The recumbent HPV can achieve consistent speeds of over 30 mph, and some designs can maintain 40 mph for extended periods
Can you imagine going 80 mph in a recumbent HPV sitting 2″ off the ground under your own power? Human powered vehicles, also known as streamliners, have already surpassed that speed. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
What is the definition of a human powered vehicle anyway? Anything propelled by nothing more than human energy? Wel….yes, but that could include boats, airplanes (yes, they really exist), pedal power cars, scooters, hand cycles and more.
Since this is all about recumbent bikes, that’s what a recumbent HPV is. But there is more than one kind of recumbent HPV. Confused? Good. That’s what this is all about.
The recumbent bike can be referred to as a HPV, but that term is usually reserved for those that compete on a track. Are they any different than those you see on the street or going down a country road? Usually yes, because some changes and modifications are made for the track since it is a more controlled environment.
With no sharp turns to negotiate or motorized vehicle traffic to worry about, some modifications would be hazardous on the street. Many recumbents change their look entirely when they go to the track and HPV events.
Many will sport tailboxes to reduce wind friction and vacuum behind the seat. Other will have front and rear fairings with a body sock. Still more will fall into the streamliner class, fully faired, with or without a canopy or head bubble.
There are almost as many factory made bents as homebuilt that usually show up for these events. It is always exciting to see the homebuilt HPV’s. Some designs are really cutting edge and hard to believe they are homemade.
Others are obviously homemade, and defy all rules of logic when they perform beyond expectations. Even the best cutting edge design can be brought down to size by a flat, caused by a brake rubbing on the tire.
The streamliners are my favorite, and I’m not partial. So have a look at these next few pages and see which is your favorite. The Recumbent HPV is awesome. Click here to read some interesting things about recumbents and find out.