Friday, June 28, 2013

Nice video from MirageBikes

MirageBikes sent out this nice video.  It does a great job of making the bike look good.

Mr. Tatu Lund, from Mirage, writes:
"This week we launched our new video on our webpages and YouTube. We are driving in sunny city center of Helsinki with our bikes and I am explaining our product and design philosophy. If you have some spare minutes I would be delighted if you could check this."

Have fun and stay healthy,
Robert Matson
New York City Recumbent Supply
The Innovation Works, Inc.
copyright 2013 Robert Matson

Monday, June 24, 2013

Panniers and bags for Cruzbike Quest 26" and 20"

To carry luggage on a Cruzbike, I strongly recommend -- and personally use -- the bags made by Radical Design ("RD") (sold in the USA by me, at New York City Recumbent Supply).  RD bags may be layered for maximum carrying capacity because they're made of flexible Cordura(R) nylon and you don't need a rack for many of the bags which saves weight and cost.  It's a very smart product designed by a very smart Dutch guy.

Radical Design panniers on a Quest 26

I only sell bikes and products that I actually use and I can assure you that the RD side panniers in the medium, small and "banana" sizes will all work on a Quest 26, without requiring a rack.  The Solo Racer seat back bags work perfectly too.

Radical Design Solo Racer on the Quest 26 seat back with a Banana Racer below the seat.  35 liters of luggage capacity without the weight of a rack!

Banana Racer on a Quest 26. Fits great.

View of the rear straps of the Banana Racer on a Quest 26. Fits fine.

Rear straps of the Banana Racer on a Quest 26, rear view.
Rear view of the Radical Design Solo Racer on a Quest 26. Here shown without a rack, but they fit with either the standard or heavy duty racks in place.

Radical Design Side Panniers

Radical Design's large, medium, small and banana side panniers fit your Quest 26 or 20.  Get them in the "hard shell" or "universal" width.  There are several approaches to making them work, depending on whether you have a rack installed or not, but I'm most fond of not using a rack when I mount side panniers on a Cruzbike, whether it's a Quest, Silvio or Vendetta.

Check out the Q 26 with massive panniers

Here is some serious Cruzbike Quest 26 and Radical Design Side Pannier porn. These are size medium panniers.

Thanks to friend/customer, Abram Clark, in San Francisco, for showing how he mounts the RD Medium Side Panniers on a Q 26.  He and I put our heads together to figure this out, but he's the one that made it real.  Very cool.  It also shows the brilliance of the Radical Design philosophy, that by giving riders a wide range of options, we can attach these high quality bags to a wide range of frame shapes.

This is how the bags look when mounted.  Check out where he can have the center of gravity when he loads them.  Yeah.

Abram invented a similar solution for his large RD side panniers on his Cruzbike Sofrider, tying them off to the rack. I saw that and hypothesized that something like this, shown here, would work. Then Abram made it happen. I'd experiment with using bungee cord instead of rope, to allow for the suspension of the rear swing arm, but I think rope is the more durable and longer term solution. Also, bungee cord is impossible to tie in the manner shown here so you'd be forced to use those terrible bungee hooks. Rope is probably best.

I like how he tied it off to the seat support.

Over the seat back.

Over the frame and under the seat, to Grandmother's house we go.


How to attach the Banana Racers on the Quest 26 or 20

The rear strap is attached to the seat brace with a girth hitch. The hitch doesn't need to be directly in the center, but for those who insist on symmetry, you can remove the seat post and place the straps around the post.  I pull the straps connecting the left and right bags tight so as to bring the bags close to the frame.

The front strap can go either on top of the seat or underneath the seat and on top of the frame.  The straps are buckled in the configuration for a "hard shell seat."

The middle strap goes over the seat. Notice I added a horizontal strip of velcro to the bottom of the seat back. This helps secure the seat cushion when hanging the Solo Racer bags because their fabric sling goes between the cushion and the hard seat back.

Choosing and mounting Radical Design bags for a fully-loaded tour, without any racks

In 2012, I was preparing for a 12-day trip through the Adirondacks and Vermont.  I put together this configuration on a Quest 20.  This could work for a Sofrider and a Q 26 although I feel the rear wheel of the Q26 comes too close to the bottom of the Solo Aero.

For this solution on the Q 20, I removed the rack.  I also removed the water bottle cages; I would use a water reservoir instead. (I would do the same for a Q 26.)

I installed:
- Radical Designs (RD) Solo Aero (wide), behind the seat at the top (where the rack would have been).
- RD Solo Racer (wide), behind the seat in the location where the water bottle cages are.
- RD Banana Racer, underneath the seat.

This provided 47 liters carrying capacity, most of it within the slip stream.  That's enough capacity for a tour if you pack moderately light and would ordinarily ride with two rear panniers.

In the above photo, a Banana Racer, Solo Aero, and Solo Racer combine to provide 47 liters of carrying capacity, most of it within the slip stream, on a Cruzbike Quest 20 (451 rims). An RD Universal Racer could have been used instead of the Solo Racer.

How does this compare to traditional panniers?  For context, Ortlieb Back Roller Classic rear panniers -- the gold standard for touring panniers -- provide 40 liters of capacity in the left and right panniers combined.  This Radical Design setup will be lighter than a rear bag Ortlieb setup because the RD bags are lighter and don't require a rear rack AND because the Radical Design panniers do not use heavy waterproof materials  For waterproofing your "dry-or-die" gear, put it into plastic bags or dry bags.  (For the record I like Ortlieb panniers. I simply can't find a good way to mount standard Ortliebs on the Quest. Ortlieb's waterproof "racktop bag/recumbent backpack" mounts fine on a Quest with the heavy duty rack.)

For those who are staying in hotels or B and Bs, you may prefer going with the 37 liters of capacity provided by the Solo Aero and the Banana Racer, as shown here.

These are the bags I was using.

Solo Aero wide (12 liters capacity).
Requires removal of the Quest 20 or 26's rack.

Universal Racer (10 liters capacity).
Solo Racer works too (size wide for bottom of seat, size narrow or wide for top of seat)
Fits Quest, Silvio, Vendetta.

Banana Racer (25 liters capacity).
Quest, Silvio, Vendetta.

If you use the Quest rack to help support the panniers, read this.

If you use a rear rack to help support the panniers, there are a few concerns: (1) making sure the sharp rails of the rack do not cut the nylon webbing on the pannier bags.  (Put a section of inner tube around the sharp rails.) (2) Ensuring the weight on the rack doesn't exceed the Quest's standard rack rating of about 22 lbs.  You can do this with Radical Design panniers by carefully organizing your luggage so the heaviest weight falls to the front, hanging off the seat or frame. If you know you're packing heavy, get the Quest's optional heavy duty rack which has a payload rating of 50 lbs. (3) Keeping the bags from rubbing against the tire.

If you're using a rack, keep them from rubbing against the rear wheel by using elastic cord (like bungee cords) or rope between the rack and the rear swing arm.  Camping rope, like para-cord will work and so will cheap plastic clothesline.  However, I'm comfortable with my knots.  Others may not be.

Another solution is to install side pannier rails on your rack, like those from Topeak (not available from NYC Recumbent Supply or Cruzbike) although I'm less fond of this solution because it adds weight and cost.

RD "Banana" (Side Pannier) size small on the Q 20 heavy duty rack. Sits very close to the wheel.  You can use a bungee cord or rope to keep the bag off the tire.  Or, move the bag forward on the bike, so the front straps hang from the frame, beneath the seat.

RD Banana (Side Pannier) size medium on the Q 20 heavy duty rack.  It can touch the wheel but it also hangs outside of the frame, which helps it stay away from the wheel.  Still, you'll want something to keep the bag off the tire.  Move the front straps under the seat and the bag will hang entirely between the wheels on the Q26.

Have fun and stay healthy,
Robert Matson
New York City Recumbent Supply
The Innovation Works, Inc.
copyright 2013 Robert Matson

Monday, June 17, 2013

Friday, June 14, 2013

RAAM: Parker's Following-Van rear-ended. Maria OK. The fight against brain cancer will continue.

This just in.

Maria Parker's following van in accident.  She and crew are all okay.

At the time of writing they are in meeting and haven't yet determined their next course.

NO DNF.  Rumors of a DNF are unfounded.

The team will continue to work to promote brain cancer research and will continue to raise money towards this end.

According to a crew member with whom I spoke on the phone, Maria's following vehicle was rear-ended by a motorist who was driving about 65 mph.  This motorist claims to have been text messaging and dropped her phone.  Presumably, she then took her eyes off the f***ng road while she tried to pick up her phone.

This is why there's a law against text-messaging while driving in New York with extreme penalties.  It should be a federal law with a minimum prison sentence.  (Call your congressman.)

Two of M's Vendettas, which were on the van's rear-end bike rack, were destroyed.  These were her hill-climbing and her back-up bikes.  The following van was totaled, but the driver and passengers are all okay!!!

This section of road is particularly hazardous.  In past RAAMs, there have been horrific accidents in this stretch.

John Tolhurst of Cruzbike put out an emergency call for replacement Vendettas (which your faithful servant responded when he received it this morning).  However, upon calling to offer my shop's Vendetta, I learned that she and her crew are undecided about their next course of action.

Total production run of the RAAM Vendetta now consists of 23 bikes.  Please no more accidents.

Ride fast, ride safely,
Robert Matson
New York City Recumbent Supply
The Innovation Works, Inc.
copyright 2013 Robert Matson

Thursday, June 13, 2013

HP Velotechnik Street Machine....from Japan to England

"Riding a recumbent bicycle 12,000 km solo from Japan to England."
Found this great photo today from the writer of this blog: 14 degrees Off The Beaten Track"
Author of photo: Robert Thomson from Christ Church, New Zealand, but currently from Beppu City, Japan.

I can't help but notice it is an HP Velotechnik Street Machine, the classic -- and very possibly the world's best -- touring bike.

Have fun, stay healthy and ride some more,
Robert Matson
New York City Recumbent Supply
The Innovation Works, Inc.
copyright 2013 Robert Matson

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Maria's Start

All class. Nothing but class.

Have fun and stay healthy,
Robert Matson
New York City Recumbent Supply
The Innovation Works, Inc.
copyright 2013 Robert Matson

RAAM starts today.

Join us in supporting Maria Parker in her solo RAAM for brain cancer research.
The 3000 Miles to a Cure Team in Oceanside, California!

Many of you may already know that The Race Across America starts today.  I'm rooting for Maria Parker who is riding a Cruzbike Vendetta for the team "3000 Miles to a Cure."

Speaking personally, I've been thoroughly impressed by every aspect of Cruzbike, whether it's the people in the company, the bikes, their commitment to R&D and race-testing, or their approach to production, with continual improvement to bikes even in the middle of model years.

My own experience has shown that their entry-level "Sofrider" holds its own with bents at twice the price and their Vendetta racer, in the right hands, is so fast it should be controlled and licensed, if not UCI races....  Oh wait, it is.  I'm stocking their full line, including the new Vendetta, which arrived just yesterday.  I'm generally able to teach people to ride the front-wheel drive in less than an hour.

Bikes specially-tuned for various terrain
Maria Parker's three RAAM Vendettas, each optimized for different conditions. This is a remarkable sight, given that the RAAM Vendetta's production run consists of only 25 frames.  So, what you're seeing here is 12% of all RAAM Vendettas in existence.

Commercial over.  Here's how to follow RAAM and team "3000 Miles to a Cure."

TWITTER (@3000toacure)

INSTAGRAM (@3000toacure)

VINE (Video clips!)

Where's Maria

CoverIt Live on our Facebook Page

Live RAAM Tracking

News Media

There is a Wall Street Journal article about Maria that is set to be published Tuesday June 11th.

Al Jazeera English says they'll broadcast their coverage of Maria on Tuesday.

More info. about 3000 Miles to a Cure:

All best,
Robert Matson
New York City Recumbent Supply
The Innovation Works, Inc.
copyright 2013 Robert Matson