HP Velotechnik Recumbent Bikes

Cruzbike Recumbent Bicycles

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Greenspeed Recumbent Trikes and Velomobiles

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New York City Recumbent Supply

Specializing in high quality HP Velotechnik and Cruzbike recumbent bikes and trikes. Other brands available by special order.

Demos, sales and service by appointment only.
Conveniently located in the cultural heart of Brooklyn, near the Brooklyn Museum of Art and the Botanical Gardens, with easy access by car and four express subway lines.
Demo and lessons take place in beautiful, historic Prospect Park and on separated bike paths free of cars.
Phone: (646) 233-1219
Shop Hours: Mon. - Fri. 10am - 6pm
E-mail: RMatson [at] TheInnovationWorks [dot] com
Note: When you call, please leave a message if I (Robert) don't pick up. This is a one-man shop and I'm not always able to grab the phone.

New York City Recumbent Supply is a premium dealer of HP Velotechnik expedition-quality recumbent bikes and trikes with most their models in stock for demos and lessons. We're also a premiere dealer of Cruzbike road and race bikes, and keep their full line in stock for look-sees, demo rides and lessons.

Greenspeed trikes, Hase trikes and Pino tandems, Ice trikes, Azub recumbents and tandems, Volae, and Nazca recumbents and tandems are available by special order.

Specializing in:
- Well-made recumbents
built for commuting, multi-day touring, racing, day rides on bike paths, or just generally improving your quality of life.
- Small recumbent bikes, trikes and tandems that fit in city homes, elevators, trains and small cars, including folding and "short wheelbase" recumbents.
- Expedition quality touring and commuting recumbents, panniers, lights, racks, tires and accessories.
- Helping urban 'bent riders along the East Coast, from Maine to Georgia.
- Giving a darn. In this case, about good bikes, good people, and a healthy planet.

 

Sales, Events and News

Discounts on 2011 Volae seats:

Volae Carbon Fiber hardshell seat, size medium. Was $455. Yours for $315.
One seat left.
Volae updated their seats for 2012. This is the classic narrow "race" version from 2011 and before. Includes hardware and foam pad.
Call: (646) 233-1219

 

HP Velotechnik Street Machine Gte recumbent bike
Touring the Adirondacks via HP Velotechnik Street Machine Gte, the classic recumbent touring bike.

Website Contents

Demo Rides and Lessons: Never ridden a recumbent bike? Call today for a demo.

Featured Recumbents.

Recumbent Bikology in the Urban Jungle, the Blog of New York City Recumbent Supply. A knowledge base of sorts for urban bent riders.

Customers write in about their experiences with New York City Recumbent Supply.

New York City Recumbent Supply in the News.

Recumbent Reviews from New York City Recumbent Supply.

Links to resources worth knowing about.

The unique needs of urban 'bent riders...

What's so great about recumbent bicycles?

Sales, Events and News.

Accessories carried include expedition-quality gear from Radical Design and Ortlieb (panniers), Schwalbe (tires), Busch & Müller and Spanninga (powerful light systems), Tubus and Old Man Mountain (racks), TerraCycle (bent-specific modifications), Peter White (wheels and other useful stuff), Trail Designs (ultra-light stoves), and more.

Featured Recumbents:
HP Velotechnik and Cruzbike

Please note: Bicycle and accessory prices and specifications are subject to change without notice or obligation. Current prices and specifications are published on manufacturers' websites, but we are not responsible for errors or omissions. Some of the bikes in the photos include options and upgrades. The manufacturer may switch out or redesign components without notice. Call if you have any questions.

Cruzbike: when performance is all about the bike

 

In this case, it's all about the bike. And if you're a strong rider, or you're doping (ha ha), you'll do all the better. According to race results and records set on Cruzbikes, these are possibly the world's fastest unfaired bikes, recumbent or otherwise. And I can teach you to ride one. No dope.

If you need high average speeds, if you need a bike that can keep the pace on club rides, if you want to climb as fast as your riding buddies on their diamond frames, if you simply need to dust the roadie who sneers at you on your comfortable recumbent bike, then you should seriously consider a Cruzbike. And I'm not saying that just to sell you one. I'm saying that because I've discovered for myself it's true. As much as I hate to admit it, here, my performance stems from the bike design and not from my level of fitness.

Riding a Cruzbike requires more coordination than most other recumbents, but, chances are, I can teach you to ride one pretty quickly. My average time for teaching people to ride a Quest is about 30 minutes. OK, some get it immediately, some people take 45 min., some people give up after an hour and fall in love with an HP Velotechnik.

The Cruzbike engages and uses your muscles in a way other recumbents do not, while still putting you in a reclined, comfortable and aerodynamic position. The result is a faster average speed. Riding a Quest 26", my current average speed on my local training circuit is 20.2 mph over 40 hilly miles; no fairing, no tailsock, no drafting, no special shorts. (That's 0.7 mph faster than my previous personal best race time, in a sprint triathlon, eight years ago.) Note I say "average speed." If you're looking to climb as fast as standard frame riders, and stay in the 20's on the flats, consider one of the Cruzbikes. Any laid back bike -- or plywood box car -- can go fast down a hill.

In a ratio of price to MPH, every Cruzbike is an incredible deal. If you're looking for something to park on the street, check out the Sofrider. It comes with "entry-level" (cheap) components and a mass-produced rear frame. However, due to the design, it's an extremely capable recumbent at a good price and you can upgrade it with better components after a year or two. As for the Quests, they fold and fit into a suitcase.

I'm keeping a Quest 26", a Quest 20", and a Sofrider in stock for demo rides, and a Vendetta and Silvio for look-sees. Come, and look, and see.

 

Cruzbike Silvio

Maria Parker sets record, race photo, photo copyr. 2012 Cruzbike

Vendetta, ver. RAAM

Time trial recumbent bike for racing. 700c wheels. Faster than you imagine. Like any TT bike, it's a handful until you've mastered it. Current year's model in stock.

I try to keep a Vendetta in stock. I rarely let people demo it because it requires expert-level skill to handle.

 

Silvio

The record-setting, road bike analogue. 700c wheels. Kicks butt. Accepts fenders, rack, bags, lights, road groups, bladed spokes, carbon fiber wheels.... Current year's model is in stock.

For the past year, I've been riding a Silvio for 85-mile club day-rides and short 25-mile workouts in Prospect Park. Three words: it kicks butt. Photo above of the 2012 Silvio. I say above that I keep the current year's model in stock, and usually that's true (like right now) but sometimes people buy up all the Silvios and it's hard to keep them on hand. What can I tell you. I do my best.

 

Quest

The folding, commuting, touring model that climbs like a beast. Accepts fenders, rack, bags, lights. Models come in 26" and 20" wheeled designs. The 20" version packs into the Samsonite F'lite suitcase. Bike, in stock. Weird skewed photo, above.

Surprising but true anecdote: in 2012, on a club day ride, I was riding a Quest 26 stock model, with zero upgrades, on a hilly route (something like 6,000 feet of climbing and descending). The ride leader, who was generally in front of me, was riding a Bachetta Aero. (We were NOT drafting.) On the downhills, when neither he nor I were pedaling, I was repeatedly passing him or else continually applying my brakes to hold my place in the group. I don't believe the Q 26 is more aero than the Aero. I'm larger than the ride leader and a bit heavier, but by only about 15 lbs. So, what is it? Is it my weight? Do the shocks allow the $2000 Q to travel more efficiently than the $5000 Aero? I can't tell you, but what I can say, from my personal experience, is this: the Quest, like all Cruzbikes, are faster than most bents going up the hills. And the Q more than holds its own on the flats and downhills. If you don't feel ready for a Silvio. Go with a Quest. You will not be disappointed. Besides, you can steeply recline the Q's seat if you have a need for speed.

Cruzbike Quest 20 in small car

Quest 20 in a small car, above.
Last fall, I (Robert) was out for a short self-supported tour in upstate NY on a Quest 20" when, on Day 2, the weather turned unexpectedly cold -- 15F at night, low 20F's in the morning -- and it began to snow. I was only prepared for weather in the mid-30's. Crap. I saw no option but to keep moving but my hands became so cold that I couldn't steer, brake and shift very well and I became concerned about slippery roads. I decided to bail. A kind couple offered me a lift if I could fit my bike in their small Toyota 4-door. It took me about 5 min. to remove the seat and wheels and fold the Quest 20", and put it in the back seat. It was no trouble. Once in the car, I soon got warm and made new friends to boot. Non-folding, full-sized bikes are great for touring, but this is an instance of when and why a folding bike can be the better option. It's also a credit to the Cruzbike Quest 20 for its flexibility. Because, when touring, you don't control the conditions, you can only control how you respond.

 

Cruzbike Sofrider

Sofrider

The surprisingly capable entry-level Cruzbike with 26" wheels. Accepts fenders, rack, bags, lights. Can be upgraded with disk brakes, 700C wheels, new bottom bracket, etc. Gets you quickly to swim team practice or your work shift at the coop. And more. Looks great loaded with groceries or locked to a "No Parking" sign. At least in my opinion. OK, it's a truck. This is what I'm riding these days as my city beater (2013). I like it. I have one you can demo.

A Sofrider sans groceries. Or rider.

 


The HP Velotechnik Scorpion fs - "20" and "26"

HP Velotechnik Scorpion leads during Spezi 2009 trike race.

It is "all that." Full suspension, folding, takes racks and fenders...and a whole lot more. Made in Germany.

Words fail to convey the experience of riding a Scorpion trike, so let's try photos. Taken during the 2009 Trikerace at the Spezi show in Germersheim April 25th, the race was won by HP Velotechik engineer Martin Wöllner on a Scorpion trike (above, orange). Trikerace-Picturegalery. (Race photos, copyright 2009 HP Velotechnik).

Of course, you can also ride it slowly. The Scorpion fs is stable, comfortable, well-engineered, and a joy to ride at any speed.

"From the first turn of the pedals, the Scorpion fs feels like an HPVelotechnik. Once you’ve ridden any of their products you’ll understand. They just have a solid, sturdy, purposeful feel that you don’t find many other places. The Scorpion fs doesn’t flex anywhere at all and is eerily quiet and smooth. I don’t know how HPVelotechnik makes a machine with so many moving parts feel like it has none at all." - Bent Rider Online.
More from that rave review, here.

Bryan Ball's April 2013 review of the Scorpion fs 26 on Bentrider Online, here.

Robert's review of the Scorpion fs 20 from Interbike 2009 here.

Manufacturer's notes here...

Eurobike 2008 Award The HP Velotechnik Scorpion fs at rest.

The Scorpion fs won the "Eurobike Award 2008 for innovative design and excelling product quality". The jury of "iF International Design Forum", comprised of design experts, specialist journalists and sport scientists, rated amongst others: efficiency, ergonomics, practical value, weight, safety and environmental impact aspects, and finish.

 

The HP Velotechnik Gekko fx

HP Velotechnik design, creativity and quality, at a very tempting price point.

Gekko fx Dreirad Pedelec foldable HP Velotechnik with BionX E-Motor

If the Scorpion fs is the Mercedes of recumbent trikes, then the Gekko is the Smart Car.

It handles like an HPV and takes fenders, lights and a rack. Perfect for greenway and boardwalk jaunts. And equally perfect for sticking in a bag and taking up to New Paltz, New Hampshire, or Nova Scotia for a little tour...or adventure race. Fits easily in a car, bus, train or apartment. It can also pull a trailer. You don't have to carry it, by the way. It comes standard with a set of roller blade wheels so you can wheel it through Grand Central like a "roll-a-board" suitcase.

The fold is pretty cool and it makes for a small, tight package. For those who want to save a bit more money, the "new" 2012 /Gekko/ which does not fold, but simply comes apart, is a good solution. Either way, you win. You'll own an HP Velotechnik Gekko. And you'll have a blast.

More info. on the HP Velo website here.

 

HP Velotechnik: quality, safety, durability, fun

 

"Gold medal reclaimed: HP Velotechnik is Germany's 'Best bicycle manufacturer' for 2011."

Enough said. Understand that this is Germany, and the Germans build possibly the best bicycles in the world. Then consider that HP Velotechnik is awarded this "best" ranking from a field of both standard frame and recumbent frame German bike manufacturers. Read the excellent Recumbent Journal article here.

 

The HP Velotechnik Street Machine Gte

HP Velotechnik Speed Machine set up for moving out.

Street Machine Gte on the way up Whiteface Mtn., fifth highest mountain in the Adirondacks, New York, USA. Photo copyr. R Matson 2013

 

HP Velotechnik Street Machine Gte

"Your second car. Or instead of a car. You decide."

HP Velotechnik's Street Machine Gte sets the gold standard for urban commuting and long-haul touring. This 20"x26" short wheelbase recumbent is made in Germany (the AL frame is welded in Taiwan, which is what you want). Every detail is designed to yield the perfect touring and commuting human powered vehicle. Head and shoulders above the rest and it puts you eye-level with the cars. As with all HP Velotechnik bikes, this is a bike you will treasure and which other bent riders wish they owned. See the manufacturer's notes here...

Street Machine Gte in orange

 

HP Velotechnik Speed Machine set up for moving out.

Street Machine Gte way off road in the Adirondacks, NY. Photo copyr. R Matson 2013

During the summer of 2013, I (Robert) took a fully-loaded Street Machine Gte with 40 lbs of gear -- when dry, but on this trip everything was wet from constant rain -- on a 750-mile tour through the Adirondacks. Roads ranged from 15-mile (but who is counting) uphill grinds with 10% grades, for example to the top of Whiteface Mountain, to insanely fast descents down similar grades (e.g., Whiteface east to Willmington and Lake Placid down into Keene). Road surfaces included anything and everything: perfect asphalt (rarely), broken asphalt (usually), wilderness forest roads, grass tractor roads, steep dirt and gravel VT farm roads, muddy crap that looked like a road three miles ago, open fields, the beautiful Mohawk bike trail up around Albany (wow, guys!), and any other by-way that looked like it went somewhere interesting. Speeds ranged from 3 mph to 50.4 mph (don't ride like my brother's only brother).

When it comes to touring -- as well as commuting, where road and traffic conditions are equally unpredictable -- the Street Machine Gte stands apart from the others due to the exceptional handling under all conditions, even when fully loaded, and the extraordinary performance of the suspension and frame. For touring in the Northeast, or anywhere road surfaces are damaged by harsh weather, shocks should be considered mandatory safety equipment because you never know what kind of crumbled pavement lurks beyond the next downhill curve. The Street Machine ranks among the world's elite expedition bikes.

 

Carrying the SM Gte
The SMGte is easy to carry with one hand.

 

The HP Velotechnik Grasshopper FX

Robert on a HP Velotechnik Grasshopper fx
Robert, on an HP Velotechnik Grasshopper fx folding recumbent bike, on the Harlem Valley Rail Trail in Dutchess and Columbia counties, New York. (Helmet optional till you get on the street.)

"If you have space for only one bent, consider a Grasshopper fx."

Standing head and shoulders above the others, the HP Velotechnik Grasshopper is possibly the world's finest folding recumbent bike. Built for touring and fast commuting, HPV's brilliant engineering and consistent attention to detail result in a high quality bent that does everything an urban bent rider could want. Two 20" wheels, so it's small and spry, but designed for stability. The bottom bracket is 5" above the seat level, so it's aerodynamic and fast. The chain ring is protected and the chain is covered by chain tubes, so you won't get grease on yourself or other passengers on the train. And it folds in 60 seconds and fits into its own bag, so it goes with you when you travel (bus, train, plane, car, etc.). Made in Germany.

Side note: until about two years ago, the Grasshopper fx was my (Robert's) primary day-long ride and, quite simply, I loved it. (I now alternate between riding a Speed Machine and a Silvio as my day-trip bike, though the GHfx often comes out when NJ Transit is involved.) I've noticed that about half of all novice bent riders find the GH fx challenging to ride at first; others have no problem at all. Either way, as you get to know it, you'll find it's a great bent. A big reason it's great for New Yorkers is that it's easy to take on the trains or bus (in the optional carrying bag). And folding bikes don't need a permit. More detailed reviews can be found here (on this website) and here, on my blog.

See the manufacturer's notes here...

Folds in 60 seconds. here's how to fold it.

Grasshopper fx folding recumbent bike

 

GrassHopper fx. The foldable touring recumbent made by HP Velotechnik.

It comes standard with the above-seat steering. The under-seat steering ("USS") is an optional upgrade which is suitable for advanced riders or those who simply must have USS.

HP Velotechnik Grasshopper fx

The GrassHopper fx was honored with the Eurobike Award 2007 for innovative design and excellent product quality.
Honoured design: Eurobike Award 2007
The Grasshopper luggage rack close up. Notice that the weight of the luggage is fully-suspended:
GrassHopper rear rack
Robert on a HP Velotechnik Grasshopper fx
On the left, Robert on an HP Velotechnik Grasshopper fx. On the right, a Volae Tour ready to roll. In the background, the Copake Falls campground in the Taconic State Park -- about 100 miles north of New York City and you can get there by bike.

 

The HP Velotechnik Speed Machine

HP Velotechnik's road bike is engineered for fast day-rides and brevets, so you can keep your bike club membership even after you've "gone bent." Readily accepts racks, fenders, light kit and panniers to become an aerodynamic commuting and touring machine. Could this be the "one-bike" answer?

HP Velotechnik Speed Machine set up for moving out.

I'm now stocking an HP Velotechnik Speed Machine for demo rides. Before it arrived, I wasn't sure what to expect since, at the "speed" end of the market, there is so much competition and clamoring for bragging rights for "the fastest bike." The Cruzbike Silvio and Vendetta are clearly special. So, why bring in a Speed Machine?

Now that it's in and I've ridden it more than just to check the indexing,* I must say I'm rather impressed. It's a cool bike, just as we would expect from HP Velotechnik, but -- again, like all their bikes -- there is a lot more to it then meets the eye. I had incorrectly anticipated something like a Street Machine Gte, just lower-slung, but it's really a whole new vehicle, as different from the Street Machine as is the Grasshopper fx.

(*In 2013, the SPM has been one of the bikes I take on 85-mile day-rides and weekend loaded get-aways. I'm a fan. Great bike. Not too low. I've ridden it in Manhattan traffic. Fast, but also carries a load. Like the touring nerd I am, I fitted it with fenders, rack and lights. It'd be a lot lighter and faster without all that.)

First of all, regarding aerodynamics, the leg, body and head positions are in the "typical" range for good racers, whether high, medium or low -- flat and layed back. The frame is extremely stiff, straight and responsive, as we expect from HP Velotechnik, and the frame design allows great power transfer to the wheels. Till now, I've believed unsuspended racers would be preferable -- faster and more responsive -- but the Speed Machine handles fine with the added benefit that, with the suspension, the tires stick to the road even when the pavement is rough. Frankly, I feel a lot more comfortable with full-suspension because, when I'm traveling at high speeds, the inevitable bump or pothole doesn't throw the bike off the ground or me off my line.

The build I have here is fitted with the Concept front suspension, the DT Swiss air shock, Shimano XT hydraulic disk brakes, aero bars, the standard Alex wheel set, and the upgraded XT drivetrain. Long and short, it's light, responsive, and reminds me a bit of a standard frame road race bike in the way that the faster you're riding, the better it seems to handle. The Concept front suspension with oversized head tube is beautifully manufactured both inside and out.

A word about the seat angle: while the deepest seat recline is 25 degrees (which is very flat and aero), the seat can be adjusted up to 35 degrees, which is the same as the "medium" setting on a Street Machine Gte or Grasshopper fx. In other words, this "speed" bike becomes a highly aerodynamic touring machine by simply changing the seat angle (which takes 5 seconds) and adding racks, fenders, panniers and light kits, which it is built to accept easily and quickly. Looking at it another way, with the fully suspended build, we have a very nice, fast and aero touring machine that can be easily stripped down and turned into a weekend racer.

The Speed Machine is an interesting urban bike solution. It provides a new option for the city rider who is limited in the number of bikes he or she can fit into their small space at home. Many bent riders seem to own a folding bike and two or three bents. We usually make hard choices between a bent for fast club rides, one for commuting and grocery runs, one for long distance trips, one for off-road, one for pavement, one for folding and taking on the train, etc.

The Speed Machine covers the requirement for a fast "club" bent without sacrificing it's capability as a touring and commuting machine. I might still prefer a Street Machine for a two-month trip just as I'd prefer a Speed Machine for a brevet and a Grasshopper fx as the commuter-extraordinaire. But the Speed Machine, as a road bike or fast tourer, has a role to play as possibly the single bike that does it all very well.

My blog entry is nearly identical to the above text, but if you're curious, see it here.

HP Velotechnik Speed Machine set up for touring.

 

Focused on the unique needs of urban 'bent riders...(a personal note)

New York City Recumbent Supply offers a select group of particularly high quality short wheelbase recumbent bikes that are suited for urban riding, commuting, touring, racing and generally living car-free. We (I, Robert) also offer a small selection of intelligently engineered and well-made lights, racks, bags and accessories to make urban bent-riding (and cycling in general) safer, more practical and more pleasurable. My objective is to help people (you) discover the joys of riding a recumbent bike, so all urban residents, of all ages and body conditions, can enjoy the freedom of living car-free, subway-free and more healthily.

Recumbent brands offered: HP Velotechnik, Volae, Greenspeed and Rans travel tandems. The Innovation Works (R) is the exclusive authorized dealer of HP Velotechnik, Volae and Greenspeed along the Boston - New York - Washington, D.C. corridor. I can special order any short wheelbase 'bent from any of those brands if we don't have the model in stock.

I do not carry an endless variety of brands because there is not an endless variety of brands that are good enough for me to carry and good enough for you to ride at 45 mph. Just like you, I do not have the space (or time) to mess around with low quality brands, models that are unsuitable for city streets, or manufacturers with poor customer service. I go to markets and rallies and ride and inspect a wide variety of bikes. But I only carry the best, and I only work with the best, and that's it. It saves you (the customer) time, it saves me time, and it saves both of us a lot of hassles. Fact is, only a small percentage of bike manufacturers work to standards that are high enough to design, produce and deliver well-made bikes. And if it's not well made, I don't want to buy it, and I don't want to sell it. Of course, there are some great bikes that I don't carry. That's life. (If you think I'm wrong on any of these counts, please call and offer your perspective. I'll always listen and I'm always happy to discover a new brand that is good enough for me to carry.)

Urban 'bent riders face unique conditions. Our homes are small. We have elevators and walk-ups. Streets are tight and crowded. We have bike paths and bridges with barricades in the center of the path. We don't drive to our ride; we ride to our ride, and if we bonk we have to find a train. But if your bent is longer than 80 inches, you'll be prevented from boarding. And if it's too heavy, you won't be lifting it. Few people ride low-rider bents because few people want to get run over by an ice cream truck. And our streets are crap and old: potholes and cobblestones. But we still ride and drive fast. So, combine speed with rough roads and what does it tell you? We need high-quality bikes because our lives depend on it. Oh, and we have bike thieves too, so we need solutions for locking those bikes.

We focus on Volae and HP Velotechnik recumbents and Rans travel tandems because they are uniquely suitable for urban riding environments and meet the size restrictions for the regional light rail. We don't carry long wheelbase 'bents or crank forwards, or low-racer 'bents. We carry Greenspeed trikes because they fold so nicely.

Aside from a few notable exceptions, our bikes generally accept racks, fenders, heavy-duty wheels, fat puncture-resistant tires and full lighting kits. You can ride them in the rain, snow or sun. We seek out bikes that fold or come apart to make them easy to store in apartments and small homes, or go on trains, buses or planes. We carry RANS recumbent tandems, but only the ones with SS couplings; this lets the tandem come apart in two pieces so it'll fit in your elevator, or in the subway or on the Metro North*. We are always looking for solutions for folding and "travel" 'bents, including related products, to make it possible for you to travel with your bike, whether out to Lake Placid, up to Boston, down the Jersey Shore, over to the Alps or down under to New Zealand.

We offer fully-outfitted 'bents as well as after-market add-ons like Terracycle upgrades and accessories; Fast Back bags and packs; headlights and rear lights from Busch & Müller, Spanninga and Hella; B&M mirrors; Schmidt dynohubs and B&M sidewall generators; Pitlock locking skewers; Terracycle windscreens; and 3A ANSII-2 hi-viz highway safety vests and eye protection rated for construction debris.

We are focused on serving customers in the Northeast Megapolis along the coast from Boston through New York CIty and down to Washington DC. Basically, if you're in the Northeast or New England and you want a high quality short wheelbase 'bent, give us a call.

*Metro North and MTA regulations may (and do) change. Be sure to check the MTA website for current restrictions.

What's so great about recumbent bicycles?

It's more than just that great big smile.

Short wheelbase ("SWB") recumbents work well in urban biking environments. Volae and HP Velotechnik bikes, for example, are built higher off the ground than many other recumbents, so drivers easily see you and you can easily see them. You also get a great view of the world as well as of road hazards up ahead.

Bents are particularly good for riders who find "upright" bicycles uncomfortable, a pain-in-the-neck, a pain-in-the-back, a pain "down there," a pain in the hands and wrists, needlessly tiring and less than perfectly dignified. Kids love them, as does everyone who recognizes a good thing in life.

More comfortable, especially if you're Masters age...but even if you're not.

People usually find bents more comfortable than "upright" or "diamond-frame" bikes. Your body weight is supported by your entire rear-end and back, instead of on your wrists and sit-bones. Your head, neck and spine are in a relaxed position which removes back and neck stress. Also, since you don't put body weight on your hands, there is no arm, wrist or hand pressure.

Better for American-sized commuting distances.

I find it easier to maintain speed on a 'bent, both due to the comfort factor as well as the fact that a bent rider is more aerodynamic than on a diamond frame bike which is designed with a similarly upright sitting position. I also find it easier to cover a fair distance without noticing the effort or breaking into a sweat. In short, a bent gets you there faster and with your dignity in tact.

For New York City commutes, where 6-20 miles roundtrip is common, it's easier if you have a bike built for the distance and the job. Besides, recumbent seats generally don't put wear marks on your work clothes.

Are they safe? You can see better, you can stop faster, you're not riding head first, and you can have better eye contact with drivers. So, many experienced bent riders say yes, unequivocally.

If you've ridden a bike on NYC streets -- or anywhere, for that matter -- you may readily agree that safety is a primary concern. Safety is arguably a combination of a cyclist's habits, road conditions and terrain, weather, bicycle quality, and how a cyclist interacts with other street users, like motorists and pedestrians. Many riders feel bents have an edge on safety for three reasons: riding position, center of gravity and line of sight. The SWB 'bents we carry -- such as the Volae Century or HP Velotechnik Street Machine -- are high-sitting (but with a low center of gravity). Your eye level is around the same as the eye level of the driver of a sedan and slightly below the eyes of an SUV driver; on these 'bents, you can see and be seen. (The Scorpion fs tadpole trike positions the rider about 10" lower, with an eye level nearly equal to that of a driver of a Corvette.)

On a bent, the riding position is feet-first, not head first as on a diamond frame bike. And let's be frank here. In a front-end collision (like from a dooring or a vehicle turning into your path), your feet are nearest the obstacle and your head is furthest away, dramatically lowering the possibility for a life-threatening injury. Statistics show that most serious bicycle accidents are from front-end collisions, so this is a vital difference. (Sorry to be morbid here, but I am not one to hide my head in the sand.)

WIth the low center of gravity of a bent, you can aggressively apply your front brake without flipping the bike over the front wheel (unlike on a diamond frame bike). You'll find that the tires skid before the bike is anywhere near a flip, similar to braking quickly in a car. (In fact, a common recumbent "contest" is to see how quickly various bents can brake to a full stop.)

A better view.

On a bent, with your head upright, you see better and you look more dignified. Speaking generally, you see road hazards sooner than on an upright bike, because you are riding head-up, not head down. You have better eye-contact with car drivers. And bents are unusual and cool-looking, so they encourage long looks and caution (which is a good thing).

It also seems that cars give me more respect and object less when I take the lane with a bent. Could it be that I look more serious on a 'bent? Or because my rear end isn't in their faces? Maybe a bit -- or a lot -- of both.

Volae Tour in action
A Volae Tour rider on the Harlem Valley Rail Trail, enjoying a sunny fall day in Dutchess and Columbia counties.

Demo Rides.
Never ridden a recumbent bicycle? Let's fix that! Call today for a demo ride or lesson.

Where: Eastern Parkway Greenway and Prospect Park, Brooklyn

Call for details and to reserve a time slot: (646) 233-1219.

For those who have never ridden a 'bent, we offer one-on-one lessons on a high-quality HP Velotechnik Grasshopper fx, HPV Street Machine Gte, Cruzbike Quest, or other short wheelbase recumbent bike. Lessons and demos are given on the car-free Eastern Parkway greenway and in Prospect Park, so you can safely try the bike on hills, curves and around other bicycles.

For both demos and lessons, we require: a waiver, ID and a major credit card. We also charge a fee of $100/person which is credited in full when you buy a recumbent bike from us.

You will be riding an expensive bike. We reserve the right to deny or cancel a demo ride for any reason whatsoever. The most common reason is that we think, in our subjective opinion, that you might damage the bike, yourself, or another user of the park or greenway. All demos by appointment only and subject to bike availability. And if you break it, you buy it.

New York City Recumbent Supply in the News...

New York Times, Sunday November 13, 2010
Metro Section: "Spokes | A Struggle to Stay Upright (and Cool)"
by Sean Patrick Farrell
"I know how to ride a bike. I’ve been doing it for about 25 years now. But I recently found myself wobbling down Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn, trying to get the knack of pedaling again. I was riding, or at least trying to ride, while practically lying down.
“Relax your hands and lean back,” said Robert Matson, my coach in learning to ride a recumbent bicycle. “You have to accept the comfort,” he offered. I tried, but found myself quickly teetering on the odd machine....(more)"

Recumbent Journal, Sunday January 9, 2011
"Big Apple Traffic, Cobbles Hobble Bentrification"
by Chris Malloy
"Robert Matson seems clearly defined by two statements: "I hate cars. I like bikes." He likes bikes so much he sells recumbents out of his apartment in Brooklyn. In New York, retail space can go for $15,000 a month for 400 square feet. Then, when the customer gets outside for a test ride, traffic is more of a concern than the bike. His voice carried more than a bit of envy for the bike path that runs just outside of the Hostel Shoppe's back door....(more)"

Customers Talk about Their Experience with New York City Recumbent Supply
Real notes from actual customers, unedited and reprinted with permission.

 

---------- Original Message ----------
Subject: the new bike is safely home . . .
From: "L--- P---" <ldp---@gmail.com>
To: "Robert Matson" <rmatson@theinnovationworks.com>
------------------------------------------

Robert,

Hope you are having a wonderful holiday.

I did get the new Grasshopper fx home on the Bolt Bus. They have a good bike transport policy and space enough for a bike in a separate area from the crunch of suitcases and duffel bags that I usually see.

I will probably use Bolt Bus to bring the bike back up to NY for the 5BBT in May - unless my wife comes with me (she prefers Amtrak).

The attached picture shows the bike with the Axion handlebar bags that I have adapted to work as mini-panniers on the Grasshopper. This arrangement should be sufficient for most 1-day or less tours. Still looking at options for the front and back lights (so many choices, so little time).

I want to thank you for the great customer service that was present all through my purchase of the bike: I never felt rushed or pressured, and you have always been responsive to my (many) questions on outfitting the bike.

I am looking forward to registering in January for the NYC 5 Boro Bike Tour, and to the training between now and May to get myself and the new bike in the best shape for the Tour. Maybe I 'll see a few other recumbent riders at the Tour as well!

Take care,
L_R__

---------- Original Message ----------
Subject: Thank you
From: "M--- A---" <ma---@gmail.com>
To: "Robert Matson" <rmatson@theinnovationworks.com>
------------------------------------------

Dear Robert,

I wanted to thank you for the time, effort, and patience you extended me during my demo ride. Minutes after meeting in your bicycle-rich apartment, I was learning the basics of front wheel drive handling. Riding in the park gave me ample opportunity to try out the speed and handling characteristics of the Quest. Later I had my first remote mechanic face time call as you helped me with some assembly questions. So despite three back fusions, I am once again speeding down my local bike trail.

Many thanks,

M--- Anderson, MD
VA
(doctor)

---------- Original Message ----------
Subject: HPVelotechnic
From: "tom b___" <s____@k__.com>
To: "Robert Matson"
------------------------------------------

Robert-

I wanted to send you a quick update. I'm riding my Street Machine about 4 days a week at this point and finding myself getting faster and stronger as the weeks fly by. I've put on about 300 miles so far and the bike is such a pleasure to ride. I'd be interested in doing an over night trip soon....so if you know of any that I should be considering, let me know. I love the bike and look forward to my x-country trip in May 2015! Thanks for your all you did and do!

Tom B____

---------- Original Message ----------
Short note on a Post-It(R), attached to a check.
------------------------------------------

Great working with you Robert!!
- J
(attorney, real estate financer)

---------- Original Message ----------
Short note on a Post-It(R), attached to a check.
------------------------------------------

Thanks for your help with my new bike, Robert! Looking forward to a few trips with you!
- Tom
(real estate investor)

---------- Original Message ----------
Subject: Re: interesting article on winter riding
From: "allan press" <g___7@gmail.com>
To: "Robert Matson" <rmatson@theinnovationworks.com>
------------------------------------------

Last summer, I decided I wanted to pick up a recumbent for medical reasons. I had two knee surgeries and was told that riding a standard bicycle was no longer a good idea. I was told that a recumbent would be better for my knees. As I knew nothing about 'bents, I had to start from scratch. After doing some research on the web and making a few calls, I had pretty much decided on a trike. Since I live in a SMALL apartment, I decided to go for the folding HP Velo trike. HP Velo told me there was a dealer near me and pointed me to NY City Recumbent Supply and Robert Matson.

I contacted Robert and discussed my issues, that I planned to ride to and from Brooklyn to NYC for work as well as recreational riding and, through his knowledge of all things recumbent, found out that a trike might not be the best thing for me. First off, I didn't have any balance issues that would keep me from riding a standard bike. And secondly, a trike is wider than a standard bike and may give me problems with the barriers put up on NY City bridge bike/ped paths. I ended up deciding on a Grasshopper.

Next came the test drive. After a quick tutorial on the basics of the bike it was time to try to get moving. I had ridden an EZ Racer 'bent the summer prior, but it was a long wheel base and more of a chopper style. The Grasshopper was DEFINITELY a different beast all together. Robert was VERY patient and coached me so that within a few minutes, I was up and running (although still a little wobbly!). We hit the road and did a test ride.

Robert answered every question I threw at him (and there were plenty). With his help and knowledge, he was able to guide me to the right options for what I needed. He was incredibly professional as well as being a great guy to talk to. He didn't make me feel like I was bothering him when I called him up with any additional questions or to just check on the delivery/build times. Even after delivery, if I called, he was patient and always willing to help.

When I am making a purchase of this size, I don't take it lightly and will definitely not put up with a salesman who is pushy or does not make me feel at ease. Robert is a professional all around. He put me at ease and was able to assure me that I was making the right decision without trying to "up sell" me to make more money. As a matter of fact, I have gone back to him on multiple occasions to purchase additional items for the bike!

I can not recommend NY City Recumbent Supply and Robert enough. If you are in the market for a recumbent and are in the Northeast, you will not go wrong by dealing with either!

Allan Press
(executive, finance)

---------- Original Message ----------
Subject: Re: from liz ryan cruzbike
From: "Elizabeth R___" <e____@optonline.net>
To: "Robert Matson" <rmatson@theinnovationworks.com>
------------------------------------------

Hi Robert,
The answer is yes to using my letter on your website....I'm flattered. Just wanted to add the extra below for you to use in any way you want. I rode the bike paths of Martha's Vineyard this weekend with sharp turns.....I'm ready. many thanks for all the info.
Liz

Hi Robert,

I am one of your successful students.....the first day after bringing my CB home I was all two on the pedals, then day four I am riding a half mile...now i am nonstop uphills, turning corners but not ready for the open road....can't do straight lines.

It isn't everyone who could demo a bike on the streets of Crown Heights, Brooklyn and make it safe, enjoyable with the spirit of "i can do this". I went to your shop with a different idea of the bike I wanted and you had me trial the one you know would be a good fit for me and you were right.

Thanks for your patient demo of the CB. I found once I put my mind on steering with the pedals I released my death grip and the ride was much smoother.

Please tell me how to release the dual quick release on the steering column, this might have been set too tight. It is even difficult for my husband.

Also the manual states the CB might need a servicing to tighten the control cables after the initial break in period....would you recommend a local bike shop do this.

Thanks a bunch
Liz R__
(doctor)

---------- Original Message ----------
Re: GHfx
From: "Mike O'Neil" <c___m__@gmail.com>
To: "Robert Matson" <rmatson@theinnovationworks.com>
------------------------------------------

Finally getting to that review. I've also started a new tanning trend, the Recumbent Tan. You get burnt in the front but are totally pale on the back.

"Robert is definitely the perfect guy to deal with if you're looking for a recumbent bike. Not only did he have the exact bike I was looking for but his enthusiasm for the bikes leaves you with more knowledge and information that you ever thought you'd need. Very helpful and genuinely wants you to enjoy your ride. It's a great comfort knowing that Robert is the man around town to deal with these bikes because I plan on sticking with them for a long time."

Now to install these clips pedals. Wish me luck not killing myself heh.

Mike
(computer game developer)

---------- Original Message ----------
Subject: Thanks
From: "George Poole" <g__p___@att.net>
To: "Robert Matson" <rmatson@theinnovationworks.com>
------------------------------------------

Hello, Robert.

I apologize for the tardy reply.

Thanks for the PDF version of the SRAM DualDrive 3-speed rear hub manual. It'll give me the info necessary to diagnose/adjust/fix (I hope!) the unit on my Scorpion fs - if it should become balky, or otherwise misbehave.

Thanks, too, for being a knowledgeable, patient, and detail-oriented guy - a fitting agent to represent the precision German HPV machines you sell. I thoroughly enjoyed my March trike demo ride with you in Prospect Park. That ride, coupled with your experienced, unrushed counsel, convinced me to purchase a trike from you.

Please know that I'm loving my new, flaming orange HPV Scorpion fs. Most all is well with it so far. What's not? Its 69 year-old powerplant!

I've passed your business card, together with my recommendation, to a few curious bikers met on my three-wheeled outings. Maybe they'll contact you...

Best regards,
George Poole
(engineer, retired)

---------- Original Message ----------
Subject: Re: Success!
From: "D____ S___" <d___@earthlink.net>
To: "Robert Matson"
------------------------------------------

Sounds good. Will put check in the mail Monday...am having a fantastic time with
the trike. Thanks.

D
(artist)

---------- Original Message ----------
Subject: HP Velotechnik Scorpion fx
From: christopher cc" <christo__@_____.com>
To: "Robert Matson"
------------------------------------------

Robert, I want to tell you how enjoyable it is working with you. You're professionalism and attention to your customers' needs are matched by your encyclopaedic knowledge and sense of humor. Thanks for helping to make this enormous decision go as painlessly as it has.

Best,
chris
(entrepreneur)

---------- Original Message ----------
Subject: actually..this one is great. can I use it?
From: "tomd___@aol.com>
To: "Robert Matson"
------------------------------------------

> Hi Tom,
> You sent me this note when you sent me your check. Can I use it on my website?
>> "Hello Robert:
>> I hope this was a relatively trouble-free deal for you. I am fortunate to have encountered you.
>> Tom D."

Sure. However, you should know by now that I long for the Dickensian world in which writers get paid by the word. I would like to say a lot more and will be pleased to do so. This is your call all the way.

- TD
(NYCity exec., retired)

---------- Original Message ----------
Subject: the photo that you took of me
From: "Michael Killfoile" <m____@hotmail.com>
To: "Robert Matson"
-----------------------------------------

Robert,
Thank you for all your help and support with chosing the bicycle. I feel that I am beginning a new adventure.
Here is a photo to include if you put something about me on your web page. Its me, the proud owner of a new Street Machine.
Thank you for everything.
Michael
(artist)

---------- Original Message ----------
Subject: review...
From: "Lauren C___ " <lauren.c____@gmail.com>
To: "Robert Matson"
------------------------------------------

I would not have purchased a recumbent bike from anyone other than Robert Matson. When I took one of his demo bikes out for a test drive, Robert did not leave me to my own devices. Instead, Robert guided me through a series of safe exercises to help me feel comfortable and gain confidence. More specifically, Robert taught me how to make wide turns, sharp turns and how to angle my feet to avoid hyper-extending my legs so that when it came time to ride my new recumbent home I would feel like a pro. Overall, I appreciated Robert's knowledge of recumbents as well as his attentiveness to my many questions.

Have a great night,
Lauren
(teacher)

---------- Original Message ----------
Subject: Update
From: "Mona Freedman" <k___2@comcast.net>
To: "Robert Matson"
------------------------------------------

Mona F. on a Volae Century
Mona F. on her Volae Century.

Dear Robert,

Just a quick note to tell you how much fun I am having. Buying the Volae was the best decision I have made with regard to my biking. I am only tooling around my neighborhood so far, but I was on the bike for an hour and 40 minutes; I am u-turning like a champ and going up small inclines with no problems whatsoever. I will be on the bike lanes in no time. I'll send photos whenever I can get my husband out with the camera while I am riding. Thanks for all your all your help.

Best,
Mona
Cherry Hill, NJ

---------- Original Message ----------
Subject: Second Update
From: "Mona Freedman" <k___2@comcast.net>
To: "Robert Matson"
------------------------------------------

Dear Robert,

I just wanted to update you on my progress; one month and 178 miles later, the Volae Century is even more fun to ride. I am now doing my regular road rides and I am even discovering places I have never ridden to before. I have been able to ride about 4 days per week and I plan to ride all winter. I find the wind doesn't bother me on the recumbent. I really appreciate the time and expertise you shared with me. I tell everyone who asks, how great you are to deal with!

Thanks again for everything, especially coaching me to be able to ride this bike. As I told you earlier, it's the best decision I have ever made with regard to my biking.

Best,
Mona
Sent from my iPad

---------- Original Message ----------
Subject: Hp Velotechnik Streetmachine GTE
From: "Kim Wasserman" <k____@y____.com>
To: "Robert Matson"
------------------------------------------

Hi Robert,

It's been several months since I purchased my Street Machine GTE from your company. If you recall, I picked up the recumbent with an injured knee. The knee healed and the snows arrived; along with tax season. Finally, this past month I have been out on the road with my GTE.

It is a fantastic bike! Having ridden a short-wheel based, above seat steering, lightweight recumbent for over 10 years; I can only say that the GTE blows it away. The quality speaks for itself. The trouble-free assembly speaks for your talents. I would recommend the bike in a heartbeat. The below seat steering took a few rides to get comfortable with but once I did, it provided a stability that my previous bike never achieved. The additional 6 pounds has had no impact on my ability to get up the hills of LI. The upgrades (disc brakes and bar-end shifts with drive train) put this bike in dream bike status. I would be happy to share my experiences about this recumbent or your shop with any potential buyers should they be needed. Enjoy your summer!

Sincerely,
Kim Wasserman
(CPA)

---------- Original Message ----------
Subject: Recumbent Bike Winter Sale (but first this news)
From: "D___ P____" <____@gmail.com>
To: "Robert Matson"
------------------------------------------

Hey Robert,

Just looking over past emails and noticed this and then I also remembered that I never wrote you that testimonial. I know it's long over due, but here it is:

I few weeks before I came to Robert, I was online looking for a way to relieve herniated disc pain while cycling. I read something in a forum about recumbent bikes relieving lower back pain and decided to follow up on it. Found NYCrecumbentsupply and within days set up an appointment. Robert set me up with a few bikes before we settled on the Street Machine. The whole process took hours and hours. I was extremely happy with the way Robert didn't rush me and tried to, not just sell me a bike, but make sure that everything fit and I was happy with what I got.

Robert's level of expertise and professionalism were beyond my expectations. The degree of care he put in to making sure that I got the right bike was unbelievable. I'm very happy with the Street Machine and even more happy that I get to enjoy cycling again.

Thanks for everything Robert,
D____ P____

---------- Original Message ----------
From: "arnold t" <___@hotmail.com>
To: "Robert Matson (NYCRS/TIW)"
Subject: RE: Scorpion fs
------------------------------------------

Robert,
I just wanted to extended my sincere appreciation for your expertise, patience, and level of service. It is wonderful to see such a personal level given to customers in order to qualify choosing the right recumbent. I couldn't be happier with my decision to purchase the HP Velotechnik Scorpion FS. I am looking forward to meeting up in future rides. I will strongly recommend folks to talk to you if they are interested in recumbents, and I am sure there will be many..this thing is certainly a head turner. Again, thank you so much for everything.
All the best,
Arnold T.
(engineer, entrepreneur)

---------- Original Message ----------
Subject: One Testimonial coming right up--
From: "Malcolm S." <M___@s****ne.com>
To: "Robert Matson"
------------------------------------------

I'm the kind of guy that likes to do a ton of research before I buy anything. I usually end up reading endless reviews of whatever it is I'm about to purchase before I'll make a choice.

But every once in a while, I connect with someone who's level of expertise is so unequivocally high that with one conversation, all my urge to research my purchase is satisfied and I now know exactly what I want and I'm ready to buy.

Robert Matson, when it comes to recumbents, is just that kind of expert. Robert listened to my needs in a bike then quickly zeroed in on exactly which one would be best for my situation. But far from being a hard sell, he ended up directing me to a bike shop closer to where I live [Portland, OR] so I could get it serviced locally! After giving me a full education on recumbents, he passed the sale on to a colleague!

Robert makes me miss living in NY where people just tell you exactly what they know and help you out as best they can and where they treat you the way they would want to get treated!

Thanks, Robert,

Malcolm S.

---------- Original Message ----------
Subject: My review for your web site.
From: k____@aol.com
To: Robert Matson
------------------------------------------

J. Acevedo's 2009 V-Rex
J. Acevedo's V-Rex. Smilin' on the Farm Ride.

Hello Robert,

I just wanted you and others to know what a positive experience I've had with you during the course of buying my new Rans V-Rex.

Robert is 1st class in customer service and knowledge of not only recumbents but cycling over all. He's also a 1st class mechanic and will leave you with a bicycle ready to go. Just a week or so after purchasing my V-Rex from Robert at NYC Recumbent Supply, I went on my first tour. (The farm Ride) It was a blast. The V-Rex performed flawlessly.

I have never ridden more than about 5 miles on a bicycle at one time. I took on the challenge of the 66 mile route (which turned out to be about 75 miles) and I completed it without any pain whatsoever to my lower back, neck, arms or wrists. I could have used a new pair of legs after the tour but that's because I know to better prepare physically for it next time. I was so comfortable on the ride thanks to my V-Rex. I love, love, love the bike. I just can't stop riding it. I ride it in my sleep : ).

Most of all it's meeting Robert Matson of NYC Recumbent supply that has been one of the best experiences ever. He's become more like a friend I've know for years rather then a regular sales person. No pressure to buy. He answers question after question (and I can be a pain when it come to questions) without hesitation. He responds to e-mails with an abundance of information regarding a question I may have asked.

Robert is a wonderful person in general and it reflects in the way he interacts with his customers. Anyone considering a recumbent bike, and wants the best experience in helping them decide whether a recumbent is for them, can't go wrong in looking Robert up.

It's a pleasure to do business with you Robert and I can't thank you enough for your patience and overwhelming customer service you've provided and continue to provide to all of us looking to explore the wonderful world of recumbent cycling. You are the BEST!! : )

- Lieut. Joseph (Eddie) Acevedo
(policeman)

---------- Original Message ----------
From: "raymond higgins"
To: "Robert Matson (NYCRS/TIW)"
------------------------------------------

Hey Robert,
Thanks for setting up the bike [Volae Urban Century] for me. I really appreciate your attention to detail as I am sure all of your customers do. Took her out for her maiden voyage and rode about 17 miles, to Sag Harbor and back. It was a bit windy but a pleasure to ride.
Thanks again,
Ray Higgins
(chef)

---------- Original Message ----------
Subject: Re: HP Velotechnik
From: "M___ N___"
To: "Robert Matson (NYCRS/TIW)"
------------------------------------------

I couldn't be more satisfied with the test rides and other information you gave me on the two recumbents I test rode. Riding for several miles with the bikes sized perfectly with the handlebar configuration and pedals I wanted allowed me a feel for the bikes that would never have been possible at any other bike shop. Most of all, you knew I was noncommittal about replacing the old recumbent I have at home, and didn't go for the hard sell. The experience I got from riding the bikes and the expertise you gave me was well worth the cost.

- Michael N.

---------- Original Message ----------
Subject: Having a great time
From: "MF&Ph J."
To: "Robert Matson"
------------------------------------------

Dear Robert,

Thank you for your recent e-mail forwarded to me by F____. I looked up Easy Street's website and am going to order the pedal extenders that might be a quick fix. We have been biking on the roads around Woodstock for the last few days [on our V-Rexes], enjoying the weather, getting used to the bikes and exercising some underused muscles in the process.

Tackling steep uphills can still be a challenge but flat portions of road are a breeze and downhills give us a sense of flying. Altogether having a great time cycling. I have moved my seat-back two notches further down and found this arrangement gave me more power and relieved my waist area that felt a bit cramped in the initial, more upright position.

The bikes attract a lot of attention and many questions each time we go out biking. I have already referred a few people to Rans' website so they could find your address, and from now on will carry your telephone number in my bag.

Thank you again for being so generous with your time and attention.

All the best.

Philippe J.
(Diplomat, retired)

---------- Original Message ----------
From: "t__ c_____" <t__c___@____.com>
To: Robert Matson

------------------------------------------

 

Robert-I want to thank you for your patient instruction today. I think I am going to enjoy my [V-Rex] recumbent very much. I rode for a bit after I got home and was able to make all but one hill (missed a shift). I do think, though, that I am going to have serious problems walking tomorrow.
-Tim
(jeweler)

> Serious problems walking is how you know you're having fun, Tim. :-) - RM

---------- Original Message ----------
Subject: Re: 2nd Ride Followup
From: "Joe...." <j_____@gmail.com>
To: "Robert Matson" <RMatson@theinnovationworks.com>
------------------------------------------

Robert,

Just following up after our lesson ride [on a Cruzbike]:

I completed the bike assembly last Tuesday evening, then rode it home from the shop in Soho using the bike path to Battery Park on Saturday. Actually, I walked the bike until I got to the Hudson River Greenway just to play it safe. When I did attempt to ride it was as if I just came off the ride with you in Prospect Park, no issues at all. It goes without saying that I could not have done it without the lesson, especially all the time you put in.

I think your 2-hour ride idea is necessary; it seemed like the first 45 minutes or so are spent just getting the new rider over the hump of learning a new skill, while the second hour is positive reinforcement that allows the new rider to return to the bike at a later date confident about their skills.

Thank you again for your help.
Have a fun Thanksgiving!

--Joe

---------- Original Message ----------
Subject: Testimonial-let me know if this OK
From: "James L____" <james________@gmail.com>
To: "Robert Matson" <RMatson@theinnovationworks.com>
------------------------------------------

My experience with Robert Matson-I bought my Quest Cruzbike after visiting Robert in Brooklyn. The money spent for training with Robert (rebated if you buy a bike) was money well spent. I have extensive experience bike riding and recumbent riding, but the CruzBike was something new to learn.

Cruzbike takes time to get real comfortable with and get the bike totally dialed in. Plan on 90 days and then try your old bike-I will not go back. I now ride almost a 100 miles a week commuting to work

Pros:
1. Very knowledgeable
2. Good teacher
3. Pleasant to work with
4. Excellent follow up to questions, concerns, etc (even before I bought
the bike)

Cons:
(still trying to think of one)

Jim
Chicopee, MA
(doctor)

---------- Original Message ----------
Re: query [about an HP Velotechnik Gekko]
From: "J___ D___" <m--s--@gmail.com>
To: "Robert Matson" <rmatson@theinnovationworks.com>
------------------------------------------

Thanks,... I would never have notices those two plastic hooks.

By the way, the ride, speed, and handling are superior to the ICE Explorer
in this urban milieu. Perhaps in a more sylvan atmosphere the heaviness of
the Explorer might have some advantage, but not here.

And as I just got a [blanked out] dollar raise, I will be buying a Scorpion FS 26
from you come next year. Thank you for selling such a fine product.

> No problem, J.
>
> May I reprint your note on my website? (I could leave out the specifics
> about your raise.)
>
> All best,
> Robert

Yeah sure,.. actually, even before I bought the Gekko whenever anybody
asked me where to get a trike I always let then know about you and how to
find you. Now I have even better reason to recommend you.

J
(artist)

---------- Original Message ----------
Subject: Re: Sat. AM?
From: "m____" <m____@ptd.net>
To: rmatson@theinnovationworks.com
------------------------------------------

Robert,

Just wanted to say thanks for everything you did for the bike [Hase Pino] and taking the time to fit Sara properly on Saturday! We went for our first true bike ride yesterday on a trail close to our house and everything was awesome...she loved it. It's a great feeling when she is telling me to "race Michael" or is yelling in her little voice, "woo-hoo!".

Todd
(teacher)

---------- Original Message ----------
Subject: thank you for all your help
From: "Andrea Kannapell" <__atky@gmail.com>
To: "Robert Matson" <rmatson@theinnovationworks.com>
------------------------------------------

Hi Robert.

I have thought long and hard about the beautiful recumbents, and have decided not to buy one for now. You were so kind and informative, so I want to explain why.

First,.... [confidential]

Second,.... [confidential]

I really enjoyed meeting you and learning to ride the recumbent, and feel my $100 fee was well worth the experience.

Thanks so much,
Andrea
(executive)

---------- Original Message ----------
Subject: Re: Feedback
From: IE___@aol.com
To: rmatson@theinnovationworks.com
------------------------------------------

...At any rate - at the risk of repeating myself - I want to thank you again for your helpfulness and careful attention to the requirements of both bike and rider.

I'll update you in time as I progress.

Best wishes,
Izzy
(entrepreneur, retired)

---------- Original Message ----------
Subject: Re: HP Velotechnik / Grasshopper fx
From: "matthieu dehaene" <m____@yahoo.fr>
To: "Robert Matson" <rmatson@theinnovationworks.com>
------------------------------------------

hey robert thanks for all your help the other week, new york is great but you were definitely a big high light of the trip sharing all those bikes with us. i have not made any decisions yet, but have a great time hiking and a good rest of the summer, sincerely matthieu

---------- Original Message ----------
Subject: Pedal switch and other stuff...
From: "Wylie G___" <Wylie_g@_____.net>
To: "Robert Matson"
------------------------------------------

Hey Robert,

I bought the new pedals and was wondering if I could schedule another paid session w/you to put them on and also walk me through a tire change. You know I sadly lost my iPhone from our last session and all the video I'd shot of you taking down the handlebars et. al. is now gone... I may unfortunately need a refresher on that, too, and understand I'd need to pay. I just feel safer going through this stuff with you first before taking the bike apart on my own at home and then not being able to put it back together!

The good news is that I just came back from a solo 4-day trip through NJ and PA and had an AWESOME time! Learned a lot and the bike did great. I think I want to put pipe foam around the handlebars and headset b.c. occasionally I'd knock into them or something and have bruises around my knees now. Also curious if you have the correct panniers for Volae (the ones that hang low in center) that I might test out to see how much of a difference it makes going up hills having weight there vs. back rack. I don't want to put out that money unless absolutely necessary and was thinking maybe there's a way to jerryrig my Ortliebs with a special strap so they could just hang that way?

There were definitely some high hills where I just had to walk the bike, there was no pedalling up, but I'm curious if a weight change placement might have made a difference. Still want to do this trip w/only two panniers, not more, b.c. it's still a lot to carry and be responsible for with just two bags.

Some things that worked well though: hanging my camelback around one of the handlebars for drinking and driving and attaching map plastic case to handlebars turned to the side so out of viewing.

I wish they made a small case that could hang between your knees around that front vertical tube going to handlebars so that you could, like, store a camera in there for easy access, etc. I often had to stop if I wanted to take a photo, etc. to head around to the back of the bike where I had a small hip bag on the top of the rack.

Have you seen anything like that?

Anyway, your bike was a big hit everywhere I went and I may have steered a new sale your way through an older couple I met in Princeton who were quite interested in it!

Thanks so much for turning me into a recumbent rider. I'm a total convert!

Best,
Wylie G., PhD
a.k.a. CouchSurfing Cook
READ @ http://www.couchsurfingcook.com
LIKE @ http://www.facebook.com/couchsurfingcook
FOLLOW on Twitter @ couchsurfngcook

---------- Original Message ----------
Subject: HP Velotechnik
From: "Peter D_______" <pjd_____@gmail.com>
To: "Robert Matson"
------------------------------------------

So I made it back.. perfect directions, except I ended up getting confused and taking the Manhattan bridge... Brooklyn streets were a little hairy but path around Manhattan was great...went right around battery park and
crossed back to Central Park at 106th. very smooth ride...legs were sore but nothing else... not bad for 20 some miles.

I have been doing lots of biking since, very comfortably doing about 50% longer on flat stretches (the hills are still a killer) than I had on the regular bike. I work in Bucks county PA and this week discovered the delaware river trail which is very nice, and hope to do a section of the delaware and raritan canal next week (PS it starts at Princeton Junction, about 50 minutes from Penn station on NJ transit)

So remember the open invitation to bike in the beautiful Brandywine valley!

All the best...Peter
(doctor)

---------- Original Message ----------
Subject: Note of thanks
From: "STEPHEN K____" <steve_k___@g--w--.k12.ct.us>
To: "Robert Matson"
------------------------------------------

Robert,

A note of thanks for your great customer service. Having never ridden a recumbent, you patiently taught me how to get started and stopped without falling off the bike. You were willing to spend time explaining the intricacies of the Velotechnic and Volae bikes along with their idiosyncrasies. Ultimately, I purchased a used Volae Tour but, will certainly turn toward your experience and advice for upgrades and maintenance. I would most certainly refer my friends to you after I convince them to give up their road bikes and join the "bent" bicycle society!

--
Steve K____
Teacher
Technology Education

---------- Original Message ----------
Subject: Pics of SMGTe on Car
From: tm____@aol.com
To: "Robert Matson"
------------------------------------------


[Ed. note: can you find the Street Machine Gte in this photo? :-) ]

Robert -

I've had a lot of fun with the bike over this beautiful weekend - gone about 15 miles each day, including this morning. I'll definitely do the 40 mile ride that I was considering for this coming weekend - I rode part of it on Saturday and felt
full confident on the bike ... the mirrors make a big difference since it isn't as easy to 'turn around" on the recumbent. Thanks again for all of your advice in configuring things ... I don't think I'd do it any differently!

Attached are the pics of the bike on the car. My kids spend about 3 hours on saturday mornings at a kind of extra-school thing about 15 miles from home, and I drove there with the bike on the rack so I could go for a ride. You'll see the pic that we took with it on the rack in brooklyn, with the seat, and then one I did at home without the seat. I found that I needed the seat off to accomplish the most interesting picture ... the SMGTe as one of FOUR bikes on the rack. I think that this was only do-able because my kids bikes are small (16 inch wheels), and that once they move the bigger bikes I'll need to take everyone's wheels and pedals off but it should still work. The recumbent's handlebars are the biggest problem. I also attached a pic of how I attached it to the rack ... with the seat off and needing to fit all 4 bikes, the center of gravity is WAY off and it was stressing that rubber safety belt. I used some sailing line that's meant for heavy loads and tied it with a square knot (gets tighter as pressure is appplied but still easy to untie), so that it was that line rather thant he rubber belt was taking the weight.

I smudged out my license plate number in case you want to send the pics to customers who ask whether the bike can go on a rack. I can't endorse that the method is for every rack, car, or person, but it worked for me! Also, my wife's car - the MDX - is particularly wide. If I try to put it on my car, which is small, I may want to angle it differently so that it doesn't "stick out"....

Let me know when the parts come ... talk to you soon.

Tim
(engineer)

---------- Original Message ----------
Subject: Gekko FX
From: "Ken Fisher" <k____@gmail.com
To: "Robert Matson"
------------------------------------------

"Robert is knowledgeable and was thorough in answering my questions and making sure I was comfortable both in my selection and in using my trike.

As an aging urban boomer, a folding, recumbent trike was just the solution to my cycling needs."

- KF
(attorney, politician)

---------- Original Message ----------
Subject: Gekko FX
From: b______@hotmail.com
To: "Robert Matson"
------------------------------------------

Robert --

Thanks very much for your help in ordering and putting together my new gekko fx. Your advice was spot on and was invaluable in helping me make the proper choices in terms of options and configuration. And then your hard work in making sure the bike was ready to go once it came in as well as properly tested (even finding and adjusting to a problem with a manufacturers spec) was exemplary.

Bryan

---------- Original Message ----------
Subject: Re: testimonial?
From: "D. Combs" <d___c___@gmail.com>
To: "Robert Matson"
------------------------------------------

Robert was very thorough when I bought my bicycle. We discussed the brand of bicycle, he made sure I'd adapted to it well, and he assembled it when it arrived at his shop. Robert has also helped with selecting and installing parts. Owning a recumbent is not only possible, but easy, with Robert's help.

- D. Combs
(technical writer)

---------- Original Message ----------
Subject: Gekko fx, testimonial
From: "Greg G." <G___@oldskooltrack.com>
To: "Robert Matson"
------------------------------------------

It's fantastic to have a local NYC recumbent dealer. There are ways to buy new and sometimes used as well. I can test the bike and ride it home instead of renting a van and spending the weekend driving back and forth!

Robert is knowledgeable, passionate, painstaking, patient, and honest as the day is long. He's a good listener too, soaking up details about my tendonitis, knee surgery and other biomechanical issues.

I purchased an HP Velotechnik Gekko from him, and he pointed out how it is a newer model for the German domestic market, with a few better details that are unpublished.

Robert lives it. He really knows the brands he carries (and many others besides). He's got a huge fund of general recumbent lore at his command as well.

What I like best about dealing with Robert is this - not only does he go all out to help you, but he gives you the straight scoop. In the hours of talking about recumbents, I never once felt I was getting sales spiel. I'm now considering a RANS or Volae, and would buy from him with peace of mind.

- Greg G.

---------- Original Message ----------
Subject: Volae Team - Testimonial
From: "Jim L. " <L_______@optonline.net>
To: "Robert Matson"
------------------------------------------

JL - Volae Team with tailsock and small front fairing.

Robert,

I bought the Volae Team for speed, and yes, this is the fastest I have ever gone on a bike -- and far more comfortable than my normal bike with a suspension system. There is no going back.

On a round trip I clocked 1/2 mph faster than I have ever gone on a normal bike on the same route in gentle rolling hills. And there is probably another 1/2 mph to come when I get my recumbent legs (learn to emphasize different muscles). And I am 15-20% faster down gentle hills.

Buy from Robert Matson. Volae makes it easy enough to buy a bicycle and some accessories online, but you will not configure something good. How are you going to mount a water bottle? Which accessories do you really want, not having tried any of them? What seat pack is compatible with a tailsok? Tailsok? The death-wish Volae website does not even mention a tailsok, but without one you will be 1 mph slower on the flats. And if you are between seat sizes like me, Robert will have you try both seats, so you don't get the uncomfortable one.

Robert is both a good talker and a great listener. You will think that configuring a bike just right for you is the most important thing in his life, and in that time and space I think it really is.

Regards,
Jim L.
(computer scientist, retired)

---------- Original Message ----------
From: Raymond Ehrlich
To: Robert Matson
Sent: Fri, Jun 11, 2010 11:33 am
Subject: HPV / dust seal
------------------------------------------

I had never been on a recumbent bicycle but thought that one would eliminate the neck and elbow pain that I got from a regular bike. After some preliminary research it became clear that there are lots of "bents" out there but few places to test ride them. Robert Matson was able to help me sort through the confusion about which type of bike to consider and what features I needed to focus on. He has been absolutely thorough in his explanations about the qualities of each bike and why one was better than another. In most cases Robert answered my [e-mail] questions within a few hours.

When I came for my test ride, Robert provided enough instruction so that I was able to handle my first ride with confidence.

I did buy a bike from Robert and it came with 2 small imperfections. He immediately remedied the problems by contacting the company and getting the 2 replacement parts. In the meantime the bike has been wonderful and as hoped I have had no pain at all. I love the new bike and expect it to be my "wheels' for many years to come.......

Seth Ehrlich
(teacher, retired)

---------- Original Message ----------
Subject: Re: Testimonial
From: "D___ Cohen"
To: "Robert Matson"
------------------------------------------

Recumbents bikes are truly a fun and exciting way to cycle. However, in a world designed around diamond frame (upright) bikes, recumbents face some basic challenges. Robert Matson of NYC Recumbent Supply will help you navigate these challenges so you can focus on riding your recumbent (and having fun). Robert carefully listens to your needs, and then will help you choose the right bike or gear. In the rare case where Robert doesn't have an immediate answer, he will go out of his way to research the best solution, and in some cases even form new business relationships to get the answers and gear you need.

The time and effort Robert puts into helping you will be immediately apparent from the very first moment you contact him till long after you are up and riding. If you live in the New York City area, and are considering a recumbent bicycle, do not hesitate to contact Robert Matson--you will not be disappointed.

If you are lucky enough, Robert will even give you a tofutti ice cream sandwich -- or even better you can envy Robert as he enjoys 6 of them. :p

- D. Cohen
(computer scientist)

[Hey, that was my mid-ride lunch! Isn't that allowed?! - RM]

---------- Original Message ----------
Subject: Glad to hear you got home safely :-)
From: F___ S___" <fs___@mac.com>
To: "Robert Matson"
------------------------------------------

No problem. We had a great time [on the Screamer TR]. We ended up in a busy part of Brooklyn with many red lights and stop and goes. Then toward the end pushed up a steep hill on the West Side toward 79th St from the river side. So we tried a variety of terrains. Good experience for a couple of starters. Maybe it was the trainer's effectiveness :).

Again thank you very much. We do very much appreciate your professionalism and dedication to you're customers. I now need to focus on the NYC Half-Marathon this Sunday. Have a good weekend and talk to you soon.

- FS
(executive, finance)

---------- Original Message ----------
Subject: Been very happy with the recumbent
From: "Kwan C_"
To: "Robert Matson (NYCRS/TIW)"
------------------------------------------

Kwan_C_Street_Machine_Gte

Hi Robert,

I just wanted to let you know that I have been very happy with the HP Velotechnik StreetMachine Gte purchased from you a few months back. It has completely renewed my interest in cycling. All the reasons that I used to hate riding on an upright have disappeared and I love how the recumbent allows me to ride much longer distances than I was ever been capable of.

Please also let your website readers know that your guidance at the beginning made my decision to purchase a world of difference. From the wealth of information on every aspect of recumbent bicycles to the personal care and guidance throughout the demo ride, brought a breath of fresh air to the bicycle purchasing experience.

Considering that I came in lower than the StreetMachine’s lowest fit requirement. The non-trivial modification to fit me properly was done with care and on a timeline that was quite impressive. Something that might not been accommodated in a non-boutique operation.

I will definitely recommend you to any of my friends and family if the itch to ride a recumbent ever gets unbearable to them. I have the utmost confident in your professionalism; that they will be treated with great care.

I’m planning to ride at many places with the StreetMachine, please see attached picture of the recumbent racked on my truck.

Kwan
Brooklyn NY
(executive, finance)

---------- Original Message ----------
From: "K___ S____"
To: "Robert Matson"
------------------------------------------

The Innovation Works was a very pleasant surprise for me. From the first time I started reading about recumbents and trying to figure out manufacturers, bikes and dealers, I quickly realized that most of the options for trying the bikes were at least 50-200 miles or more from New York City. When I read about a RANS dealer in Brooklyn on the RANS site, I was very excited. It was quick to hook up with Robert Matson and try a beautiful V-Rex, in my old beautiful neighborhood, Prospect Park. Robert is a triathlete, and enthusiastic about making the correct brand choice, models, fit, city-friendliness and purpose of the bikes.

My first step was learning to ride a recumbent in traffic-free Prospect Park. I quickly had a smile on my face after so many years of riding upright bikes, to enjoy these beautiful designs that really should be replacing even the racing circuit in my opinion.

Robert was meticulous with the fit and adjustments, and I felt safe at all times that he was paying close attention. Just to satisfy my curiosity later I did make a long trip and try a Bacchetta dealer (who was also a wonderful person) and preferred the RANS (V-Rex in my case) and purchased through the Innovation Works. It also gave me confidence that if I got nervous about my Upper West Side bike shop touching a recumbent, I knew I could just go to Brooklyn to get full service.

We made long deliberations on to go with standard or XL sizes for better fit for me, and bike arrived and was assembled in a very efficient manner by a great mechanic. It was pure joy to take it for a first spin together with Robert.

At no point during these exchanges did I feel like I was being pressured by a bicycle salesman in the store trying to sell me what's in stock; it felt like I had known Robert as a friend all along and he was just giving me expert caring advice.

- K.S.
(videographer, filmmaker)

Recumbent Reviews from NYC Recumbent Supply

 

 

HP Velotechnik Scorpion fs: comfortable, stable, easy to ride...and fast.

The Scorpion fs from HP Velotechnik

Robert on an HP Velotechnik Scorpion fs. Look at that smile. Do you think he liked the high-speed handling?

Robert's Review from Interbike, 2009.

The fully-suspended Scorpion fs rides like a dream. Amazingly, it also folds at no compromise to ride quality. When I made an appointment to test ride it at Interbike 2009, I expected it to be fun, fast, and generally very good, but the actual experience far exceeded anything I could have anticipated.

It reminded me of the first -- second, third, fourth and 100th -- time I drove a BMW car; I expected something special, but had no idea a car could be so responsive, smooth and capable. The Scorpion fs is the same. If you require exceptional quality, you will like this trike.

"Responsive" is the word for the Scorpion fs: fast acceleration, fast braking, smooth as silk, hugs the road, grips the turns at very high speed (and without lifting a wheel) and can brake quickly without raising the rear wheel. And all that means three crucial things: it handles properly in high performance situations; it's safer; and you can ride up, down and sideways on fairly steep hills without flipping over (exactly like you want, but can rarely get).

Mind you, having said that, a strong and skilled rider -- or a very incompetent rider -- can lift a wheel during a very sharp high speed turn IF he/she tries very, very, very hard, and intentionally does everything wrong and has enough upper body weight to offset what the engineering is designed to prevent. However, this took such extraordinary effort that it was ridiculous and I can't recommend you try it. Simply, this is a stable bike due to advanced engineering. There's not much you can do to mess it up. The bike also runs true: it holds a straight line without steering input and I could take my hands off the handle bars without the bike veering one way or the other. (Note: Hands-free cycling is unsafe on all bikes.)*

Like other HP Velotechnik machines, the Scorpion fs is an extraordinary vehicle. Being designed for riding where stability is critical (mountain and high speed riding especially), the center of gravity is low. However, the frame is sufficiently far off the ground that you have decent ground clearance. Average sized riders will find their eye level below that of a car driver but, in the tradition of HPV's designs, the rider has a relatively upright posture, as seen in the photo. So, you'll have excellent line of sight which provides both better safety as well as better sight-seeing.

For riders who expect to ride frequently in and among car traffic, the regular Scorpion or Scorpion fx may be better options, both of which are excellent trikes and position the rider with a higher head-level. However, if full suspension and performance are important to you -- rough roads, off-road, high speeds, or you simply like the smoothness of a suspended ride -- this is a bike you'll love.

NB: These notes are NOT recommendations for inexperienced riders to attempt high-performance riding on this or any other bicycle. Likewise, I do not recommend hands-free riding on ANY bicycle. The test described here is merely useful for a professional to see whether a trike runs true and should only be done at slow speeds on a level surface.

Volae Tour (The Quiet Giant)

Volae Tour

Personal ride review from Robert.

On a January 2010 quality control ride I took out an ordinary Volae Tour. In this case, a "quality control ride" means I take an ordinary stock build on a fairly challenging day-trip to see if I still like the bike -- and can honestly recommend it -- after many miles, many hills, and I'm tired, cold, hungry and chafing*. The only changes I made to the Tour were that I switched in Volae's carbon seat instead of the mesh seat and installed a pair of MKS platform pedals with Power Grips (leather foot straps). I wore ordinary sneakers instead of bike shoes and clipless pedals; old trail shoes to be precise. Didn't even bother with bike shorts (*which I regretted, but that's how you get the chafing).

With my riding partner pedaling his Volae Century, we headed out on Richard Rosenthal's famous River Road, Bradley, Tweed hill ride (thanks to NY Cycle Club library). We did a double-hill version of one segment of the ride, ending in Manhattan after 62 mi. and 3,600 total vertical feet of climbing (that's equivalent to climbing Bear Mountain three times from sea level). I then added another 22 miles plus the Brooklyn Bridge and the Prospect Heights hill to wrap the day at 84 miles and about 4,000 feet of climbing. OK, so: lots of miles, lots of hills and platform pedals with sneakers (*and chafing).

Let me put it this way: there ain't NOTHIN' wrong with this bike. Along with very steep, slow, slow grinds in the granny gear at crawling speed -- without any loss of balance and never a foot on the ground -- we also hit downhills of 40 mph and some fast and rough descents on pretty crappy (rough and pitted, NY State-style) roads with cars. Handling is perfect, sensitive, secure, intuitive, responsive, no marshmallow feel, you really know where the bike is against your back, and low speed stability is fine. It was dark when we got back, but the bike has many good locations for lights. No problems whatsoever. And it accepts quality Tubus rear racks, standard fenders, and Terracycle underseat racks.

Summary: There is nothing I wouldn't do on this bike. It's a great machine at any price. But here's the kicker: this is Volae's ENTRY LEVEL bent. Volae bents get even better from here.

 

HP Velotechnik Grasshopper fx

Robert on a HP Velotechnik Grasshopper fx
Robert and an HP Velotechnik Grasshopper fx in Dutchess and Columbia County, NY.

Reprint of Robert's personal review, originally posted on Bentrider On-line.

Positive aspects: Folds quickly and easily, aerodynamic and fast, full suspension, great high-speed handling, accessories look great.
Negative aspects: Optional under-seat steering upgrade requires a skilled rider.

First, I should reveal that I'm in the industry -- I’m an HP Velotechnik dealer in New York City. However, I'm also a happy owner of a Grasshopper fx (“GH fx” or just “GH”), which serves as my “luxury” urban ride. Like everyone in New York, I don't have any extra space; I store my Grasshopper in my home office. If I want to take a bent with me on the train or bus, the GH fx’s fast fold and carrying bag are ideal. Also, to grab my space on the street, I like a fast ride with nimble, positive handling. And since I have to lift and carry the bike any time I go out -- down/up the stairs of my apartment building, down the stairs to train platforms, wedge it into elevators, etc. -- a light and compact bent is a good bent, too. Lastly, I ride in all weather, year-round, and need to carry cargo, so strong, well-designed racks, fenders and light systems are a must.

The Fold: quick and easy.
Another reviewer on Bentrider Online has criticized the folding mechanism, but I can't imagine what the gripe could be. I like it. And I know more than just a little about folding bikes -- I also own a Brompton folding upright, possibly the world's most successful folding bike, and a Montague folding MTB, which, in my hands, is possibly the world’s most abused folding bike. The Grasshopper (in my hands) folds as well as any of them -- easily, quickly, smoothly and intuitively. The frame is stiff and straight with a strong hinge design. Ride quality is that of a top-end fold-less bent. And because it fits into a bag, I can carry it onto trains or buses as luggage. In other words, it’s a true folding bike in every way (though not as small as a Brompton).

Aerodynamic: Fast on the flats and downs, slightly slower uphill.
People are often surprised to learn that the seat height on a GH fx is 5" lower than the bottom bracket which, with the dual 20” wheels, provides a moderately low center of gravity. In spite of this fairly aggressive design, the seat height of 21” and the appropriate front-end geometry make this a full-fledged touring and commuting bent. The GH fx is fast on the flats and stable at speed, even when fully loaded. My machine has the optional under-seat steering, but the standard GH fx comes with aerodynamic above-seat steering. Sometimes I wish I had the speed and turning advantage of above seat steering, but I like the relaxed comfort of USS. It’s a toss up.

It goes without saying that it’s hard, slow work pedaling a bent up a long steep hill. Add to this that the GH fx, like any dual 20" bent, is additionally challenging to balance at slow speeds, like 3 - 5 mph. Some novice riders might benefit from the stability provided by the gyroscopic action of a big rear wheel (such as on a HPV Street Machine), instead of the GH’s small rear wheel. However, in my experience, the GH handles better on hill climbs than other small-wheeled bents, and, at any rate, as you become skilled and stronger, hill climbing only gets easier. (For context, when I talk about hills, I’m referring to 7 to 12 degree climbs.)

Handling at speed.
At normal and high speeds, the GH fx handles like any HP Velotechnik -- it’s positively awesome. With an intuitive and stable ride, and a moderately low center of gravity, it feels secure and responsive on the turns. It’s an unforgettable riding experience.

At low speeds, it's fine, but the optional under-seat steering (“USS”) upgrade on the GH fx puts a fly in the ointment. As a result, unless you really must have USS on the GH fx, or are an experienced rider, I’d recommend choosing the standard above-seat steering configuration.

Here’s what you need to know about the under-seat steering configuration on the GH fx. First, the ointment: everything about the bike is outstanding, just as you’d expect from the minds behind HP Velotechnik. But, as is normal with USS (but admittedly frustrating), there’s a limit to how sharply you can turn at slow speed before the handlebar (or your hand) hits the seat. Therefore, when you need to make a particularly sharp turn, you need a little momentum (and good balance) so you can bank into a sharp turn.

For me personally, it rarely creates problems in normal New York City riding, which is full of 90-degree turns at intersections, fast starts and sudden stops. The only time I find it truly irritating is when I need to ride at walking speed around obstacles like bridge stanchions (or tourists) or when stopping at a red light where I also need to make a close right angle turn (in this last case, I simply pick up the bike and pivot). Mind you, this is a common issue with under-seat steering bents as well as long wheelbase bents, so admittedly I’m nitpicking an otherwise phenomenal bent.

All in all, this means the handling of the Grasshopper fx has a longer learning curve than other HP Velotechnik bents. The balance issue caused by the two 20” wheels is no big deal and simply requires time in the saddle. The limitations of the under-seat steering option are easiest resolved by simply ordering the standard above-seat configuration or...putting in time and practicing your handling skills.

Weight-weenies be gone: this is what a high-quality, fully-suspended, folding bike weighs.
I can lift the Grasshopper fx with one hand, so I don’t really consider its 33.75 lbs. to be heavy. Still, for a fully-suspended, folding bent, rated to carry 275 lbs. and designed for touring and commuting, it would be hard to find the excess weight (maybe a half-pound could be knocked off the drive train and wheels of the stock build). It is unreasonable to compare this type of machine to a 26-pound non-suspended, non-folding Volae Team, for example. Good rear suspension adds weight as do front shocks. Solid, high-quality folding mechanisms add weight. And touring/commuting bikes, as a rule, are over-built to withstand punishing back roads and still keep rolling.

Comparing the GH fx to my tiny, unsuspended Brompton, which weighs about 31 lbs. (with hub dynamo), or my Surly Cross-Check (diamond frame) which weighs about 30 lbs., I can’t consider the 33.75 lbs. Grasshopper fx to be heavy, especially for a bent. Does it make me work harder while riding up a hill? Undoubtedly, but I don’t notice. And, at any rate, I’m happy to have full suspension and a quality build when I hit bad asphalt while ripping down the Catskills....

Options and accessories fit easily and perfectly.
The Grasshopper fx’s accessories attach neatly and elegantly, as you’d expect from HP Velotechnik. Fenders mount securely and look good. Racks install quickly, are incredibly strong, and look like they belong. The kickstand holds the bike firmly, even when fully loaded. The lights have appropriate mounting points and electrical cables can be run through the frame. The GH fx always looks stylish and classy and even lycra-clad roadies give it the “cool bike” salute.

Long and short, in skilled hands, whether in the above-seat steering config, or with under-seat steering, it’s an amazing ride that does everything, goes anywhere and folds easily to boot.

 

Links to Resources Worth Knowing About

 

Map Libraries

Bike Map dot Net
Map My Ride

Metro Area Recumbent Society Ride Library
New Jersey DOT Bike Info., trails and routes
New York City Area Maps (thanks to Transportation Alternatives)
New York City Bike Maps

New York City DOT Maps

Bicycling in New York State (includes state and regional routes)
Ride with GPS

"Roberts" Websites

New York City Cycling

Bike New York
Bicycle Safe (Practical advice for bicycle safety.)

Five Boro Bike Club
New York City Recumbent Riders Meet-up Group
New York Cycle Club

Ride the City (NYC)

Bicycle Advocacy
Bikes Belong
League of American Bicyclists
New York Bicycling Coalition
Streets Blog
Transportation Alternatives

Day Trips, Multi-day Trips, and Getting Out of the City

Adventure Cycling Association
Appalachian Mountain Club (Robert's a volunteer bike, backpack and ski leader for the AMC)
Bicycle Touring On Car Free Paths
Bike New England / Cycling New England
Crazy Guy on a Bike (a site for bicycle tourists and their journals. It's not just one guy.)
New York's Erie Canal Tow Path
Fall Foliage Map (for Yankees)
MTA Metro North Bike Rules
Stonehearth Open Learning Opportunities, wilderness medicine (SOLO).
Route Verte (Quebec)
Tandem Club of America
Trailer Comparison Chart

The East Coast Greenway

New York City on-line 'bent groups can be found on...

Yahoo Group: NYC Bent Riders forum
Yahoo groups also available for each bike manufacturer

Facebook: "NYC Bent Riders"

Metro Area Recumbent Society

E-zines and Web Resources of Note
Bent Rider Online (E-zine)
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration > Bicycles > (PDF of cyclist fatalities/injuries 2008) (Ride safely; know the risks.)
NYC Car Accident.net: Noncommercial Guidance for NYC Pedestrians and Cyclists in Case of Possible Car Crash Injury.
The Recumbent Blog
Recumbent Journal
Sheldon Brown (Questions about bikes answered)
Stolen Bicycle Registry
(If you've found a bent at a bargain price, it may be stolen or broken. Ask the seller for the serial number and check this registry before you buy. If you had a 'bent stolen, be sure to register it here. When you buy a stolen bike you are supporting the bike theft industry.
Velomobiling.net

Web Tools for the Machine
HPV Drivetrain Analyzer by Jake Odell.
Sheldon Brown's calculators for Conventional Gears / Internal Gears with explanations that may make it easier to use J. Odell's tool, above.
Which tire fits on which rim (from S. Brown). Make sure your tire is adequately supported by the rim.

Blogs, Stories from 'bent Owners
An Australian Cyclist Explores Upstate NY and the Erie Canal (on an HP Velotechnik Streetmachine and Longbike Slipstream)
Get Bent (coast to coast bent riding)
Wally and Barbara Bike New Zealand (on RANS V-Rexes)

Who made my bike?
Who actually made my bike? (Focused on diamond frames, but eye-opening nevertheless. Note: Volae steel frames are made by Waterford Precision Cycles, USA. HP Velotechnik's aluminum frames are made to the highest standards in Taiwan's best factories and the bikes and trikes designed, painted, assembled, quality controlled and finished in Germany.)
Waterford Precision Cycles (makes Volae's steel frames)

Clothing for Recumbent Riders
Bent riders have slightly different needs in the way of jerseys and shorts. For jerseys, it's better to have pockets on the front than on the back as on a traditional cycling jersey. For shorts, the padding is unnecessary. The following companies have good options for bent riders although I only have personal experience with Ice Breaker.
Aero Tech Designs. Some unpadded shorts.
Ibex. Merino wool sports clothing. Good stuff.
Ice Breaker. Merino wool technical clothing.
Regatta Sport. Good unpadded shorts and tights.
Reverse Gear. Specializes in recumbent clothes.

Recumbent Bikes and Trikes We Carry
Azub
Cruzbike

Greenspeed
Hase
HP Velotechnik
Nazca

Accessories
Alex Rims (quality rims and wheels, stock on HP Velotechnik machines)
Bike Smith Design (short cranks and other useful oddities)
Busch & Müller (high quality lights and mirrors and the site has photos demonstrating differing levels of illumination -- "LUX.")
Devil Woman Flags (Unique and custom safety flags.)
Ortlieb panniers. (Quality. No regrets.)
Radical Design (High quality seat bags, rackbags, and panniers that don't always require racks. Made in The Netherlands.)
SRAM (drive train components, common on bents)
TerraCycle ('bent accessories, components and fairings)
Tubus (Strong, light, well-designed carrier racks with light mounts, fender mounts and fully adjustable arms. Models in titanium, steel and stainless steel. This is what I use and recommend.)
Velocity Wheels (quality rims and wheels)

Cycling Companies Worth Knowing About
Blue Velo (Velomobiles in Ontario)
Peter White Cycles (One of our distributors for high quality wheels and implements of human-powered travel.)
Rivendell Bike Works (Great bikes, great reading and special products that work for recumbent riders too.)

Getting back on the Saddle
Maybe it's been a long time since you played sports, or you never did. But, if you're "masters" age and you've started riding again, that makes you a masters athlete. And that means you may want to consider being careful with your body. Here are some resources that may help you stay healthy and safe as you discover what your older body can -- and can no longer -- do.
New York Road Runners (distance running, mostly Manhattan)
New York City YMCA (overall fitness)
Prospect Park Track Club (distance running, Brooklyn)
The following three resources came from the Early 2009 issue of the Rivendell Reader published by Rivendell Bike Works.
Mark Sisson: Mark's Daily Apple. The injury-prevention, time saving approach to being fit.
Cross Fit
Tabata, tabata sprints (use google for more info.)

Nutrition and fueling the "engine"
Brendan Brazier (not just for vegans)
Gary Null
Park Slope Food Co-op

Randonneuring/Long Distance Racing
Pennsylvania "PA" Randonneurs
New Jersey Randonneurs (for NJ and NYC)
Randonneurs USA

Swimming in New York
CIBBOWS (Coney Island Brighton Beach Open Water Swimmers)
Manhattan Island Foundation (Hudson River open water races and clinics)
U.S. Masters Swimming

Adventure Racing and Orienteering
Hudson Valley Orienteering Club
New York Adventure Racing Association
MedWAR: Medical Wilderness Adventure Racing ("Because there's more to survival than being the fittest....")
United States Adventure Racing Association
Western Connecticut Orienteering Club

Hiking and Backpacking
Adirondack Mountain Club
Appalachian Mountain Club (some biking as well)
New York-New Jersey Trail Conference

Meditation
Downtown New York Meditation Community (Peter Doobinin, guiding teacher)
New York Insight

Massage
Two Souls Thai Massage. Guiding teacher Al Turner is a thai massage practitioner and instructor of the highest caliber. Accept no imitations.

Businesses Owned by Customers
Taco Chulo. "Taco Chulo is a friendly, welcoming taco bar and margarita lounge located on Grand Street in the happening Southside of Williamsburg."

Jason Dubin, artist, a.k.a. Monkey Salad.

 

Website copyr. 2008-2013
The Innovation Works, Inc.

Photos of HP Velotechnik bikes, courtesy of HP Velotechnik. Photos of people: anonymous and sometimes Robert Matson.

New York City Recumbent Supply carries expedition-quality panniers, racks, lights, tires, stoves, maps, and other quality products for bike touring and commuting. Brands include:

 

Radical Design Logo

Tubus Logo

Busch and Mueller Logo

Spanninga Logo

Ortlieb Logo

Terracycle Recumbent Bike Accessories Logo

Old Man Mountain Logo

Schwalbe Tires Logo