Author Topic: Fujin SL* or otherwise (and dealers..)  (Read 3996 times)

Fujin SL* or otherwise (and dealers..)
« on: January 15, 2015, 04:35:15 pm »
As much as I like my lardy-arse Speedmachine, I'm tired of getting beaten up excessively on climbs with roadie clubmates. So, time for a Fujin SL2 (probably). I've reached that conclusion from

Light - nearing the 20lbs mark if possible
Lowish - not in a hurry to bust a collarbone from something higher
Preferably not dropped chain/fwd for maneuverability
Not too worried about carrying capacity.
Disk brakes (at least, at the front)

M5s or Barons  fall foul of of one or more of the above, and luvverly as Troytecs appear that's a bit spendy. But any other suggestions welcome...

Based on http://www.velomobilforum.de/forum/index.php?threads/mein-lowracer-ist-da-freu-fujin-sl-1.37891/  - but using an SL1 seat and power tap, and  at 10.7kg (24lbs), I should be able to do a little better with a disk-braked SL2. I have a sneaking suspicion Arallsopps Furai SL came in at 26lbs but that could be a figment of my imagination.

So, a few questions:
before Challenge wound up with the current full complement of idlers, gear changes was a little ropey on the front - is the new setup give trouble free shifting with a triple ? - or at least, no worse than on a Speedmachine ?
ISTR Tigerrr saying they needs constant fettling in one of more forum threads - anyone any comments ?

Frame longevity - I realise it's lightweight and I gather the design's been tweaked after earlier breakages, have problems mostly gone ? From a forum trawl Tigerrr appears to be on his 3rd frame - were the first two older frames, or unrelated ?

Tiller - the lightweight version is just a bent (Ti?) tube, the adjustable version covers dangle angle and reach - how much reach adjustment is there ? I gather it won't drop into one's lap as such but so long as there's sufficient scope to avoid knee/brake lever collisions plus a bit more wiggle room..

Looks like mudguards are possible on the disk fork, and botchable on the rear when using disks.

Now, dealers (minor rant content)
Laidback seem to be well-regarded, London Recumbents have stopped selling Challenge (which was a pity' cos they were really good re trying some out some years ago).

The third, who shall remain nameless (but obvious) is a bit..well, pants at selling stuff. They now have a spanky demo Fujin built up as of december - or so I gather from facebook, I'm still waiting for an email ! - which has been at various stages of arrival (or not) since june last year, and I've been hassling about since then - and to be fair, received answer to emails on status, and much of the delay appears to be at the Challenge end (mebbe built bikes take precedence).  But various requests - 'so, you'll let me know when yer customers fujin's built so I can have a look ?' - and (several times on my last visit) 'ok, so you'll email me when the brakes are fitted and it's ready to demo ?' (they did once earlier, when the seats arrived) seem to enter one ear and exit the other. Oh, and some SPM steering parts ordered earlier last year (again, to be fair, a while back), last time I was in..'oh..do you know what they look like ? They probably went in the bearing drawer' (that's probably the sibling drawer to the one holding my SPM mech hanger that they had to order a second time...).
Either way, they've blown it on the Spanky Fujin pricing, the original estimate of another 250-700 quid has finally turned into 1k more than the vanilla model, *and* still doesn't have a mech post (which was funnily enough what I said I wanted  back in may or June, and I'm not sure I've got the patience for 'just order me a f***ing boom rather than try to convince me to use a dualdrive' :D)

So I'm in a quandry, order from Laidback and get it delivered (or 40quid each way to pick up from Edinburgh) with a vague expectation they'll have decent customer service if there's a warranty issue, or use A N Other that's pretty local,  can build bikes fine, know lots about 'bents, but seems a bit rubbish at trying to sell anything. And a bit (bit?) disorganised to boot. (Oh and didnt' even have the right waterbottles to give me when I ordered the SPM, if I want to be picky, tho' that was some years ago. Elephants n all that...)

Re: Fujin SL* or otherwise (and dealers..)
« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2015, 04:47:24 pm »
All my dealings with Laidback have been excellent. In my experience they're a customer focussed and enthusiastic business. They're up front about the challenge of dealing with Challenge too. Highly recommended.

Re: Fujin SL* or otherwise (and dealers..)
« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2015, 05:50:50 pm »
Never had any dealings with the other place. Laidback give excellent service and I couldn't recommend more highly. You may want to tell Dave you are coming, though. He is always open on Saturday, but on other days of the week may be closed unless you phone first (well that was the case last year). He is most obliging and will open when you want to be there.

Be prepared to spend some time. I called in for half an hour when first considering a recumbent but with no intention of buying there and then and I think I was there for 4 hours (though this did include time spent helping move the kitchen equipment in the cafe next door...).

You could of course reduce the delivery cost by taking the train to Edinburgh and then riding home  ;D

Re: Fujin SL* or otherwise (and dealers..)
« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2015, 06:23:15 pm »
Never had any dealings with the other place. Laidback give excellent service and I couldn't recommend more highly. You may want to tell Dave you are coming, though. He is always open on Saturday, but on other days of the week may be closed unless you phone first (well that was the case last year). He is most obliging and will open when you want to be there.

Be prepared to spend some time. I called in for half an hour when first considering a recumbent but with no intention of buying there and then and I think I was there for 4 hours (though this did include time spent helping move the kitchen equipment in the cafe next door...).

You could of course reduce the delivery cost by taking the train to Edinburgh and then riding home  ;D

:D
Well, they don't have Fujins in for demo anyway - well, not since their red one got nicked :o - but I certainly wouldn't be averse to trying a few things whilst I was there - think they've an m5 chr at the mo..

Wothill

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Re: Fujin SL* or otherwise (and dealers..)
« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2015, 08:19:13 pm »
Laidback all the way.

I don't know what the problems are at Challenge these days but I wish they would sort them out. Last time I looked at the website they were sill talking about a no-suspension Chamsin as 700c replacement for the late much lamented Seirin SL. I emailed them asking how they were getting on with that and (belatedly) got a very friendly reply saying that they were working on a carbon version perhaps next year (2015).

Re: Fujin SL* or otherwise (and dealers..)
« Reply #5 on: January 15, 2015, 08:28:39 pm »
Another recommendation for Laidback from me :thumbsup:
Pete Crane E75

Arellcat

  • Velonautte
Re: Fujin SL* or otherwise (and dealers..)
« Reply #6 on: January 15, 2015, 11:42:53 pm »
I don't know what the issues are with Elan (aka Challenge) either.  Indeed, has anyone managed to buy a Chamsin yet?  Laid Back Bikes has worked hard to resolve some of the idiosyncrasies of bikes like the Fujin, particularly the chain management, generally involving greater or lesser parts from Terracycle and Nazca.  The orange Fujin SL that was taken without consent has never turned up.  On that basis I'd give David a call, and also see what Darth Stuart has to say about Challenge availability; Bikefix's website does acknowledge the current situation.

But the world of low racers, and lightweight ones at that, has certainly diminished with the reduced output from Challenge.  At the high end I would probably want to look at the Velokraft VK2 (but there's no disc option).  Alternatively if you can find a dealer, the TW Bents line is surprisingly capable if you were to look at the Duma (titanium quasi-low with a disc option) and the X-Low-S Disc, which is a warmed-over M5 really and has a high chain routing option.  The Duma hits the scales at about 22lbs.

Left-field options for performance and climbing: RANS XStream (the one with 650c wheels and the Hoagie seat, for about 24lbs) and don't discount the Lighting P-38, which has always been a great climber, and now comes with discs as standard; naked it's about 27lbs and it's out-aeroed by a stock Nazca Fuego, but an Angletech Aerotrunk and HED wheels will sort that out.

Alternatively, forget discs, forget a low seat height and go for an M5 CHR.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Fujin SL* or otherwise (and dealers..)
« Reply #7 on: January 15, 2015, 11:48:23 pm »
*sighs longingly*
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

arallsopp

  • Beansontoast
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Re: Fujin SL* or otherwise (and dealers..)
« Reply #8 on: January 16, 2015, 01:46:35 am »
Another +1 for David at Laidback. Would not hesitate to buy from him, or to listen to his advice.

Not massively enamoured of Challenge, tbh. I have two (Furai and Seiran) and both have had their issues and neither have been straightforward to solve. David's been a massive help, but I'll not be buying any more. (Yes, I realise that having two arguably means I don't need any more).

Now I want a new bike.... Darn you. :D
Love words, hate lulu? Buy "Barring Mechanicals" on Amazon UK or US

LMT

Re: Fujin SL* or otherwise (and dealers..)
« Reply #9 on: January 16, 2015, 06:56:04 am »
Another vote for David at laid back. Had no issues buying and being shipped a frakekit, he was most helpful.

You sure you want a low racer? My Highracer comes in at around the 21lb mark, has zero chain issues and I find riding it far less twitchy then when I had my Low Baron.

Re: Fujin SL* or otherwise (and dealers..)
« Reply #10 on: January 16, 2015, 05:03:07 pm »
Thanks for the replies so far.
Re Challenge - I've a sneaking suspicion I may have posted this before, but out of curiosity I found that Paul Voerman and Arjen van Nooerdenne had a 2-man industrial design company, yellowflight, post-Challenge, and Tricas - another industrial design co. - seems to have bought them out/absorbed them - tho only Voerman appears to be there now, with van Nooerdenne at cygnushpv.

So interesting to hear Elan/Challenge are still doing some development work - tho' it's possible the van Vugts could even be getting tricas to do the analysis bit. I'll see if I can get more info from LB. It's taken Darth Stuart an inordinate amount of time to get his framesets-only from Challenge, but whether they deprioritised 'em behind full bikes, or Stuart didn't chase, or Battle Mountain etc got in the way...?

Re highracers..sounds picky, but I find the stickbike end of things a bit ugly, if optimal wrt other considerations (Slyway being a possible exception..)
I've bust bits of me in the past and more recently (and a heel bone density scan as part of a health survey seemed to suggest summat might be up, but I need to persue privately that since I'm not in a high-risk group according to the GP - ie female. Still, tests have found I've enlarged prostate !  :thumbsup:  :-\).

So would like to avoid buggered hips/shoulders if possible at 52-ish - I've had the SPM sideways in winter slush before now and not lost it - dunno if I'd pull that off on a highracer (or tiller steering for that matter). Plus some of the backroads in surrey often have grit+crud and can be damp/have run-off a lot of the year, you can often be on a narrow strip of clean tarmac - an upright mate bust his collarbone a week or two ago :(

From a bit more of a browse mebbe an M5CHR's worth a try-out - looks like there's a few people have run them with triples, and with a high return chain via a short chaintube, and it's still a bit lower than many highracers. Could even put on a front disc via a Burrows Blade (as sold by Bikefix). There's a midracer, tho' that's more aimed at shorter riders by swapping the front wheel/fork for a 406.
Curiously M5 appear to have made a lower, disk-braked version of the M5CHR in the past - can't find any reference otherwise other than a link I've now lost on the M5 site, but the seat's definitely lower (and with disks):
http://gallery.roadworkx.com/#!album-5-77

Tigerrr

  • That England that was wont to conquer others Hath made a shameful conquest of itself.
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Re: Fujin SL* or otherwise (and dealers..)
« Reply #11 on: January 17, 2015, 10:36:29 am »
I have a speed machine and a fujin sl2 - now evolved very significantly with lots of add ons and rebuilds.
If I were starting from scratch for a fast light longer distance rider on UK roads I would probably now look around, and might not pick Challenge. But I have not yet seen anything that is exactly what I would have wanted.
I am still fettling the fujin even now - having moved to hamster bars I still have not got a gearshift system that will be comfortable for 12 hr rides. Levers all over the place!
Humanists UK Funeral and Wedding Celebrant. Trying for godless goodness.
http://humanist.org.uk/michaellaird

Re: Fujin SL* or otherwise (and dealers..)
« Reply #12 on: January 17, 2015, 05:59:15 pm »
I have a speed machine and a fujin sl2 - now evolved very significantly with lots of add ons and rebuilds.
If I were starting from scratch for a fast light longer distance rider on UK roads I would probably now look around, and might not pick Challenge. But I have not yet seen anything that is exactly what I would have wanted.
I am still fettling the fujin even now - having moved to hamster bars I still have not got a gearshift system that will be comfortable for 12 hr rides. Levers all over the place!

It was yerself and a few other Fujin owners I was hoping for a bit more feedback from :)
How's the shifting on the front mech now - and any info on the frame breakages you had ?

No joy with the carpal tunnel/comfort issues yet ?

Tigerrr

  • That England that was wont to conquer others Hath made a shameful conquest of itself.
  • Not really a Tiger.
    • Humanist Celebrant.
Re: Fujin SL* or otherwise (and dealers..)
« Reply #13 on: January 17, 2015, 09:35:12 pm »

I am on my 3rd frame. First one was first generation, snapped at the weak spot about an hour after I went over a grid - don't know if the grid killed it but it is possible.
Gen 2 had reinforced plates. Second frame was skew. Both frames have internal cable runs but the holes need grommets as they eat cables. Not sure if Challenge fixed that.
Much depends on how heavy you are I think, as to how light you can take the kit - lighter means much less force is going to be put through the stress points - the rear fork and front stem being the two hotspots.
I must admit that I should have thought through the steering and cockpit better. It is what you look at all day and the handgrips really need to be comfortable and gears/brakes in sympathy. I would now make certain the gear system is integrated from the outset as mine is now a dogs breakfast - at least until I work a magic fix. I cut the bars in tight, and it is congested with grips angled - thumbshi
With gears the thing is to be able to get range - frankly I need an ultra granny by the end of some days, but at the same time I want an extreme top end because very occasionally one gets the chance to push the thing to the limit. This is apparently a difficult brief to get right.
I had a VK2 box on the back, but its noisy with rattles and bangs, and only clears for race tyres with seat low - so currently I am not using it.
I find rear race tyres too unforgiving on UK roads leading to needing to slow down rather than being faster.
Smaller front wheel makes for a better ride posture but increases surface issues, especially with race tyres.
The idlers are something I have an intimate knowledge of - time I won't get back. If I ever identify the source of the odd ticking tapping noise that develops after a couple of hours that would be great.
The speed machine is superbly designed and built and reliable - but not for long fats rides for me.  However it is so well made that it gives a misleading impression that other bikes would be as simple.
The Challenge has always been superbly fast and light (less so as I add stuff), but it has to be regarded as an ongoing prototyping project rather than a finished thing.  I can't think of many rides where I have found not found something to address back at home, or have not been trying out some new fix. Never leave home without cable ties on this bike.
While I envy the box fresh ease of those on uprights,  it can be interesting and when it actually all works together, on a fine day and a smooth road - it can be spanked up to extraordinary speed. I think most of the bikes like this are likely to have similar issues - might as well build it yourself as you are going to rebuild it anyway!
Humanists UK Funeral and Wedding Celebrant. Trying for godless goodness.
http://humanist.org.uk/michaellaird

Re: Fujin SL* or otherwise (and dealers..)
« Reply #14 on: January 17, 2015, 11:04:30 pm »
Thanks for all that :)

Weight-wise - at about 76kg I'm no racing snake or particularly overweight, so that's a reasonable way off the limit - and I ought to be nearer 70-72 anyway. I'm generally fairly easy on kit (tho that's easier on upights I guess), and I'd run the widest tyres I could anyway   - from a thread on BROL it sounds like 40mm/1.5" may be the upper end using discs

I guess one solution to dodgy front end changes *is* a dualdrive. Perhaps I'm being unfair, but Stuart's suggestion sounded more like he wanted to sell what he had, rather than order another boom ! Certainly didn't try to sell the idea as a reliability issue. But a mech-post is always handy for a light.

Interesting recables/grommets...mebbe more reason not to use hydraulics, or to run cables externally..or get very liberal with the shrink-wrap :)

So no deal-breakers so far, but it'd be interesting to run one back-to-back with an m5chr.

Tigerrr

  • That England that was wont to conquer others Hath made a shameful conquest of itself.
  • Not really a Tiger.
    • Humanist Celebrant.
Re: Fujin SL* or otherwise (and dealers..)
« Reply #15 on: January 18, 2015, 11:08:45 am »
If you dont use hydraulics you can have my old Challenge brakes. Superlight etc.
Humanists UK Funeral and Wedding Celebrant. Trying for godless goodness.
http://humanist.org.uk/michaellaird

arallsopp

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Re: Fujin SL* or otherwise (and dealers..)
« Reply #16 on: January 19, 2015, 11:53:26 am »
...Never leave home without cable ties on this bike...

Should have had you write the foreword on my book, I feel ;)
Love words, hate lulu? Buy "Barring Mechanicals" on Amazon UK or US

Re: Fujin SL* or otherwise (and dealers..)
« Reply #17 on: January 19, 2015, 07:43:49 pm »
If you dont use hydraulics you can have my old Challenge brakes. Superlight etc.

Hopefully I won't need to, but many thanks for the offer !

Mind you, there's probably something to be said for something a little less powerful than disks on the back, I've had the SPM sideways before from too much rear brake :D

Arellcat

  • Velonautte
Re: Fujin SL* or otherwise (and dealers..)
« Reply #18 on: January 19, 2015, 08:47:13 pm »
Tere's probably something to be said for something a little less powerful than disks on the back, I've had the SPM sideways before from too much rear brake :D

That's why I ran a 140mm Hope Mini on the back of mine, with a 160mm on the front, and several times I had the back wheel unload itself during hard braking.  Ah, happy days.  I miss my SpM, even though my knees don't.

Re: Fujin SL* or otherwise (and dealers..)
« Reply #19 on: April 09, 2015, 12:29:08 pm »
Thread resurrection/necrophilia. Or summat.

After a bit of going round the houses, or more accurately, David at Laidback trying to get a few answers out of Hans at Elan, it looks like I've finally managed to get an SL2 ordered :)

And after the separate thread somewhere on RAL colours (I managed to find some examples at a powdercoaters and was somewhat underwhelmed)  it seems they can do it in Challenge metallic red - similar to that of the ICE Sprint 26

And red's gotta be quicker  ;D

Yee-f***ing har :)
Roll-on may. Or june. Or...

Tigerrr

  • That England that was wont to conquer others Hath made a shameful conquest of itself.
  • Not really a Tiger.
    • Humanist Celebrant.
Re: Fujin SL* or otherwise (and dealers..)
« Reply #20 on: April 10, 2015, 07:09:10 am »
Look forward to seeing you whizz by on the road. welcome to the world of fettle that is lightweight recumbent riding.
Humanists UK Funeral and Wedding Celebrant. Trying for godless goodness.
http://humanist.org.uk/michaellaird

Re: Fujin SL* or otherwise (and dealers..)
« Reply #21 on: April 10, 2015, 10:26:57 am »
 :thumbsup:

BTW - admittedly your seat might be something other than Ocean Cycle, which I understand they're using now - ever fit any kind of edging strip to the seat ? I'm intending to get some Radicals for it (and *maybe* ride back from Edinburgh), if it's the Bananas I wonder if the carbon seat edge chafes the straps much.

Mr Larrington

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Re: Fujin SL* or otherwise (and dealers..)
« Reply #22 on: April 10, 2015, 01:10:39 pm »
You can probably get the edging strip after a six-month wait from one of the Usual Suspects but back when Young Master Robert was putting together his full-on racing Baron X-Low he used some similar faux-chrome stuff from a car parts emporium, because it was lighter.
External Transparent Wall Inspection Operative & Mayor of Mortagne-au-Perche
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Re: Fujin SL* or otherwise (and dealers..)
« Reply #23 on: April 10, 2015, 09:44:00 pm »
I have a Furai on order via David at Laid-back so fingers crossed that it all happens. Its sounding promising!

In a review of a Radical Designs seat pack on Dave McCraw's site, one respondent described unprotected carbon edges slicing through the webbing. Carbon Fibre can be nasty stuff and I've always used a beading round the edge of my seats.

Re: Fujin SL* or otherwise (and dealers..)
« Reply #24 on: April 10, 2015, 11:11:04 pm »
I have a Furai on order via David at Laid-back so fingers crossed that it all happens. Its sounding promising!

In a review of a Radical Designs seat pack on Dave McCraw's site, one respondent described unprotected carbon edges slicing through the webbing. Carbon Fibre can be nasty stuff and I've always used a beading round the edge of my seats.

Ah - David recently mentioned talking to Hans re another order, p'raps that's  yours :)
I'd forgotten exactly where I'd seen it mentioned, but it was probably Dave M's review that'd lodged  in n the grey matter.
Any recommendations on edging type ? -I suspect the silicone or rubber stuff conforms better then the PU edging, and that it shouldn't be too deep. Stick it on  with silicone sealant ?