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12 Aug 2010

A Nazca Fiero XS

No, I didn't buy another bike!

Almere is one of the biggest cities in the Netherlands. Getting there is an easy 125km ride. I've done that numerous times. Last Monday I went there again. This time, for the first time ever, by car. There was a good reason for that. That day, I was the expert helping a fellow 'bent rider buy a 'new' Nazca Fiero XS. She'd found it on She was looking for a XS version because she's only 1.58 metre tall.

The right address was easily found. The bike was in good condition. It still was a bit to long for her, so I did the test ride. The owner told us that, for some reason, she couldn't get the hang of it. So this little blue Fiero had spend most of his young live in the garage collecting dust. The deal was closed and after a cup of coffee we drove to Dronten. This 'velomobile valley' also is the home of Alligt. Not only does this company produce the Alleweder, it also sells and produces 155mm crank sets. A set of those would make the short Nazca perfect for short legged people. I did some measuring and I reckon that an x-seam of  97cm could be enough to ride this bike. The photo on the right shows how much clearance there still is between the cranks and the front wheel. Tight turns won't be a problem!

Back home I gave the bike a full check up. I adjusted the boom length and mounted the short cranks. I found out how little riding was done on this Fiero when I gave the computer a new battery . With a total distance of only 294km, this bike was practicably new!  New, easy to handle, the right size and agile.

During her first ride, everything turned out to be just fine. I did shorten the boom a few centimetres. One thing was a bit peculiar, the 42t up front. That should be a 52t. Now the bike had a silly low gearing. I'll take care of that when I've been to the little int. hq. of Nazca in Nijeveen.

Some specifications:
  • 3x9 dual drive
  • bar-end shifters
  • 40-406 Schwalbe Marathon Racer tyres
  • small luggage rack
  • sigma bc-1109 computer
  • kick stand
  • mudguards
It may be small, but it's a proper bike that looks good too.


  1. Hi Peter,
    The reason for the "silly small gear" in front is probably to use it with the third-dualdrivegear.
    This is not a very profitable choice in terms of speed. It will cost her extra energy.
    So my advice would also be to change it to 52(or bigger) and keep the shifter in it's second as much as possible (normally driving).
    Good job!

  2. I think the new owner should be very careful with a bigger chainring in front in combination with the shorter cranks. The shorter cranks reduce the circumference of the circle of the pedals. Power is equal to the force times the distance traveled divided by the time that took. This is proportional to the crank-length times the cadence times the force on the pedal (write this out, it is a lot easier on paper).

    Now cycling with shorter cranks, reduces the power delivered by the rider, at least initially. However, this should be overcome by an increase in the cadence, not by an increase in the force on the pedals (to avoid knee-destruction). Shorter cranks do allow for this, as due to the reduced crank-length, the distance traveled by the feet (in the circular cycling motion) is also reduced, so the speed of the feet can return to the previous value, thus increasing the cadence. It just takes time to adjust to this.

    While the gearing is low for a bicycle, it is not excessively so, there is always the heavier hub-setting in the dual-drive. When you do change to a larger front chainring, make sure to also install a cadence counter. And the target-value for the cadence counter is even higher than with standard-sized cranks. I would suggest 90+, maybe even 100+.