Thursday, March 10, 2011

New Grasshopper fx bike and rider, a review.

A bent rider out West had read my review of the HP Velotechnik Grasshopper fx and ended up buying one from a dealer near him.  I thought people might be interested in reading his initial impressions, which he posted to the HP Velotechnik newsgroup on Yahoo.  (Unedited and reprinted here with permission.)


Washing the “new” off.
My experience with the Grasshopper is more than meeting
my high expectations created by the reviews I've read.
I've only been riding it around town, yesterday through
some significant rain that revealed some vulnerabilities
of my old Sugoi Rain Jacket. But the Grasshopper is a
blast. The suspension has me hitting crappy asphalt
and rail road tracks at full speed and marveling
at how well it works. The Dual Drive works a treat.
I love not worrying about gear combinations; From a stop,
I shift up using the hub gear and then use the rear derailleur
for fine tuning. And I thought I wouldn't like it. I'm still
not fond of the feel of the Sram derailleur shifter. It
works fine but the feel when up-shifting is too disconnected.
And it's loud. I'll probably learn to live with it but
I'm pondering alternatives. Most appealing would be a bar-end
friction shifter but that would require a different handlebar.
The shifter for the hub gear is fine.

The disk brakes have a solid, progressive, confidence-inspiring
feel. I'm glad I made that change and I think they look good,
too. The dyno-hub is a nice convenience. I installed a quick
disconnect in the wiring so I don't have to leave the light
on the bike when locked. Now, I'm just waiting on some Pinhead
security skewers to secure the front wheel and seat and headset.
The Pinhead website said they may have a product for solid
axles sometime this year.

I've got to get to the local high school track and check
my computer calibration. If it's accurate, then I'm zipping
right along on this new bike: 17-19 mph with my heavy,
fat Jandd commuter bag and the out-of-shape rider
(flat ground, neutral air).

So, the bike is comfortable, fast, practical and,
to my eye, visually pleasing. What's not to like?

- Kurt Jensen
Eugene, OR.


Robert Matson
New York City Recumbent Supply
The Innovation Works, Inc.
copyright 2011 Robert Matson

Friday, March 4, 2011

All I wanna do is have some fun. Fat chance.

All I wanna do is ride, hike, and sell good bikes to great people.  But for some unbelievable reason, first I have to ask my friends and customers to help defend our right to safe streets.

Here's the New York Times article.  Write a reply.  Write the editors.  Write your congressman and councilmember.

For City’s Transportation Chief, Kudos and Criticism

And then, you there, the one reading this, take a friend out for a pleasant ride -- out to the Atlantic Ocean or the Hudson River, to The Park (you know the one), to the Little Red Lighthouse, to JFK, to Gracie Mansion....  Introduce all your neighbors and friends to the simple joy of cycling.  Obey the road rules, be nice to pedestrians (and everyone else) and otherwise just be a good citizen.

To be a bicycle advocate, you don't have to set yourself on fire.  No, just invite a friend out on a ride and enjoy yourself.  If you need ideas for routes, join the New York Cycle Club to get access to their wonderful ride library.

Robert Matson
New York City Recumbent Supply
The Innovation Works, Inc.
copyright 2011 Robert Matson

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Check out the Clothing for Recumbent Riders

blue tie dye pants
Recumbent riders have somewhat specific needs for jerseys and shorts. For jerseys, it's better to have pockets on the front than on the back, as they are on a traditional cycling jersey. For shorts, padding is unnecessary (though I find it blocks the wind on a cold day).

The following companies have good options for bent riders, though I don't necessarily have experience with any of them other than Ice Breaker.  (And I'm not sure what I think of the spectacular tights.  Maybe I'll get them for the Halloween ride.)

Aero Tech Designs. Some unpadded shorts. Slightly cheesy site, but try and look beyond that. Check out the tights!
Ibex. Merino wool sports clothing. Good stuff.
Ice Breaker. Merino wool technical clothing. Hard wearing. Highly recommended.
Regatta Sport. Unpadded shorts and tights for the non-cyclist look.
Reverse Gear. Specializes in recumbent clothes.


P.S. Today I was hit by a car. Bruised calf muscle but otherwise okay. More about that later. It's been a rough four weeks!

Robert Matson
New York City Recumbent Supply
The Innovation Works, Inc.
copyright 2011 Robert Matson