Recumbent Bicycle Rider Frequently Asked Questions


I'm a new to cycling and I've been told that I should not even try to start out on a short wheelbase (SWB) recumbent, because they're only for the advanced cyclist. Does this mean I have to buy another brand before I try a Bacchetta?

Absolutely not! Unlike many SWB recumbents, we not only designed our bikes to be fast and comfortable, more importantly, we designed them to be rider friendly. Bacchetta is on the road year round, giving test rides to people who have never been on a recumbent and most have been amazed at how easy it was to ride. Do not let this misconception get in the way.

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I've noticed that Bacchetta uses the superman position for the handlebar position, where the arms are extended. Many recumbents with similar designs use the hands in the chest position. Why did you choose this as your only position?

We chose the “superman” or “hands forward” position for a number of reasons. First, it gives the rider more control over the handling of the bike, connecting the steering axis to the shoulders and torso through a relatively straight arm position. Second, it is actually a more expected position for cyclists coming from a road or mountain bike, where the arm position is the same, just at a different body angle. Third, it's more aerodynamic than the “hands in chest” position, presenting the lowest amount of frontal area of any other recumbent steering geometries. Fourth, better ergonomics. Our “hands forward” set up is simply a more natural position for the body. Very much like reaching out to shake hands with someone. It puts your hands and elbows in a neutral position. You are not preloading those joints the way you do with a “hands in the chest” riding position, where just the ordinary operation of the shifters can cause joint fatigue, or worse, develop symptoms similar to tennis elbow. Fifth, due to the handlebar clearance being in front rather than over your knees, you can essentially keep the handlebars down low (very few people actually ever need to raise their handlebars more than inch or two) increasing your sight range, aerodynamics, and the handling of your bike. Sixth, it eliminates tiller. Tiller is introduced into the system whenever the riser is pulled behind the steering axes. The further back, the more tiller. Tiller is fairly benign until you have to make a quick maneuver (as in the case of an emergency) requiring instinctive reactions to correct the steering. Since most of us do not practice for this situation the tendency is to over compensate or over steer a bike with tiller in the system. This usually leads to a loss of control resulting in a crash. Our thinking on tiller is simply this– the less you have in the system the better.

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I've heard that the higher crank height of your bikes causes numb feet, is this true?

Ah, a major debate. Is it the bike or is it the person. Chances are, it's more of a personal issue than it is with the bike. We all know upright road cyclists with the same ailment after all.

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I'm seeing more and more of these “High Racers” (a common term for dual 26” wheel bikes), what makes Bacchetta so special?

First, we want to point out that Bacchetta did not invent the High Racer; rather we are the company who made this design accessible and innovative. If you look at all other High Racers out there, you'll see a common theme of Superman handlebars, 650c wheels and in some cases even monotube frames. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, indeed!

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What about that monotube frame of yours, it must be awful flexy, right?

Wrong! Our Frame Design Page explains our unique tube set. As much as our competition likes to mention it, you would think that this was true, but again it's not! On our steel frame bikes, we use a custom drawn tube set with a teardrop shaped main tube engineered specifically to control flex and create the exact ride characteristics we were looking for.

On our Titanium bikes, the 2.5” 3/2.5 titanium alloy tube was essential to the Aero. When Bacchetta co-owner Rich Pinto was looking for titanium tubing during the design phase, only the 1.75” tubing was available from all the major suppliers, except one- TiSports, of Kennewick, Washington. An upright company had started a mountain bike project with TiSports and had commissioned a very expensive custom 2.5” tube. They had some left over, and it was exactly what we were looking for! It was the only tube that would allow the Aero's 47” wheelbase with the very short boom required for pedaling stiffness, and the Aero was born.

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Bacchetta, I know it's Italian, but what does it mean?

BACCHETTA simply means “STICK” in Italian and the word is most commonly used at the racetrack to describe a jockeys riding crop or whip. It seemed an appropriate name considering the bikes' design and our love for Italian bikes.

BACCHETTA. How do you say it? In the Italian language, BACCHETTA is pronounced with a hard “K” sound so they would say BA-KET-TA. Early on a friend of mine with an Italian girlfriend pointed out that we were saying the word incorrectly by giving the CCH letter combination a soft “SH” sound. BA-SHET-TA. Well, even though we had only been saying it this way for a few months the cat was already out of the bag and there was no getting it back in. We continue to use our Americanized pronunciation word but either way works for us.

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I want to buy a Bacchetta on the Internet, but you guys don't allow mail order. What's up with this?

In a majority of cases, we prefer the customer visit a Bacchetta recumbent dealer and test ride. Understand, dealers who have taken the time to stock our product in your area are making an effort to provide you with a product and service after the sale. In the instance you are not close to a Bacchetta recumbent bicycle dealer, we recommend you contact us directly via our EPO program here.

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What about rider setup? I've seen different people set up different ways on your bikes. What's the correct way?

You can find information on proper setup HERE.

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I hear that you guys are out on the road a lot, attending dealer events and rallies. How do I find out dates for these events and why aren't more recumbent companies doing this?

You can find out the listing of events we attend by visiting our Events Page regularly: As for why more recumbent companies aren't out on the road supporting dealers and answering customer questions face to face? Well, that's the difference between Bacchetta and everyone else. We just don't design a bike to put on the market, tell people it's the greatest thing since they put pockets in pants and then set back and watch bikes go out the door. It's not just a business with Bacchetta; it's about developing the sport of cycling and supporting our customers.

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The first thing that drew me to the Bacchetta's was the fact that it looks closer to a road bike than any other recumbent out there. Was this intentional?

To a certain degree, yes. Bacchetta's goal has always been to design a high performance bike that rides great and has classic, clean lines. It's amazing that now, people will show up at club rides on a Bacchetta and you can actually hear people say “you know, I always thought recumbents were silly, but I could see myself on one of these”. Perception goes a long way!

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I noticed that you guys don't really promote items like fairing and tailboxes, don't these accessories make the bike faster?

Fairings and tailboxes can add measurable efficiency improvements to our bikes in some cases. Front fairings also make the bikes warmer in cold weather. We do have an active group of aftermarket suppliers for fairings, contact us if you are interested. But if you do not want to run any fairings… , there is nothing better than being able to hop on your bike without all of these items and know that you can still go fast.

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I'm going to be in Florida, can I come to St. Petersburg and visit you guys?

Absolutely! We are located right on the Pinellas trail in beautiful St. Pete and only about 1-2 miles from the beach. Stop in and visit and maybe sneak in a morning or evening ride. Life is good!

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Call us toll free at 866-364-9677 if you have any questions or need help selecting the right bike.