OK, so this bike is hard going up hill. But I’m sure (I hope) that it’s just about getting my legs used to the new movements. I’m sure speed up hill will increase.
However, going down hill is another matter. It’s incredible. Not only is it fast, it holds the corners far too well. The long sweeping corner on the way home from work that scared the living daylights out of me even going 30km/h around on my road bike, can be done at almost 2 times that speed with no qualms what-so-ever. I was half way round the corner yesterday and happened to look at my speedo – 57km/h. I wasn’t even trying to push it. Kind of scary when you think of the possible carnage should I hit a patch of grit on the road.
Braking is also amazing. The disc brakes really pull the bike up very efficiently. It is hard sometimes to tell if the back wheel is locking when going downhill though. With wind in the ears you can’t hear it skidding.
Ah yes. After many months of waiting and confirming what I wanted, the bike has finally arrived. The bike is a German made HP Velotechnik Street Machine GTe (review: Bentrider Online), but I ordered it from Myron at Blue Ridge Cycleworks in Virgina, USA. Basically, Myron has a set price for the frame-set (frame, shocks, rear carrier), and then the customer tells him what other components to put on it. After reading some stories of cycle tourists ending up having to finish their tour short because of faulty cheap components, I went for good quality components.
Blue Ridge Cycleworks was good to work with. I would reccommend them to anyone not in a hurry. They have the cheapest prices I could find on the net (I emailed about 20 recumbent dealers in the US), and Myron seems to know his stuff. Do be aware however that they are only a ‘part-time’ shop – as stated on their website. Plenty of chilled out patience is required.
The bike was shipped in two boxes, so there was quite a lot of putting together to be done. However the bike is pretty self-explainatory. They only trouble I had was getting the bolts for the swing-arm joint to line up. But that could have been alleviated by having another pair of hands.
First impressions of the bike were ‘this is heavy’, and ‘this is smooth’. Heavy compared to my road bike, that’s for sure. But try carting 25kg plus of gear across the Eurasia continent on a road bike. I am glad the GTe is solidly built. The suspension is very smooth. No pogo under hard pedalling.
It prooves to be seen how long it will take my legs to get used to the new pedalling movements.