Team Commute? (Longish)

Discussion in 'Recumbent bicycles' started by Seth Jayson, Jun 30, 2003.

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  1. Seth Jayson

    Seth Jayson Guest

    A few more observations on the Volae Team (on loan from Hostel Shoppe) for those who are interested.

    I rode the thing to work today just for kicks, thinking I would probably not do it again. I think
    I may have judged too soon. It performed much better on my 15.5-mile obstacle course than I
    thought it would.

    For the record, my commute takes me through nasty Chicago traffic and really bad pavement, plus a
    short stretch through grass, up some 3" 90 degree curbs (at low speed, of course) and over some
    nasty chuckholes. Broken glass is everywhere, and there are many railroad tracks and one scary
    grating bridge.

    SPEED. My normal outfit is a rans rocket with marathons, fenders. I cruise at about 17-20 in still
    or tailwinds, with a pretty tiring effort. On the Volae, I cruised consistently at 21-23, with LESS
    effort. Literally it was spin spin spin spin, cooooooaaaaaaaaasssssssstttt, spin spin spin. Big big
    grin there.

    Want to pass a bus or move with traffic? Getting the bike up to 27-28 was pretty easy. So easy I
    actually thought I was riding a tailwind, but the flagsticks all showed a crosswind. Before you
    suspect my computer, you're right, it WAS off. It was reading 1% too slow, so I was actually going
    faster than I thought. I got to and from work about 10% more quickly than usual today, and that's
    not wind-assisted.

    ACCELERATION: nearly as fast as the rocket off the line. And the rocket is very fast off the light.

    HANDLING: the bike was more agile than I thought it would be in tight traffic. Not quite as nimble
    as the Rocket, but then nothing is. still, I could weave through slow and stopped car, and thread
    around the worst potholes with ease. It's also much more stable at low and high speeds than the
    rocket. (I like the 'twitchy' rocket, but this is a nice change.)

    RIDE: Even with those narrow conti tires at 120 psi, the ride was softer than on my rocket with a
    pantour hub. Big wheels just ride nicer. The bike rode nicely over railroad tracks and other big
    rumbles. The conti duraskins on the bike didn't flat on any of the glass I hit -- I was trying to
    avoid it... We'll see how durable they are.

    CONSTRUCTION: this is a very pretty bike with nice welds and great cuts on the dropouts. The CF seat
    has rubber washers at the support points. Under the foam there are steel washers and hex screws. The
    support hardware is wide and substantial. Welded aluminum, it looks like. Creative weight weenies
    could probably drop 4-8 ounces by fabricating a bunch of CF seat stuff.

    DRIVE TRAIN: this bike's got a SRAM x.o derailleur with durace triple up front and dura-ace 12-27
    cassette in back, as I remember. SRAM 9.0 twisties are on the bars. They're the long grips, which
    makes sense to
    me. Shifting's smooth. I'm a bit unacustomed to the narrower range of the 12-27 cassette. The
    velocity freewheel has a louder click than the deore on my rocket, but not as loud as some
    I've heard.

    BRAKES: Dura-ace road calipers and SRAM 9.0 levers. They work as well as any road brakes I've used.
    I'm more used to the insta-stop I get from the Avid SD 7s on my rocket, but that's an unfair

    Overall, this is a much better commuter than I thought. It shaves a lot of time off my ride and it's
    even more comfortable than my rocket. And this thing can really motor on the open road.

  2. Billydean

    Billydean Guest

    Hey Seth- met you at the TOMRV. I was on the VIVO...from INDIANA. Of course you were smokin' me most
    of the way. Loved that bike too- think your wife was on it that day.
  3. Seth Jayson

    Seth Jayson Guest

    Hey BD,

    Jen was actually on the prototype back then. Now she's on a production Cleam, and I'm on a
    production Team. A few differences. Steering is noticeably better on the final bike, especially at
    low speed. And the final bikes are lighter than the prototype was (at that point) as it had some
    experiments on it. Finish is better too, of course.

    On next year's TOMRV, those hills will go under the wheels even more quickly :)
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