Recumbent bikes have never been in the main-stream, but after riding the Bacchetta Corsa for several months I am not sure why not. Recumbents are great bikes to ride. They are fun, comfortable, and fast. I have over 400 miles on this bike now and have had it down pristine roads, through axle-deep water, and even a bit of off road riding.
Why Ride A Recumbent
Recumbents can be extremely fast and are very comfortable. The bicycle speed records are held by recumbents. Because of the way they position the rider, recumbents don't place stress on your back, hands, wrists, elbows, or neck like a traditional upright bicycle does. Recumbent bicycling lets the rider look around more than with other bicycles, offering a much better view of the scenery going by. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride. There is a great forum, Boston Recumbent Users Group, with fun writings and photos about recumbent riding in New England by a very experienced recumbent rider, Scott Chamberlain.
Learning To Ride A Recumbent
Learning to ride a recumbent can be a bit challenging at first. Remember what it was like learning to ride a bike as a child? This is somewhat similar. Long wheel-base recumbents are easier to get the hang of than the short wheel-base models like the Corsa. At first you will go down the road like a drunken maniac; however, in short order you will get it all under control. A good way to learn is to coast down a shallow hill a few times with your feet off the pedals, near the ground to catch yourself as you get the hang of the balance. It also helps to sit up; not so reclined. It take about 3 days to get completely comfortable on the bike. After I had 100 miles in I felt like an expert.
The Bacchetta Corsa
I chose the Bacchetta Corsa because it is a great value and is a fun and practical bike to ride. It is responsive and comfortable to ride for at least 80 miles. This bike has been perfect right off the showroom floor. The black paint looks very sharp with the blue graphics.
The Corsa fits between the Strada and Corsa S/S models. The Corsa has an aluminum frame unlike the Strada's steel frame. It also has a bit different handle bar system and one step up on the component group over the Strada.
In comparison to the Corsa S/S, the Corsa is nearly identical except the S/S steps up the component group one notch to Sram's top-of-the-line XO series. The Corsa is the perfect balance between performance and price.
I have found the seat to be very comfortable and, contrary to my first impression, the foam seems like it will last a very long time. I have replaced the pull-pins that control the seat recline with Velo Genesis seat stay clamps. These permit me an infinite amount of adjustment in the amount of recline on my seat. I like the ability to make mico-adjustments here.
I've added a Brain Box seat back bag. This is the perfect size to carry a couple of spare tubes, a snack, and some water. There is a spot for a water bladder inside. and a six-pack of beer fits perfectly in here. When riding the Bacchetta Corsa you don't want anything in your pockets because with the riding position it will probably fall out. The bag is even supposed to improve the aerodynamics adding speed to your bike.
The handle bars are comfortable and once I learned not to pull on them like you would on a regular bike, they have stayed in place. When riding a recumbent hold the handlebars like you would the controls of a helicopter. Very lightly! There is a spacer that can be removed to drop the stem down about 1/2-inch. I have never seen a bike shift so well. The Sram X-9 shifters are sharp, precise, and never hunt for a gear. Even the Dura-Ace on my road bike doesn't shift this well.
Overall, this bike is so smooth that every time I cruise down a hill or pedal along a curvy country road I end up with a huge smile on my face. With the long wheel base (compared to an upright bike) the aluminum frame absorbs most of the nasty bumps in the New England roads. The rest is taken up by the foam seat. I am using Shimano XTR mountain bike pedals on this bike and can't imagine a better way to go.