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10 Jul 2011

Das K, Probefahrt

Yesterday I took the 6:55am train to Venlo. I'd made an appointment with Beyss, the manufacturer of the Evo K in Straelen. The public transport did it's job well and I arrived in Venlo without any delay. From there, it was a short ride with my Cruzbike to cross the border with Germany and arrive at the Zeppelinstrasse.

I was very much on time. After 20 minutes or so, Daniel Fenn arrived in a K. After he had a close look at my Q451, we set up a K for me. Kojaks on the front and some foam to lift the seat a bit. I used the seat covers from my Cruzbike in the K for some extra comfort, and to be able to see the road in front of me.

As soon as I'd left the Beyss factory I tried to find some bumps in the road. Those bumps aren't much softened by the suspension. The good thing is that the K keeps on going in a straight line, not affected by the bumps. The seat covers made it all comfortable enough. Because of the supreme build quality, the body does not rattle at all. The noisiest thing is the rattling freewheel. A 23t TC idler under the front tip op the seat guides the chain to the rear wheel.

Getting used to the side stick steering would probably take a few hundred kilometre. But even so, I felt quite confident at 50kph, with a strong wind from the side. Achieving that same speed with a headwind was as easy as pie. Slowing down with the independent front brakes felt secure. That said, the high speed potential of the K does make me advice 90mm drums, instead of the standard 70mm.

To test it's usability on roads of lesser quality, I used some German urban cycle paths. It manoeuvres nicely, though something narrower than 35mm Kojaks on the front is wise. Minit's Tough could be perfect. There almost as wide, but significantly lower, giving you a smaller turning radius, which is a good thing.

I even found a tiny elevation. With it's super stiff construction and weight of only 18kg, this must be the best climbing velomobile on the market. You would need more than the 1x10 gearing that this K carried. A 38 and a 63 on the front, combined with a 12-27 on the back would make it more pleasant in every day life. A long cage derailleur could do that. A 63 combined with a 559 rear wheel, may sound odd, but with that combination, I'd often be cruising in 6th gear.

So, it's actually pretty good for normal use. Are there downsides? Yes, some. The rear wheel is not single side mounted. That makes the construction a lot stronger, but fixing a flat would take more time. Extras, like lights, indicators and rear suspension cost a lot. Luckily, vm electronics are not that complicated. The openings on the left photo can easily be closed with fibreglass sheets and magnets.

It's not perfect, but nothing is. The ride is divine, the quality outstanding. The K is wickedly fast and looks fantastic. With a few easy and small changes, this could be the best VM for a velonaut like me. In the more affordable 23kg version that is.

After the ride, we had some coffee, discussed my experiences and wishes with the K, and I got a factory tour. Daniel showed me the differences between materials and we put a few items on the scale. I saw rear forks, weighing around 400 grams. A set of rear drop-outs, weighing 30. And, very interesting, we testes a Milan entry hatch. This one had some cosmetic damage, making it good for a smash test. It was hit with a steel pipe, the size of your arm.  You can find more photos in this Picasa album.

After 4 interesting, fun and possibly, in the near future turning out to be expensive hours, I rode back to Venlo. Again, my little Quest surprised me. A small hill was easily climbed and descended without any hesitation. Manoeuvring  through an unknown city with several diversions, while looking at a GPS, was no problem. I believe I dreamed about the K in the night that followed.

Two days later, I took time to create a short video.

8 comments:

  1. Peter,

    Droom je van de glasvezelvariant? Of carbon?
    Wat is de prijs van de fiets in die uitvoering?

    Mvg
    Jonathan

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  2. Hi Peter,
    You forgot to mention as a disadvantage that the chain will tend to pick up dirt from the street easier with the derailleur open in the wheelcase.
    Apart from that I think it's a superior vm.
    Better suited for daily use as the Milan that is to low.
    With it's small frontal surface and narrow ending tail i have no doubt that it will be faster than any Limit, Strada, Mango and maybe even the WAW.
    It must be a thrill to ride!

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  3. @Jonathan: glasvezel, 6500-7000

    @Mick: Can be a thrill indeed, but it's possible to ride relaxed too. The derailleur can easily be covered with small covered, held in place with magnets. For me it's the fastest VM on the market.

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  4. heb je deze besteld? of ja deze bestellen? ziet er wel grappig uit

    groet marcel

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  5. Dat word dus oppassen voor Das K-Fahr binnenkort..:)

    groetjes Alpieter

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  6. How about luggage space? Can you fit like the same amount of stuff in there like say a Quest or Mango?

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  7. @Wilfred
    Wow, you found time during ROAM for my blog? You really had a short day, didn't you.

    The luggage space is comparable with a Flevobike Alleweder. (my 1st VM) So less than in the Q and M, but sufficient for camping.

    After I officially ordered it, i found that that the GFK (glas) version always has rear suspension :-) I added 90mm brakes and sandwich constructed wheel wells.

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  8. No fair Peter, you've tempted me - I've been, tried it and now have a K on order too. I had to go for the 90mm drum brakes (we have hills in the UK) but there is an option to have them machined down so it is only a 55g (per side) penalty...

    The exposed rear mech photo - there is a 'full' rear wheelbox but with a cutout to allow the rear wheel to be dropped out of the bottom of the machine, right? So road dirt is *mostly* kept away from the drivetrain. I'll be interested to see your panel to complete the protection.

    ReplyDelete