Bike design

mtb.boy
mtb.boy Posts: 208
edited March 2011 in Pro race
If the UCI decided to change the rules to allow any bike design, (Ok maybe only limited to 2 wheels and only human powered).

What would the bikes look like?
The first rule of cycling is - Tell everyone how great cycling is.

The second rule of cycling is - Tell everyone how great cycling is !!!!
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Comments

  • Monty Dog
    Monty Dog Posts: 20,614
    Recumbents
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • mtb.boy
    mtb.boy Posts: 208
    But would they all be recumbents?
    Are there certain climbs in the Alps or really tight corners where they could not be used?
    or can recumbents go anywhere a normal bike can?
    The first rule of cycling is - Tell everyone how great cycling is.

    The second rule of cycling is - Tell everyone how great cycling is !!!!
  • Richrd2205
    Richrd2205 Posts: 1,267
    mtb.boy wrote:
    But would they all be recumbents?
    Are there certain climbs in the Alps or really tight corners where they could not be used?
    or can recumbents go anywhere a normal bike can?
    Yes, they would. There are many different types of recumbent, but a short wheelbase, lightweight recumbent (like a Challenge Fujin SLII), is almost as light as an upright off the shelf (& a fraction of the price of a pro team bike), just as manoeuvrable and far faster on any on-road terrain, other than sharp uphill. Some of these two wheeled recumbents might not be very appropriate for anything other than straight line speed, but there are plenty out there that are...
  • Tom Butcher
    Tom Butcher Posts: 3,830
    Never understood why recumbents aren't more popular - I love traditional road bikes but if you aren't training for racing but want to travel distances at a decent speed you'd think they'd be a lot more popular. That said I've only ever ridden them on short test rides - maybe there are some disadvantages weren't apparent ?

    it's a hard life if you don't weaken.
  • shinyhelmut
    shinyhelmut Posts: 1,364
    Personally I find riding scary enough when I can see over the cars, hedges etc.
  • Richrd2205
    Richrd2205 Posts: 1,267
    Never understood why recumbents aren't more popular - I love traditional road bikes but if you aren't training for racing but want to travel distances at a decent speed you'd think they'd be a lot more popular. That said I've only ever ridden them on short test rides - maybe there are some disadvantages weren't apparent ?
    The main disadvantage is the lack of advertising & being seen as "different," which puts people off.
    There's also the use of different muscles; it takes 3-6 months riding to adapt to use of different muscles. You only lose a per cent or two on going back to an upright (and gain a bit of weight as other muscles get bigger), but it can be a long, annoying process.
    Then there's the cost element, which is hugely inflated by lack of economies of scale.
    So, no, there are no real disadvantages, unless you can't afford to lose even a tiny amount of power/gain a small amount of weight on an upright, but a variety of social, psychological and financial factors that put people off.
    To be fair, if you want to go a distance at a decent speed, then you'd be better off with a velomobile, but they're still more expensive... For travelling distance at speed, I challenge anyone to find an HPV that is better value for money than the Challenge Fujin SLII though.
  • edeverett
    edeverett Posts: 224
    Does anyone know what the record for climbing Aple D'Huez or equivalent is on a recumbent? (I know it wouldn't be set by a pro, but we could compare it to top amateur times)

    How would a recumbent ride on the wet dirt roads of last year's Giro or the cobbles of Paris Roubaix?

    How do recumbents handle a sprint? Are sprinting top speeds higher as well as the cruising speeds?

    (I'm not saying a recumbent wouldn't do well in these situations, but these are the sort of questions that need an answer for before we say they are faster.)
  • Tom Butcher
    Tom Butcher Posts: 3,830
    I'm pretty certain that one person on a faired recumbent designed for racing could outrun the pro peloton single handed. They can be made massively more aerodynamic - but with the increased speed there would be safety implications - anyone fancy descending at 100mph ?

    it's a hard life if you don't weaken.
  • shinyhelmut
    shinyhelmut Posts: 1,364
    anyone fancy descending at 100mph ?

    Oh yes.... :)
  • edeverett
    edeverett Posts: 224
    http://www.raceacrossamerica.org/raam/r ... bcat_id=51

    Looking at the RAAM records is interesting. Solo men's and women's records are about 3 miles an hour slower on recumbents.

    OK, so RAAM is an odd ball event but it's fairly close to normal road racing and this evidence suggests that normal bikes can be faster. Are there any other races where we can make a comparison?
  • Anonymous
    Anonymous Posts: 79,667
    The big disadvantage with recumbents is the fact that they are scary dangerous.
    Driving round the country lanes near me they are very difficult to see as they are so low down.
    This puts me off immensely. That and the fact I think they look ridiculous.
  • shinyhelmut
    shinyhelmut Posts: 1,364
    I would guess that looking at the RAAM statistics is too small a sample size to draw any real conclusion. Interestingly though the 4 man team recumbent record is faster than the equivalent on traditional bikes.

    [thread creep]Someone's completed the RAAM on a single speed! Wow![/thread creep]
  • edeverett
    edeverett Posts: 224
    It's a small sample size but a bigger sample size than someone saying "I think that ..."

    Yeah, the four person team record is interesting. I guess my point is the results are mixed and from what evidence we do have it's not clear that recumbents would be faster.
  • Richrd2205
    Richrd2205 Posts: 1,267
    edeverrett, if you have a play with this calculator, you can see pretty quickly that you can say they are quicker fairly objectively (please note, that the weights for the bikes in it's database are pretty old & very overstated).
    Comparing records is very difficult to do since you're comparing a huge population of upright cyclists with a tiny population of recumbent cyclists. Furthermore, the technology behind uprights is backed by £millions a year, compared to a few thousand for recumbents. You are not comparing like with like at all.
    To answer your questions, recumbents handle fine in a sprint. Sprinting speeds are obviously not just higher (different muscles & power outputs, it works the same with whichever muscle set), but proportionally higher, since air resistance is about 30-40% less.
    The right recumbent would have no bother of strade bianchi or cobbles (you can get high racers with 2*700c wheels). There's some videos online of the folk at Azub off-roading on 'bents.
    It should be physics that we check, rather than records to determine which is faster, no?
    NapD, excuse me being a bit worried about your argument, it sounds dangerously like the argument most have with bikes per se. The difficultly is, IME, not significant & easily surmounted if you have a problem by using a flag on a pole....
    I suspect your second argument is the real reason that they are not more widely used: road cyclists look down their noses at the strange machines, rather than realising that they're merely an evolved version of what they are riding.... That is, doing exactly what they complain that motorists do to them
    :wink:
  • rick_chasey
    rick_chasey Posts: 73,686
    Can't see recumbants as remotely as manourverable in the way needed for mass start racing.

    Can you imagine a sprint finish on recumbants? Man that'd be dull from the front-facing finish-line shot.
  • edeverett
    edeverett Posts: 224
    I have no doubt that recumbents are faster on the flat. I am questioning whether that speed translates into being faster in pro racing.

    It's too complicated for me to work out the physics of three week mass-start mountainous stage races, so I've looked for evidence. To my surprise (really, I have no agenda and would like to try a recumbent) the evidence that I found was that recumbents seem not to be faster in an endurance race. The RAAM solo events are exactly the type of event that it has been said a recumbent would dominate in - the normal bike riders don't have anyone to draft from to mitigate their aerodynamic disadvantage.

    I accept the evidence could be better, but what there is is better than pure supposition, and at worst suggests things are more complicated than "recumbents are always faster".
  • Monkeypump
    Monkeypump Posts: 1,528
    Richrd2205 wrote:
    NapD, excuse me being a bit worried about your argument, it sounds dangerously like the argument most have with bikes per se. The difficultly is, IME, not significant & easily surmounted if you have a problem by using a flag on a pole....
    I suspect your second argument is the real reason that they are not more widely used: road cyclists look down their noses at the strange machines, rather than realising that they're merely an evolved version of what they are riding.... That is, doing exactly what they complain that motorists do to them
    :wink:

    Richrd2205 - forgive me if I'm wrong, but your posts sound very biased.

    With regard to your point above, I love the idea of recumbents, but the absolute single reason I won't ride one on the roads is safety. There is simply no way visibility is as good as a standard bike. Not only being seen (which I think a flag only partially addresses, but also what the rider can see from such a low position (especially in traffic).

    If seeing and being seen wasn't an issue (i.e. no town riding, very little traffic, more open roads with few buildings/hedges/etc) I'd have bought one years ago.

    And to me, the idea of being a little different is a good thing!
  • Richrd2205
    Richrd2205 Posts: 1,267
    edeverett wrote:
    I have no doubt that recumbents are faster on the flat. I am questioning whether that speed translates into being faster in pro racing.

    It's too complicated for me to work out the physics of three week mass-start mountainous stage races, so I've looked for evidence. To my surprise (really, I have no agenda and would like to try a recumbent) the evidence that I found was that recumbents seem not to be faster in an endurance race. The RAAM solo events are exactly the type of event that it has been said a recumbent would dominate in - the normal bike riders don't have anyone to draft from to mitigate their aerodynamic disadvantage.

    I accept the evidence could be better, but what there is is better than pure supposition, and at worst suggests things are more complicated than "recumbents are always faster".
    OK, first up, your RAAM comparison isn't very valid, since the teams tend to put their, incredibly limited, resources into the 4 man competition. Saying that, a solo woman placed very highly on a recumbent a couple of years ago. Manufacturers seem to back the 4 person events since it's far more likely to get a result for the investment & they simply can't afford not to get a return on the money spent. Furthermore, any talented cyclist who wants to do well would be foolish not to head where there is money & decent opportunities, so the recumbent teams are dealing with a far smaller & less rich talent pool.
    Despite the lack of budget and talent, they still manage to do better quite frequently. Does that answer your question?
    If you want to look at records and stuff on a more level playing field, it's worth looking at the vehicle that got recumbents banned in the first place: Claude Mochet's velocar. There you can compare like with like, since the pros of the era would not be trained in a modern manner & economic backing was less significant. Bear in mind that the velocar had hideous rolling resistance compared to 2 wheel machines.
    You are absolutely right that recumbents aren't always faster, but the only terrain that I can see where that would be an issue would be on inclines above 10% where aerodynamics cease to be important & weight becomes critical, recumbents are unlikely to ever weigh less than uprights (largely because of the chain) & normally carry a 10ish% weight penalty when comparing equivalents....
    I'm also not trying to be dogmatic or simplistic, but I fail to see how reducing the only significant factor slowing you down by 30-40% (for an unfaired vehicle) wouldn't make you a lot faster.
    I love riding uprights (I have 2), but they are slow and wobbly in comparison...

    Rick, how does the fairly mass start racing at BHPC & IHPVA world event occur then?
  • 58585
    58585 Posts: 207
    Part of the beauty of cycling is knowing that equipment plays such a small part part in determining who wins...
    If the UCI allowed a free for all what would the bikes look like? Who cares, the racing would be crap and meaningless as a competition :D
  • Richrd2205
    Richrd2205 Posts: 1,267
    Monkeypump wrote:

    Richrd2205 - forgive me if I'm wrong, but your posts sound very biased.

    With regard to your point above, I love the idea of recumbents, but the absolute single reason I won't ride one on the roads is safety. There is simply no way visibility is as good as a standard bike. Not only being seen (which I think a flag only partially addresses, but also what the rider can see from such a low position (especially in traffic).

    If seeing and being seen wasn't an issue (i.e. no town riding, very little traffic, more open roads with few buildings/hedges/etc) I'd have bought one years ago.

    And to me, the idea of being a little different is a good thing!
    Monkeypump, this is a frequent misconception amongst those who have never tried riding recumbents. I really wish I was less visible riding one: seriously, the visibility is a huge PiTA. To suggest that being noticed is simply about physical size is to ignore evidence and psychology. There's hundreds of posts on this subject around the internets & I'll not go into the cognitive factors to avoid boring people, but I have yet to hear a recumbent rider who hasn't found themselves a lot more noticed & passed with a lot more space. My experience in Glasgow on a 'bent is of getting about 1-2 cars passing within touching distance in 1000km, on an upright, it's about 100x this frequent. So I must be more visible.
    The only time it's an issue is pulling out of a t-junction onto a double parked road.
    I can also easily mount 1 or two mirrors, so have permanent 360 degree vision. Granted, I can't see over stuff very well, but I really don't find I need to all that often. When I do, I can stop & stand.
    Seriously, you should try it out, the difference is night & day.
    If I sound biased, I apologise. I use both uprights & bents frequently, so am quite familiar with the differences. People normally have a lot of prejudice when it comes to 'bents & a number of things are counter-intuitive, so I can frequently sound like I'm going off on one when countering these things...
  • TheBigBean
    TheBigBean Posts: 20,914
    I know this isn't exactly the question, but I do find the performance in the hour record staggering

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hour_record

    I doubt Cav could hit 90.6kph in any flat circumstances, but to maintain that for an hour shows exactly how fast recumbants are.
  • edeverett
    edeverett Posts: 224
    "If you want to look at records and stuff on a more level playing field, it's worth looking at the vehicle that got recumbents banned in the first place: Claude Mochet's velocar."

    Interesting stuff. A bit of googling lead me to this PDF : http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~hadla ... racing.pdf

    It seems a middle of the pack rider got middle of the pack results on a recumbent. The evidence still seems to suggest that recumbents wouldn't necessarily be faster.
  • mcj78
    mcj78 Posts: 634
    Richrd2205 - Are you perchance the guy I used to see fairly frequently riding a recumbent along Paisley Rd West?

    On the subject of bike design without any UCI limitations - dunno, but I think it'd be interesting to see what kind of bikes appeared - although in reality, what are the chances of one team making such a considerably faster bike than anyone else it was untouchable?

    J
    Moda Issimo
    Genesis Volare 853
    Charge Filter Apex
  • No_Ta_Doctor
    No_Ta_Doctor Posts: 13,560
    Given that riders change bikes according to stage (e.g. time trial bikes) I'd expect to see recumbents used where they were best suited and uprights elsewhere (e.g. mountains).

    Also worth noting that at least part of the reason recumbents aren't more popular is that they were banned from racing. No exposure means no big manufacturers insterested.
    Warning No formatter is installed for the format
  • rebs
    rebs Posts: 891
    Think the usual road machines should stay as they are. Being in a position where your head is at the front and high makes things ALOT safer.

    Although with TT'ing I really wish they would let anything go. Man + machine vs the clock is all what it is about!
  • Richrd2205
    Richrd2205 Posts: 1,267
    edeverett wrote:
    "If you want to look at records and stuff on a more level playing field, it's worth looking at the vehicle that got recumbents banned in the first place: Claude Mochet's velocar."

    Interesting stuff. A bit of googling lead me to this PDF : http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~hadla ... racing.pdf

    It seems a middle of the pack rider got middle of the pack results on a recumbent. The evidence still seems to suggest that recumbents wouldn't necessarily be faster.
    So we can conclude that a far heavier than necessary recurrent with terrible rolling resistance didn't do any worse... (I can't open your link just now so I am relying on your interpretation), we can therefore conclude that a two wheeled equivalent would have done better, no? & therefore been better. I also note that you're ignoring the records he broke (as a middling rider) & disregarding RAAM now that I've put the evidence in context. It seems there's some event evidence to support my point then, no?
  • Monkeypump
    Monkeypump Posts: 1,528
    Richrd2205 wrote:
    Monkeypump wrote:

    Richrd2205 - forgive me if I'm wrong, but your posts sound very biased.

    With regard to your point above, I love the idea of recumbents, but the absolute single reason I won't ride one on the roads is safety. There is simply no way visibility is as good as a standard bike. Not only being seen (which I think a flag only partially addresses, but also what the rider can see from such a low position (especially in traffic).

    If seeing and being seen wasn't an issue (i.e. no town riding, very little traffic, more open roads with few buildings/hedges/etc) I'd have bought one years ago.

    And to me, the idea of being a little different is a good thing!
    Monkeypump, this is a frequent misconception amongst those who have never tried riding recumbents. I really wish I was less visible riding one: seriously, the visibility is a huge PiTA. To suggest that being noticed is simply about physical size is to ignore evidence and psychology. There's hundreds of posts on this subject around the internets & I'll not go into the cognitive factors to avoid boring people, but I have yet to hear a recumbent rider who hasn't found themselves a lot more noticed & passed with a lot more space. My experience in Glasgow on a 'bent is of getting about 1-2 cars passing within touching distance in 1000km, on an upright, it's about 100x this frequent. So I must be more visible.
    The only time it's an issue is pulling out of a t-junction onto a double parked road.
    I can also easily mount 1 or two mirrors, so have permanent 360 degree vision. Granted, I can't see over stuff very well, but I really don't find I need to all that often. When I do, I can stop & stand.
    Seriously, you should try it out, the difference is night & day.
    If I sound biased, I apologise. I use both uprights & bents frequently, so am quite familiar with the differences. People normally have a lot of prejudice when it comes to 'bents & a number of things are counter-intuitive, so I can frequently sound like I'm going off on one when countering these things...

    I see where you're coming from, and you have more experience than me (by about... er... 100%!). I'd agree that visibility when approaching a 'bent is fine but in close-up situations I would think they're more difficult to spot (i.e. around town, at junctions, etc.) I may well be wrong, but I can't see how something that low can be very visible - it's below car-window height.

    The real show-stopper would be what I couldn't see as a 'bent rider, but maybe that's just a confidence issue. I do think I'd be thinking "If only I was on a normal bike I'd be able to see..."

    The speed and use of different muscles is definitely a plus-point, as is the idea of something a little quirky!

    Re. your bias - no worries, just a minor observation :wink:
  • Richrd2205
    Richrd2205 Posts: 1,267
    @mcj78, I haven't commuted on Paisley Road West for about 3-4 years now, so I'd guess not. There used to be a guy with a part faired Speed Machine that used to commute that road a few times a week...

    @Monkeypump, the whole point is that you are pretty much at car driver level. My wife drive a Megane & my eyes are about 6 cm lower than hers, even on my full-on lowracer. I can obviously see through car windows and stuff with no problem. There are bikes low enough to be as low as you talk about, but no-one would dream of using them on the road: they are full on race machines (like this one).
    Go try one out in light traffic, you could always get a mid or high racer if you want to be higher...
  • shinyhelmut
    shinyhelmut Posts: 1,364
    I've never ridden a recumbent but my concern is visibility, a lot of the lanes I ride are bordered by hedges, on an upright I can see/be seen over the hedges. On a recumbent I can't.

    How do you find riding in the wet? A recumbent would seem to place one's face at about the same height as the spray from car wheels.
  • Pirahna
    Pirahna Posts: 1,315
    I used to race recumbents (can't believe I've admitted it) although not for the last 16 or 17 years.

    Speed - they are faster some of the time, slower on hills, quicker on the flat of downhill. This is with a lot of training though, get on one and you'll be significantly slower everywhere to start with.

    Streamlining - makes a huge difference. Take a normal unfaired one, pop on a tail fairing to smooth the airflow behind and gain a few MPH. Pop on a nose fairing and gain another few MPH. Stick sides on it and go faster still. Proper, wind tunnel developed stuff is super fast. As an example, riding a time trial in Holland on my unfaired thing I was cruising in the high 20's, the top streamlined bikes were going at 60 + MPH.

    When Boardman broke the hour record, a few people (I forget names now) took a fully faired streamliner to a breezy airfield a few days later and put another 20ish MPH on. A bloke called Pat Kinch was riding, I think he's still around now, he was a decent standard on the road then too.

    On the road - they are not too good. I used to ride on the road as there is no other option if you want to train, but very low and with poor visibility for other road users isn't good.

    Would I have another - yes if I lived somewhere like Holland with a huge network of cycle paths. Not here though.

    Worth having a go - everything is worth riding if you get the chance. I'd recommend a Speedy, very low with two wheels at the front give it go-kart like handling and a huge grin factor.