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Guido Bartels

Movement, Empowerment, Innovation

Karakour Nation IT

Rabeneick Fancy from 1998 - A story of abuse

The Rabeneick Fancy I got as a child and is the  bicycle which I abused the most. For about 10 years it was used on a daily basis. It was used when cycling to school, for the daily dog tour, as cargo bike and as mountain bike as well. Most other bikes did not last a year.

The Tests

The use as a bicycle for school can already be a challenge in Germany. A satchel weights about 9 kg. Currently most luggage carriers are rated for 25 kg which seams to be much higher.  However, this assumes normal use. As a child I raced with the satchel in the basked around corners. Due to the speed and high point of the weight it put quite some stress on the luggage carrier. It was not unusual that the satchel flew out of the basket. Often the basked came of as well. This meant that great stress was put on the clamp from the luggage carrier.

When cycling, be it to school or on any other occasion I liked to drift with the bike. This not only took its toll on the outer tire and coloured the street black. Drifting meant a great sideways force on the rear weal as well.

Something else which I did was pulling different things attached to the luggage carrier of the Rabeneick Fancy. With a bigger hand made wooden handcart attached I cycled across the field and through the forest. I also tried to pull tires with the rims in order to flatten out molehills.  However, I where not able to bring up the force to move the tire. Therefore I resorted to pulling tires without the rims.

The first years the bicycle got used as a mountain bike on a daily basis as well. When doing so the basket regularly hit a tree and got torn off. I cycled over tree trunks laying across an elephant trail, too. Often the chain guard hit the trunk and broke. Crossing a river via a log and slides similar as seen in the video below were no exception either. After a storm the crown of a tree was laying in the path. I cycled straight through it, chopping the twigs with the spokes. The thickest twigs had the size of my thumb. As my hand grew, it is hard to tell how thick the twigs have been in cm or inch. Something else I did was cycling though a river with the Sachs Pentasport 5 hub under water.

Another use of the bike was to catch one of our dogs when he had escaped. This was a rather light challenge compared to the others as it only meant cycling across ploughed fields. Occasionally the bicycle was used in snowy and icy conditions as well. In all this circumstances the bicycle performed great. The low centre of gravity was a huge advantage in those situations as it reduced the risk of losing the balance. In addition the wider tires allowed for good grip. In this context I found it most impressive that I where able to cycle up a hill covered in ice and snow with slick tires where as pedestrians where continuously slipping.

Through out all the tests the only maintenance the bicycle got was fixing or replacing the inner and outer tires. It also got cleaned with a garden hose and one time with a high pressure cleaner for tractors.

Of course there where also some accidents. Most of them are negligible when looking at the other challenges. However, one crash was more significant. With approximately 60 km/h i cycled in the back of a car which had suddenly stopped.

Result after 10 years of torture

After 10 years of torture the bicycle was retired from daily use as it hat became to small. During the entire time only very few parts where replaced. The front weal was exchanged due to the crash with 60 km/h. The handlebar survived the crash despite leaving a print in the back of the car. Furthermore the plastic chain guard got replaced several times. Since it has been exchanged  against a chain guard from aluminium, it has not be replaced again. In addition the seat post and the one for the handle bar got replaced as well. The only reason for this was that the bike would otherwise been to small earlier.

At the point of retirement the shifting of the Sachs Pentasport 5 hub stopped working. Now only one of the five gears is available. Due to the driving and hard breaking with the paddle break the left side of the frame near the hub got bend. After all the torture the handlebar is somewhat bent. In addition the end of the luggage carrier is now bent downward which is probably caused by the pulling. However, it is still fully functional.

In addition to fixing the above mentioned defects overhauling and restoring to its former glory  would mean replacing the cranks, sprocket, chain and the soft handles.

Conclusion

The Rabeneick Fancy is the sturdiest bike I ever tested. It survived 10 years of pure torture surprisingly well. The main reason for retirement from daily use was that it became to small. Other bikes did not last that long.

Due to its capability and what I experienced with it the bike shell be restored. After restoration it may be used again as mountain bike or winter bike, making use of its low center of gravity and wider tires compared to usual road bikes.