Monday, July 26, 2010

Spin out

I asked my fellow BROL (bentrideronline) forum members how the orientation of the elliptical chain ring looked on my trike by posting the photos from yesterday. Their feedback suggested that I should turn the chain ring counter clockwise by one bolt. I did this last night and couldn't wait to take a test run. My first ride was this morning but it was only up and down the block. I felt an improvement, but I couldn't say for sure it wasn't just my head hoping to see a benefit.

Rushing home after work, I hopped on the trike and away I went. Normally on the first downhill sloped I'd be in 4th gear, but I found myself to already be in fifth. I was going faster than normal but gave credit to the fact that I just ate a good meal and was rushing before it got dark.

Both my underwear and tanktop were more drenched than normal.

When I finally got to my first uphill on my usual route, I found myself climbing higher up the slope maintaining a higher gear before having to gear down. To reach the top using the same amount strength, I still had to drop to my normal 3rd gear before the peak.

I felt the most difference of the elliptical chain ring yesterday going downhill. So the natural thing to do to test the new orientation of the ring was to take another downhill ride. I found myself changing gears a tad bit slower (almost negligible) from the top. This could have been for other reasons. I don't know for sure, but just wanted to make mention of it for record. However, I found myself spinning out in my top gear sooner than before!

Later on my next hill riding alongside a group of 6 I've-never-met-before DF riders, the intensity of the spinnout was much more apparent. The difference was ridiculous. I've never spun out to that degree ever before even on steeper slopes on smoother terrain! It literally felt like I didn't have a chain. Zero resistance on the pedals in gear 7 - 70 something gear inches.

I'm 100% convinced that elliptical chain rings promote faster spinning on downhills. As for flat ground and uphills, I'm still figuring that out, but leaning towards positive feelings about it. I'll need more than 8.5 miles (what I did today) to be as convinced of the benefits like the downhills. So far though, the elliptical chain rings seem to create better momentum through the stroke over all terrain. It's as if the mashing during the power stroke brings momentum to the pull part of the stroke. With the circular chain ring, it felt forced but here it feels a lot more natural.

1. Taking it to the track to see some endurance results. The track has always been my control area where everything is pretty much consistent. It's a good way to test any variables in the trike. Even the wind direction is predictable.

2. I'll be riding a few hundred more miles before switching up to a 42T elliptical chain ring. Since I'm spinning more quickly with my current 40T ring, I'm assuming the 42T ring will provide some performance gains with the same effort as my circular 40T ring. Hopefully I can gain some extra speed down the hills! My goal is 40mph. I'm peaking now at 33mph at top speed.


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