I took the new SatRDay Tour on a test ride home the other day. My wife dropped me off in the morning and was going to pick me up but it turned out she couldn’t. I had no helmet or gloves or shoes, and was wearing a button up shirt and my beloved Keen sandals. It seemed like a perfect opportunity.
I hooked up a trailer to bring my bike back home in the morning. The hole I had in my front tire finally killed the tube after some 4,700 miles and so I thought I would bring it back to the shop in the morning to replace the tire. So I actually had the joy of an evening ride and a morning ride.
It was really quick getting it adjusted to me and off I went. Having a button up shirt was nice because I could enjoy the afternoon breeze. I found it easy to stare up in reverie at the clouds in the sky, much to the chagrin of the other cyclists on the bike path. It was so comfortable, so relaxing, that the optional headrest would probably have just put me to sleep. Oddly, I didn’t find myself craning my neck to look ahead.
It was actually very smooth and easy going and based on my calculations my average speed was pretty darn good. Not much difference from my other bikes, maybe even a bit faster than my Pocket Llama.
Never having owned a bent, I found that certain muscles I hadn’t been using were getting a big workout. I also noticed that, as expected, one has to shift a lot more. The bike wants to go faster on the downhills and slower on the uphills.
The steering was surprisingly steady and I even took a hand off the handlebars a few times without trouble. I wiggled a little bit, but I also wiggled a little bit getting on the thing for the first time. I’m sure this is quickly gotten used to.
No problems hitting the handlebars with the knees, though I did make sure to put my inside leg down when turning. Helps to have a little knowledge. I learned this the hard way when we came out with the first prototype.
The only thing I noticed is that if you really push hard on the pedals, the suspension will pogo a little bit but ideally you’re pushing less and spinning more.
Which brings me to another factor: I would consider some interaction with the pedals, preferrably clipless pedals, completely necessary. Part of the bike’s stability is actually your feet on the pedals, for one thing. Secondly, you don’t want to slip and run your leg into the chain or the front derailleur. Lastly, it makes it easier to spin thus defeating the bike’s tendency to fold when pushing really hard.
Which reminds me, for the people that already have the bent, we now have an “anti-fold” strap that will keep the rear end from folding if you’re maneuvering the bike around while not on it. Especially recommended if you hang your bikes up in the garage.
And speaking of people that already have the bike, we now have over 50 out there in the world, including some in Australia, Japan, Canada and the UK, not to mention all over the U.S. If you need a ride, too, drop me a line and I’ll see what I can do to hook you up.
I’ve seen far too many people enjoying their new Bike Friday recumbents, much like Sue above, to really avoid being interested in this bike. The test ride confirms it is comfortable and efficient for me. There may be a place in my garage for a recumbent yet.