In May 2011, I ordered a frame set at RaptoBike. After six months, it was finally available. A long waiting time. But Arnold Ligtvoet, the owner of RaptoBike, told me that he now has enough frames on stock.
The frame set was packed in a big packet and protected well for the transport home. At home, I inspected the individual parts. Everything okay, no reason to nag. The delivered orange color contains a high share of metallic partiles and is very nice to look at. The frame parts look very solid, which (unfortunatly) is mirrored by their weights (all measurements brought to round figures):
front frame part: 2000g
rear frame part: 1700g
seat post long: 150g
open-cockpit bar: 450g
telescopic stem: 450g
One of my aims was to assemble a bike with as many standard parts as possible. So you do not have any problem with replacements on long distance rides and thus you have to transport less things. In general, the assembly was easy. However, there was a problem and I noticed a couple of smaller issues.
But let’s start with the good points. The frame adjustment with this bike works just perfect. The clamping is very good and modifying the lengts works without any efforts.
A new solution for the adjustment of leg lengths, which works absolutely perfectly.
I had the ahead bearings assembled because usually you need a special device to countersink the seats for them. Assembling the fork was quickly done after sorting out the parts.
My biggest problem: the right bottom bracket part could not be turned in. No proble on the left sid. Obviously, the thread was not cut properly here. Ok, I have had this with other frames as well before, but it is not really acceptable when the frame goes to an end-customer. The thread had to be worked up by my local bike shop. Supposedly by the coating, the derailleur-tube became too thick. It needed a 5mm longer screw to assemble the clamp of the derailleur.
On the left side of the steering tube, there is a cable guide for three cables which cannot really be used for anything. Both, to the front and to the rear the radius would be too small and a brake cable would likely be kinked when steering. So assembling the cables with tape.
Assembling the chain was simple and easy as you do not have to take care of the rider’s length adjustment. Due to the short distances, the chain does not shake loosely. Thus you end up with a very clean chain guide. The rear derailleur should have a linkage from above or be linked with a U-Turn-Away to avoid kinking of the cable.
An important issue with front wheel drive recumbents is the chain role as they are in the area of the rider’s legs here. Here the roles are 18mm wide and thus 5mm wider than those of other role manufacturers. Though the chain runs very much on the inner side.
Due to the fact that the frame adjustment infers with the distance to the steering, chosing the width of the steering bar can result in some effort. I made it a little harder for myself as I assembled the rather short Flux-steering instead of the bar by HP-Velotechnik which was included in the set. Thus, I had to organise another stem with roughly 70° instead of the 40° of the original stem..
The rear seat post is good and can be adjusted in its angle in multiple stages.
The front seat attachment is quite filigree and consists of a cylinder in which 2 holes for screws are drilled. Unfortunately, these two holes do have a distance of only 2.5cm. Also, I think, the bearing area is rather small with approx. 15mm in diameter. Thus I added an aluminium plate between seat and tube to increase the bearing surface. I also assembled a thin metal plate from above between seat and screw-heads to distribute the forces over a bigger surface. I did not assemble the foam which was delivered with the set.
Altogether, the evaluation of assembling the bike is positive: I had already had bikes which took more time. Especially one of the most frequent problems, the chain guidance is well solved here. I hope that the bottem bracket thread was an outlier. The front seat attachment shoul be attached with 4 instead of 2 screws and have more bearing surface. The cable guidance could be more elaborate. The really important things, such as chain guidance and gear switching worked straightaway.
As direct competitors for the Midracer I see the Zox26LL and the Optima HighBaron who are in the same price range at similar equipment. The Performer HighRacer is even cheaper.
Really low-cost is the Midracer only in the absolute base-equipment.