It seems as though my previous posts about the Cruzbike come up in searches on a regular basis, so I thought it would be good to write about them again, and see what kind of comments come out of it. It’s not so much that I’m totally opposed to their design – if it works for you, that’s great. But from reading their website, a less-sophisticated cyclist might get the impression that the millions and millions of cyclists riding traditional upright bikes today are putting themselves at risk of neck, back, and hand injuries, as well as possible ED. That’s a bit of a stretch, as far as I’m concerned.
The fact remains that a properly fitted and adjusted bicycle should not cause any of these issues. And there are so many much more affordable alternatives for the casual cyclist, it’s still hard for me to fathom the appeal of a non-traditional design that actually requires a learning curve. While Shimano’s Coasting hasn’t exactly set the world on its head, those bikes certainly seem like a more viable design.
So I’m softening my position on the Cruzbike. Before, I didn’t see the point at all. Now, I’ll give them this – if someone that can’t comfortably ride another design can get around on a Cruzbike, they can’t be all bad.
On a slightly related note, I’m offering this suggestion: If you aren’t comfortable on your current bike, seek out a good bike shop, or a friend/neighbor that rides and understands proper fit. And if you’re the rider that puts in the long hard miles without any issues, take a few minutes to lend a hand in getting someone fit. Because riding should be fun, and being uncomfortable is no fun at all.
“But from reading their website, a less-sophisticated cyclist might get the impression that the millions and millions of cyclists riding traditional upright bikes today are putting themselves at risk of neck, back, and hand injuries, as well as possible ED. That’s a bit of a stretch, as far as I’m concerned. The fact remains that a properly fitted and adjusted bicycle should not cause any of these issues. The fact remains that a properly fitted and adjusted bicycle should not cause any of these issues.”
Yes they are! The key is “properly fitted.” From all the rides I do with upright riders, I can tell you that 99% of the upright bike (DF) riders exhibit symptoms of the items you address above. I continually see riders shaking their hands to get the numbness out from leaning on their hands and compressing their nerves in their hands, standing in the pedals to relieve the pain in the butt the small saddle provides, and stretching their necks to work out the kinks from the equivalent of looking up to see the road. And I can tell you that I have been forced to take evasive action many times because upright riders are looking at their front wheel rather than where they are going and get in the wrong lane. And how many regular DF riders have gone over their handlebars when hitting an object in the road. Most recumbent riders have clear view of the road without all the machinations that a DF rider has to perform.
It is close-minded to say that the bikes designed and basically unchanged in geometry from the early 20th century should be the norm for anyone today! That is like saying that the Model A Ford (designed and built in the same time frame) is an adequate car for today’s drivers because it will still get you where you are going.
The recumbent designs (plural) like the LWB, SWB, the high racer, the low racer, the FWD high racer Cruzbike, and the tadpole trikes are all innovations that help to make cycling fun. You criticize the suspension on the Cruzbike because no other upright bicycle has one and so it shouldn’t be needed; another example of close-minded perceptions? I believe there are a lot of mountain bikes out there with active suspensions, some using the same parts as on the Cruzbike. While you are at it, why not criticize the modern car for having improved suspensions over the leaf springs in the Model T? Technology enhances our lives and should enhance our bike riding.
Improvements happen all the time. Not everyone will like or want the Cruzbike nor will everyone like the Madone 6 series. It is a matter of personal preference.
I ride a LWB recumbent bicycle because I can ride 50 to 100 miles on a Saturday and or Sunday ride and the only body issue I have afterward is that my legs get tired. I don’t have the sore butt, sore neck, numb hands, aching back, etc. that upright riders in general have; and they all have them. Have you ever stood in the pedals to relieve butt pain? I enjoy riding my bike now and in the last two years I have put over 10,000 miles on my Gold Rush, mostly weekend rides. And, I can keep up with or beat most upright cyclists on most rides. I am interested in the Cruzbike because of its innovation and because it is a recumbent. Recumbents are more expensive than DF bikes with similar components because they are not yet mass produced. However, recumbent are making great strides. No, the Cruzbike is not for everyone; but neither is the DF.
“On a slightly related note, I’m offering this suggestion: If you aren’t comfortable on your current bike, seek out a good bike shop, or a friend/neighbor that rides and understands proper fit. And if you’re the rider that puts in the long hard miles without any issues, take a few minutes to lend a hand in getting someone fit. Because riding should be fun, and being uncomfortable is no fun at all.”
The corollary to the above is that if you are having the issues listed above, then by all means look at all options open mindedly.
Thanks for letting me comment.
You didn’t specify which Ford Model A you were referring to, but the 1927 model would be perfectly adequate for today’s drivers. Not only did it have the same controls and mechanical (not electronic) features found on cars today, but it even got better fuel economy than the majority of current production vehicles. One could argue that the application of technology (and comfort items) has reduced the efficiency of modern vehicles.
Similarly, leaf springs and solid axles gave way to torsion bars, upper/lower control arms, and MacPherson struts when auto manufacturers switched to front wheel drive. This new design was not without teething pains, as engineers discovered that weight transfer in front wheel drive cars caused major handling issues, as actions as intuitive as taking your foot off the gas mid-corner created unpleasant results. And even though cars have gotten smaller and lighter, with more compact drivetrains, the pursuit of creature comforts has again impeded any true gains in fuel economy. They’re also hardly ideal for going up long steep grades.
To this day, if you want the ultimate in performance and handling, rear wheel drive is a must. If you want real passing power on the steepest of inclines, you’ll need something designed with plenty of power, and able to put it down effectively. But if you just want to get from point A to point B, front wheel drive is fine.
While I’m at it, let me point out that there are no real mountain bikes out there using a single pivot design and cheap coil spring like the Cruzbike. Sure, there are Next and Huffy bikes with that design, but it’s ineffective, inefficient, and decidedly low-tech. A multi-link suspension, such as the Horst design, combined with an adjustable shock, make much for a smooth ride without being affected by the rider’s pedal stroke. Perhaps the front wheel drive design of the Cruzbike lends itself to this setup better, but on a traditional rear wheel drive bicycle, it’s difficult to tune a shock for small bump compliance without being affected by pedaling. That’s why you see cheap “All terrain” bikes for $99 that bob like a cheap hooker with even the lightest of riders on them.
I’m not really knocking the Cruzbike, I just can’t imagine ever wanting to ride something so awkward looking, and lacking in aesthetics. I’m an aggressive rider, and the laid back seating and steering would not suit me. Perhaps when I’m older…