Fast and slow recumbents?

Time Waster

Über Member
I'm wondering about the different recumbents that are produced. They're probably almost as varied as upright bikes. So there will likely be some that an individual would be faster on than others.

I have a few upright bikes, my current road gravel bike is kind of slow riding than my ancient steel road bike despite being the same weight and not too different gear ratios.

I also have an SMGT recumbent, a touring recumbent that I'm slower than either of the uprights when I ride it. What bike could help me be faster than the smgt and even my upright bikes? Is there a common secondhand recumbent that's good for a quick leisure ride? Could make me fastest than when riding my upright? That is not too bad in mixed routes that have steep hills but also flat roads?

How much faster are "fast" recumbents?
 

Scoosh

Velocouchiste
Moderator
Location
Edinburgh
There are a number of quick 2-wheel 'bents, with some reviews here and here.

HTH !
 

bobcolover

Veteran
Location
south london
I commute on a smgte which enables me to carry panniers. Its slow. I picked up a Kingcycle about 10 years ago and thats fun and for me faster than the smgte and good for weekend rides. I have the rear box and the Moulton front wheel. I rode a friends Ryan Vanguard [USS] for a brief time recently and he says its faster than his Fujin. The Ryan did seem fast. I think there has to be a 24/26/700 rear wheel and light frame to get speed on a recumbent. A very clean and refurbished Kingcycle with front nose cone and rear box went on Ebay the other day for £875. I was interested but could never justify owning 2 kingcycles.....
Recumbents [depending on their power source] can generally be a fair bit faster on flat and slight downhill than uprights; and very fast [ and safe] going down steep hills, but going uphill.... another story
 
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Time Waster

Über Member
I wonder what would make a recumbent better up hills?

When I first got my SMGT, after a few learning rides on safe roads or away from traffic routes, I rode a short route to relatives. Coming back over the a hill with a long, straight downhill into my town. I freewheelers it but got quite scared and wobbly. To be fair I was new to recumbents but was only just topping out at 31mph. I never went as fast again. I only rode m it for about 5 or 6 months so the first, fast downhill I never got over.

Big scaredy cat I know! But to be fair it was not as stable as I thought it would be. Looking back I wonder if it wasn't set up right. I know the boom was s bit short. Could that affect stability? It wobbled.
 

bobcolover

Veteran
Location
south london
I don't think boom length can affect stability on smgt(e) I had a bad experience with stability once on it when I didn't realise that the rear tyre was under inflated. That really caused the bike to wobble a lot.
 

grldtnr

Well-Known Member
I wonder what would make a recumbent better up hills?

When I first got my SMGT, after a few learning rides on safe roads or away from traffic routes, I rode a short route to relatives. Coming back over the a hill with a long, straight downhill into my town. I freewheelers it but got quite scared and wobbly. To be fair I was new to recumbents but was only just topping out at 31mph. I never went as fast again. I only rode m it for about 5 or 6 months so the first, fast downhill I never got over.

Big scaredy cat I know! But to be fair it was not as stable as I thought it would be. Looking back I wonder if it wasn't set up right. I know the boom was s bit short. Could that affect stability? It wobbled.
Thunder thighs will undoubtedly get you up hills quicker,
 

PaulM

Guru
Location
Portsmouth, UK
I believe you're quite tall? So should be able to manage a high-racer format. A Giro 26 or Corsa would probably give you more speed. The Giro can take wider tyres so you have more chance of keeping the power on when riding less than perfect roads. How are you with more seat recline? Aero becomes more important above 15mph.
 

byegad

Legendary Member
Location
NE England
Recumbents are far more variable than the traditional DF bike.

My AZUB 4* was at least as fast on the flat as my Thorn Club Tour**, way faster down even slight hills than the Club Tour and massively slower up hill.

Best top speeds down hill.
* 42mph, very scary
** 50mph stable and would have gone a whole lot faster, but I know the road and there was a stop line coming up. Had I gone for the disc brake option I'd have let her run for longer, but on a 20" front wheel, rim brakes heat the rim and tube too much.
 
The wobble is easy to explain.
As you got faster, you tensed up a little.
This converted the normal soft/smooth movement in your arms to hard/jerky ones.
This started you to overcorrect the steering.
This fed back into you tensing up mote, overcorrecting more and hence the wobble.
You just need to watch a first time car driver snake down a road to see this happening.

Luck .......... ^_^
 
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Time Waster

Über Member
Bingo! That sounds right to me. I later learnt the one hand, two finger steer a few months off commuting on it. No downhills of note though so not really had the pleasure of scaring myself again.

To give you an idea, my df old steel bike when in my late teens to late 20s got to 58mph three times. Once great Harwood way heading to the old karrimor factory shop and twice near yealands near where we live now. 58mph on bumpy, country roads riding my bike practically on my belly to get as aero as possible. I got scared about the upcoming bend and backed off at 56 but still increased to 58mph before sitting up and braking. One of those times a car started coming out of the side road on the outside of the bend then stopped poking out where I was going to take the bend wide at speed to take it. That scared me right enough.

I've gotten older and wiser now, cowardly! Now high 20s on the SMGT feels like 50mph used to, or worse!!!!
 

Scoosh

Velocouchiste
Moderator
Location
Edinburgh
Most 'bents are heavier than upwrongs, so most 'bents are slower uphill.
Most 'bents are heavier than upwrongs, so most 'bents are faster downhill – especially once the aerodymanics (sic :laugh:) really kick in, so the low-riders have less aero drag than the high riders.
 

bobcolover

Veteran
Location
south london
Best top speed; on the Kingcycle; downhill on the run into Brighton after Ditchling Beacon, Coldean Road ; 49.5 mph... as close to brown underpants as I have ever been. The recumbent position certainly helped to keep the mind focused, the body relaxed and left me feeling safe enough not to need to slow down. Road was closed but the organisers had narrowed the road near the t junction when you come down using metal barriers to halve the road width.
 
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Time Waster

Über Member
What's the differences between high and low riders? In feel and performance? Cost, safety, security and reduction of fear when going fast downhill?
 
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Time Waster

Über Member
I'd love to try one but I fear it might be costly. No plans to get another bike but if I ever got the chance to try a fast bent I'd probably end up obsessing about them until I got one. That's how I got my SMGT. It was an itch that I couldn't scratch without a purchase.
 

classic33

Forum God
Best top speed; on the Kingcycle; downhill on the run into Brighton after Ditchling Beacon, Coldean Road ; 49.5 mph... as close to brown underpants as I have ever been. The recumbent position certainly helped to keep the mind focused, the body relaxed and left me feeling safe enough not to need to slow down. Road was closed but the organisers had narrowed the road near the t junction when you come down using metal barriers to halve the road width.
A definite 57mph down from J24, M62, on the A629. 50mph speed cameras and set them both off.
Dual carriageway, with a two mile downhill run, where it levels out you lose the speed and star to get overtaken again.
 
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