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Recumbent What IS that thing?! Recumbents may be odd looking, but they have many advantages over a "wedgie" bicycle. Discuss the in's and out's recumbent lifestyle in the recumbent forum.

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Old 05-14-14, 06:42 AM   #1
uprightbent
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Recent speed measurements since selling the road bikes

I just came into a like new Bacchetta Giro 20 (steel with the heavy recurve seat) after not riding all winter. The previous two years I kept track and measured my regular routes on a Novara Randonee and Raleigh Clubman, neither being a speed demon, but nor am I.

Don't laugh at my averages, but on the uprights for the previous two years, I've seen overall numbers from 11.5-14.0 mph. This includes long red lights and traffic stops, since I don't hit the pause key on the app I use on my phone unless it's a long break. These routes vary from 25-50 miles with some hills.

I've recently run the very same routes on this Giro, clearly without bent legs. I'm seeing overall times almost the same, maybe 1 mph slower overall, especially with a few hills. Let's say I averaged 12.5 on the touring bikes, now 11.5 on the Giro. Does this 1.0 mph gap equal just 10 extra minutes on a 25 mile ride, and 20 minutes on a 50? Just curious about my math. The odd part is I feel slower, but the gps shows otherwise.

I guess my main observation as primarily an upright rider, is that you might think you've taken a big step back in overall speeds, while the gps says otherwise. All numbers aside, the comfort and view are worth it, although I can see where the knees can take a beating.
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Old 05-14-14, 08:26 AM   #2
Dudelsack 
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It depends.

My Bacchetta, fully loaded, weighs 35 pounds. My DF weighs 19 pounds. Going up hills, the power to weight ratios have the final word.

Into headwinds, I go faster on the Bacchetta.

In stop and go riding, I go faster on my DF.

Cruising on the flat open roads, its a push, but I feel better on the bent.

As for the knees, you gotta keep the cadence up, especially on hills. It is not easy. Hill repeats or trainer spins help. I hate doing them.
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Old 05-14-14, 09:14 AM   #3
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One point about "feeling" speed.

On a DF, you look much more at the ground than on a 'bent. This actually makes a big difference as far as perceived speed.
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Old 05-15-14, 01:11 PM   #4
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I too have been wondering about average speed on my new 'bent versus my averages for the same routes riding DF bikes. So far I only have four real rides in to measure my 'bent average versus previous DF averages. They both seem to be about the same, although I will say I have a greater perceived feeling of speed on the 'bent when I lean into turns. I think the lower vantage point (Bacchetta Giro 20), makes it seem faster even though it would appear to be about the same speed. I was able to ride home with a tailwind last night and maintain higher average speeds during some areas than I think I would have on a DF bike. Also, going in that morning, there was a pretty stiff headwind and I didn't feel at all as if I was gaining any advantage on the 'bent. However, I'm willing to bet that if I had a DF bike to swap over to at that same time, I could've ridden the same sections and probably felt a 25% increase in effort needed to get the DF bike through the headwinds versus the Giro. Of course I'm still developing 'bent legs as well and so I bet that affects efficiency as well. I'm willing to bet that as I become accustomed to the ride, adjusting my cadence (it doesn't seem as easy to maintain higher cadences on the 'bent), I'll start to realize the speed increase everyone talks about, especially on the flats, and those headwind days.
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Old 05-16-14, 07:55 AM   #5
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Don't feel bad about the drop in speed. It's a pretty common experience. After all, you're using your muscles in new ways on the bent. It took me about half of my first summer to get back up to my former speeds.

You'll really start to enjoy the bent once you realize that the speed profile is different and learn to take advantage of it. Think of a tandem, which can't climb as fast but everyone wants to be on its wheel for the downhill. Once you start tailoring your riding style to take advantage of the recumbent's strong points, you'll pick up more speed. Unfortunately, that means you might be playing leap-frog with your friends on uprights; so how much you do it will be a compromise between speed and sociability.
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Old 05-17-14, 07:18 PM   #6
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I'm no speed demon either, and I would consider a 1 mph difference in average speed significant! Also, I find that I feel slower on the recumbent at the same speed as my DF, especially descending. I am always surprised when I look at the computer and see how fast I am going.
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Old 06-02-14, 12:09 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kiltedcelt View Post
I too have been wondering about average speed on my new 'bent versus my averages for the same routes riding DF bikes. So far I only have four real rides in to measure my 'bent average versus previous DF averages. They both seem to be about the same, although I will say I have a greater perceived feeling of speed on the 'bent when I lean into turns. I think the lower vantage point (Bacchetta Giro 20), makes it seem faster even though it would appear to be about the same speed. I was able to ride home with a tailwind last night and maintain higher average speeds during some areas than I think I would have on a DF bike. Also, going in that morning, there was a pretty stiff headwind and I didn't feel at all as if I was gaining any advantage on the 'bent. However, I'm willing to bet that if I had a DF bike to swap over to at that same time, I could've ridden the same sections and probably felt a 25% increase in effort needed to get the DF bike through the headwinds versus the Giro. Of course I'm still developing 'bent legs as well and so I bet that affects efficiency as well. I'm willing to bet that as I become accustomed to the ride, adjusting my cadence (it doesn't seem as easy to maintain higher cadences on the 'bent), I'll start to realize the speed increase everyone talks about, especially on the flats, and those headwind days.
I got a huge jump in speed on my Giro 20 when I ditched the kenda qwests for some Stelvios (now duranos, I guess, but they never seemed as fast).
If you can, ditch the wheels for a set of Velocity's. Better yet, a custom wheelset with Chris King level hubs (DTswiss 180's) laced to a rear 650c wheel (or 700c). Tires, tubes and wheels matter more than any other factor if you're below 20mph.
I got another jump in speed when I moved to a 24inch front wheel (but that was probably because it was actually a Good wheel)
I got a final Jump in speed by switching to a carbon seat. That allowed me to lay back further. Also let me ride longer without butt numbness.
My fastest TT with that setup was 23.5 mph. (in the middle of summer)
I was poised to swap out the front fork and riser for a carbon Johnson and stiffy, And purchase a fast rear wheel, when a used Corsa came up for sale near me for the same price as my last modifications.
I put the Giro back to stock and my wife rides it.

My first TT (a few months later) on the Corsa was 25.3mph (the middle of winter). Over the next season, I added a Powermeter and rear disk cover.

Then I put together a CA1. I added the set of 404 tubulars (no rear disk) to that, and my first TT on the CA1 was 26.7 mph.

Haven't ridden those TT courses on my CA2 yet.

With the same wheels my DF is roughly 2.5-3.5mph slower.

All that to reiterate: Don't underestimate the value of a stellar set of wheels and racing tires/tubes.

:-)

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