- Ultegra triple on 170mm cranks - 52/39/30, BB9000
- 10sp cassette - I have both 11-25 and 12-28 - 12-25 normally stays on the trainer. One is a 105, the other SRAM
- chain is ultegra 10sp, with reusable quick link
- 105 RD
- Tiagra FD (only road triple that still seems to be around)
- Dura-Ace bar end shifters - Indexed on the RD, friction on the FD
- Brake levers are TRP RRL SR - brown hoods and drilled Al levers, with a nifty little button to slacken off when you need to remove a wheel
- tape is a nice Fizik orange to match the hoods and the orange accents on the frame
- cables - all Shimano except the rear brake which was from a cheaper DIY store - for the length
- outers - Clarke - I bought big reels in the sale - enough to last a lifetime, but only in black
- Brakes - a very old set of Tektro 521's with salmon KoolStop pads – this will be the first upgrade to give me a bit more reach.
- rear - Exal LX rim with shimano dynohub, disc capable
- front - stock Shimano R500
- Tyres - 28mm Conti GP 4 Seasons - now my standard all year round tyre
- Pedals - Shimano SPD compatible mounted after about 50km.
- Mudguards are SKS raceblades, with an SKS MTB downtube mudguard bolted to that threaded insert under the frame and an MTB fork crown neoprene thing to protect the rear frame.
Also equipped with a rack for touring, panniers and radical banananananananananana bags as necessary. The Carradice Carradura rack bag is enough for Audax and day rides.
And on to Learning to Ride
I didn't do the carpark drills, flintstoning, roll downs etc. I'd intended to, but wanted to get a feel for the handling first. In the event, 3 failed wobbling starts and I'd got the hang of the initial pedal steer on start up, or at least enough to get going. About 1km down a quiet single track lane, wobble, wobble, wobble. Think - relax, relax, relax and the correction of the pedal steer becomes more instinctive rather than a fight. Visibility is great and the ride is nice and smooth.
Gears are indexing nicely, mudguards need a little attention.
I've a feeling this will be a very comfortable audax bike. Plan tomorrow is a quick 10-15km depending how I get carried away or not. I will do some handling drills as well though, I think it may be a while before I'm comfortable enough to try drinking on the move.
Weight of the S40 - as pictured - 13.5kg
Weight of my M5 - as pictured - 16kg
Now the training starts for the summer tour.
Damn, this thing is fast! Hit 36km/h with a following breeze in the middle ring, with flat pedals and a boom a touch too long. Too long boom meant that my feet were floating around on the pedals and back of one knee was uncomfortable. Moved that back in by one notch when I got home. Overall was 10km at 27km/h, average HR 141.
Noted a couple of things to take care of, including retightening the brake lever anchor bolts and sorting out how to make the radical tail bag sit right without fouling the rear mudguard.
Did some practice starts as well. Overall the learning curve is quicker than either my first recumbent or the M5, so far. I'm not sure how quick I'll be to change to clipless pedals, but audax in April?
Did my 25km test loop, conditions were cool and overcast with a light wind. My best averages last summer for this were:
DF Audax bike 30.9km/h, 48:39
M5 - M-racer - 27.8km/h, 54min
Today, on the S40, 28.5km/h, 52:15
That's with 100km under my belt, mostly on the indoor trainer, in Audax set-up. That was with a very high cadence, deliberately undergearing to help manage my wobbles as the lower gear = lower pedal pressure = less wobble. Still had a few moments of wobble, correct, wobble, over correct, head towards the ditch etc. The S40 is much less aero than the M5, but seems much easier to get the power out. On that loop, my audax DF with full mudguards, rack and rackbag seems to have been the faster of all three bikes so far.
I can't work out why the M5 is so slow - seat angle is about 25degrees, similar to the V20, it's heavier, but so slippery I smoke DFs on any downhill without even pedalling. I've done a very quick audax on it but on that loop it doesn't seem to work well. I think the DF time was set in quite strong wind conditions and it seems that the DF gains more downwind than the recumbent gains upwind or crosswind.
I'm pleased with the S40 though, so early in the learning curve, much more to come from there I think. Also followed this with 15 mins of car park drills, very worthwhile and will be repeated. Right hand turns proving harder than left hand turns.
Garmin trace here https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/2577761420
Fittingly, the 100th anniversary of the Royal Air Force, my dad served 28 years, my uncle just as long and several cousins. I almost joined but ended up in engineering in industry instead.
Garmin trace here https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/2593582934
Overall impressions, 230km in so far, about 100km of that on the road.
First impressions on the S40 are that I'm finding the transition much easier right now. Perhaps 3 years of riding 'bents, perhaps the slightly more upright position. Would I recommend an S40 recumbent as a first recumbent for learning, perhaps not. I think the mastery of both MBB and recumbent balance together could be a bit too much. A T50 by comparison, one less thing for the hands to deal with, more upright and feet easier to get down, perhaps more rigidity in the frame similar to a stick bike, perhaps I need to ride one some day.