Bikeman, I've had my 'bent since last September, so I am still working on developing my 'bent legs and lungs. It takes about 1,500 miles to do so. How long did your buddy ride his before he gave it up? And what kind of 'bent did he have? Maybe he gave it up to soon, and maybe he needed a better 'bent that was meant for the style of riding he was doing. I went with a Vision because of its durability and versatility.
Right now yes I am slower going up hills. But with each hill I climb I notice a improvment. I love mine and am wondering why I did not get one sooner. BTW the trick to climbing hills on a 'bent is to not power up them like on a upright. But to spin, spin, spin up them. 2 reasons, first you can not stand up on a 'bent and second if you try to power up them on a 'bent you'll destroy your knees.
The aerodynamics are second to none on a 'bent. Another advantage with a 'bent is you can improve on the existing aerodynamics by adding fairing. So far I have done this by adding a homebuilt tailbox. I have yet to include the front fairing though. But in a head wind I am faster by about 1 ro 2 mph and in a tail wind anywhere from 5 to 10 mph faster.
Bikeman, I hope this helps. And I hope your buddy reconsiders.
Thanks for the welcome.