Wednesday, September 21, 2011

RANS Zenetik

5 or 6 years ago I was experiencing so many numbness issue with my hands, feet and seat I began to wonder if a recumbent might be my next bike, then I stumbled onto the RANS. Located in Hays, Kansas RANS produces small aircraft, recumbents, and crank forward bicycles. Other companies like Electra tout a crank forward design but RANS takes the design as far as it can without becoming a recumbent. 

                                                                 RANS Zenetik
As you can see in the picture above, the frame is longer and lower than a traditional bike, pushing the seat back and the pedals and cranks forward. This alleviates pressure on the hands and seat that is common with traditional diamond frame bikes. Instead of straddling the seat you just sit on it. The seat's shape sort of reminds me of a tractor's seat although there is a slight nose bump in the front to help the rider stabilize the bike.  Since the seat is pushed back the rider's position is quite upright. 

The lower longer frame also allows the rider to put their feet flat on the ground while remaining seated.

The frame has a special tube to mount the front derailleur to because the seat tube is at such a steep angle

The front fork is farely straight making the bike much easier to maneuver around tight corners than its more chopper like siblings the Fusion and Cruz. The longer wheelbase provides a smooth ride over bumps.

At the time I purchased the Zenetik there wasn't anyone in the state of Connecticut who sold recumbent bikes let alone Rans crank forward bikes. The closest dealer was 1 hour and 45 minutes away in Turner Falls, Massachusetts. 

The Zenetik solved my hand and seat problems, but I still had numbness in my feet so I switched to clipless pedals which helped me ride longer before the numbness occurred. Eventually I switched back to a more traditional diamond frame because I wanted to generate more power on the hills and be more aerodynamic. I'm still tweaking my Cannondale's setup, padded gloves and drop bars help keep hand numbness at bay and a seat with a cut out eliminated the numbness in the perinium, as for my seat bones... there's just no denying the comfort of the RANS crank forward. 

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