My experiences with a regular racing bicycle in the course of 8 years and another 10 years with various recumbent bicycles left me with questions. At home (in Noord-Brabant), I could achieve a higher speed on the recumbent racing bicycles. However, during a cycling holiday in the French Alps, the ‘hors catégorie’ mountains proved almost impossible on the recumbent bicycle, even with an extra-large sprocket in the cassette on the rear axle. For these differences in speed on level roads, in climbs and descends, this booklet provides explanations, as well for non-competitive as for professional cyclists. However, in these calculations many data had to be estimated because reliable measurements are still lacking.
The ultimate difference in cycling speed between the recumbent and regular racing bicycle in a tour-model could be even greater if both bikes would be technically equal. That is to say with the same ready-to-ride weight (8 kg), and with the same continuous pedaling power of the cyclist (450 watt), thanks to an improved construction of the handlebars on the recumbent bicycle. With that, the difference in overall speed between the recumbent high racer and the regular racing bicycle would result in 13.6% more speed when riding recumbent. But at present in 2017, this technical equality of both bicycles is no reality.
© Leo Rogier Verberne
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