Press room - Bentrideronline.com January 2001|
HP Velotechnik in the news: the following text is an excerpt from the american online magazine bentrideronline.com. We recommend to read the original article, we've put it up here to save it for the future if it should become unaccessible at the original location.
HP Velotechnik Speedmachine
The first touring lowracer?
By Bryan J. Ball, Editor
So the lowracer bug has bitten you. You are lusting after one of those swoopy,
sexy racing bikes that you’ve seen on the Internet. Unfortunately, you have
one problem. You love to tour and your particular lifestyle won’t allow you to
own more than one ‘bent. What are you to do?
You’ve probably already noticed the crop of quasi-lowracers that have come
from Challenge and M5. Maybe neither of those has caught your eye with
enough vigor to make you plunk down your gold card. Maybe neither of them
looks as if it would hold up to the rigors of loaded touring. Well now there is
another quasi available from a company that is famous for making outstanding
touring SWB recumbents. This new European temptation is the
This German Company’s Street Machine GT has a very well deserved
reputation in the HPV community as a superbly crafted SWB. Street Machines
feature such excellent features as built-in racks, disc brakes, full suspension
and generator lights.
HPVelotechnik decided late last year to apply that same "complete package"
engineering philosophy to the burgeoning lowracer market. A lengthy design
process has resulted in the high tech Speedmachine.
IF ROLLS ROYCE MADE BIKES…
The new Speedmachine is a technological marvel that is absolutely packed
with creature comforts and gadgets. It features an awesome full suspension
system, disc brakes and a robust built in rear rack.
This new bicycle fits squarely into the blossoming quasi-lowracer market. It
has a seat height of 15.7" and a bottom bracket height of 26.4". Its wheelbase
is 47". HPVelotechnik claims a weight of 33 pounds. Our test bike came out at
37 with the rack installed. This puts the bike right in line weight wise with the
Challenge Hurricane Luxe.
One look at the Speedmachine will tell you that its designers did not rush it into
production. The extra time they spent shows in everything from the suspension
detail to the quiet chainline. This new bike is meant to be your one and only
and to last for an eternity. The Speedmachine looks and feels as if it were
milled out of one solid block of aluminum. This bike has the great looks and
superb craftsmanship that we've come to expect from European recumbents.
The first thing that struck me about the Speedmachine was its suspension
system. The rear half of the bike is sprung by HPVelotechnik’s appropriately
named and proven "No Squat" swingarm and a DX coil over shock. This
system works even better on the Speedmachine than it does on the Street
Machine it was designed for. I felt virtually no pogo effect even when
The front suspension on the Speedmachine is even more impressive. Its front
shock is very similar to a Cannondale Headshock suspension fork. The
suspension itself is an elastomer/spring unit that is housed in the bike’s head
tube. The whole thing rides on cartridge bearings instead of a conventional
headset. My experience as a Cannondale mechanic tells me that this set up
should be plenty durable for road use. The HPVelotechnik front suspension
soaks up every imperfection in the road admirably and doesn’t suck power any
more or less than the rear suspension. The two systems are perfectly matched.
Overall, I would have to say that the Speedmachine has the best system of any
full-suspension recumbent that I’ve ever ridden.
This advanced system contributes significantly to the bike’s excellent handling
characteristics. I rode our test bike on Christmas day and had an absolute blast
carving tighter and tighter corners in an empty department store parking lot. In
a matter of minutes, I had gained the confidence to lean the Speedmachine
farther through the corners than almost any other bike I’d ever ridden.
The HPVelotechnik is also capable of tearing up the pavement between the
corners. The Speedmachine doesn't lose too much ground on most roads to
other quasi-lowracers and more than lives up to its name for the most part. I
found the Speedmachine to be slightly faster than the Challenge Hurricane in
most respects, but slightly slower that the M5 Shock Proof. The only area
where it was noticeably slower than its competition was on climbs. This is
probably due to its weight, full suspension and a little power loss to boom flex.
One area where the Speedmachine definitely has its competitors trumped is in
comfort. The bike's suspension removed every hint of harshness from the ride.
HPVelotechnik seat comes in multiple sizes and is quite supportive and
comfortable once you find the right one.
I also found the bike's ergonomics to be spot-on. HPVelotechnic has chosen a
handlebar arrangement that is somewhere between that of a Challenge and a
ZOX. The controls fell readily into my hands and knee clearance was never an
The Speedmachine is also a much more competent tourer than either the Hurricane or
the Shock Proof. HPVelotechnik's optional rear rack is very sturdy and well made.
Considerable loads do not seem to upset the bike's handling, but may require you to adjust the bike's rear suspension preload.
If you really want to carry your gear in style, HPVelotechnik offers a
cargo-carrying tailbox (or "Speed Bag" as they call it).If you're thinking that all
of this versatility and quality must not be cheap, you're 100 percent correct.
The Speedmachine checks in at about $2600. That's definitely not cheap, but
this is a very fine machine.
A LASTING IMPRESSION
The HPVelotechnik Speedmachine is certainly a very impressive bike. It's
cornucopia of high-tech goodies and extremely refined character brought to
mind the automobile it is pictured with here (even more so if that stately Rolls
Royce had a Ferrari V-12 under the bonnet).
Of course, it's not perfect. I'm still waiting for a light European performance
bike and wouldn't necessarily want to climb the Alpe De Huez on the
Speedmachine, but as a sport tourer, it's outstanding. The Speedmachine's
versatility and striking beauty are also hard to forget.
Unfortunately its price tag will also leave a lasting impression. When looking at
the bike's somewhat staggering price, HPVelotchnik's high level refinement
must also be kept in mind. A bike that can combine this level of technology
and the Speedmachine's rock solid feel are also a rare commodity.
HIGHS - Unequaled refinement, versatile, plenty fast on the flats
LOWS - Beauty doesn't come cheap, not a mountain goat
AVERAGE PRICE - $2600