Volae Report

Discussion in 'Recumbent bicycles' started by Dave Harney, Aug 31, 2003.

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  1. Dave Harney

    Dave Harney Guest

    Some of you may recall that I bought a Volae Club about the 1st of July. I'm 64 and never rode a
    recumbent before the Volae. I've been riding a DF for nearly 30 years. I had so many body parts
    producing pain (lower back, neck, hands, knees) that biking was no longer much fun. I reluctantly
    decided to try a recumbent to see if I could get some relief and ride a few more years. Never cared
    much for the idea of a recumbent.

    My first experiences with the Volae were nothing short of humiliating. I was flopping all over a
    parking lot like a fish out of water. Once out on the road, I promptly went into the ditch and then
    crashed on the first diagonal railroad track. I was pretty sure I'd made a very expensive mistake.

    I now have about 1500 miles on this contraption and I love it. I rode the Wisconsin 150 mile (2
    days) Best Dam Bike Tour and managed about a 14.5 mph average in spite of some pretty impressive
    hills and a nasty headwind on the first day. Yesterday, I rode a very hilly 68 mile club ride and
    managed to keep up with the "boys" for the first time.

    I have zero pain in all the places I complained about before - although foot numbness is still an
    issue (I'll give a progress report on this another day). I feel about 85% confident (compared to my
    DF) in city traffic, but 100% on the open road. My hill climbing is still a bit slow but seems to be
    gradually improving. Downhills are awesome, and headwinds are much less of a problem. Overall I've
    picked up about 2 (maybe 2.5) mph on my average speed. I really like the view from the laid back
    position. I also like the fact that the Volae doesn't look like a senior citizen bike or feel clunky
    in anyway - it is a really spirited machine. However, rough roads do telegraph into my backside much
    more than my DF did. I would still like a 25c tire width, but the 23c tires that come with the bike
    are excellent. The bike draws a lot of attention and seems to project a nice "high tech" image.

    I'm now convinced I made a very good decision.
     
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  2. Don

    Don Guest

    Dave, Congratulations for sticking with it. Great report and a great lesson. The complelte opposite
    of buying a bent after five successful laps of the parking lot only to find it is not what you had
    hoped for. Some of the best bents take some time to grow into. Don
     
  3. Frank Hanan

    Frank Hanan New Member

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    Dave, About that foot numbness. I ride a P-38 and for the first !,000 miles or so I experienced foot numbness that became apparaent about 40 miles into my rides. While viewing the Lightning web site one day I noticed a comment regarding this issue. The suggested remedy was to loosen your shoes. I almost laughed. I thought that the guys at Lightning were passing the buck. Well what the heck, I gave it a try and the numbness disappeared on the very next ride. In retrospect, I guess that we may overtighten our shoes to get good feel and performance from our bikes, but all that time lost dismounting and stomping isn't worth it. Now, what works for me might not work for you but I would give it a try. Frank
     
  4. Rick Moll

    Rick Moll Guest

    Frank Hanan wrote:
    > ... Dave, About that foot numbness. I ride a P-38 and for the first !,000 miles or so I
    > experienced foot numbness that became apparaent about 40 miles into my rides. While viewing the
    > Lightning web site one day I noticed a comment regarding this issue. The suggested remedy was to
    > loosen your shoes. I almost laughed. I thought that the guys at Lightning were passing the buck.
    > Well what the heck, I gave it a try and the numbness disappeared on the very next ride. In
    > retrospect, I guess that we may overtighten our shoes to get good feel and performance from our
    > bikes, but all that time lost dismounting and stomping isn't worth
    > it. Now, what works for me might not work for you but I would give it a try. Frank

    One of the advantages of a very stiff sole, is that it allows me to wear the shoe looser and
    still be able to put power into the cranks. I also like a shoe with a buckle that lets me easily
    adjust the strap while I'm riding. I find that my feet swell and I need to loosen up the strap on
    longer rides.

    Rick Moll Volae Team RANS V-Rex
     
  5. Rick Moll

    Rick Moll Guest

    Dave Harney wrote:
    > ... My first experiences with the Volae were nothing short of humiliating. I was flopping all over
    > a parking lot like a fish out of water. Once out on the road, I promptly went into the ditch and
    > then crashed on the first diagonal railroad track. I was pretty sure I'd made a very expensive
    > mistake.
    >
    > I now have about 1500 miles on this contraption and I love it. ...

    Congrats on your new bike. I don't have that many miles on my Volae Team, but the more I ride it,
    the more I love it. I'm actually finding it easier to get started and stopped on my Team than on my
    RANS V-Rex. I suspect that it's mainly due to the higher center of gravity on the Team making it
    easier to balance at low speed. I do however find that the Team requires more flexibility to
    comfortably mount and get started on it. I added about an hour a day of stretching to my daily
    regime about 6 months before I got the Team, and I suspect the added flexibility is one of the
    reasons I've taken so easily to the new high wheeled bike.

    > ... However, rough roads do telegraph into my backside much more than my DF did. I would still
    > like a 25c tire width, but the 23c tires that come with the bike are excellent.

    I know you have a lot more experience with road tires than I do, but I've tried taking the advice of
    the folks at RoadBikeRider.Com and running lower pressures of around 95 psi in the Conti GP 3000 I
    have on my Team.

    http://roadbikerider.com/ua4.htm#The%20Case%20for%20Lower%20Tire%20Pressure

    Rick Moll
     
  6. Frank Hanan

    Frank Hanan New Member

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    Rick , Your comment is a very valid one. I too have an adjustable straps on my shoes and find that a quick adjustment is often necessary while riding. Especially of a hot and humid day. Frank
     
  7. Dave Miller

    Dave Miller Guest

    On Tue, 02 Sep 2003 16:41:38 GMT, Rick Moll <[email protected]> wrote:

    >Congrats on your new bike. I don't have that many miles on my Volae Team, but the more I ride it,
    >the more I love it. I'm actually finding it easier to get started and stopped on my Team than on my
    >RANS V-Rex. I suspect that it's mainly due to the higher center of gravity on the Team making it
    >easier to balance at low speed. I do however find that the Team requires more flexibility to
    >comfortably mount and get started on it. I added about an hour a day of stretching to my daily
    >regime about 6 months before I got the Team, and I suspect the added flexibility is one of the
    >reasons I've taken so easily to the new high wheeled bike.
    >
    >
    >Rick Moll
    >
    >
    COuld you elaborate on the differences between the two bike? I've got a V-Rex and wonder
    about the Volae

    Thanks
     
  8. Dave Miller

    Dave Miller Guest

    On Thu, 04 Sep 2003 16:45:22 GMT, Rick Moll <[email protected]> wrote:

    >Dave Miller wrote:
    >>
    >> COuld you elaborate on the differences between the two bike? I've got a V-Rex and wonder about
    >> the Volae
    >
    >It's hard for me to give an objective comparison of the two bikes (RANS V-Rex vs. Volae Team) since
    >I've been riding them on very different roads. I ride the V-Rex a lot on gravel and poor quality
    >chip and seal surfaces, and consequently usually have wide 1.75 Conti TT 2000 tires on it (front
    >and rear). I did occasionally put narrower tires on the V-Rex and ride it on better quality roads,
    >but it never really felt that fast to me.
    >
    >That's why I got the Volae Team, for a go fast bike to ride on better quality roads and in traffic.
    >I was initially concerned as to how comfortable the Team would be to get started and stopped on,
    >but those concerns were unfounded, since as I said earlier I find the Team to be easier to balance
    >at low speeds.
    >
    >At least subjectively the things about the Team that really strike me (in comparison to the V-Rex),
    >besides how easy it is to get started and stopped, is how much easier it is to climb with it, how
    >easily it rolls, how comfortable the seat is when laid back, and also how much noisier the
    >drivetrain is (which I think is due to the carbon fiber M5 seat acting as a soundboard).
    >
    >On the V-Rex I have the seat laid all the way back (the pins on the seat stays are in the last
    >hole), and I'm comfortable on it, but with the curve of the M5 seat you can lay it back
    >considerably more. With the M5 seat the more I lay it back the more comfortable it gets.
    >
    >With the mesh seat and the wide tires I can take the V-Rex on roads I wouldn't dare take the Team;
    >but on the Team I'm more comfortable when on decently paved roads and when climbing hills.
    >
    >There are some components I changed on the Team. For one I'm not a fan of low spoke count wheels
    >for everyday use, so I purchased the Team without wheels and built my own. Also the Team comes with
    >a Dura Ace triple crankset with doesn't allow the small chainring to be swapped for a smaller one.
    >I wanted lower gearing than what comes stock on the Team, so I sold the Dura Ace crankset on ebay,
    >and installed FSA Carbon Pro Team cranks (the ones with the carbon fiber spider) and a FSA titanium
    >BB. I also swapped the stock chainrings for
    >50/38/26T rings. The FSA cranks and BB are even lighter than the stock Dura Ace. I also swapped the
    > Dura Ace front derailleur for an XTR which not only shifts the smaller rings much better, but
    > also has a lighter spring which makes shifting with the SRAM twist shifter much easier (I
    > found the combination of a SRAM twist shifter with the heavy spring on the Dura Ace
    > derailleur hard on my wrist).
    >
    >Rick Moll

    Boy did I ask the right guy !!! Last question, would you take the Team on a tour?
     
  9. Rick Moll

    Rick Moll Guest

    Dave Miller wrote:

    > Boy did I ask the right guy !!! Last question, would you take the Team on a tour?

    I'm not sure I'm the right guy for your last question since my longest tours are day trips. But that
    said I don't see why you couldn't do longer tours on a Team (especially supported ones). You can get
    a kit that allows you to mount a rear rack on any Volae; however I would think that you would want
    to also run some wider tires if you're going to be carrying much weight. There is fair amount of
    room in the rear of the frame to run a wider tire (like say a Terry tellus ST 28mm 650c). If you
    wanted to run a wider tire on the front however you might need to use a different fork. The stock
    fork on the Team is a carbon fiber True Temper Alpha Q Pro which has very little clearance. I think
    Hostel Shoppe claims that you can fit the Terry 28mm tire to the front fork but I'm skeptical since
    even the Conti GP 3000 23mm 650c that I'm using leaves very little clearance to spare.

    I tried posting a question a while back about what tires that are known to fit or not fit the
    Alpha Q Pro fork, but I don't think there are many folks out there yet riding Teams to give a lot
    of feedback.

    Rick Moll
     
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