Our recumbent bicycles

After a lot of thinking and trying out, we finally decided to buy recumbent touring bicycles in the spring of 2015. We thus had about a year to try them out on day and weekend trips and do some improvements before leaving for our bigger trip through Europe and South America. After travelling for one year, we conclude that these are great bicycles for touring and that the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.

And by the way, it’s even possible to learn how to ride a recumbent bicycle hands-free (although it’s certainly not recommended!).

Because of personal preferences, we each chose a different brand: the Streetmachine Gte from HP Velotechnik for Eva, and the Azub Six for Miguel. Scroll down to see the intial configuration we chose for our recumbents, and what we improved and repaired before and during the trip.

Eva’s HP Velotechnik Streetmachine Gte

Eva et son velo de perfil
On the way out of Yverdon-les-Bains, just after receiving the bicycle

Initial configuration

This is the configuration that Eva chose for her recumbent, in the order of the options in HP Velotechnik’s online configurator (official HP Velotechnik Streetmachine page).

ColourSilver gray
FrameWithout derailleur tube
Front boomAluminium
Front boom quickadjustwithout
Front suspensionSpinner Grind 2, up to 100 kg
Rear shockDNM DV22 spring, black, 100-130 kg [i.e. 550 lbs/inch]
Seat and seat cushionBodyLink seat with airflow cushion
HeadrestWith headrest for BodyLink seat
Seat extensionwithout
HandlebarUnder seat steering handlebars 60 cm, straight ends
Drivetrain and gear shifterRohloff hub 14 speed [comes with 16t sprocket] and Rohloff long gear shifter
CranksetCrankset single [i.e. 46t chain ring]
Crank lengthShort cranks 155 mm
PedalsShimano PD A-530 clipless pedals
Chain wheel protectionChainwheel disc integrated
BrakesAvid V-Brakes
TiresSchwalbe Marathon Plus
Light systemSRAM D7 Dynamo hub with B&M IQ-fly lights
Luggage racksRear rack and lowrider
MudguardsSKS black
MirrorMirrycle left
KickstandKickstand Pletscher for lowrider rack
Other accessoriesWith rain cover for HP seats and moonbiker flag.

Improved before the trip

  • exchanged the standard 46t chain ring to a 38t Stronglight chain ring (more adapted for touring)
  • exchanged the Avid brake pads with Shimano cartridges + removable pads
  • exchanged the bell (included in the bike) with a better one (it broke the first time I boarded a train with the bike)
  • added a bottle holder (Mounty Special Power Cage for Sigg bottles) behind the seat (with cable binders).

Improvements and repairs during the trip

  • Rohloff oil change (Portugal, 2’200km) – a bit more than one year after buying the bike, and about 3200km total ride
  • added a rear kickstand Ergotec Direct (Lisbon, 4’200km) – still not strong enough to hold the loaded bike, but used with the lowrider kickstand it got quite stable
  • fixed the front breaks which would not return well to their resting position (Lisbon, 4’200km) – there was corrosion inside
  • changed front and back break pads (Lisbon, 4’200km)
  • removed the headrest (Lisbon, 4’200km) – I didn’t find it useful
  • added a self-made strap instead of the headrest (Lisbon, 4’200km) – to hold the water pouch
  • added a second bottle holder (Mounty Special Power Cage) below the seat, screwed to the frame, for our MSR fuel bottle (Lisbon, 4’200km)
  • shortened the chain by one link (Montevideo, 5’200km)
  • exchanged the Ergotec kickstand with a Pletscher Comp Zoom rear kickstand (Lisbon, 10’000km)
  • replaced the chain (KMC Z8 RB) (Lisbon, 10’000km)
  • exchanged the 16t sprocket with Miguel’s 18t sprocket (Lisbon, 10’000km)
  • replaced the back tire with a new Schwalbe Marathon Plus (Lisbon, 10’000km)
  • Rohloff oil change (Lisbon, 10’000km)
  • replaced back and front brake pads for Koolstop brake pads (Lisbon, 10’000km).

Miguel’s Azub Six

Périple de 4 jours en vélo couché depuis Montreux jusqu'à Andermatt par le Furka (2436m), avec tente et cuisine. On a dormi proche de Saillon, à Morel et à Oberwald (à l'hotel, car il faisait trop froid).
Furka pass (2436m), during a four-day tour with tent and kitchen.

Initial configuration

This is how Miguel bought his recumbent, in the order of the items on the Azub price list 2016 (official Azub Six page).

Frame setRohloff (silver), with 16t sprocket
Seat and seat padSize M standard (composite) seat with Ventisit pad
Colourlight blue
SteeringUnder seat steering
Front forkSuspension fork Meks carbon
Rear shockDNM DV-22 [i.e. with 750 lbs/inch spring]
Crankset39t Shimano Alfine with integrated axle
BrakesV-brake Tektro
TiresSchwalbe Marathon Plus (front) and Schwalbe Marathon Mondial (back)
RimsRemerx Country Ring
PedalsAlu pedals
Front hubDynamo hub SONdelux
Additional gearingwithout
MudguardsSKS mudguards
Luggage carrierBike expedition carrier
HoldersCyclocomputer holder
Head restwithout
MirrorMirrycle [on the left barend]
Lighting setInstalled light wires (without lights)
Other accessoriesWith Pletscher comp zoom kickstand and security flag

Improved before the trip

  • exchanged standard pedals with the Shimano SPD pedals of my Koga Signature
  • added B&M IQ Cyo front and Toplight Line plus rear lights 
  • added Sigma 14.12 ALTI bike computer
  • improved the chain tube attachment so it wouldn’t touch the fork when turning
  • added a bell.

Improvements and repairs during the trip

  • replaced the bike computer cable (Agen, 900km)
  • Rohloff oil change (Lisbon, 3’000km)
  • fixed the front breaks, which didn’t move well and were difficult to remove (Lisbon, 4’200km) – there was corrosion inside
  • exchanged the 16t sprocket for a 18t (Lisbon, 4’200km)
  • improved (again) the chain tube attachment, which was touching the fork (Fray Bentos, 5’800km)
  • replaced the break pads with Koolstop cartridges + removable pads (Puerto Aysén, 8’500km)
  • replaced the chain (KMC Z8 RB) (Lisbon, 10’000km)
  • exchanged the 18t sprocket for a 19t (Lisbon, 10’000km)
  • Rohloff oil change (Lisbon, 10’000km)
  • replaced the tube on the rear wheel (Lisbon, 10’000km)
  • replaced the Rohloff cables (Lisbon, 10’000km)
  • replaced the brake cables (Lisbon, 10’000km)
  • removed rust from the handlebar and repainted (Lisbon, 10’000km).