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Recumbents are not much faster than road bikes!

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Recumbents are not much faster than road bikes!

Old 08-24-15, 11:23 AM
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Recumbents are not much faster than road bikes!

At least not on 400K rides. This is a very fun analysis of two riders who rode side-by-side for most of the race without drafting: Randonneuring: recumbent efficiency ? Dave McCraw The recumbent was only 8.7% faster than a road bike.

His commute data with a power meter on a recumbent and road bike was showing a 20% advantage, but he was also averaging 20MPH on his commute.
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Old 08-24-15, 11:34 AM
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8.7 % is a HUGE difference, especially over distance. That would be a 2+ mph difference at race speeds.
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Old 08-24-15, 08:47 PM
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Speed is one thing, comfort is another lol!
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Old 08-25-15, 06:32 AM
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Originally Posted by series1811
8.7 % is a HUGE difference, especially over distance. That would be a 2+ mph difference at race speeds.
Exactly. Id take 8.7% any day.
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Old 08-25-15, 06:37 AM
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I'll take my df any day over a recumbent. Having a good visual perch, and an athletic stance are more mentally comfortable and confidence inspiring than a reclined, low position. Tpo each their own, though.
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Old 08-25-15, 06:42 AM
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Yeah, ~9% is a lot. Also, not being a recumbent rider, I have to ask: aren't most 'bents a little more aero than this, the author's bike? It seems rather higher than what I'd expect to see.

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Old 08-25-15, 08:32 AM
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Originally Posted by WhyFi
Yeah, ~9% is a lot. Also, not being a recumbent rider, I have to ask: aren't most 'bents a little more aero than this, the author's bike? It seems rather higher than what I'd expect to see.
Yes. The "High" Baron pictured above is a nice 'bent, but it isn't a racebike. There are much more aerodynamically efficient 'bents out there. For that bike, with a rando rig (maybe a couple of small bags etc), 9% seems about right.

Run the same test with an M5 and a fully reclined seat and you'd get a bigger difference, run the same test with a Sun EZ1 and it would probably go the other way.

Of course the difference gets larger the faster you go. P~ v cubed.

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Old 08-25-15, 08:35 AM
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Originally Posted by WhyFi
Yeah, ~9% is a lot. Also, not being a recumbent rider, I have to ask: aren't most 'bents a little more aero than this, the author's bike? It seems rather higher than what I'd expect to see.



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Old 08-25-15, 08:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Elvo
That's a whole 'nother ballgame.
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Old 08-25-15, 09:53 AM
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I thought this would be about a fully faired recumbent. Almost 9% faster from a fairing-less, tall recumbent actually sounds bloody good to me.
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Old 08-25-15, 11:04 AM
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Finishing an hour and 5 minutes faster? Sounds to me like a LOT faster!

I'll stick to my road bikes as long as I can ride them, but I have known for a long time that recumbents can be seriously fast. Professor David Wilson's recumbent (1976) would have been a very fast bike with some light gear and sew-ups. (The difference between basic sew-ups and decent clinchers back then was huge. Like between an MG and a Buick.)

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Old 08-27-15, 11:52 AM
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Interesting. What is the difference between sew ups and clinchers now? E.g., same brand model, Crr? I've never looked into that.

Yes, the Baron is a heavy and not super aero bike relative to something like the M5 high racer. But if you can take it to speed, you can beat any road bike on a flat course, even if the rider is in superman position on tri bars. I have a Ti Aero. In Central Park in NYC, there are periodic races that interfere with my commute to work some mornings. As a 50-year-old guy it's pretty fun to blow by a peloton in work clothes, and to do it so fast that they seem to be standing still. :-) I can only manage 450 watts for like 90 seconds these days, but that is like putting out 700 on a top of the line Cervelo, tires being equal. (I run Conti 4000s.) But these are not pros. These days, I top out at 35MPH on a flat, then I'm noodles after that.
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