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The Pelso Brevet Review – Riding Across Florida

Posted on by Mark

Last weekend, I rode my bike 170 miles across Florida on the industry’s newest recumbent bike, the carbon fiber Pelso Brevet. It has been a decade since I have ridden the Ride Across Florida (back then it was called “Race” Across Florida and about 30 miles shorter). I have now done it on three different recumbents: the Corsa, the Carbonaero and now the Peso Brevet (Also Carbon). All of these bikes did great but as we have not done a comprehensive review of the Peslo, I thought it worthwhile to offer my perspective now that I have experience training and riding it.

Before I begin, a little blurb on why Bacchetta is distributing and selling the Pelso. The Pelso is a derivative design of the Euro-style S curve bikes and its designers were Adam Novak from Hungary and well known “Recumbentian”, John Schlitter. Adam was looking for worldwide distribution support and sent Bacchetta an email last spring to see if we were interested. After riding it, making several revisions and performing a comprehensive frame test we decided to bring it in; primarily because #1 it is a really good bike worthy of the Bacchetta name, and #2 it really complements the Carbonaero well.

General. The Pelso has three main differences from the Carbonaero and Corsa. One, the S-frame curve offers a different riding profile that fits shorter people better than the CA3 and lowers your body position by almost 2 inches. This allows for an easier reach when you take your feet off the pedals – something that helps a lot when you have to stop at lights. Two, the softer carbon frame lessons the road buzz as it has been designed to provide some built-in suspension. For long rides, this makes a difference because your bike (rather than you) take the road vibrations. Three, the bike is unique as it offers a removable derailleur tube giving you the option to run with a single crank gear on the front. For flat-landers like me in Florida, this is a great option as I don’t need the extra complexity and weight. (Note: there are some hills in central Florida, so I did not choose this option on my ride)

Now for some specifics: I will focus on are five areas to give you a better idea of the bike: Comfort, Gearing, Wheels and Tires, Drive Train and Frame material.

1) Comfort. Comfort is a top reason people ride recumbents in the first place. Getting comfortable is primarily a result of the right position; your reach, handlebar drop, seat (type, angle, padding, etc.) Most ultra distance recumbent riders favor a more laidback, less extended (i.e., less reach) but there certainly are exceptions. For the Cross Florida Ride, I set my Pelso seat angle to 22 degrees – a position that was both comfortable as well as aerodynamic. I used the standard Bacchetta “tweener” handlebars (18.75″, 280mm). Bacchetta offers five different handlebar sizes ranging from 18.75″ -22″ wide and 260 – 300 reach. There’s also the option for the J-Bar which many of our dealers carry. In regards to the handlebar position, I highly recommend using the Bacchetta B-Pivot to adjust the stem angle. The good news is Bacchetta is including this as a standard on our Pelso (its a $70 upgrade on the Corsa and Carbonero). I found that using the B-pivot allows me to position my hands for a longer ride. Shorter rides, straighter arms, longer ride, arms in a more relaxed position. In terms of seat foam, I used the standard 2″ foam with no cover. Last but not least is seat adjustment – very important! Seat adjustment is the same as our other recumbents and Here’s an excellent post on how to measure your X seam and then fit your recumbent bike: https://www.bacchettabikes.com/support/recumbent-bike-fitting/.

2) Gearing — I am a big fan of the newer two-by crank systems on the front. I ran the standard gearing SRAM Force 22 Carbon Double- 50/34 Front crank and a SRAM 11/42 on the rear. This worked great for Florida but I would probably get a Garbaruk 10 x 50 if riding up north. There is no gold standard for gearing but for longer rides, it generally is lower than needed for racing.

3) Tires and Bags -My main consideration was not getting a flat. My default tire these days is the 25mm width Schwalbe. I was going to put 28mm on but we were out. Bacchetta offers Kenda 23mm but I don’t notice much difference. Would love to hear some feedback on if we should change the standard. All of the Bacchetta accessories fit the standard Pelso. I used the OFA seat bag for all my refreshments and the X-Eyed tool bag for tools and spares. I really like both these bags as the OFA is compact yet big enough to handle a 64-ounce water bladder, and the tool bag is a perfect size as well as very easy to get to as it is right between my legs. Depending on your preferences and conditions, you may want a front and/or rear rack with a bag or the larger “brain-box” bag which will hold more stuff. In my experience, the weather drives many of these decisions. If it is wet and/or cold, you are likely to need more clothing and a place to store it when it gets warmer.

4) Drive Train. The shift feel of the Pelso SRAM rival drive train is slick and positive, with an action that never missed a beat. I am not a bike mechanic but I found it extremely easy to adjust. I love the new 11-speed Rival gearing and found no problems with the 50/34 rings and 11-42 cassette. Thanks to the Yaw front feature, there was no rub in any gear combination. I have had problems with sweaty hands turning grip shifters but even at mile 169 it was easy to shift and functionality was flawless. With the standard disc brake option, the stopping power is noticeable… I almost flew into the handlebars on a quick stop to avoid a turning car! Braking had a refined feeling, with subtle initial engagement building to progressive power. I love the disc breaks and my control over peloton speed corrections, rounding corners, managing steep descents and sudden stops along with an easy hex adjustment to ensure no rubbing means I will never go back to calipers.

5) Frame material — Carbon – What can I say. It is lighter, stiffer (if you want), highly durable and gives one the ability to create elegant designs. I think this last point is important. Bacchetta has been known for well-designed bikes and I think the bike is beautiful. I have heard the same things from many others as Bacchetta has brought it to several shows this past year and I have heard many, many comments about the styling as well as the superb ride. In addition, because we load test all of our bikes, we are confident that this bike will last. Like all other Bacchetta’s we offer a lifetime frame warranty.

Contact your dealer or give us a call and test ride it yourself.

The first CT 2.0 production trikes are in.

Posted on by Mark

Hey!  Wanted to let you know our first small batch of production carbon fiber trikes has arrived and we are busy doing the final assembly.  They look fantastic and ride even better. These initial ones are for CarbonTrikes back-ordered customers and the factory is now busy cranking out additional ones for general availability.   Check back here for further updates.

In the meantime, enjoy these high-res studio pictures.

 

 

 

Bacchetta B3 Recumbent Seat Introduction

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I did a post on Facebook about the new seat in our Bacchetta lineup. Rather than cut and paste and screw up the whole thing while wasting a lot of time doing it, I’ll just post the link for the Facebook post: https://www.facebook.com/BacchettaBikes/posts/10155718894803842

You can also find the B3 seat in our Bacchetta store: https://www.bacchettabikes.com/product/bacchetta-b3-recumbent-seat/

 

The new Bacchetta “A” frames… and what you can do with them!

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Let me start by saying that we are always thinking about ways to make our bikes a better value and making them more versatile is just one way we try to apply that thinking. Over the years we’ve made a number of frame changes to our bikes in an effort to improve their versatility but keeping up with those changes, and what they mean to you in a practical sense, is sometimes a daunting task. So if you haven’t seen or heard anything about our new dropout system the article below will be a good primer.

Drive side Adroit dropouts


Non-drive side Adroit dropouts

The first thing you should know is that the “A” in our new A-frames refers to our “Adroit” dropout system. Adroit means “having or showing skill in handling multiple situations well,” and that’s just what this system does. Simply put, this new dropout system allows you to quickly change your bikes rear dropout spacing for 135mm to 130mm, or vise versa, in a matter of minutes. So, if you’re like me, with a collection of road/mountain bike wheels down in the basement and a wish that there was an easy way to use them without a lot of futzing around, now you can. Also, besides making the rear dropout spacing a non issue, our “A” frames incorporate braze-ons for canti studs, positioned for using V-brakes on 26”(559) wheels, a road brake boss positioned for 700c wheels, and a disc brake tab on the rear dropout. Yeah, you’re right, that gives you a ton of options for brakes and wheels. If you already have disc wheels and brakes, using all the possible combinations is pretty straight forward. But to make things easier on your wallet Bacchetta has also sourced a Long-Reach V-brake that doesn’t cost an arm and leg so configuring our bike with 26”, 650b, 650c or 700c wheels doesn’t require taking out that second mortgage for disc brakes, disc wheels or a set of PAUL MotoLite brakes. The other great thing about the dual big wheel A-frames (Giro-26 and Corsa) is that these models are now considerably more configurable in regards to seat height. We’ve set bikes up using these frames with dual 700c, 650c, 26″, 24″ and down to 20″ wheels, which can change the seat height by almost 5 inches. That’s huge if you’re looking for the flexibility to quickly configure your bike for different riding situations. Like I said before, you can use the long reach V-brakes for 26”, 650b, 650c or 700c wheels but the dual 20” or dual 24” set-ups on these frames does require disc brakes and a fork change, to keep the steering geometry right. IMHO, the additional cost of wheels and a fork are modest in comparison to the cost of a new bike, so if you like to tinker and you’re on a tight budget, a Bacchetta A-frame can’t be beat! To give you some idea of what is possible… click the link below. Enjoy!

A26 frame_wheels_forks–S

Giro-26 wheel options

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Below is some general info regarding wheel sizes which will work on our Giro 26 bikes beyond the original stock wheels.  If wheel sizes are a mystery to you, we highly recommend learning a little more about wheel sizes before reading the article.  You can find general wheel and tire information, here:  http://www.sheldonbrown.com/tire_sizing.html,

GIRO 26 AND 26 ATT FRAMES: THE BASICS
Both the Giro 26 (steel frame) and Giro 26 ATT (aluminum frame) come stock with 26” (ISO 559mm) wheels and 1.25” tires.  Rear dropout spacing is standard MTB 135mm.  Frames and forks come with disc brake tabs and canti posts for V-brakes positioned for 26” (559mm) wheels.  Both Giro26 frames also have a rear brake boss for a traditional road brake caliper which will work with 700c wheels.  Also, the steel and alloy forks available on these models have enough clearance for a 700 wheel with 23c+ tires.  All of this makes both bikes extremely versatile as far as wheel sizes go, but there are a few things you’ll need to keep in mind before making any changes.

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Ron Swann: Nothing Is Impossible

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Ron Swann and his classic Giro 20

Note: The most fulfilling feedback from customers is when they tell us our bikes have made a difference in their lives.  I’ve heard from folks who’ve finally been able to manage diabetes, because they’ve been able to ride again.  One gentleman, spurred by the desire to ride one of our bikes, went from 560 lbs. down to 185 lbs.  Here is yet another story in this arena and we’re proud to have Ron on a Bacchetta! 

My name is Ron Swann. I am 54 years old and live in Atlanta, Georgia. I ride a Giro 20 recumbent that I bought about six years ago from a pawn shop on EBay. It came in two boxes, grimy and almost completely disassembled and I used photos from the Bacchetta website to put it together.

I have been an avid rider of bicycles for most of my life. I rode my first century when I was 14 and raced competitively throughout high school and college. In the early 80’s I raced triathlons and toured several times a year with my wife on our Santana Tandem. When we had children we rode single bikes with bicycle seats.

I thought my cycling days were over in 2005 when I suffered a severe spinal cord injury and was temporarily paralyzed from the waist down. Thankfully, emergency surgery restored about 60 percent of my function but I remained completely paralyzed my ankles, calf muscles and about half of my hamstrings and glutes.

About a year after my accident I tried riding a diamond frame bicycle but found my lack of seat/glute muscles as well as saddle anesthesia made it impossible. Soon thereafter I began investigating recumbents and the Giro 20 was recommended as the best recumbent to start with.

Learning to ride my Giro 20 was a challenge. I remember my first attempt at riding, left me lying in the street at the bottom of my driveway wondering if with my wobbly legs I could get the bike back up the driveway to my garage. I was so discouraged that I waited several months before trying again with success.

In 2009 I went with my 20 year old son on a ten day bike tour from Nashville, Tennessee to Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. My son rode a traditional diamond frame touring bike and I rode my Giro 20 fully loaded with camping gear. The memories are priceless.

Since July of this year I have been riding about 100 miles a week and will be riding my 4th century of the year this weekend in Opelika, Alabama with my sixteen year old nephew.

I have included pictures of me on my Giro as well as a couple of close-ups of the custom made carbon fiber braces I wear. Without my Giro and the braces cycling would not be possible.
I set a goal in July 2012 to ride a (very flat) 25 mile Time Trial with an average speed of 19.5mph by July 2013. On my first attempt (8/15) I averaged 18.13 mph and yesterday (9/23) I rode my second TT and averaged 18.76 mph. When I achieve my goal, I plan to reward myself with a Bacchetta Corsa!

I love riding my Giro 20. For handicapped individuals like myself, recumbents make cycling possible. For riders of all types, recumbents make cycling more comfortable and more fun.

Regards,
Ron Swann
Giro 20 (’05)

Wheel & Sprocket Spring Expo

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Just got back from 5 days in Milwaukee, Wisconsin for Wheel & Sprocket’s annual Spring Bicycle Expo and, once again, Chris Kegel and his crew knocked it out of the park. Great weather made for some huge crowds looking to jump start the bike season. I was there to help out the Wheel & Sprocket recumbent staff that work out of the Hales Corners store. Jeff, Mark A., Jim and Bob are some of the nicest (and knowledgeable) people you’ll ever meet so if you’re in the area make sure you take some time to check out the Hales Corners store… even if it’s just to say hello!

Top Notch Dealer in Brandon, MS.

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Most bicycle dealers have a passion for the business. I think recumbent bicycle dealers take it up a notch. Then there are few that like to take it up even further by sponsoring a weekly Saturday morning Bread Ride and a couple of very successful organized rides a year. Jim Snider of Ride South, www.ridesouth.com, is one of those dealers.  

The last few years I have had the pleasure of being able to attend the Birthday Challenge Ride on the Longleaf Trace in the Fall. In March, Jim puts on the Ride South Signature Ride. The main portion of the Signature Ride begins on Saturday riding from Ride South in Brandon MS to Hattiesburg MS. Jim starts the weekend off with a gathering at Ride South on Thursday evening to discuss long distance cycling. It is a refresher course for those who are doing the longer rides on Saturday and Sunday but it also provides tips and suggestions for future ultra-riders. Jim covers the basics of good bicycle maintenance to make certain it is not the bicycle that does not allow you to accomplish your goal. Jacquie Hafner, Team Bacchetta Sebring 24 hour record holder (516.4 miles) and I joined in the discussion sharing our experiences with long distance riding.

Jim Snider heading to Hattiesburg on his CA 2.0

Friday evening includes one more meeting of the riders to nail down any last minute details and coordinate the arrival of riders from Hattiesburg to Prentiss where all riders meet up for a lunch stop and then ride the Long Leaf Trace back to Hattiesburg for the wine and cheese party ending with dinner at a nearby restaurant.

The ride travels fairly light traffic roads and picks up the Long Leaf Trace in Prentiss MS. The 119 mile ride has a few bumps but that makes a nice change from riding around the west coast of Florida. After a relaxing Saturday evening at the Holiday Inn with some wine, beer and cheese some of the crew chose to ride back to Brandon the next morning on a more easterly route that does manage to gain almost 300 feet more for the ten mile less long course.

Ride South is a full service bicycle shop that sells all types of bicycles. It is evident though that in Jim’s preferred choice of ride is recumbent and his Bacchetta CA 2.0 is nicely decked out with some personal touches. Over half of the bikes ridden were Bacchetta’s!

We all know these events cannot happen unless someone like Jim has support. Behind every good man is a great woman, Lane, Jim’s wife.  The fan club of ” legendary Jim Snider” (as the reporter said who was interviewing Jim in Prentiss), Beth and Captain Johnny Rawls, Liz, Louis, Chad and the two Mississippi motorcycle Highway Patrolmen made for a great weekend.

Doug Mrogan taking a break after drafting Jacquie Hafner for the last 30 miles.

If you get the chance or need an excuse to go do some great riding head to Ride South, a dealer with a passion.

I would like to thank Jim and Ride South for his continue support of Bacchetta Bicycles and being a sponsor for our Team Bacchetta RAAM riding for Kids with Arthritis efforts in June, www.TeamBacchettaRAAM.com

Returning to Brandon Sunday morning.

John Schlitter

Old New Seat Clamp

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A recent phone call from a customer prompted me to do a quick search of our BLOG archives for the original article Mike posted about our redesigned seat clamp. Turns out that was over 3 years ago but it seems there are still some folks out there that are not aware of that fact. Anyway, here’s what you need to know. The new seat clamp design separates the seat mounting and clamp tensioning functions. It uses one set of bolts to tension the clamp, making the initial set up extremely easy, and a second set of bolts that hold the seat, which allows you to install or remove the seat in a snap without messing with the clamp tension. This means you’ll never loose your seat position if you take your seat off. The other good news, this clamp will work on any Bacchetta model that uses the old style clamp. And at $30 USD it’s a great low cost upgrade that makes traveling with your bike a whole lot easier. The new seat clamps are available at the Bacchetta store:

http://www.bacchettabikes.com/product/riser-clamp/

2012 Bacchetta Line-Up

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First, and foremost, we’d like everyone to know that April 1st, 2012 (no joke) will mark the 10th year that Bacchetta has been in business. So we’d like to take this opportunity to thank all our customers for making our first decade a very successful one. We would also like to give a special shout out to all of our early supporters that took a chance on a new company and kept us going in the early years when success was not a given.

While the arrival of the 2012 bikes is still a few months away there are some things we want to share with everyone now. To help mark our 10th anniversary we’re planning to offer some limited edition colors that pay homage to our company’s beginnings; as well as some of the bikes that we loved growing up. For those of you not familiar with the original Bacchetta bike colors, they were BP Green (Giro-20), Bugatti Blue (Giro-26), Cannibal Orange (Strada) and Natural Ti (Aero). By using a bit of creative license with the original colors, and a brand new decal scheme, we’re hoping to evoke those early Bacchetta bikes while bringing something new to the table at the same time.

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