Saturday, July 26, 2008

The problem with a 5 min test ride...

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.

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