Thanks to Cruzbike Vendetta V20 owner, bicycle enthusiast and physician Marshall Cooperson for this great writeup sharing his experience as a traditional upright/diamond frame road cyclist and industry pro converting to recumbent bikes and Cruzbike specifically.
A brief introduction might establish some credibility. I began my bicycle experience at the age of five. By age 11, I had begun a mechanical relationship with bikes. In 1971, my father bought a Schwinn/Raleigh dealership in Burlington, N.J. I worked there during college and also for Pro shop, Hill Cyclery, in Philadelphia. After graduation, I managed another bike shop in Philadelphia. In 1976, I relocated to Southern California and worked / managed San Dieguito Cyclery in Solana Beach, Ca, before founding Leucadia Cyclery in 1977.
I was a frame builder and was certified by Reynolds Tubing Company to build with Reynolds 753 tubing. I sold Leucadia Cyclery in 1982 to help pay for my medical education. I practiced Internal Medicine in Napa, Ca for 30 years before retiring in 2019.
I had continued to cycle regularly for all those years. Growing older has been accompanied by physical changes which continued to impede my appreciation of cycling. In all the time I have ridden, I have never been able to find a saddle that provided comfort for more than 30 miles. At that point riding became a chore. With further aging, my wrists, neck and back contributed to the discomfort of cycling.
I have been riding bikes for 65 years now. I began to research options in 2007 when I opened my options up to recumbents. I did not appreciate some aspects of design, particularly the very long chain. I discovered the Cruzbike with front wheel drive, utilizing all the same components as my diamond frame and decided to give it a trial run.
I found a recumbent dealer who offered me a week rental and if I bought the bike he would deduct the rental from the purchase price. I rode the Cruzbike Silvio and recognized it eliminated all the undesirable physical issues I had experienced on a diamond frame.
The Cruzbike ignited my appreciation for cycling once again. I rode the bike 3 to 4 times per week for years until the Vendetta became available. This bike was even more aerodynamic and fast. It allowed me to consistently keep up with much younger riders and improve my times.
I presently have 2 Cruzbike Vendetta V20’s. I have equipped these bikes with conventional high performance components and have found the bike to be extremely reliable over the years. I have had absolutely no issues with the Vendetta V20 frameset riding 75 to 150 miles weekly since 2007. I continue to ride the coast highway between La Jolla to Carlsbad 3 to 5 times weekly.
Being in the bike business for years, I have experienced the reluctance of cyclists to not deviate from convention. The diamond frame has been the mainstay for frame configuration for probably 150 years. Recumbents have had a minuscule percentage of the market.
In my opinion, recumbent bikes remain one of the best kept secrets of the bike industry. The advantages are numerous. They include: Much improved comfort, lower center of gravity, 20 to 25% more efficient due to aerodynamics, parts last longer due to less stress and remain cleaner longer due to positioning out of road debris field. I have to admit I feel as comfortable when I finish a long ride as when I began, something I could not imagine on my past diamond frames.
Although they may not be for everyone, one should keep an open mind when comfort and performance are in question.
Marshall Cooperson DO
Marshall originally shared his experience as "Perspective of a Bicycle Enthusiast" on the CRUZBIKE Recumbent Riders Facebook group November 22, 2022. Thanks Marshall!!