Recumbents and all feet forward machines
Okay I have no clue about recumbents really, but I am just throwing some ideas around .... carbon roadie, e.g, Azzurri Primo versus an "equivalent" recumbent around the same dollars ($3,000).
So what I am interested in is suggestions as to specs or what to look at as an equivalent recumbent to a carbon roadie. It does not have to be carbon, but: rather looking for the equivalent interms of speed.
On the WAHPV ride today was a couple of interesting rides. One was an Optima Baron and one was a Cruzbike Silvio.
Two initial observations:
Barron: Handlebars really close to the chest.
Silvio: FWD ... some question about the steering versus pedalling ...
Anyway ... anyone willing to provide some thougths, direction to look etc.
At 30kph about 80% of your effort is going into drag and that increases to about 90% at 40kph (the remainder is rolling resistance / drive train). 2/3rds of that drag is you and changing to a recumbent dramatically reduces that footprint. This is also why aero changes to a normal DF bike do help a little but the key word is little. Position on a DF bike offers more reduction of drag than aero improvements on the bike itself (think MTB position to TT position) but that can only go so far.
In terms of speed I think any decent recumbent should have the edge but there's all that stuff that Europa was talking about with adjusting to a new way to balance the bike and using slightly different muscles. i.e. it may be slower for a while
A recumbent is most definitely going to weigh more for a matching price. I don't even know if there are any <10kg and that includes carbon ones. Ron's 'bent (with the front and rear fairings) weighs something like 18kg but he seems to really buzz along!
/ Giant OCR / Go Vegan /
A few thoughts ....
The Baron was the first 'bent I fell in love with. I had not ridden one, only seen them online and in person for 3 minutes. So sleek, so sexy, so very inviting. It's built for speed.
I talked myself out of the low-racer style of bike precisely because it was built for speed - and not much else. You couldn't comfortably ride one for days on end due to the extreme recline, it's not easy to fit racks on them for commuting, and they are actually hard to see on the road due to the low profile. (I spoke to Frederick today about his accident last week - a driver turned right (across the road) in front of him and he found himself nose to bumper-bar with the car. Scared the fromage out of him! The driver didn't see him.)
The Sylvio also crossed my mind before I bought my bike. I liked the concept of front wheel drive, and the way it was implemented in the Sylvio was very well done. Carbon frame, full suspension, light weight, 700c wheels - in fact all components are standard road bike components, making stuff easy to get.
I talked myself out of one because I was looking for the most aerodynamic design I could find. The Sylvio's seat did not recline as far as other bikes did (especially the Bacchetta I ended up buying). As it turns out, after riding with John on his Sylvio, my concerns were unfounded. The Sylvio looses very little (if anything) to my Bacchetta aerodynamically. What it loses in aerodynamics, it makes up for in biomechanics.
The other concerns I had of the Sylvio were the fact that it only comes as a frame set and my (false) impression that a rack could not be fitted (making commuting impossible for me - wrong ....). We saw John's bike today with a rack on it, so that was my mistake.)
The frame set issue was the big killer for me though, and still is. I've had several discussions with John about why it only comes as a frame set. He is marketing the bike squarely at roadies who are after a real change in their riding position. Those riders already have all the components they need on their wedgies, so they simply need to swap them over to the new platform and off they go! The big obstacle for me was the fact that I did not own a road bike: I was looking to buy a complete recumbent, ready to use as my road bike. That's what happens when you start riding as a MTB rider and then move to the city!
Not only would I have needed to spend $2000+ on the frame, I would have had to buy all the components from scratch. That's not cheap when you don't even own a set of wheels, let alone brifters, dÃ©railleurs, cranks, etc, etc, etc. Now that I know more, I realise I could have bought a used roadie as a donor bike, or even a low end roadie for the same purpose. In your case, you'd need brifters and drop bars. Everything else can be stripped from the Giant.
Steering input while pedalling? As far as I can see, it's a non-issue. People who own Cruzbikes seem to be able to ride them very quickly, including climbing hills with the best of us. John rides his with his hands behind his head when he is feeling particularly whimsical. No other 'bent I know of is stable enough to pedal without the hands on the bars, so I completely disagree that there is a steering vs pedalling question.
Anyway, those are the reasons I didn't buy either of those bikes. I admit, I was wrong on several of my assumptions regarding the Cruzbike. However, it is a moot point because I didn't have a road bike to strip for parts.
I chose my Giro 26 for the following reasons:
- I liked the higher riding position (compared to the low-racers) so I can see and they can see me
- the price was good at $2650 for the bike (should have bought the frame set for $1700 though. All the items I've replaced since buying it were the ones which did not come on the frame set: wheels, running gear, shifters, brakes. Live and learn ....)
- simple, elegant design which is extremely versatile (from reclined aero racing bike to commuter to much more upright for touring and comfort)
- disc brakes allowing different size wheels to be fitted with a minimum of fuss, and good wet weather braking.
- "tweener" bar style of above seat steering
- great aerodynamics
If I were to go through the process of buying my first recumbent again, I'd definitely spend a lot more time riding with the bunch you met today. Each bike you see there is a different design, so you can chat with the riders and pick their brains (either on the ride or at the coffee stops). You'll learn much more by speaking directly with owners than you will from the makers' web sites. You'll also learn which riders like to speed and which ones are there for the fun of riding their bents sedately. If it's speed you want, chat with those riders and find out what makes their bike fast, what could make it faster, and perhaps what they are buying next.
I'm happy to answer more questions, so fire away.
Bacchetta's "Carbon Aero" weighs in at 9kg, but it's well outside the price range Andrew is looking at. It's roughly US$6000.
I don't know what the Sylvio tips the scale at, but it's much lighter than my bike (which is 18kg fully kitted for a normal ride - water, lights, pump, tools etc)
On our speed run this morning, we were hitting 38 to 40km/h into the wind. Considering none of us are trained athletes, I'd say we did okay. We were mightily impressed with Nimm though - he did a great job keeping up and taking a pull on the front there too. Not bad for a young fella who is 12 to 20 years younger than us!
G'day Andrew, I just read your starter thread on considering a 'bent, I've got my Lynxx up for grabs if that's of interest to you, it's not quite a Barron but it's no slouch either (check out the pics in the "I'm selling the Lynxx"' thread). It's certainly a challenge finding what's right for you in terms of recumbent configuration, do I go for high racer, low racer, long wheelbase, short wheel base, USS, ASS etc etc? I can't stress enough the value of test riding, what looks good may not necessarily feel good and vice versa. The undeniable fact of the matter is recumbents are fast their lack of wind resistance is the very first thing you'll notice and that'll be reinforced by the statistics on the speedo.
Last edited by Uba Tracker on Mon Mar 03, 2008 11:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
A bad day's riding beats a good day's work everytime
Graeme, I'm so sorry you bought the wrong bike, especially after all the help you gave me. How about you post it across to me and that way you can tell your missus it got nicked and buy yourself a Sylvio
I had a good bike ... so I fixed it
I'll make do with my bike, me-thinks!
Ahhh, Sylvio don't come in yellow?
...whatever the road rules, self-preservation is the absolute priority for a cyclist when mixing it with motorised traffic.
London Boy 29/12/2011
Yep, passed a bunch of overweight and women riders on road bikes. Selection bias perhaps?
Bianchi, Ridley, Montague, GT, Garmin and All things Apple
Thanks everyone for the comments .... I probably didn't come across that clear with my reference to the Primo. What I meant to try and get across was that my thinking was along the lines of the equivalent in the rankings of recumbents, i.e., what in the recumbent designs fits around the same rankings as roadie like the Primo does in the DF range. Does that make sense?
Anyway, I have been doing some reading and I initially thought that trikes where comparatively slow and didn't consider them, but some manufacturers at least suggest they can be quite fast given the engine. Is this a fair comment.
In the context of the comment about rankings where would the trikes fit?
My first thoughts had been to get a "racer", Silvio or whatever, as I was planning on a getting a roadie. I am now wondering if I should think wider or differently about this and go for something that is more versatile (commute, roadie, maybe even tour with).
BTW can you pull a BOB trailer behind say a trike?
This is the approach I would take. Something like thiswould be okay I guess. I haven't done the new parts costing yet so don't have a ball park figure for a don0r. I suspect I could flog the frame as well for a small cost recovery.
Fredrick raised the steering issue and I note that BentRiderOnline mention it as well here. It does not sound like a major issue as you suggest.
There is something about the Silvio that appeals plus my thinking is that it would work well as my day to day "speedster" whilst also being able to take a my weekly change of clothes to work once a week. That is what I had planned to do with two bikes, a roadie and a commuter, could be done with one and I would have a recumbent to boot .
That said, the idea of trike apeals as well.
I am not sure why but your Giro 26 doesn't spark me ... maybe I want something really odd
Hey, a win is a win! Even old, overweight women who aren't racing are worthy adversaries when the climbing reputation of 'bents in general is at stake!
In general, trikes are slower than bikes. There is 50% more rolling resistance at a bare minimum, but then you need to factor in that the wheel radius is necessarily small, making the wheel even harder to push along (compared to a bike with 26" or 700c wheels).
People buy trikes for the fun of riding them: I've heard them described as "Human powered go-carts", which seems apt to me. With thin tyres, they are indeed quick, but not as quick as a bike.
They also buy trikes when they plan to do a mega-tour, like riding around Australia or even the world. They do not suffer from instability at extremely low speeds (less than walking speed) or on dirt roads, so you can tow a BOB trailer fully loaded up the steepest of hills. You may even choose to stop halfway up and take a breather without unclipping. As a tourer, you're also carrying your after-ride recliner lounge!
I chose not to get a trike because I assumed they would be too slow for my long commutes. Nothing I've seen since then has changed my mind. That doesn't mean I don't want one a fun machine though!
PS - Check out this one: is it Batman's?
Needs more accessories It's really hard to see any part of the frame there are so many things attached to it!
The wheel covers are pretty, but a bit odd to put them on a trike that looks kitted out for touring rather than high speeds.
Thoughts on how slow?
I haven't ridden one far enough to give an informed opinion on just how much slower they'd be than my bike. My thoughts on them being slower are based purely on the way the guys in the WAHPV group ride theirs. That's a sample bias because they are not trying to ride fast and they are less fit than I am.
There is one guy who comes along infrequently (GlenTheBruce, AKA ChuckChunder on bikejournal.com). If you make it to a ride when he's there, you should ask him for an opinion. He commutes more than 80km a day on his trike and has 1700km this year. If there are any fast trike riders in our group, he's the one.
While it's great to be discussing these questions on the forum for all to refer to later, I strongly believe you'll get a more accurate picture by riding with the WAHPV group regularly and talking to the owners after seeing how they ride. You have several months before you seriously consider a purchase, so you can really be well informed at "trigger time": unlike me! I was lucky to find the bike I love at the first go by online research. I should have ridden with these guys before purchasing!
Yes and I plan to, but it is fun annoying the heck of people exploring the options ....
Oh and it beats work and study too
One of the excellent aspects of riding with the WAHPV is that you can pick the brains of John Tolhurst. If you buy the Sylvio, you'd have weekly access to the designer of the bike. He has a vested interest in making sure you're riding fast and completely satisfied!
We also have Craig riding with us. He is has a retail business selling 'bents (out of his garage) so you would be able to test out some bikes and trikes before making up your mind on which way to jump (2 or 3 wheels). We are all waiting with bated breath for the carbon low racer he is selling to be ready for test rides!
Considering rolling resistance (and drive train) plays such an insignificant part in a DF bike (10-20% from 40-30kph) even with 3 wheels I wouldn't think it's make too much of a difference. Also you're really close to the ground which may help reduce drag. Maybe someone will let me jump on and see what I can get up to / sustain on a similar level of effort to my DF.
I'm assuming other bits being equal, i.e. reasonable tyres, wheels roll well, drive chain is working well.
update: John on WAHPV mentioned the trike has an increased profile (hence higher drag) compared to say a low-racer recumbent. This possibly has a larger net effect than the extra wheel rolling resistance. But in terms of what Andrew is thinking about (DF -> trike) I think the trike may still win. Ah if only there was comprehensive studies, this is certainly something that could be done
/ Giant OCR / Go Vegan /
hello fellow lovers of laid back chocolate powered transport.
I have stumbled in here after a failed ride to Mandurah (turned back at the 32km mark) and after noticing my good name mentioned in despatches..
being the pedant i am i should correct Graeme's statement regarding my commute - it is only 14.5km one way by the shortest route, i do sometimes go the long way round though : )
OK, to the topic at hand. Well, trike speeds anyway. I speak from my own experience which is -
8,000km on an 18kg patio tube Bike-E knock-off, sold it to help fund the GTR
53,000km on an 18kg rohloff equipped Greenspeed 20/20 GTR touring/commuting trike
and 3,000km or so on a 17kg custom built Rohloff equipped Kotzur 20/20 touring bike
sorry, not allowed to post pics yet...
i am a recreational and transport rider, i have never raced and am quite comfortable poking along in the mid twenties, unless some fool on a Trekiant CFPIA tells me to "get a real bike"
i find the kotzur is faster on straight good paths where i don't have to negotiate intersections, kerb ramps and tight corners. it is definitely faster in a straight line than the GTR. the difference is around 10%. i strongly suspect that the main reason for the GTR having an advantage in the corners etc is my still not being overly confident on the kotzur and supremely so on the GTR. i guess i am too used to the trike and haven't had enough time back on two wheels. i've fallen off the trike once, the Kotzur seven times already.
on the GTR i have found that into a decent headwind i can pretty much take on most fit roadies and make them work, on the kotzur into a headwind down the freeway path i can take all comers it seems.
without the headwind the heavy fat tyred GTR is never going to out do a <10kg skinny tyred road bike, except when they have a fat bastid aboard. i can hold my own with the weekend warrior type roadies, but it's never going to be easy. again the kotzur seems to hold it's own, and with narrower tyres and a bit of weight loss i reckon i could really have some fun with the MAMILs.
i also regularly ride into the hills out to canning dam and mundaring weir. i've also ridden the whole 100km of the Kep Track. i am faster up hills on my trike than i ever was on my slick tyred mountain bike, and often overtake roadies who obviously don't see an incline harder than a freeway flyover most days. the Kotzur is similar up the hills and faster down the other side.
i regularly pull a BOB trailer behind the trike, and have toured with it.
sorry for the long post. it's not meant to be a thread hijack, just info pertinent to the topic, so if you want to talk about my trike/bike please PM me or start a new thread.
CFPIA - Carbon Fibre Pain in the bottom
MAMILs - Middle Aged Men in Lycra
Great post Glen. I was really hoping you'd pop in here, since you're doing what I believe Andrew was asking about (touring and commuting on a trike - and doing heaps of kms. 53,000km! You da Man!!!!).
HI, Been lurking for a while.
I ride a Greenspeed GT3 about 500km per month as well as riding a wedgie on regular weekend rides. To compare the 2 for me it is easy. The GT3 is for the comfort and the fun, I ride usually on my own and average in the high 20s for most rides, long (100km+) rides my average will be 25km when riding on my own. Best average on a 34km ride when trying hard was 30.5 kmph. I cn ride with the bunch and keep up to about 35km but after that it becomes too fast for the trike and the motor (me).
I ride a Merida 903 which is <10kg and can average above 30kmph on group rides. Best average on our usual 42 km route was 37kmph but that was moving all the time and with a very strong group. above 32kmph is not unusal in a group ride. Riding on my own (very unusual on the wedgie) i drop a couple of kmph.
I would love a mid racer and it might be in the shed after tax time depending on how well the tax man treats me.
A bad days riding beats a good day working!
Thanks Glen. Very informative. I am pretty much swinging towards a trike for touring rather than a touring bike so anything you want to add would be appreciated.
BTW how did you mange to fall off your trike?
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