Recumbent - RANS Stratus XP opinions
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06-06-09, 11:50 AM
I'm planning to trade up to a Rans Stratus XP from my Sun EZ Sport.
I test rode the XP; the only thing I couldn't fall in love with in one ride is the front end felt a little squirley. The slightest move of the handlebars seemed to translate into more steering action than I expected. I attributed this to the 26" front wheel compared to the Sun's 20" which I'm used to. This plus the fact the bike's seat and bars were not dialed in perfectly to suit me, and that I've only one year recumbent time under my belt.
Any XP owners here mind sharing your opinions about the bike? Would you buy one again tomorrow if yours vanished?
I don't have the Stratus but have the V3, so I don't know if I'm comparing apples to oranges.
When I first went to the V3 I thought the front end was a bit too responsive, but once used to it I love it and realize its just part of the bike. The funny thing is when I went back to my previous LWB bent, a Burley, I found the front end of that much more squirrly, especially at lower speeds, than the V3. I tell my riding buddies the Burley was kind of like a 58 Caddy or a bomber and the V3 is more of a numbel fighter or sports car.
So I suspect you will get used to it in a hurry and probably like it.
Should be some Stratus XP drivers out there for better comments and opinions, though.
06-07-09, 08:08 AM
About a year ago I was trying to convince myself to buy a Sun recumbent. I test rode the EZ-3 and the Sun EZ Sport model. They were acceptable but not special. The EZ-3 was slow and jerky. The Sport model was a little better in these categories but still not much better. Also these bikes are one size fits all and at my 5'6" height I found the Sport model just a little too big for me.
I happened to see the Stratus XP by chance and right away noticed the 2 - 26" wheels, which made it stand out from the other bikes. I test rode it and was hooked. It is a higher level of bike then the Sun bikes in speed, handling and comfort. It's available in different sizes, which made all the difference to me. Of all the bikes that I test rode this bike fit me best. No comparison. Love the LWB for riding comfort and lower position of the feet. You will develop your skills of handling as time goes by. I would say that the only area that I have to pay attention to is looking ahead and not trying to be in position of having to make a sudden corrective turn. It is a long bike and will affect your ability to make these turns will be slower then with a shorter recumbent or a DF. Of course the price is another factor but I have used the bike just about 3 days per week since I bought it last July and my last bike purchase was in 1979 so this is it for me. It's enough bike to satisfy my needs for the next 30 years if I'm still around to enjoy it.
06-07-09, 07:25 PM
How is the slow speed handling going up hill with the front 26" wheel?
06-08-09, 07:53 AM
Request for misslexi
If you decide to upgrade to the Rans Stratus XP, it would be very informative if you could post a comparative review between the Sun EZ Sport and the Rans Stratus XP.
I love my EZ Sport, but I've had my eye on the Rans Stratus XP.
Unfortunately, there are no dealers in my town that have an XP to see and test ride.
It would be nice to hear how the two compare from someone who has both models.
06-08-09, 11:14 AM
If mine vanished tomorrow I'd definitely get another. I was on a small 6 person group ride and while at a rest stop one of the ladies on a DF asked why I rode the XP rather than a DF and I told her I happen to be sitting right now and you are not. :lol:
There are alot of hills where I ride and the thing I notice about the XP is that it'll ride fairly smoothly above 8mph. When climbing, I'll get down to about 6mph but it'll get squirrly and I'll be playing the wheel to and fro to maintain balance. If my speed drops below 6mph, I downshift and mash to get above 6mph.
I've also found that when starting from a stop, I will not clip in. (I have the commuter pedals, clips on one side and platform on the other) I'll put one of me feet in the power stroke position then I'll mash pretty good for at least 2-3 full revolutions to make sure I get up to speed. (I made the mistake once of clipping in and not mashing. Unfortunately I leaned in the direction of the clipped in foot and down I went.)
I've enjoyed my XP and don't plan on upgrading. I know there are better recumbents then the XP but I'm satisfied with mine.
06-08-09, 12:22 PM
I noticed that squirley feeling on all the recumbents that I tested. I wouldn't say that it was any worse with the XP. I would rather have that feeling at 6 MPH then at 36 MPH and the XP definitely doesn't have it at the higher speeds.
06-08-09, 05:01 PM
I've ridden several of the Suns, the Stratus XP, and I own a Sun EZ-Rider and a Stratus (standard).
My impression from 2 test rides of the XP was that it was a wonderful riding bike. So smooth, so easy to ride. If I were buying a bike for long road rides and tours, it would be on my finalist list.
I did purchase my Stratus after riding the XP, because I wanted something a bit smaller than the XP and I fell into a great deal on a Stratus.
Would like to say more about the handling, but I didn't put it through any tough tests. For normal riding, it handled very nicely. I did swerve back and forth across the road as I rode and it felt great.
06-08-09, 06:00 PM
I went back and rode the XP yesterday; it's amazing but it did not feel nearly as squirley as when I first rode it, perhaps because the dealer really took the time to adjust everything to fit me.
I can say though I agree with pjgonwa that it is more squirely at low speed: I intentionally started out up a slight incline and noticed it wanted to "dive" on me. I finally got it going by dropping into a very low gear and shifting my weight slightly to counter the dive. Confession: I have a Rohloff speedhub on my Sun which encourages gear shifts while NOT pedaling, I was fighting the stock shifter on the RANS, always landing myself in wrong-gear-hell.
Once at speed though, the XP was a dream, dare I say as magical as my Tennessee Walker :love:? No, but very close.
I'll follow up once I "do the deal", probably a late July switch given funds and other things.
I spent a year and a half with an EZ-Sport AX and then upgraded a year ago to a Status XP. The big difference is speed. The AX is a well built bike with good quality component. The designer has explained that it was put together as a very easy bent to learn to ride and that is true. But it is heavy and slow. It does not do hills well and it is a challenge to ride with moderately good upright riders. If you want the exercise or to use it as a work bike it is great. If you want to go farther or ride with others than something a little faster is nice.
The XP is certainly faster. Since I often ride the same trails, it is easy to do some comparisons and I get 20% to 30% higher mean speeds with the XP. Hills that were a hassle before are easier. The constant shifting I did on the AX to get maximum efficiency is greatly reduced on the XP. Those are all the advantages. The disadvantages of the XP are cost and length. I got the XP with 50 miles on it and a bunch of accessories for $800. I had to buy the XP new (they are hard to find used) and it cost a whole lot more without even a mirror. The XP is longer and you have to be careful on tight turns. No LWB does sharp turns well but a bike as long as a school bus takes a little longer. The ride on the XP is smoother. That might be the 26" front wheel or the steel vs. the aluminum frame of the AX.
Now the front end of the XP was a little squirrelly at first - at low speeds but particularly starting up. Once or twice I nearly lost it starting up from a stop when the front end dove in a direction I was not expecting. I thought that I was long past that but the XP is enought jumpier than the AX that I had to retrace some of the learning curve again. Things are better now but it is still a little less stable.
So I like the XP a lot and will probably drive it until I am too old to peddle. But it is not perfect. You might also look at a Stratus LE or even one of the older Status models if you can find one in great shape. They are all nice rides.
06-09-09, 03:47 PM
Great post Dave, thank you very much.
I am looking over the Stratus LE as well since they do show up used from time to time.
One thing that's a must have for me is disc brakes. Where I live in the Seattle area is wet and blessed with many steep hills. Perhaps I'm being unnecessarily paranoid but I just don't trust the brakes on the Sun. I would probably keep the Sun a while longer if it had discs.
06-09-09, 04:03 PM
I am looking over the Stratus LE as well since they do show up used from time to time.
I picked up a brand new 2006 Stratus (Not the downgraded LE version) for $999 from a bike shop last fall. They had discontinued carrying RANS and this was one of their last bikes. They'd had it back in their warehouse for about 2 years, fully assembled. Had to dust it off for the test ride.
So it pays to keep your eyes open. Set up a Craigslist search out to 200 miles or so from your location. This shop was about 100 miles from me ... well worth the drive, as this bike would likely sell for $2000 if still in production with the same components.
06-10-09, 10:43 AM
The XP is certainly faster. Since I often ride the same trails, it is easy to do some comparisons and I get 20% to 30% higher mean speeds with the XP. Hills that were a hassle before are easier.
First of all, nice comparison review.
Secondly, I wonder what makes one bike faster than another.
Is it weight?
My EZ Sport LE specs states 34 lbs
Rans Stratus XP XL specs say 31 lbs
Do 3 lbs make that much difference?
Is it skinnier tires?
Or is it better components?
Or is it riding position?
06-10-09, 12:17 PM
Just my 2 cents but I'd say it's mostly the riding position, more prone on the XP hence less aerodynamic drag, and I felt like I could exert more pedal force in that position.
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