Phoenix Bentrider Winner!

January 2019

    Over the holidays we had a special visitor:  Robert Holler, from Rose City Recumbent Cycles in Portland, OR. You never know when a snow storm might sweep through Kansas in the winter months! Robert found this out as well as Jonathan and Alanna from Rose City! Jonathan and Alanna did not make it due to the weather, but Robert weathered the storm in Denver, CO and was able to arrive in Montezuma a day later than planned. When it was time to leave for home, a mechanical issue on the airplane that was supposed to take him to Denver delayed his departure.  Between that and the total lack of any available seats for returning on January 1, he stayed an extra 36 hours here! While Robert was here at RANS, we visited of course about bikes, experiences about bike rides and much more! Jerrell and Dylan showed him around the factory. He was able to see first hand how we build bikes – in particular the Phoenix.  He had seen quite a few images and several short video clips regarding the Phoenix build, but seeing it in person provided a whole ‘nuther perspective.


    One exciting event that happened January 1.  The RANS Phoenix was voted Recumbent of the Year 2018 on Bentrideronline! Thank-you to everyone who submitted a vote towards the Phoenix! This two wheeled recumbent is a super smooth riding bike! It handles very well for it’s long wheel base length. A couple of the reasons why it handles so well are the seat-height-to-crank ratio and the new front fork geometry. The seat to crank position allows for more efficient transfer of power to the ground and the fork geometry provides for greater maneuverability and control as well as exceptional ease with straight-line riding, even in a Kansas cross-wind. The Energy bars coupled with the Krieg handlebar provides more solid steering and control. The rider can dial in the handlebar set-up so as to clear the knees and receive the correct arm reach adjustments. The handlebars are not an issue for visibility. They remain well below the line of vision.


    When ole man winter opens the door here in Kansas, I have to find a different place to exercise than the great outdoors. My friends and I set up our bicycle trainers at RANS in the assembly room. This is not as nice as riding bike outdoors, but is much better than not exercising at all, especially after the holiday treats I tend to inhale!! The trainers that are being used are made by Cycle Ops. They work well for us! Once the winter is over, we can pick them up and store them until next winter! The bikes being used are the crank forward Cruz, Dynamik, and a Fusion.

Kara Nichols

RANS Field Trip- Denver, CO to Portland, OR

I want to share with you today about the RANS field trip Jerrell and I were privileged to take last week! The first stop was with the RANS dealers, Angle Tech, in Colorado Springs, CO. Angle Tech is skilled in adapting bikes/trikes for special-needs customers. Angle Tech’s crew, Kelvin, Kirk, and Josiah, together with Jerrell and I, traveled north and toured different points of interest in Denver. Our first stop that pertained to special needs was Aspen Seating Clinic. This clinic specializes in comfortable seating solutions for world class wheelchair athletes, down to the most discerning of wheelchair users. Here we were shown how the entire process happens. Each seat is custom fitted to each individuals. The customer sits on a bag of foam “beans” and once the customer has properly settled in, a vacuum is pulled on the bag, which locks the “beans” in place. The seat surface is then scanned, from which scan a 3 D image is made. This 3 D image I then sent to a CNC machine, and the seat is cut out of a block of foam. The foam then is used as the mold to create the plastic seat base, after which, a seat cushion is fabricated on the CNC using the same 3 D “pattern”. When completed, fabric is sewn around it that fits to precision! This is an amazing process!

After our visit to the Aspen Seating Clinic, we visited the world renowned Craig Hospital which specializes in neuro-rehabilitation and research of patients with spinal cord injury and brain injury. It was interesting to tag along with the Angle Tech crew and see a different world that is out there! We cannot deny the fact that these injuries do happen and that there is help as much as can be for each situation.

To finish out our busy day, we were able to stop in at the DaVinci frame shop, and made one final stop to visit John Morciglio, the carbon frame builders shop. It was very nice to see the good ole Bridgeport milling machine and the years old lathe that Todd used at DaVinci. Ideas were swapped and shared at both frame builders shops!

The next day found us flying the friendly skies to Portland, OR to visit Rose City Recumbent Cycles another RANS dealer. Jonathan and Robert received us graciously into their shop! Rose City is a highly rated bicycle shop and a must-see, if you are in the area or otherwise. Much discussion and idea swapping about the wonderful machines called bicycles was going on back and forth!

Rose City

Rose City displays one of our crank-forwards in the window.

Phoenix in Rose City

Misty Midnight Phoenix

We visited Terra Cycle while in Portland as well. This shop manufactures idler wheels for recumbents, glide flex stems, mounting hardware, fairings, and much more! It was fascinating to watch the CNC milling machines turn out all the precision cut parts! The “arm” would choose the holder with the correct tool, install it into the spindle and BUZZ, the tool would cut material away from the aluminum piece and bingo, the “arm” would select the next tool holder with the correct bit. All this is done by computer programing. We also were privileged to watch the fairing blowing process. It is a critical process of heating the Lexan to the correct temperature for the proper length of time. Truly amazing! Out of a flat piece of material which was placed on a jig, arises a bubble called a fairing! Terra Cycle has a great crew of workers! We enjoyed our time there!

Flag Making at T-Cycle

Step 1 in the Fairing process

Step 2 Clamping it down

Step 3 More Clamping Down

Step 4 Taking the Fairing off of Jig

Complete! 2 Short Fairings!

On our last day in Portland, Angle Tech and RANS toured a frame builder’s shop called, Breadwinner and then Chris Igleheart’s. All of these shops are in the business of building bikes! Chris is known for his fork building expertise. Very nice to visit with an old timer who knows the tricks of the trade! I found a milling machine in his shop that had the Nichols name on it! Just like our last name is spelled!

In the Igleheart Shop
Nichols CNC

Portland is a beautiful city with lots of trees and lots of bikers! I loved to see the people out on bicycles! It didn’t look like it mattered what kind of weather it was outside. I still saw people biking! The leaves on the trees were yellow, red and orange. A lot had fallen to the street and were piled high in the gutters. We are glad to have had the chance to go and visit Portland!

Fallen Leaves!
Leaves in the street!

Like Kelvin Clark says, we have come back home with our brains fatter!

Impressions of Bike Tour – Written by James Nichols

The trip highlights center around the encounters with the many people met along the way. Seattle, the mountains, the plains, the lakes, the East. Each with it’s own culture. Culture must surely be that which has evolved over time and that which works for the area. To experience and feel these differences adds to the adventure.

The bike used was a RANS Phoenix. A former tour was on a RANS Stratus. The handling characteristics of the Phoenix showed a marked improvement over the Stratus although the Stratus was easy to ride. Incidents involving the bike were limited to two flat tires, one broken spoke and a failing free hub.

The experience was a positive one and is certainly recommended for any who care to undertake such. The challenges are less physical and more mental/emotional than one might expect. Adjustments can be made along the way to minimize those challenges.

New Book!

If you can’t make it to Montezuma for a tour of the RANS Factory, click the link below to look at this free magazine written and photographed by Paul Krieg to show the many updates and improvements made to our facilities within the last year! Follow along as he details changes inside the factory, as well as the Xstream to the improved Xstream 700 bike!

RANS What’s New 2018

Note: use the “Preview” option to browse the magazine. Hard-copy prints are available for purchase for only $3.99 plus shipping.