BRC: “Prior to riding one of these myself, I assumed that the crank forward design being between a recumbent and a regular bike would be a compromise that offered the worse of both worlds. However, after riding no more than 100 feet, I was sold, big time! This design offers so much for the rider that either can no longer ride a traditional mt. bike or someone who just wants to experience the fun and exhilaration of off road riding without the attendant discomfort of a regular mt. bike.
Come on in to take a test ride on Phil’s trail or the River trail to see for yourself what it can do! We ordered a Rans 26 crank forward mountain bike in for our shop and I finally got it built up and took it for a test ride on pretty challenging single track today.
I went out with a group of local mt bikers (a couple of them are recumbent riders) that were all pretty advanced riders mostly on high priced carbon fiber full suspension late model bikes. There are some pretty smooth easy single track here around Bend, but this was not one of them. Steep climbs, tight turns, intermittent steep rocky technical sections were the order of the day.
When I showed up with this weird cycle I’m sure everyone was thinking, “Who’s the nerd on the comfort bike and I hope I’m not the one who has to peel him off a tree or rock today!” I really didn’t know what to expect out of the bike on real mountain bike trails given the radically different geometry from my usual rides but since I had just had a hand condition called Dupytrens contractions repaired recently and was told to stop riding regular mountain bikes unless I want to keep having it recur, I am seeking an alternative that takes the weight and pressure off my hands so it’s less likely to come back.
Long story short, the Alterra exceeded my wildest expectations. I was not at the back of the group struggling to keep up, I was at the front or near to it for the whole 3-hour ride. Because the seat tube is such a laid back angle you are more over the rear wheel so I could climb sections that most there’s had to walk and descend steep drops without having to move back over my rear saddle because I was already there. Much less of a feeling I was in danger of the dreaded endo, and because the wheelbase is longer than a normal mt. bike, very stable high speeds on the descents.
The one drawback I found is a bad tendency to chain suck because of the very long chain stays, but found if I just kept pedaling, it would unstick and be fine.
Bottom line is, as the ride progressed, more and more of these very mainstream mountain bikers were impressed at how well I was doing on the Alterra and wanted to give it a try.
Oh, and one last thing, when I got back to my car after a 3-hour ride my rear end had never felt so pain free after riding a hard tail on rocky single track.
This bike is an under-rated and undiscovered jewel. Fully single track capable and especially well suited to doing a long distance tour like the Great Divide Mt. Bike route. I know because I have ridden the whole route and this would be one of the two perfect bikes to use on it. The other is a Lightfoot Ranger, a great recumbent bike we also have in our shop for test rides. I will post another review of the Lightfoot and its capabilities off road soon. A great bike but would have been un-ridable on what we rode today. An awesome bike for less technical riding though. More to come on that.”