Cycling: BikeE

May 2, 2004
Outside Magazine
Outside magazine, April 1996

Cycling: BikeE
By Bob Howells

That the BikeE semirecumbent bike looks something like a chopper with pedals is not entirely ironic. Sure, one is about staid utilitarianism, the other mostly about outlaw showiness. But chopper riders, beneath their bearded-and-tattooed facade, are really comfort-craving pussycats, and comfort is precisely what distinguishes the BikeE.

The BikeE's long wheelbase smooths out bumpy roads, and its long Stingray-style handlebars put the Sachs twist-type gear changers conveniently close to your chest. And though most recumbents are so low to the ground that they're all but invisible to cars, the BikeE, by sacrificing aerodynamics for back support, places your head just slightly lower than a conventional bike. This, after all, is a bike for touring, commuting (a briefcase straps easily to the seat-back), and carrying groceries (BikeE sells a custom rack for $69), not racing.

The BikeE's 21 speeds do help with getting its 28-pound heft up hills. But on the flats this recumbent shines, its 52-inch wheelbase providing such responsive steering that it even feels a little twitchy at first. Thankfully, it doesn't take long to get that sensitive steering to work for you in the hairiest of urban conditions--dodging potholes, threading tight spaces, even seeking out slalom-like challenges just for fun. If you can get past the less-than-macho image foisted on recumbent riders--just give the snobs your best Harley sneer--the BikeE may be the perfect cruiser.

$895. From BikeE Corporation, 5460 S.W.
Philomath Blvd., Corvallis, OR 97333; 800-231-3136.

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