Talk me out of it..........


Cycle Camera TV
South Croydon
......... it's eating away at the back of my head.
I love the look of the lowish 2wheel bents.
And i've been toying with the idea of getting one since riding with mikey and arallsopp.
I've got some money for a new bike (not much which is why i like the look of the bent i mention below). and i'm not sure if i want to get a bent, which would be something for the weekend (and maybe commuting) or if i want a more practical bike (an upright) with a rack and full mudguards etc..

I like the look of the raptobike lowracer, it's a good price and the shortish chain is appealing. But is a low racer suited to cycling in London?
Is this something i should look into or should i just erase this from memory?


Active Member
East Midlands UK
you could always get a more upright recumbent i think the grasshopper or optima orca are two choices. there are 2 orcas on e bay at present 1 at 1200 BIN and 1 at 500 3 bids and only 7 hrs left
food for thought maybe


A Human Being
I always thought being able to see above the cars was an advantage in commuter traffic, not just for me being able to see more but being more visible to other road users. I would be too much of a chicken to ride a low rider in traffic, well any public roads.


Well-Known Member
If you like the Raptobike lowracer but possibly want something higher for the traffic, may I suggest the Raptobike Mid Racer (same sexy lines, just that bit taller). Review to follow in a couple of weeks hopefully when mine gets out the nursery.


Married to Night Train
Salford, UK
gaz said:
i'm not sure if i want to get a bent, which would be something for the weekend (and maybe commuting) or if i want a more practical bike (an upright) with a rack and full mudguards etc..

Or, get a 'bent with rack, mudguards etc....

From my limited 2 wheel 'bent experience, even an uprightish one set up for touring still feels pretty sleek and nippy.

Definitely try a few. The difference between 'fine' and 'unrideable' is, I think much smaller for recumbent bikes than uprights - and I don't mean that something 'unrideable' is bad, it's much more a matter of personal choice, and something might not suit you. Some folk can ride anything, no trouble, some find it much easier to ride one particular geometry (I, for example, have trouble with higher seats, having short legs.)


Senior Member
gaz said:
I love the look of the lowish 2wheel bents. ..

..I've got some money ..

..I like the look of the raptobike lowracer,'s a good price

My reasons for getting one exactly. Simple lust.

This from a beginner on 2 wheel recumbents.
I got my raptobike back in November but only started regular commuting (round trip 10-15 miles through the 'burbs in Edinburgh) about 3 weeks ago. I needed about 200 miles of practice to feel even slightly confident in traffic, (Perhaps I am/was a slow & somewhat bruised, learner).

Being low down isn't itself a problem in flowing traffic - I've commuted mostly on a trike for nearly 3 years, and the Raptobike is a fair bit higher than the 8 inch seat height of the QNT. Maybe about the same as a Lotus 7.
Being seen isn't a problem and as long as the traffic's flowing and you keep some lane discipline. See-ing isn't either, but the view along the road is foreshortened, so potholes & small dead furry animals tend to appear out of nowhere.

A problem I find -with my limited experience so far- is combining situational awareness with confident stability, with neither the carefree stability of the trike nor 2nd nature balance of a DF. I'm fairly happy in flowing traffic, but get nervous at low speed and in close quarters with other moving vehicles.
I certainly wouldn't want to weave between lanes of moving vehicles, but I don't like doing that on any bike. Stationary lines are OK on the trike as long as I'm pretty confident of getting back in lane before they start moving, and eventually I'll probably feel stable enough to do it on the Raptobike.

Starting off at junctions is still somewhat unpredictable. If it's busy, I don't like fluffing starts, so will get off and walk if I'm likely to make a nuisance of myself. Left hand turns onto main roads are surprisingly difficult, as the bike really wants to start off in a straight line for a length or so, and looking back at an acute angle is pretty much impossible. Additional mirrors might help.

I replaced the stock derailleur gearing with an 8 speed hub + 40/60 chainring. Although a low gear is needed for starting, I find I want to shift up through the gears quickly, while simultaneously trying to get the wobble under control, cleat in, ignore small children, and avoid wayward cars. The hub gear made things sooo much easier. More expereinced 2 wheel recumbentists maybe wouldn't appreciate this so much.

Lumpy road surfaces need care to avoid being chucked off the bike. I try brace between feet and shoulderblades. I'm sure suspension would make life easier*, but then when I want life easy, I've always got the trike.

I'd say go for it.

* For those who remember analogue TV, going over a cattle grid is like losing vertical hold.
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Senior Member

I am an Orca owner and they are fine commuting bikes. They are a wee bit heavy for quick getaways - guards and a substantial rack are included in the price and the beam is a substantial bit of metal. Mine had a dual drive hub rather than a triple chain ring.

I did think the Baron (Optima's racing demon bike) would be a bit low for commuting but now I am not so sure :sad:

I must now get on the trusty steed and away to work - let me know if you want a review of the bike from a new recumbanaut point of view!



Active Member
If you fancy a drive call Kevin at D-Tek. He has numerous bents and is happy to let you try lots of different ones. No sales pitch. When you've tried a load he normally suggest coming back in a couple of weeks after you have had timne to think about it and try 2 or 3 on longer runs. He is in New Thetford, Cambridgeshire, 01353 648177.


Well-Known Member
gaz said:
I like the look of the raptobike lowracer, it's a good price and the shortish chain is appealing. But is a low racer suited to cycling in London?

I've only briefly ridden one of these - and the thing I remember is how easy it was to ride. As for it's suitability for riding in London, there are other's here with more experience of that than I have. My experience of commuter traffic is that being able to see over the traffic (or at least being at eye level) is an advantage, but is not essential.

Whatever you get, enjoy!


Über Member
IME a Rapto lowracer is easy to ride, and good at low speed, but (in comparison with a Grasshopper):
1) low speed manoeuvrability is constrained by the chain/front wheel interaction
2) the lack of suspension may get wearing (depending on what sort of roads you ride on)
3) wheelspin on damp, gravel strewn, uphill lanes can get tedious - also quick getaways at junctions can go awry for the same reason
Otherwise it's definitely quick, with a very direct feel to the drivetrain, and a really good riding position. Unless you spend all your time on the (relatively) flat you will need more gears than the basic 8-spd. Carrying stuff is easy (but expensive) with Radical low racer bags.
Don't think I've talked you out of it, have I?


One other advantage of a (Raptobike) lowracer is that you don't need to take your feet out of/off the pedals when you stop.

Just put your hand on the ground :biggrin:.


I own several recumbents, including a Raptobike lowracer. I wouldn't consider the Raptobike (seat height 27cm) for my London commute, on which I need to be able to pick out the best ways through the dense traffic. It comes, after all, from a country where you can commute on traffic-free cyclepaths.

I have commuted on my Kingcycle (seat height 47cm), and it was fun, but not quite as quick as the upright I keep specifically for commuting duty.

I would recommend a trip to D-Tek, too. It's great fun. Because recumbents are more diverse than uprights, you need to try some to find out how you react to the different types.


Post of The Year 2009 winner
Bromley, Kent
Gaz: if you want to try my Furai / SMGTe, drop me a PM and we can take them out on local roads / parks. I'm all of 5 mins ride from the Dripping Tap. Both have underseat steering, but give a good idea of what its like to travel a little closer to the floor.

Oh, sorry, yeah, talk you out of it. Right. Erm... No Gaz. Don't do it. You like being slower than me.
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