Steve Watkin's UK Vanguard

Webmaster Paul says: Steve inquired on the Ryan Owners Club message group to find out how to determine the build date of a used Ryan Vanguard that he was going to look at in the UK. Some of us gave him some hints and the next thing we knew, he had purchased it. He was kind enough to share some photos and his story with us:

My first experience of a recumbent was a quick ride on a BikeE, that wetted my appetite. So after looking around for a while I found a secondhand Speed Ross, a SWB with a relatively high bottom bracket. Fell off it many times and decided that it was not for me.

Sold it and got a Bevo Bike CLWB from Germany. Better with a lower BB but still not totally right, perhaps it was the front wheel drive, I don't really know but anyway I sold it and started looking again. In the meantime I got myself a s/h Trice Classic recumbent trike (you can see pictures of me and it here, click on Trice Classic, owners.) This was a revelation! So comfortable and such a superb piece of engineering. Although even that had its faults in that it couldn't pass through many of the restrictions on our bike paths.

So the hunt was still on for the two wheeled 'bent that could pass through the width restrictions and be as comfortable as the Trice. It was then that I found the Ryan whilst looking for a Peer Gynt! And I must say the comfort requirement has been met. The Ryan is the most comfortable of all my bikes including the Trice it's just that the Ryan is harder to negotiate around awkward obstacles.

My Ryan came from Lancaster in the north of UK and I live in the south so it evolved a 600 mile round trip and a night spent sleeping in the back of my car!

Upon looking at it when I got home I concluded that it had very little use but had been ignored by its previous owners. The whole bike was dry and unlubricated, just looked like it had stood forgotten for most of its life.

But there were some odd things about it, like it was fitted with a triple chainwheel which consisted of a Stronglite 80 double with another 30t ring bolted to the inside. This put the small ring so close to the frame that the front mech. would not move inboard enough to change on to the bottom ring. This left the other two rings available, one was a 42t and the other a whopping 52t which was miles too high for any practical use.

I was able to get rid of the 52t altogether and get a new 28t so now the chainset is a double with a 28t and a 42t. This worked reasonably well with the supplied 14-32 rear seven speed cluster but I live in a very hilly bit of the UK and felt I would like to expand the gear range so I purchased a Shimano Mega-range 7 speed freewheel which gives me sprockets from 11-34 and a gear range from 22" to just over 100". This works well for me and I can get up most of the hills around here, and I can go down them all really fast!!

Another oddity is that although my bike is a recent one it is fitted with a 700c wheel, I suppose that was an odd requirement by the original supplier in the UK. The bike was definitely built for this size wheel as the brake bosses are in the right place.

Originally the bike had a 28mm wide Michelin World Tour tyre on the rear but it was really flimsy and would have been prone to punctures so I replaced it with one of the new "puncture proof" Schwalbe Marathon Plus tyres of the same 28mm width but it's a tight fit at the "front of the tyre / chain stays area" and I do not think you could fit anything bigger.

With the little computer / light mount that I made for the front it's about finished and I've now (14.11.04) done about 300 miles on it. At long last I think I can say that I've found the 'bent for me!!

Steve Watkin
In the UK

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