I've been interested in crank forward bikes ever since I stumbled upon them on the RANS website. As a bent & DF rider I wasn't sure what to make of them. They sort of look like DFs, but with a big comfy seat and the whole cockpit tilted back. Like many good things in my life it took a while for the idea to bounce around in my brain until I "got it". I've been moving towards more useful forms of cycling which has not only been a practical transformation, but it has had the unexpected side effect of getting many of my casual cycling and non-cycling friends excited about the possibilities of pedal power.
Most of my friends never got particularly excited about my recumbents or my serious performance bikes, but somehow folding bikes and cargo bikes caught their imagination. As I was going through the process of helping them buy bikes or setup their existing bikes to be more useful it became clear that most commonly available bikes are not ideal for folks who don't make riding part of their identity. They just want to hop onto a bike to get stuff done without thinking about it. The ideal bike for them has to be fun, easy to use and comfortable.
It was around this time the light bulb went off for me with regards to where crank forward bikes fit into my cycling universe. With big comfortable seats, being able to sit while flat footed at a stop, upright posture with a great view of the road and easy shoulder checks, big wheels for a fast comfortable ride - they seemed ideally suited to the task of making cycling approachable to people who don't own any lyrca. Being an empiricist at heart I wanted to see for myself what these bikes were all about.
I have to admit as much as I believe in cycling solutions for the common man I'm a bike snob! I love riding a nicely built bike that someone has designed with love and that sports good components. The obvious choice in the crank forward market was RANS. Let's face it these guys make planes as well as bikes that's gotta be a good thing! I spent some time perusing the crank forward section on the RANS website and decided that a Street fit my riding needs best. Being halfway between a DF and RANS more laid back models like the Cruz. Don't believe any rumours you may hear that it was in fact the awesome metallic red paint job that steered me to the Street...=-) Although red bikes are faster aren't they???
RANS was kind enough to provide me with a Street test bike - thanks! When it arrived I was impressed with how well they packed the bike. This had to be the most carefully packed bike I've ever received. I quickly put it together and took it out for a spin. You can read about my first impressions and enjoy some crank forward porn here.