Lightning Cycle Dynamics R-84 SL 2003 Recumbent Bike


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[Nov 30, 2002]
Recreational Rider


Painless, fast, comfortable, and good looking Just the other day, a youngster walks by and says: “Dad, look at the cool bike, I want one like that”.


A 9 - month wait to get the bike

I am a middle-aged road rider with a sore neck and an appreciation for comfort. Primary bike selection criteria: eliminate neck pain from hyperextension on a diamond road frame. Secondary, but still really important to me: to keep-up with my diamond frame, road riding buddies. Lightening said it would be 9 months for delivery when I ordered the bike - it was 8 1/2 months. When the bike arrived, I did three “check-out-the-bike” rides for a total of 40 miles and then went to Texas for a painless and pretty quick century with 8,000 of my closest friends ( The R-84 must be comfortable - I normally would NEVER fiddle with bike geometry before a long ride, let alone use a new bike for a century after only a couple of short rides. The LBS did a really good job of measuring me, making recommendations on frame, seat, stem, boom sizing and gearing when I placed the order. By now, I have about 1,500 miles on the bike. The only adjustments have been moving the handle bars and bottom bracket about 1/2 inch each - so the LBS must have done a 1st rate job of assembly and tuning. Bar-end shifters are precise and give a solid audible and tactile click when you change the rear cogs. It sounds good, feels good, and hasn’t missed a shift. The front shifter hits the 3 chain rings smoothly, and does not overshift. The seat is comfortable, but the crossbar hit across the shoulders if the seat is too small. I am 5’ 8” and ordered the large seat and think it was a good choice. The carbon cranks and bottom bracket were another hand-made assembly and arrived 11 months after the order (Lightning had provided a set of loaner cranks until the final equipment was delivered.) These are a beautiful piece of art and are surprisingly light (like picking-up “boulders” made of Styrofoam at Disneyland). The cranks and BB weigh about 400 grams. Cable routing is neat, down the back of the vertical stem. The frame does not seem to flex under stress - when I really torque the pedals. Bladed spoke wheels and Continental tires at 120 psi have been fine. The only qualified evaluation of the R-84 is that the drive train uses a chain tube as it passes thru the carbon frame, which creates some additional noise. Other than that, the bike has been great. I have a very light bag attached to the back of the seat frame to carry a camelback reservoir and anything else I need. There is a water bottle mount under the seat, which I use for an electrolyte mix. The R-84 dual suspension has about 1 1/2 inches of flex at both axles. This is probably similar to a Cannondale Silk Road, with a suspension seat post. The suspension reduces vibration to the hands and body from concrete pavement seams and chip & tap surfaces. This is very comfortable! I still love my carbon road bike and ride it 2 or 3 times a month (if I ride it daily, my neck hurts). I think that the recumbent riding position has strengthened my legs: the diamond frame seems faster than before. On the flats, I think that the R-84 is a little faster than my carbon Trek. Climbing long, rolling hills is just about the same on either bike. I am pretty sure that I am slower and use more get to the top of steep hills on the recumbent. The bike is for recreational riding, exercise, and commuting to work now and then. Getting a bike that is painless, fast, and fun does not add to the exercise load, but because I am pain-free and I can keep-up with my riding buddies, I have eliminated a whole bunch of excuses not to go riding. I consider the R-84 to be a bargain, relatively speaking - and it is, when compared to the cost of a new Harley and a divorce. I offer one caution, if I had spent this much on a bike, and then - for whatever reason - lost interest in riding - my wife would have killed me, or worse ...

Similar Products Used:

I tried bikes from several recumbent manufacturers and felt most comfortable with the Lightning SWB geometry and fit. Trek 5500, Fuji road frame, Kona mountain frame with suspension fork and road tir

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