Sunday, January 25, 2009

Z-Bone Report

So today I took the Z-Bone out for the first time. I've got it all set up how I want. I did my standard 20 mile ride around BWI. It was 32 degrees out and calm. The roads were all dry, there was no ice to be seen.

I need to get in shape for a mini-tour I'm doing in a month, so Friday, I did the same loop on the Trice (1:55), and on Saturday on the T-Bone (1:30, with a 20 mph wind). Today the Z-Bone took 1:20, which was mighty impressive. I am not in a state of fitness at all, although I felt a lot stronger than I did the last couple days.

Here's the MotionBased page for the Z-Bone loop.

Here are some pictures of the Z-Bone as I have it set up. I hear on the BROL message board that George only made 25 Z-Bones.

Side view. Note the Q-Rings on a new Ultegra crank, new lightweight mirrors, new 10 speed Wipperman 10 speed chain, and an 11/34 10 speed cassette. This gives me 23 to 127 gear inches. Ilchester will be barely doable when I am in shape. The shifters are now Dura-Ace bar ends on Paul's Thumbies.

Here you can see I've got double-Ti Eggbeaters for pedals.

Rear view showing the Fastback water carrier. You can barely see the seat mount.

Here is the cockpit. The GPS works great on the main tube behind the stem. I'm a little dubious of that stem. The steering feels a little flexy. The handlebars are good, and they could go a couple inches lower and a bit forward if necessary.

Closeup of the drive train.

Here are all four of my bikes. Front to back, Cobrabike Royale, Reynolds Weld Lab T-Bone, Reynolds Weld Lab Z-Bone.

And here's another with the Inspired Cycle Engineering Trice S.

The trike is for touring, the Royale is for randonneuring (it's set up with very wide gearing so I can climb anything with ease, even at the end of a brevet). The T-Bone and the Z-Bone are for going fast, and not so much for very steep hills.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

New Goofy Bike!

It's been quite a while since I've been riding bikes. Max takes a big bite out of the day.

But last week, I saw a Reynolds Weld Lab Dual 700 Z-Bone on E-Bay, and I decided a new bike would be just the thing to get me back on the road. Especially a bike from the Reynolds Weld Lab, which is basically the garage of George Reynolds, mad genius of Derry, NH.. George is no longer making bikes. Recumbent bike riders are a sort of cult, and the few of us who have Reynolds bikes are a very special sub-cult, where zip-ties, hose clamps, and electrical tape are important bike components, and it's all about going really fast.

These bikes are really rare. I've only seen four other ones on the road in my life. One on the Seagull, and 3 on RAGBRAI. I saw a guy with a dual 20 Z-Bone at RAGBRAI and rode alongside him chatting for awhile. He said he has a dozen Reynolds bikes. He collects them. They guy I bought my Z-Bone from had 3. I'm glad I got this one and beat all the hoarders.

I already have Dual 26 T-Bone, which is all titanium and is quite the bomb. I rode it across the country, and am well over 20,000 miles on it total. But after the T-Bone, George started making the Z-Bone, which was half titanium and half aluminum, front wheel drive, and has a rear suspension. Then George stopped making bikes altogether. I have coveted one of these for a long time.

And now I have one:

Here's a close up of the front wheel drive setup.

If you look close you can see about 10 zip-ties, and you'll note there are hose clamps holding down the water bottle cages.

The guy I bought this from lives in Delaware by the beach where it is very flat. Hence the short cranks, dual compact chainrings, and 11/23 corncob cassette. That's not going to cut it around here. It was back to E-Bay and elsewhere for me. I have a Dura-Ace triple crankset coming, triple Q-Rings (52/40/30), and an 11/34 10 speed cassette which I got for the T-Bone so I could haul Max in the trailer at RAGBRAI. The shifters will be bar-ends mounted on Paul's Thumbies.

Here's the rear suspension setup.

And here's the cockpit.

I think those bottle cages are getting replaced with a fastback and a camelback bladder, and the Cateye trip computer is getting replaced with a mount for my Edge 705 GPS.

Here's a picture of the T-Bone in front of the Z-Bone for comparison.

This is really interesting, since it shows how the Z-Bone is a much more refined design.
* The wheelbase is a couple inches shorter on the Z-Bone.
* The seat is a couple inches lower, despite the bigger wheels.
* The bottom bracket is slightly higher.
* The seat is much closer to the front wheel.

Here's the front view of the two bikes side by side.

I have Eggbeaters coming to replace the platform pedals too.

I can't wait to get on the road with the Z-Bone. It should be ready to go by next weekend.