Monday, October 13, 2014

Recumbent Cycle Convention: brief notes

The most important note first:

Creating safe roads for cyclists is as important as building and selling bikes.

The town of St. Charles and the surrounding area -- where the show was held -- has wonderful bike trails and paths and I was able to enjoy them with the Cruzbike team on the morning of the second day of the show.

But I didn't see any bicycle advocacy organizations represented at the show.  It is vital that each of us, as cyclists and industry workers, are involved in advocacy.  We each play an important role in expanding opportunities to bicycle safely in the USA.  We can't simply be bike lane users.  We must also be bike lane builders.

Here's something you can do, starting today.  It's fun and you'll meet people who may become lifelong friends.  Dedicate just 4 hours per month -- 48 hours in the year -- volunteering for your local bicycle advocacy organization or otherwise engaged in bicycle advocacy.  That small amount of time will help save lives -- not to mention the planet.  It will help save the life of somebody with a name, and a mom and dad.  That "somebody" might be you or someone close to you.  Toss this aside and you're tossing aside someone's life.

If you don't have a local bicycle advocacy organization, then join Bikes Belong, a.k.a., PeopleForBikes and give them the equivalent of 48 hours/year of your income.  Want to do more?  Run for your local community board or city council.

Thank you to Charles Coyne, Coyne Publishing and the RCC Team for producing this show.
Visit them here
Charles Coyne and his crew do an amazing job of producing RCC.  It's is incredible that they are able to do so much.  All the workers were friendly and professional.  The show was well-organized and well-attended.  He had nearly all the top manufacturers there.  Also, on the above note of advocacy, Charles and his group are a great example of people working hard to promote bicycling with no eye -- as far as I can tell -- to personal gain.  If anything, it seems to me he's putting himself at significant financial risk to put on this show.  Thank you, Charles and team.

The new Silvio and Vendettas are very impressive on many fronts - performance, adjustability, weight, features, capacity to work with wide range of drivetrains.   Both bikes share many of the same qualities.   I rode both and put in about 20 mi. on the Vendetta during the Cruzbike morning ride.  Both models are better than ever and they've shaved 16 oz. off both frames, in part by making the new seat in full carbon fiber.  I initially wondered if I'd like the new front boom and drive-triangle, shared by the V and S, but it's excellent: stiff, highly adjustable, light, clean appearance.  The new Vendetta's paint is a metallic red.  The white Silvio looks good too.  All in all, the new designs are winners.

There's a very interesting spec effecting drivetrain options, but it's not published so I don't want to spill the beans in case something changes.  In short, it's great news and it looks like there'll be more versatility than in the past.

The Cruzbike booth was popular and, often, nearly all the bikes were out on the test track.  I've already sold several Silvios so I anticipate the current run to sell out, maybe by end of winter.  Go and get yours now.

HP Velotechnik
Nothing but top marks for HP Velotechnik.  New Gekko fx 26 is perfect.  The new Scorpion "Plus," perfect.  The new "adaptive" pedals and accessories are easy to use and well-made.  The new seats, fine.

I'm at a loss for words when writing about the brand and the models, because there's nothing more to say.  They are the gold standard.  There are no surprises.  They simply continue to prove they are probably the most professional and reliable recumbent manufacturer in the market.

HP Velot. was one of the most popular booths at the show.  No surprise there either.

They're continuing their tradition of being one of the foremost manufacturers of adaptive cycles.  They are clearly entirely dedicated to producing the highest quality machines.  Again, I don't know what to say: they're great.  They too had one of the most popular booths at the show.

Patterson Transmission (from FSA)
Superb new internal gear system to replace front chain rings and rear wheel 3-speed hub gears.  Inexpensive, quiet, works well.  Only time will tell how durable it is over thousands of miles, but I liked what I saw and may well install one on one of my own bikes over the winter to use and abuse it.

Bent Rider On-line
Also one of the most popular booths at the show.  Bryan Ball seemed to be in high spirits and told me they sold out of their merchandise by the afternoon of the first "public" day of the show.

Go build a bike lane,
Robert Matson
New York City Recumbent Supply
The Innovation Works, Inc.
copyright 2014 Robert Matson

1 comment:

  1. Robert, had I known you'd be at the show, I may have tried to say hello! I was the particularly hairy fellow present Sunday afternoon. Reading your writings here are what spurred me to learn more about Cruzbikes, which led me to discover the event in St. Charles, a mere afternoon's ride away from home!

    I came to ride a Cruzbike, and the $20 price of admission was well worth it! I enjoyed the test ride loop on a Quest right away upon arrival, but was sad to learn that the Sofrider had sold out. The Quests were just out of my price range!

    The next 'bent I had to test was any HP Velotechnik; a local shop had an old model there, but they wouldn't allow me to demo ride it. Instead I took a new USS Speed Machine for a few loops, and it was a breeze. Tomorrow morning I'm making the long trek into the city to hopefully test ride the old demo HP that is just barely within my price range. If it rides well enough, I may be a first time 'bent owner sooner than I thought! My face is still sore from smiling so much from the day's test rides.

    My morbidly obese Chicago friends have been getting the hard sell on buying a trike; each entry level offering I rode was a blast!

    What an amazing and rewarding life it must be to be involved in the recumbent industry.