The Perils of Buying without a Test Ride

OP
a.twiddler

a.twiddler

Über Member
Low seat height is one thing, but manufacturers' tech specs don't seem to include minimum distance from seat back to pedal with the boom right in. You need a bit to spare really, for minor adjustments once you have been riding a bit. The Nazca Fiero XS suggests "riders from 150cm" though as you suggest with the Origami, maybe outside my budget range. I have read several reviews of the Origami, and it does seem a well thought out design. Not come across the Nazca Fiero before. There could be others too.

I am beginning to think that the whole SWB thing may be beyond me either through cost of a suitable newer one, or due to physical limitations of the affordable, older ones. I had considered something like a Pashley PDQ but none have been near enough for me to have a look. Of the pedal to seat back measurements I have no idea but reviews tend to suggest that the seat height might be a problem, particularly as the seat has a square base rather than being tapered like this Dawes or the Linear. It's a jungle out there! What I need is someone with a metaphorical machete who can let some light in so I can see what might be suitable yet affordable. The worst thing is that up till now anyone selling anything promising seems to be at the far end of the country from me.

As in my original post, my options are either to sell this as it is, as it is in surprisingly good condition, or bite the bullet and take a saw to it. My normal inclination would be not to do anything to it that isn't reversible but if by doing the minimum to it that makes it usable by me, it may be worthwhile. I'm not going to rush into it, as further information may be forthcoming on here.

Meanwhile I will continue enjoying my Linear which was a very good buy and has given me (and many passers by) a lot of pleasure..
 

PaulM

Veteran
Location
Portsmouth, UK
Bents with 305m front wheels might be an option: Bike E, Cannondale, HPV Spirit, M5 CMPCT. They can be had for £500 or less on the used market.
 

404 Not Found Anywhere

Well-Known Member
The PDQ isn’t a particularly good ride for those of us with shorter legs: not only is the seat height itself relatively high the hammock design means that you‘ve really only got the distance between knee and foot to reach the ground. I fitted a hard shell seat to mine and being able to get that extra hip extension helped a lot, but the PDQ’s ultra short wheelbase meant that the handling was messed up.

My Fuego works well for me, though, and it’s one of the few machines to be sold in small and medium/large models. I find its handling is very reassuring. Mine is a small (I’m about 5’ 7” with a 30” inside leg). I think the Challenge Hurricane is a bit lower. Both sadly are out of production, as is the Nazca Fiero.
 

404 Not Found Anywhere

Well-Known Member
Short cranks: I have them on all my bents, I reduced the gearing by the same proportion as I reduced the crank length plus an extra 10% or so. Sheldon’s Gain Ratios were very helpful in working out what the gearing should look like. I was surprised how much I had to push the boom out to get the right length (my cranks are between 145 and 152 mm)
 

Yakboy

Member
On my wife's Dawes Lowrider (which I am in the process of selling) we had exactly the same problem. I shortened the BB tube and I think I recontoured the boom a little (I can't remember exactly) and I had some professionally shortened 140mm Shimano Cranks which had previously been on one my Girls full suspension mountain bike, and all was good. My wife is 5ft 4 and probably has 27-28" inside leg, so it can be done.
 
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OP
a.twiddler

a.twiddler

Über Member
Thank you. That's just the sort of information I was hoping for! Maybe if my timing had been better, I could have bought yours ready modified.
I am curious about the boom, though. How much length did you have to remove to get it far enough back? Mine is stubbornly stuck at the moment, about 2-3 cm between the back of the bottom bracket and the front of the tube which is part of the frame (mine is green too). I am giving it some time and Plus Gas so I can get it out and look at it. I had a feeling that it wouldn't go any further back without taking it out and shortening it.
It has probably been set at that length for the previous owner for a long time.

I was hoping to get away without shortening the green tube as the clamps are quite near the end, so you have given me hope. 140mm cranks might be a step too far, but I wouldn't know without trying some.

As a matter of interest, how did your wife get on with the bars? Mine look like conventional town bike bars but the stem is very long. They feel like ape hangers after being used to underseat steering.

Any further info would be welcome. As @Milkfloat said above, I cannot be the only one with this problem.
 

Yakboy

Member
Thank you. That's just the sort of information I was hoping for! Maybe if my timing had been better, I could have bought yours ready modified.
I am curious about the boom, though. How much length did you have to remove to get it far enough back? Mine is stubbornly stuck at the moment, about 2-3 cm between the back of the bottom bracket and the front of the tube which is part of the frame (mine is green too). I am giving it some time and Plus Gas so I can get it out and look at it. I had a feeling that it wouldn't go any further back without taking it out and shortening it.
It has probably been set at that length for the previous owner for a long time.

I was hoping to get away without shortening the green tube as the clamps are quite near the end, so you have given me hope. 140mm cranks might be a step too far, but I wouldn't know without trying some.

As a matter of interest, how did your wife get on with the bars? Mine look like conventional town bike bars but the stem is very long. They feel like ape hangers after being used to underseat steering.

Any further info would be welcome. As @Milkfloat said above, I cannot be the only one with this problem.
I seem to remember it being a bit of a struggle to get the black boom out, I think I just soaked it in penetrating oil for a day or so. I made semi-circular adjustments to the green boom so the pinch bolts were still intact and the bottom bracket slotted into circular cuts, I can't remember how much I cut off the black piece but I don't think it was very much. My wife doesn't seem to have any problems with the ape-hanger bars. I'll take some photo's of the bike tonight and post so you can see the differences
 

Yakboy

Member
I would be happy to sell the 140mm cranks and 32 tooth chainring (or even lend them if you pay postage) but you do have to modify the plastic crank guard internally. I was happy to do it on ours because the plastic wasn't pristine and I managed to do it neatly . I have now put the original 170mm Nexus cranks back on and you can't really tell I have modified it.
 
OP
a.twiddler

a.twiddler

Über Member
I seem to remember it being a bit of a struggle to get the black boom out, I think I just soaked it in penetrating oil for a day or so. I made semi-circular adjustments to the green boom so the pinch bolts were still intact and the bottom bracket slotted into circular cuts, I can't remember how much I cut off the black piece but I don't think it was very much. My wife doesn't seem to have any problems with the ape-hanger bars. I'll take some photo's of the bike tonight and post so you can see the differences
Curiously, while waiting for the boom to loosen up I have been thinking of ways to move the boom back by making a curved recess in the front of the tube to take the bottom bracket shape with the same intention of preserving the pinch bolts.
 
OP
a.twiddler

a.twiddler

Über Member
I would be happy to sell the 140mm cranks and 32 tooth chainring (or even lend them if you pay postage) but you do have to modify the plastic crank guard internally. I was happy to do it on ours because the plastic wasn't pristine and I managed to do it neatly . I have now put the original 170mm Nexus cranks back on and you can't really tell I have modified it.
You have a pm
 
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