Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Cruzbike Silvio 2.0: spooth and 20 MPIB overall.

Air controlled front suspension
Cruzbike Silvio 2.0.
There is something wrong with this photo....  Oh, I see it: no blur lines.

Smooth speed.  That'd be the two-word description of the ride quality of the 2013 Silvio 2.0.  The one-word description would be, I guess, spooth.

I have a Silvio 2.0 in the shop as a demo and I took time at lunch to ride 4 loops (16 miles) in a continuing effort to understand the current model a bit better.  This ride: avg. apx. 21 mph., high: 32 mph, low: 12 mph, 16 mpib, 1 drdh (drafting roadie dropped on hill).

The bike isn't set up with an odometer*, but, given I know the distance of the course, I can say with some accuracy that I've put in about 40 miles on this version so far and, though I can handle it better now than I did at first, it's not yet second nature.  Just for context, people should realize than when I say second nature I mean really truly second nature -- riding without having to think at all about coordination.  I ride a Cruzbike (Sofrider) every day for commuting, shopping, etc. so, as a general thing, the Cruzbike handling is pretty much second nature to me.  The Silvio 2.0 is forcing me to develop higher level skills.  But that's always been true of the Silvios; you must have higher level Cruz skills before you can safely handle any of their bikes at high speed. The Silvio, like any highly aero bent, is inherently fast when energy is input.  (*I rode with the Bike Brain app turned on so I'd know my speeds.)

The first time I rode the S 2.0, several weeks ago, I was focused on understanding the handling, otherwise known as "just trying to hold on" and figuring out the boom length and where to put my hands.  It is so much more reclined than the 1.0/1.5 model, that it's really a new bike.  It deserves a new name, not simply a new numeral.  The Goldio; the I-don't-know-ee-oh.  Yes, it's a lot more aero, and significantly faster on the flats and downs due to that, but also, due to my head angle (I mean skull, not head tube), I need to develop new techniques for watching the road, looking for obstacles and people, broken pavement and trash, looking behind me, etc.  At this point, my technique is to lift my head whenever I'm in an unpredictable area due to a rough road or crazy kids or murderous texting drivers.  Around unpredictable traffic, I'll pedal sitting fully up.

While riding, I also get more wind up my sunglasses so I've had to start wearing shades that are closer to my cheeks (facial).  Hmm.  I realize as I write this that I also seem to get a drier throat on the S 2.0 compared to the S 1.5 and other less aero bikes. I think the wind is hitting the roof of my mouth in a way that dries out my mouth; I don't think I'm getting more wind up my nose, but who knows.  Maybe my mouth is more open as a ride, maybe due to the highly aero position when using the headrest.  Maybe because the headrest supports me in that sweet spot on my neck, like someone is using the head-tilt method to open my throat for mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

I've breathed in two bugs, that I can remember, over the 40 miles.  Now there's a stat that should be mentioned in bent reviews: miles per ingested bug.  The Silvio has a MPIB of 20 overall, for me.  The HP Velotechnik Street Machine Gte has a MPIB of about 325.  I don't know which is better.  It depends on the bug.

The main thing I appreciate about the S 2.0, from the first ride, is how much softer and smoother the ride is.  The new suspension design is fantastic.  (Just FYI, on Cruzbikes there is essentially no power loss from suspension.)  The bike here is set-up with Schwalbe Ultermo tires at 130 psi, which on the Silvio 1.5 could be jarring on rough roads.  The S 2.0 though is smooth, especially considering this is an aluminum frame.  Another context: when I say bad roads, I mean I rode it on cobble stones and paving stones for about 2 miles and then there are some areas with broken asphalt in Prospect Park right now that I'd take at about 20 mph.  You may not have roads like this.

It strikes me that the seats of most the bents I ride on a regular basis are fairly vertical.  I can't be bothered to measure them, but the seat angles are about 35 degrees or so.  Less than that and I need a head rest and I prefer to ride without one.  My beater Sofrider has an apx. 45 deg. seat angle.  My Street Machine touring bike is about 35.  With the Silvio 2.0, I feel so reclined (and comfortable) when I lean my head back on the non-optional headrest that I honestly sort of want to go to sleep...at the same time I'm the most aero and fast.  Resist the call of the nap!  (At least till you're off the road.)

On the speed front, the S 2.0 is extremely aero, so I'll simply say it's very fast.  I don't want to encourage people to ride like they are racing when they could be riding for pleasure.

Gotta go.  I have some bikes to build.

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

2 comments:

  1. Hi Robert,
    Nice review. I've had my eye on that new Silvio.
    I've taken to wearing safety goggles rather than sunglasses to prevent the wind blowing under the lens:
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004FEVKWE/ref=wms_ohs_product?ie=UTF8&psc=1
    UV400 and available in dark or clear. They don't last long, but at that price what can you expect.

    Best, Jake

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  2. I too have some goggles. I like them for the reasons you mention. Also great for winter riding. But two problems I have with them: 1) no place to mount a eye-glass mounted mirror and 2) I look like a madman and, at least on the urban park roads, especially if I'm testing at high speeds, I'm concerned I'll engender anti-bent sentiments just as kit-wearing cyclists get unfairly pigeon holed as riding irresponsibly in our parks.

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