In an e-mail entitled "in case you are wondering...!", a friend and customer wrote that he and his wife have been having a great time on the Screamer TR they bought from NYC Recumbent Supply(TM) about a month and a half ago.
Since mid-August, they've already ridden about 250 miles, some of it on some pretty long and hilly rides. What's particularly remarkable and pleasing for me, personally, is that his wife hadn't ridden a bike for some 15 years due to a back injury. Now, they're out riding 75- and 65-mile days together!
His note also reminded me that customers wonder if it's truly as easy as I say to take the bike apart with the SS Couplings and reassemble it. Indeed it is, as "A" (name and initial changed) writes me:
>> We have also mastered taking it apart and putting it together in a few
>> minutes. This has been a great savior. Otherwise I have no clue where
>> and how we could have stored the bike. The two parts also easily fit
>> in the back of our car and we had no need for a rack.
>> We are very happy with the investment and have had a great time riding
Most people who consider buying either Rans' Screamer or Seavo (especially in the more expensive but practical TR (travel) versions that I prefer to sell) think long and hard about the investment. Since I spend a lot of time with each customer, I believe I experience nearly as much "sticker vertigo" as they do. Though I feel confident about the product and thoroughly enjoy tandem riding myself, I can never be entirely sure how a couple will adapt to tandem riding. Will they discover, as my wife and I have, that it's a wonderful investment in a relationship?
I thought readers might appreciate seeing my note to him, below, after he told me how well it's been going.
Thank you so much for the update! I really appreciate it. This is wonderful news -- that you've been able to get in so many miles, have mastered the SS Couplings, everything. Perhaps I'll get that bungee cord sometime in the spring, no rush on that for me.
The Montauk ride -- 75 miles isn't shabby at all given it seems you've barely begun to ride together. I have to assume it's working out fine for "S"'s back [name changed] (I sincerely hope I've remembered your wife's name correctly) and I'm so pleased about that. And the 65 mile Escape with hills is a real accomplishment. I heard about the rain and slippery conditions on the Montauk ride and it sounds like a sane decision, to call it quits while you were ahead.
A note to remember, on a wet road, if you let some air out of the tires, you will give yourself a larger footprint, and a better grip, on the road. No flats this time, may I presume? :-)
If you ever get a photo of the two of you that I can use on my site, please do share. I'd love to have it. Your note makes a great testimonial (again). May I use it???
I've been wondering if you switched in the new Captain's sprint brace?? And, if so, how has this affected the handling and hill climbing?
On that hill climbing, this is a common challenge on recumbents. A few brief thoughts here (besides of course that it'll get easier as you gain experience):
a) The Marathons are made for sturdiness and puncture protection rather than for speed. Marathon "Racers" are still sturdy and puncture resistant, but have lower rolling resistance and a softer ride. Schwalbe also makes a Marathon Supreme that has yet lower resistance and excellent puncture protection (for a price). That may make some of the hills easier. Marathon Pluses are "bullet proof" but have a lot of resistance. I recommend these folks for recumbent accessories: www.hostelshoppe.com .
b) When I was at Interbike this past week (the annual USA bike market in Las Vegas), I met with the manufacturer of Bionix. (http://www.bionx.ca/) This is a high-quality electric assist motor that only adds power in relation to the speed at which you pedal (no pedal, no power). But it can also recapture energy when braking and going downhill. It may be something to consider as an assist on the hardest hills. I am considering stocking them beginning next spring, but of course would do so earlier if you were interested.
c) Of course a larger chain ring or a cassette with granny gear could help, but then you have the low-speed balance issues to address.
I probably don't need to remind you to resist the temptation to mash the pedals going uphill, since this can lead to knee strain. Also avoid the temptation to pull up too hard on the cranks when using clipless pedals, which can stress the tendons in the direction opposite that for which they're designed. This seems to be a more common problem for 'bent riders than diamond frame riders.
At Interbike, I had some great meetings, both with Rans and HP Velotechnik as well as with the manufacturers of components, like Velocity (who made your wheels). My Velocity meeting was rather interesting and although I've always liked their wheels, it gave me a new appreciation for their quality controls.
I also had a good meeting with the President/Lead Designer of Rans (Randy Schlitter). He has a rather nice new single short wheelbase 'bent that I got to test.
At Interbike, I bought two 'bents (singles) from HP Velotechnik, one a 20"x20" (wheels) that folds (Grasshopper fx) and their StreetMachine Gte (26"x20"). These both have underseat steering and are everything you'd expect from German engineers. I also got to ride one of their tadpole trikes, which is pretty much a human powered BMW -- a lot of fun. With the trikes, their unique design puts the rider high enough that your head is at about eye level with cars but is still stable. I'd like to bring in one or two models next spring, if economics allow.
And two of the new Volae's arrived the other week. They are superb. Good components, good wheels, frames made by Waterford Precision Cycles in Wisconsin and a company managed by a "demanding but fair" president. They may be the best deal in high quality singles right now. One of the bikes has a travel frame that separates, not too unlike the Screamer TR; it arrives next week. If HP Velotechnik is like BMW, then Volae is like Toyota.
I met with a Waterford executive at the bike show to learn about the Volae manufacturing process and left thoroughly pleased. The bikes demand a lot from me in terms of customization but I couldn't be more pleased to be working with this manufacturer.
A friend of mine told me to start writing a blog and e-newsletter instead of long notes to my customers :-).
Oh, last thing, I'm helping to coordinate some (free, casual) group recumbent rides starting next spring along with a 'bent rally. I'll post the info on my site (NYCRecumbentSupply.com), but I'll also announce them to the "NYCBentriders" Yahoo group, if you wish to take part. Rides will be apx. 50 miles, more or less flat, with a picnic of some sort in the middle. Just a fun casual ride. (BTW, we're using the NYCC ride library to choose routes, if you have any suggestions or requests from there. http://nycc.org/rl_db/home.aspx)
Good to hear from you, A. Very, very glad you two are enjoying the bike.
NYC Recumbent Supply (TM)
The Innovation Works, Inc.