com (BT ADSL and
    dynamic DNS permitting)
    NOTE: BT Openworld have now blocked port 25 (without notice), so old mail addresses may no longer
    work. Apologies.
     
  9. Geob

    Geob Guest

    > > Gearing? I have noticed on steep hills that even when
    > I'm in the best gear for the job I'm still mashing the pedals a bit so what would I need to get to
    > get even better hill riding?

    I have a similar 'bent, a Vision R40. Big difference is mine has a 26" tire in back, and mine is
    USS. I have a rack on the back with Nashbar panniers. I generally lift the panniers off when not
    using them. They are great for carrying a lot, like groceries, but I also needed a smaller (and
    less ugly) bag that zipped shut. I didn't like worrying about things bouncing out when I hit a
    bump. I bought a seat-back bag. I have seen the Rocket seat-back bag and it seems great. My buddy
    sure likes his.

    I am 52 years old. I was in only so-so condition when I bought my bike a year ago. I sure couldn't
    use the tall gearing my bike came with. I have a 11-32 casette in back. I lowered mine from 52-42-30
    in front to 44-34-22. I love it. I don't have to hurt my knees climbing really steep hills. Top gear
    is still tall enough for 99.9% of my riding. Later, as I continue to get stronger and/or my riding
    style changes, I'll just put the old stuff back on, but prolly will keep the shorter cranks.

    I also went to 155mm crank length. Mine, like yours, is 170mm stock. I was quite pleased with the
    change but realize that it is not for everybody. I know other short riders and they stick with 170
    or even 175mm cranks.

    I use the SPD clipless pedals. It makes a very big difference and is worth the expense in
    my opinion.
     
  10. Geob

    Geob Guest

    > Yup. Makes the difference between a summer bike and a year-round bike for me.

    I love my Vision fenders. Oddly enough, in my area most of the water is on the street in the summer
    as lawn sprinklers flood the gutter and cars splash it everywhere. Fenders do make a big difference.
     
  11. Bruce

    Bruce Guest

    [email protected] wrote:
    > bruce <[email protected]> wrote:
    > : One option is to replace the stock shimano speed cassette (11-28 teeth, IIRC) with the shimano
    > : M-750 speed 11-34 tooth cassette, a set of 9 speed shifters to match whatever derailleur is on
    > : the bike, and a speed chain. Roughly $200 for everything. This will make most of the hills
    > : manageable. I just did this upgrade on my Rocket, and I love it.
    >
    > Just changing the rear cassette could be cheaper - save the money for your next bent :)

    Cheaper, yes, but not necessarily better. The 8 speed cassette with 34 teeth has a BIG jump from the
    26 tooth gear to the 34. The 9 speed gives you a better selection of gears to work with, and
    reasonable intervals between gears. The 12-32 tooth 8-speed cassette would be a good compromise.

    Bruce to reply - pick the spam out of my address
     
  12. Mark Miller

    Mark Miller Guest

    Well, all these posts are timely. I recently purchased my first bent also. It is a 2000 Rocket which
    is a former Jude "The Wheel Doctor" bent. All things great so far but since I live in south central
    PA I have some fairly steep hills to contend with. The one upgrade I'm going to make is to go with
    Shimano 105 crankset and BB and 11x34 megarange cassette. I've read several posts that were
    favorable to this setup. Right now I'm using Power Grips on my pedals and they are OK. I'm not 100%
    sold on them yet but we'll see. I have skinny feet and I'm not getting as secure a feeling from them
    as I thought. I also don't want to go to tight and bring on the dreaded "numbfootitis." I've written
    separately to Barry Sanders (who's responded to your post) and Tom Sherman and I want to thank them
    for there good advice. Mitch

    GeoB wrote in message <[email protected]>...
    >> Yup. Makes the difference between a summer bike and a year-round bike for me.
    >
    >I love my Vision fenders. Oddly enough, in my area most of the water is on the street in the summer
    >as lawn sprinklers flood the gutter and cars splash it everywhere. Fenders do make a big
    >difference.
     
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