Saturday, December 22, 2007

The Flevo is Here

My Flevo arrived this past week by truck one day before my birthday. Perfect timing! The bike had been well packed by Jim at the Spoke Shop in Billings, Montana. Rather than leave it at the local bike shop for set up in a few days (they are quite busy the week before Christmas) I decided to take it home and try to get it set up myself. The first thing I learned about this bike is that the two halves fit easily into the back of my Tahoe.

Once home, I connected the two halves by connecting two bolts. After that, all that was left to was to to reconnect the rear hydraulic brake handle to the captain's handle bars. A little air in the tires and it was ready for a ride. I found the bike quite twitchy to ride solo. Once I found a stoker to provide a little ballast, however, the bike handled beautifully, especially for it's size. The reclined seats proved a little uncomfortable so I've ordered headrests.

I spent the next few days trying to figure out how I was going to transport the bike. I love my Draftmaster and so began an online search for some Draftmaster trays I could cut up and weld into a long tray for the Flevo. It was while changing out the 8 year old tubes on the bike that I had a revelation. The Flevo has independent drives on each wheel. This means that in order to take the front wheel off it's necessary to release the cable for the Sachs hub, release the hydraulic brakes, unbolt the wheel and then work it out of the dropouts and the front deraileuer. This bike has no quick release on either wheel. So, taking the front wheel off to mount the bike on a Draftmaster rack would not be a quick, convenient process. The next complication became apparent when I considered just how big this bike is. My Seavo is about 8' long and I mount it on the Draftmaster by standing it up on the rear wheel and walking it into the tray. The Flevo, however, is every bit of 11' long. I would not be able to reach the handlebars to perform a similar feat with the Flevo. In the end, I realized that the easiest transport option for this bike is to just break it down and stow it in the back of the Tahoe.

Here's a shot of the twisting chain arrangement on the front wheel.

I'm looking forward to putting lots of miles on this bike next year.