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Commuting Speeds
Safety, Convenience, and Speed - Continued from Page 1
Standardized Speed Scores
A "standardized speed score" can be calculated by determining the maximum miles per hour possible on a cycle that is traveling on a level surface with no wind, with a pedal rate of one turn per second, and with its best gear combination for speed. (The score also assumes 20 inch wheels and does not consider wind drag, roll resistance of tires, weight of the cycles, frame flex, quality of materials, and other factors.)

In practice, speeds of over 25 mph cannot be maintained without strong aerodynamic assistance, a light weight cycle, light weight wheels and tires, stiff cycle frame, excellent conditioning of the rider, and other factors. A sample of standardized speed scores is provided below, using Bicycle Analysis.

MR Components Swift* $900 . 33 lbs. gears 18-100 19.8 mph
Cool Cruza* $900 . 35 lbs. gears 20-98 17.5 mph
Rhoades Car 4W1P(36 Spd.)*** $1,150 (H)(U)(S)(O) 75 lbs. gears mph
S and B Venice Beach* $1,275 (H)(U)(O) 34 lbs. gears 11-52 16.9 mph
S and B Venice Beach (Spd. Drv.)* $1,650 (H)(U) 34 lbs. gears 11-83 27 mph
Haluzak Triumf (Spd. Drv.)** $1,750 (H)(U)(O) 46 lbs. gears 11-83 26.9 mph
Kettswiesel (18 speed)** $1,850 (H) 35 lbs. gears 22-107 17.4 mph
Granny's Touring (27 speed)* $2,000 (H)(U)(T)(O) 34 lbs. gears 22-107 mph
MR Components Ultra* $2,200 (N) 28 lbs. gears 23-114 17.7 mph
Tritan (Spd. Drv.)** $2,250 (H) 39 lbs. gears 18-132 26 mph
Lepus** $2,500 (H)(F)(S) 49 lbs. gears 17-104 22 mph
Penninger Traveler** $2,500 (H)(U) 53 lbs. gears 16-85 19 mph
Organic Engines (63 spd.)* $2,500 (H)(U)(O) 42 lbs. gears 12-118 35 mph
Wizwheelz (Spd. Drv.)* $2,550 (H)(U) 34 lbs. gears 21-128 21.8 mph
Sidewinder (Spd. Drv.)* $2,550 (H)(U)(F)(D) 49 lbs. gears 21-128 21.8 mph
MR Components Ultra (Spd. Drv.)* $2,600 (N)(RB) 32 lbs. gears 12-190 56.5 mph
Culty (Spd. Drv.)** $2,700 (H)(T)(S)(D) 45 lbs. gears 32-128 14.3 mph
Greenspeed GTO* $2,700 (F)(U) 35 lbs. gears 15-125 29.7 mph
JustTwoBikes Raven (Spd. Drv.)** $2,950 (N)(H)(U)(T)
45 lbs. gears 21-128 21.8 mph
MR Components Ultra (Spd. Drv.)* $4,200 (N)(S)(A) 59 lbs. gears 12-190 56.5 mph
Cab Bike* $4,600 (H)(D)(S)(A) 71 lbs. gears mph
Velomobiel* $5,150 (S)(A) 71 lbs. gears mph
Go-One* $5,700 (D)(S)(A) 66 lbs. gears mph
Bold=Best Buy by Type of Design (Delta, Tadpole, or Quad)
Red=Best Overall Design by Type
*Tadpole design (two wheels in front)
**Delta design (two wheels in back)
***Quad design (two wheels in front and back)
(N)=Narrow Trike (24" wide) for easy transport, as well as safety in traffic and on bike paths
(H)=High Seat (bottom of seat at least a foot above the ground or has an incline of 40 degrees or less)
(U)=Dealers are in the USA
(T)=Tilting or Leaning front section for safer turning at higher speeds
(W)=Short Wheelbase (with delta design) for easy transport
(F)=Folding or fits in a standard suitcase
(S)=Shock absorber, not just shock absorbing bars
(D)=Drive in Front
(0)=Over the seat steering (handlebars) available
(RB)=Roll Bar
(A)=Aerodynamic bodyshell - Protection from rain, cold, dirt, or injury. Provides higher speeds on level ground. Motor assist recommended for hills and quick starts.

Recumbents range in price from around 500 dollars to over 5,000 dollars. Examples of some of the the better recumbents, in order of price, is provided under "Purchase Resources" in tricycles. Most of the examples are for models that cost less than 3,000 dollars.

If you are going to purchase a cycle as your "neighborhood vehicle," you can compare several at a time using more detailed criteria on the Cycles Comparison Chart. The Chart can also be used as a basis for asking questions of dealers before making a purchase. Some bikes have upgrades available that are not listed on Websites. For example, some manufactureres will add a "Speed-Drive" if the upgrade is requested. (Adding Speed-Drive, for example, could boost the top speed of a cycle by a third for $250-$350.) Some manufacturers, such as S & B Recumbents and Greenspeed, advertise that they customize their products for their customers.

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