The Cruzbike Silvio - form and function in a front wheel drive
By Mick Webb
October 4, 2009
For many, the words “recumbent bicycle” conjure the image of a strange-looking vehicle with the rider set low to the ground achieving less than remarkable speeds. That perception could well become a thing of the past with the Cruzbike Silvio, the world’s only recumbent racing bike that is not only fully compatible with road bike components, but aims to eliminate many health problems associated with standard cycling.
Standard bicycle design has been criticized in recent times for contributing to a host of health problems for men and women, ranging from erectile dysfunction to genital numbness. The ergonomically designed Cruzbike Sivlio has a fully integrated seat angled back at 45 degrees, and distributes the weight of a rider evenly over the vehicle to increase comfort and alleviate stress on the pelvis, hands and shoulders.
Designed by Australian John Tolhurst, the Cruzbike Silvio aims to even out road pressure by incorporating a dual suspension design, with the front suspension handled by an adjustable air shock in the head tube. The front of the unit features a moving bottom bracket that can be adjusted for leg length and handlebar height. As standard road bike parts can be incorporated, the bike is built to take full size wheels. This gives the unit added height, enabling the rider to see and be seen in traffic, which has been a major concern with previous recumbent bicycle design that places the rider in a low position close to the ground. While the designer concedes that the higher placement of the rider may marginally affect aerodynamics, he states that the bicycle will perform better overall, such as offering a faster ascent up hills.
As the unit is front wheel drive, this eliminates a long drive chain, while the design also does away with “heel strike”, where a rider’s foot bumps the wheel during turns. Incorporating lightweight aluminum and carbon fiber parts, the unit promises increased speeds - however, the actual weight of the bicycle would depend on what road bike parts are fitted.
Certainly, someone with faith in the design of the Cruzbike Silvio is Maria Parker, a cyclist who plans to attempt to set a World Record in North Carolina on October 10th by riding the Cruzbike Silvio over 220 miles for 12 hours on a 20 mile loop course.
Sold as a frameset, the Cruzbike Silvio is priced at around US$2200 and is available from the Cruzbike website.