Tuesday, March 8, 2011

New Drivetrain Experience

Wife wanted to hit the spa for a massage. I'm not the type to do the same, so I took the opportunity to test out the trike on the bike trails
of Monterey.

Beautiful scene off the coast. I couldn't resist. Wearing a t-shirt and jeans, I ignored that I wasn't well prepared for riding and just took off on the first trail I could see from the Monterey Visitor's Center parking lot. It took me awhile to get the back wheel back on (I had removed it for transporting it in the car) but I can now get the installation down to 5 minutes.

Since I goofed up on the chain length by not extending the boom when doing the measurements, I wasn't able to use the largest chain ring for the test ride. No biggy. This was still a great opportunity to try out the other two rings.

I literally went hunting for hills hoping to test out that new 27T chain ring. I turned the corner and found it! A long uphill slope to the top stood before me. As excited as I was to ride up, I knew the rush coming down would be exhilarating - it was.

Not having a rear brake sucks. Drifting was probably the best part of owning this trike. Engaging the power slide at speed with just 3" of space above ground used to be a blast. One day I'll have the Sturmey Archer CS-RK3 that will enable me to have an internal gear hub while maintaining the use of the rear disk brake. Until then, I'm out of luck. The left brake lever now only hints a sense of security. When squeezed, nothing happens.

I just can't justify the cost right now. The unit itself is decently priced at $140. I found someone to hook me up for $113 shipped, but that's just for the IGH (internal gear hub). I still need a wheel and would have to pay for installation and truing the wheel. That's another $125 at least. That's $240 total. Ouch! No thanks. Not right now at least.

More on this later. I'm getting tired...

This afternoon I had the opportunity to try the new drivetrain in familiar territory. I love the gear range I'm getting! With just 21 gears and no use of the dual drive, it's still a huge difference. Feels as good as I expected. I'm a bit tired of stopping, unclipping and changing front chain rings by hand though. That derailleur really needs to be installed. I haven't heard from KMX yet and they were supposed to call back with updates on the Shark mounting bracket.

I'm hitting faster speeds down the hill by about 2mph. I'm not as in good shape as I was a few months ago so perhaps this is just the beginning of the improvements of the new setup. I'm hoping for better top speed. For the time being though, the low end gears are perfect.

Before, I had thought that a compact double would be sufficient for the front end, but I'm starting to like the triple. I run the middle 32T chain for fairly flat terrain and move to the small 22T or larger 42T for hills. Once the dual drive is functioning, I'll only engage it as a secret weapon to be used only for extreme down hill speed or extreme climbing gears. I'm doubtful that I'll ever engage the over/under drive in the middle 32T chain ring. That means I'll have 63-21=42 useful gears.


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