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Typical sustained speeds?

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Typical sustained speeds?

Old 08-15-06, 10:21 AM
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korovan
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Typical sustained speeds?

Hi, all! I am extremely new to this whole recumbent thing (never ridden one yet) but am considering giving it a try. I am interested in using it (a tadpole trike probably) to commute to work: a distance of approximately 19.2 miles over mostly flat/gently hilly terrain, mostly on a highway with some small-town streets at either end.

On an upright bike this would take me about 90 minutes: I was hoping that using a recumbent could shave that time considerably.

So, I guess my question is: what kind of sustained speeds do all you experienced recumbent-folk get out of your machines?
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Old 08-15-06, 01:19 PM
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On flat ground, I can sustain 30km/h on my tadpole trike. Hills will take a chunk out of that, dropping me to 25km/h or so. On downhills you'll go real fast, on uphills you'll slow down. You will probably find that a trike will NOT take any significant time off your commute.

HOWEVER, a trike is way more fun to ride, is safer (go ahead, hit potholes head-on!), and more comfortable. Did I mention it's way more fun to ride?

I'll never go back to an upright bike.
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Old 08-15-06, 01:24 PM
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On most rides over average terrain with flats and hills I average from 16 to 17 mph, assuming light auto traffic and minimal stop signs and red lights. I'm older though (62) and have a weak left leg from a previous stroke and back surgery, so younger riders could beat that easily.
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Old 08-15-06, 09:26 PM
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Trikes

A trike will usually be slower than a 2 wheeler over a set course, the trike is safer and more relaxing than a 2 wheeler IMO but if you want speed build a full fairing on it (adds lots of speed and removes wind as a concern) or buy an aerodynamic (laid back) 2 wheel bent.
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Old 08-15-06, 10:01 PM
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Originally Posted by bobkat
On most rides over average terrain with flats and hills I average from 16 to 17 mph, assuming light auto traffic and minimal stop signs and red lights. I'm older though (62) and have a weak left leg from a previous stroke and back surgery, so younger riders could beat that easily.
Geez, my best average speed is only 13.1 mph. I am such a WUSS
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Old 08-16-06, 02:33 AM
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Im averaging about 20-22mph(35km/h) on a flat ATM. And i spin up the hills in the easiest gear. My legs are pretty well built right now. Im doing about 25miles 5 days per week. Half the trip is hills though, with one monster hill coming back into town. Ive taken 10-15 minutes off the same route (all dependant of wind) in the past 4 weeks.
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Old 08-16-06, 04:15 AM
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The time will seem to pass quicker. This is because you don't have many of the pressures on the body that an upright has. This mainly means the back. Even though you don't probably notice it riding a recumbent to work or something is straining as you are hunched over and your back is working very hard just to keep straight. This does not occur in a recumbent.
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Old 08-16-06, 06:44 AM
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I rode a century this past weekend in 5h 10m including all stops. That's about 19.4 mph and there's no way that I could have averaged that on an upright even 20 years ago in my prime.

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Old 08-16-06, 10:24 AM
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Thanks very much for the replies, guys and/or gals. Based on what most of you are saying, it sounds like I could turn what would be a 90 minute trip into something much closer to an hour by switching to a bent. And all the comments about comforts and safety are persuasive too!

Now all I gotta do is save up the dough. Even the low-end bents aint cheap...
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Old 08-16-06, 10:57 AM
  #10  
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I admire you for your proposed commute. There's no way I'd bicycle for an hour to get to work. More power to you!
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Old 08-16-06, 11:33 AM
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Originally Posted by World Tour
I admire you for your proposed commute. There's no way I'd bicycle for an hour to get to work. More power to you!
Well, I'd rather not do the commute AT ALL really, but I may have to (I'm thinking of relocating to a rural area). And in thinking about it I have developed several reasons why an hour on a bike/trike is better than 20 minutes in a car...

1. I don't like driving. Never have. I don't even own a car, haven't driven in over 12 years, and (naturally) consider myself to be an unskilled driver.

2. Since I don't own a car already, it would be considerably cheaper to buy (and maintain) a bent trike than a car (although some of the high-end models I've seen are 6-7,000 USD+, which is insane...).

3. As trite as it might sound to some people, since a trike uses no gasoline, I will be doing my little bit to both help the environment and reduce our national/cultural addiction to oil (with all the attendant problems that come with it...). Plus I won't be shelling out wads of dough at the pump.

4. As it stands right now, I already do about 60-90 minutes of cardio exercise at the gym. If I start doing this trike-commute thing, I can pretty much skip that bit and proceed straight to the weights. Less time at the gym = good.

5. Like all good "Plan A"s, I have a "Plan B" to back it up. My lady-friend has a car, so on the days when it is pouring down rain/snow/sleet, or I'm feeling like a wuss because of having a slight cold or whatever, I can beg her for a ride instead. But, I'm such a stubborn SOB that those days should be quite rare...
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Old 08-16-06, 12:53 PM
  #12  
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I would be hesitant to expect such a large speed increase. I have found my speed on a SWB recumbent to be equal to an older road bike (23#). I am approaching 2500 bent miles, along with an equal number of DF miles over the last 2 years and I am still faster on the DF on an hour ride. On the other hand I have several centuries on the bent and would never give up the comfort. But I would not expect a big time savings unless you are buying an all out performance bent.

Bent.
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Old 08-16-06, 03:01 PM
  #13  
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Not all bents are fast*....

Since it hasn't been noted yet I'd thought I'd say--all recumbents are probably more comfortable to ride than an upright bike, but not all are especially more-aerodynamic. The aerodynamics is really where the recumbent advantage lies. Bikes that have lower pedal positioning (such as LWB's and CLWB's) are capitalizing on the comfort advantage of recumbents, and usually don't boast of amazing aerodynamics because they may be not much faster than an upright bike.

For maximum aero advantage, you'd want a short wheel base bike that has a very-reclined rider position. Usually, the higher the pedals are located relative to the seat, the more aero the rider position probably is.You are probably most likely to get this positioning with a highracer, but not too many companies sell inexpensive highracers. Actionbent is one, their supplier has a couple more with not as good specs.

....If you find a cheaper used small-front-wheel SWB, it can often be converted to a highracer by adding on a longer fork and bigger front wheel, but one problem with this is that it may not have any way to attach a headrest. With an upright position you don't need a headrest but on a very-reclined seat, you may. So then you will need to find one that you can attach, or you may need to make one somehow yourself.

*-of course, an awesome athlete can get on anything and pedal it to amazing speeds, but speaking strictly in terms of a bike's naked aerodynamics.
~~~~~
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Old 08-16-06, 06:15 PM
  #14  
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Typical Sustained Speeds

It's going to depend hugely on the terrain. I can hold 17-18 mph for 35-45 miles on a rail trail, but this drops sharply to ~14 or even less in hilly terrain. I'm 54 and by no means buff, riding a SWB highracer Volae with a moderately laid back seat. My understanding is that faired LWB bikes are faster on the flats and downhill, but considerably slower (due to weight) climbing.

The engine counts for a lot, although if you're riding every day you'll soon be excellent condition!
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Old 08-17-06, 01:43 PM
  #15  
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I swapped bikes so my buddy could test ride a Bacchetta Aero and I wanted to try a Catrike Speed. It was actual work to maintain a 20+ mph pace on the Catrike on flat ground. He walked off and buried me on the test loop with the Aero. Way less effort on an Aero than it is on the Trike to go the same speeds. Of course, when we swapped back, he couldn't hold the pace. This is a guy who just turned in a 2nd place at the Metamora 4x50 by doing 200 miles on a trike when he should've been on a Bacchetta.

If you want to knock out a 20 mile commute in an hour, it won't be any problem on a 2 wheel bent. I'm doing it right now in San Diego with hills in just over an hour. 1:03 Tuesday, and 1:05 today. With flat terrain, a 20 mile commute by bent would be a sub hour deal.

Of course, this depends on the engine. When I started riding again in 2000, 12 miles took an hour on my MTB with slicks. Moving to a Road bike and just getting miles on the legs got me down into the 35-40 minute range. So if you get a bent to commute on don't expect to be fast until you get the legs to go with it. I'd look at a Bacchetta Giro for a commuter, or perhaps a Cafe.
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Old 08-18-06, 12:18 AM
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Originally Posted by korovan
Well, I'd rather not do the commute AT ALL really, but I may have to (I'm thinking of relocating to a rural area). And in thinking about it I have developed several reasons why an hour on a bike/trike is better than 20 minutes in a car...

1. I don't like driving. Never have. I don't even own a car, haven't driven in over 12 years, and (naturally) consider myself to be an unskilled driver.

2. Since I don't own a car already, it would be considerably cheaper to buy (and maintain) a bent trike than a car (although some of the high-end models I've seen are 6-7,000 USD+, which is insane...).

3. As trite as it might sound to some people, since a trike uses no gasoline, I will be doing my little bit to both help the environment and reduce our national/cultural addiction to oil (with all the attendant problems that come with it...). Plus I won't be shelling out wads of dough at the pump.

4. As it stands right now, I already do about 60-90 minutes of cardio exercise at the gym. If I start doing this trike-commute thing, I can pretty much skip that bit and proceed straight to the weights. Less time at the gym = good.

5. Like all good "Plan A"s, I have a "Plan B" to back it up. My lady-friend has a car, so on the days when it is pouring down rain/snow/sleet, or I'm feeling like a wuss because of having a slight cold or whatever, I can beg her for a ride instead. But, I'm such a stubborn SOB that those days should be quite rare...
Korovan,

From your statements above you should really consider this:

https://www.electric-cycle.com/index.html

RunAbout Cycles has been building electric cycles and serving the alternative transportation community since 2004. We specialize in crafting electric hybrid tricycles, and our staff offers quality support for a wide range of electric cycles, including electric tricycles, bicycles and motorcycles. RunAbout Cycles’ recumbent adult tricycles are fun, healthy, and environmentally friendly. Using their electric-assist, you can drive wherever you need to go, be it to the store, to work, or into the country, up to a range of 80 miles. We at RunAbout Cycles are here to answer any questions you may have about our company, our services, or our electric cycles.

----- Also

https://ecospeed.net/products.html

Electric Mid Drive Kit, Sun EZ-Tadpole Trike
Electric Mid-Drive with mounting hardware for Sun EZ-Tadpole Trike. Bolt on installation for motor unit. Slight modification of right handgrip required for throttle installation. Battery mounts on top of rear rack. Does not affect Pannier attachment.

Prices are for the mid-drive and batteries only. For you commute get the 750w and 30a battery, just add trike.

----- Also

For speed the EcoSpeed GRR with fairing and body sock should be faster than anything less than a full faring racer.

----

You could really cut your time using one of these, and add some solar panels, battery at home and a charging system and really be independent.

-- Brandy

Last edited by Kilted; 08-18-06 at 12:36 AM.
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Old 08-18-06, 02:51 PM
  #17  
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Reality check for you Korovan...
Trikes are way comfortable and easy to ride even if you are going slow since balancing is never an issue.

The Actionbent Tadpole Trike is a real value compared to other manufacturers. They are well made and have good components already installed. 90% of the components are standard bicycle parts. You just need to add a rack and trunk, and you're set.

Your 12+mph average can easily be maintained with a trike but don't expect to shave off a half hour on your commute. It will be the same road day after day after day. Bents are known to be slower on the climbs.

If you really want to make this investment a true commuter, I'd consider electrifying it for those "not so good" days. I would recommend looking into the BIONX systems which can be added to the trike for as little as 15 lbs but will cost you as much as the trike. This is a regenrative system that can charge on the downhills and work with you on uphills. This was my plan for mine, but I enjoy peddling just as well. Rain will suck no matter what you do. You will likely have a puddle under your @rs on any bent. If you want to go without the power assist, just switch out the rear wheel and loose the battery box, and loose 15lbs quickly (5 minutes max).

Also know that trikes have one dis-advantage... You are tracking 3 wheels (3 lines) and this puts you on a plane. If the roads you ride are smooth, no problem... but on any bent, 2 wheel or 3, all the road's bumps will be transferred to your torso. You will feel a lot more on a trike than on a 2 wheel bent or an upright. Lowering the tire pressure will help this, but it will slow you somewhat (not too much).

Some of the Actionbent Tadpoles, as well as other brands, can be had at a great price used. One ABTT was for sale for $1K on the Yahoo Actionbent forum with only 5 miles on it. A Wizwheel is for sale at $600 in a LBS in Eugene, OR. It may well be worthwhile keeping an eye out for deals (although I wouldn't know why anyone would sell a good quality trike )

Good luck on your quest

Peace
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Old 08-31-06, 09:44 PM
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Originally Posted by markw
I swapped bikes so my buddy could test ride a Bacchetta Aero and I wanted to try a Catrike Speed. It was actual work to maintain a 20+ mph pace on the Catrike on flat ground. He walked off and buried me on the test loop with the Aero. Way less effort on an Aero than it is on the Trike to go the same speeds. Of course, when we swapped back, he couldn't hold the pace. This is a guy who just turned in a 2nd place at the Metamora 4x50 by doing 200 miles on a trike when he should've been on a Bacchetta.

If you want to knock out a 20 mile commute in an hour, it won't be any problem on a 2 wheel bent. I'm doing it right now in San Diego with hills in just over an hour. 1:03 Tuesday, and 1:05 today. With flat terrain, a 20 mile commute by bent would be a sub hour deal.

Of course, this depends on the engine. When I started riding again in 2000, 12 miles took an hour on my MTB with slicks. Moving to a Road bike and just getting miles on the legs got me down into the 35-40 minute range. So if you get a bent to commute on don't expect to be fast until you get the legs to go with it. I'd look at a Bacchetta Giro for a commuter, or perhaps a Cafe.

Unless the engine is me! I my best time covering the 6 miles to work is 12 min and 13 seconds. That's averaging a hair over 33 mph and averaging 810 watts with burst to 1360. Going homes best time is 15 min 45 sec. That's a bit over 25 mph and both ways involves a couple of 8% short climbs and descents.
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Old 09-01-06, 02:23 AM
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Originally Posted by NextLevelMentor
Unless the engine is me! I my best time covering the 6 miles to work is 12 min and 13 seconds. That's averaging a hair over 33 mph and averaging 810 watts with burst to 1360. Going homes best time is 15 min 45 sec. That's a bit over 25 mph and both ways involves a couple of 8% short climbs and descents.
Wow, you are my hero
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Old 09-01-06, 12:12 PM
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The Wizwheelz is gone. I wish I could say that I had it but some insensitive jerk bought it before I had even saved any money!lol.
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Old 09-01-06, 12:47 PM
  #21  
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For me it depends on the road condition. Typically over the roads around here (not so good) I average around 18.5mph on a mornal tour of at least 100k with a lot of stopping and starting and no racing - just trying to keep a good pace. On HHH, at the 60 mile mark my average was slightly below 23mph.

On great roads, I'll average at least 26mph - more like 28, sustained on the flats, and many times I'm well over 30mph for miles.

On hills - it depends on the severity of the hill. Low rollers don't really decrease my speed but by a mile or two. I'm still well over 20mph at the crest. Steep hills get me down anywhere from 16-8 depending on grade and length. I've occasionally dropped below that but it's rare and it's WAY steep.
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Old 09-05-06, 06:20 AM
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Originally Posted by NextLevelMentor
Unless the engine is me! I my best time covering the 6 miles to work is 12 min and 13 seconds. That's averaging a hair over 33 mph and averaging 810 watts with burst to 1360. Going homes best time is 15 min 45 sec. That's a bit over 25 mph and both ways involves a couple of 8% short climbs and descents.
I don't believe you. Not even Lance Armstrong can boast numbers like that. So either you need to get your he-man legs to France next year, or re-do your calculations.
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Old 09-05-06, 07:37 AM
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Originally Posted by jeff-o
I don't believe you. Not even Lance Armstrong can boast numbers like that. So either you need to get your he-man legs to France next year, or re-do your calculations.
Oh I thought I was the only one . 33mph is possible- but as an average speed? A fully-faired trike may do it easily over the same distance.......on a good day
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Old 09-07-06, 11:36 AM
  #24  
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Even with my not-so-light LWB, I'm WAY faster than on a DF bike. The headwind kills me on an upwrong. I barely notice it on the bent.

6'6" is a huge sail when on an upwrong.
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Old 09-07-06, 11:44 AM
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Originally Posted by NextLevelMentor
Unless the engine is me! I my best time covering the 6 miles to work is 12 min and 13 seconds. That's averaging a hair over 33 mph and averaging 810 watts with burst to 1360. Going homes best time is 15 min 45 sec. That's a bit over 25 mph and both ways involves a couple of 8% short climbs and descents.
Ummmm... "I want what he's having for breakfast!"
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