INTO THE RIDE #50
Scenes Inside the RANS Factory
by Randy Schlitter
Expanded Assembly Operations
Remodeling of our entire assembly process is about 90% complete. This is in response to increased demand for both recumbent and CF product. The new layout is not only expanded in size with the addition of a partial second floor, but a whole new approach to bike assembly. The plan is to double output, reduce lead times and of course increase quality.
Since switching over to domestic assembly we feel it gives us better quality control, improved delivery, and more diverse offerings. With the old “box” program, you were stuck with whatever headaches your assembler happens to pass on. Not to fault the offshore assemblers, but despite all the care, and supervision, there was always the chance of mistakes. A warehouse full of mistakes suddenly needing correction, and often at our own expense, just did not prove acceptable. Domestic assembly may cost a few bucks more, but there is substantial gain in what it truly represents: a better product for our customer. Good-bye to the “box” program, hello to high-speed, high quality, and flexible format of domestic assembly. As for the box itself, it is even much higher quality over those rather delicate offshore cartons.
Increase demand for US assembled or built bikes is the cause for expansion of bike production.
Titanium and Alloy Bikes in Delivery Cycle
Welding alloy and Ti bikes has been going very smooth. Our team of welders latched onto the Ti and alloy welding like they were born with torches in hand! Their work is exquisite, and we all are very proud of them.
It also presents some very exciting potential for future offerings.
We are slightly ahead of our forecasted delivery schedule, sending a few Ti and alloy Stratus XP and V3 out to anxious shops. Bikes were forecast to leave at the end of the month.
The demand is strong, with the first batch sold and most of batch two. The batches are not large, about a dozen of each model type and size, but we feel it is a strong response, and hope to build inventory so when the Ti bug strikes, we can respond in a timely manner.
Alloy bikes are getting a strong response too, with the first batch of V3’s sold out. This means both the Ti and alloy bikes will be in the shops soon. Most are spoken for, but you may want to call your fav shop and get a heads up if you are planning a purchase.
Ti and Alloy bikes are already in the delivery cycle, and whole batches are selling out.
Is RANS Favoring CF’s over Bents?
A few posts have been saying we are drifting away from recumbents, since our CF’s are coming on so strong. But with the high demand for our high-performance bents, I think many will agree we are still serious about recumbents. CF’s are a lot of fun, both to ride, and sell. They have the potential to exceed recumbents in population. This is because they appeal to the non-bent crowd, which is a huge demographic. They are people who would love to cycle without the pain. Our CF line seems to hit the nail on the head, providing a truly comfortable ride, with enough zoom factor to keep your interest. This is all great, and what I see with such prosperity is quite the opposite. The added business allows us to further advance the recumbent designs. If you like what you see in our 07 line-up, stayed tuned; I am sure we will make it worth your time.
New Sprint Braces
These are totally retro, like the original braces on our very first bikes, but with a very nice twist: no need for noisy quick pins. The new braces are laser etched with a precise scale so you can adjust in perfect parallel, and if you remember your setting number when you remove the seat, you can return it to the exact seat tilt. The new braces are standard on the Stratus XP Alloy and Ti bikes, and the V3’s. Expect this to be the standard braces on our whole line over time.
A scale allows exact adjustment and is handy for transport when re-setting your seat tilt.
Light Clip on Z-Seat Mesh
Our staff is full of good ideas, and this one has made it into production. The new Zephyr seat mesh will feature this simple strap to attach a taillight. Stay safe!
New Road Fork
A custom fork with only road brake mounting is the standard equipment on the V3’s and some Stratus XP Ti and Alloy options. It is lighter and eliminates the brake adaptor. The fork is the exact geometry as the fork on the Fusion, Cruz, Stratus XP, and Formula 26. So…if you want to hot-rod any of these bikes the switch to road brakes and 650 wheel sets is doable, at least for half the bike!
New Road fork for V3’s and Stratus XP’s has some hot rod potential for other models too.
New CF Seat Post
A new seat post will start appearing on most of our Crankforwards that features 1” more extension. But the really neato factor is the numbers on the scale are shown in your inseam. Ric and I both tried setting the post at our pant inseams, and it was right on. This should speed up setting the bike for a first time rider, provided they know their inseam (most woman will not, since they use a different system to size their clothes) but for us guys it is a snap. If you lend out your bike to your friend you can impress them by asking their inseam measurement, and getting the seat height right off the bat!
New seat post offers 1” more of extension and scale is calibrated to your inseam number.
As we enter February, the winter’s hold is starting to slack, and there may be a day here and there we can get out and ride, leaving our wind trainers behind. That will be a much welcome moment. Those in warm places — we wish we were there! Ride safe and until next month, stay into the ride!