Recumbents and all feet forward machines
I have a 650 c Bacchetta (two wheel recumbent high racer) .... and, as it always seems to be, the moment you start on one bike, you start thinking about how it would be on another .....
Basically I am toying with the idea of swapping to a lowracer and weighing up the pro's and con's of disc brakes
The Bacchetta is equipped with standard rim brakes and can easily get over 70km/hr down certain hills (and that's without pedaling). Frankly that is fast enough for me, however when I start carrying a bit of extra weight with me for touring, these minor sensitivities get amplified even at lower speeds.
At around that pace, the centre of gravity is a bit touchy (even had the experience, after hitting a bump, of getting totally airborne out of the recliner seat once due to the way the handlebars are hinged upwards to provide extra clearance for the knees ... which was quite exasperating .). The feeling is that the higher up you are, the more precarious the sideways balance. I can't help but think that a lowracer would afford more stability since the geometry would be a bit closer to the road.
Also braking at that speed, well, you certainly need a lot of advance warning of hazards since you won't be stopping anytime soon. Disc brakes of course would have more stopping power without the anxiety of overheating the rims but I am thinking that on a recumbent you really don't want to have the wheels skidding (I can appreciate the effectiveness of disc brakes on a recumbent trike where a bit of sideways slide from sudden braking doesn't equate to getting judo flipped by the bitumen ... an experience I don't plan on having on the bacchetta ).
So I am wondering if disc brakes in this scenario are over kill since braking power higher than rim brakes simply translates into an increased safety issue for high speed/touring loads. IOW bringing in more braking power than rim brakes simply increases the hazards.
( The only experience of disc brakes I have are on a standard mountain bike, which is of course a totally different experience).
Anyway, I am just putting all this out there to ask if anyone has experience on lowracer vs highracer and rim brakes vs disc brakes in terms of stability and safety ... especially in terms of speed/touring loads.
(I've been looking at the performer lowracers on flying furniture, if anyone's got any experience in that department ???)
CW I can't really give you first hand facts but as a trike rider I can give you some of my experiences and maybe give you some advise coming from a MTB back ground. I started off on a MTB with 160mm rotors and I found them to not have enough stopping power when you most wanted them to bite. It wasn't long before I upgraded to 203mm hydraulic disk system and this was the answer they have the stopping power but it takes time to adjust the brakes and get the feel with such awesome braking system. All it is is just a learning curve a few kilometres on different terrain and you soon get the feel so your good to rip.
Because I ride a recumbent trike I started out with 160mm cable disk brake system on 3 wheels and again soon found out that even with 3 wheels 160mm disk brakes just don't cut the mustard with stopping power. For my needs I saw no need to invest in hydraulic brakes when my main aim was touring I needed something that was going to be easy to fix on the road. So I stayed with cable brakes but again upgraded to 203mm cable disks. The big rotors was the answer and even with a fully loaded touring trike it has the stopping power. What I do like about the larger rotors is even fully loaded I have had no issues braking down long mountain descents so on that front just get the 203mm and be done with it even if your riding a 2 wheel recumbent.
On the matter of loads even on a trike I find that a low centre of gravity is best when loaded the trike handles better and brakes better so I have no doubt that this would be the case with a hi racer or even a low racer. I have had at one point gear that was higher up on the trike but I soon learnt to get it lower for safety reasons and handling feel.
I think once you learn the feel and conditions your riding in what disk brakes can deliver getting over that learning curve you will be extremely happy to have disk brakes. Down long steep decent loaded I just alternate between front and rear brakes to keep them cool and this can work for even a hi or low racer loaded. Just be more mindful to watch the road conditions when using the front brakes loaded or even unloaded in corners.
Since your focus is on touring, you may want to consider the HPV Grasshopper fx.
This bike is suspended so bumps should not catapult you out of the seat, and it has disc brake options.
And it can be fitted with racks for a full set of panniers.
Since one of the claimed advantages of disc brakes is superior modulation, I cannot see why skidding would be a problem.
You can probably test ride at flying furniture.
PS - just because you can do 70kph doesn't mean you have to, and it would be very unwise with a touring load on board.
Ron brings up a good point most 2 wheel recumbents have lousy rider weight limits so if you plan to tour this is going to bust the safe work load limit if your on or near the maximum weight. Sure you can exceed that weight limit by a country mile but if your concerned about warranty then this is something to consider. That Grasshopper Ron pointed out is a favourite amongst recumbent touring riders but having said that I'm not fond of USS so that is only something you can decide on as the owner.
One other point I forgot to mention if you choose a cable system get quality brake levers and cable housings they really do make a world of difference than the stock brake levers that most recumbents come with. There smoother with more adjustments built in for feel and braking.
Yes, Ricky, but USS is an option on the Grasshopper - above seat steering is standard. The other HPV model that is very popular with tourists is the StreetMachine.
Another bike that appeals to me, but very different is the Easy Racers Tour Easy - I particularly like the Ti-Rush model and would have it fitted with a nice slippery fairing.
Thanks Ron I never knew it could also come with ASS I have only ever seen that brand of bike with folks touring with USS. Must be something that appeals to those touring wanting USS it's never been a setup I liked. I never liked USS on trike as well.
Lol Ron you sure know your bikes folks tour on for someone that tourers on non recumbents. You amaze me in your knowledge...
I might add that Cheesewheel does have a trike, Ice Adventure FS HD
Masi Speciale CX 2008 - Brooks B17 special saddle, Garmin Edge 810
Have you used discs before? With the modern ones the modulation is excellent.
Maybe see if you can borrow or testride a a decent MTB to get a feel for them.
Indeed, and no problem pulling up with 160mm rotors when bedded in. I should qualify that by stating I'm running Shimanos, Avids don't seem to have quite the same amount of grunt, but are still quite good.
When all else fails, persistence prevails -- Lew Hollander
Yeah TG mine have been 160mm Avid and I reckon there terrible but the 203mm Avid pull up on a dime. 160mm Avid hydraulic work only because you have the added assistance of fluid unlike cable brakes which is all up to the brake lever and what it's capable of in leverage. The other issue with hydraulic on recumbents is they have to be custom made brake lines which is an added cost if you buy standard off the shelf sets. In most cases USS of the shelf will fit and reach using Hydraulic.
Hehe - I have done a lot of open-minded research into touring bikes, and I'd have both of those bikes in my garage if I had one.
I've never tried USS, but it seems I'd be less likely to experience arm fatigue than with my arms in the raised position required by ASS. Mind you, that is the standard position on the Easy Racer so maybe I could live with it.
Lots of Easy Racers on CGOAB. Also very interesting to read David Cambon's journals, particularly on the Dempster Highway.
Thanks for the input guys
I have experience with 180 discs on a mtb and also drum brakes on a trike (which I agree definitely could do with a disc upgrade). However as far as brutal braking power on a 2 wheel recumbent goes, I am just wondering if it is over-kill (since abrupt braking power disrupts the centre of gravity ... which is amplified on a 2 wheel recumbent since you can't shift your weight around on the saddle like you can on a wedgie or rely on the three points of a trike to see you safe of any sideways pull).
Point noted that it is always better to have braking power in reserve than not enough - just wondering if the reserve offered by disc brakes is actually practical on two wheels since you have balance issues.
There are some nice quiet (I went down there the other day and on a 18km stretch passed one horse rider and 0 cars Hogans and Uruliup rd - best kept cycling circuit secret south of the goldcoast provided you don't mind sweating up and down a few hills and 1.5km of unsealed road ) mountainside roads south of the goldcoast with clear visibility - these are the stretches where I sometimes get a bit of speed (with no touring baggage). When I am loaded up (approx +15kg and +80kg for me) , the same sort of performance issues start to present themselves at around the 40 - 50km/hr mark (ie downhill and loaded).
I am only really interested in light touring on the bachetta -
It looks practically like this one
B ig huge picture : https://electronicbrainedgement.files.w ... ne-002.jpg
Corsa ss with carbon forks (I picked it up 2nd hand for a good price)
Traditionally more for performance than touring ... I guess I just defaulted it to touring since it was a good local buy
(although mine has rear and front pannier carriers)
Not too sure about the weight limit of those low spoke count xero tri rims but one thing for sure about 650 c, it can be a real trip to get replacement parts in a hurry ....
(edit : their website says the ss corsa has a max weight bearing of about 125kg - more than enough ...although a 650 set up is still a bit unique to be a great touring choice
A longer wheel base automatically compensates for any pending centre of gravity issues, but I am also wondering about having a geometry closer the road too.
It would be good to hear from anyone who has experience of lowracer vs highracer re: centre of gravity on two wheels.
Seems we are mostly a three wheeler clan, though
Gotcha and thanks for the links great to see your open minded same as myself.
I started with a Corsa, 650c wheels, crappy standard brakes.
Followed that with a Raptobike. 405 front,160mm disc, Avid BB7 brake front. 26in rear wheel Paul brakes.
Currently Catbike, hand built wheels, 451 front, 700c rear. X-Eyed front brake, Tektro rear.
Bikes in order of speed; Raptobike, Bacchetta, Catbike.
In order of handling; Raptobike, Catbike, Bacchetta
Braking performance; Raptobike with sticky Kojak tyres. Catbike then Bacchetta. The disk was twice as good as the others put together.
Comfort; Catbike, Bacchetta then Raptobike. This point is more to do with my personal physiological status based on a long days ride. For a short 1-2 hour ride, no big deal but the Rapto hard shell seat makes a difference in a sprint or when you put the power down.
To choose one of these for touring it would be the Bacchetta, even with the 650c wheels you can get a few different tyres up to 28mm and if touring you would have a spare anyway. You can easily pack touring bags and packs to this format too. The Catbike is the most awkward.
Just to add:
The Corsa will also accept 26in tyres with 32mm Kojaks. Comfort, speed and better puncture resistance.
David has a review of the Tour Easy on CGOAB as well, which I wish I had never read Surly Long Haul Trucker anyone?
Some interesting comments here. I also ride a Corsa, which I use mainly for commuting. My route incudes a significant hill where I routinely exceed 70kph. Never had an issue with stability. I remember an interesting discussion with a physicist friend of mine who suggested that the extra height of a highracer actually improves its stability compared to a lowracer. I certainly appreciate the higher perspective when riding in traffic. One thing I do know, is that it’s important to keep a relaxed grip on the bars. Also, I have the rigid head- tube (a ‘stiffy’ in Bacchetta parlance..). Since the Corsa has quite a long wheelbase (which contributes to that good high speed stability), there’s plenty of room to get on and off, negating the need for a folding stem. I think the ‘stiffy’ gives a better feeling of security over rough roads.
Brakes, well, I have the standard Bacchetta brakes, which I find just adequate. With good pads (I’m currently running Swisstop Green) they work well enough. I use Avid Speed Dial levers - adjusting them to the highest leverage setting helped a little to improve the bite aand modulation of the brakes. I can lock a wheel if I try really, really hard. The Corsa is much more stable under brakes than my previous recumbent, a SWB bentech. I’ve no experience of disc brakes on a recumbent, but an acquaintance of mine has both a Bacchetta CA with rim brakes, and a Giro with disc brakes. He speaks very highly of the discs, and was considering modifying his CA to accept them.
David is an interesting character and an accomplished cycle tourist and photographer. His review of the Tour Easy is quite compelling, and lead me to enquire after one for myself, however I was put off by the cost of importing it to Australia.
Another idea was to order one for pickup from the factory and then use it tour British Columbia - to see for myself some of the glorious scenery that David descibes in his journals. I even bought an excellent guidebook for the region. But then I got interested in Patagonia and opted for an expedition bike instead.
It's definitely still on my bucket list though. I'd go for an expedition version of the Ti-Rush with S&S couplers, a fairing, dynamohub and racks.
Shipping is estimated at $650 plus of course duties etc ... the Gold Rush is pretty pricey and of course the ti-Rush more so ... Maybe something for down the track. I think I will end up selling three of my bikes when I get the Mango but I would still like a "roadie" of some description for those tours/rides where the Mango will not be suitable. This is where something like the Tour Easy/Gold Rush comes into play or maybe an Azub Max and I could sell the mountain bike as well
I have a Catbike Musashi (same as William) and the front tektro brake is about as effective as a chocolate teapot !
But I do love my Moose, I try not scrub off speed now
I still have a bit of a love/hate relationship with it, all the built up anxiety of hill starts and cars getting too close, but 15-20minutes into a ride and I am 100% happy !
The low speed handling is really nice and stable which helps when you have to climb big hills....
I still have not managed to perfect that hand down stopping technique.
I love the look of the high racers but they scare me.....a friend has a performer with 650 wheels and he tells me that my Moose is a lot better in terms of stability and low speed handling compared to his Performer. In fact his brother hopped on my Moose and rode off straight away with hardly a wobble !
I am going to have a go on a Zockra high racer soon
I have just ordered some 50mm carbon clinchers for my Moose, she needs a treat..... Bling bling !!
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I take it that the rapto and catbikes were lowracers?
What was your motivation for moving between bents?
IOW what did the corsa lack or the rapto have ..... and what did the rapto lack or the catbike have ... that made you move to these choices?
If you like the idea of the Tour Easy the RANS Stratus XP http://rans.com/bicycles/stratus-xp.html is worth a look. $2500 US complete or $1680 US frameset. Rated to 125kg loaded weight on the standard rims.
Flying furniture in Canberra lists it (though with price on application) here http://www.flyingfurniture.com.au/shop/product/rans-stratus-xp if you didn't want to bring it in yourself. I recently brought in a RANS crank forward frameset and yes, that was about $700 freight costs all up shipped from the LBS in the US to my door. But the Stratus is a long wheel base like the tour easy, not a high racer. Personally I like the fact that the RANS uses two standard 26" wheels, though I've not ridden either.
If you wanted something with a higher crank, the XStream 26 http://rans.com/bicycles/xstream-26.html may be worth a look for similar prices. High crank position but long wheel base. RANS does the more standard short wheel base high racers as well of course, but these may be better tourers?
As far as I know all the RANS bikes can use v brakes or disks. Even the standard bikes with v brakes on them have disk mounts and hubs, but if you get a frameset like I did you can just build it with disk from the outset.
Another possibility for sure. There is some suggestion of a Ti and aluminium frame as well at other websites, but no information on the RANS website. Would love to know what comes in a frameset as well. Never understand the lack of detail: too easy to walk away rather than jump through hoops to get basic information.
This is also a weakness - the 20" front wheel on the Tour Easy is what allows the fitting of the slippery zzipper fairing.
Sorry Cheesewheel for hijacking your thread Will start a LWB touring bike thread in the touring section.
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