City Speeder Recumbent Concept - Fairings for the Masses?

Ok, we know fairings on recumbent bikes are nothing new – Google recumbent fairing and you’ll see plenty of well thought out designs, as well as quite a few hilarious looking contraptions. In the latest design exercise to roll across our desk however, the designer explores the possibility of using a recumbent as city transportation. The fairing will partially keep off the elements, and the rear compartment could double as storage or a child seat (?!). While it seems like an interesting concept, we just can’t see a work force wobbling their way forward from a stop, as they commute to the office. As a a recumbent bike and not as a commuter though, the bike has some promise. With built in lights, storage, and stream lining the recumbent crowd might be pleased. Also, while we’re sure it’s been done before, the front wheel drive aspect of the bike results in being able to use standard drive train components – no 8 mile long chain, though no word on whether it will use a BB30 or PF30 bottom bracket.

Check out a few other views after the break.

City Speeder Recumbent Concept - Fairings for the Masses?


  1. Love all that storage space. There will be room for a good first aid kit, plenty of tools, and perhaps a spare wheel. Sure I’d be needing them all too, as I won’t be able to see that well-illuminated pothole/glass/dog/child as it throws itself under my front wheel.

  2. Well, it appears that the author of this article has a bit of an ISSUE with Recumbent bikes- – and NOT enough knowledge of the subject to be writing about it..

    1st: EXPERIENCED Recumbent riders don’t “wobble” – from start or otherwise.

    2nd: Yes, FWD has been done and IS being done – with remarkable success. However, front or rear wheel drive, “Standard” drive train components are used on all production Recumbents – they are, after all, a “BICYCLE”. What do you think they’re built from, Kangaroo parts????

    3rd: The chain is 2.5 times the length of a Diamond Frame bike – – not “8 miles”.

    4th: What difference does it make – which bottom bracket they use on this one? Just an attempt at verbal slight-of-hand to convince the reader (and yourself) that you are not as woefully uninformed as your article reveals about you?

    • Grateful, I like recumbents. Our shop was one of the biggest dealers of them in town for a few years – until Burley stopped making them. The concept was to market this as the next commuter, which meant that experienced recumbent riders wouldn’t be on them, just average joes – which I’ve seen plenty of wobbling (and crashing) during test rides. As for the rest, there was a bit of sarcasm in there about the parts – yes I know it’s mostly the same, again I worked on countless. The bottom bracket comment was a joke referencing all the hate that PF30 and BB30 have gotten lately, nothing to do with recumbents. Thanks for reading, surprised you didn’t end your comment with “get ‘bent” – again a joke, see?

  3. Why does riding a recumbent so often produce the conflicting states of perceived superiority and defensiveness?

    As I trained mechanic who has regularly fitted chains to recumbents I can say that whilst chain length might no be quite 8 miles, it often feels like more than that when you’re threading the damned thing through several feet of delrin tubing.

  4. I’m 98% sure that the reference in the article to BB30 and PF30 BB is a joke. It does appear, however, the the rider in the CAD model is wearing knee-high socks with his Birkenstocks.

  5. recumbents are fun and all, but you know what’s really under-appreciated…. standard adult tricycle….some good ‘ol-fashion 3-wheelers. would be kind of nice to see some reviews on those…. carrying capacity, maneuverability, the drunk test, off road worthiness… all good things…. remember those long hot summer days, before all these electronics, where all you had was a radio flyer and an imagination. lets forget about recumbents and recumbent riders. we need to go back to what the real America was made on….. the tricycle… (progress: the adult tricycle)

    and campy seatposts.

  6. I like it. Its one of the most goodlooking r-bikes ive seen, exactly what i would like to commute with. Since ive been commuting by bike year round for 25 years, the thought of riding a “bent” with some fairing during wet seasons is something Ive been thinking about a lot. That bike has almost everything right from my view, short wheelbase, big wheels of the same size, simple frontdrive and nice looking fairings. Two solid thumbs up!

  7. I would be terrified to ride any recumbent in traffic, especially lower ones that put my head at bumper level. I don’t know why people think we need a new type of bike for commuters in the U.S.
    Bike commuters in the Netherlands ride REAL bicycles:

  8. I am quite an experienced recumbent rider, most of my commuting is done in the city. I do see the benefits of a tail fairing which doubles as storage space. I prefer a top pannier, but that is personal. However, I have doubts on the front fairing. Aerodynamically it won’t do any good, and weather protection will be very limited. It makes the bike quite a lot heavier, which is no good in the urban environment where a lot of energy and time is spent accelerating.

    If you want weather protection, you’d better go all the way and ride a velomobile. This option is even more heavy, but it has tremendous aerodynamic benefits, real weather protection and even more storage space.

    I’m inclined to say one should choose a really light recumbent, or a really aerodynamic one. Not something in between.

    Front wheel drive is not new indeed, and I think there is a reason it never really took off. Chain forces affect steering too much, which is not only uncomfortable but also wastes energy. This is especially the case for direct-drive systems like this one.

    Further, the long chain of a rear wheel driven recumbent is actually a blessing. Especially with modern recumbents who use gliding chain idlers, cross chaining is no issue. The chain runs in one straight line from the chain ring to the cassette. I’m riding 55-32 every day with no issues. The chain therefore lasts much longer than you would expect from its length alone. I’m riding all year round with an completely unprotected chain, and it lasts about 12,000 – 15,000 kilometers. In Holland, that is. The special parts of a rear wheel driven recumbent are only the chain idlers. Simple parts, not expensive. The new idler from Challenge lasts almost three times as long as the chain and cassette.

    All in all, the benefits of front wheel drive are not as big as they might seem.

    It is only a design study and I am always very sceptical until I see a real life prototype. But it is nice to see a recumbent here. Thanks.

    @Grateful: Relax. That is what recumbents are for 😉

  9. Hmmm… since this bike uses standard drivetrain parts, they’ll be sourced from either Sram or Shimano. Both of these companies have sponsored Lance so I can’t buy this bike and you shouldn’t, either!

    Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

  10. I own and ride a Sun Easy Sport LWB recumbent. I ride it for exercise and pleasure mostly on paved bike paths and not for commuting. That said, the computer rendered image of the subject recumbent above does not appeal to me with the bottom bracket that high off the ground and the resulting uber-reclined position. For urban commuting you need a lower bottom bracket height so you can get your feet on the ground quickly in an emergency situation. I would say a BikeE or a Sun EZ1 compact long wheel base recumbent would be ideal. And much easier to ride. I have no experience with fairings, but I’ve heard that on really cold days they are a Godsend. Just my 2 cents.

  11. @Steve, @EricNM:
    I do think Grateful should take it easy, but please consider the amount of prejudice a recumbent rider has to endure on a daily basis. Even in the Netherlands, recumbent country #1, it is not pretty.

  12. ‘no thank you’ babbles: “Bike commuters in the Netherlands ride REAL bicycles…” as well as recumbents and velomobiles. In fact some of the best recumbents and velomobiles in the world are built and developed in the Netherlands. Sinner bikes and with the Quest/Mango/Strada models, Flevobike (both ‘bent and velomobile), and several others, just to name a few.

    And neither the ‘bent in the article, nor most commuter-centric ‘bents and velomobiles are “at bumper level”. That’s more common with the racing ‘bents/vms, which don’t usually go play in traffic anyway, as a general rule.

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