Saturday, April 12, 2014

Cruzbike Vendetta and Silvio: this will be brief. Fast. Whatever.

Maria Parker on a Cruzbike Vendetta. She's a lot faster than me.

OK, so, after a long cold icy winter of running, swimming, skiing, skating and hiking, and riding beater bikes fairly short distances on the salt and slushy streets, I finally felt like it was warm enough to deal with the 15? 20? 30? mph winds in the face while riding a Silvio or Vendetta.

I never ride the RAAM Vendetta I have in the shop.  For one thing, I like to keep it shiny, clean and new.  For another, I prefer not to string up the front derailers on S's and V's to make them easier to adjust for demo rides or the final customer.  So, any time I ride the shop's S, for example, I'm in the middle chain ring the whole time.  It's great for a demo, but it kind of puts a limiter on your fun.

For the V, I really don't do demos.  I offer look-sees and a demo on the S.  I simply feel V's are too fast and hard to handle for anyone who hasn't already put in a thousand miles or so on a high-speed CB.  Moreover, the sizing is a rather final on the V; you can't just slide a boom in and out over a long range to fit a wide range of different sized riders as you can for the Silvio.  It's more a measure thrice and cut once sort of deal.  And, I feel, for the rider, the Silvio 2.0 is so nearly like the V in ride quality, just less time-trial-y, that a demo on an S really tells you everything you need to know: do you like it?  Does it speak to you?  If you like the S, but want to go faster, get the V.

But spring has sprung in New York City and I began to get antsy from looking at the V all winter, fielding questions about it, and never riding it.  So I finished it last week and took it out in Prospect Park for a few demo rides.

Holy crap.

This thing is so unbelievably fast and twitchy and responsive and stiff and aero and with such a tight cockpit, that my first ride out was really -- again, as with all my first Cruzbike rides -- just holding on for dear life.

That first ride I did only about 7 miles because I was mainly just checking the build.  But, more than anything, when I got off, my primary thought was that I had absolutely no idea what I'd do with a bike this fast other than ride incredibly far in a lot less time than I'm used to.  I wondered if I needed to sign up for a brevet just to start bringing the world back into balance.

But I like going fast.  So I took it out again for another ride.  And then another.

My second ride, I went out for an hour, again still holding on for dear life, but getting a better sense of how to handle it.  I did 20.5 hilly miles in that hour and really felt no fatigue.  Kept up with some of the pros and semi-pros who train in the park and with whom I have no business keeping up.  Went out a second time a few days later, knocked off another 20 mi. in an hour.

Who is this guy?  My idea of serious riding is pedaling 13.5 mph down remote roads with 35 lbs of food, clothes, and wet camping gear on an HP Velotechnik Street Machine Gte.  The road itself changed character at the speeds I was hitting.  This isn't cycling.  Is this cycling?  I realized: this means I could ride the 180 miles up to Chatham, NY in one day instead of two.  I began to think about lycra, damn it.  Lycra!

So anyway.  Got a Vendetta here.  It's fast.  It really is.  If you like the idea of that, get one.  I'm pretty tempted to buy one from the shop for my personal use.  And I'm such a touring dork that I really might try and figure out how to hang panniers from it.  I mean, think about it.  If I'm doing 20.5 mph with winter legs, I could probably hold 17-18 mph on the open road with summer touring legs and Radical Design's aero panniers.  8 hours of riding, 8 hours of goofing around, 8 hours of sleeping....  That's like three and a half days from Brooklyn to Mt. Desert Ile.  Heck, it takes two days in a car and you'd be dying of boredom.

Kind of changes the notion of "possible." And of "cycling vacation."

Anyway, other things.

I received Cruzbike's regular, irregular seasonal newsletter the other day.

Silvios: they are sold out of all current models.  You missed it.  They anticipate having new stock in mid-June or so.
Vendettas: there are a few frames left.  I anticipate those will sell out soon and that'll be the last of the 25 models in the RAAM V production run.

Have fun and stay healthy,
Robert Matson
New York City Recumbent Supply
The Innovation Works, Inc.
copyright 2014 Robert Matson


  1. Hi Robert,
    How would you compare the Vendetta to the Silvio?
    Cheers, Charles

  2. Hey Charles,

    Good to hear from you.

    It seems to be harder for me than for others to draw comparisons and distinctions. For me it's like comparing strawberry to vanilla ice cream; either one works fine at Thanksgiving. It depends what I want. Moreover, with a little ingenuity, either one does the job of the other.

    Generally, I'd say that the RAAM Vendetta was designed and built specifically for ultra long distance racing, so it does that job well. The Silvio was designed and built for...ultra long distance racing but was then reframed as a road bike, good for daily riding and to be maybe a bit more "practical," with suspension, clearance for fenders and mounts a rack.

    Having said that, I think it's the rider who determines what a bike can do, not the bike.