Originally Posted by madbadger4
I've considered at the same choices .... very impressed with the Burley reputation and value. Not too thrilled with the component package, but heh, at that price, I can do some upgrading and hopefully be a happy 'bent rider(wish that the Burley had a "frame only" option - buy the frame, seat and steering, then build it up). Been watching the Burley dealers within 100 miles of my location for the best deal ...
First report in the ongoing "dialing in set up process":
The Koosah showed up in 2 Burley boxes and I finally had time to put it together yesterday. Of course, they are supposed to be assembled by a dealer, but since I bought it from a dealer on eBay and had it shipped to me directly - I was stuck with the assembly. There are no instructions that come with the Koosah for set up outside of a general manual with a couple sketches (the same as is available in pdf format on the Burley site) about routing the 2 brake cables on the top portion of the steerer tube and how to adjust the seat.
Regardless, I paced around the floor staring at all of the parts and finally went at it. I've got a garage full of Avid Ti brakes, Shimano, SRAM X.9 and X.0 components and other goodies - but withheld doing any upgrades until I assembled and put some miles on the "as is out of the box" Koosah. I'm still amazed in general at the low end component packages of all recumbents. I was at two dealers yesterday and no matter the brand, most of them use the Shimano, SRAM and Sun components you find on sub $200 kid's bikes. But that's an entirely different issue and I am getting off topic. I knew what the Koosah came with and I knew what I would probably be upgrading to (because I already have the stuff), but I want to outfit it in the original form to begin with to see how it all fits together and operates. If everything works fine - I'll just leave it for now.
"Out of the original box damage" included about 1/4th of the paint being rubbed off of the headset cap (I saw the same thing at the dealer on a Koosah and a Jett Creek) and a nice little paint chip/scratch on the handlebar. Nothing a bottle of black gloss nail polish or model paint cannot cure. Other than that - things looked good.
14 cable housing sections and there are so many bends, corners and turns to the back brake that even when set up correctly the feel is rather sponge like. I may have to work on that today. Chain was a major disapointment as the sketch in the instructions is not clear about the exact routing of it. A simple sketch from the top down view would have removed all questions and helped me out. I still don't think I have it installed correctly, but I will run up to one of the dealers this week to take a look at what I may have done correctly or incorrectly while viewing their floor models of the Jett Creek and Koosah. In addition, using my top of the line chain tool, while installing the connecting pin the outer casing of the chain bent slightly. Enough to monkey up the operation and too much to save that particular link. So, figuring that the chain was the correct length, I removed the damaged link and substituted a link from a SRAM 9 speed chain (only temporary because I know 8 and 9 speed don't mix well). It takes a while to dial in the fit with regard to seat tilt, backrest tilt, steering column length. I got things at least comfortable enough to give it a go. I headed out for a 10 mile shakedown ride with a couple of allen wrenches, a phillips and a wrench in my pocket.
I've ridden a BikeE before that my brother-in-law owns, so I knew the steering on a LWB was going to be of the "non nimble lets turn around on a dime type of stuff" - and it was just that. This is a station wagon. I still don't have the cockpit set up in the best way to avoid banging my knees on something while trying to keep the Koosah pointed forward climbing a granny gear hill when you find yourself flailing to just keep the bike upright. Granted, I am talking about the type of hills that have me in granny on the 27 gear mountain bike - so it is extreme. Still, I have to learn to relax the upper body more and put the effort where it needs to go. These things wobble like a drunken sailor at slow speed with me as the pilot at this poin - so I will have to practice that as well as choose streets that allow me enough room to hold a line and not get clipped by a motorist. Once out on the bike trail, I headed straight into the wind for 5 miles. Bike comes into its own for this kind of riding - and this is the main reason I got the Koosah. Weekly trail rides of 25+ miles and longer touring journeys.
I am unhappy with the chain as it only remains in place on the single idler while in the big ring and middle ring if I continue spinning. Otherwise, the chain on the right side of the idler that goes on the underside of the idler droops and when I pedal moves over and rubs against the chain on the left side of the idler. Not sure if removing a couple of links would fix that or if I simply have the chain routed incorrectly (knowing me - that's probably what it is). As I said, nothing in the instruction manual helps with exact chain set up. All Burley needed to do was add a sentence or include a simple sketch from the top down. The manual has 2 blank half sheets of paper - so I know paper space wasn't the issue. And of course, with the one 9 speed link in the chain, I am getting a little slippage on the rear cassette. Probably need to loosen the link a little bit - and of course swap it out for an 8 speed link. And fine tune adjust the derailleur/grip shifters. I'm close, but didn't check the middle gears as I didn't have the Koosah in a work stand.
Steering mast height is very easy to adjust, but the steering mast feels very fragile with all of the flex and all of the weight literally resting on the head of an allen bolt. Again, recumbent style riding requires one to avoid pulling on the handlebars - so I have to be careful and adjust to this. Since I am tall, I have the steering mast extended to just about the maximum length as well as the seat back with only about 2 or 3 inches to spare. The longer things get, the more flex.
Other thoughts. This frame really soaks up the bumps - even with the 1.5 tires (Kenda Kwest). I was planning on swapping out the tires for some Schwalbe Big Apples, but I am leaving the Kenda's on for now. They roll well and are fine. I'm not in "recumbent" leg shape even though I've got enough base miles from mountain biking and commuting year round. I enjoyed the view and cruising speed during my first shake down ride. I will do more today after some adjustments and my morning mountain bike ride with the dog.
Not a bad purchase and addition to my stable, but I've got to dial it in more and get it really set to my liking before I fall in love with it. Buying from a dealer would avoid everything I am going through, but that's what I get for saving $150 on the purchase price. Handlebar width may end up being too narrow for me. Once I get the chain figured out and improve the slop in the rear brake I should be able to focus on enjoying the ride rather than worrying about the mechanics.
Looks like a well designed (and American too boot) recumbent that draws plenty of attention while riding down the street. I got all kinds of comments on my first ride from neighbors, people in their yards and folks out on the trail.
Burley says this on their website:
It's So Easy
Using our newest long wheelbase platform, we present the Koosah, our economical, user-friendly recumbent named after the scenic waterfall on the McKenzie River. If it’s been “too long“ since you’ve been on a bicycle, or if you are having some discomfort riding your traditional bike, choose the Koosah. Solid precision steering, as well as a low seat height for mounting and dismounting, make the Koosah easy and fun to ride.
I've been riding bikes weekly - if not daily - since 1966. Although yesterday was my first day out on the Koosah, I do have to comment that there is a learning curve involved for us new recumbent riders. The above makes it sound like you just hop on and off you go in such an easy way. It's not quite that easy as one has to learn an entirely different balance/effort ratio than what one is used to on a bicycle. Maybe it didn't help my dog was right next to me barking and nipping at the new contraption....