Friday, September 22, 2006

out with the old, in with the even older.

The Linear recumbent's frame crack puts it out of action for the next while, as I doubt I'll attempt a solution before next year. In the meantime, my brother Mike has nicely loaned me his old Infinity long-wheelbase, as he now has a very nice Velotechnik Streetmachine to ride.

Mike built this up from a frameset in the early 90's. I had been curious about bents ever since first heard of the in the mid-80's, but never could afford the $$$$ pricetag. Mike and I had talked about them for a while, and he took the plunge ahead of me. It was great to have a chance to finally ride one and determine that yes, this was going to be a good choice, though I didn't buy my Linear until '97.

The Infinity is from the same design period as the Linear (1980's), and along with the Ryan these three were the triumvirate of LWB under-seat steering (USS) bents. The Easy Racers Tour Easy was the choice for those that wanted the handlebars above the seat. The Infinity, like the Linear, is made from non-heat treated aluminum, and had a reputation for cracked frames (the Linear has a reputation for creaking frames due to its foldability, but not cracked ones).

The manufacturer solved this with later models by adding a small tube (see above) running alongside the main bottom tube from the rear dropout to the bottom bracket shell. Note also that the steering is done by cables from the steering arm to the fork! You don't see that any more on bents, but it was used for years in the aircraft industry, so is not a flawed concept.

So it was snooze time for the Linear, and since it's a folding bike it was easy to take apart for storage:

Upside down and wheels off.

Tailbox off - first time since I built it in '98! (sniff...)

Rack taken off, rear end of frame removed (attaches via QR levers), seat folded forward. Rear brake unit and derailer left attached via their cables and stored in bag.

The front fork will also fold back, but then I'd have to remove the front fender, and the bike will store just fine without that. Another photo of the crack that put this bike to sleep for a while:

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