My new RANS F5 Pro build reached the rideable point today, and I took off on it this afternoon and rode to Purtis Creek State Park. I ended up with 30 miles. I’ve been neglecting my blog again. Today’s ride gave me 100 miles for this week. I also rode 100 miles last week. All rides were just short rides from home, 40 miles or less.
I just got the last parts for the A23 wheels I’m building yesterday, so for now, the F5 is running with the only 700c wheels I seem to own these days, a cheap and heavy wheelset I bought for the Nimbus, way back when. The A23′s should ride better, but even with these old wheels and skinny 23mm tires, the F5 definitely rides smoother than the Corsa, something I will appreciate on the rough roads I ride around here. The combination of a steel frame, size large bike which centers me better between the wheels, and 700c wheels rather then the 650c or 559′s I had on the Corsa, all help. There is still quite a bit of work to be done on the F5.
I debated about which handlebar to use on the F5. I knew the B-41 handlebar that came with the bike was wider than I want. I considered ordering a Bacchetta handlebar, but when I dug out the HR3way handlebar that I already had, I saw that as long as you don’t swing out the handlebar ends, this bar is really only an inch or so wider than the Bacchetta bar. I figured that would work for me, leaving the only thing I didn’t like about the bar being the fact that it’s too long for me, even adjusted to its shortest length. I cut off an inch and a quarter and adjusted it to its shortest position. It’s still longer than the Bacchetta bar, and I have longer grips on it than I had on the Corsa, but I’m going to try it this way. Its extra length will let me ride with my arms in a less outstretched position. That may help my cratered shoulders. The price for that is less leg clearance when I turn, but I’m thinking I can live with that. If not, I’ll chop more off the end of the handlebar and go to shorty grips like the Corsa had. We’ll see. So far, I think I like it.
The F5′s seat ended up at 26 1/4 inches at the lowest point. That’s 2 1/4 inches taller than the Corsa. I was concerned about how well I could get my feet down with this additional height, but after today’s ride, I can say that it’s not a problem. With the Kinesis bag taking up most of the space between the front of the seat and the riser, I have to just step over the seat to get on the bike. That’s a tall step. I guess when I reach the point that I can no longer make it, I can either lose the Kinesis bag or retire from high racer riding.
The big chainring is the only one that came with the bike that I’m still using. The middle ring is a Q-ring like the one I’ve run for many years on my Corsa. I had gone to a 26 tooth granny gear on the Corsa after my lung surgery, along with an 11-34 cassette to help me wheeze my way up big hills better. I had an even smaller granny gear chainring, a 24 tooth, and put it on the F5. With the 700c wheels, I figured I needed as small a granny chainring as I could get. The old wheels I broke out and installed already had an almost new looking 11-34 cassette on them, so I just left it on them. There are no hills around here to really give the lowest gear a good test, but I tried it out anyway, just to see how slow I could go. An 80 cadence with the lowest gear produced about 4.5 mph. That should work for just about any hill I encounter.
I’m pretty excited about this bike with its American made steel frame. I got 26,000 miles out of my aluminum frame Corsa; I’m thinking this bike should last me the rest of my riding days, or at least the rest of my high racer riding days. Many older recumbent riders seem to eventually move to something lower. We’ll see.
Notes and photos:
The (almost) finished RANS F5. I’ll be adding bar tape, like my Corsa had, but for now, it’s just small pieces of electrical tape holding the cables close to the proper position so I could cut and fit the cables. The brakes will need adjustment as soon as I install the wider A23 wheels. The shifting still needs adjustment, and there are still plenty of other minor things to do.
My Team RANS jersey only seemed appropriate for the bike’s maiden voyage.
My riding position is pretty similar to the Corsa.
Yes, that middle chainring isn’t round.
This view shows the starting seat clamp position. After installing and adjusting the seat, I ended up with it an inch or so further back than this, but it’s still in the far forward reaches of the adjustment, a reminder that I’m barely tall enough for a size large high racer frame. This larger frame will better distribute my weight for a smooth ride, though.
The bike’s seat is the same Euromesh seat I’ve had on the Corsa for years, including the Fastback Double Century bags and slow moving vehicle triangle. I may upgrade the seat later, but I’ve always loved that Euromesh seat.