In early March 2018 bicycle designer and builder Craig Calfee announced his intention to buy Easy Racers. “I am in negotiations to buy Easy Racers, Inc. We are located 5 miles from each other and I knew Gardner Martin. I am friends with several former employees and have designed and built a number of recumbents.”
Gardner Martin started Easy Racers with the Chromoly Tour Easy in the late 70s, adding the Aluminum Gold Rush Replica (GRR) in the late 80s and the titanium Ti Rush in the late 90s.
In 1986, Gardner Martin’s original Gold Rush (now in the Smithsonian) was ridden 65.484 MPH by “Fast Freddy” Markham. It was the first time a bicycle went over 65 MPH on level ground without drafting another vehicle and won the DuPont prize.
The recumbent community lost one of its most ardent supporters in 2004 when Gardner lost a long battle with lymphoma.
All Easy Racers’ bikes are comfortable recumbents with an easy to get used to rider position and stable handling. They feature over seat steering (OSS) and triple crank sets, offering a wide range of gears. They use a standard, inexpensive Greenfield kickstand, unlike some recumbents that need custom, expensive (and sometimes hard to find) kickstands.
All Easy Racers’ frames, handlebars and seats are manufactured in the USA. The EZ-1 was US made till the mid 90s, now it is imported, like all the Sun recumbents bikes. Gardner designed the recumbents for Sun. He told me when he sent a prototype overseas it always comes back heavier. The EZ-1 is an OK first recumbent but kind of heavy and slow. Many riders find it a bit unstable. Because it is imported, it is one of the cheaper recumbents available.
The lower seat height and long wheelbase of the Tour Easy and GRR give them excellent high-speed stability. On the other side of the column, their length can make “U” turns, storage and transport awkward.
Options available for an Easy Racer include racks, bags, kickstands, speedometer etc. Zzipper fairings fit the Easy Racers with a good, inexpensive mount, unlike some recumbents where the mount can cost as much as (or more than) the fairing itself.
Fairings reduce wind resistance, keep you warm and dry and are easily removed for transport. They also are noisy, scratch easily and add a bit of instability in strong, gusty wind. I use a fairing in cool or wet weather but not on nice summer days.
The US made Tour Easy, Gold Rush Replica, Fold Rush and TI Rush are relatively long LWBs. Their length, low pedals and a fairly low seat yield excellent high-speed handling. Seven standard frame sizes are available to fit riders 5’ to 6’8″. They are available in two versions, the Expedition (EX) and as the Speed & Sport (S&S).
The S&S is the slightly faster of the two. Narrow, high-pressure 20×1/18″ (451) front and 700c rear tires combined with higher gearing make the S&S ideal for the rider who wants a comfortable replacement for his road bike. The S&S is not a race bike, none of the Easy Racers are. They are quick, comfy, super stable touring bikes.
There are only a few 20×1 1/18″ road tires made to fit the front. This size tire is not easy to find replacements for, especially on a tour. Most small shops will never have heard of this size and will not have any tires that will work. The 700c rear is easy to find.
This is a fast touring bike for pavement and small to medium hills and excels on century rides. It can be geared down for large hills. We recommend the EX model for front tire availability.
The EX (Expedition) has wider, medium-pressure 20″ (405) front and 700c rear tires and lower range gearing. It is good for the rider who wants to do long tours with gear, ride dirt roads, climb the biggest hills, worry less about flats or just have a good selection of front tires available. Its low gears are even lower than some mountain bikes, making it a good climber.
The 20″ front tire and touring 700c tires are both easy to find replacements for, even on tour. Even small shops in small towns should have tires that will work till you can find just what you want. The EX is an excellent bike for self-contained touring.
We can custom set up your Tour Easy EX with wider tires and high gears or narrow tires and medium gears if that best suits your riding. Both the EX and the S&S now come stock with the cool back seat. It uses a Lycra covered foam seat base but an airy mesh back on an aluminum frame. Most riders consider the cool back more comfortable, particularly in hot weather.
The Cobra seat is their performance seat. It has a Lycra cover over foam on a rigid carbon fiber/Kevlar base. Being stiffer makes it a bit faster. The bottom of the cobra is wide but the back is narrow, 5″-6″ wide. It is the faster of the two Easy Racers seats but may leave your back sweaty, as it is unventilated. A Tour Easy, GRR or TI Rush can be switched from one seat to the other without modification.
As always we recommend test riding a dozen or more bikes before picking your favorite but if you do not have an Easy Racer dealer in your area we can ship you a bike.