Recumbents and all feet forward machines
Well, after much deliberation, I'm contemplating spending some real money on a new bike - a Bacchetta large frame with 700c wheels. I'd be interested in hearing from other barcchetta users with the wheel upgrade on how you find the bike. I'm 183cm tall and wonder whether seat height will be an issue. It will be used mainly for commuting so there will be lots of starting and stopping. Any other comments apprecaited.
Difference in large and small Bacchetta Corsa is 25 mm extra frame in front of the fork tube. Some people actually prefer this to get slightly extra space for crank/foot interference. It also puts a slight weight bias towards the front wheel as standard Corsa has about 60% on the back wheel.
Seat height is going to be relevant to your leg length but as your height is 183cm you should be right if you are of normal proportions.
Stop start traffic is not favourable for the high bracket bikes but no problem in reality. Where they do shine is the long week end rides or touring as at the end of the day you'll just have tired muscles, assuming you have it dialed in.
Go for 700c, go have a look on BROL there is a few disussions on the message boards there. I'm 183cm as well and my Bacchetta Giro 26 now has 145mm cranks. That has push my seat right back but if I changed the seat angle it would different.
Masi Speciale CX 2008 - Brooks B17 special saddle, Garmin Edge 810
You're about the same height as me rdp. I have no problems with the seat height on mine (A large Giro 26 with 700c wheels). Larger wheels are definitely a worthwhile upgrade.
Thanks in part to your collective advice and encouragement, a deal was struck and today I took delivery of a very large box from Ian at Flying Furniture. No opportunity to unpack just yet, as it, and I, are at work, but I sincerely hope it contains a standard Bacchetta Corsa 700c. It is only the second ever brand new bike I have owned, and by far away the most expensive – although the $600 I paid for a tri bike back in 1983 was probably similar in real terms. I’m looking forward to it being smoother, faster, and generally much cooler than the trusty Bentech which has served me well over last five years.
Alas, yes. Much as I would like to have two recumbents in the stable, finances really leave me no option. Part of the justification to go with the Bacchetta was that some funds could be returned by selling the bentech. Current plan is to keep it for a while until I'm settled in with the Bacchetta and then put in on the market.
Alas I may be doing the same. My bacchetta hasn't really seen the road yet and I'm heading down the velomobile path so it might be up for sale as well.
Masi Speciale CX 2008 - Brooks B17 special saddle, Garmin Edge 810
I just caught up with this post.
Congratulations David on the new acquisition. I'm sure you will enjoy it. I've only seen one and I couldn't try it due to being too short in the legs. That's the trouble for me with high racer stick bikes.
My memory isn't the best but you've had the Bentech what, 5 years now so its done you good service. Ceryainly got your moneys worth from it I reckon.
I'd love to hear a comparison between it and the Bentech later. Somewhat different I know but it would still be interesting.
It has indeed been nearly five years with the bentech – how time flies when you’re having fun! Obviously due to its superb manufacture , it has performed flawlessly. It has been my regular commuter for most of the time and has coped well with the rough and tumble of Sydney roads. Apart from routine maintenance and a few upgrades, the only mechanical problem has been a crack in the steering pivot that I rebuilt with a heavier bracket last year. However, after five years, the urge to upgrade became unbearable. Work circumstances these days give me little time to spend building and tinkering, so buying new was really the only option.
I’m looking forward to getting to know the Bacchetta. It will be quite a change from the bentech, which is really very easy to ride, especially after I fitted the hardshell seat which is quite a bit lower. The bacchetta, with a higher seat and much higher bottom bracket will be quite a bit more challenging.
Also REALLY looking forward to hearing about your experiences with the Mango (when it finally arrives ). Now that is quite a machine!
Spent the weekend putting the new Bacchetta Corsa together. Initial impressions; it is very well finished, the aluminium frame looks lovely. Carbon forks are very slick. Running gear is a mix of SRAM and FSA. Brakes are Bacchetta branded dual pivot complete with Cool stop pads. Chain is KMX. Wheels are Xero XR4 700c. Tyres are Kenda Kalientes, which get mixed reviews, but I’ll leave them on for a while before deciding whether to upgrade. One of the advantages of the 700c option is that it opens up lots of possibilities.
Assembly consisted of adjusting the headset (using a neat adjustable shim called a BFT – Bacchetta Fine Tune), fitting the stem and handlebars, and installing the euromesh seat, which is impressively light. Fitted the wheels and everything was ready to go. All went together very easily and little tweaking was needed to get gears and brakes working smoothly. I had also ordered a ‘brainbox’ bag from Bacchetta that mounts on the rear of the seat. Fits neatly and is quite easy to remove. I’m hopeful it will be big enough for commuting duties and avoid the need to fit a rack.
Time for the first ride – to the local coffee shop, of course. I’ve been riding a recumbent for a few years so I knew something of what to expect, but the Corsa is a very different animal from the trusty bentech. Just moving it around it is obviously very much lighter, and it is also quite a bit taller. On the bentech, I can stop with my feet comfortably flat on ground, on the Corsa, I am on my toes. This, in combination with a much higher crank and my legs getting tangled up with the bars made the first couple of starts very shaky indeed. Once underway it felt very comfortable, although it felt like the bars were a little too far away and my arms were straining to reach the grips. The SRAM shifters themselves worked well, but it took my brain a while to remember which way to twist them to get the gear I actually wanted. With no computer fitted, I didn’t really have a sense of how fast I was going, but it did ‘feel’ fast. I found myself cruising up a couple of inclines where I normally have to put in some effort to maintain my pace and rhythm. The brakes felt nice and progressive, and stopping was no problem as I tended to naturally unclip both feet and sit up as I came to a stop. So far all good. Safely back home I made a few tweaks, moving the seat back up one notch to reduce the stretch and raising the bars to give a little more clearance for my knees. Later in the day I did another local ride I know very well, to Berowra station and back via the Pacific Highway. This is a 26.5km round trip with a few moderate hills. The fastest I’ve ever done this on the bentech is a shade under an hour travelling time for a rolling average speed of just over 27kph. On the Corsa my elapsed time (including a couple of stops for traffic lights and to refit the chain after I mis-shifted it off the lower chainring) was around 57 minutes. It will be interesting to see what it can really do when I get my act together and with a computer fitted. I even passed a road bike! We were going down a slight incline at the time and I could have done that on the bentech as well, recumbents are very fast downhill. They usually catch me again especially if there’s any sort of climbing involved, but this time I was able to keep pulling away from him. It’s quite possible, of course, that he was recovering after doing 100km, but I’m going to give the Corsa the credit!
I can’t link to photo sharing websites from work, but you will find some pictures here;
Nice bike David.
Great to see you have it up and running.
I think you will enjoy it once you get familiar with the differences and the high BB and seat.
the Brainbox is a neat idea. I wonder if they have similar fitting bags that are a bit bigger. That would make more of a tailbox for aero effect I would think.
In one way its a pity it doesn't have disk brakes because then you could swap in the 26" wheels if you wanted to.
The speed increase is to be expected I think with bigger diameter wheels and a probably more aero position. I'm not sure how much lighter it is than the Bentech but that should help too. It all adds up.
Barcchetta do have a bigger bag but it only fits the larger, less aero seat. Radical Design from Holland make some very nice bags in different sizes to fit all sorts of recumbents. Expensive though.
I weighed my bentech using a cheap set of fishing scales at 16kg including rack and pump. The Corsa is listed at 10kg without pedals, proabaly around 11-12kg all up. I'll confirm it on the same scales soon. In any event, it's a lot lighter, and as you say, it all adds up. You, on the other hand, have gone the other way, and will be pushing upwards of 30kg, with just a little bit of streamlining to help!
I recently took delivery of a 700 CA2.0 Beautiful bike. Took it for a 65 km ride today. After the TW Bents Attack the CA is a dream to ride. The reduction in weight about 30% the joy increase about 100%
A bad days riding beats a good day working!
Managed a bit more time on the Corsa over the weekend and starting to feel a bit more familiar with it. I wanted to see how it felt when climbing and whether the gearing was going to work with my legs. On Sunday afternoon the weather didn’t look too bad, in fact it was quite sunny when I set out. The plan was to start at Hornsby, head through Galston Gorge, then along the rolling hills through Arcadia and down the hill to the ferry at Berowra Waters. Stop for coffee there, then back up the hill to the Pacific highway at Berowra, with more rolling hills along the highway back to Hornsby. Total distance around 50km, with two decent 200metre climbs with gradients up to 10% or so.
After the tweaking I did recently to the seat and handlebar positions, the bike is feeling more comfortable and I’m not finding my knees hitting the bars as frequently. The tight turns on the run down into Galston Gorge gave me some practise in turning and keeping my knees out of the way. Climbing up the other side felt good, the gearing worked well with plenty in reserve (although more about shifting later). Once at the top it was a nice roll through the countryside to Berowra Waters. The surface on this section is quite rough in places and with 23mm tyres and a stiff frame, you certainly feel it, thankfully the seat pad does a good job of damping the worst of the vibrations. The run down the hill to the ferry is fast and flowing, but even though the bike felt very stable I was feeling pretty cautious and took it quite gently. I am very impressed with the standard issue brakes. Smooth, progressive and with plenty of power.
Crossed the river on the ferry, then a nice cup of coffee and muesli cake at the café on the eastern side. This is at the boat hire place and run by very friendly people - first thing the owner said to me as I pulled in with the bike was ‘Would you like me to fill your water bottle for you?”. Well recommended. The climb out to Berowra isn’t as steep as Galston, just seems to go on for quite a while. Nothing for it but to settle into a steady pace and work away. As soon as I crested the ridge near the top, it was obvious that the rest of the trip home would be into a stiff headwind. Despite this I was able to maintain a good pace – it seems that the lighter weight and more aerodynamic riding position really does make a difference. Arrived home feeling tired, but with no aches and pains, which suggests that the bike setup is getting pretty close. I am awaiting the arrival of a new computer so I don’t have any accurate statistics, but I think the elapsed time was just on two hours for an average of around 25kph. If it is accurate, then it is around 4kph faster than I’ve done the same ride on the bentech.
The bike is comfortable and definitely fast. It is very stable at speed and relatively easy to manage at low speed. Good brakes. The ride over varied surfaces is very predictable and it handles rough surfaces well. Has a very strong presence on the road, even more than the bentech. I was given lots of space by most cars and received quite a few friendly waves and favourable comments – a nice change...
The seat is very high – when set to the right distance from the pedals, it measures 70cm from the ground which is about my practical limit. It feels quite precarious on anything other than a smooth, level surface. Starting on a hill or slope is quite uncomfortable. I suspect this will improve with familiarity, but it will never be as easy as with a lower seat. I’m not yet a fan of the drivetrain setup. The twistgrip shifters work well enough, and the rear shifts pretty quickly and precisely, but I find the ‘microshift’ front derailleur shifting slow and inexact at best. To get a positive change requires a big and rapid twist of the shifter, go too far and it will overshift, too slow and risk the chain falling off. Nothing like as positive as a well setup triggershift system. I’d be interested to hear what other owners feel about this, seems to me that a triggershift system could be made to work much better.
They are sold through Bacchetta, I got it with the bike. Cost was $100. Bacchetta also sell online. Not sure whether they post internationally though. It is quite well made with foam reinforcing inside to hold the shape without a frame. Just enough room to carry my commuting stuff. I don't think you could carry anything heavy in it. It is designed to slip easily over the back of the seat and is held in place with a strap around the seat stays.
Lucky man! I was sorely tempted to go with a CA2 frame kit, but to do it justice with proper running gear would have pushed the cost beyond my means. I do agree with you though, they really are very nice to ride!
Yep that's a Giro 26 2012 model to boot. Is practically brand new. Did 4km out on the road with it and about 20km on the trainer. I hope it finds much more use with Rowley than it did with me, it was gathering dust
Masi Speciale CX 2008 - Brooks B17 special saddle, Garmin Edge 810
Will get plenty of use. My new job has 12 hour shifts which equates to 3 days of work, 4 days off then 4 days on 3 days off ECT so plenty of time to ride All i need now is a way of attaching the bike to my car considering the bike is nearly as big as my diminutive Mazda 2.
Bents for La Tour
I'm grappling with the same problem. It would fit into my Subaru if I take the wheels off, which I'm not keen on. Looks like the only option will be a roof rack.
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