Gallery: Roland’s Challenge Hurricane

I’ve been reading the recumbent blog for a couple of years. I think it is an excellent idea to start the ecovelo blog to get people to see bikes as transport rather than toys. Over here in the Netherlands bicycles as transportation are so common that it’s easy to forget that the situation is very different elsewhere.

For the EcoVelo gallery, I’d like to introduce my daily transport;

A black Challenge Hurricane tour with under seat steering that I bought at the end of last year. It was specifically made as my day-to-day transport. I use it for commuting to work and for grocery runs. Essentially it’s for all regional transportation that doesn’t require a car because of weight or bulk.

It has several adaptations to make it suitable as a daily transport; Sturdy Velocity Aeroheat ETRTO 40-406 rims with Schwalbe Marathon HS-308 tires. A low rolling resistance is nice, but comfort and puncture resistance (especially when driving onto a curb) are more important. A Rohloff 14-speed hub gear is used for reduced maintenance and the ability to switch gears while standing still. The front chain ring has 62 teeth while the rear sprocket is 17 teeth. This puts the 11th gear (1:1) at a cruising speed of around 23 kph. The chain ring has covers on both sides to keep pants out of the chain. :-) A chain tensioner was built into the top idler above the front wheel by Frank ter Braak from ‘de liggende hollander’ who built me this bike. Most of the chain is enclosed to help keep it (and the bike and rider) clean. Mudgards are also essential in this aspect, since this bike is used come rain or shine. Shimano XTR hydraulic disk brakes provide plenty of stopping power independent on the state of the rims. Rear suspension is provided by a Rock Shox SID element. The seat cover has two sides, one covered in leather for when it’s cold or wet, and a ventilated mesh side for summer. A B+M Lumotec senso plus headlight is fed by a Schmidt hub generator, while the rear LED light is fed by batteries. The rear rack carries a Radical Design large Allfa bag, which gives 30 liters of luggage or groceries capacity while maintaining a reasonably aerodynamic profile. An Axa Defender ring lock with attachable chain is used to keep the bike safe when parked outside.

Keep up the good bloggin’! —Roland

7 Responses to “Gallery: Roland’s Challenge Hurricane”

  • Geoff Steele says:

    LOVELY machine, Roland. Thanks for sharing the description and the photos !!

  • Greg Peek says:

    Roland, I can really apreciate the thought you have put into your daily driver. Everyday non recreational bikes is something that I have been thinking about here at Longbikes for a while. I would like to think that Americans will use bikes for transportation more, and they will to some degree, but never enough to make the difference we need to get away from cars and gas. In the US, there is not as much mass transit as there needs to be and becasue of the volume of land in this country, we are so sprawled out that most people simply cannot get to and from work on a bike. I respect and admire people who can seriously limit the use of cars or become car free!

  • Roland Smith says:

    Thanks, guys!

    @Greg: What would you consider to be too far away for a bike commute?
    When I was an adolescent living in Oosterhout, cycling 5km to Breda seemed a long way. Now I do that every day. Since traffic here is _very_ dense, there are days when cycling is faster than taking the car!
    A collegue of mine does a 44 km return trip (also on a recumbent) almost every day. I’ve read peoples’ blogs who commute even further (by velomibile). But I would consider a 15-20 km single journey about the limit of being practical.

  • Alan says:


    I think what makes a distance practical partly depends upon the quality of the roads, whether the route is safe and pleasant, or dangerous and clogged with traffic.

    Years back, I had a lovely 40+ mile round-trip commute on quiet beautiful roads running along the waterfront. Where I live now, 20 miles from here into the city would be intolerable due to the lack of a clear route and heavy traffic with many stop lights most of the way.

  • Greg Peek says:

    I agree with Alan, it is not so much distance, but what you ride on. I have about a 35 mile one way trip every morning on Interstate highways and city streets which I drive in about 45 minutes. I could get there on a bike using rural roads to get to the bike path along the interstate, but would likely increase the distance by 30% to 50% and the time would go up to 2 to 3 hours. If I had a regular job and worked in downtown Denver, Colorado I could use the light rail which has become quite popular. There is a light rail station about five miles down the interstate from my house…except that to get there on a bike would become about a fifteen mile ride on roads that you don’t want to be on with commuter traffic.
    It is not so much about the distance as what you have available to ride on. The rural roads that I would have to ride to get to the bike path or light rail station are not something that I would feel safe riding on during commuting hours!
    There is a resurgence of residitential / commercial development around here that affords people the opportunity to be close enough to work, shopping and mass transit in addition to the great bike path system in Denver. I think this type of development is going to make a noticable difference in the future, and a little difference now. The vast majority of residential developments in the past 50 years in the US are suburban by design and cater to cars. When I was a kid starting to drive and gas was 19 cents a gallon, it was no big deal, now it is. This country was designed without any consideration of the dependency on oil and cars. Unti l we get over that social environmental mindset which thinks we will never run out of oil or land, it is not going to change.
    As a concerned citizen of this planet and as a bike manufacturer, I would certainly like to see it change.

  • Roland Smith says:

    I tend to forget how lucky we are in the Netherlands with abundant bike lanes and -paths. :-) Practically my whole commute is on one.

  • Hank Rademacher says:

    Excellent Hurricane, Roland. As a transplanted American in Germany, I love the bike paths that criss-cross our area, both short- and long-distance. However, we’ve now spent two of our recent vacations in and around Oostkapelle in the south of The Netherlands…absolutely excellent biking infrastructure!

    Just on the off chance that you are interested in answering a few questions about your bike, here they are. How’s that big rear rack (looks like something new for Challenge)? Can you put a couple of Ortlieb Back Roller Classics on it? And the rear swingarm? It doesn’t look as substantial as, say, the rear suspension system of HP Velotechnik’s Speed Machine…is it OK in terms of strength and stability?



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