Dec 22

Dec 22, 2003

My Bicycle family has a new member!

I was doing some internet searches on an HPV message group a while ago and found someone in Calgary who owns an M5. That was a surprise because there are only 5 of them in Canada, and it's probably the only lowracer in Calgary (aside from my homebuilt). The reason this interests me at all is because the M5 is currently known as the fastest production bike in the world. It holds seven world records:

1. 1 hour record of 53.44 km
2. 1 hours womens record of 46.42 km
3. 100 km record in 1 hour, 23 minutes
4. 24 hour record of 1021 km
5. 12 hour record of 607 km
6. 1000 km record in 23 hours, 21 minutes
7. 1 hour record faired of 77 km

I called the M5 owner (Rick) and went over to his house to check out the lowracer. I originally had just intended to take the M5 for a quick spin to see how the steering felt compared to my FWD lowracer. My headtube angle is 90% - completely vertical and has a negative rake of about an inch. This was recommended by some research I have on various steering geometries. The result is a very twitchy steering - too responsive, especially when moving at fast speeds - at least, so I thought when I first took it out for a spin. Now, after some experience with my bike, I kind of like the overly sensitive steering. I wanted to feel what a standard steering geometry for a lowracer felt like, so that's really the reason I went to see the M5.

I was so impressed with the feel of this bike, that I knew I had found the perfect bench mark for my own designs. The bike felt fantastic. Plus, I knew how much Rick had paid for it - probably somewhere in the neighborhood of $4000 - $5000. It was equipped with the very best components money can buy - Dura-ace all the way around. He wanted $1200 for it - less than the components alone were worth. So I bought it.

I took it on a test ride when I got home - nice bike! And fast. It is my plan to put the SRM watts meter on it and run it through some watts/speed tests to quantify the speed differences between my lowracer and the M5. As far as handling goes, one of the problems with rear wheel drive lowracers is the front tire interfears with the chain and the crank. It's amazing how little you actually turn the wheel when you are moving fast, but still, at slow speeds, I didn't like the constant rubbing. The FWD totally eliminates that problem. I also prefer my steering tiller - a bit wider for easier control, but at what aerodynamic cost? The seat is comfortable, but probably not quite as comfortable as my ultra cushioned seat.

The next item on my list, is to start compiling some speed / watts data for all four bikes - the M5, the FWD lowracer, the FWD lowracer trike and my triathlon road bike. Then I'll know exactly how much faster the M5 is, and I can start to ask the question 'why?'.

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