My Way

My Way

1 Comment 📁 Featured News, Sports, Uncategorized 🕔01.January 2016
My Way

My Way

I would consider Handcycling to still be a developing sport. Even what to call it can be disputed, is it a hand bike, handcycle or hand crank? Wheel sizes vary, crank arm orientation is unregulated, and frame materials are many. Every year more athletes are finding their way to handcycling. They bring new ideas and energy to the sport. However, eventually a UCI rules committee will decree stricter regulations that will bridal handcyle configurations to a template they deem best for athletic competition. Who knows, it may have two criteria. One for time trial and one for road race bikes. This can be viewed as a positive or negative. On the positive side handcycle manufacturers would be able to concentrate on a given design vs. the many wheel sizes they now incorporate. Personally, I like having options and believe the best bike design has not been discovered yet.
Two athletes that have changed the sport of handcycling by doing it their way are Alejandro Albor and Rafal Wilk. Both men have had great success by not using equipment that was status quo for the time. Especially Alejandro, his homemade carbon fiber handcycle with offset cranks early on did not handle the best for him but he never scrapped the idea. He improved on it until he had a winning formula for him that even by today’s standards was one of the lightest race bikes made. You may not see offset cranks on a handcycle anytime soon but I know if you follow handcycling you would say his bucket looks awfully familiar

alejandro

 

wilk 2

Prior to Rafal Wilk entering the handcycle racing fray you were hard pressed to find a 20” wheel anywhere other than on the front of a racing wheelchair. He recognized a set up that worked well for him even though all others were on larger wheels. He also decided to go with a shorter frame which also worked well for him. The 20” wheel has made a resurgence impart due to one person’s success. The “Wilk effect” has made the 20” wheel relevant or at least a consideration for new bike or wheel purchasers. The point of a wheel size being faster or slower is mute when a World Champion is using what was thought to be a slower wheel size. In reality World Champions are using different wheel sizes in all classes. The only size not represented on top is 700c. Maybe that will change this year.

rafal

I’m not implying that a handcycle racer has to be an inventor or trend setter to be successful. What I would like is fans and athletes to recognize that its athleticism, hard work and proper training that will win the day. You don’t want to be on the backside of development in regards to new equipment but never lose sight of the engine that powers the machine!

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1 Comments

  1. 🕔 18:49, 01.January 2016

    SETH

    The 20-inch rears were around long before Wilk. Around 2000-2002, they were on a lot of the Sopurs. Both Mayerhoffer and Albor also used them (before going up to 650.) The 20-inch will give a weight advantage and always do better in the wind tunnel, but ride quality suffers.
    700c offers endless wheel/tire options and a smoother ride. It also makes the bike much “bigger.” There are always trade-offs. In racing, I get crushed by people using every size of wheels available!

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