In my deliberations of whether or not to keep my volae or sell it, I’ve been wondering ultimately if the bike would suite my needs for a long distance commuter. Being that my ride to and from work is 26 miles each way; I do care about having something fast. I’m not a speed freak and don’t get all anal regard the grams of one component to another, but I do want something that is going to be not slow.
I’ve been recording very closely my times, weather, efforts of my commutes on both my Volae and my Sequoia. They are both very different bikes obviously, but they could both be very well suited to a long distance commute. The only one really up on the chopping block though was the Volae. If the Sequoia didn’t come out number 1, it’d still be kept as a touring bike, or to change it up with the Volae for commuting. It also makes for a great bike to head out on a Sunday afternoon with a camera.
If the Volae didn’t come out on top, I was going to sell it and use those funds to buy a Bike Friday tikit folding bicycle. My theory was that I could use the tikit for days when I can’t commit 1.5+ hours to getting to work and 1.5+ hours to getting home from work. My in-laws live about 7 miles from my work, and I could just drive to their house, leave my car and ride my tikit the rest of the way.
So, who won you ask? Well, in a way neither. But the Volae did come out as the fastest most comfortable way for me to get to work under my own power. I am consistently 10 minutes faster on the Volae, and on all except the steepest hill on the way to work, the volae was actually faster! Maybe I’ve just really developed a good set of ‘bent legs’. I’m not sure. I was quite surprised when I was motoring up the hills faster than on the Sequoia and with what definitely felt like less effort. The sequoia certainly does the job very well also. Just a wee bit slower and a wee bit less comfortable. If I had never ridden a recumbent though, I don’t think I would ever know this.
There is one monster hill for about 1km that the sequoia does out-perform the Volae on. I’m sure that has something to do with the fact that the Volae is about 8lbs heavier than the Sequoia, and I can and do get out of the saddle and hammer the hill when I’m on a DF bike. I do now and then hammer it on the Volae, but it’s a bit different than on a DF bike.
Comfort; this was a hard one too. I’ve said before that the Sequoia rides like butter and I’ve set it up with very relaxed geometry. That being said, there is still less area of contact with the bike as there is on the Volae. Less contact area means higher contact pressure. I don’t think you could ever get a DF bike to be as comfortable as you could get a recumbent. Obviously proper fit has a huge role to play, but that goes for both DF bikes and recumbents. The Volae fits me very well, so does the Sequoia.
So, I’ve decided to keep the Volae. I’d still like to make a few changes to the way that I carry gear on the bike, but that’s about all I want to change. The bike feels so good when I ride it. I’m also quite interested in putting on a dinohub, but that’s down the road.
As for the tikit, I’ll have to wait for a while until I save the pennies. On the other hand, I found a car mount bicycle rack at the recycling yard and it fits and works well on my car. So, I don’t have the excuse that I would have to take my truck to my in-laws if I wanted to ride just the 7 miles on a DF. Hey, I’m thinking this might just be the perfect task for my lately all too neglected fixie.