Front wheel drive recumbent bicycle
Although it takes time to master the ride, the Cruzbike’s a blast once you do get the hang of it. It’s a front-wheel drive bike, so it gives you the comfort and speed of a recumbent without the long, long chain. The lack of chain in the rear makes it a perfect complement to the Xtracycle free radical sport utility bike, which is specifically why I bought the Cruzbike. I have the stock 65 psi tires on my Freerider now, but I’m thinking of upgrading to disc brakes and 100 psi tires to make it even more of a cargo-hauling truck. (As much as possible, I try to avoid driving a car entirely.)
I first bought a recumbent in 2000, after testing several and never looked back. I’ve ridden bikes like the EZ-1 and have four recumbents currently: a Rans Rocket (my first), a Rans tandem, a BikeE (for my wife) and the Cruzbike, which I bought last fall. The Cruzbike’s grip-shift handles the same as any other bike, and it takes hills pretty well for a ‘bent, albeit with the proviso that no ‘bent climbs as well as an upright because you can’t stand up on the pedals (a small price to pay for being able to ride for hours without feeling any pain and for having a pleasurable touring ride experience).
It feels great to glide through the world with your head in a normal, comfortable position, at a comfortable height, instead of craning to see traffic. I find I’m faster because you are more aerodynamic than on an upright. Thus, it also takes less work to maintain the same speed. Even with the Xtracycle, the Cruzbike feels amazingly light.04/21/08
(Note: The Versarider has been replaced by a newer, near identical model, called the SofRider. The only difference is a slight change in the handlebars. --OH — editors)