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21 Jan 2013

My Fuego

In my blog post about my Pioneer I mentioned it is almost stock. My Fuego is the opposite of that. I like tinkering, and probably have voided any possible warranty.

For a start, the seat angle is lower than designed. For most riders it'll be too low. And the rear mud guard is within reach of the seat. But I know how to use it and appreciate the better ergonomics (a more open body position) and smaller frontal area. The seat is also mounted more forward. This is to stop the cranks from hitting the front wheel. That became a problem after I started riding with less stretched legs. I'm talking about a 3cm reduction.

Another thing I choose to do was remove the rear rack. I couldn't get rid of the strong feeling that the rack bag was a serious wind catcher. So instead of that I use Radical Solo Racer panniers, that hang behind my shoulders. It also saves carrying the weight of the rack.

The 25cm narrow handlebars come from a Quest. They weigh little and offer enough space for all controls. To save space, and to keep the brake cables out of my line of sight, the brake levers have their thumb operated position. The narrower handlebars are, the more twitchy a bike becomes at low speeds. But low speeds is not my area.

That's also why there's only 1 chain ring at the front. Though when I replace the drive train later this year, I'll make it a double. That combined with the upgrade to a 10 speed 12-32 cassette will make it more suitable for vacations. And it's an opportunity to buy new a new SRAM derailer and shifter.

The wheels are special too. The hubs are from a unknown brand. Combined they weigh just over 400 grams. That light yes, and I won't say they the right choice for a big guy in the mountains.... 64 Sapim Laser spokes, those save weight and cause less air resistance, connect them to the rims. The rear rim is nothing special. It came of another bike. The front rim is from Gingko Spezialradteile and is very light, 249 gram. It's narrow though and has a tire width limit of 28mm. My prefered front tire measures 29mm, a Minit Light. That, with a light Schwalbe tube, rolls nicely and is terrific over brick roads. There's a Durano at the back now. I'm thinking about replacing that by a NOS Stelvio, or an Ultremo ZX.

The shock is the stock air/oil unit from Kind Shock. Close to that is a TC idler. I like those and use them on all my bikes. They last very, very long and just work better in my experience.

I carry lights, always, just like mud guards, that come from M5. Under daylight, the lights blink in a distinctive pattern.

The result is a Fuego that 'officially' weighs 13.3kg, including the mud guards. The ready to ride weight is around 14kg. That nice weight combined with the seat angle of 20 or 22 degrees make it faster and fun. And let's not forget that it's a Nazca, so the handling is superb anyway.

I've not done any experiments to find out how much faster it is since I got her in the summer of 2009, but close to 10 percent is not overweening. Most of that improvement is in the aerodynamic package. The weight reduction helps some too, but mostly adds to the liveliness of the bike.

In comparison I can say, without any doubt, that, under anything but typical velomobile conditions, I'm as fast with my Fuego as I was with my Mango. That partly because I'm rather small and light for most velomobiles, and partly because the Fuego and me go together so well. It's a 2+2=5 situation.

Let's take last Saturday evening as an example. It was -5 degrees C, with a 4Bft wind. Any cyclist will recognize that as 'unfast conditions'. My cruising speed was 33-35kph over 2 times 15km, without really trying, because I can't push hard when it's cold. Can you imagine how much I'd like to go on a spring vacation with this bike?

2 Jan 2013

2012, a list

I rode a tiny bit less than in 2011, 14506km
  • Evo K: 6646
  • Pioneer: 4181
  • Fuego: 1654
  • The rest: 2025
Highest speed this year was 74kph, down the Ketelbrug, chasing 30 or so other velomobiles, and overtake just about the whole pack in the few km that followed. Re-thinking that, that must have been the coolest moment of the year.
Longest day trip was 230km, from Valkenburg to Arnhem, a part of my Spezi vacation.

I bought the Winter 'Bent and sold the Oké-ja. There's one bike nominated to be offered for sale. I also bought and re-built a Brompton.

I learned to be captain on a tandem, the Quetzal.

The Velomobil Seminar, combined with the stay in the chalet, was very memorable. 

At the annual swimming event that raises money for something good, I swam 3km.

Problems with a wisdom tooth cost me about 10 days this year.

'The Bridge' is the best TV serie I've seen since 1984. Saga is special.

My favourite TV moment was the gold winning act on high bar by Epke Zonderland, also because of the commentary. And next to that, pretty much everything of olympic gymnastic tournament I could see. A couple of Formula 1 GP's also where great to watch.
I became an uncle.

Since April I volunteer for my swim club, a most excellent thing to do.
My best race was the 3 hour of Cycle Vision. My worst race was Groningen. The track is ruined by tree roots, and an Evo K does not like such bumps.

The Fuego was put on a diet. I'll soon write about how I got her down to 13.25kg, including mud guards.

I played a board game with friends 'till 1am, outside, on the 2nd day of Christmas.

I've cycled trough France.

I found out I'm not 1.74, but 1.77m tall.