New Aussie Silvio rider - first post

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TimOz's picture
TimOz
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Joined: 31 Oct 2011

Hi Cruzbikers. First post from a new Silvio owner. I thought that you might be interested in my experiences so far and my minor modifications.

Reasearch stage:
I am an Australian living in Melbourne and in the more than 40 age bracket. While I have a 4 wheel vehicle, I ride a motorcycle on a daily basis as at the moment commute about 2 hours each day (I have to cut back on that). For fitness reasons I decided to get back into cycling. I gave it up for a few years as the last ($900) bike I bought lasted 22 hours before someone else with boltcutters needed it more than me.

I wanted to ride mainly on bikepaths and road-based bikelanes so I got to researching. I used both the web and also kicked the tyres of many bikes. My last bike was a hybrid type and I did not like it. It was actually quite instable and had poor suspension. I was considering a large wheel mountain bike but looked at roadbikes also. This was quite an interesting experience as there is far more ill found but firmly held opinion that real, well thought out experiences. In one case I visited a very “fashionable” lycra filled cycle shop in a wealthy suburb at a time I was thinking about recumbents. I was told that they don’t stock them and never will. I asked if they had ever tried them and they said “No, and we never will”.  The best way to have me take them seriously. Narowminded people. Must be the lycra stopping the blood flow to their brains.

While searching the internet I came across a video of the Flevobike and the concept immediately attracted me. I soon found Cruzbikes and this website. I was not hooked at the beginning but gave Kim Tolhurst a call and visited him in Geelong.

The test ride:
I only had a short period of time but he gave me a ride on the Sofrider and the Quest. It seems to be a mistake to try to learn to ride and try the bike for feel at the same time and in such a short time. Kim did an excellent job and really knows how to show off the bike. I am overconfident by nature anyway and I think being a motorised bike rider helps as the Cruzbike steering inputs are so different to a bicycle. It immediately struck me how comfortable the bikes were and how the engineering and ergonomics make far more sense than a standard bike. I also found out that I am just getting to old to pedal while sitting on my pelvis and testicles ? Smile

I was happy and satisfied with both these bikes and for the riding I will do the Quest makes sense BUT THEN I saw a Silvio in the back of Kim’s van. I had seen it on the web but it is something else in the flesh. I didn’t get to ride it due to time but it looked great and I am overly fond of carbon fibre. My motorcycle has many CF parts and I fly kites and use CF a lot for that. It also looks great. I cogitated on this again and phoned Kim about 2 weeks later. He was very close to my house at the time and he offered to let me try his personal Silvio with Ultegra gear. He did not need to offer twice and I was there in 10 minutes. Again he gave me a short lesson and I was off – and totally besotted. I did about 15 minutes and ordered my bike later that week.

The very next day Kim and I built it up at his place (Hi Mrs Tolhurst). We went to the large bike shop around the corner and I chose Gatorskin tyres and Shimano PD-M324 dual purpose pedals. I really like these pedals and while I may never use cleats with them, the platform side grips really well. It took us about 2 hours with lots of coffee breaks to get it together and ready to go.

Impressions:
I have had my SRAM fitted bike for about 7 weeks now. I am loving it and getting rapidly more comfortable and less wobbly. It has probably taken me more time to get used to the gears than the bike itself. I had issues with wobbles in high speed downhill runs but this has pretty much gone as I think it is due to incorrect weight shifts rather than steering inputs. In any case, I no longer wobble and can really climb up hills in a manner that seems far easier than any other bike I have ridden. I have to say that I am far from trim and fit but only yesterday I took a leisurely ride from my home in the Western suburbs on Melbourne to St Kilda, had a beer and rode back meandering through the city. I probably did 45km in a few hours. I got off feeling it in my legs but no rear end or pelvic pain at all. It is an odd feeling is that I get off after a long ride feeling tired but comfortable. On other bikes I used to get off tired and in pain. I also can definitely feel it in my shoulders. I am getting a far more distributed workout than a normal bike. I am in no way fast or accomplished yet but I am feeling great about the Silvio. It and I will keep getting better.

The other thing that is really subtle but impressive is the suspension. It is no where near mountainbike capable of taking large hits but it is light and really works. We have some very rough bike paths and often have to transit from road bike lanes to footpath lanes and often then join is concrete gutters with sharp edges. So long as your tyre pressures are good, the suspension soaks up quite large hits.  Note that you need to read and follow the front shock pressure adjustment instructions or you will let out the pressure every time.

Thanks John T. I am very, very impressed with this bike, the components, suspension and engineering.

Making it my own:
As I am a tinkerer by nature I have set my bike up for my riding and I thought I would post here.

1. I fitted Mirrycle Incredibell Bar End bell on the left (we drive and ride on the left side of the road over here). You rotate the black ring with a flick of a finger and it makes a nice clear ding. Not useful for cars but prefect for shared paths.

2. Mountain mirricycle mirror on the right. I had to modify it a little with an alloy spacer and a longer bolt but now it is perfect and I am very pleased. It gives a great view, is easy to adjust, does not stick out too far and is more than strong enough to take a hit or lean the bike on it. As you can see from the photo it is close to but just behind my hand when the bars are gripped normally.

3. I fitted a drink cage under the seat on the right and a Lezyne “Carbon Pressure Drive High Pressure” pump on the left. This took some doing as I had to make up small bracket to hold the pump frame. I cut up a $3 titanium tent peg to do this so it weighs next to nothing. I chose this pump mainly as it is camouflaged on the bike and hard to see. Hopefully less likely to be stolen.

4. I fitted a rear rack. I think it is an axiom brand (maybe not) and I had to reverse and re-drill the steel plate bottom mounts and fit with polypropylene washers to protect the bike. Imade up stays to the back of the seat using very thin and light stainless marine chainplates cut to length and bolted them to the existing holes in the seat back. If fitted without this modification the rack is far from horizontal, looks dodgy and the bottom mount fouls the quick release. It is now pretty horizontal, nice and strong and the rear dropouts work as usual.

5. I found a Lezyne “Trunk Caddy” that is very good value and fits perfectly on this rack. I can shock cord things directly to the rack or fit the caddy with 3 clips and carry a security cable, wet weather gear or bring the groceries home. I can fit a lot of stuff in there and even carry groceries home with the top open so it can hold 2 large shopping bags (or 1 bag and a six pack of beer).

6. I puts lights front and rear and a gadget bag on the bars for keys and wallet.

7. Finally, I don’t have a useful pump for Presta valves so I shelled out for this Lezyne “CNC Travel Floor Drive” pump. Expensive but beautifully engineered and well made. Works very well indeed and I can take it with me easily when I travel. Hey, the chillies behind the pump are nearly ripe!

What’s left:
I would love a proper stand. I don’t like the idea of the clickstand tentpole style thing. I have been pondering on a Pletscher style double sided stand. These are too short for the Silvio and because if the Silvio design it would best be fitted to the rear join of the front “swingarm” (well you call it that on a motorcycle). Maybe a modified Pletscher hinge mechanism with Carbon Fibre legs?

Security. I have a nics Abus lock and cable but I am saving for one of the Abus top of the line u locks and find a way to fit it in the rear rack. I am a little paranoid after my last bike was taken so quickly and easily.


Hanging in the shed with my wife's thingy. Maybe a Quest for her next birthday??

__________________

Experience talks
Wisdom listens

John Tolhurst's picture
John Tolhurst
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Joined: 27 Feb 2008
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Comprehensive report!

I made this a sticky, since its so comprehensive. Great report, TimOz.

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fatall
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Joined: 27 Jul 2011
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Nearly new Quest owner in Melbourne

Glad to read your review.  I went through a similar process to yourself about getting a recumbent.  

I first saw a Cruzbike at the Melbourne Bike Expo(held at the same time as the Around the Bay in Day) about 3 years ago, I guess this planted a seed of interest.  Fast forward about 6 months ago and my interest in recumbent grew.  I did a test ride of a Greenspeed recumbent, but I mostly ride bike paths and the areas I ride in have a lot of chicanes and I don't want to pick up the recumbent to get around these obstacles.   Thought about two wheeler recumbents and I remembered cruzbikes.  I did the usual internet search and found some debates about the benefits of MBB recumbent but nothing that put me off.  So I got in contact with Kim, who meet me at Spencer St Station(can't remember the new name?) 

I test rode the quest around the Etihad Stadium, I did ok, but I know I will need to get used to riding it, but I know I am not the only one that needs to get used to riding MBB recumbent.  But I am looking forward to learning.

I am meeting Kim tomorrow to pick up my Quest so let the learning begin smiley  

Then like yourself, I will be looking forward to making it mine, already thought about swapping out the brakes for BB7's and looking at changing the derailleur.....but I guess I will wait and see how I go and how the bike performs.

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ak-tux
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Joined: 26 Aug 2011
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What a beautiful silvio

What a beautiful silvio setup! Nice a comprehensive oweners review too. The silvio does sound like trully a very understated bike. I wish John T. would update the official Silvio photos to show the version 1.5 changes.