25 Sep 2013, 23:17

F-40 - Is it meeting my expectations?

A FB friend of mine asked me today - ‘Is the F-40 meeting your expectations?’

Well, I had to think about it some.

I now have a total of 647 miles on the F-40 and another 236 miles with the fairing off as a P-38.

The total miles are a combination of training miles and four charity rides (two with each bike):

Date Bike Miles Charity Ride
Aug 4 P-38 50 Tour de Jalapeno
Aug 17 F-40 60 Copperas Cove Classic
Aug 24 F-40 101 Hotter 'N Hell Hundred
Sept 21 P-38 66 Conquer the Coast


Of all the three 2-wheel recumbent’s I own (Optima Baron, Catrike Musashi and Lightning P-38) the P-38 is now my go to bike for easy, relaxed riding.

The one negative with the P-38 is you cannot have an aero-belly. Because of the closed riding position, any aero-belly will be bouncing off the tops of your legs as they rotate through the closest position while cycling. I have lost 10 pounds since getting the bike and now no longer seem to have this issue.

The Baron and Musashi are each probably slightly faster. The P-38 is more refined with a lot less quirks. I’ll probably end up selling the Baron and the Musashi.

I wasn’t really expecting to get a P-38 when purchasing the F-40. Regardless, the P-38 is an outstanding bike.


Although I have ~650 miles on the F-40 I still have not acclimated to the bike. Additionally, I still do not have the bike tuned correctly.

It probably took me about 1,000 miles to get the Musashi setup, tuned and myself acclimated. I was hoping that I could do it quicker on the F-40 because of my prior experience with both the Baron and Musashi. Alas, that turns out not to be the case - the F-40 is so much different that the other bikes that whole new skill sets and tuning are required.

Streamliner Expectations

Every hot, fit, young rider on a high-end time-trial bike sees the yellow fully faired streamliner as a target. You can, and will, go faster then them. The problem is that around the Austin TX area there are a lot of high end road bikes. You will be constantly challenged by uprights and riding pretty fast all of the time. This is definitely making me stronger. My average speeds and distances are improving. My legs ache all the time.

Acclimating to 30+ mph

Life above 25 mph is interesting. Life above 30 mph is frightening. I have not yet learned how to relax at greater then 25 mph. Above 30 mph I end up having a death-grip on the handle bars. I know this is probably a mental thing, but I really need to figure it out. Maybe I need to do upper body workouts to improve my arm strength.

The Wind

The wind turns out to be manageable. I don't yet have a complete reflex action to passing traffic.

Riding Easy and Relaxed

I have yet to manage a long distance (50+ miles) easy paced relaxed ride. The F-40 rides always seem to turn into races. A couple of times I have started out to do an easy 50 mile ride where I ride 25 miles out, have lunch, then ride 25 miles back. These have always turned into racing efforts.

The Magical Ride

With each bike there comes a ride where everything just clicks - and the ride is incredibly special. I've had a couple of training rides like this on the F-40.

Early one Saturday morning is was pretty cool temps and no wind. I captured an incredible Strava KOM averaging 26.6 mph for 5.2 miles beating several professional triathletes. It was a magical ride.

I have not yet had a charity ride that was magical. The first charity ride (Copperas Cove) had very bad road conditions and ~3,500 feet of climbing. The second charity ride (Hotter ‘N Hell Hundred) had the last 1.5 hours in temps over 105 degrees.

Overall Impressions

IT IS VERY FAST. I ride the brakes a lot.

The F-40 is a very demanding bike. In many ways it has exceeded my expectations. I have come to realize that my personal capabilities need to increase to meet the performance capabilities of the bike.