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Old 10-29-11, 03:12 PM   #1
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First impressions

I was very lucky and ran into someone who owned and wasn't using a Bacchetta Strada yesterday, so I borrowed it and took it on a spin today, going 12 miles in a residential neighborhood.

This is the afore-mentioned bike:


My thoughts:

1) I liked it. It was nice to finish a ride without a sore back or neck.

2) I don't have any problems (anymore than anyone else) with a SWB. Having had many a stall-out on a mountain bike on a steep slope, the slow-speed handling of the Strada didn't really bother me too much.

3) Handling is a zen exercise. Less is more. The less you squeeze the handle-grips, the easier it was to steer. I thought that was pretty cool.

4) Getting rolling is like learning a clutch. First I got moving by going down a slight slope. Then I could start on a flat surface. I still can't get started going up even a gentle slope. Any tricks?

5) I could sense the babes thought I was really hot.

Just kidding.

6) I sent the above picture to my SS riding son who went nuts on me and refuses to speak to me anymore.

He'll get over it.
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Old 10-29-11, 04:23 PM   #2
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2) I don't have any problems (anymore than anyone else) with a SWB. Having had many a stall-out on a mountain bike on a steep slope, the slow-speed handling of the Strada didn't really bother me too much.

3) Handling is a zen exercise. Less is more. The less you squeeze the handle-grips, the easier it was to steer. I thought that was pretty cool.

4) Getting rolling is like learning a clutch. First I got moving by going down a slight slope. Then I could start on a flat surface. I still can't get started going up even a gentle slope. Any tricks?

5) I could sense the babes thought I was really hot.
Sounds like you have a very good feel for/understanding of how to ride a 'bent.
I find it very important to be in a low-enough gear before coming to a stop. Especially if the start will be at all uphill.
Uphill starts can be a challenge, but they get easier. A little bit easier, anyway.
As you do more level standing starts, the slightly-uphill starts will get easier. Building your self-confidence. Making uphill starts easier. etc.
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Old 10-30-11, 12:56 PM   #3
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4) I still can't get started going up even a gentle slope. Any tricks?
+1 to getting into a low gear before starting out. Place the pedal for your dominant leg in the 1 o'clock position and give it a good stomp to get moving. Then, bring your other leg up and pedal away.
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Old 10-30-11, 03:48 PM   #4
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It was a beautiful day out and I put in another 12 miles puttering around the neighborhood. 23 miles this weekend, not bad for a cripple.

Getting rolling is still a problem. I'll have to keep working on it. I might try a 17 mile flat group ride next weekend if the weather holds.

The Bacchetta feels so good otherwise, I'm not sure why I'd want to try a LWB.
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Old 10-30-11, 07:21 PM   #5
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. . . . Getting rolling is still a problem. I'll have to keep working on it.
Your own #3 above is important. Getting started is easy unless you are trying hard.

It may be just an individual habit but I keep the brakes on until I'm applying pedal pressure.
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Old 11-02-11, 01:51 PM   #6
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I guess congrats are in order...glad you are enjouying the ride. Just because you do enjoy this ride does not imply that you should not know what riding a LWB feels like. If you get a chance jump on the opportunity.
And
Continue to enjoy
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Old 11-02-11, 03:20 PM   #7
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Put in 16 gently hilly miles today. It was a gorgeous day to be out riding.

If I might ask: if you've stalled out going up a sharp incline and you're clipped in, have you ever looked ahead and seen a bright light at the end of a long dark tunnel?

Just wondering.
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Old 11-02-11, 03:58 PM   #8
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Put in 16 gently hilly miles today. It was a gorgeous day to be out riding.

If I might ask: if you've stalled out going up a sharp incline and you're clipped in, have you ever looked ahead and seen a bright light at the end of a long dark tunnel?

Just wondering.
This hasn't happened to me yet (and I live in an area with steep hills), but it could, and this is part of the reason why recumbent trikes are so popular.

If you stall on a hill and fall over, on a high racer, you're going to fall from an elevation that is roughly similar to that from which a DF rider falls, so there is some injury potential. Handlebars and pedals, and perhaps the seat, will take the major brunt of the hit. The lower the 'bent, the easier the fall. This is part of the reason why some prefer low and mid racers.

If you feel like you are going to stall, quickly unclip both legs and sit up. Restarting may be fun if the hill is steep, but at least you'll have averted the fall.

The lower the BB, the easier it is to get your feet down quickly. This is part of the reason why some prefer LWBs.

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Old 11-02-11, 06:50 PM   #9
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This is part of the reason why some prefer LWBs.
You probably don't mean high bottom bracket LWB.
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Old 11-02-11, 07:41 PM   #10
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You probably don't mean high bottom bracket LWB.
To me that is pretty much a misnomer -"high BB LWB". Even the LWBs with the highest BBs are pretty low. Keep in mind the point of reference for the OP is a highracer. Even a Rans Xstream has a pretty low BB compared to most performance bents. A V3 is even lower.
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Old 11-02-11, 08:23 PM   #11
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. . . . If I might ask: if you've stalled out going up a sharp incline and you're clipped in, have you ever looked ahead and seen a bright light at the end of a long dark tunnel?

Just wondering.
I stalled out once a few years ago and just kicked out with no fuss. In my experience, stalling requires a series of mistakes you will not often make and even then is not much of a threat except to pride.
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Old 11-03-11, 04:38 PM   #12
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To me that is pretty much a misnomer -"high BB LWB". Even the LWBs with the highest BBs are pretty low. Keep in mind the point of reference for the OP is a highracer. Even a Rans Xstream has a pretty low BB compared to most performance bents. A V3 is even lower.
Low compared to a highracer but high compared to a Stratus or a Tour Easy. It's all relative to what you are used to.
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Old 11-09-11, 08:05 PM   #13
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I'm a newby to bents and was attracted to this "first impressions' thread. After riding a Tour Easy today for 2 hours, my first impression was so good I bought it. My first bent. For loaded touring. I'm stoked.

Now I've had experience with just one hill, just 400 ft, 7% grade. All I could find on my test ride today. Went up it easily, mid gear. I was astounded, after reading about bent climbing limitations. Seemed easier than on my df, and when purposely slowed to <3 mph, more stable. Even did a stop/start test mid hill. No problem. Wow. Of course, I know this 'first impression' may be moderated a bit tomorrow when I climb some real hills, but at least for now, I'm optimistic.

Kept looking to find a downside. Looked for 2 hours. Looked and looked. Could find none. Least for the way I like to ride.
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Old 11-09-11, 08:51 PM   #14
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Cyclebum, do you have trouble starting? That's the only aspect of the Strada I don't like.
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Old 11-09-11, 09:32 PM   #15
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No matter which 'bent we're talking about, it's easiest to learn your starts if you put the seat in a more-upright position. You can always recline it back once you're more comfortable with the handling
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Old 11-10-11, 02:30 AM   #16
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Cyclebum, do you have trouble starting? That's the only aspect of the Strada I don't like.
From the looks of the Strata, it would be harder to learn the best technique for getting it started than the Tour Easy. The Tour Easy pedals are below the frame, behind the front wheel, and the seat is very upright. This geometry would make it easier to manage initially. But with practice, I'm sure you'll tame the Strada and it'll be a fun, fast ride.
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Old 12-10-11, 06:09 AM   #17
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Cyclebum, do you have trouble starting? That's the only aspect of the Strada I don't like.
The easiest way to start is to pedal full circles with one leg until you get rolling. In tight situations I'll unclip one foot and hang the leg well out while pedalling with the other leg. Practice pedalling with one leg on flat ground to train your brain - it only takes a few minutes to get a smooth circular winching effect.

Brakes on, non starting foot well grounded and held away from the bike. Turn the bars slightly to the grounded foot to keep the bike wanting to fall to the grounded foot.
Pedal set to just before top, clip in and pedal off strongly using one leg only while keeping the other leg held away from bike so the bike will tip to the free leg if you stall.

I've had a few years experience and still find starting on a gradient of more than 5% very difficult. Always make sure your clips disengage freely. SPDs are not the best choice - they'll catch. Crank Bros and Speedplays release smoothly and reliably and won't pull out.
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Old 12-10-11, 09:45 AM   #18
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Thank you, Velopaul. It never occurred to me that one pedal exercises would duplicate, or at least facilitate the motion of starting. I will try it the next time out.

Out of force of habit I use A520s and Sidi Bullets and sometimes the release is a little sketchy, even with the tension set at the lowest levels.
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Old 12-10-11, 11:08 AM   #19
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Always make sure your clips disengage freely. SPDs are not the best choice - they'll catch. Crank Bros and Speedplays release smoothly and reliably and won't pull out.
Nice tip, there. My bent is going to be the first bike I've ridden with clips (I've tried a few friends' bikes, and liked the clips, just hadn't gotten around to putting them on my road bike)...I was going to ask from recommendations.
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Old 12-10-11, 05:42 PM   #20
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Nice tip, there. My bent is going to be the first bike I've ridden with clips (I've tried a few friends' bikes, and liked the clips, just hadn't gotten around to putting them on my road bike)...I was going to ask from recommendations.
I've used a wide variety of Performance and Nashbar SPD mtn-style clipless pedals. Pedals on all three bikes are not current models and 2 of the 3 are SPD on both sides. My commuter 'bent has BMX-style platform on one side and SPD on one.

Pedal nomenclature can be very confusing - when you say 'clips' you probably mean 'clipless'. Clips refers to toe clips/straps which were used by 'serious cyclists' prior to the introduction of pedals with integrated foot retention systems. (Toe clips are still available and are used by some 'serious cyclists'. Do you currently use them on your road bike?)
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Old 12-10-11, 10:27 PM   #21
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I've used a wide variety of Performance and Nashbar SPD mtn-style clipless pedals. Pedals on all three bikes are not current models and 2 of the 3 are SPD on both sides. My commuter 'bent has BMX-style platform on one side and SPD on one.

Pedal nomenclature can be very confusing - when you say 'clips' you probably mean 'clipless'.
Yes, you are correct. I use toe clips on my road bike (and my mtn bike), but have always just used normal street shoes.
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Clips refers to toe clips/straps which were used by 'serious cyclists' prior to the introduction of pedals with integrated foot retention systems. (Toe clips are still available and are used by some 'serious cyclists'. Do you currently use them on your road bike?)
I got the Shimano M087C (I think) shoe, and SPD style pedals that have a 'normal' pedal on the other side so I can still ride it with normal shoes (or let friends try it out). And I've had clips on my other bikes almost since I really started riding, back in the early 80s.
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Old 12-11-11, 06:39 AM   #22
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Some of this was mentioned but not all in one place. First as you ride more, starting will get easier. If you do not have clipless pedal/shoes, get them.

Make sure you are in an easy gear. Hold the brakes. Get your dominant leg/foot at the top of the pedal stroke. Push and release the brakes. When you do this you should not be leaning or have the front wheel turned at all.

When you push to get started, in conjunction raise the other leg to get your foot on the pedal. If you cant clip in on that pedal stroke, just pedal a couple of strokes to get your speed up and then clip in.

The real key is to be in a low enough gear that you can spin right from the start and relax
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Old 12-11-11, 10:19 AM   #23
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The real key is to be in a low enough gear that you can spin right from the start and relax
Yes, low enough gear is important for starting up.
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