Question for HP Velo "Speedmachine" owners

Discussion in 'Recumbent bicycles' started by Andrew Heckman, Apr 10, 2003.

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  1. Hello, fellow 'benters:

    Last June I was injured while riding as part of a cross-country bicycle relay. I sustained a
    shattered pelvis, and, after healing as much as it will heal, my left leg still has limited range of
    motion. In short, it's painful for me to lift me knee past a 45 degree angle.

    I'm looking to get back on a bike if I can, however. I'd like to remain 'bent (my previous bike was
    a P-38). But my injury means I need a bike with a low liftover height and a very open riding
    position, and that will also allow me to very comfortably put both feet on the ground at stops. At
    first glance, I think an HP Velotechnik Speedmachine might do the trick. But it's a pretty low bike.
    So here's my question:

    Do any of you who ride or have ridden an HP Velo Speedmachine feel completely comfortable riding it
    in traffic? I live in Portland, Oregon, which has bike lanes, and bikes are relatively common on the
    main streets. But it's a pretty big city, and my wife is understandably extremely anxious about me
    riding any bike that isn't highly visible to drivers. I'd be relatively happy with an HP Velo Spirit
    or perhaps a Scooterbike, but I'm not quite ready to give up on the performance aspect of my
    cycling. I'm hoping that, with the big, orange tailbox, the Speedmachine would be plenty visible,
    but if any of you have found that the bike's relatively low height makes seeing or being seen in
    traffic difficult, or haven't found the low profile to be problem, I'd love to hear from you.

    Anyway, any thoughts, stories, suggestions from the 'bent community? Feel free to answer here, or
    email me directly off-list.

    Thanks all!

    --
    Andrew Heckman, [email protected]
     
    Tags:


  2. Dave Larrington rides his in London so he can probably tell you.

    That being said I think that inattentive drivers will get you no matter how visible you are. If they
    don't look back when turning right for instance nothing but your brakes and reflexes can save you.
    (I get a lot of those in Copenhagen)

    I ride my Velokraft with 36 cm seatheight and 30-40 degree seatangle at ludicrous speeds through
    Copenhagen. No problems yet.

    Good to see you're ready to get back in the saddle (ehrm seat)

    M.
     
  3. Jun Nogami

    Jun Nogami Guest

    I had a P38, I have two years on my challenge hurricane, and only a few very brief rides on the
    speedmachine.

    One factor you might consider is that the spm with the tiller steering has a fixed bar position
    which makes getting on and off difficult. Furthermore, a flip it type bar is very handy if you are
    ever in a position where you want to walk the bike for a short distance (such as at a very busy
    intersection). Also, iwhen riding in traffic, the biggest downside for me in sitting low is not so
    much that I am not visible, but I can't see over the hoods of cars when stopped at an intersection.

    I wouldn't get the tailbox. I had one (a race tailbox, not the orange tour one), and it was a
    beautiful piece of work, but I knew that one gust of wind when the bike was parked, and it would get
    all scraped up. Besides, it would be even louder than a coroplast box. I would consider the
    angletech trunk.

    Having said all that, the suspension on the spm is great.

    Most of my riding is beyond city limits. If I was going to get a machine for the city, I'd think
    about a dakota 'S', or maybe the new challenge mistral with the pretty rear suspension. I would also
    get a "real_light" taillight that one of our local people sells. It is so bright that it hurts to
    look at it directly, even during daytime.

    Glad to hear that you will be riding again,

    Sincerely,

    Jun Nogami
     
  4. John W

    John W Guest

    Andrew,

    For the type of riding you have described I would really consider the new Challenge Mistral. Comes
    with rear suspension, fenders, and rack. They made it geared towards urban riding but it is still a
    sporty bent from one of the top low racer manufacturers. The seat back is more upright than a Speed
    Machine so you would be more visible to motorists but the seat height is still fairly low at 20".
    http://www.challengebikes.com/NewChallengeBikes/mistral.htm

    John

    "Andrew Heckman" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > Hello, fellow 'benters:
    >
    > Last June I was injured while riding as part of a cross-country bicycle relay. I sustained a
    > shattered pelvis, and, after healing as much as it
    will
    > heal, my left leg still has limited range of motion. In short, it's
    painful
    > for me to lift me knee past a 45 degree angle.
    >
    > I'm looking to get back on a bike if I can, however. I'd like to remain 'bent (my previous bike
    > was a P-38). But my injury means I need a bike
    with
    > a low liftover height and a very open riding position, and that will also allow me to very
    > comfortably put both feet on the ground at stops. At
    first
    > glance, I think an HP Velotechnik Speedmachine might do the trick. But
    it's
    > a pretty low bike. So here's my question:
    >
    > Do any of you who ride or have ridden an HP Velo Speedmachine feel completely comfortable riding
    > it in traffic? I live in Portland, Oregon, which has bike lanes, and bikes are relatively common
    > on the main streets. But it's a pretty big city, and my wife is understandably extremely
    anxious
    > about me riding any bike that isn't highly visible to drivers. I'd be relatively happy with an HP
    > Velo Spirit or perhaps a Scooterbike, but I'm not quite ready to give up on the performance aspect
    > of my cycling. I'm hoping that, with the big, orange tailbox, the Speedmachine would be
    plenty
    > visible, but if any of you have found that the bike's relatively low
    height
    > makes seeing or being seen in traffic difficult, or haven't found the low profile to be problem,
    > I'd love to hear from you.
    >
    > Anyway, any thoughts, stories, suggestions from the 'bent community? Feel free to answer here, or
    > email me directly off-list.
    >
    > Thanks all!
    >
    > --
    > Andrew Heckman, [email protected]
     
  5. Tom Blum

    Tom Blum Guest

    I have a Speed Machine Clone, which pretty well mimics the SpeedMachine layout.

    I would have to second the statement about getting in and out of the cycle. It's not easy. The
    SpeedMachine does have racing, or aero, bars as an option. This would free up entry and exit from
    the machine.

    There is an adaptation period for riding bents. The lower they are, the twitchier they feel. At
    first, this is disconcerting. Starting up at intersections is difficult. I would recommend something
    that sits higher for starters. Like Lays Potato Chips, no one owns just one bent. You can get lower
    and faster next time.

    Just my opinion.

    Tom
     
  6. Geoff Adams

    Geoff Adams Guest

    Andrew,

    I wouldn't recommend a bike as low as the Speedmachine for someone with any difficulties related to
    leg and knee mobility. Although with practice, I'm sure you could become very agile on the bike (as
    mentioned, Legs Larry commutes in London on one), it may not be the best choice considering the
    limited range of motion you describe. I suppose if you ride unclipped, putting both feet on the
    ground at stops is manageable. But then not knowing the full extent of your knee limitation it's
    hard to say.

    As far as visibility, I think that's not a big issue, since I believe it's best to ride any bike
    in traffic as if you are invisible. Search this newsgroup and you'll find lots of opinions on
    THAT matter.

    Geoff HPVSpdmchn in Rhode Island

    Andrew Heckman wrote:
    > Hello, fellow 'benters:
    >
    > Last June I was injured while riding as part of a cross-country bicycle relay. I sustained a
    > shattered pelvis, and, after healing as much as it will heal, my left leg still has limited range
    > of motion. In short, it's painful for me to lift me knee past a 45 degree angle.
    >
    > I'm looking to get back on a bike if I can, however. I'd like to remain 'bent (my previous bike
    > was a P-38). But my injury means I need a bike with a low liftover height and a very open riding
    > position, and that will also allow me to very comfortably put both feet on the ground at stops. At
    > first glance, I think an HP Velotechnik Speedmachine might do the trick. But it's a pretty low
    > bike. So here's my question:
    >
    > Do any of you who ride or have ridden an HP Velo Speedmachine feel completely comfortable riding
    > it in traffic? I live in Portland, Oregon, which has bike lanes, and bikes are relatively common
    > on the main streets. But it's a pretty big city, and my wife is understandably extremely anxious
    > about me riding any bike that isn't highly visible to drivers. I'd be relatively happy with an HP
    > Velo Spirit or perhaps a Scooterbike, but I'm not quite ready to give up on the performance
    > aspect of my cycling. I'm hoping that, with the big, orange tailbox, the Speedmachine would be
    > plenty visible, but if any of you have found that the bike's relatively low height makes seeing
    > or being seen in traffic difficult, or haven't found the low profile to be problem, I'd love to
    > hear from you.
    >
    > Anyway, any thoughts, stories, suggestions from the 'bent community? Feel free to answer here, or
    > email me directly off-list.
    >
    > Thanks all!
    >
    > --
    > Andrew Heckman, [email protected]
    >
    >

    --
    -Geoff

    http://www.geoffadams.com
     
  7. Tom Sherman

    Tom Sherman Guest

    Mikael Seierup wrote:
    > ... That being said I think that inattentive drivers will get you no matter how visible
    > you are....

    We had a case where a driver missed seeing our Class 8 semi tractor pulling a 50 foot flatbed
    trailer with one of these on it < http://www.cmeco.com/images/550x.htm >.

    Tom Sherman - Various HPV's Quad Cities USA (Illinois side)
     
  8. Andrew,

    I ride the streets in suburban Chicago, and sometime on streets in the City as well. I feel the
    visibility is pretty good, and I have a Nite-Rider tail light which is as bright as anything on the
    market. My wife worries about me too. I guess that's their perogative. Hope this helps.

    Happy tailwinds,

    Dan

    >
    >

    --

    Daniel T. W. Lum, M.D. Northwestern University, Evanston, IL. USA [email protected]
     
  9. Andrew asked:

    > Do any of you who ride or have ridden an HP Velo Speedmachine feel completely comfortable riding
    > it in traffic?

    What Mikael said. Just keep your wits about you - as you should on *any* bike - and blow the
    uprights[1] into the weeds :) As to putting feet down at stops - I don't do this, but rather put a
    hand down instead. People less simian in aspect may, however, find this tricky.

    1 - except that irritatingly fast bloke on a slick-shod Cannondale MTB.

    Dave Larrington - http://legslarry.crosswinds.net/
    ===========================================================
    Editor - British Human Power Club Newsletter
    http://www.bhpc.org.uk/
    ===========================================================
     
  10. John Rooker

    John Rooker Guest

    That's because you didn't have a flag on it.. :)

    On Thu, 10 Apr 2003 21:46:51 -0500, Tom Sherman <[email protected]> wrote:

    >We had a case where a driver missed seeing our Class 8 semi tractor pulling a 50 foot flatbed
    >trailer with one of these on it < http://www.cmeco.com/images/550x.htm >.
    >
    >Tom Sherman - Various HPV's Quad Cities USA (Illinois side)
     
  11. Hillel

    Hillel Guest

    "Andrew Heckman" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > Hello, fellow 'benters:
    >
    > Last June I was injured while riding as part of a cross-country bicycle relay. I sustained a
    > shattered pelvis, and, after healing as much as it
    will
    > heal, my left leg still has limited range of motion. In short, it's
    painful
    > for me to lift me knee past a 45 degree angle.
    >
    > I'm looking to get back on a bike if I can, however. I'd like to remain 'bent (my previous bike
    > was a P-38). But my injury means I need a bike
    with
    > a low liftover height and a very open riding position, and that will also allow me to very
    > comfortably put both feet on the ground at stops. At
    first
    > glance, I think an HP Velotechnik Speedmachine might do the trick. But
    it's
    > a pretty low bike. So here's my question:
    >

    Good to see you are back and ready to ride.

    Depending on you range of motion, any SWB could be a problem. You seem like a candidate for a
    Rotator Pursuit LWB. It is low near the ground, but not as low as a lowracer. The mesh seat is
    similar to your old P-38, but it will let you get a much more open riding position if you need it. I
    think there is even a used one selling right now on the NG.

    Although it is not exactly performance-oriented, you might want to take a look at the new Linear
    bikes. Peter Stull at The Bicycleman has taken over production and has made some improvements to the
    design. Depending on how open a position you need, the BB can now be mounted below or above the
    beam, and getting on is easy by just stepping over the beam with the USS.

    Hope this helps. ---Hillel
     
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