Thursday, May 8, 2014

On the other hand (aka a short rant).

After actually doing some training runs on the Force 2, I'm starting to see a couple of minor issues.

1. I had to adjust the crankset to its highest setting just to clear my legs. Because it's so narrow, there is little room for adjustment. I have ordered some crank handle extensions that MIGHT let the handles clear on the sides and let me drop the crankset down some. With the crankset up as high as it can go, I'm not cranking at the most efficient angle!

2. I had to adjust the seat position some to try to clear my chest from the crankset and handles. Maybe the handle extensions will help here too.

3. I'm really beginning to doubt that the extensions are going to be enough - which makes the fix very expensive. The next step requires changing out the bottom bracket, crankset and handles ... which is about $500. I can't see why so much has to be swapped out, but Top End is looking at that bottom line. All you should have to do is swap out the crank arms, but Shimano has a proprietary spider on the crankset the Force 2 comes with.

4. That brings up another touchy subject - the crankset. Why the &@#$%^ have a 104mm BCD on a handcycle? It's not like it's a Mountain Bike that needs the clearance. It makes chainring selection rather limited. I see no reason they couldn't have gone with 110mm (or even 130mm) BCD - which are standard sizes for road bikes.

5. Yes, disc brakes would have been a little more expensive - key word LITTLE. Disc brakes require less 'squeeze' to activate - which IS a big deal when your arthritis is flaring in your hands. They are also more consistent in the wet ... such as after (or during) a rain or in a damp, foggy day.

6. An 8/9 speed hub - really? Yes, you can usually put a 10 speed cassette on the 8/9 speed hub, but an 11 speed hub works with all 4 cassettes and costs little - if any - more. The 11 speed hub is also better in a lot of ways. Why not go with a better product? My guess is the bottom line.

7. No, the VA won't furnish 'real' racing wheels (and I don't disagree with that) ... but it would be nice to have something better than the bottom end wheels and tires that come standard on the Force 2. If you are getting a competition  handcycle doesn't it make sense to get competition level wheels and tires?

Overall, I think the VA was penny wise and pound foolish. They HAD to bring the cost in below a fixed point because of rules, etc - and I can see that making sense in a lot of cases ... but I'm the square peg that doesn't fit that round hole. There needs to be some wiggle room for the special cases - such as the standard crank arms that I truly believe are NOT going to work out and will have to be swapped out in the long run.