View Full Version : Deep South 'Roller, Ride Reviews?

10-11-2010, 08:49 PM
Hi Folks,
I've recently put together a HighRoller, thanks Brad for the plans & thanks to the community out there.
I've not ridden recumbent before so I'm currently somewhere on that learning curve. It does seem a mission to get up hills; I'm still looking forward to getting recumbent fit. It took me a while to get accustomed to the steering balance, especially going dead slow up steep hills.

How does the HighRoller's ride compare to similar commercial high racers (Baccetta, Volae, Challenge Sieran etc.)?

I have read that high racers in general are a fairly hard-core intro to recumbents.

I'm living in Dunedin, New Zealand about 45 degress south. Is this the southernmost HighRoller?

I think I'll build my next bike from ally. Mild steel is sympathetic to work but not to push up hills.


10-12-2010, 12:19 AM
Great looking bike!! If you do not already have one, maybe a "megarange" cassette may help with the hills. Where did you get the seat? How did you fair in the Earthquake?

10-12-2010, 01:14 AM
I feel your pain in hill climbing. I'm very happy with my High Roller (also my first recumbent), especially on the flats and descents. It handles very nicely at high speeds, and is much more aerodynamic than an upright bike. When climbing, however, I face the triple whammy of 1) a heavy frame compared to my CrMo or Al bikes, 2) trying to balance at very low speeds while lying on my back and steering with a tiller, and 3) no possibility of standing on the pedals and using my whole body when the grade gets impossibly steep (as it often does in my area).

The good news is that you will get better at steering at low speeds and your muscles will adapt to climbing. If you took the wheels and drivetrain from a mountain bike, like I did, you probably have pretty good gears for climbing. The bad news is that the bike isn't likely to get any lighter! I bought new alloy handlebars to help keep the weight down, and I have good alloy wheels. I've thought about welding the bottom bracket to the boom to eliminate the weight of the adjustable bracket, but I want to be more sure that I'm not going to change the seat again.

I've rebuilt the seat twice now trying to make it more comfortable for long endurance rides (100 miles/160 km). My current seat is mesh slung on a tubular frame. It's very comfortable, but makes it more difficult to put a foot down and to mount/dismount because it's too wide to straddle. Maybe an Actionbent style seat would do the trick. I'm thinking about changing the bars so they're not in my way when I straddle the frame in front of the seat. I thought about making them pivot forward, but that will make them heavier.

It probably sounds like I'm dissatisfied, but that's not the case at all. I just like to look for ways to tweak and improve my bikes.

I like your seat. Tell us about it!

10-12-2010, 04:52 AM
Hi BC & Irv,
I made the seat from 1.6mm ally. I drew it up on a CAD program based on the geometry of Brad's seat plan but curvy with lumbar support. I'd be happy to put up images of the patterns. I added about 25mm of length 'cause I have a long back. It's quite comfy but it still only comes up to my shoulder blades. Brad must be a shortarse eh?

I figured the construction would be strong enough to cope with eliminating the top bit of the steel seat support tube. It wasn't - the seat buckled on the inaugural test ride! I scratched my head, scratched my date & just doubled the thickness of the reinforcing ribs in the buckle zone. It seems to work fine now. It is light & rigid with no arse-sliding-forward issues.

The seat has about 25mm of closed cell foam padding. It was uncomfortable until I sanded a channel where my spine sits. At the moment I still get a sore arse after an hour. I'll wait & see if that gets better with fitness. The foam could stand to be a bit softer I reckon.

The next seat will have Vee section ribs made from two strips fusion welded along the ridge of the Vee. I might roll a channel in the seat surface for the spine relief. That whole structure should be strong enough to eliminate the seat support tubes altogether & replace them with a couple of light stays.

I think Brad's sliding bottom bracket is a sound design. I drilled a couple of holes in the flanges, more for looks than weight saving. I might replace the whole thing with one cut from the ally-framed Scott MTB I used for parts. I'm not sure if it would be much lighter 'though.

I went with a pivot at the tiller/head stem interface. It works real well at a minimal weight penalty ( a bolt & a smallish U bracket welded to the end of the tiller). It's dead easy to get off the bike.

Irv, although Dunedin is 300km south of Christchurch ('quakesville) we woke up with all the hanging kitchen cutlery clanging together.

It's a buzz getting "cool bike" yelled at me as I rip past staring onlookers.


10-12-2010, 07:55 AM
Outstanding work, especially on the seat! :punk:

I love a well dressed bike, IE fenders, luggage rack, bottle cage, etc.

Nicely done! Kudos! :)

***** The **** Is My Shepherd! *****
-(Geezer & Bent Enthusiast At Large)-

10-12-2010, 01:06 PM
Ditto on the mega range cassette. I have a heavy (60lbs) high roller and I can climb fairly well due to the super low first gear but you have to crank like mad to maintain a decent speed to keep your balance. My plans are to rebuild mine in alloy as well. I just have to get an gas welding set up first.
Very nice looking bike, congrats on your first build!!!

10-12-2010, 10:49 PM
Lovely looking machine, most professional.

John Lewis
10-13-2010, 09:08 AM
Hi Andrew, That is a first class job there and something to be proud of.

I am impressed with your seat design. It looks to me that a non ali welder could probably do something similar with ribs and pop rivets.

I found on my LWB lowracer that I could ride very slowly with some practice. I geared it low so I don't have a great top speed except coasting downhill.

I think you will be fine on most hills with some practice as long as you keep clear of Baldwin St. :jester:

For the Zombies that don't know, Baldwin St is in Guinness Book of Records as the worlds steepest St and is in Andrews neck of the woods.

John Lewis

10-13-2010, 10:12 PM
Awesome job Andrew!

Great looking bike.

10-14-2010, 02:47 PM
Shaweet! Awesome looking bike. :rockon:

10-21-2010, 12:57 PM
I think you will be fine on most hills with some practice as long as you keep clear of Baldwin St. :jester:

For the Zombies that don't know, Baldwin St is in Guinness Book of Records as the worlds steepest St and is in Andrews neck of the woods.

John Lewis

LOL, John, I just strolled up Baldwin St via Google maps satellite view, quite a trip. I liked the little bench at the top of the street. Is that there so one can contemplate the view, or to rest while you get your wind back from the hike up? :jester:

John Lewis
10-22-2010, 03:31 AM
hi likebikes,
Yes I guess so. The downhill run would be something else.

Here is the certificate my wife received for walking, or is that climbing Balwin St.

John Lewis

10-24-2010, 08:59 PM
Hey John & fellow Zombiefolk,
While I have steered clear of Baldwin St., yesterday I rode up to Halfway Bush (It'd be up there with Bluff Knoll John) on the other side of the valley. I 'gotta 'fess up, I walked up a few of the steeper pinches.

I have moved on through the sore glutes & taxed knees but I still get lead legs if I try to push hard for any length of time. The alleged scenario of zipping past DF roadbikes still seems to be in the distant future. I'm surprised at how long it takes to aquire the relevant recumbent muscles.

I've been commuting about 100km per week on the 'Roller for the last few weeks while our (upright) tandem commuter is off the road. I'm thinking when I start riding that bike again I'll lose all this hard-earned recumbent fitness. The obvious solution: build a recumbent tandem!

I've got the plans, got a donor bike, got a 20" wheel (that was the Halfway Bush mission), started cutting & welding; it's all happening. I'll take a risk & mod the plans in the true Zombie spirit. I might catch all you guru crew over at the Tradewinds thread.