CarbonAero 2.0

We know there’s been a lot of speculation about the CarbonAero since we suspended its production earlier this year for retooling and we just want to thank everyone out there for your continued interest in this bike. While retooling has been painful, requiring another outlay of cash, it will give us better control over the production. It has also given designer Rich Pinto the opportunity to make a few changes he had been thinking about. “I wanted to get more even flex along the main tube for better load distribution and the new design does that. The rear end of the new frames main tube also has a larger section (size) for increased stiffness and better power transfer,” Rich said. And, since we could no longer use the super high diameter to wall thickness ratios that the original frames proprietary build allowed, the main tube has a new shape. The result is a carbon frame that is visually very similar to our metal bikes.

Other notable changes on the new frame are the integrated head tube and bottom bracket, full carbon dropouts and cable stops. The final component groupo is still being worked out but we can assure you that it will be very nice. Also, the new CarbonAero’s MSRP should be close to $4,500.00, almost $1,000.00 less than the original. Above is a picture of one test frame built up with a SRAM road component package that weighed in at 20 lbs.-12 oz. We’re thinking you should be able to shave another pound off that without trying to hard. Please note that the frame finish for production bikes has yet to be determined. The Bugatti blue paint job on this bike is just an idea we’re looking at for next years team bike.

Road testing of the CarbonAero 2.0 frame began in early September but its first big challenge came when John Schlitter rode it in the Last Chance 1200km in mid September. He managed to finish the ride in just under 50 hours for a new course record. The Last Chance route started in the flat terrain of eastern Colorado and continued into the mostly rolling countryside of northwest Kansas. John said the bike handled perfectly throughout the ride. “It rolled very well on the flats and I was able to maintain my speeds while going up and over the huge rollers in Kansas.” John also called the ride quality “very good” and added “it’s stiff when applying power for climbs or sprinting but it also has that great vibration dampening you expect with carbon.” Confirmation of the new frame’s climbing abilities came just a few weeks later while John was riding in the Sierra Nevada’s just east of Fresno, CA. “I did some very long steady climbs while holding a good average speed and never went into serious oxygen debt.” John also added that the return trip down the mountain was a real confidence builder. “The bike did exactly what I was expecting, it was rock steady.” I think we can safely say that this new Bacchetta flagship bike does not just continue the Aero’s legacy but takes it up another notch.” Below is John’s test bike kitted out for Last Chance.

Thanks again,

Recumbent Seat Heights

One of the most critical measurements to consider when buying a recumbent is the bikes seat height. Unfortunately, because seat designs vary and no manufacturer seems to measure seat heights from the same spot, it’s hard to really know what bike may fit you best based on the published specifications. In an effort to shed some light on the subject, and show how BACCHETTA measures seats, we invested a little time in PhotoShop to create some composite pictures help clear things up.

Just so you know, all the bikes used to create these composite pictures, the RANS V-Rex, Volae Tour and Bacchetta Giro-20, have mesh back seats with a foam base and the same size wheel set. Tire sizes varied a little from model to model but not enough to significantly affect what we are trying to demonstrate. At BACCHETTA we measure our Re-curve seat from the front edge of the seat pan and add a half inch for the compressed foam. (indicated by the white line in photo #2) To us this is the most effective spot to measure from because its the highest point on the seat that impedes your leg from touching the ground. (the RED line indicates this same point on the other two bike seats) Also, our seat height measurements are taken with the seat in the center of its adjustment range on the frame and with the recline adjusted to its mid range, so the seat height will change when adjusted for individual riders. Just something to keep in mind when looking at the pictures.

Now, to get a reference point for our comparisons we used the published bottom bracket (BB) height on the RANS V-Rex, which is 25 inches, and is a very easy point to measure accurately. We then drew a line that ran parallel to ground from the center of their BB back to the rear wheel. Since a 559 wheel with a 1.5 inch tire is roughly 25 inches tall the BB reference line we drew appears to be fairly accurate. The published seat height range for a V-Rex is 22.5 to 23.75 inches, the Volae lists the Tour as 25 inches and the Giro-20 is 24 inches. The composite photos show that the Tour and Giro seats seem reasonably close to their published numbers. But if you believe that our BB reference line is correct than its hard to reconcile the published seat height numbers for the V-Rex. Like we said before, there a lot of variables here but the pictures clearly show that published seat height numbers are, at best, a ball park figure and that’s what we want folks to keep in mind when considering a bike. If you are looking to purchase a recumbent you should not dismiss a bike out-of-hand based on its published seat height. Only a test ride will truly confirm whether or not a bike fits you properly and we highly recommend test riding any bike you’re considering before making up your mind.

Hope that helps!