Preliminary ride report - VR-44 FS
Date: Sat, 21 Mar 1998 00:13:52 -0500
From: Alan Felsen
I have done two short rides with my new suspended Vision R-44. Here is what I've learned.
The ride is not as magically smooth as I imagined, but the suspension makes a noticeable difference. I initially had the rear air shock set to too low a pressure (they recommend rider weight + 30) and this resulted in serious pogo effect. Now that the shock is set higher this is diminished. I can still feel it a little bit if I'm muscling the bike up a hill, but I consider this the bike's way of reminding me to spin. I will probably buy a shock pump to avoid having to rely on the LBS to adjust the shock. Unfortunately the shock pumps are obscenely expensive.
The bike is OSS and has the Vision fenders front and rear. The rear fender is not well designed. It uses the standard V shaped metal stays and a bracket that is bolted to the rear brake bridge to support it. It's hard to describe without seeing it, but the problem is that the bracket consists of four prongs that the fender SLIDES through. You then can crimp the prongs down against the fender, but this doesn't stop the fender from trying to slide back (rear towards the ground) until it slides right out of the bracket. I've had to stop several times while riding to fix this. I intend to solve it by punching/drilling a hole through the bracket and fender and using a small bolt through them to make sure the fender won't slide anywhere. [NOTE: I later learned that there should have been a hole drilled through the fender and a zip-tie used to secure it. The mechanic that installed the fenders didn't read the instructions. I installed the zip-tie and have had no more problems with the fender]
I am using the Vision daybag that mounts to the seat for carrying tools, my camelback, etc. There are two mounting points on swingarms (chainstays?) that I wasn't expecting. They don't appear in any of the web site pictures of the suspended bikes. An email inquiry revealed that they are mounting points for a rack. This will involve a mounting bracket that Vision will be selling in the near future, but that is not yet available.
The only serious problem that has me worried is that there is a front wheel shimmy. On my first ride I was experiencing it at speeds over 20mph (descending hills). The front wheel was oscillating side to side and was pretty scary. I assumed it was somehow caused by slop in the front suspension fork.
Today I went out for another ride and I wasn't troubled by the shimmy while descending, but if I tried to ride no-hands at lower speeds (5 to 10 mph) within a second or two the front end of the bike would begin to shake violently. I can ride the bike with one or two fingers on the bars, but if the wheel turns a little to the side, it will start shimmying. I need more mileage and more time to figure this one out. I have been corresponding with Vision, and Ricky C. says in hundreds of miles on the suspension bikes he never encountered the shimmy. I don't know if I've got a bad fork or if some other factor is involved. Its definitely something I want to fix.
Well, that's all I have for now. The weather hasn't been cooperating too well with any plans to get more time on the bike. I hope the information is helpful to those of you who had expressed interest in the bike.
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