Bachetta Corsa e-assist vs Schwinn Kempo e-assist!

Denny

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Sep 19, 2019
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I ride a Bacchetta Corsa recumbent bicycle and a Schwinn Kempo hybrid bicycle (upright-diamond frame). I have outfitted both with the Bafang 750W x 48V e-assist mid-drive motor systems. Both bicycles have aluminum frames. Images are below. Note: In photos, Corsa's battery has been relocated under the seat.

About four years ago, I did the Corsa installation, and I love both the recumbent bike and its e-assist system. In January of 2022, I outfitted the Schwinn with the same e-assist installation.

The reasons for the Schwinn e-assist installation are fourfold:
" To see if the seating and pedaling geometry would reduce my lower back pain.
" To see if e-assist would erase any or all less desirable features of riding an upright bicycle. You know: aerodynamics, seat comfort, sitting position, neck soreness, shoulder and wrist pain, etc.
" To see if the newly e-assist configured upright bike could now compare favorably with the e-assist configured Corsa recumbent.
" And to have a spare e-bike.

Schwinn configuration comments:
" The handlebars are adjusted high to reduce neck ache, shoulder pain, and to improve forward visibility.
" The stock seat has been replaced by a Bikeroo Comfort seat (with springs).
" The seat post replaced with a DJC spring-loaded Suspension Seat Post.
Schwinn Riding & Power Consumption comments:
" The handle bar configuration works out perfectly for the neck, shoulders, and visibility-equal to the recumbent here.
" The seat, however, is not acceptable, but tolerable for short, local rides and as a spare e-bike.
" The Schwinn uses about 20 - 30% more e-power per mile due to lower aerodynamics caused by extreme upright seating and vertical leg positioning.

Conclusion:
After riding the Schwinn continually for about 1,000 miles, I have not yet gotten used to the seat. The increased wind resistance with the Schwinn is not a problem for the rider, but could limit trip lengths due to increased power usage. Lowering the handlebars to improve wind resistance is not an option due to neck and shoulder issues. Coming to stops requires the rider to slide off the seat to allow his feet to touch the ground. Not desirable!

On the other hand, the Bacchetta Corsa recumbent with the e-assist is a dream machine. The large seat is like settling into a custom-fit cockpit or recliner with support everywhere, whilst still looking straight ahead. Also, the improved aerodynamics can provide vastly improved e-mileage over the Schwinn.
The e-assist system also eliminates one irritating and dangerous limitations of a recumbent bicycle, and that is taking off on an uphill ride. With the e-assist, one simply has to press the thumb throttle until s/he reaches a speed to continue on with pedal usage. When coming to a stop, the Corsa rider simply removes his/her feet from the pedals and plants them on the ground while remaining seated. Very desirable!

The Bacchetta Corsa recumbent wins hands down in this comparison. I ride the Corsa on long rides and limit the Schwinn to local short rides.
I have recently completed a 62+ mile ride between Carlsbad, CA and Coronado, CA on the Corsa recumbent. If you'd like, you may watch the entire ride (18 min.) at this YouTube link:
 

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CrossRoads

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That's awesome. I too have an electric bacchetta (a giro 26 with a rear hub direct drive motor). So many of the advantages of a recumbent, the aerodynamic efficiency, the long distance ergonomics, are just doubly amplified with electric assist. I keep an un-assisted upright for short trips around town and in dense traffic where i enjoy the agility and visibility of an upright, and an electrified cargo bike for cargo. For a high-wattage long distance speed machine the recumbent platform just takes the cake every time. I was a recumbent enthusiast 20 years ago before it was cool (oh, it's still not cool i guess), and back when electric assist technology was still lead acid and pretty crappy motors, but often think that the lith-ion electric-bike revolution is the very thing that will take recumbents into the mainstream. Aerodynamic drag increases as velocity squared, so it becomes 4 times more relevant at 30 mph than at 15 mph.
 

Denny

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Sep 19, 2019
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Carlsbad, CA
Crossroads, it would be a goldmine to the recumbent builders if the "upright" riders could "lower" themselves a bit to at least try a recumbent with e-power on it. I hang with a group of cyclists here in southern California. Of them all, I am the only one who has ever ridden a recumbent. It seems a few of them are too proud to be seen on a recumbent. It's too bad; because most of them are really up in years where an e-recumbent could extend their riding years and make 'em feel young again
 
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