New rider, new HPV Speedmachine - questions and observations

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Lucasshmucas
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New rider, new HPV Speedmachine - questions and observations

Postby Lucasshmucas » 30 Aug 2018, 10:46am

I've just got back from my first ride on my new (to me) Speedmachine. I enjoyed the ride, especially going downhill, and managed to negotiate junctions and tight turns through gates on the canal path without too much trouble. I had a couple of frights on taking a hand off the bars but also managed to do it without crashing into a hedge.

I appreciate that I'm new to riding 'bents so am not yet used to the position and handling and have not yet developed 'bent legs so some of what follows may just be passing concerns that will dissipate with experience. However I would love to know what other people think, either to reassure me that it isn't a problem, or to confirm that it might be.

1. I found the handling quite twitchy. I don't know if this is down to the size of the front wheel, the head angle or the short wheelbase but it was a bit disconcerting at times. It seemed to improve at speed but I found that the gentler I was with steering inputs the better it behaved. Overall it felt a bit stressful, either because it misbehaved or because I was having to remember to gentle with the steering. Does this get better over time? How do other bikes compare?

2. The suspension was great. Rode over some small speed humps that cause a jolt even on my fat tyred bikes, but on (in?) the Speedmachine there was just the smallest indication of a bump in the road.

3. It didn't feel that fast. I'm regretting not recording the ride for comparison, but it felt like there was quite a lot of energy loss in the drivetrain, and in the rolling resistance of the tyres / smaller wheels. I did get it up to a decent speed but it felt like it needed more effort to stay there than on my DF, although this could be because I've not developed the right muscles yet. I know it's not the fastest 'bent but I was a little disappointed. How does the Speedmachine compare to other 'bents in the speed stakes? I was hoping for a blend of comfort and speed. At the moment it feels like I have one but not the other. Any recommendations for a fast machine for a beginner?

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pjclinch
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Re: New rider, new HPV Speedmachine - questions and observations

Postby pjclinch » 30 Aug 2018, 12:52pm

Lucasshmucas wrote:
1. I found the handling quite twitchy. I don't know if this is down to the size of the front wheel, the head angle or the short wheelbase but it was a bit disconcerting at times. It seemed to improve at speed but I found that the gentler I was with steering inputs the better it behaved. Overall it felt a bit stressful, either because it misbehaved or because I was having to remember to gentle with the steering. Does this get better over time? How do other bikes compare?


See other threads here about rider-dependent twitchiness with certain handlebar types. I don't really grok tiller bars, and any time I've been on a tiller bike I've found it quite hard to relax, much as you describe. Take an otherwise identical bike with aero-bars or underseat steering (Speedmachine included, I've ridden all 3 'bar types) and it feels rock-solid to me. Other people don't get on with aero or underseat, and given there's no weight on the bars and they don't affect the overall geometry this does seem to be a function of the rider.
So if you can, try a Speedmachine with alternative bars and see if that's a thing for you.

Lucasshmucas wrote:
3. It didn't feel that fast. I'm regretting not recording the ride for comparison, but it felt like there was quite a lot of energy loss in the drivetrain, and in the rolling resistance of the tyres / smaller wheels. I did get it up to a decent speed but it felt like it needed more effort to stay there than on my DF, although this could be because I've not developed the right muscles yet. I know it's not the fastest 'bent but I was a little disappointed. How does the Speedmachine compare to other 'bents in the speed stakes? I was hoping for a blend of comfort and speed. At the moment it feels like I have one but not the other. Any recommendations for a fast machine for a beginner?


There'll be a bit more loss in the drivetrain, but shouldn't be too much. If you don't have fast tyres on it, errr, put some fast tyres on it. Small wheel is a total red herring when you ally it to good suspension on anything but the worst roads. Mostly it'll be lack of relevant muscle, I'd guess, and part of the slow feeling may be down to relatively poor acceleration (it's quite heavy, a=f/m) as opposed to actual speed when you're at cruising level. Once you've got a bit more used to it, clock it in to a proper headwind against your upwrong and you'll see where you're making gains.

And if you really want to go fast, just point it down a sinuous descent once you're happy with the steering. The excellent aero will give you plenty of speed and the low centre of mass combined with very good brakes, suspension and a heads-up view of where you're going gives you much better control than you'd have with a road bike, and quicker than you can say "risk compensation in action" you'll be screaming down things at speeds you'd felt sure would have you over the bars on a road bike...

Pete.
Often seen riding a bike around Dundee...

Lucasshmucas
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Re: New rider, new HPV Speedmachine - questions and observations

Postby Lucasshmucas » 30 Aug 2018, 2:53pm

Hi Pete, thanks for the comprehensive response. I'm sure you're right about the tyres - I'm in the process of sorting that out. It'll be interesting to see what difference it makes.

I'm running aerobars but I think it's probably just a matter of adapting to them. As my girlfriend pointed out when I spoke to her about this, just going from one upright bike to another can feel odd at first - I've got a Brompton and that feels twitchy if I've not been on it for a while, but the feeling soon goes away.

What I do know is that I'm itching to get out on it again. :D

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[XAP]Bob
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Re: New rider, new HPV Speedmachine - questions and observations

Postby [XAP]Bob » 30 Aug 2018, 7:11pm

Very easy to end up with a deathgrip on ‘bent bars, and to pull on them in an effort to go faster...

Neither help.
A shortcut has to be a challenge, otherwise it would just be the way. No situation is so dire that panic cannot make it worse.
There are two kinds of people in this world: those can extrapolate from incomplete data.

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pjclinch
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Re: New rider, new HPV Speedmachine - questions and observations

Postby pjclinch » 30 Aug 2018, 7:19pm

[XAP]Bob wrote:Very easy to end up with a deathgrip on ‘bent bars, and to pull on them in an effort to go faster...

Neither help.


Wot Bob Sez. When starting, particularly hill starts, try a a gentle fingertip push on both sides. The push doesn't directly help with the starting, but it does really emphasise that you're not pulling on them. At all.

Cruising, even at speed, you shouldn't need any more than a light touch on one side only.

As always with possibly twitchy steering, do check the headset is done up properly/in good shape.

Pete.
Often seen riding a bike around Dundee...

Lucasshmucas
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Re: New rider, new HPV Speedmachine - questions and observations

Postby Lucasshmucas » 30 Aug 2018, 7:28pm

I've been out for a second, longer ride taking in traffic and some short but steep hills. I didn't notice the twitchiness nearly as much as on the first ride. I also started to relax a bit more. There was one part of the route through a gorge, with trees either side and a bridge above, next to a river. It's a lovely place to cycle and I don't think I've enjoyed it as much as I did today. It felt like I had a panoramic view.

As well as chilling out a little more, which was great, I also spent more time pushing on, which also felt good. Although acceleration wasn't exactly sprightly it did feel like the resistance I felt was mechanical rather than aerodynamic.

I used to think I got a lot of attention riding around on a yellow fat bike, but I might as well have been invisible compared to riding a 'bent.

Can't wait to get out again. :D

D.TEK HPVS
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Re: New rider, new HPV Speedmachine - questions and observations

Postby D.TEK HPVS » 30 Aug 2018, 8:19pm

This SM might be lacking some of the original key features ?? :shock:
Some owners mistakenly flog off the popular and original RH14 or Sram Dualdrives hub gears attempting to save weight !
Do you only have 9 gears (just cogs on the back ) and a single ring upfront ?
Without a gear shift change post on the front boom ?
Or have you got 27 D/R gears fitted ?
Tell us more or pop a picture up on the forum .
Pleased to hear the second trip went well
Performance wise ..........weigh your upwrong and compare the weight of the HP SM recumbent .
You might find the results surprising .....and you deserve a pat on the back for your early performance :D
Hope that helps ......Kevin D

Lucasshmucas
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Re: New rider, new HPV Speedmachine - questions and observations

Postby Lucasshmucas » 30 Aug 2018, 9:32pm

Thanks Kevin. That's very astute. It is missing the derailleur hanger on the boom, has a single ring up front and 10 speed at the back. The owner said that he'd sold the rohloff because he didn't get on with it. I'm going to fit a larger cassette at the back which should hopefully give me the range I need.

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NUKe
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Re: New rider, new HPV Speedmachine - questions and observations

Postby NUKe » 30 Aug 2018, 9:57pm

It took me best part of year to get fully used to my grasshopper, and that was riding every day. I was happy virtually from day 1, but it took a while to fully relax and develop bent legs,two years on, i have done several Audax rides upto 300 km hoping to do a 400 next year. Just been to bike fix as we are in London. A couple of Mike burrows creations caught my eye.
NUKe
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Lucasshmucas
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Re: New rider, new HPV Speedmachine - questions and observations

Postby Lucasshmucas » 30 Aug 2018, 10:02pm

Thanks Nuke. That's very encouraging. These Mike Burrows creations, are they one off machines? Please forgive my ignorance, the only MB machine I'm aware of is the Wind Cheetah - I'm still very new to this.

hercule
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Re: New rider, new HPV Speedmachine - questions and observations

Postby hercule » 30 Aug 2018, 10:32pm

Re speed: I have a Nazca Fuego which is a similar style machine, albeit no front suspension, a bit lower and a bit more laid back (min recline 37 degrees vs SM's 45, I think). It is also similarly weighty! With winter tyres (Marathons front and rear) it rolls at touring bike speeds; summer tyres (Kojak front, Pasela rear) it's by far the fastest two wheeler I’ve got and providing it’s not too hilly it’s quicker than my lightish Audax bike. Hills do slow me down, but only going up; downhill can be tackled at impressive speeds. I’ve also rolled past carbon fibre DF riders into headwinds that I barely notice and they are struggling with.

You are doing fantastically for the first few rides, stick with it and don’t get distracted by other machines until you’ve had at least a year to develop into your SM.

speedy7777
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Re: New rider, new HPV Speedmachine - questions and observations

Postby speedy7777 » 31 Aug 2018, 1:04am

Yes you are not the only one, it was pretty stressfull at first for me too and i was really pulling on the bars at alot and a bit wobbly. It really quickly became much more inuitive to ride them though after a very short time. I really like using differnet muscles to power along with and easily reaching speeds of 55kmh on slight downhills even when the first bent i tried was 23kg. I read an article somewhere recently that places weight as of less importance to efficiency than aerodynamics and tyre choice. For more speed i reclined the seat more and even cut down my bars to make them more narrow, and replaced 2.0" tyres with 1.3" ones at 70psi and fitted a shorter rear shock.
One bent i have has 11- 40 10 speed cassette with 44t front ring on 26" wheels and 165mm cranks and it gets up to speeds of 55kmh downhill spinning and up rolling hills comfortably. You can use a online gear calculator to see what different setups will do. I preffered a hub gear for learning recumbent riding on but now find derailuer gears are nicer overall.
My first bent felt really sluggish too at first then i realised the chain was too big for the chain guide tubes and was binding. I got some bigger pvc pipes and cut them down to a bare minimum flared the ends with some heat and the handle of a screw driver and then i was flying along.
Yes you do get alot of attention on a bent but where i am its 95 percent possitive. Though i have a choice of bikes for any longer rides the bent is always first choice. Not so much for nipping to the shops though.

If you are concerned about the capability of the speedmachine look up this link about half way down is a title "my amazing bike" that should reasure you

https://bikefix.co.uk/latest

Lucasshmucas
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Re: New rider, new HPV Speedmachine - questions and observations

Postby Lucasshmucas » 31 Aug 2018, 9:21am

Hercule - thanks for sharing your experiences - that's very encouraging. Intuitively that sounds like excellent advice to stick with the SM for at least a year. I need to build a new front wheel before I can get a faster tyre on there as the current one has a tannus solid tyre, which is OK but I'm not going to be taking it off in a hurry and it weighs a tonne. Whilst I'm at it I'll be building a new rear wheel because I'm a bit anal retentive in that I like my rims to match.

Speedy - Again, that's really encouraging to hear. It gives me hope. Just by way of an observation, I think I felt my leg muscles complain more on the first, shorter and slower ride than on the second, longer one, even though it was only a few hours later. As for the gearing, I have an 11-46 cassette on order, also with a 44T front ring (just ordered a narrow-wide one) and on 26" wheels. From memory I think it'll give me 23 gear inches in the lowest gear, which should be fine, although I do struggle on hills on my DF. May just have to bite the bullet and lose some weight :shock:

It seemed to me that most attention was on the curious / amazed spectrum yesterday, with a odd laugh and, memorably a round of applause and cheering from two ladies out for a walk - post liquid lunch presumably.

Thanks everyone for your advice and encouragement. It's great to hear about your experiences and is certainly helping with my motivation.

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NUKe
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Re: New rider, new HPV Speedmachine - questions and observations

Postby NUKe » 1 Sep 2018, 3:48pm

Lucasshmucas wrote:Thanks Nuke. That's very encouraging. These Mike Burrows creations, are they one off machines? Please forgive my ignorance, the only MB machine I'm aware of is the Wind Cheetah - I'm still very new to this.

The bikes in question were Rat catchers without the tail box most of Mr Burrows creations are bespoke.but there are a few Rat catchers about, he constantly evolves everything he does.
NUKe

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fossala
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Re: New rider, new HPV Speedmachine - questions and observations

Postby fossala » 1 Sep 2018, 3:48pm

I'm ride a Speedmachine. My second recumbent bicycle and my forth recumbent in total. I was struggling to store recumbent trikes so gave bike a go again. The speedmachine is so comfortable on back roads down in Cornwall with it's dual suspension and climbs better than trikes. I found the ride unnerving (twitchy) at first, but now having put over 500miles on it I find it very natural. I'm running aero bars, dual drive/10 speed with 155 rotor cranks and a narrow wide 38t oval q ring. Short crank and oval rings really help my smoothness on recumbents.