Crank Forward Ride Impressions

In this case a RANS Citi CF. First, I think I have to give my overall impression of a Citi [and CFs in general] ride and then the unique aspects of my build. There are few Citi [or RANS] single speed builds. I’ll do my best in this review.

  • Citi

CRW_0285.CRW I was fortunate to have ridden a RANS Fusion CF in Morton, Illinois last July following RAGBRAI. The fun of riding it inspired me to buy a Citi. I think there is a special feeling of control and responsiveness that’s unique to a crank forward bike. It tracks really well. The long wheelbase ensures a comfortable ride and with big low-pressure tires, a lot of road rumble vanishes.

I experienced recumbent like control, in terms on leaning into and powering out of curves. The feeling is different for a ‘bent and the CFs I have ridden than the feeling I have when riding either of my Diamond Frame [DF] bikes ~ the Trek Project One or Trek 5200. They are special in their own way. I can ride my Citi “hands-free.” That is not doable on either my short wheelbase [Velokraft VK2] or long wheelbase recumbent [RANS Stratus XP]. This bike goes where I point it and easily holds its line without great effort. The ride is very smooth.

CRW_0276.CRWI do not know that I have the optimum seat and handlebar adjustments yet, but the Citi is a great climber. Mind you, I’m working with only one gear.  I climb without leg stress [these are current early-season-legs]. I’m able to climb hills with ease. If I choose, I can stand and climb. There is sufficient room behind the handlebars to stand. I’ll comment further in the single speed section of this report.

At this point, I do not know if the Citi would be my bike of choice for a metric or full century. I did not buy it for that. Yet, I want to how how it feels to ride 30 miles or so on my Citi. It can be done if I accept slightly longer completion times. Now, with different gearing and riding surface, I may tell you differently.

Overall, I’m delighted with the handling and riding experiences with the RANS Citi. Please also not that the main mechanic and one of his assistants at my LBS rode my Citi and both are very complimentary of the bike.

  • Gearing

CRW_0271.CRW I choose a single speed/fixed gear combination [allowed by White Industries’ ENO Hub for vertical drop outs]. I made the right decision for me. I love the simplicity of the Citi with no derailleurs. The chain-line is simple beautiful.

I’m riding with a 38-tooth chain ring and 19-tooth freewheel. I also have a 19-tooth fixed gear. I did my best to find gearing [have not computer gear inches yet] that I felt would work well on flat surfaces, yet allow me to climb hills. This is the baseline from which I can adjust. I think it is perfect for the cruising I bought the bike for.

Mb0428weather As I began yesterday’s ride, I thought I could have used 2 more teeth in the cog [high RPM can be easily maintained]. As I finished the ride, I thought a tooth could have been pulled. The last part of he ride was 14 miles into 11 mph head winds. No fun for me. I wonder what the gust were?

mb0428The ride: I began with about a 15mph average and held near 14.8 through the first half of the ride. Now, some of that must have been wind aided. Also, my seat post slipped down without me knowing. As a result, I lost some peddling efficiency. I discovered this when I stopped to raise the seat. This adjustment made a big difference. The second half of the ride was into headwinds and my average speed dwindled to 11.6  mph—not at all respectable for me. This was my first ride on the season in Fayetteville. My legs will be stronger and that average speed will improve. BTW, I saw a mix speed of 23.1 mph. I had to have been coasting…

Remember for my gearing high RPM are easy. Also, you can CWOG [coast without guilt—you’ll spin out anyway]. I love achieving high speeds going downhill on my road bikes and attacking the next hill—rollers are fun. Lot of riders just coast—not me. Well, this gearing give me no choice. I can also coast [doing so without guilt].

  • Standing and climbing

While doable, there could be more pedal resistance for a smoother pedal stroke. As I climbed, I thought of riding this bike in the North Carolina Mountains. I’m impressed with her climbing ability.

  • Pedals

The Wellgo B-18 Platform Pedals work well for me. They give me the ability to adjust my foot position during the ride [relieve pressure points]. This is my only bike without clipless pedals, so riding sans clipless is a new experience for me. I rode with my Keen Sandals [Eggbeater Cleats in place]. They stick to the pedals very well.

  • Adjustments

CRW_0165.CRW My bottom was not as comfortable as I want for long rides. There is more pressure than I’d like in the seat pan. I think it’s a matter of finding the sweet spot. I’m going to lower my handlebar about ¼” to relieve palm pressure. I felt some. One does not ride a perfectly setup bike—adjustments are going to be made.

  • Conclusion

The riding experience was delightful. The Citi used in the right way will always be a fun bike to ride. I see it for “cruising” rather that longer rides. RANS has 16 crank forwards models from which to choose for the ride you want. I’m happy with my purchase. I like the look and ride of my Citi. I have no buyer’s remorse. Thanks the Randy Schlitter for another quality bike.

  • Links:
  1. BROL Thread
  2. CF Message Board Thread
  3. flickr picture set

Author: jalexartis

Avid cyclist, who loves photography, technology, blogging & cooking...

2 thoughts on “Crank Forward Ride Impressions”

  1. Faye looks great…nice work!!!

    Interesting switch to the SS setup, love the clean look. I’ve tried riding around using just one or 27spd’s but love shifting around too much.


    1. Thanks Nanda. I understand. For me, I have either of my other 6 cycles to shift. The rice is clean and very pure. I love the look this build gives. Greg told me you’ve done a century on a CF. If so, how was the seat comfort for 5-6 hours of riding?


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