It’s finally warming up in Indiana and I’m back to riding the V-Rex. I installed new brake pads on the V-Rex last weekend.
That’s my V-Rex leaning up against my work stand. It was nice enough to work outside which is more pleasant when doing tasks like lubing the chain.
The V-Rex has Magura hydraulic rim brakes. One of the best feature of these brakes is their tool free, adjustment free brake pad replacement. The pads snap onto a fitting in the brake assembly while the assembly stays in place. The only thing you notice is that the brake handles do not travel as far with the new pads. It’s quick and easy.
Unfortunately, the Magura’s are very powerful and therefore hard on the rims. I have box section, mountain bike rims on the V-Rex now after damaging less sturdy rims with the brakes. I think if I were to replace the brakes on the V-Rex now, I’d opt for hydraulic disk brakes like I have the Leitra.
Much as I have enjoyed riding the Leitra all winter, I’m really looking forward to switching to by fair weather ride, a Rans V-Rex. Looking over the V-Rex last weekend, I think I’m in pretty good shape. The drive train is in need of a good lube job, but is otherwise ready to go. I need new brake pads for the Magura rim brakes which can be hard to locate, but Cambria had them which made that part easy. Now all I need is some warmer weather…
If you’ve been reading my blogs you know how much trouble I’ve had with the wheelpants and fenders on my Leitra. I had hoped that after switching to fenders, my troubles would be over, but the damage caused by multiple issues with the wheel pants caught up with me.
The section of the wheel / brake / steering bracket to which the fender or wheel pants bolts had developed a crack that went through the bolt hole and onto the other side. I noticed the free play in the fender and found the crack on disassembly.
I don’t know how to weld (at least not yet…), so my repair plan was to fabricate an ‘L’ shaped metal plate. The plate bolts to the disk brake mounting bolts (far right in the picture above) and extends back along the fender mounting bracket. A trip to the local hardware store and a couple of hours of measuring, cutting and drilling and I had this:
The cracked section is between the new metal plate and the vertical metal section of the fender mount I built earlier this winter. Test riding this morning, it seems to be sufficiently rigid.
This was the coldest ride of the season this morning at 6F. It is cold earlier than usual this winter. I would normally expect a ride like this sometime in early to mid January.
With the Leitra’s fairing to keep the wind off and some of my body heat in, I rode with lined tights, booties over my cycling shoes, silk turtleneck and a sweatshirt. I had a wool hat on for the first part of the ride until I warmed up. I pulled it off and put it in the interior storage bay for the remainder of the ride.
Lafayette Magazine did a piece on my Leitra. Nice photos. Mary Laurie also took the time to speak to the Leitra’s creator and builder, Carl Georg Rassmussen. The story appears in the winter edition of the magazine which is out now.
I’ve not spent a lot of time seeing how fast I can ride downhill with my Leitra, but it sure is fun. I’ve exceeded 50 MPH on a previous trike I owned on a hill outside of Americus, IN.
This blog entry talks about one of the benefits of velomobiles, speed. It’s all about aerodynamics and efficiency. Here in Indiana, I notice this most on windy days. The Leitra makes head winds up to about 10 MPH hardly noticeable in terms of changes in speed or effort, although you do notice the extra air blowing through the air vents. At higher wind speeds, you can notice an increase in effort and a bit of extra down force on the front of the trike due to the wind pressure on the nose of the fairing.
It sure would be a fun to have a hill like the one in the video below to roll down. The Mango with the camera on it reaches about 63 MPH according to the blog entry I noted above which is the source of the video.
I just found out about an all recumbent bicycle video site, recumbent TV. There are numerous videos of rides on recumbents and video reviews of specific bikes. Very nice. If you are thinking about moving to a recumbent or a velomobile or just want to see what they look like in motion it’s worth a visit. I particularly like this video of a Leitra. My Leitra is very similar to the one in the video.