Recumbents and all feet forward machines
Iâ€™ve only ridden a homemade
And a GT5
So I may not have ridden enough to pass judgment
I will anyway
I really wanted to like 3 wheels as it seemed like it would be the perfect touring bike
Even riding a 25k home made 2 wheel recumbent I can ride 10kph faster over a full day then I can on the GT5 [this is with them both loaded with the same waight]
And with a lot more comfort [2 wheel do give a lot better ride then the 3]
Even with no load I canâ€™t go close to the same speed
I know Iâ€™m 62 and nowhere as near fit as a 30YO road racer
But Iâ€™d think twice before buying a trike if you want to keep up with road bikes
Thanks Leigh for your input. I have pretty well decided to go with a trike for a touring option rather than a city option. Speed is therefore less of an issue but comfort is.
I have a fairly broad experience of recumbents, having owned two tadpoles, three SWBs, one high racer and a quasi lowracer.
Challenge make very light bikes at and below 9 kg. Check their web site
www challenge-recumbents com/ and with their agent Trisled in Melbourne. M5 also make featherlight bikes and the Optima Baron isn't a heavy bike (Flying Furniture.)
It's unfair to call a lightweight recumbent costing (say) $AUD5000 'expensive.' Top of the line bikes, even DFs, are in that price range. My wife's Orbea Dama race cost around $4000 and a friend rides an $8000 Serotta. You can buy fast recumbents for 3500 and up.
Not all recumbents are as fast a DF road bikes (most are not) and all recumbents without exception are a little slower up hills of gradient more than about 8%. A reclined position is (anecdotally) aerobically a little less efficient and hills make it worse. Many recumbents have a lot of flex in the BB and that robs power unless you use a high cadence and good circular technique.
Recumbent trikes are slower than recumbent bikes - not by much but even 2 kph is a lot when riding with a pack of DFs. Trikes do not co-exist well in DF pacelines. For touring and commuting they're brilliant, but for group rides I'd vote no. The exception may be the Greenspeed Anura Delta which has no BB flex but it isn't the lightest 'bent either.
The fastest recumbents are the carbon lowracers like the NoCom and M5. If you don't mind the high riding position, high racers like the Bacchetta Aero and Challenge Seiran SL are the most suitable bikes for riding with DF pacelines.
There's also the adaptation. 'Bents use different muscle groups. It takes years to hone the muscles to ride a DF really quickly. If you start riding a 'bent at the age of 50, you may never achieve the power of a 50 y.o. DF rider that's been riding his whole life. Add to that the fact that recumbent owners are usually overweight and don't do many kms and you can see that owning a recumbent isn't going to make you the fastest rider in your local group of DFs.
Having said ALL the negative things I can say this. I'm in my 60's and I'm easily able to keep up with DF riders ten years younger (who ride about the same weekly kms.) My recumbents are simply more efficient, more comfortable and always quicker in head winds, or on down hills. If I ride hard, I have to stop and wait for the DF group to catch up. On my good days, I can hurt them, then beat them in to the coffee shop.
But ONLY on 'fast' recumbents. I was never able to beat them when riding a trike, or a RANS Rocket. The P-38 climbs as well as DFs allowing that it's about 3 kg heavier. The Optima Raptor climbs a little less well (at 9kg) but is viciously fast on the flats.
Not all recumbents are fast but if you get the right one, you'll smile like you've never smiled before and ride faster than you've ever ridden AND in comfort.
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