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The Cruzbike Silvio - form and function in a front wheel drive

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October 4, 2009

Maria Parker training on her Cruzbike Silvio in preparation for a World Record attempt thi...

Maria Parker training on her Cruzbike Silvio in preparation for a World Record attempt this month

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.

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7 Comments

Less than remarkable speeds? Try riding a recumbent - the first few hundred miles you'll be slower then on an upright "wedge" bike, then next few hundred you'll be the same speed, and after that it will be wall-to-wall grins. Yes, climbing requires use of low gears rather than standing on the pedals, but you get used to that, and I can't see how FWD changes anything there.

Riding a recumbent makes you feel superhuman at times. On Sunday, I passed about half a dozen tandems, all slipstreaming each other and working hard into a headwind, and I just cruised on past. Sweet!

Ian

gadgetmind
7th October, 2009 @ 01:42 am PDT

"...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."

The Silvio is not more fully compatible with road bike components that other 700c recumbents and it no more tries to eliminate health problems than its recumbent competition. That whole distinction is absurd. The Silvio is unique as a production recumbent largely due to its moving bottom bracket design. The Silvio is more difficult to ride for that reason though.

The Silvio is considered a pretty good climbing recumbent because it's drivetrain is rigid and efficient. FWD, though, is limiting because weight shift eventually causes loss of traction and Silvio riders frequently don't bother with the lowest hill climbing gears because they can't maintain traction anyway. Other FWD designs address this by moving the rider further forward than Silvio does. They also take steps to reduce pedal influences on steering.

Yes, anyone who thinks recumbents are slow doesn't know recumbents. Maria Parker is achieving extraordinary things on her Silvio, and the company is developing an even faster design for her, but she's not the only one doing so. There are a number of accomplished recumbent riders destroying the upright competition despite their advancing ages. Recumbents aren't allowed in many bicycle racing formats because they are simply too fast.

Craig Jones
10th October, 2009 @ 07:46 am PDT

If they were slow, they wouldn't have to be specifically banned from bike races.

Facebook User
17th October, 2009 @ 09:59 pm PDT

"The Silvio is not more fully compatible with road bike components that other 700c recumbents"

Sorry, dude, Silvio is indeed fully compatible with road bike components, including handlebars and brifters. Seen brifters on another production recumbent? - I don't think so, not before I did it on Silvio. Seen another bent with a standard road bike chain? - again, no you havn't. :)

John Tolhurst
23rd February, 2012 @ 05:19 am PST

This is a seriously a cool piece of kit! The design looks to be very well refined and very well thought out. I think I might actually start saving up for one of these, would be fantastic to ride in the German countryside.

Jugen
13th July, 2012 @ 09:53 pm PDT

I've wanted a recumbent for so many years. But $2200? Cheapest I've seen is well over $500. Not worth it, and that's a shame.

Fatso Bastarde
11th August, 2012 @ 01:50 am PDT

OK, John, it is a nice bike, and it does use standard components, so shouldn't that make it cheaper to produce? I really think you are hurting the promotion of your design by making it so expensive. I mean, $2,200! and what sort of light weight frame does that get me? Please! make it cheaper! I assure you you will sell many more bikes f you do, and many will love you and your bike for that.

mgb
17th September, 2012 @ 03:39 am PDT
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