Key West Here We Come!

It gets a little slow around here this time of year, so rather than sitting around waiting for the phone to ring, we’ve decided to take a little tour.  That’s right, we’re closing up shop starting Monday, December 8th, hopping on our touring bikes and heading south.

Mark, John, Jeremy and myself will be taking a four day tour (about 280 miles, give or take) down to Key West.  We’ll start at Fort Meyers, end up at Key West (of course, a day of relaxation will be in order).  Then, we’ll take a boat back up to Fort Meyers and be back in the office Monday morning December 15th.

Along the way, we’ll keep a journal and snap some pictures and give you all a glimpse into the fun.  And while it is going to be a blast, it will also give everybody a better look at the new Bella ATT’s that will be available in May.  Below is a complete rundown of the bikes we’ll be riding:

Mark- Bella ATT

John- Giro 26

Jeremy- Giro 20

Mike- Bella ATT

We plan on a leisurely pace- even though Schlitter says he can do it in a day.

We’ll keep everyone updated.

Back to the Beginning: Our Fundamentals Revisited

Hard to believe, but Bacchetta has been in business building and selling recumbents for over seven years now.  In that time, we’ve added models, removed models and changed models.  Hell, I remember being in business for two years and having some recumbent pundits saying that the high racer was a fad and looked to be dying out.  We shrugged our shoulders and continued to break the rules.

Looking back on that, we knew that what got us here, was our belief in what we were doing both then and now.  Because of that, I thought it would be good to post a page from our website describing our thoughts on design and functionality.  We do realize that not all of our bikes are triangulated any more (we feel that triangulation is a must for a long wheelbase recumbent) and not all of our best selling bikes are high racers, but the originial idea is there.  So, if you’ve read this before try looking it over again.  If you haven’t, then do so: you might learn something about Bacchetta that will both surprise and enlighten you.

Performance Recumbent Bicycle Frame Design: Designing For a Better Ride

“In my humble opinion, the soul of a bike is embedded in its frame. Everything else is secondary. Herein lies the Giro’s strength and character. The Giro’s frame consists 4130 Chromoly steel teardrop shaped mono-tube that not only looks classy and sophisticated, but also achieves that very hard-to-reach balance between frame rigidity, flexibility and strength. It flexes enough to ensure an extremely comfy ride but it is rigid enough to direct all your energy to the rear wheel. If any power is lost to the built-in frame flex, I sure as hell didn’t notice it. The bike’s performance is excellent!”
– Jose A. Hernandez,
  for BentRiderOnline.

Needless to saywe will not argue with the comments above but we would just like to add that all of our steel and aluminum recumbent bikes share the same custom tube set and display the same riding characteristics as the GIRO series of recumbents.

Our many years of experience, both building and riding all types of recumbents, have taught us nothing if not this; the ride is the most important thing. We also felt that if you could make the recumbent design more pleasing to the eye, and still deliver a superior ride above other recumbent bicycles, than we would have achieved something very special. While we know that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, we believe that the Bacchetta line of recumbent bikes delivers just that, a superior ride and great looks, all made possible by a carefully designed custom tube set. Achieving this balance with a mono-tube design also delivers the additional benefit of superior aerodynamics in comparison to triangulated or space frame recumbent designs by eliminating the clutter of tubes below the rider. Less tubing means less frontal area and that makes for a faster bent. Getting this level of ride quality and aerodynamics out of a triangulated frame is extremely hard to do, even with custom tubing, and next to impossible when using off the shelf, straight gauge, tubing.

Some may argue that nothing beats a triangulated frame for drive train efficiency but there are trade-offs with these designs as well. Keeping the wheels of a bike in contact with the road is key to overall handling and requires a certain amount of frame compliance. Recumbent designs that ignore this fact in the pursuit of efficiency tend to be skittish on rough roads and transfer more road shock to the rider. Transversely, our early prototypes showed that a mono-tube recumbent frame built with straight gauge round tubing did not provide enough structure for the ride characteristics we were looking for either.

This left us at an impasse. Not wanting to give up on what we saw as a superior design, we started to investigate the possibility of producing a custom main tube for our recumbents. It soon became clear that doing so would require a significant capital investment to start with and would probably make our frames more costly in the long run, but we saw no other alternative. Luckily our investor shared our vision and was willing to go the extra mile on the tubing to help us deliver a truly new recumbent design. A recumbent bicycle design with a completely custom tube set. This tube set includes not only the main tube but the chain stays and drop outs as well.

It has also been suggested that mono-tube recumbent designs offer little advantage other than they are cheaper to produce and that they suffer from having no depth of structure. This is simply not the case with our recumbent bikes and the custom tube set they are made from. We can assure that pulling custom tubing in short runs is a very expensive exercise (much more expensive than buying off the shelf). We will also assert that a good mono-tube design, using the correct tube, does a great job of dealing with the complex forces at work in a recumbent bicycle. Is this the only way to build a frame? Certainly not. Is it the best way to build a frame? Maybe. But rather than trying to sell you on one style over an other we would rather invite you to try them all, with an open mind, and decide for yourself.

OK, enough with the words about our recumbent bicycles. Here is the straight scoop on our tubing… by the numbers.

Using a computer program to do a “section moment of inertia” (SMOI) for custom tube shapes (or more simply stated… the stiffness potential of a tube shape) we calculated our tubing at 2.5” x 2” at .039” thickness, cubed, to be 1.95. (Tubing stiffness varies with the cube of its depth and because our tube is not symmetrical we needed to calculate the SMOI in both directions first.) The SMOI of a 2” round tube at .035” thickness is 1.04.

Our tube is about twice as stiff vertically, and also substantially stiffer laterally and in torsion than our competitors 2″ round tubing. But we want to stress the vertical direction here because this is where most of the boom wagging forces would come into play with unsupported boom tube designs. Anyway, this shows that our custom main tube is 2 times more vertically stiff than a 2″ round tube of the same length.

Texas to Florida and Back: Kent and Katy

Yesterday, we were lucky enough to get a visit from a father/daughter duo, who were making a trip many of us dream about on their Bacchetta recumbents.  You’d think making a trip that will probably total over 3400 miles would be the culmination of our interest; not so!  Read on.

They’re making the trip on a Corsa (HED wheels no less) and a, well let’s just say modified, Agio.  Now, when I say modified, I mean modified!  Kent runs a business called Synthetic Transport that uses a power assist to move it along. Now, this stuff is way beyond me, so I will not even try to explain it and usually this is type of thing is not even in our radar. But Kent and Katy are walking the walk and you gotta love that, so check out his site for more pictures and information.

For all of you who are interested in a day by day account of their trip, I highly recommend you check out Katy’s blog.  She has an easy writing style which makes it all that more enjoyable.

We always say there’s not much to see at Bacchetta and for the most part that’s true. But we love it when real, down to earth people like Kent and Katy stop on by and chew on our ear for a bit; we’d love to have you also. And while you’re out there surfing the web, check out Katy’s blog and Kent’s website for some fun and interesting information.

CA2.0 color?

Thanks for the feedback on the CA2.0 TEAM bike, every little bit helps. As much as we wish we could accommodate everyone’s ideas there is just no way a small company like BACCHETTA can do that, especially on the initial runs of this bike. What we will try to do is build a great bike, that’s a great value and, hopefully, package it in a way that any customer can be proud of what they’re riding. Below are a couple of variations on the TEAM bike scheme. The blue is nice but it doesn’t scream FAST to me. For FAST, I have to go back to my early riding days and my brothers cannibal orange road bike, now that bike looked fast. I’m also partial to green, but that’s just me… Mark

Seat Clamp- The Second Generation

I was already to go into a big production about this new product, but then decided that a picture is worth a thousand words. In that regard, I’ll just give you the abbreviated version (abbreviated for me at least).

Recessed center bolts, allow you to pre-set the clamp at the top. Big deal your saying? Well, yeah, it is a big deal. When you can pre-set the top, getting your seat on and off is a breeze: no more getting your hands pinched or using a c-clamp. Also, you can leave your clamp set when you remove the seat which means no more Sharpie markings or electric tape strips to remember your original seat location.

We know a few will wonder why we did not do a QR system for the top. For one, a QR at the top would raise the seat more than you might think. Secondly, forget having skin on your knuckles when you try tightening the QR up there. Pull Pin setups? Too much play is a big problem with those setups in our opinion.

Our new seat clamp will be standard issue on bikes arriving in the spring of 2009, but we do have them available in the Bacchetta Shop now: Seat Clamp

2009 Team bike concept

Below is a rendering of a decal and color scheme we’re considering for the 2009 Team Bacchetta riders. Nothing is set in stone yet but I can tell you that John is pretty high on this look. Please note that the component package shown does not represent a team build or the final specifications for the stock CA2.0.

Best regards,

Rider Feedback: Dick Patterson

The new Giro 20 tt is amazing! It is light, fast, agile and comfortable. If I use an auto analogy, it is like a sports car. My old Porsche had the same qualities. My first Bacchetta was an Agio and the bike was great, but I wanted something more aggressive. I’m short and a high racer was not for me. The giro tt fits perfectly. My interest is really a bike that is great for distance riding, but it also had to be fast. The tt is a perfect mix of the characteristics I wanted.

I picked up my tt Friday just in time for Memorial day weekend. My dealer, Bicycle Outfitters of Seminole FL, worked hard and stayed after closing to get it ready for me. So far I’ve only had this beautiful machine a couple of days and social obligations have interfered the amount of time on the bike. I have logged maybe about 15 miles and I am very happy with the purchase. The speed and handling are both wonderful. This bike is much more comfortable than expected; my bet is I could ride all day and enjoy every minute.

I think Bacchetta’s success is about great design and service. Add this to carefully choosing retailers and everybody wins, including me. Please excuse me, I’m going riding now!

Rider Feedback: Lamar Hinson, Winter Garden, FL

Last year I set my goal to ride a bike 70 miles on my seventh birthday. After much research, I purchased a Bacchetta Bellandare for the task. What a great choice. With some family and friends in tow we set out from Inverness, Fl. to ride the Withlacoochee State Trail. It was a ride I will never forget. I made the 70 miles in just over 6 hours with no problems and no pain. Thanks Bacchetta for a great ride.