If you are looking for a High Racer with front wheel drive, then here it is. One of the first questions you need to address is “Why a front wheel drive”? Real wheel drives work really well, which is a wonder in itself, really, when you think about it. That great length of chain with its complicated cross-over of connections—courtesy of strategically placed idlers—does a great job. That’s mainly because the chain is, in itself a superbly efficient conduit of watts generated from legs to rear wheel. Still, there is a degree of inefficiency on account of the length that is not present when opting for a front wheel drive. Is this the difference—for you—that might make a difference? That’s pretty much a personal issue and the front wheel drive vs traditional rear wheel does come down to personal preferences.
Some general observations on the front wheel vs rear wheel drive situation. Obviously you’ll save some weight on the chain. Moreover the design is much simpler—you don’t have to account for all that chain. Another thing is that the sensation of riding is more direct. With the rear wheel drive there is some slack to be taken up when you apply force to the crank that is not present with the front wheel drive. Possibly the most significant “advantage” is virtual elimination of the “pogo” effect if you have suspension. You will probably appreciate the front wheel drive Zelus more in an area without any significant climbing involved. This is because front wheel traction on a wet steep grade when wet can be an issue—there can be occasional, fractional loss of traction due to the weight distribution and just the sheer degree of power that can be applied straight through the front wheel. This is not to say that you should discount this model in a hilly area. The 30/32t lowest ratio is there to take care of that—more on that below.
On the issue of shorter chain length and reduction in weight, we are using 7005 aircraft-grade aluminum. We also route the cables internally as much as possible, giving this high racer a cleaner look. The Tiagra 50/11t top gear ratio will get you wound up nicely; and the disc brakes will get you well and truly stopped when and where you need to. The lowest 30/32t gear will get you up those hills pretty much without a hitch.