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30 May 2010

37000km, and I rode the High Racer again

Friday morning, an easy commute with Yivalté. I arrive at the little int. hq. nicely on time. My cycling gear is swapped for work clothing and the first thing I dolace a wheel. Then I give an old bike of mine, a Fiero, a final check-up. I owned this Nazca before I bought the red Fuego and now it's sold to someone in Sweden.

Than an interesting person with a remarkable story comes by. His Explorer, less than one year old, needs some serious servicing. He'd just came back from Australia, and before that, this Frenchmen had visited 17 other countries. Russia, Thailand, India, the list is impressive. His stories could probably go on for hours. Apart from the usual things like drive train, shifters and tyres, his bike still was in a reasonable condition. I say reasonable, after 37,000 kilometres. Thirty seven thousand kilometres, in just over 11 months. Let's say that again: 37,000 or 23,000 miles if you haven't heared of the metric system ;-) He speaks French, naturally, and English with an accent that I quickly adopt.

That day I also tensioned the spokes on  2 brand new freshly laced Rohloff wheels and gave 2 Pioneers a full check-up. Important for me was that I adjusted on of the test-ride 28" Gaucho's to my size. Next weekend it's time for the highlight in the recumbent riding world of the Netherlands, Cycle Vision. First race for me is the 1 hour individual and I thought it would be interesting to do that on a Nazca highracer. My employers shared this idea. So this would be my preparation. Riding home on it, and bringing it back the next day. 97km to get everything dialed in.

You might now that I've ridden this bike before. That was last year and I used those 20km or so to make a video. But now I really had the chance to get to know it. So how does it compare to my Fuego Yivalté? For a start, it's a completely different bike, yet it does sort of the same. Roughly equally fast on the longer distance at 30-35km/h, and slighty slower above 40, that's probably when the Fuego has it's aerodynamic advantage. The 28" Gaucho does not come with the larriness that my Fuego can give when I her want to. So maybe it's less exciting, better said, more mature. It felt strange to ride 38km/h on a bad road without really feeling it. At first, I thought the speedo was wrong, but I really was going that fast. The sensation of going fast isn't there like on a low bike.

It's strong point is it's wheel set. 622 millemetre on the front and rear. A pair of real road bike wheels. Light, fast, direct. It's height makes it easy to ride. But still, it's low enough for someone my size, that being 1.74 metre tall. Those wheels are a true blessing on rougher roads. The tyres may be narrow, but this ride is just as comfortable as on a set of 599-50 Big Apples. The rear suspension is an air unit. The chainline is so that pedalling has no effect at all the movements of the rear swing arm. It's like the best of both worlds, of roadbike and recumbent. Recommended by me, and not just because of my job.

Some specs:
  • 622mm Continental GP 4000
  • 3x9 Tiagra on this entry level bike
  • 14.5 - 15.0 kg, I think sub 14kg is possible
  • 26 degrees as lowest seat angle
  • Quasar wheel set, 24/28 spokes (front/rear)
  • Not available with: kick stand, fenders, fat tyres and rear rack. It's a high racer!

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