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71st Birthday Present Arrived

I got a new recumbent bike for my 71st birthday which just arrived a couple of days ago. My recumbent was over 10 years old because I bought it used, and some of the components like gears and brakes were getting a little obsolete and hard to tune. I could have just replaced it with the latest version of the same model (the Bacchetta Giro A20). But the Giro is a touring model, and I realized that for the same price I could get a lighter weight performance model, the Bacchetta Corsa. This was appealing because I like to go after Strava age group records. I was concerned that the more aggressive position on the Corsa might not be as comfortable as the Giro, and comfort to me is more important overall than performance. However, I realized that if the bike has disk brakes, it is easy to make wheel changes, and the Corsa could be made as comfortable as the Giro for day to day riding. Then with a wheel and seat swap I could put it back in performance mode whenever I wanted. I’d been toying with the idea of doing this sometime in the future, but Dana Lieberman, who owns Bacchetta bikes, put on a killer “black friday” sale before Christmas that I could not resist. So I ordered the bike a few weeks ago and it just arrived.

My first rides confirmed it is quite a bit quicker than the Giro, and I’m looking forward to going after some Strava 70+ records with it. Unfortunately my recent cold intervened so that got postponed till I recover. For longer rides the Giro does seem a bit more comfortable now, but that may be a matter of getting used to the new seat (also the new seat is more comfortable in a more reclined position, which is good for aerodynamics but may require a headrest). And I can over time look into swapping out wheels and seats for comfort vs. performance as discussed below. Fortunately, by donating my non-electric upright bike I made room to store the new Corsa, so I can keep both bikes at least for now while I sort this out. This kind of experimenting is fun for me as a retired engineer.

The new Corsa is stored on its new custom rack above, with the Giro below it. Because the Corsa is lighter it is easy to lift it up to store.This is the easiest modification I’m considering. Just replace the Corsa’s front wheel with the small wheel from the Giro. This lowers the front about 8″. This shows it with the Corsa seat but it would also be easy to put on the more upright seat from the Giro. I took this for a ride and it handles fine. This would be a bit more aerodynamic than the Giro and perfect for everyday use, then I could just swap front seats and front wheel to put it back it “performance mode”.

Another of the ideas I’m considering: This “artist conception” shows how the Corsa could be made more comfortable by replacing its 700c (28″) wheels with 406 (20″) wheels and using the seat from the Giro for everyday riding. It wouldn’t work to just put the Giro’s seat on the Corsa with the big wheels, as this would make the seat height too high and the bike awkward.

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