Saturday, 28 July 2018

In reponse to a question

Asked if an S40 would be a good idea as a first recumbent, my response

sorry for the delayed reponse, work being manic in the lead up to holiday etc - must wean them off asking me for everything.

I can only talk about my direct experience, which is ICE B1, M5-MRacer, S40. I had a tester session with DTEK HPVs down the road from me, which basically confirmed for me that 'bent was the way forward, from then it was just a choice of how.

Being pragmatic, there is currently no UK CB dealer (I'm discussing that with them, but no conclusion yet), so the options are the unicorn poop second hand market or import with associated expense (20% VAT, 5-19% import duty), so the starting point might practically be riding another bent. I'd not dismiss that out of hand because any bent riding is likely to be useful. The ICE B1 taught me much about low speed handling, uphill recumbenting, steering geometry, drinking while riding etc. That was a fairly short and shallow learning curve to be honest, but as the first example, invaluable in cementing behaviours adn mentality.

I built the M5 from a frameset, based on a few conversations. That was a bit of a mistake. I went from a 45deg seat to a 25deg seated out and out racer. I specced it well, and it rides well, but as a contrast it was a lot to get used to, especially as I sold the B1 to finance it. It was a very steep and very long learbing curve on this, with one or two "a-ha" moments along the way, like eating or drinking while riding, or slow speed traffic manouvering. I've never been entirely comfortable with it.

I still have that, and then bough the S40 frame as a "grey" import, and built up from a donor road bike. That gave me a "do or die" attitude to it to a degree. It proved however to be a steep but short learning curve for me. There are a lot of things to beware of - pedal steer, low speed handling, steering geometry, uphill response, "dutch rolls" with the cranks, all of which can be big issues. In my case (bangs head on desk for luck) no significant offs so far.

In short, S40 as a first recumbent? I'd not buy one out of the box. My recommendation - find a trial first, do some low speed stuff with a friendly owner's steed before deciding. Only then commit. If at all unsure buy another bent first get used to the handling, posture, traffice reaction and then go CB. If the low speed sample is 100% positive then go for it.

Hope that helps, honest, if not the CB party line.

Cheers, Dave

I forgot to add, and will go back, perhaps the T50 or Q45 as a first CB might be an idea

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