Report: Early experience on the Cruzbike V20 (by a Bacchetta Giro owner)
Cruzbike Vendetta V20 owner, Eric Wilson, shared his early experience with us in a couple of emails this summer. He told us we could publish it here to help prospective customers who are in a similar situation. Enjoy!
Deciding on the Cruzbike V20
My journey began over a year ago when I met someone riding a Cruzbike Vendetta V20 during a bike event here in Vancouver. He was from Seattle, and I didn’t get a chance to talk to him much, but enough to get the name of his bike and how much he loved it. I Googled as soon as I got home, and that was the seed. Since then, I’ve followed your blog, forum, YouTube, etc., and of course contacted you about the test ride. I had still only seen the one bike.
A new performance road bike has been on my mind for some time, and I was seriously looking at the Bacchetta Carbon Aero c700, as I currently have a Giro. In the interim, I did some very basic upgrades to my Giro (tires, chainrings, etc.) and was enjoying it more, but still felt hampered, especially on hills. And here we have some really, really big hills! I love the Bacchetta, and in an ideal world would keep both, but I’m not that well resourced. Plus, I also have a commuter and MTB to keep happy.
Then, one of the Cruzbike Forum members in Vancouver posted he had just bought a Q45 and was looking for local recumbent buddies. I contacted him and we met up to check out our recumbents. He didn’t offer to let me ride it (I get that), so I just looked it over for build quality, detailing, his impressions, etc. I really liked it, and he seemed pleased, though he’s still not at the top of the MBB learning curve. He’s a more experienced and competitive rider than I am, and perhaps a little envious that I was thinking about a V20. ☺ Most importantly, his first impressions seemed to support the performance claims of the MBB set-up, and he has an Optima Baron HR to compare against.
In any case that, and my desire to always try new things, did it, and I bought the V20 Frameset. I’ll be sure to participate in the Forum (I am @efwyvr) as I continue along my journey. Now I’m headlong into the build phase. I’m a fairly competent mechanic, but have never built a bike, so I am really looking forward to it.
Early update on the Cruzbike V20
The other day, after a relatively leisurely ride after work, a traditional frame cyclist came up behind me and exclaimed, “That’s the fastest recumbent I’ve ever seen.” My sentiments exactly, I thought, and smiled. I love my Cruzbike… and I’m only just beginning the journey.
It’s been a steady, but shallow learning curve. I think having the Bacchetta experience helped, as once the differences were out of the way, the recumbent experience itself was familiar. I love that every single ride brings more confidence and speed. Mind you, things still get a little squirrely at very low and very high speeds, but time will conquer all.
The biggest difference I’ve found with the Bacchetta is on climbs. My technique with the Bacchetta was to pick the gear and attempt to maintain the cadence, no matter what. If I lost cadence, it was a real slog to get it back. With the Vendetta, I really feel like I’m attacking the hill, and even mid hill can speed up, or even gear up. Other things I’ve found are that the Vendetta is better over rough roads and bumps, and I was even running wider tires on the Bacchetta. I’m also having fewer issues with foot numbing, which was becoming a real concern on the Bacchetta, and leading me to question if my recumbent days were numbered. Very happy to see that’s not the case.
Thanks again for everything you do for recumbents.
@Frank, The “numb feet” problem with recumbents is mostly related to having the cranks (bottom bracket) positioned too high, limiting proper blood flow to the feet. The Cruzbike design eliminates heel strike (because the feet move naturally with the front wheel), so we don’t have to jack the cranks up in the air like some other recumbent makers do in their effort to reduce heel strike. Having the feet closer to the ground is also safer, requiring less time to get you feet on the ground in case of an emergency stop.
Eric, the author of this blog wrote: “I’m also having fewer issues with foot numbing, which was becoming a real concern on the Bacchetta, and leading me to question if my recumbent days were numbered. Very happy to see that’s not the case.” So you can see this made an important difference for him.
You mentioned foot numbing? Is this a recumbent issue or a Vendetta issue? I only ask as my last bent was a Rans V Rex and I used to get terrible numbness
I have raced for 40 years . I want to continue to ride distance and be able to maintain speed . Thinking of getting a Barchetta Corsa A70 vs S45. I am looking for comfort and good visibilty both to see and be seen on the road. Not interested in the vendetta for multiple reasons. Of the 2 above let me here pros and cons if possible. Thanks for the help
I recently became the proud owner of an S40 – with my previous bent being a Giro, also. I love it but am having two problems: wheel slip on anything much over 10% incline and glute-pain or recumbutt as i hear some people call it. I solved it on the Giro by lowering the angle of the seat but the S40 is comparatively upright, so still feel the pain after about 60 or 70kms. Do you think it is something that will pass with time, or is just the way i am built? Any off-label seat that could help? Interested to hear anybody’s thoughts on either or both problems. Thanks
Maybe I could add some comments about the visibility. I purchased my S40 in July of 2019, with intentions to do Cycle Oregon in September (which I did). Back when I was making the purchasing decision I spoke with Robert at Rose City Recumbents, Portland, OR. Robert is very expert on Cruzbike (and many other brands as well). I debated between the Vendetta and the S40 and Robert steered me to the S40. He said the Vendetta is more like riding a triathlon bike. The S40 was better suited to all-round riding. I still might get a Vendetta some day, but for now I am very happy with the S40. The seat recline is almost too much for my taste anyway. So until I get very comfortable with this new world I don’t see taking the step to 20 degree recline.
Visibility is a two-way street: forward visibility, and how cars see you as they approach from behind. At least one of the Vendetta photos shows a flag (for added rear visibility). This is probably a good idea. I use a “radar” taillight that alerts my computer when a car is approaching (like blind spot detection in a car), combined with a good mirror. That combo can be a lifesaver — literally!
Visibility? Can drivers see you from behind when you are on the Vendetta (is it lower?) then when you were on the Baccetta Giro?
Is a S40 more likely to be seen from behind than a Giro?
Regarding the visibility of a V20 in comparison to a Giro, I came from a long line of Bacchetta high racers, including a Giro early on, also a Metabike high racer and a M5 high racer at the last before purchasing my V20 which I have ridden exclusively for about 2 1/2 yrs. That being said the visibility is superior on the V20, I can easily see the road 10 feet in front of me with no obstructions. That was never the case with ANY rear wheel drive recumbent I have owned and I’ve had about every brand. There was always the stem and bars in the way as they had to be high enough for my legs to go under them. With the v20 my legs are in FRONT of the bar as it is much lower.
I can get my feet on the ground better on the V20 also. No problems in traffic or riding with diamond frame cyclists which I do all the time.
A V20 is top of the food chain in the recumbent world. The mechanical efficiency is immediately noticeable, you pedal, it moves, instantly!
Hope this helps….
Hello Mark and Star. Eric here… the Vendetta owner in this blog post.
@Mark … yes, will definitely provide further feedback as I become more V20 proficient. Unfortunately, fall/winter has settled into this part of the world, so I won’t be getting out as much over next few months. Hoping for dry weekends.
@Star … I haven’t really noticed any difference with visibility, but I had my Giro seat at almost its lowest setting. I’m quite comfortable in traffic, but I’ve been riding all my life, so not sure I’m the best one to ask. You really have to get on a recumbent and see how it feels for you. So height and visibility weren’t such a big factor in my choice of the V20 because of that, and also because I don’t use the V20 (or my old Giro) for commuting or even leisure urban rides. The Vendetta is my fast, fun machine that I use mostly for long weekend rides on quieter urban streets/paths or countryside. If your riding is going to be busier urban streets, I think I’d look at one of the other Cruzbike models with more upright seating. Hope that helps.
Thanks for the comparative update. I am looking forward to additional postings. I currently ride a Catrike Trail and an EZ Sport long wheelbase recumbent( fast as hell) and my next venture is a Cruzbike or Bacchetta….with you doing the homework for me! Keep the info coming and good luck. Mark
What was your impression of visibility? Did you feel as safe riding among car traffic? Are you as high up as your Giro?
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