How much faster are recumbents to road bikes?

Discussion in 'Recumbent bicycles' started by JTE83, Feb 24, 2005.

  1. JTE83

    JTE83 Member

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    How much faster are recumbents to road bikes? Like does anyone here have a good road bike and a good recumbent bike ? What is your average cruising speed on both? What is your top speed on both?

    I might get a recumbent one day, like an Optima Baron but I already have 10 bikes already.

    Like if someone averages 18 to 20 mph cruising on a road bike how fast will he cruise on a recumbent ?
     
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  2. blazingpedals

    blazingpedals New Member

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    My last road bike was a Trek 1000, about 1991 vintage. Up to then, my best average speed for a century was 18 mph, done by huge amounts of drafting. I was mostly a 17 mph rider.

    I got a V-Rex and my speed... was the same or slower. That was somewhat disappointing, but got it for comfort, not speed. Still, speed was a goal so I added a homemade fairing. The first one didn't help much. A newer design helped more. I'm on version 4.2 now, and it helps about 10% at speeds over 17 mph. With the fairing, I've done sub-6 centuries which, not counting rest stops, have averaged 20+ mph; and not had to draft to do it.

    About the same time as fairing version 4.0 came out, I was still lusting for more speed, so I got a Baron. Instant gratification! I bought it used, and when I took it on my first club ride I didn't even have it shifting properly yet. In spite of that I won the traditional sign sprint. I didn't just win, I annihilated everyone! The studs in the group freaked when I went flying past them; it was like I had a jet engine. Since then, I've gotten my best century time down to 4:20 without drafting.

    Thinking back, that's a 5-6 mph increase over my old upright, and I no longer need to draft to do it. So, overall, I'm pretty pleased with the performance I've seen out of my bents.
     
  3. blazingpedals

    blazingpedals New Member

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    I should add that all recumbents are not created equal. Some are much faster than a typical racing DF, and some are slow dogs that would be hard-pressed to keep up with a peer riding a mountain bike or hybrid. The difference is mostly in the bike weight and aero body positioning. Also, having a fairing does not guarantee more performance. Sometimes it actually hurts speed.

    So although I've seen a big increase in speed, the genre is too varied to make a blanket statement that bents in general are faster at all.
     
  4. JonnyD

    JonnyD New Member

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    I have a very good road bike and an equally good dual 650 titanium high racer recumbent.
    If I am able to average 19 MPH cruising on my road bike then I'm going about 21-22 on my recumbent.
    Flat speed is 32.5 on the recumbent and 28 on the road bike.
    Downhill is where the difference really shows.
    Uphill, I'm a little slower on the recumbent.
    I ride the recumbent because it is more fun to ride and I can cover more ground in the same time. It's not a social bike like a road bike.
    Learn much more on http://www.bentrideronline.com/messageboard/
     
  5. Catrike #116

    Catrike #116 New Member

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    I own a Catrike Road.

    I found my speed to be substantially less than my DF.

    That is ok...I bought the three-wheeler for comfort.

    Catrike Road #116.

    "Cats just don't feel safe on a moving bicycle, no matter how much duct tape you use"--Author unknown

     
  6. rosthues

    rosthues New Member

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    SWBs are not helped by a fairing, LWBs are, don't know why.
     
  7. blazingpedals

    blazingpedals New Member

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    That too is a generalization. Often true, but not always. I ride my V-Rex with and without my coro fairing, and the speed advantage is noticeable with it on.
     
  8. bentbrian

    bentbrian New Member

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    I'm not a fast cyclist, not even on a DF. Comparing my current average speeds on my CLWB to those on my old Trek1000 road bike, they are comparable. The 'bent is faster into a headwind and downhill, no question. Uphill the 'bent is slower, but with the gearing it takes less effort. In my opinion any disadvantages are far outweighed by the comfort.
     
  9. Sputnick

    Sputnick New Member

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    My Titanium Moots road bike is faster up steep hills than my No Com but that’s where the road bikes advantage ends.
    The No Com will destroy ANY road bike on a track, flat roads, rolling hills, gentle climbs, downhill etc.
    In Brevets and longer rides the No Com will obliterate ALL completion.
     
  10. TheToad

    TheToad New Member

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    Considering that recumbents hold the world human power vehicle records, something like 82MPH now.. I don't think much more needs to be said.. The low racers are damn fast. I saw one at homebush (Sydney 2000 olympic site) when I was out for a training ride on tuesday night.. I saw what I think was an M5 Carbon low racer.. fast.. damn skippy they're fast.. the guy just obliterated us in a sprint! .. the even just look fast.
     
  11. Ike90

    Ike90 New Member

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    Easiest answer; they aren't.

    I'm not referring to fully faired HPVs or extremely high end carbon lowracers or whatever, but to comparably priced and equipped road uprights and recumbents.

    Recumbents might be typically faster on downhills or flat sprints, and uprights faster in climbing or sharp cornering, but generally, going from a df to a comparable 'bent won't translate to a big speed boost.
     
  12. TheToad

    TheToad New Member

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    Ok .. go back to original question..

    so take a good road bike.. lets say a $4000(AUD) Cannondale DF vs Optima Baron with $4000 invested..

    an unfaired Baron will out strip a DF in both Average speed and sprint speed no matter what sort of dollars you throw at the DF this would be with the same rider on board.

    just for aguments sake :D
     
  13. lowracervk2

    lowracervk2 New Member

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    A used optima baron lowracer would smoke any df out there on any course unless we are talking about a course all uphill with a grade greater than 6%. Everything under 6% goes to the lowracer. I'm not talking about faired recumbents either. I'm talking about a stock lowracer beating a $5000 plus roadbike. Lowracers don't have to be expensive to beat a roadbike.

    Its a plain simple fact of aero efficiency. My only competition is with strong roadies in pacelines. Solo riders are merely a speedbump for me.
     
  14. Ike90

    Ike90 New Member

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    For the record, I ride both DFs and 'bents, so I'm really not trying to offend any 'bent riders.

    Anecdotal evidence aside, I'd like to see this premise tested in a controllable but varied environment.

    I'm marginally faster on my 'bent than on my DF, but while neither is a high-end frame, I don't really have comparably-priced models. Over a 35-mile course that includes approximately 12 miles of 6 to 7 percent grade, my commuting time varies by perhaps 2 minutes. It seems to have more to do with my relative strength on a given day rather than which frame I'm pedaling.
     
  15. TheToad

    TheToad New Member

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    No Offence taken its just and interesting argument.. overal DF Vs 'Bent speed is probably a moot argument.. but I do agree, I would like to see equivalently priced rigs, both DF and Bent in a controlled environment.

    I just speak from experience, I'm a club DF crit racer, with a decent sprint.. and all I know is that when the 'bents are out training with us.. I cannot get near them.. even if a sprinter leads out, I sit on his wheel and then sprint from his wheel, just can't catch em no matter what! :cool:
     
  16. blazingpedals

    blazingpedals New Member

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    LOL! That could have been written by one of the guys at our Wednesday night rides. Remember the last Lennon ride in the fall, LR? After taking a shortcut to catch back up with us, the upright group hung on LR's and my tail for six miles at 28 mph before they slingshotted a tandem around us for the sign sprint. LR and I both repassed the tandem like it was an upside-down raccoon, and the others were so wasted that they had to get off and rest before doing the last half mile to the parking lot. Pull 'em for 6 miles at speeds that would win most 40K TTs, then fan the 58/12 to whip them in the sprint! That was the hardest sprint I think I've ever done, but it was absolutely the most rewarding!!! Especially for me, a rider who used to average 17mph on my DF.

    Ike90, no offense taken. Like I wrote before, bents are too varied to make blanket statements with any accuracy. IMHO, nothing short of a lowracer could do what I did to those DFs, and having a lowracer is still no guarantee of those kind of results. Most bents are closer to parity with DFs, give or take a little.
     
  17. TheToad

    TheToad New Member

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    No upside racoons in Australia, possibly the same as an upside echidna (they're slow no matter which way they are up anyhow!), although looks like we have the same problems with 'Bents :).. :D
     
  18. R40

    R40 New Member

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    My Volae was able to get up to 30 mph that was 7 miles faster then my old Vision r40, myself will never go back to a DF. Not that i dislike them it's the pain they put on me when im on one!

    Oh and the volae can climb hills realy good! I was thinking i was really bad on hills till i got the Volae, seems that my Vision r40 was the problem. :mad:
    Whatever you get be sure to test it and take your time, rushing out to buy a recumbent You might find out you bought the wrong one! From this day on, i wish i never got a Vision r40. :eek:

    Good Luck,
    Tom
    http://www.hostelshoppe.com/images/products/lb_05vol_sport.jpg
     
  19. garylgray

    garylgray New Member

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    Initially your speed may be the same or slower because your using different muscle groups. And it takes a bit to get use to the quicker steering especially if you go with USS (under seat steering). Once you've developed you legs for benting your average speed should increase. And yes - a fairing will further reduce wind resistance. I have a Trek road bike as well but will be for sale if my son doesn't want it.
     
  20. ncaudio

    ncaudio New Member

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    I've got a Lightning F40 and absolutley love it, the Trek 5200 is more responsive to input with it's lighter weight and the ability to stand up and crank for short periods, climbs hills better, but is slower overall by comparison, the aero advantage of the F40 is so huge that I coast around groups on long downhills, even with front guys pedaling (not pedaling real hard, but pedaling). I haven't gotten back into form this year yet but in previous years when out on group rides with riders a lot stronger than me I've never been passed in a sprint to the halfway mark and just gone by groups of guys working in pacelines. On one windy day I put about 3/8 mile between me and front group over a 4 mile distance during the sprint to the midpoint. If you live in an area with steep long hills, you have a big disadvantge on the uphills which might not equate to better times overall depening on terrain, especially if you are depending on the group for a draft but I am pretty sold on it and only ride the 5200 once in a rare while. The low racers aren't that much slower than the F 40, but if I get one, I'd probably just use it for group rides, they look awfully low and hard for motorists to see. On the group ride issue, you trade off some things, since I like to leave side room, it's harder to socialize and one guy gets pissed off when I show up, even though I tend to stay behind the group and just watch for cars.
     
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