Frequently Answered Questions

  • Does the high crank position cause numb feet?
  • How do I carry water bottles?
  • Is the Volae Monotube frame efficient?
  • Where did the "Volae" name come from?
  • Will a fairing make me even faster on my Volae?
  • What about chain line noise?
  • How does the speed of a Volae compare to speed of an upright?

Does the high crank position cause numb feet?

Numbness at the ball of the foot is usually caused by pressure of the pedal on the ball of the foot. This is independent of the relative height of the crankset to the seat. Riders that experience this problem should try the following:

  1. Use clipless pedals and biking shoes with stiff soles.
  2. Make sure your shoes are not too tight in the ball of the foot. Try lacing them a little looser.
  3. Shift down to a lower gear and work on spinning. During the spinning stroke you should actually be pulling down and backwards for a short time. This helps to reduce the constant pressure on the ball of the foot that causes the burning sensation. 

How do I carry water bottles?

First, we're big fans of seat bags and hydration bladders and would recommend them to every recumbent rider. It's easier to drink from, which means you'll stay more hydrated; you don't have to take your eyes off the road or tip your head back to drink, which means you'll stay in control; and you'll never see your bladder go skidding down the road after you hit a big pothole.

For those of you still not convinced, we've found several mounting options for water bottle users:

  1. FastBack Bottle System on the seat.
  2. Minoura Bottle Cage Mounts on the chainstays.
  3. Cage Mounting Kit on the seat.

Any of these will work great for just carrying extra water, but we recommend the Minoura chainstay mounting option for primary use since it's much easier to grab and replace a bottle than seat-mounted options, it's inexpensive, there are no cumbersome straps, it's quite secure, and it requires no drilling to your hardshell seat. Click Here to see bottles mounted in this fashion.

Is the Volae Monotube frame efficient?

In the diamond frame bike world, efficiency in transferring energy from the rider to the rear wheel is commonly referred to as frame efficiency. Movement at the bottom bracket is the telltale sign of an inefficient frame. However, this diamond frame logic does not transfer perfectly to the recumbent frame situation. In the recumbent world frame efficiency (determined by movement of the bottom bracket) is only part of the equation. In fact, the definition of "frame" itself is somewhat blurred compared to upright bikes. On a recumbent (unlike an upright) the seat, seat attachment hardware and seat stays all provide a platform for the rider to push against when pedaling. Does this make them part of the frame? Also, chain management is a recumbent specific issue not found on uprights that affects the efficient transfer of energy but is clearly not part of the frame.

At Volae we think of the Energy Transmission System (ETS) as a more comprehensive means for analyzing energy transmission from the rider to the rear wheel. The ETS includes the frame design, frame material, tubing specifications, seat stay design & material, seat attachment hardware, the seat itself and the chain management. All of the above effect energy transmission from the rider to the rear wheel. Everyone is aware that efficiency is compromised if the boom allows the bottom bracket to move excessively from side to side. However, efficiency is also compromised if the rear triangle design allows the seat to move from side to side when pedaling or if there is friction in the chain management system. Focusing on one of the ETS components at the exclusion of the others may lead to inaccurate conclusions. The Volae design evolved from an awareness of the role that all of the ETS components play in making an efficient bike.

Volae frames are designed to allow enough vertical flex to absorb road shock and provide a smooth ride while minimizing side to side flex at the boom and rear triangle. The result is a perfect combination of comfort and efficiency. The only people that think our recumbents aren't efficient haven't ever ridden one. 

Where did the "Volae" name come from?

Developing our company name was a difficult task, which took many hours of brainstorming over a three-month period. We had planned to develop a "manufactured name" that was not a foreign name, since our bikes will be made in USA. During a brain storming session with my son Ben and a consultant (Kevin), I suggested Rolet. It came to mind while driving behind a Chevrolet pickup truck. However, we felt it might be mispronounced. Ben suggested replacing the "et" with "ae" resulting in Rolae. Then, since we were also considering some names beginning with "V", Ben suggested changing the "R" to a "V". The result was Volae. We all liked the sound of it immediately. 

Will a fairing make me even faster on my Volae?

The real question with fairings is, "Does the wind close behind the fairing before it reaches the rider?" At the bicycling speeds found on a dual 650 recumbent with a laid-back body position and high bottom bracket, the rider is too far behind the fairing to get much of a "drafting" effect from it. This is especially true when riding in cross winds or quartering into the wind. A fairing will improve your aerodynamics on a 26/20 model with an upright seating position and a mesh seat. However, a fairing alone will probably not provide much of a speed advantage on a dual 650 or dual 26" model with a molded seat and a laid back seating position.

will fairings help keep your feet warm and extend your riding season? Yes!!!

What about chain line noise?

The vast majority of Volae riders don't have any concerns about chain line noise. However, on occasion, a rider does complain about "idler noise." We researched this issue and found that while some noise comes from the idlers, the bulk of the chain line noise comes from the chain passing through the jockey wheels on the rear derailleur, the chain/cassette interface, and the rest of the drive train.

Our seat stay design may be the culprit and also the hero. Force is applied to the pedals by pressing your back against the seat. Seat stays that allow the seat to move from side to side absorb energy and, incidentally don't transmit sound very efficiently. Volae seat stays provide an extremely solid platform to push from (the hero part) but also do an excellent job of transmitting sound (the culprit part) to the hollow channels of the molded seat and the rider's ears. Tap the rear derailleur of a Volae with the handle of a screwdriver. The resulting sound seems to come from the vicinity of the seat and the rear idler.

Is a Volae drive train louder than some others? ...Sure.
Is it more efficient, smoother and more durable? ...Definitely! 

How does the speed of a Volae compare to speed of an upright?

Volae positions the rider in a naturally aerodynamic tuck position. Most riders cannot stay in the aerodynamic tuck position on conventional bike for more than a mile or two without discomfort, while a "recumbent tuck" is completely comfortable and is the position you always ride in.

Body position for muscle group recruitment is equally important to aerodynamics. A Volae with a Comfort Carbon seat positions the rider for optimal muscle group recruitment and utilizes those muscles in the middle of their operating range where they are more efficient. This means more effortless riding and better hill climbing ability.

Speed is largely dependent on the engine (you), but our own experiences have shown a significant advantage over upright bikes in flat and rolling terrain, and no real advantage to either in moderate hills. In very steep hills, an upright rider can have a slight advantage due to their ability to stand on the pedals and muscle up steep inclines.