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

Denny

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Location
Carlsbad, CA
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" The stock seat has been replaced by a Bikeroo Comfort seat (with springs).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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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.
 
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
 
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:
Hi, Denny. Dave from Ontario Canada. I also ride a Bacchetta Corsa. At 75 years old I am finding I could use a little assist on my rides. Originally I was considering a rear hub motor, only for handling and weight distribution, but after reading your post I am now intrigued by your setup. A few questions: 1) What kit did you use? 2) where did you acquire the kit? 3) Did the system install as per instructions or did you have to make any modifications ? if so, could you please advise. Any further information you could share wuld be much appreciated.
Regards, Dave
 
Hi, Denny. Dave from Ontario Canada. I also ride a Bacchetta Corsa. At 75 years old I am finding I could use a little assist on my rides. Originally I was considering a rear hub motor, only for handling and weight distribution, but after reading your post I am now intrigued by your setup. A few questions: 1) What kit did you use? 2) where did you acquire the kit? 3) Did the system install as per instructions or did you have to make any modifications ? if so, could you please advise. Any further information you could share wuld be much appreciated.
Regards, Dave
Hello, David. I have the Bafang BBS02 750W mid-drive motor kit with a 15 Ah battery. On Corsa installation, I purchased my kit from Luna Cycle. On the Schwinn installation, I purchased all from Amazon. I understand AliExpress also has these kits, probably at better prices. Installation: Very little instructions, if any, comes with the kits. All my guidance came from YouTube videos. Question: What is your Corsa's frame material? I have read that they do not suggest this system on a carbon fiber frame. Also, it you use the "bottom bracket, mid-drive" installation, make sure you have a mechanical means of securing the motor from rotating up and pulling all the wires out of the motor. I built a custom bracket to hold the motor down, but you can allow the motor to rest against the front derailleur post on your Corsa. You will need a couple long cables. One to reach your speed sensor on the back wheel. You can contact me at "giaruso@roadrunner.com" with any further questions if you get really serious about this installation.
 
Good morning Denny. I have been considering electrifying my Bacchetta Giro (700c) for a couple of months now. I’ve bounced back and forth between mid-motor vs hub-motor options. My Bacchetta has 11 speed SRAM gearing so the hub motor options are very limited as I don’t want the additional expense in changing gearing too. I have a 10/36 cassette and am hung up on what size chainring to choose if I go with the BBS02. What gearing does your Corsa have and which chainring are you running? Not that you can decide for me what to run but any input might help in my decision making process as a starting point. At least chainrings are relatively inexpensive and can be easily swapped out.
Your ride from Carlsbad to Coronado has more hills than my normal routes but with a motor I’ll be able to do some of the far more scenic rides I now avoid. If I get my act in gear before June, perhaps I’ll being the Giro along when we visit Oceanside in July and do a portion of this beautiful route.

Jerry K
 
Hi, Jerry K. On both my Corsa and my Schwinn, I am using the stock cassettes. The Corsa is a Sram PG-970, 11-32, 9 speed. The chain ring that I am using with the mid-drive motor is a 48 tooth. When I first got the Bafang BBS02 motor, I used a smaller chain ring, so after using it for a few rides, I knew I'd have to get the biggest they had at the time. As a matter of fact, I am considering a larger chain ring so I can see if I can hit 40 mph with the Corsa. With the 48T, I have hit 34 mph while spinning like crazy. If you go ahead with your build, don't forget to get an Ebike stabilizer from California Ebike (see image attached [I built my own]). Also, you will need extension cables from your motor to your battery and to your speedometer sensor. I hope this helps. Look me up if you get out this way; maybe we could compare builds and take a ride together.
 

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Hi, Jerry K. On both my Corsa and my Schwinn, I am using the stock cassettes. The Corsa is a Sram PG-970, 11-32, 9 speed. The chain ring that I am using with the mid-drive motor is a 48 tooth. When I first got the Bafang BBS02 motor, I used a smaller chain ring, so after using it for a few rides, I knew I'd have to get the biggest they had at the time. As a matter of fact, I am considering a larger chain ring so I can see if I can hit 40 mph with the Corsa. With the 48T, I have hit 34 mph while spinning like crazy. If you go ahead with your build, don't forget to get an Ebike stabilizer from California Ebike (see image attached [I built my own]). Also, you will need extension cables from your motor to your battery and to your speedometer sensor. I hope this helps. Look me up if you get out this way; maybe we could compare builds and take a ride together.
Awesome information Denny and it helps immensely in my decision making. I too like the speed potential and will not hesitate in getting a 48t. I was thinking more along the lines of a 44t or 42t but will lay that to rest since I already have bit more potential on both ends of the gear ratios in my build. My concern was perhaps overdriving the the motor with a larger ring.

I will indeed reach out to you if I bring the Bacchetta along on our scheduled July trip to Oceanside.

Stay safe!!


Jerry K
 
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