Press room - stuff 02/2000
HP Velotechnik in the news: the following text is an excerpt from the English magazine stuff, issue 02/2000. We recommend to order the complete magazine from the publishing house to read the whole story.
Sit up and beg? We'd rather relax back and revel in the speed and attention we can get by riding a recumbent
Words and Photography Hilary Stone
Plenty of cycling enthusiasts will tell you that recumbent bikes offer the ultimate in human-powered speed and thrills. Radically different from other pedal cycles (your seat can be just 15cm from the road) they're faster, more comfortable and more efficient.
They can reach 50mph downhill, yet they offer a better all-round view than a normal tourer- And adding a fairing will let you cut through the air with much less effort and shield you from the elements far better than on any conventional bike. A frequently voiced fear is that, as you're so low, you'll get driven over by a dozy car
or truck driver. In reality this isn't likely to be a problem, though the amount of attention yon attract can be.
First made commercially in the 1930s, recumbents were banned by the governing body of cycle sport in 1934, but interest in them was rekindled in the US in the '70s. Now over 20 makes are available in the UK.
Our six bikes were tested for handling over a course that included a steep, twisting descent with off-camber corners, and both short, sharp and long, steady climbs. Surfaces varied from smooth to potholed. The machines were also evaluated for rider fit, versatility such potential touring ability as well as outright speed.
Street Machine GT
£1150 (as tested with trunk such fairing £1640)
You'll attract masses of attention the minute you hit the road on the Street Machine, with the optional rear trunk and Streamer fairing. But the beauty is more than skin-deep. Unusually, there's full suspension front and rear, which offers a cosseting ride-though the seat becomes sticky in hot weather. Seat height should suit all but the shortest riders. Steering is gentle and forgiving but sharp and positive when needed.
This is a seriously fast machine with handling that never feels anything but safe and secure, no matter how fast you go - your thrills come from the speed, not from over-sensitive behaviour. A wide-ratio 24-speed transmission offers a really useful range of gears to suit both fast descending and steep climbing. Tektro V-style brakes offer plenty of stopping power. A wide range of touring and speed accessories can be specified to suit your preferences, helping to make the Street Machine a very versatile means of transport.
Stuff says: A truly comfortable and fast recumbent bike which also manages to be excellent value for money.