Wednesday, January 12, 2011

More Praise, and Another Aptera Review

Here are a few more gracious testimonials to add to our ever-growing collection.

The first comes from Jerry. He set out to cross the country on his EZ-1 a couple of months ago. About a quarter of the way through his journey he found the EZ-1 simply wasn’t going to be enough bike, so he had is wife arrange for us to ship a new Ti-Rush to him at one of his checkpoints. Having made it to the coast aboard his new bike, Jerry is now riding all the way back to California. Here’s what he has to say (from the road, no less):
Hi. I'm in Kansas and headed west toward home. I can't tell you how many good comments I've gotten on the bike. Old folks, kids, teens with Mohawks, even Harley riders all wave to me. In western Kentucky a pickup with three locals, the driver missing all of his front teeth, said, "Hot dog, I never seen one of those before.” I had to change the front chain rings in Lexington, Kentucky to mountain bike gearing to better match the engine. I tell people the bike is new but the motor is 70 years old.

In the hills of the Ozarks I had a speed contest with two 21 year old riders. One hit around 48 MPH, and then I hit 50.1 MPH. The other 21 year old heard about this and squeezed out 50.2 MPH. Now we will have to wait until the downhill parts in the mountains [to do it again]. I have to depend on gravity and aerodynamics. I've lost 20 pounds, so that doesn't help.

Your loyal fan,

Thanks, Jerry. It seems like no matter where you go you'll still find someone who has never seen a recumbent bicycle before. I have a strong suspicion that this too shall pass, and thanks to all of our riders' roaming efforts, it shouldn't take long!

This next testimonial comes from one of our newest Aptera owner. However, not surprisingly, he is a former Easy Racers owner:
Well, I have about 200 miles on the new Aptera by Easy Racers. The longest ride was 50 miles. I am pleased.

I am no expert on recumbents, but I have a lot of recumbent miles on my life odometer, so I can write with more than mere opinion on the subject. Most of those miles were on a Gold Rush. After the GRR, I tried a high racer for a couple of years but never really liked that bike. The GRR was faired and was a great touring machine. I really don’t know why I sold that bike but I did. After the high wheel, I went back to a traditional Trek touring bike. That bike is a good climber here in the mountains, but my head begins to sink after about 100 miles and my hands hurt. A century on that bike just about kills me. I once rode over 100 miles a day, for 10 days straight on the GRR and was tired, but not hurting.

So, I started to look at a short wheelbase recumbents with closed positions so that I could climb. Easy Racers had just come out with the Aptera. I had had such a good experience with the company in the past that I called and put in an order for them to build me one. I talked at length with Denton who helped me spec it. In three weeks, Fed Ex showed up with two big corrugated boxes.

I had it together in about 3 hours. It was typical Easy Racer iron. Well-built, nice paint, good welds, correct components and all the bolts and nuts I needed.

The Aptera has about every adjustment feature you can think of. The crank slides forward and backwards on the boom. The handlebars tilt in or out and up and down. The seat will slide forward and rearward and it will tilt easily to any angle to support the sit bones. The seat back can be brought up to a very closed position or leaned way back for aerodynamic improvement.

I ordered my bike as an Expedition model with XT components. All of the adjustments were spot on with the brakes and gears. I have not touched a single barrel adjuster yet. It shifts like silk. With the 11-34 rear cassette and the XT crank I can pull stumps. I already know that I need to change the 44 tooth big ring to the 48 because I run out of crank on good descents. I have a front fender and a rear rack. Easy Racers built the wheels for me on XT hubs and I had them do a 3 cross 36 rear, which should give me plenty of strength on a tour.

The short wheelbase is surprisingly tame. It is not twitchy or harsh. It climbs really nicely. I don’t seem to have start up problems on steep hills, but nothing is as easy to start on a hill as a GRR with its low bottom bracket.

Like the Lightening P38, it prefers a slow mashers cadence around 50 to 55 RPM. That is slow, but that seems to be the natural range for me. You can really put your foot into the crank because of the closed position. All in all, I think I am going to really like this bike. Great service, fair price, good quality, great design. I am looking forward to thousands of miles riding with my head up looking at the world. Oh yeah, and I don’t have to wear those tight, hot, black shorts now!

Easy Racers, letting you keep your comfortable wardrobe since day one.
And on that note!