Friday, November 21, 2008
RANS has developed the RAC cargo system which is a subframe that bolts on to a RANS crank forward bike and comes with two large bags. Looks like a nice option in between panniers/rear rack and an Xtracycle.
"RAC (ride and carry)
The bike inspires the commuter, and the short haul shopper, and is a natural for our new RAC cargo system. The bags and rack for the RAC system are custom designed for our CF line, and produced in our Hays plant. The system comes in two sizes, a large and standard.
The large measures 27 X 9 X 15” and the small 24 X9 X15” with cubic volumes of 2.1 and 1.9 cubic feet respectively. All of our current and many past CF offerings should accept the RAC system. The bags feature Lexan shaper panels, with several lighting holes for reduced weight. A maxi and mini bag and rack set adds 11 and 10.75 pounds respectively. Bags weight 4 pounds or less, and racks are 3 to 3.1 pounds typically. It is a worthy weight hit in the form of a very stylish bag set and rugged rack. The tubular frame is designed using alloy aircraft tubing, and our special fittings. This construction has been flight proven on our planes, and is ready for daily street duty.
In case you over buy, the bags contain an extra flap, that will extend to cover the items. I have also found it handy for transporting a bike. To haul a bike: place the front wheel in the bag and tighten the flap over the wheel and your ready to roll. I was surprised how often I used this feature, so I installed a bike hitch. The hitch is made to clamp the front fork., and no, it does not work to try and ride the bike that is attached to the hitch, at least we have not found anyone with the quick reflexes it would take to stay upright! We half jokingly showed the bike hitch at Interbike, but many thought it to be a very useful option, so it may make it into the offerings in due time.
Other features of the bags include: Side mesh pocket, reflector strips, handles on each end, and wide color selection. Constructed of 9.1 ounce Cordura, the bags are carefully crafted at our Hays Plant to endure many miles of use and abuse.
Read more about the RAC here.
High rack and frame torsion strength allows carefree loading. The bags seem to hold up to this sort of use, but I prefer to balance the load, rather than feel a slight turn tendency. How much can be loaded? About 50 pounds per side seems reasonable. That is a lot of groceries. The RAC system is not really intended for human cargo, but of course, we have tested it, and set the max loading to 175 pounds, so it splits out like this, either 50 pounds in each bag and 75 on top, or a single 175 pounder freeloader. We may have an optional top deck, and runners, similar to the HammerTruck rack. Expect this system to expand with such options to increase utility in the near future."
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Congrats on the new ride!
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
RANS is offering a step through crank forward bike based on the Fusion. I think this is a great idea as getting your leg up and over the high top tube on a bike can be a serious problem for some. I can get mount a bike with a high TT, but for a city bike that will be used on casual missions I'd be interested in a step through myself.
The Fusion has been one of our most popular CrankForwards, and should continue with the addition of the step through model. Styling of the frame is eye-catching, with the top tube taking the max plunge. Step through height is 19”, as opposed to the standard Fusion top tube height of 25”.
The configuration harmonizes well with the ladies, who immediately understand the advantages and grace of step through mounting. The bike also appeals to anyone wanting an extremely user-friendly bike with a high dose of unique style. The step through design is a natural for a CF, further enhancing the already body smart design.
Based on the Fusion frame geometry, the new frame is only a fraction of a pound heavier. The bike retains all that is fun about a Fusion in handling and performance, with no penalty for having a less trussed frame.
The frame features 7005 aluminum alloy tubing, water bottle holders on the top tube, and of course the seat-post with the inseam gauge. The model is offered in two dazzling colors, a bright metallic red, and an ivory metallic. The ST is spec’d with fast and light Jet wheels and Primo Comet 1.5” tires. There is room for up to 1.75" tires with fenders, and 1.95" without."
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
"1.) I bought a CF for a few reasons. Before owning a CF I had a string of Rans and Easy Racer recumbents. I loved the comfort and speed but they had a few serious drawbacks for me.
I try to use my bike as my main form of transport, I use if for groceries, getting to work, and just about everything you would normally need a car for. While the my Tour Easy was very comfortable it was a real pain to try to park at the busy bike racks around town. Also carrying capacity wasn't very good on the bent. I tried using my bob trailer but I think my total length was around 12ft. Not real good for getting around town.
One day I was up at Coventry Cycles works in Portland Oregon. I was there actually thinking of maybe getting a SWB bent and on a whim I tried the Fusion they had in the shop. I instantly liked it. It was much more comfy than a DF and still gave me the nice view that a bent did. I ended up not buying it that day but in a few weeks I had sold all my bents on Cl and had no bike at all. I test rode a few DF's but nothing rode as nice as the CF. I ended up buying my Fusion at Paul's Bicycle Way of Life in Eugene Oregon.
2.) I chose this model cause it was all I could get. All my local shops that carried bents only had the fusion. Ordering a different model would have taken about a month. I had ridden the fusion and it was nice. So that's how I ended up with the Fusion. In hindsight, I think maybe the Dynamik Trail may have been a better fit. I like that you can stand out of the saddle with the Dynamik, which is nearly impossible with the fusion. I also like the disc brakes and front shock. The Dynamik looks like it could handle some rough dirt roads or easy single track. In that aspect the Fusion is limited to easy dirt roads. Or rough side walks.
3.) I like a lot of things about the Fusion here a few. It's a lot easier to transport than a lwb bent. I can fit on a regular bike rack and can even go on the front of a public bus. It has a much smaller foot print. I'm sure my co workers enjoyed getting half their floor space back in the office once I switched from bent to DF. It's also much easier to squeeze this bike onto a full bike rack than the bent was and I can use my bob trailer without needing to take every corner like an 18 wheeler!
I have the same view as I did on my bent. I'm looking straight ahead and can see everything, I'm not looking down at my handlebars. This means no sore neck , wrists, or for the most part no back pain. These are the main reasons why I switched from riding DF's to bents.
I also like that for the most part this bike takes off the shelf parts. Other than the Rans rear rack I installed. Everything I put on the bike is just regular bike stuff that can be bought at any bike store.
I couldn't be fair if I mentioned what I don't like about the bike, which isn't much. My main complaint is tires. The bike came stock with Primo comets 1.25. For a bike that can't really be bunny hopped over trash in the road and won't allow you to stand up in the saddle I find these tires a very poor choice. They are very thin and easily punctured. They are also too narrow to provide any real shock absorption. I wish Rans would ship this bikes with a 1.75 tire with some sort of puncture resistance. I'm actually in the process of hunting down a 2.0 tire with flat protection and a reflective sidewall.
Also the bolts on the bike need to be tightened down often. I wish Rans would have used a bit of locktite on some of the bolts on the seat tube and stem. These bolts loosen easily and cause the bike to creak like a wooden sailboat. Not a big deal and only requires a few minutes with the allen key. But on a bike that otherwise is so well put together the small things tend to stick out more. My only other complaint is one of perception.
4.) I use this bike as my main for of transport. So to and from work, grocery runs, shopping and just for cruising on the weekends. I feel it's like a bit of social disobedience to travel under my own power and cruise past the single passenger SUV's stacked up at the traffic lights.
5.) As this bike is used for daily transportation I needed it to be dependable and have decent carrying capacity. So with that in mind I installed the Rans rear rack, a fold able Wall rear basket, fenders, bell,mirror, kickstand, slimed both tubes (cause nobody wants to change a flat in Arizona in the summer) I also installed pedal extenders otherwise my size 13's would be banging against the frame. I also strapped a tiny bag to the handlebars to hold my phone, keys. wallet, and gum. I think that's all for changes made to the bike, as I mentioned earlier I'm
looking for some better tires.
All in all I'm really happy with this bike. It's comfortable and efficient. The yellow color is really nice and bold. The bike is easy to set up with a lot of cargo capacity and unlike a bent almost anyone can jump on it and peddle away comfortably. The learning curve is non existent compared to riding your average bent. I really feel this kind of bike would appeal to a huge amount of people who would never think of riding a bent. What's not to like, they are comfortable but still fast."
The real test will be how it rides with a heavy load. I'll be looking forward to reading owner's impressions when it hits the street...=-)
Saturday, September 27, 2008
I've got a bit more info on the new RANS Hammer Truck. It will haul up to 500lbs - which is 2.5 times the capacity of the Xtracycle/Big Dummy and more than even some of the serious heavy duty cargo cargo bikes like the Yuba Mundo. The accessories you see that are similar to the v-racks and wide loaders from Xtracycle are not compatible with the Freeradical of Big Dummy.
RANS has suggested that a future version of the Hammer Truck may be compatible with the Xtracycle/Big Dummy or at least that RANS may develop some accessories for the Xtracycle/Big Dummy.
Given RANS's track record for high quality innovative products it will be very interesting to see what comes out from this new player in the cargo bike market.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Jerry has a nice RANS Dynanik crank forward he was thinking about using as a long distance touring bike, but a back problem is making that impossible so this bike is for sale. He'd like $900 + shipping from zip 61401. The bike is a 2008 all stock in like new condition. You can reach Jerry at jerry.wick AT yahoo DOT com.
The Rans Hammer Truck is the Rans unique take on longtail cargo bike. The 35 lb bike can carry up to 500 lbs of rider and cargo, with huge bags to carry cargo and optional running boards to support the weight. The Rans Hammer Truck will retail for $1895 beginning in November."
Saturday, September 20, 2008
My RANS Street has been visiting with Cornell out in Cochrane for the last few weeks. He's interested in a RANS crank forward and wanted to borrow my Street for an extended test ride. Although I've missed having it around for running errands and cruising it's nice to know that someone else is having a chance to enjoy this fine bike.
Friday, September 5, 2008
- Aerospoke wheels
- Avid BB7 brakes & Tektro Carbon levers
- Schwalbe Marathon Racer tires
- Greenfield kickstand
- Shimano Barend shifters on Paul Thumbies
- XTR Rapid Rise rdr
- Ultegra fdr
- Truvativ Elita EXO 165mm cranks w/Rotor Q-rings
- Wellgo platform pedals
- Stock Rans bars but with a curved riser
- Ergon Grips
- Topeak Survival Gear Box
- Topeak MiniMorph pump appears to be missing in action, it installs via TwoFish BikeBlocks
- I also carry a tool filled Rans logoed Jandd Frame Pac on longer rides
- Rotor RS4X cranks w/Rivendell Grip King pedals
- Rans B37 handlebar to try on for size/look
- oh yeah, I see I need to put the chainstay chain guard back on too
Thursday, September 4, 2008
"As someone who has benefited from BRO but not previously posted, I thought I would share my experiences with using a CF Dynamik as a mountain bike. There have been a few threads regarding this topic in the past, and I hope my thoughts may help those who may be thinking about this option.
About a year ago, hand, knee and neck issues made using conventional bikes too painful. For road purposes, I use a Corsa, which I think is a terrific ride. For mountain riding, I have used a Turner 5-Spot for several years. The 5-Spot is generally considered to be one of the better full suspension frames. However, hand and saddle issues in particular made the Turner too painful on all but the shortest ride.
Although I was tempted to try a Rans Enduro or similar “true” recumbent as a potential mountain biking replacement, the Dynamik seemed like it was worth a try as a kind of “tweener” option. I bought a stock Dynamic, and moved all of the Turner parts over, including a Fox Talas 100-120-140mm adjustable front fork, WTB 2.4” Mutanoraptor race tires (actually about 2.2-2.3” in width), Avid mech discs, a Shimano XT crank with outboard bearings, a SRAM X.9-X.0 drive train, and an 11-34 Ti cassette. Equipped this way, the Dynamic weighed just over 27 lbs, about the same as the 5-Spot. The attached picture shows the bike with the Talas at the fully extended 140mm position.
I live in the Los Angeles area. State parks and national forests in the area offer numerous fire and jeep road and single track rides. I’m 51, and a typical ride includes about 2000-3000 feet of climbing over 15-20 miles (I have one of the Cateye altimeters, which works surprisingly well), a few significantly steep (15%+) climbs and descents, minor “stunts” such as smaller logs, rocks or steep “U” drop-offs and rises, and steep, loose, rocky, rutted singletrack. I don’t do jumps and try to avoid significant (OK, any) “air.”
I’ve taken the Dynamic on several rides, and my impression so far is very good. As others have noted, getting the seat and cockpit set up takes time. Early use generated some upper thigh and butt pain that I think was caused by the having the seat pan too flat. This has largely vanished over time. The bike brakes exceptionally well, which is a real confidence-booster on steep drops. I’ve found I increase speed compared to the Turner on the same smoother downhill runs (where the 5-spot’s full suspension would offer less significant benefits). The Talas makes the Dynamik quite versatile. At 100mm, the geometry is pretty much as spec’d with the stock Trail and Pro models that use an 80mm SID fork. This position allows for better climbing and more nimble handling. At 140mm, the front end comes up and the bike feels a bit more like a LWB ride. The mechanical (and psychological) benefits of this geometry allow for rapid descents and confidence on steep drops. I believe the Talas is a more solid fork than the SID and may enhance climbing; I would think that it performs better in rough terrain and on downhills.
Thoughts on the Dynamik for use as a mountain bike include the following:
1. On flats, downhills, and modest (maybe 5% or lower) climbs, the Dynamik seems to perform at least as well as the 5-Spot. On flats and climbing, where momentum can be maintained, I often find myself using a higher gear than with the Turner. The Dynamik’s braking and handling—especially at speed—are extremely good and comparable, if not better than the Turner. This performance helps maintain the “fun” part of mountain biking—i.e., the few minutes of downhill after the many minutes of uphill.
2. On rougher downhills and drops, the bike requires more thought and strategic riding to compensate for the lack of rear suspension. Weight shifting on and off the seat is required to take up the shock from bottoming out at the end of a drop or riding over rocks, ridges and trenches at speed. I find that the CF position makes such adjustment a little more challenging because my knees are lifting from a more angled initial position than on a conventional mountain bike. The need to adjust and think about how to react rather than let the full suspension deal with obstacles makes the rides a bit more involving, but also less forgiving. Like any unsuspended frame, the Dynamik will let you know when a poor line is chosen or body weight is not sufficiently adjusted to handle an obstacle.
3. On steeper terrain, I tend to use a lower gear than used with the Turner. As many have noted, on steeps the CF tendency is to pull on the handlebars to stay more forward and to maintain power to the pedals. This can put some strain on the fingers and biceps during long climbs. I view the additional arm workout as a plus, but it is a noticeable difference. The CF climbing hand pressure is the opposite of what occurs on a conventional bike which related to downward stress (rather than pulling) on the handlebars. I have not found the need to downshift a bit and pull on the bars to be a significant climbing negative in most uphill circumstances.
4. In my experience, the bike performs less reliably on steep singletrack climbs where it is important to maintain a steady line to avoid loose stones, dirt, ruts or vegetation on either side of a narrow path (e.g., one that can be only a few inches wide). I found that the bike would sometimes drift into looser stuff or a rut that I wanted to circumvent. In one case, where the trail is extremely steep and strewn with ruts and broken rock, I skillfully managed to drive the bike into a manzanita treelet that mangled the rear DR and dropout. This section, and others like it, were difficult but almost always makeable on the Turner. They are more of a challenge, at least for me, on the Dynamik.
5. On twisty singletrack, the bike seems to do relatively well. Sections where very sharp turns are combined with deep ruts, off-camber topography or strategically placed rock gardens are generally as makeable as with the Turner. I have found that proactive weight shifting and gear management are more important in these sections than with the Turner.
6. As discussed at Spincyclz dot com, rear chainsuck can occur with a CF running larger rear tires. This problem seems most likely to occur when: (a) the smallest cog in front and the larger cogs in the rear are engaged; and (b) the rider is not pedaling and the chain is not tensioned. Under these conditions, the chain can encounter the outer knobs on the rear tire and be sucked into the rear chainstay gap. The solution suggested at Spincyclz dot com is to place a retainer to catch the chain before it is pulled into the stays. I adjusted the XT cranks as far to right as the chainline would allow to increase the gap between the chain and the outer wheel knobs. By shifting to the middle or outer ring front prior to downhills, the problem has been pretty much a nonisssue for me. I found that chainsuck could occur, however, when riding through a series of short ups and downs when it is desirable to keep the bike in a very low gear for an upcoming steep bit. If this kind of terrain is regularly encountered, it may be necessary to install a physical retainer to preclude chainsuck risks. It appears that chainsuck is related to the longer CF chain which may flex more from side to side than on a conventional bike and potentially hit the rear wheel knobs when untensioned.
7. The Dynamik has proven to be significantly more comfortable on my butt, seat area and neck. It also seems to reduce back strain. The bike appears to reduce, but does not fully avoid, downward hand pressure. Long downhill runs still result in some “traditional” hand strain. The bike also generates more “pull” pressure on the hands and arms for climbing. In general, my hands feel better after a comparable ride on the Dynamik than on a conventional mountain bike. Weight management requirements can stress my knees to a greater extent than on the Turner, possibly related to lifting off the seat with the knees in a more forward angle compared with a conventional bike. I may be more sensitive to potential knee stress than other riders, and varying pedal positions during downhill runs seem to reduce this concern.
The Dynamik, at least as equipped with a 100-140mm Talas, seems to offer a very reasonable mountain biking option for the fire road and most SoCal-style singlerack that I routinely ride. It is not as nimble as the 5-Spot steep on more technical, narrow uphill sections. It seems like the longer wheelbase and lack of rear suspension would also underperform on more twisty trails, but this has not yet proved to be the case. I would be disinclined to use the bike on trails with rocky drop-offs, substantial rock gardens, lots of larger rock fins (or logs) and other conditions where full suspension and a higher bottom bracket seem obviously required. A lightweight suspension seatpost with a lockout for climbing might improve the bike’s overall downhill utility, but so far the lack of rear suspension has not been a significant problem on the routes that I ride.
I hope this summary is useful. My thanks to this website for all of the great information it provides!"
Monday, August 25, 2008
I was quite excited when Ian emailed me and let me know he was building a RANS Street Xtracycle rig. It took a while for him to get all the parts he needed, but his bike is finally rolling and looks very nice. Click here for pictures. Congrats on the new bike Ian.
Sunday, August 17, 2008
For some reason I cannot take the Street out dirty. There is something about the metallic red paint that screams "clean me!" Even a light coat of dust seems tragic enough that I'll grab a cloth and wipe down the frame.
It's sort of like dating a super model - you just can't help yourself when she wants to you to take care of her...=-)
Putting the Street away when I got home I couldn't help, but thinking I might have a bike problem if I can't stop myself from riding even when I'm injured...lol....oh well I guess it could be worse!...=-)
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Best of all I received these grips for free for helping someone out with their bike...=-)
As I was installing the Ergons on the Street today I was wondering aloud how I lived with normal grips all these years!
Thursday, July 31, 2008
Makes sense to me.
Saturday, July 26, 2008
I've read a few negative comments online about CFWD bikes and one thing each post had in common was the author had based their opinion on an extremely short test ride. Now any short test ride of a bike is problematic since it doesn't give the rider much time to evaluate the bike and there could well be some setup issue that just doesn't get addressed during such a brief exposure, but I think short test rides of CFWD bikes has an additional level of challenge a lot of folks new to these bikes isn't aware of. Almost everyone interested in bikes has owned and ridden a typical upright diamnond frame [DF] bike. So when you go to test an exotic recumbent you inuitively know it is a completely different beast than you are used to. You approach it with an open mind and spend sometime trying to figure it out. You certainly don't try to ride it like you would a mountain bike or your old 10 speed. However, CFWD bikes do look a lot like DF bikes and my hypothesis is many people jump on them and try to ride them like they would a DF. This leads to some confusion and frustration because a CFWD bike simply isn't DF - it's a totally different beast.
I know that I went through a phase early on where I tried to ride my Street like it was a mountain bike. I wanted to get up on the pedals and hammer up hills. That just doesn't work well on a CFWD. I had to learn to work the gears more and use my leverage on the bars to apply more power when I need a burst of speed. This isn't a bad thing, but it requires that you forget your DF riding experiences and learn to ride your CFWD as if it were a whole new kind of bike. Don't worry this won't take long as one of the benfits of the CFWD design is how easy they are to ride. In fact people that can't remember the last time they were on a bicycle will probably adapt faster to CFWDs than those of us that ride DFs a lot.
In the end your efforts will be rewarded with a ride that combines the comfort of recumbents with the agilit and versatility of DF bikes.