Fare thee well, Cruzbike, adieu, adieu

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I. . . got another new bike. Well, a new used bike. A Rans X-Stream.

One might be asking, “Kit, what happened to the Cruzbike Sofrider v3?” Good question! Here is my review of the Cruzbike Sofrider v3.

I rode the Sofrider for almost exactly four weeks. During that time, though, I rode it thirty times for a distance of approximately 650 miles. Without a doubt, it is a faster bike than my Sun Bike EZ-Racer, which I rode before it. I can claim without hesitation or reservation that, indeed, Cruzbikes are climbers. I saw increases uphill in the 30% range, and the Sofrider was just faster everywhere else, too. Like all recumbents, it is a comfortable bike, too, though it wasn’t until the end that I got everything dialed in. Pro tip: if you’re not comfortable on a recumbent from day one, seek advice!

Which begs the question: why stop riding a bike that is faster than your other bike, and just as comfortable? Short answer: I sucked at getting started.

After 650 miles, almost every time I started – and every time I started on any slope – I would veer to one side or the other before correcting. I looked at the advice on how to stop this from happening, but after thirty rides and hundreds of miles, it still happened. A couple of times, I almost went into ditches. A couple of other times, I veered towards oncoming traffic. Never dangerously, but I felt unsafe, which is just about the worst feeling in the work on a bicycle.

Which is to say, I adapted poorly to the dynamic book front-wheel drive. I never mastered pedal steer and the feeling of being unsafe overcame my desire to try something new.

That said, I’m sorry that I will probably never own a Cruzbike Vendetta. I accept as generally true that it is the fastest unfaired bicycle in racing situations, and Cruzbikes are powerful climbers (to about 12% slope, anyway). Having read a number of threads about Cruzbikes, especially the Vendetta, one of the common themes is incredulity. People will be unaccepting of the Vendetta’s climbing power or aerodynamics, even though the records set, races won, and piles of evidence are sitting right there. I get it, people who have spent thousands of dollars on carbon fiber Euro-bikes suddenly find that they backed the wrong horse – and unlike most of the “my bike is better than yours” debates, the Cruzbike people post the times to back up their claims. It’s the same incredulity that prevents upright riders from accepting recumbents, despite their many advantages in flat-terrain speed and even greater benefits in comfort.

In the future, it wouldn’t surprise me if they lick that, too, and everyone eats Maria Parker and Jason Perez’s dust. I will be watching the next few iterations of the Vendetta – or whatever else is being dreamt up – with interest.

This process has also made clear what is important for me as a rider. First, safety. If you don’t feel safe on a bike, you won’t ride it, simple as that.

Second, comfort. Before I got the Sofrider dialed, I was fairly miserable after about twenty miles. I have lost 140 pounds by emphasizing comfort over everything else. If a bike isn’t comfortable, I don’t want it. And in the long run, comfort equals speed. How? Easy: if the bike is comfortable, if I can sit on it for hours, I will sit on it for hours. Pedaling as I sit. What makes riders faster is riding. So, lesson learned! It probably won’t even cost me very much, since I’m likely to sell the Sofrider for approximately for what I bought it.

Now, I say “adieu” to Cruzbikes. Perhaps, “until we meet, again.” If nothing else, I intend to ride down to the Cincy recumbent show to ogle at all the cool stuff, and I’ll be by the Cruzbike peeps, I’m sure. I think they make an amazing product that just doesn’t happen to be for me at this point in my development as a bicyclist. I wish them all the best and believe that we’ll be seeing more and more Vendettas in winner’s circles in future races.

Soon, my initial impression of the X-Stream!

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