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Expected Cruising Speeds

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Alec Jones View Drop Down
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    Posted: 22 February 2022 at 2:20pm
Hi Guys,

I picked up my new (to me) HP Velotechnik Speedmachine on the weekend and after its first proper ride I have some thoughts / questions

So I had a quick 20 minutes on the bike last night to learn how to ride it with the goal of cycling it to work for the first time today.  I will admit it was pretty alien at first but I got the hang of it soon enough so decided to give it a go this morning. 

It is a 15 mile trip, and it took me a lot longer than I expected it to!  Traffic isn't an issue as the route is almost exclusively an arrow straight country lane with great visibility.  This lane has a section that is about 7 miles of totally straight road with mile markers along it, so as I didn't have any bike computer, but did have a watch on, I thought I'd see how quick I was going.  Well it turns out I was only doing 10mph.... so I pulled over to take a look at things as I had been getting some rubbing noises.

The front seemed OK but the rear brake caliper was almost hanging off, I really should have given the bike a better inspection last night!  Sorted that out and the next mile was at 12 mph, but from that point on I was getting a lot of brake squeal and once I finally turned a corner and got the full brunt of the head wind it felt like I was crawling along!  I was expecting today to be an average of 16 - 18mph depending on what my fitness was like... but I averaged about 11!  Any suggestions of things I should be checking first?

I will say that while it was slow going, it was nice and comfortable, had a little bit of numb hands but if I could get the ride time down to something sensible then that wouldn’t be an issue anyway.

I have copied this from the for sale thread that I got the bike in as now its archived as "sold" I wonder if anyone will even see it.

Any input on what could be causing some of the losses would be great.

Thanks in advance.

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Yanto View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Yanto Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 February 2022 at 5:18pm
I used to average low 20's on mine, check chain condition, idlers move ok, wheel bearings, BB bearings, basically anything that goes round and round should be smooth with no drag.

A major factor could be tyres and pressures, if it's got tractor tyres at 40 psi then that will be a huge rolling friction.

Also you haven't said if you're used to the recumbent position, if not this can take some time to adapt and build muscle groups not normally used in cycling.

What were the weather conditions like, I was driving in the Fens to day and it was blowing hard, you will still have a reduced speed with a headwind, just less than an upright, also a tail wind doesn't help as much.

Ian

ETA the more reclined the seat the faster you will be. 


Edited by Yanto - 22 February 2022 at 5:21pm
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zoxed View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote zoxed Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 February 2022 at 5:49pm
You probably just need to get used to the different position/muscles.
Try to Google "recumbent legs"!
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Alec Jones View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Alec Jones Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 February 2022 at 8:57am
Thanks guys, I shall get the bike on the bench and check it over properly this weekend.  I did a little googling and yeah it seems I'm definitely not alone in the initial slow speed, I'll be patient and work on my fitness.  The goal is to average 20mph so that my commute is 45 minutes, it seems a long way away at the moment, but I'm sure I'll get there.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote XAPBob Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 February 2022 at 11:09am
Really depends on your initial fitness levels and your 'bent legs.
High aerobic fitness will help you get those legs faster... but if you are finding things like brakes rubbing whilst on the road... I'd suggest a really good going over the bike is going to be time well spent.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Ethan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 March 2022 at 10:09pm
I hit 20 on the flat on it the last time I rode it with tiller and lowest seat setting.  The only change I made since then was swapping tiller to Aero bars - this did involve changing the line of the hydraulic cable from the rear brake but I'm surprised that this would have had an affect on the back brake/making it rub.  Is it working fine now?

You need to build up bent legs, get the miles in and build towards your optimum position on the bike (for speed on the route you describe I would think it's probably tiller bar and seat laid as far back as possible).

Check pressure in tyres and pressure in the rear shock, as bobbing up and down can waste energy and leaning too far back can rub on the rear wheel.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Alec Jones Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 March 2022 at 6:35pm
I’m away from home at the moment while work is being done so not really getting chance to ride it much. I swapped it back to the tiller steering yesterday and managed to give it a quick try. Definitely seemed quite different in terms of slow control and handling, but I got used to it soon enough.

On one small downhill section I got up some good speed.... which then sort of turned into a wobble that I had to really concentrate to get back under control (thankfully no cars around). I would say that in general the steering is very sensitive around the neutral point. It’s as if the geometry has a positive castor angle which means the contact patch of the tyre is ahead of the imaginary point on the ground that the steering axis creates. This means you’d never be able to ride it with no hands for example, it also just makes it quite nervous around centre. Is this normal?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote flyinerin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 March 2022 at 9:25pm
Yes, you get used to it once muscle memory develops. I had a couple of tank slappers when I was learning to ride my Raptobike. It'll become second nature after a few rides.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote XAPBob Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 March 2022 at 11:15am
I got to the stage on my raptobike that I could ride with just one finger resting on the tiller... But then I could never ride a DF no hands.

I don't think I ever ended up with a tank slapper, except when I had a half full drinks bottle attached to the tiller and ended up with a literal tank slapper (rapidly moved the bottle after that).
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Alec Jones View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Alec Jones Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 March 2022 at 11:52am
It does seem an odd geometry choice, but I'm sure there are reasons for it.  It would be nice to get to the point where I was comfortable enough to ride it no handed, but I don't think that is going to work on this bike.
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