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Crank-forwards?

Old 11-18-17, 04:45 PM
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rollagain
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Crank-forwards?

I'm wondering if these (aka: flat-foot, foot-forward) are being discussed here. Seems like you've got a place for just about everything else.

These also show up a lot in searches of 'comfort bikes' since they put the rider in an upright position. Maybe also 'semi-recumbent' bikes.

I found some threads in Beach Cruisers dealing with the Electra Townies, which are similar, but most of those are about bikes with very limited gearing. I'd be interested in seeing discussion of the Day 6 Dreams and/or Rans Fusion family. I seek rider experiences and impressions.

Thanks!
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Old 11-18-17, 06:39 PM
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Rans has a full line of crank forward bikes.
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Old 11-18-17, 07:41 PM
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There are some reviews in Bentrideronline about those crank forward bikes. Check them out:

Look at these articles:

What’s The Deal With Crank Forwards?:
Here you will find:
Crank-Forward Benefits
Crank-Forward History
Crank-Forward Buyers’ Guide
http://www.bentrideronline.com/?p=462

and here is a review of the RANS Alterra 29, an all-terrain crank-forward:
http://www.bentrideronline.com/?p=10178

Have fun!
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Old 11-18-17, 08:09 PM
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I started out on a bike like that when I resumed cycling in 2015 after a 30-year layoff. I was coming off several years of limited mobility after a car wreck so the upright, crank forward hybrid was perfect for me to ease back into shape. At the time I needed that high rise handlebar, about 6" above saddle height. Took awhile to regain some flexibility and strength in my back and neck. For awhile my rides were only one to three miles.



They're comfortable and good for casual rides on mostly flat terrain if there isn't too much wind. The limitations become apparent after awhile, although it won't be relevant to everyone.


On climbs or into headwinds the upright position makes poor use of the adductors and other muscles at the front of the upper leg between the quads and hips. Most cyclists will lean forward to compensate, but the upright handlebar will thwart efforts to get a more efficient position.


I've seen strong riders who are reasonably fast on road bikes struggle up short, modest grades on their upright hybrids and cruisers. I still use my comfort hybrid for local errands and it's a real chore to climb the 0.2 mile 4%-6% grade back home with loaded panniers.



I'm going to replace the upright riser bars with a flat handlebar for more efficiency. I had flat bars on that bike several months ago and the sweet spot between comfort and efficiency seemed to be with the bar about 2" above saddle height. Good enough for rides up to 10-20 miles on reasonably flat terrain without much wind.


Beyond that I'd now prefer my flat bar hybrid or drop bar road bike. Much more efficient on climbs and with significant wind -- both of which I'm anticipating tomorrow for a long ride.
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Old 11-18-17, 09:09 PM
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Originally Posted by curbowman View Post
There are some reviews in Bentrideronline about those crank forward bikes. Check them out:

Look at these articles:

What’s The Deal With Crank Forwards?:
Here you will find:
Crank-Forward Benefits
Crank-Forward History
Crank-Forward Buyers’ Guide

and here is a review of the RANS Alterra 29, an all-terrain crank-forward:

Have fun!
Thanks. I'm a member over at BROL. I may have skipped the Alterra review before, but I just went back and read it. Their reviews hit the high points ok but don't get too deep.

What I found strange about the "What’s The Deal With Crank Forwards?" link was in the Buyers' Guide section. They list the Day 6 bikes as "Almost Crank-Forward," which somehow disregards the fact that Day 6's dimensions are closer to the Rans family than anything else I've found: the wheelbase, for instance, is only one inch shorter on the Day 6 than it is on a Rans Fusion. These are all very long bikes; a typical upright has a wheelbase in the neighborhood of 39- 42" and the Fusion is 53". The Day 6 is 52". I think it's an optical illusion; the Rans bikes really show off how stretched-out they are but the Day 6 looks more conventional in its proportions and lines. So, if the Day 6 is, as they say, a semi-recumbent, then the Rans family is too. Maybe they were talking about the backrest.

One interesting thing I discovered is that the Rans Fusion has the lowest low gear of any production two-wheeler I've ever seen specs on--something just a little above sixteen gear-inches.

Other than that, the "What's the Deal ..." article is pretty old and some of the mentioned models are no longer in production.
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Old 11-19-17, 08:26 AM
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I ride a Rans Dynamik on my 17mi round trip commute, with 700' of climbing. The upright position is, well, more comfortable for this 50+ clydesdale. Wouldn't have done it for 7 years and counting on a standard bike. I run Schwalbe big apples or marathon winters, with the larger tires smoothing out the bad and occasional gravel roads on my route.
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Old 11-19-17, 01:12 PM
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Originally Posted by rollagain View Post
I'm wondering if these (aka: flat-foot, foot-forward) are being discussed here. Seems like you've got a place for just about everything else. ...
I've had a RANS Fusion for about twelve years now.
These bikes are about half-way between a normal bike and a recumbent, in terms of comfort. The seat doesn't require padded shorts. The price ($1700+ now) and limited retailers puts them out of reach of most people.

They look fairly normal, are easy to ride and the riding comfort is much better than normal bikes.
The long-distance ability is good, but I don't find it to be a particularly fast bike due to the upright torso position.

And there are issues with the odd frame type--no standing+pedaling, wheel flop, and rack and touring bag mounting are a few.

There are other less-expensive bikes that are kinda-sorta like these, but they have various shortcomings that can't easily or cheaply be fixed.
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Old 11-19-17, 01:24 PM
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at a lower cost Trek and Electra offer crank forward bikes..

because the seat tube meets the BB shell at a very non standard angle,

anything more than one chainring becomes a challenge to fit, so for better gear range a hybrid rear hub,
cassette + internal gear hub 3 speed, that only S-A will continue to offer, Sram quit making theirs..

or some of the internal gear cranksets, offered.. but adding those at, or after point of sale, brings the cost back up..





.....
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Old 11-20-17, 12:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Manster View Post
I ride a Rans Dynamik on my 17mi round trip commute, with 700' of climbing. The upright position is, well, more comfortable for this 50+ clydesdale. Wouldn't have done it for 7 years and counting on a standard bike. I run Schwalbe big apples or marathon winters, with the larger tires smoothing out the bad and occasional gravel roads on my route.
Thanks for chiming in. Tell me more about the climbs on this route, please. Long or short, steep or gradual? Approximate grades? Do you have to stand up for any of them?
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Old 11-20-17, 02:45 PM
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Climbs on my route range from 2% for a mile to 6% for a quarter mile to 12% for 100'. I never stand for any of them. I either gear down or pull back on the handlebars which allows a lot of power to be applied.
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