Monday, December 4, 2017

Thoughts On Seat Angle, Suspension and Tires

Picture from a few years ago on HWY 1
My motivation for adding a suspended ICE Sprint FS to accompany my Catrike 700 in my garage was the many miles of chip seal I have to ride when venturing North of Cambria on HWY 1. Which is usually once a week. I've now  had plenty of time to experiment with tire selection and pressure, suspension vs non-suspension and seat angle. I've come to the conclusion that seat angle plays the biggest role in determining the level of comfort when riding the many miles of chip sealed roads. For me a seat angle of 37 degrees to 40 degrees is the most comfortable position on these roads and still allows for good power transfer to the pedals. 

I've been trying to negotiate a compromise between comfort and speed. So I went with the minimalist suspension of the ICE Sprint with 28mm Durano tires. But I found that my Catrike 700 with 35mm Kojaks do nearly as good a job as the elastomer suspension system of the Sprint in isolating the constant vibration of the chip seal.

The Sprint elastomer suspension works nicely on the occasional rut, road seam and the minor road imperfections.  And it's probably great for trail riding. But it's the chip seal I'm trying to tame without sacrificing too much speed.

With my titanium hips I may be a slow dog on hills but when the road levels out I like to feel the speed. Especially down hills. And on those days when I choose to cruise the coast loaded with creature comforts I don't want to push extra weight that's not benefiting me in any meaningful way.

I'm tending to think that the whole suspension craze is overrated. There is a definite need for a suspended ride but you have to remember it comes at the cost of a heavier and mushier trike  that requires more calories to per mile.

Now that I've figured out that seat angle makes the biggest difference on rough roads, it's time to re-examine the non-suspended option that I was considering earlier, the Catrike Expedition with it's 37 degree seat angle. I feel it's the best and most versatile trike on the market. Also it won't empty your bank account.

My old Catrike Expedition from back in the day when I use to pull ma doggie
and load up with every possible creature comfort. Of course that was pre-hip replacement
days. Now I prefer to ride a little lighter. 

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