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Currency Converter                        Peter Weiss Recumbent Bike Shop 

 June 2006        Volume 4              Issue 10

Saturday May 27, 2006

It had been a long winter; and, that was just about how long it had been since I had ridden one of Peter's bikes.  So, I called him and made arrangements to ride one of his brand-new Burley's that I had seen when I was in sometime earlier.

Dolores decided that she and Nolan would accompany me and shop while I rode.  But, first, and since you know her you are not surprised at this, she wanted me to go to Rothenberg so she could pick up some pewter figurines she had spotted while shopping with her sister-in-law a couple of weeks before.

I was, of course, a bit put out.  But, who is it that travels with me and picks bike and me up on long distance rides.  So, let that be enough said. I'll do just about anything she wants, even though I may grumble a bit at times.

By the time I got to Peter's store he was busy with a customer.  This fellow had ridden two hours on the train from Munich just to get Peter to work on his bike.  I told you Peter is good. So, I had to wait for thirty or so minutes to get the bike.  Since I've been interested in a long bike for some years, I had spoken for the long blue Burley that had to be fished out from among his many other bikes.  Now, this bike is made in the U.S. by the same quality company that makes the Burley bike trailers.

At the time of my visit, Peter had three Burleys that he had just barely gotten put together before I arrived.  So, if you know anything about bikes, newly installed cables tend to stretch and have to be adjusted.  Well, being the mechanically challenged kind of guy I am, this never occurred to me  About all I could think of was, "I'm going to be the very first to ride this bike".

Because I'm interested in a long bike--my wife said I could be. In fact, she even said I can buy one.  Don't you wish you had a nice lady like that?  I asked Peter a few questions. 

The basic price for the Burley Jett Creek from Peter's store is 1,895 Euro.  Additions are listed in euros below.

  1. Basic cost 1,895.00 euro

  2. Fenders         49.00 installed

  3. Disk brakes--not available--comes on the Canto version only-- guess I'll just have to go back and ride one of those.

  4. Blackburn luggage rack installed with special adaptor 99.00 euro

  5. The best lighting system installed, SON-hub-generator, automatic headlights, parking lights front and rear 350.00 euro

  6. Custom color of your choice 125.00 euro extra

  7. How long to get order, 6 weeks behind now (popular bike) another 10 days for shipping

  8. The mesh seat has been produced since 2000 and has had very few failures

  9. Water bottle mount, 1.5 liter 20.00 euro installed

  10. Large recumbent bags installed, 55 liters, available in yellow, red,blue,green, black, and orange 155.00 euros, bags made by Radical Design out of Netherlands.

  11. Handlebar bag with quick adaptor installed for 25.00 euro

  12. If you are a U.S. ID card holder you will get 16% off if you fill out and file the vat paperwork.

Now let's get down the the fun part, ridding the bike.  Peter adjusted it for me and helped me get it out the door.  Because it had no luggage rack installed, I had to leave my bike bags that I had brought with me.  That meant I would have no tools; even a mechanically challenged guy needs to be able to adjust bolts and change a flat.  Nor would I have any place to tote my water or my coat. So, all was left behind.  For a fellow who likes to think of himself as self sufficient on the bike touring trail, this is a scary thing.  I'm seldom without at least 1.5 liters of water on the trail even in the snow.  Often I've been known to carry six liters.

While the seat felt comfortable, I was not one to be too readily impressed.  I had ridden all too many bikes that felt great at the start only to be very uncomfortable to almost crippling at the end of the ride.  The seat had a quick release that allows you to slide it back and forth to adjust the leg length.  The back had just a small tilt from the upright--which could be adjusted-- and fit just up to my scapulae.  For specs., click here.

Lowering my 215 pounds gingerly onto the seat, the passive suspension was visibly noticeable. Wow! Is this going to be comfortable, I thought, as I got up and sat back down just to verify what I was seeing and feeling without any active suspension.  I raised and lowered the steering mast.  "What a great idea", thinking all the time how it reminded me of many European bikes I have ridden.  However, on many of the European bikes the handlebars came too far back and close to my knees for my own personal preference.  These handlebars didn't interfere with my knees nor did my knees interfere with my steering.  And, they could be adjusted.

Each time I'd get on and off the bike, I would be reminded how much more practical it is to have a bar that allows me to sit flat footed and get up and off just by lifting my foot up and over the frame.  The extreme up and down arc of the steering mast further added to the ease of mounting and dismounting.  All in all this is a very practical set up. It is very easy on old hips and tendons doing away with the strain of having to swing your leg up and over a high seat or, if on a recumbent, having to find some place to hold the bike while you wrestle you foot and leg up and over the frame to dismount.

The ease of mounting and dismounting was almost matched by the ease of taking off from a dead standstill. To check the suspension even further, I took it over a large span of cobblestones only to confirm that, yes it did take much of the jar from bumps in the road.  Coming to a small upgrade and a bridge, I noted the ease of shifting with the SRAMx7 twist shifters.  The nine in the back and three up front operated masterfully.  However, I was a bit challenged to steer it around the end of the bridge and onto the sidewalk because of its length, my unfamiliarity with two wheels and a long bike.  All the automobile traffic in the street just to my left only served to further distract me from balance an maneuverability.  However, with a little practice this should not be a problem.

The route that I took is the same that I take on most of my rides with Peter's bikes.  There are a fair amount of hills and in one place there was a section of road that had been torn up and through traffic was no longer permitted.  This provided for further testing of the suspension as well as the shifting.  Hills were negotiated with somewhat of a strain on these old 58 year old legs, but nonetheless, successfully.  Again the passive suspension served well over the somewhat larger bumps and through the depressions.  Comfort was never in question throughout the entire ride.

After about five hours of riding, I was still fresh and could have continued on for several more hours.  Getting on and off, starting and even pushing the bike were all done with ease.  At one spot I got off to take a picture of it up against a barn and out in front of a body of water.  The barn held it up very well.  However the position I placed it in on the pole to get a picture of the water in the background, was wrong and it slid down the pole leaving scratched marks on the top of the frame.  I was just sickened.  However, Peter told me that was all a part of it being a demo and when I asked about returning Monday, which was a holiday, he told me to take it for the weekend.

I got so excited, I forgot to tell him that the gears had started to slip.

  

May 28, 2006

The next day was Sunday.  I started out at about 12:35 headed to Karlstadt.  This is just about a thirty five mile ride.  The day was sunny and the bike was comfortable and responsive.  Now, mind you no mater how much you think of a bike or how comfortable it is, a two wheel platform will never promote picture taking like a three wheel platform.  So, there were not as many pictures taken on this trip as I have taken in the past.

However, on this ride, I was reminded all too well that I should have told Peter about the slipping gears.  At some point gear changing got so bad I could no longer get into low gear and my left knee took a beating.  At the writing of this line it is June 14, 2006;  and my left knee is still bothering me.  Now mind you, my knees took a beating when I was running on concrete and asphalt in army boots during my younger years.  So, it could be that the lower bottom bracket with stress from upgrades without a low gear did my already damaged knee in.  I can not say the bike hurt my knee.  My stupidity likely aggravated an already damaged body part.  I think this proves one point, don't buy a recumbent that you can't get several miles on in a test ride.  Each of us are different and so is each bike.

When the ride was over, I was not fatigued and except for my knee could have ridden many miles more.  Would I buy this bike?  Yep, I would.  It is the most comfortable bike I've ever ridden.  Will I buy this one; who knows.  I've got others I want to look at before I decide.

 

 

 

 

Archie L. Tucker

Archie L. Tucker

publisher 'Bent Miles

 

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