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31 Jan 2014

Conti Winter 2

I almost always ride on slick tires. Except during about 3 months each year with the Pioneer. During the winter season he stands on soft 'rubber' with a special thread. The soft 'rubber' of the Conti, the topic of this post, gives so much more grip than, for instance, a Kojak, or a Marathon, that I prefer the CWC2 over the latter 2, despite how slow the CWC2 is. Most of the distance the Pioneer covers is within Assen. And that comes with a lot of cornering. Those 2kph of cruising speed are not really a problem.... And I get that wonderful 'I'm so fast again sensation' every spring.

My Fuego doesn't accept anything over 30mm, and is built for basicly comfortable speed only. And because she's for the longer distances, I can life with a little less grip.

The K has 3 wheels. A lack of grip grip hardly ever is a problem for me in a velomobile. Even on icy roads, slicks do the job, for me. I just brake a bit earlier. And velomobiles don't really work in more than about 4cm of snow anyway.

Back to the Nazca Pioneer and his Continental Winter Contacts II, or CWC2 for short. I bought these tires last year, after I'd read a test at Wim's blog. In snow and slush covered roads always where the situation that I couldn't ride a bike. Well, I've had an Oké-ja, that worked pretty good. Though that's slow and meant owning yet another bike.

Last Sunday my tiny part of the earth was white. Finally an opportunity to see how 'winter' these expensive tires are. To my surprise, I had no problem at all during my 16km ride. I had enough grip and felt save on every kind of snow or slush I encountered. I had lowered the tire pressure from 4 to just under 3 bar to get as much grip as possible from these tires. Again, that is slower, but 20kph is enough when it snows. You also enjoy the scenery more at such a low pace.

24 Jan 2014

The recumbent yet to be developed by someone

This, somewhat unstructured, blogpost started on FB. But I wanted to write more. The last weeks I've done some thinking about what's available these days for those looking for a recumbent bike. It started when I saw a Troytec for sale....

...Those Troytecs are nice built bikes, stiff and with proper handling. Though they forgot to add mudguard eyelets. So even the €5000,- FS HR is a dry conditions bike only.

This problem is the same for most performance 'bents. So you either have a sensible bike that not that fast, or a fast ride that's not easy to life with. One that comes close to the perfect mix is my Fuego. Apart from some frame flex and a 4 metre chain, there's nothing better out there.

The Silvio 2.1 could be really good too. And with good I mean 'Dutch', or practical, allround, easy, whatever you call it. The chain on that is short and stays clean. Trust me, that is nice to have on a bike. But in the hunt for easy manufacturing, you'll have to tinker to mount mudguards or lights. So a €3000,- bike won't work without some d.i.y. It does come with suspension, hurray for that! Though their advice is to check the front shock's pressure before every ride. The Fox shock on my Fuego holds it's pressure for months, perhaps even a year.

Flevobikes Greenmachine is a something really special too. It is as easy to maintain as a traditional town bike. Tiny problem is that it has IHG, with silly evenly spaced gears, and a mushy drive train.

M5? Those steer funny.

The performance orientated bikes generally are used for sport only. And the more practical bike are not fast enough for longer distances. My trusty Pioneer actually is a bit the opposite of me, heavy and large. We do get along.

Small/light riders need efficient bikes. Since the Evo K, S and now Strada DF, that problem is pretty much solved in the range of velomobiles. For those who are slender and seek a fast and practical bike, the best solution still is a tuned and personalized bike like, in my case, my Fuego.

You could also start with a Gaucho. That's a bit slower but gives you 2 big wheels and all the benefits that come with that. Using a performance bike as a basis, will have you tinkering for days. And rear suspension is an absolute must have. For comfort and to keep both wheels on the ground.