Velokraft has a new website

seasons-greetingsKamil introduces his creations in a new way.  Your site looks real good. Thanks! BTW, I ride one of Kamil’s creations–The Velokraft VK2. {customized by me}

'09 Configuration

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How good does it get?

Dana, Owner, Bent Up Cycles, has responded to my e-mail. [BROL Thread]

Simply, a replacement boom ships this afternoon. The new boom has a thicker wall. Although there were failures of earlier VK2 booms, I purchased mine in November 2005, Dana is not aware of any failures of the new boom.

I look forward to riding the VK2 again with no boom flex–Power on!

Thanks Dana! You continue to give me reasons to continue to do business with you. I appreciate it as i know you other customers do.

Now, we’ll have to see how this speed machine looks with a black nose or do I get it painted. For now, I do not know. Anyway, I’m a happy camper.

Order Paid For

Paid for my front wheel order [including tire & tube] from Bent Up Cycles today–delivery expected 23-27 July. That’s a long wait–almost a month from the 6/29 order date–oh well…

Order Placed

I e-mailed Dana, Bent Up Cycles, in a final effort to find a tubular 406 rim–no luck. He does, however, sell the Hed. Jet 406 rim, and has them in stock–order placed.

He’ll build up the wheel, all black, with the following components:

I‘ll probably receive the wheel week after next. The spokes and hub have to be ordered and the wheel built.

Front Wheel

At this point, after several days of searching and corresponding with various companies, I am not able to locate a 406 (20″) tubular rim or wheel.
Given this, I am pursuing the Hed recumbent wheel to the right. Dana, Bent Up Cycles, has them is stock. I waiting for his pricing and shipping time-line.
Now to find a tubular clincher–my previous 406 efforts were unsuccessful.

René E-Mail Dialogue–Day2

Time now allows me to answer René’s questions from yesterday.

Jim:

“1) compare your Stratus versus VK2. I do not think a low racer should be compared to a LWB recumbent. The ride and handling characteristics are different [relevant to the type handlebars on each]. I purchased my SXP for
touring. As I have it setup, it is perfect for that task. The ride is comfortable and its load carrying ability is superb. The low racer (VK2) is a fast bike. As I see it more for sprinting than riding long distances. The ride and riding position are not as comfortable as on the RANS Stratus. I love them both, but see them as different bikes for different functions.

2) performances on flat roads, hill climbing, down hill Again, the VK2 I think will beat the Stratus on a short distance sprint–say a mile or so. It is a much lighter bike. My SXP is loaded [heavy]. I can make it go fast however, particularly downhill. The VK2 probably has the edge in hill climbing. Downhill–edge probably to the VK2 because of it weight and gearing. However, I’ve seen near 40 mph on the Stratus.

3) Also the handling. Some articles say the XP is hard to drive at low speed and unpredictable at high speed?? I’ve had no control problems at low or high speed. I do find both bikes twitchier as compared to my road bike. A low-center of gravity bike has different handling characteristics. It may however be me and the number of miles I have ridden. Other bent riders say the twitchiness will go away. I do not know…

4) What is the benefit in speed with the fairing?? Is it necessary to run above 15/18 miles per hour?? what are your comments ?? I do not know if I have seen a speed benefit with the fairing. I’d have to do coast down test to know for sure. A speed advantage is not important to me. I like the rain and wind protection the fairing gives, plus the bike is so COOL with it on. If you are riding over 18mph, you are suppose to get the fairing increased speed advantage.

Well René, I hope my responses are of some use to you. Can you travel to some other location in Europe to ride a Stratus. Given your concerns, I recommend you ride first. I purchased mind without riding one. I spoke with my dealer and described what I wanted to do and he recommended the SXP. The bike can be adjusted to fit your size. I’m a bit taller and heavier. I think I have a good setup for me.Have you visited my blog?

Sorry for the delay in getting this response to you. I may want to post our
dialogue in my blog. Do you have any objection?”

René:

“Hello..

I didn’t know if I am well using the message forum to send you my response ??!!
I agree you post our dialogue on your blog ..
I have visited him
[the blog] ..fine but with the shots ..I see you have not same measurements as me!!
Concerning Stratus ..In Europe ..I didn’t know where is it possible to try
one ..so I have the possibility to try a Tailwind ..the BB versus the seat
height is about the same as Stratus ..so I could appreciate the position ..very
different of Bacchetta and VK!!
It is the only problem position
..possibility of recumbent butt ..comfort ??
for other considerations ..I think performance is lower .mainly hill climbing (Bacchetta Corsa or Aéro) but if handling is OK at 5 miles (not too meander as Bryan J .Ball write ) ..no problem ..I take the risk to import from States ..
I have ordered my Bacchetta from Dana …
Have you opinion about Easy racer GRR?? someone says
performances and handling are better (??) than Stratus XP..other says :the same
?? difficult to choose !!
Thanks for your advices for me it is easier to have your mail address to answer separately ..if you want ??”

Jim:

“Dana, Bent Up Cycles, is also my dealer. I purchased both of my bents from him. He is GOOD! On riding a SXP in Europe, you can start a thread on BROL that ask who rides a RANS Stratus in Europe who may allow you to test ride their bike.
I have no direct knowledge of other recumbents and their handling characteristics. Recumbutt is the result on a too vertical seat position. In a laid-back position, you should not have that problem.

GOOD LUCK!!! –jim”


René:

“Hello..

Thanks for your “direct response” ..mainly my “forum box was full” !!
to understand ..it is 300 at 500 miles to go to other country..
but I agree your good idea to start with a thread on the BROL..
but it is first time ..I have never do this !!
I confirm Dana is very capable..
I have also contacted “Angletech” who seems very free to discuss ..

Best regards,
René”

Jim:

“Rene’,

I have also used Kelvin at Angletech. He is also good. The 300-400 miles by train in Europe may be worth it. Who knows, you may have a BROL Member in France who rides a Stratus. Again, good luck! –jim”

René:

“Thanks JIM ..I have posted my first thread…on BROL!!
Take care.
René”

Karl Calls

Today Karl Abbe, of Zzip Designs, returned my call. We spent near 1 1/2 hours on the phone discussing various aspects of the fairings he manufactures and sells. He was very patient, taking the time to ensure I had complete answers to my questions. I am comfortable that the Zzipper fairing will work well with my RANS Stratus XP. He took the time to visit this blog to see how my lighting is set up. We think we can make the setup work without having to relocate my front lighting.

My order has now been placed. I expect to receive the fairing on Friday.

My dialogue with Bill continues…

Hello Bill,

I took the big plunge today. After speaking with Karl for an hour and 24 minutes on 2 telephone calls, I purchased a Zzipper faring for my RANS. I expect to receive it Friday and hopefully install it over the weekend. I’ll soon know for myself what I think of the Zzipper on my RANS. Your input has been helpful. Again THANKS!

I do not know that I’ve presented my bent to any real challenging hills. I recently road my DF in the NC mountains and now know what hills are. I have ridden the Stratus over rollers and several bridges–Charleston, SC; Savannah and Brunswick, GA; and many intercoastal waterway bridges. I do OK. I’m able to keep fairly good RPM. I do not think I ride my bents frequently enough to keep peak bent legs though. I’ll see if a fairing makes a difference.

Do you have a photo from a distance of your Stratus with the fairing in place?

Jim

Jim –

Here are some shots.

The first three are from two years ago, the next is me riding in Bike Florida, and the next is me riding in the rain at Bike Virginia.

Bill rides his Stratus in the rain at Bike Virginia and bikes dry in Bike Florida

Photographs furnished by Bill

I assume you ordered the heavier Zipper. I will be interested in how it works out. I would think it will be a good unit.

Bill

Good Evening Bill,

The pictures are illustrative. Thanks! I see you have a light mounted both behind and at the top of your fairing. How did the light work through the fairing? Did the fairing keep you somewhat dry in the rain?

Yes, I ordered the thicker fairing. I will let you know how it works out. Hopefully, I’ll experience it this weekend.

I’ve posted our dialogue in my blog. Please review and let me know if you have a problem with any of my post. I’ve included two of your first batch of pictures in my blog.

May I include some of the pictures from this batch in my post of today?

Here is the BROL link to my post today:

Jim

Hi Jim –

I don’t have a problem with you posting whatever you like of all this. Re the light – a couple of years ago I was mounting my light behind the fairing as you could see. Having the light shine through the fairing was not too much of an issue glare wise, but having it mounted out front like that did not give the option of adjusting it on the go. That light was one of the Cateye LED models, maybe the EL-500. I have since gone to more powerful lights and the mount above the fairing. The light you could see in the Bike Virginia rainy day picture is a Light & Motion Vega LED that I use in blinking mode as a “see me” light. It is one of the more powerful LED light available. The light I use to see where I am going at night is a Light & Motion HID which is really bright. I have had cars flash their bright lights at me trying to get me to dim it. Both of these lights use the same bracket and I can adjust their aim while riding.

The fairing does do a good job of keeping your shoes somewhat dry in the rain. Of course it does not help with your shorts or other upper garments. You will want to have fenders installed if you are riding in the rain or even on wet roads. I will attach a picture of my bike about a week ago when I was on a ride in a very light sprinkle of a rain with wet roads and I did not have my fenders installed. You will note how the rear wheel threw mud through the seat back which then just covered the back of my jacket. [photo by Bill]

If you would like to see how my friend attached his fork attaching board to his Windstar van, I can have him take a picture and send it to you.

BK

Bill,

Noted on your permission. I must ask, rather than just do it. You are kind and thanks again. I understand your lighting decisions. I’ll have to see how my system works. I do not think I will need to make any changes. I just want to ensure my lights illuminate my path. I have rain gear and fenders. I should be fine. Please have your Windstar friend send me a picture of his setup. Have a good night. Until… –jim