TroyTec modular recumbent packs multiple bikes into one package
By C.C. Weiss
February 20, 2014
Revolution speed bikes from Munich's TroyTec bring modular, F1-inspired design to the world of recumbent racing and touring. At the heart of the line lies a carbon monocoque frame that provides the basis for easy transformation between four primary configurations. Riders can pedal up high, down low, and on rigid wheels or full suspension, depending upon the demands of the road immediately ahead.
TroyTec was founded in 2009 by Tobias Albert and Dominik Rodatus, both mechanical engineers with experience in motorsports. The two set out to put that engineering experience into their shared passion for bicycles. The Revolution is a fruit of that labor, and it has auto racing inspiration in its DNA, particularly the carbon fiber monocoque backbone.
The monocoque frame can be outfitted with different forks, rear swing arms and wheels to create four main bikes – low and high rigid racing configurations and low and high full-suspension comfort models. Other main components, including the drivetrain, seat and handlebars, are left in place from one bike to the next. All forks and swing arms are made from carbon fiber.
The Revolution LR and LR-FS pack 20-in front wheels, while the HR and HR-FS use 26-in front wheels. The rear drop-outs can be swapped out on both low and high models to accept either 26- or 28-in wheels without needing any geometry modifications. The bike can also accept different wheel thicknesses up to 35 mm, allowing for use with both smooth road and knobby off-road tires.
Though TroyTec advertises four main set-ups, the compatibility with different sizes of rear wheels and different styles of tires means that there are even more possibilities. For instance, the bike can be used both as a rigid, low road-racer and a high, full suspension light off-roader. TroyTec reckons there are 12 different set-ups all together.
Thanks to their carbon fiber design, Revolution bikes weigh as little as 8 kg (17.6 lb). TroyTec says that its wind tunnel testing indicates the Revolution has 25 percent less wind resistance than a racing bike. It claims that riders can achieve speeds of up to 27 mph (44 km/h) with 250 watts of pedaling power. Like a race car, the bike is optimized for speedy cornering thanks to its low center of gravity.
The "FS" (full suspension) on the comfort models seems curious when looking at the stiff fork up front. TroyTec explains that its Main Suspension System's pivot point is located below the center of gravity and effectively absorbs impact for both wheels while eliminating irritating, efficiency-sapping bob. The system packs 75 mm (3 in) of travel, and an adjustable spring rate lets riders tweak things to their weight and riding preferences.
The Revolution is designed to be broken down and packed into a hard travel case within about 10 minutes. Transforming the bike from one configuration to another is more cumbersome, however, as it involves routing brake and gear-shift cables through the frame and fork. A full re-configuration takes two to three hours.
When it's time to stop mixing and matching bike parts and start pedaling, the rider slinks into a seat set at an angle of 24 degrees. The seat position is aimed at comfort and fatigue reduction, distributing weight over a large area instead of concentrating it on one spot, the way a traditional bicycle saddle does. To tweak comfort further, the buyer can choose from different seat thicknesses and adjust the handlebars for a custom ride.
I took a brief sit-down on the Revolution LR-FS model being displayed at ISPO Munich, without actually adjusting anything for fit, and it felt more like a lie-down. I'd be more worried about falling asleep on the bike than having any pain in my backside.
Though the Revolution offers a lot of versatility, it does come at a cost. The rigid LR and HR models start at €4,690 (US$6,450), while both suspension models are €5,290 ($7,275). Each conversion kit runs between €818 and 2,091, so if you really want to enjoy all the versatility the Revolution offers, you could quickly rack up five figures worth of bike equipment.
TroyTec offers a variety of component options, and the bikes have mounts for saddlebags and carriers. Each bike is handcrafted, and TroyTec lists a lead time of four weeks.
The past year has treated TroyTec quite well, seeing two ISPO BrandNew Finalist nominations and a second place finish at the 2013 World Championship race in Leer, Germany.
The video below shows the Revolution getting pushed past the 100-km/h (62 mph) mark on a stretch of downhill.
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